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Georgia football’s best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
June is almost over, which means college football season is about two months away. And that means it’s finally time to leave the lists in the dust and start focusing on what to expect from Georgia’s upcoming campaign.
Georgia fans are flying high in the wake of one of the greatest seasons in school history. But Dawgs fans have never been an overly optimistic bunch — a fact reflected by one a question I’ve been asked frequently this offseason: What is the worst-case scenario for UGA this season?
Whether they’re expecting a major comedown or just trying to gird themselves in case the sky falls, Dawgs fans seem very preoccupied with the worst-case scenario. So I’m going to take a moment and try to answer that question so we can all feel properly prepared should worse come to worst.
The baseline for the worst-case scenario is straightforward: failure to win the SEC East. The East looks to be as weak as it has been in recent memory — which is pretty dang weak — and Georgia is simply more talented than any of its division rivals. Anything less than a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game wouldn’t only be a failure for the Bulldogs, it would be an embarrassment. There’s no quicker way to destroy all the national goodwill built up by last season’s College Football Playoff run than by losing one of the worst divisions in America. That doesn’t fly if you want to be considered one of the preeminent powers in college football.
But that’s just the baseline. If Georgia didn’t make the SEC Championship Game, that means at least two (and probably three) SEC losses. The most likely culprits in this scenario are Auburn, LSU and South Carolina. But I can also envisage a (very dark and scary) world where Georgia loses to Missouri and/or Florida. So if we’re talking about a true worst-case scenario, I’d have to say it’s a 7-5 regular season with losses to the aforementioned teams and potentially followed by a loss in the bowl game.
I’ve been asked considerably less frequently — i.e. never — about Georgia’s best-case scenario for this season because the answer to that question is obvious to anyone who follows college football: a national championship. And if I had to choose whether the worst-case scenario or best-case scenario is more likely, I’d choose the best-case scenario without batting an eye. But the reality is probably somewhere in between the two.
The Dawgs lost a lot from last season, and there will be plenty of kinks to work out while the team learns to play without the guys they lost and their replacements establish themselves. I would not be surprised in the least if Georgia lost one or two games in the regular season, but that wouldn’t spoil the season. The goal of this team should be to get to Atlanta with as few losses as possible, just like last year. As long as the Dawgs make the SEC title game, their destiny should be in their hands — and they’ll only need three more wins to get their hands on the title. Just make it to Atlanta and, regardless of what happened in the regular season, everything the Dawgs want to achieve will still be in front of them.
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Kirby Smart on college football paranoia
AL.com’s Michael Casagrande has an excellent story on what makes college football coaches so dang paranoid. And it should warm your heart a just a little bit to know that Kirby Smart likely ranks among the least paranoid in the college game.
“Yeah, there are a lot of really paranoid coaches about that,” Smart said. “You’re not looking at one that’s overly paranoid but maybe I should be because everywhere I’ve ever coached, people are freaking out a week before the game, day before the game …
“We played Alabama this year and I had so much other stuff to worry about, I wasn’t worried about that. We didn’t change anything we did and I don’t know if they did or not. I had my hands full with other things. So, I think there is a paranoia out there for that and it’s probably overdone in my opinion.”
Could Jake Fromm and Jacob Eason be the top QBs taken in the 2020 NFL Draft?
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report has a story out about NFL scouts’ thoughts on the dreadful quarterback class for the 2019 draft. As an aside in the piece, one unnamed scout noted that the QB draft class of 2020 should be significantly stronger, and he gave two names you’re very familiar to exemplify its strength.
Where do teams go from here? One high-ranking scout I spoke to last week was nearly giddy talking about the 2020 draft class (yes, they’re already looking that far ahead). “That kid at Georgia (Jake Fromm) and the one that left (Jacob Eason) are legit dudes. They could go 1-2 and they were at the same school! Those are the ones to watch.”
Odds & Ends
- Georgia working feverishly to have West End project at Sanford Stadium ready for season
- Nation’s No. 5 outside linebacker Rian Davis still has Bulldogs on top
- Andrew Thomas has national championship goals for UGA
Dawgs on Twitter
— 11Alive Sports (@11AliveSports) June 27, 2018
#DawgNation, Sean Hayes is ready.
Are you? pic.twitter.com/recl9PivOn
— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) June 27, 2018
— Tom Crean (@TomCrean) June 27, 2018
— Em Crum ✰ (@ecrummy) June 25, 2018
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