In the AJC’s upcoming college football section — online Friday Aug. 28; in print editions Sunday, Aug. 30 — I was given two assignments: write a column on Georgia and give my game-by-game predictions for the regular season.
For the column, I spent some time alone with coach Mark Richt to talk about the rarity of being a head coach at one school for 15 years. He also told me what makes this upcoming season different from any other that he has coached, from a personal standpoint.
As for the game-by-game predictions, a spoiler’s alert: I have Georgia going 10-2 in the regular season and winning the SEC East. The losses will be … in the story.
I wasn’t asked to pick a winner of the SEC title game — for the record, I believe the Dogs will be playing Alabama, not Auburn, as many have projected — but one major national publication has weighed in on that topic.
Sports Illustrated has come out with its SEC preview. The magazine also has the Bulldogs going 10-2 and winning the East, but losing to Auburn (which they have going 11-1). I sense I’m the only one on earth who believes Auburn is being slightly overrated. (I think the Tigers will lose at least two games, including the Alabama game.)
Here’s some highlights of S.I.’s SEC predictions:
— EAST: Georgia: 10-2 (6-2), Tennessee 8-4 (5-3), Missouri 8-4 (5-3), South Carolina 7-5 (3-5), Florida 7-5 (3-5), Kentucky 6-6 (2-6), Vanderbilt 3-9 (0-8).
— WEST: Auburn: 11-1 (7-1), Alabama 10-2 (6-2), LSU 9-3 (5-3), Arkansas 8-4 (4-4), Ole Miss 8-4 (4-4), Texas A&M 7-5 (3-5), Mississippi State 7-5 (3-5).
— SEC title: Auburn over Georgia.
— Offensive MVP: Nick Chubb (Georgia).
— Impact freshman: Trent Thompson (DT, Georgia).
S.I. also lists three key SEC conference and non-conference games, and they include Georgia-Florida and Georgia-Georgia Tech. So the preview is Dog-heavy.