And, from the continuing saga of raised expectations for 2017…

Ron Higgins, of the New Orleans Times -Picayune, doesn’t seem to be buying into the continuation of a rebuilding phase for Georgia football.  From his early 2017 SEC rankings comes this:

2. Georgia

2016 record: 8-5 (beat TCU 31-23 in AutoZone Liberty Bowl), 4-4 tied for second in SEC East

Starters returning: 20 (7 offense, 11 defense, 2 special teams)

Outlook: The good news for second-year coach Kirby Smart is his team’s growing pains acclimating to a new staff and system are over. Even better news is that senior-to-be running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, a duo that combined for 1,970 yards and 12 TDs last season, both decided not to declare for the NFL Draft. They’ll be paired again with rising sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason, who started 12 of 13 games last year, alternating moments of beyond his years brilliance and first-year blunders. Then, combine a defense that returns every starter with an incoming recruiting class that figures to be in the nation’s top 5, and Georgia should climb to the top of the East Division.

Schedule: Game 2 for Georgia at Notre Dame on Sept. 9 is a good early season gauge. Georgia’s toughest league games are all away at Tennessee, vs. Florida in Jacksonville and at Auburn.

Yes, that would be number two, with a bullet.  The only quibble I have with his outlook is the first sentence, which I’m not sure I would credit with being a given.

By the way, the only other conference team that returns as many starters as the Dawgs do is Kentucky.  On paper, this is a team that should contend.  Of course, Georgia fans know well how much that paper is worth sometimes.

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28 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

28 responses to “And, from the continuing saga of raised expectations for 2017…

  1. MGW

    Its all about that O-line. Who knows if this will continue, but over the last decade when the line is supposed to be great, it sucks. When its supposed to suck, they usually turn out to be pretty decent. So we got that going for us. Which is nice.

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  2. Atticus

    Eason and the O Line. But being #2 doesn’t say much considering where the conference was this year. #2 is a LONG way from #1. ”

    #2, of all the losers, you’re the best”

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  3. The Quincy Carter of Accountants

    “the only other conference team that returns as many starters as the Dawgs do is Kentucky.”

    I feel a little silly typing this but….don’t sleep on Kentucky?

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    • MGW

      I kind of doubt it’ll happen, but they have the potential to have a run like Mississippi State’s had since Mullen got there.

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  4. Russ

    Two is probably a little high but this team should certainly compete. We have plenty of talent including on the lines of scrimmage. Time for the change to pay off.

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  5. Go Dawgs!

    The last sentence to me is the most telling: “Georgia’s toughest league games are all away at Tennessee, vs. Florida in Jacksonville and at Auburn.” Georgia Tech is also away. We’ve got an absolutely brutal schedule in 2017 and the schedule is putting a damper on any enthusiasm I’m able to build up for the season.

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    • Macallanlover

      Brutal schedule? You must have looked at some other team’s schedule. I would be very surprised (based on what we know at this point) if we are not the favorite in 11 of those 12 games, and the Auburn game should we within 6 points. Of course, injuries could dampen things considerably like they did in 2013. It is pretty much all on us at this point, we can control our destiny by performing. Throwing in the towel on Auburn, and allowing for one giveaway, I would say 10-2 looks like what we should expect. And that will win the East if you look at FU and TN’s schedules.

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  6. Macallanlover

    Agree, we are clearly the best in the East, on paper, but I would say 3rd or 4th in the SEC. All of this is too early to dig into any position firmly but the article is reasonable. We could all make a tweak here or there, but the fact remains that Bama is a step above (at least) everyone else. Doesn’t mean they cannot be taken down on occasion, just that Bama would beat the closest competitor 8-9 times out of 10. Can’t beat them if you don’t get to Atlanta, and we should get that shot next December. Like the Senator, I am not so sure all our issues will be solved next season but perhaps by the 13th game we can have it all together.

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  7. ApalachDawg

    Expectations should be to win the east (which means win 2of3 of the road games referenced) and take our best shot at Bama/LSU in the German car dome. (Hard to believe 70+ years ago those jokers were trying to put a bullet through our skulls and now we are taking their money for our sports arenas)
    Everything after that will be gravy to me.

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  8. DawgPhan

    If the Falcons win a championship in year two, the expectation will be that UGA at least makes the playoff in 2017.

    There is going to be zero cover for another throwaway season this year.

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  9. PTC DAWG

    I’ll take it.

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  10. JCDAWG83

    It sounds like the pundits are basically repeating their same prediction for Georgia for about 9 of the past 10 seasons. Maybe this will be the season we actually live up to expectations.

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  11. 69Dawg

    Let’s just say if you are building a bridge or a house for that matter you need the best foundation you can get. The center is the foundation of the offensive line and we were fortunate enough to have had two of the best except for 2015 and 2016. Ben “Wild Man” Jones and David “Boss” Andrews are both starting in the NFL. Andrews now has the possibility of getting a Super Bowl ring. The center should make the line calls and control the line play. Bless Kublow’s heart, I know he tried his best but he was self taught. Remember, he actually used the internet to learn how to shotgun snap. What the hell happened to Sales and to Pittman. Until we get another Jones or Andrews at center our OL will continue to resemble a sieve. Snapping the ball is the easy part of playing center. If, and it’s a big if Kublow gets to the NFL, it will be as a guard and I don’t think he id big enough.

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