ESPN already hyping up 2023 matchup between Georgia football-Tennessee
Georgia rolled through its 2022 schedule on the way to winning its second-straight national championship. Despite playing multiple ranked foes over the course of the season, the toughest regular season game for the Bulldogs proved to be an Oct. 1 road test against Missouri.
The Bulldogs needed a perfect fourth quarter to come away with a 26-22 win. It was the lone game last season that the Bulldogs did not win for double digits.
As for the 2023 season, Georgia’s schedule does not appear to have many pitfalls. That made it rather easy for ESPN’s Mark Schlabach to pick Tennessee as the Bulldogs’ toughest game for the upcoming season.
Georgia visits Knoxville, Tenn., to close out SEC play on Nov. 18.
“Their Nov. 18 contest at Tennessee will probably be the most difficult. UT figures to be out for blood after the Bulldogs knocked off the then-No. 1 Volunteers 27-13 at Sanford Stadium last season,” Schlabach wrote. “The game, which was traditionally played early in the season, used to go a long way in determining which team would contend for an SEC East title. This season, Georgia’s SEC finale might decide which one wins the division.”
Tennessee is most likely going to be Georgia’s highest-ranked regular season foe when the preseason polls come out, as the Bulldogs draw Auburn and Ole Miss from the SEC West. Despite the loss to Georgia, Tennessee did go 11-2 and ended the season with a win over Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
When Georgia played Tennessee in Neyland Stadium in 2021, Georgia came away with a 41-17 win. Tennessee is much improved since then but the Volunteers have yet to play Georgia tough since Josh Heupel became the team’s head coach.
Kirby Smart is 6-1 against Tennessee, with the lone loss coming back in 2016.
Georgia will have a new quarterback when it takes on Tennessee this season, as Carson Beck, Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton will compete to replace Stetson Bennett.
“It’s all about relationships and knowing who is behind you and who you’re dealing with,” center Sedrick Van Pran said of the quarterbacks. “Honestly, I feel like I have a pretty good relationship with all of those guys, so it usually doesn’t come up. It’s more so being able to dictate who’s who in the heat of the fire.”
The Bulldogs have held the first of their two spring practices and will return to the practice field on Saturday. The team’s spring game is set for April 15. Georgia’s first game this season will be against UT-Martin on Sept. 2.
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