Those pesky expectations keep rolling in.

SI.com lays an SEC spring football power poll on us and sets Georgia at number three, behind Alabama and LSU.

Georgia bulldogs
2016 record: 8–5

Expect a breakout season from quarterback Jacob Eason, who started as a true freshman last year, and from the Bulldogs’ defense across the board, which was inexperienced in 2016. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel may be the best running back duo in the country, and they’ll take the heat off Eason as he continues to develop.

I’m sure that’s the plan, anyway.  Whether it comes to fruition depends on an offensive line that develops and a coaching staff that becomes more capable on game day.

One thing’s more apparent.  Kirby Smart’s honeymoon period is about done, at least in the eyes of the national media.  We’ll see if that’s the case with the fan base soon enough.

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58 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

58 responses to “Those pesky expectations keep rolling in.

  1. 81Dog

    It’s puzzling to me why anyone would be surprised there are expectations for Kirby to produce at a high level this year. He didn’t inherit a losing program. He’s had two impressive recruiting years. He’s got some talented upperclassmen who are starters. The pocketbook is opened, and he’s got plenty of support staff, new facilities and equipment, with more on the way. The East is hardly at a historic level of toughness. The schedule is about as favorable as an SEC schedule can be. Plus, he has that “championship pedigree.”

    Nobody expects him to put us in the playoffs this year, and I doubt anyone expects him to beat Alabama in the SECC, but I have a hard time why anyone wouldn’t expect UGA to be there, and be at least competitive.

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    • 81Dog

      “hard time UNDERSTANDING.” *&$^# the lack of an edit button.

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    • Macallanlover

      Excellent post 81, that seems to be the way most Dawg fans I know feel. No unrealistic expectations, but not backing down that minimally we should be able to get to Atlanta in 2017. I would add, I think by that point in the year we should also be able to compete with the West winner.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Russ

        Yep, two good posts. I expect to see some payback from the coaching change this year.

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        • Mayor

          If you are talking player personnel improvement I agree. If you are talking coaching improvement, particularly on offense and in-game decision making that remains to be seen.

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    • 3rdandGrantham

      Great thoughts — 100% agree. And this is coming from someone who is an unabashed supporter of Smart.

      Colin Cowherd has mentioned several times on his show that friends/colleagues of his who would certainly know (Jimmy Johnson and Urban Meyer, to name a few) have stated that in college football, you’ll almost certainly whether a new coach is going to ultimately be successful or fail based on where the program is halfway through his second season on the job. By then, if things are clearly on the upswing, good times lay ahead. If not, well, most likely you’ll be looking at another coaching change shortly.

      Using that barometer, both the UT and UF games will be crucial for Smart. He has to at vert least split those two, but frankly I feel he really should win both.

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      • rchris

        I agree that we should make the SECCG, or at least have double digit wins. The causes for optimism 81 cites are all valid plus our QB is no longer a freshman, and almost everyone is returning. I agree with you that we should split TN FL and would go farther and say we should at least split Aub ND as well. The only cause for pessimism would be that all 4 of those games are played away from Sanford Stadium. Hopefully we can overcome that fact.

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        • Mayor

          We can overcome the “playing away from Sanford Stadium” problem very easily when it comes to Florida–make that game home and away. At least the Dawgs will get to play it between the hedges half the time rather than away from Sanford all the time like we do now. I think we technically are the home team against FU in JAX this year. Why does it not feel like a home game?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Because a bunch of rich old dudes want an excuse to get away from their wives and play golf and get drunk at the beach for a weekend every year. It’s the Georgia way.

            “Well. We got our asses handed to us by UF again but wasn’t that a fun time on the back nine on St. simon’s?”

            Hell. We used to play this “neutral” game in a venue named after the other team’s mascot. I know said old codgers and college kids will whine but I’d hope that KS will start pushing for a home and home in the series. Spurdog isn’t around anymore to hang half a hundred in Athens.

            Think Saban would play the Iron Bowl at a site that was an hour from Auburn and 8 hours from T-town? Granted I don’t think there is such a place but you get my point.

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          • Bulldog Joe

            We used to play UF in Florida every year for our south Georgia fans and recruits. The trip to Athens in those days was very long and required a lot of time on two-lane roads.

            Now that transportation is easier and we have forbidden ourselves from hosting recruits at this game, the only true reason we play there is to collect the proceeds and incur none of the costs of a home game.

            This is The Georgia Way.

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      • Just Chuck (The Other One)

        Think he needs to win both of those games. I can see the natives being very, very restless if he doesn’t beat both UT and UF and there is little chance he can still win the East if he doesn’t.

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        • Brandon

          I don’t see UT as much of a threat this year. They lost a literal TON. Splitting UT/UF essentially means losing to UF because even in Knoxvegas I expect us to be at least touchdown favorites in that one. Losing both is absolutely unacceptable, but I feel if we do wind up splitting them, the Win has to come in Jax. Which essentially makes all this a bunch of rambling when it all boils down to the same as every year and every coach that has ever been at UGA. BEAT THE DAMN GAYTURDS.

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        • I dunno – should probably focus on beating Vandy and Tech first. Those are the kind of games that will get you run out of town pretty quickly if you’re losing them in consecutive years. If nothing else, we’ve shown to be a pretty forgiving fanbase for struggles against Tennessee and Florida, to an extent. Just my two pennies.

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          • Gaskilldawg

            Are struggles against UT resulted in us having an 11-6 record since the Y2K disaster was scheduled Easy to forgive that.

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        • I would be happy if Kirby got to 1–1 against Vandy. That was the game for me when his honeymoon ended for me

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    • SemperFiDawg

      Nichols state

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  2. 92 grad

    Yeah, seems pretty straightforward. In Chaney we trust, basically. we should also see evidence of Kirby settling in and becoming the kind of leader he strives to be. Too much of the past year has been him in “reactionary” mode. The wheels should be turning in the right direction now..

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  3. sniffer

    Are the expectations different from what they would be if Richt were still here? How does having Kirby as the coach move the needle? For instance, would we be ranked ahead of LSU if Richt were still here?

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    • Probably so. Kirby needs to earn his money by actually living up to preseason hype. Unfortunately during the latter years of MRs tenure we always seemed to face plant when big things were expected. Still worried about the O-line though. Pittman will have to work some serious magic.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gaskilldawg

    Exactly. UGA AA hired Smart to improve upon averaging 10 wins per season and winning the East every third year on average. He was hired to sin championships. Why is it unrealistic to expect him to do exacting what he was hired to do?

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  5. Dawgy1

    An OL that by any rational look will be as weak as last year and our 2 best defensive players on the sidelines right now. I’m hoping for a surprise. I’ve been disappointed so many times that I’m now a pessimist.

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  6. The honeymoon ended for me on the Saturday after Thanksgiving last year. He and his team blew a 2 TD lead with 7:00 to go to a team not designed to come back from that kind of deficit.

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  7. UGA85

    We are going to remain a second tier program until we can beat Florida. I mean a physical, manhandling kind of game. If we finally become strong enough as a team to get over this ridiculous, embarrassing hurdle, I think the other games fall into place. This 25 year problem has left us as an underachieving team with only occasional national relevance and has lifted them into SEC and national titles, etc. All these expectations are worth little if the Jax meltdowns continue, IMO.

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    • dawgfan

      It sure would be nice too if Florida played Auburn the week before Georgia like they did during the Dooley era.

      Liked by 1 person

    • DawgPhan

      We are a second tier program. Beating Florida is unlikely to change that.

      People think we are right there with Alabama or Ohio State when really UGA is more like Wisconsin.

      UGA is way more Matt Ryan than they are Tom Brady.

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      • rchris

        And yet we’ve won more games the last 20 years than Bama, Florida, and Wisconsin. And we’re not too far behind Ohio State. We’ve been robbed of the chance to play for the Natty many times because too many people, including our own fans, said we were second tier in contradiction of the evidence.

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        • Russ

          Don’t cloud the issue with facts.

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        • DawgPhan

          and we fired that guy.

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        • paul

          Really? Many? I graduated in 1980, the last time we actually won. I’ve been paying pretty close attention since that time. I’d say a few, but many? I’m wondering what many means to you. Care to elaborate?

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        • Beating cupcakes and 2nd and 3rd tier teams does not win championships, it does however pad your winning percentage. Something the previous HC was obviously very good at, but alas it got old and his ass was canned and he is now history. Most of the fan base was patient with the former HC, and some have not gotten over his firing and probably never will, the fan base will not be so patient with Kirby.

          New Years Six Bowl in 2017 anything less is a failure for Kirby with this talent.

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        • artful codger

          Like to see that comparison in terms of wins over top 20rated teams.

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  8. JCDAWG83

    Show me.

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  9. W Cobb Dawg

    Any team with Chubb & Sony would have high expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dawgy1

      Especially if they had just an average OL in front of them.

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      • MGW

        Bingo. We don’t have to be Alabama’s line, where any decent RB is going to be in the Heisman race, but just a serviceable line that doesn’t shortchange a great back.

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  10. Rebar

    If we can’t win the East this year, when do you think we could? Florida and Tennessee have less talent than us, and the rest of the division is pretty fickle too. It ’17 or bust!

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    • MGW

      Not to say we shouldn’t win this year, but if we don’t… how bout the next year? It isn’t like our talent’s about to fall of a cliff and I don’t see anything special happening anywhere else in the East.

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      • Don’t you think the negative recruiting will start if we don’t? Kirby was the master of it when he was recruiting Georgia for his former boss.

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        • PTC DAWG

          10 wins and no East title, things will be just fine. Kirby gone recruit regardless.

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          • We’ll see … no East title begins to slow the recruiting momentum … of course, YMMV

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            • MGW

              Of course winning is better than losing for recruiting, but I’m just saying it isn’t like this year is the last opportunity to win the East in the foreseeable future. Florida maybe ought to look at it that way, but not us. The East is ripe for the picking; a good program would dominate. Either Kirby Smart is the guy to turn UGA into that program, or the coach thats going to do it has yet to be hired because I just don’t see it anywhere else in the East. This division is filled with wanna be’s and has beens as far as programs go. The best of any program that can be said of any program in the east is that Georgia, with the way its recruiting, MIGHT be on track to do something special.

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      • 2 years away syndrome lives 🙂

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        • MGW

          No, we should win it this year and it would be disappointing not to. Rebar’s premise was that this is somehow the last opportunity for some reason. Its not. The East is terrible and has been won by terrible teams for the last four years. It doesn’t look like that has changed or will be changing for any reason any time soon. Georgia could be terrible and win this year.

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    • Mayor

      Really? We play ND, FU, UT and AU away. Tech, too. Easy schedule–yeah, right.

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  11. Uglydawg

    SI hinges the whole of it’s prediction on the first line, “Expect a breakout season from QB Jacob Eason”. I don’t know if I do expect it. I sure hope for it. Jacob doesn’t have to be the next Peyton to make this offense go..he just needs coaches that will protect him with a game plan and savvy calls to keep him safe. Don’t call plays as if you have a line that can serve and protect if they can’t. With Sony and Chubb, he will have great safety valves when pressured. Run some screens, dammit…hit a tight end with a jump-pass over the middle if it take that…use the play-fake, esp on short yardage situations where the run is expected. Don’t set the kid up to get murdered on deep drops if the line can’t handle it. And when you do decide to throw on first down..don’t try to complete a bomb…eight or twelve yards is good enough. Un-connected bombs are drive killers.

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  12. Uglydawg

    BTW…Senator, your last sentence…”We’ll see if that’s the case with the fan base soon enough” has an (unintended, I feel sure) sound to it, easily construed into a prediction of a bad start.
    Was that a Freudian slip?

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  13. DawgPhan

    UGA needs to win 12-13 games this season to be a success. 10-2 and making the SECC only to lose by 2 TDs and not make a NY6 bowl and play some middle of the road Big 10 team in Decemeber in Florida would not be a step in the right direction.

    UGA should clearly control every game on their schedule from start to finish. There isnt a team on the schedule that has near the talent that UGA has save Auburn and ND. Every other team on the schedule is trash.

    Everyone will know very soon though. The first benchmark will be leading App St by several scores heading into the 4th quarter. If the coaches fail that first test, they arent going to ever get it turned around, they are clearly over their heads, and any success would just be the result of dumb luck.

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    • The Dawg abides

      Lulz, dude. Just lulz.

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    • 69Dawg

      Hell man I’d take luck over being just good. Dooley had a horseshoe up his butt, the man won more games because of luck than he ever did because of his coaching. Ray had maybe the worst luck ever. Donnan was not a lucky coach. Mark was a great man and a good coach but his luck was awful. Anyone remember Edward’s dropped pass or Pollack’s forward lateral. I could go on but being lucky beats the hell out of being good. The football is the worst shaped ball in all of sports and it is pure luck when it bounces your way.

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      • Mayor

        I don’t agree that Dooley was all luck Ug. In football you make your own luck with hustle and good coaching. His teams were well coached and played hard. You had to beat a Dooley coached team–VD wouldn’t give the game away with a bonehead decision at the end. Also, VD was like Bear Bryant–he got favorable calls from the refs because he was revered as a top quality coach. CMR pissed the refs off in 2007 in JAX and Georgia never got another judgment call from the refs. Goof got no respect from the refs and, face it, wasn’t up to the job. Donnan was a decent HC. I’ve said for years that if Donnan had not been fired everything that happened in the early 2000s to Georgia football would have happened anyway. CMR had his best seasons with Donnan’s players.

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  14. WarD Eagle

    I hope y’all win all but two.

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  15. paul

    I’d say the honeymoon has been over for all but the most casual fan. Anything less than a trip to the ATL will be seen as a failure. I don’t think we have to win there but we do have to be competitive.

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  16. No matter, should be an interesting season. with the short term expectations these days, good luck to Smart and the team or the howling will get pretty bad.

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  17. Spike

    The Cocks at 10? Boom goes the dynamite..

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