So, what’s Georgia’s margin for error this season?

Like it or not, it’s safe to say we now live in a College Football Playoff world.  Georgia played for a national title last season and it’s only fair to wonder what 2018 holds out for the program in that regard.  Pete Fiutak warns us that our Dawgs are likely to be the last team out.

The Bulldogs are loaded again for another amazing run, and they’ll be among the four best teams in college football, but the problem might just be the two-loss barrier that no team has cracked so far to get into the CFP.

On talent alone, Georgia deserves to be considered the preseason No. 1, or 1A, or 1B next to some of the other big boys. However, it has to start over at linebacker, has to replace the NFL running back tandem of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, and has just enough key losses in other positions to be annoying.

They’ll be in the thick of the chase all season long, but it’ll likely come down to the SEC Championship for one of those four spots. So give the Dawgs this caveat for the fifth spot; the winner in Atlanta will be in, and they’ll at least be playing for the trip…

Why They’ll Miss Out On The College Football Playoff

The SEC East isn’t going to be so blessed miserable this year.

That’s not to say Georgia wouldn’t have rolled through last year’s division schedule no matter what, but in 2017 …

Florida … bad and boring.
Tennessee … bad and weird.
Missouri … bad and couldn’t beat a good team.
Vanderbilt … bad and Vanderbilt.

South Carolina was solid, but it’ll be better this year, and that’s an issue.

The schedule isn’t horrible – Georgia Tech is the only worrisome non-conference game – but with road games at South Carolina and LSU, and with Florida stronger and Auburn to deal with, lose once, and then there won’t be any margin for error.

What’s Really Going To Happen?

Georgia will lose once along the way. Just watch out for that South Carolina game to open up the SEC season.

Unlike 2017 Alabama, the Bulldogs won’t catch the mega-break of not having to go to the SEC Championship. At 11-1, they’d be in. At 11-2 with an SEC title game loss to the Crimson Tide, they’re out.

Bummer, dude.

But that got me to wondering about the likelihood of Georgia being a one-loss regular season team by the time the SECCG rolls around.  Remember, ESPN’s FPI projects Georgia to finish 11-2 (rounded off), winning the SEC East.  It also shows, though, that the team has roughly a 10% chance of running the regular season table.  It also projects Georgia as the favorite in every game on the schedule.

Remember, too, as I posted the other day, Vegas is projecting 10.5 wins this season for the Dawgs, and a wide margin in the divisional standings.  All of which backs up Fiutak’s point that Georgia is unlikely to be this year’s version of 2017 Alabama in terms of its path to the CFP.

That gets me to the point of asking you guys to look into your crystal balls and predict what lies in store for Georgia’s 2018.  Say hello to my leetle fren’, er… reader poll.

As always with these, your comments are more than welcomed.

77 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football

77 responses to “So, what’s Georgia’s margin for error this season?

  1. We should just understand the SEC Championship as a play-in game, a quarterfinal. Winner in, loser out; what matters is winning that game, not trying to weasel our way into a final four.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Sanchez

      True for everyone except Bama

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      • Macallanlover

        Should be true for everyone, including Bama until all conference champs are in the playoffs. I view the SECCG as a play-in game, just not sure our defense will be ready. I am about 50/50 on our chances at that point, no way to know more than that until we see how the defense progresses. I don’t feel Bama will be unsurmountable if Tucker and crew get their job done by the mid-October. Bama is going to be Bama, stout, but not a team we cannot compete with when we are clicking.

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        • Otto

          Disagree, the 4 best teams should get in. Often 2 of the 4 best are in the SEC.

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          • Greg

            the only way to determine the “best four teams” is to invite them all. The way we have it set up now, you should have to win your conference first to be considered….everyone else in the conference, should be eliminated imo.

            Otherwise, eliminate the conference championship games, because it means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. The playoffs should be exactly what it is called….”national”, not regional. Invite the best 4 teams that won their conference, make it national and let them go at it.

            It is not a perfect system, still subjective…..but it is the best we have had to date.

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            • Otto

              Disagree just winning your conference, leads to a decline in out of conference scheduling, and how do you compare without the non conference games? Conference championship game is another addition to the resume to determine who the best 4 are.

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              • JCDAWG83

                I disagree. If the requirement to get into the playoff is to win your conference and not some beauty pageant type subjective determination of who are the “best” 4 teams, a team can schedule anyone they want for their out of conference games without affecting their chance of getting in the playoff.

                Create 8 12 team conferences, go back to 11 regular season games, let the conferences determine how they choose a champion and send the 8 champions to a three round true playoff for a national champion. Get rid of the bullshit committee and make polls and rankings completely irrelevant. Let the teams that aren’t conference champs go to bowl games if they want to. Georgia could schedule home and homes with USC, Texas, Ohio St., Washington, Oregon, you name it since a loss in that game would not affect either team’s chance of making the playoff.

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              • Greg

                From top to bottom, the SEC is the strongest conference in the nation. This doesn’t mean that a 1 or 2 loss Big 10 Champ (for example) is not better than the SEC runner -up team…..but they should be given a chance to prove they are one of the best. The runner-up team in the SEC forfeited their opportunity in the playoffs, they already lost their chance.

                It should be whoever won the Power 5 conferences that is considered imo. A national playoff….I do not want to see a replay of two SEC teams when one has already won it. Think most do not want to either. I know that I don’t…unless it is Georgia 😏.

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          • Erk's Forehead

            Disagree right back at ya. Bama should never have been there.

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            • ‘Bama won the national title, but should never have been there. Okay.

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            • Otto

              Well that’s like your opinion man.

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            • Greg

              Yep…..they couldn’t even win their own division, much less the SEC. Under the current system, they should have been disqualified.

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              • Interesting. Can you cite me the rule under the current system that disqualified ‘Bama?

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                • Greg

                  That was cute….as you know, no rule either way. It is a beauty contest and not perfect….but better than before. Honestly, I feel that they got the 4 best teams right last year. At least to these eyes.

                  But if conference championships mean nothing….do away with them or make them count. Under the current system, if you can’t win your division or conference….you should not be considered. Otherwise, increase the number of teams or invite everyone.

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                • That’s a vastly different take than “Under the current system, they should have been disqualified.”

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                • Greg

                  Good Lawd man……quit picking and pulling from my posts to fit your point and read each entirely. Pretty soon, there will be an argument for why Auburn should have got in (for some). There has to be a cutoff somewhere, for me…it is if you win your conference or not. It is for a national title, not regional…..hence, conference champions.

                  Until they fix it, it will not be perfect.

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                • If you wouldn’t post stupid shit, I wouldn’t have to point out that you post stupid shit.

                  Look, all this boils down to whether the selection committee should be charged with picking the four best teams — the “current system”, to coin a phrase — or the four most deserving teams, which sounds like your preference. Phrase the choice like that, and I can ignore your comments.

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                • Otto

                  If it is perfect, we won’t be here discussing it, not being perfect is part of what makes the college game so interesting.

                  Again no rules to stop Bama, and the idea is to take the 4 best teams, which they succeeded.

                  How many were arguing UGA deserved the BCS CG or in a 4 team playoff back in ’07?

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                • Greg

                  LOL!….”stupid shit”??? Well then quit reading “stupid shit”, unless you just want to be stupid. You take “stupid shit” WAY too personal, but I ain’t surprised….”bless your heart”.

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                • Personal? I’m not on the selection committee.

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                • Greg

                  Remember:

                  You’re good enough, You’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you.

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                • Sigh. You’ve appeared to enter the “I’m gonna have the last word” part of the discussion. Knock yourself out, brother. I’ve already made my point.

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                • Otto

                  Agreed with the Senator.

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              • Otto

                Would you say that back in 2007?

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        • Gaskilldawg

          Putting conference champions in over better teams that were not conference champions is a perfectly reasonable criterion. However, it is NOT the rule the College Football Playoff limited liability company sets for its selection committee.

          The CFP orders its selection committee to pick the 4 best teams regardless of conference championships. You have criticized the selection committee numerous times for concluding that Alabama was a better team than UCF. If you think that UCF was better than Alabama, then fine. If your criticism is that the committee should ignore its rules and take a team not bad good as Alabama because UCF was more deserving, then you are criticizing the committee for following the rules.

          CBS Sports or Amazon or whomever can start its own playoff and invite only conference champs if it wishes. Maybe that would be better than what we have.

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          • Greg

            Still subjective, but choose from the Power 5 conferences. Not sure if I would ever consider the American Athletic Conference. Thinks UCF would have been destroyed by any of the 4 teams this past year.

            Again, no perfect system….but it is the best we have had so far. Probably the only way to make it come close to working is to include everyone….but don’t see that happening.

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  2. I’m not sure the defense is going to be good enough to go 12-0, so I’m going 11-1 purely on the hot mess the schedule is. LSU on the Bayou is the game that worries me. It shouldn’t but it does. I think we lose to Bama in another MBS classic and end up either in New Orleans (vs Texas) or right back in Atlanta (vs a mid-major). Kirby uses the postseason as a head start on a monster 2019.

    Honestly, I would be happy with that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. paul

    It’s hard to call an 11-2 season a rebuilding or reloading year but I think it’s entirely possible that’s where we find ourselves. Funny how quickly such a season can feel like a bit of a letdown even before it happens. Getting into the final four without beating Alabama is not something that will happen often. But hey, the team showed me they had a lot more than I thought they did last year so, who knows? However, we have until August to verbalize our angst because ain’t much else going to be happening for a while.

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  4. 3rdandGrantham

    I’m really, really nervous about injuries, as our spring alone thus far has been horrid in that department – especially at positions that we simply can’t afford the losses. Last year we were insanely lucky on injuries, but thus far in ’18 it seems that luck clearly has run out.

    Just yesterday, Mark Webb – who many projected as a starting DB this fall, as he’s been getting rave reviews – went down with a knee injury, and they fear a torn ACL. Divaad Wilson also is already out for at least most of the season or longer, along with a few others who are out for quite a while.

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    • 3rdandGrantham

      …As for my season prediction, last year this time I predicted a 12 win, breakout season, which got some chuckles here, along with accusations that I was on some sort of illegal drugs. This year we will take a small step back and lose 1-2 in the regular season, followed by a close loss to Bama in the SECC.

      Watch out for SCU in week two – that game scares me to death. And if SCU wins, they have an easy SEC slate the rest of the way, where they very well might get to Atlanta.

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    • DoubleDawg1318

      Where are you seeing Webb went down? I still don’t think we have the depth to survive significant injuries. We need another class or 2 and some game experience among the roster to do that.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin Metz

      Haven’t seen any news on the Mark Webb injury. Any update?

      Like

  5. HiAltDawg

    The fact the committee punished ohio st as much as rewarded Bama, makes me think (opening myself up for getting lit up by y’all here, lol) any loss outside of Auburn (that we might avenge in the SECCG, again) dooms us.

    Like

    • Ohio State lost 2 games by double digits … one respectable (Oklahoma) and one not so much (Iowa). If tOSU beats Iowa and is B1G champ at 12-1, Bama isn’t in the Final 4 and is likely playing UCF in Atlanta or the U in Miami. The committee punished OSU for losing to Iowa and not blowing out Wisconsin in the B1GCG.

      If we’re 12-1 and SEC champions, we’re in without a doubt.

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      • Otto

        Agree, further tOSU could have possibly made it in if they lost a close one to Iowa but they were soundly beaten.

        Like

  6. Russ

    Like 3rd says above, injuries could change everything, but I went with 1 loss after the SECCG, meaning we lose a game along the way, but win the SEC. Looking at each game individually, we should win them all. But shit happens and we could slip up in Red Stick. I think Kirby will be focused on Sackerlina, so I’m not so worried there. This is Auburn’s down year, so I’m not that worried there.

    Injuries are the big wildcard, though. They can hurt us this year, but I think Kirby is building the kind of depth we need to overcome them, much like Bama was able to last season.

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  7. mdcgtp

    The number of variables makes fools of all of us individually and collectively in trying to make these picks with any real accuracy or conviction as to how scenarios will actually play out.

    For example who would have bet on LSU to lose to Troy Beat Auburn? OR for Auburn to lose to an LSU team that lost to Troy and got blown out by MSU BUT Beat an unbeaten Bama team? To be clear, the path to creating the case for us being one of the top 4 teams in the country can take a few different forms, but obviously, the surest path is to win the SEC with 1 or less loss. Beyond that is going to depend on what the national landscape looks like, and it seems like every year the circumstances change.

    Given our schedule in 2017, it seems unlikely that any of our SEC East competition is poised to enhance our resume in any meaningful way. It is hard to see how any of the teams take a meaningful step forward in 2017, and I could see the bottom fall out from the dregs of the East. Mizzou’s late season surge was a mirage. UK has Snell and not much else. Vandy is awful. Carolina will probably be better, but they simply don’t have very good talent. Who knows whether Pruitt can build a program? Mullen seems like the last person capable of constructing a roster and building a team with the toughness capable of topping the Saban/Kirby type teams.

    Ultimately, 2018 strikes me as a year where this coaching staff demonstrates the durability and repeatability of their process. We won’t win in exactly the same ways….but the themes are the same….physicality, composure, and playing to the highest standards consistently. If we do that, we will be one of the 4 teams.

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  8. Greg

    “but it’ll likely come down to the SEC Championship for one of those four spots.”

    As it should be and always have been (conference champs only), but don’t start now…..

    Like

    • Sanford222view

      So you feel if two of the five Power 5 conferences produce champions with 2 or more losses that a one loss SEC team that either loses in the SECCG or didn’t play in it should sit home while one of those conference champions gets in?

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      • Greg

        think that is what I just said…….

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        • Sanford222view

          I guess I don’t understand why you would prefer to watch a playoff that features multiple conference champions with 2,3, or more losses when you can watch one that leaves them out in favor of teams that only lost one game against either equal or better schedules.

          I don’t want to see a team like Texas the year they pulled a big upset in the Big XII title game over Nebraska get in a playoff with four losses over a team like Bama’s situation last season. I obviously don’t think they would be one of the four best teams and also would not be one of the four most deserving. Who care’s if you won your conference if you had four losses in the regular season? I know there were probably other teams that season to put in the playoff from the remaining conferences besides Texas but it isn’t that unlikely to have seasons with several conference champs with multiple losses and also teams with only one loss that didn’t win the conference or even play in the championship game.

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      • Erk's Forehead

        Absolutely. If we can’t win the SEC, we don’t deserve to play for the MNC in my opinion.

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        • Cojones

          Did you feel that way after the first game with Auburn last season?

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          • PTC DAWG

            That game didn’t eliminate us from winning the SEC.

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            • Cojones

              Somehow you have misconstrued my question to Erk’s post concerning his feelings as to whether he felt we deserved to play for the MNC immediately after that game. Just friendly curious as to how his thinking goes, nothing more

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  9. ASEF

    So much of the CFB talk depends on the pool of teams. P12 and B12 both look like conferences that will struggle OOC and present a 2 (or even 3) loss champion. That lowers the bar. An upset in the ACC or B1G championship game would lower the bar further.

    Hard to ID sure bets in CFB next year outside of Clemson, Bama, OSU and Georgia. That would be my bet right now if I had to make one.

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  10. DoubleDawg1318

    New Year’s 6 sounds about right to me. I just hope we get a major opponent and not the G5 representative.

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  11. Bright Idea

    Right now we better just worry about beating USCe. Everybody seems to be overlooking them. Lose that game and you’re looking for help all season long. 11-1 sitting at home in the SECC won’t work for us like it did Bama.

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  12. Otto

    I expect a 1 or 2 loss team and a SECCG appearance against most likely Bama. I don’t think Auburn has the depth to win the West. LSU is the only other team that has the horses to challenge Bama, and I don’t see Coach O putting it together for the season.

    UGA’s 3 toughest games are SC (because it is early), LSU, and Auburn. A perfect regular season is very tough to do. If SC gets the W over UGA, the chickens have a season that sets up for a run. They get A&M and Ole Miss out of the West. UGA is SC’s toughest SEC game. I think UGA vs SC is another grind it out type games with Smart leaning on the OL to feed the RBs killing the clock in 24-10 /31-17 type of game.

    LSU is dangerous at home, Auburn can be skitzo too but they come to Athens. Auburn/UGA has seemed to have switched to favor the home team, and Gus seems to be much better at home but who knows.

    The interesting scenario which could be in play is what if SC win’s the East with 1 loss holding the tie breaker over UGA but they drop to likely Clemson and Bama in the SEC CG leaving them with 2-3 losses. UGA finishes with 1 loss. Does UGA get in the playoff? It might be better than another even more probable scenario of facing Bama twice.

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  13. The Truth

    Quite frankly, I’m tired of the fear factor as it related to SC. If it really is about the Jimmies and Joes and we lose, our coaches suck. If our coaches don’t suck and we lose, then let’s please, PLEASE, quit getting so revved up about recruiting and recruiting rankings because they obviously don’t mean a damn thing.

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    • Erk's Forehead

      Absolutely. When did SC become a better powerhouse than us?

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    • Russ

      I agree 100%. This is the type of game we fired Richt and hired Kirby for. The fact that it’s early in the season is a plus to me. We obviously have better talent than them, and early on, we shouldn’t have any depth issues. I think we win handily, much like last year.

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  14. AusDawg85

    I’ll take the GTP Commenter’s Special please…14 – 0 beating Bama twice and I get to do the “I told you so” dance. Come up short and I’ll dis on Kirby for not recruiting enough depth at whatever position injuries, summer antics and mis-calls on talent leave us thin. With either outcome, I blame Chaney for dessert.

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  15. JoshG

    Having a season of elite-level success isn’t rare. 3 or 4 teams do it every year. Coaches that sustain that level of production over consecutive years are extremely rare. We’ll find out soon if Kirby is one of them.

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  16. Got Cowdog

    Aw hell. I put Little Larry in time out and went with 13-0. That’s as good a guess as any.

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  17. Derek

    If we don’t win in Atlanta, 1 loss or none, we probably ought to be done. If we’re 12-0 and it’s close, maybe. Otherwise, I say we win to advance and then Bama should sit out.

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  18. Ricky McDurden

    How sure are we that Florida is going to actually be better? South Carolina is concerning and LSU is about on par because of the environment and athleticism (though, like Carolina, I think we have the coaching and overall talent edge). Auburn is Auburn, Tech is Tech. I’m just not seeing concern in Tennessee or Florida under new head coaches.

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  19. artful codger

    I can see the SEC loser going in at 12-1 and it wasn’t a blowout

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  20. PTC DAWG

    Way too early…that said, win the East, let the chips fall where they may.

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  21. I think the powers that be are gonna be gun shy about having two SEC teams in the playoff two years in a row. Herbie will be fighting it all year long too. We’ll have to win the SECCG 11-1 or 12-0 to get in.

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    • Mark

      “I think the powers that be are gonna be gun shy about having two SEC teams in the playoff two years in a row.”

      Maybe, but I can’t see why they should be. It’s not as if either Alabama or Georgia failed to justify their inclusion in the playoff this past season. They both clearly deserved to be there.

      Like

  22. Biggus Rickus

    10-2 is probably the floor, and 12-0 is the ceiling. I think the East will be nearly as bad as it was this past season and Georgia will win the division easily. I really don’t understand why so many seem worried about South Carolina. They’re at best an 8-4 or 9-3 team, and they could easily drop five or six games if things break wrong for them. I have no idea if Georgia can beat Alabama. It will probably depend on who sustains more significant injuries by the time SEC Championship Game rolls around.

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  23. DawgPhan

    11-2 and a NY6 bowl game would be a huge season for the dawgs.

    I feel like UGA caught every break in the book last season and made the most out of them.

    This season we have to replace a lot of really great players, we are likely to be less lucky with injuries and just the way the rest of the season played out.

    Bama losing to auburn was a break for UGA. One that we havent typically gotten in the past.

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  24. Charlottedawg

    This preseason is really weird. Maybe because I wasn’t alive during the Herschel years but I literally cannot remember a preseason where the bulldog faithful were this justifiably confident in the team and a 10 win regular season would be considered disappointing. The fact that we’re not even mentioning: Georgia being Georgia, face-plants, inevitable face plant in Jacksonville, etc. shows how quickly expectations have been reset.

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  25. Macallanlover

    Pure silliness, all the “best 4” arguments are not just diminished, but obliterated under the current system. Never should be the criteria simply because it is impossible, by human voting, or computer generated power polls. Leave it to conferences to send their champ to represent them, and since we don’t have four, or eight, add the two “so called best” and the pick of the litter from Group of 5. At least everyone will have their “best” representative in the playoffs, and no one can say they didn’t have a fairly equal shot. Absurd to think with current schedule limitations we can ever get enough overlap to get the “best”. Make the conference championships and every game mean something.

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    • I thought that’s what the 8-team playoff is for, Mac. 😉

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      • Cojones

        You can throw the 8th-ranked team anytime you want, Senator. Mac was being nice and expecting you to provide that tip. Mac and I agree on one thing right down the line and you shouldn’t mess with our budding friendship. Who in hell can you stomp your feet at and raise hell with in your frustration when we go to 8 teams this or next year?

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  26. W Cobb Dawg

    I think the Dawgs are gonna be very tough to beat. You’re looking at a running game that’s gonna be averaging 6 yards +, and Fromm in the pocket as cool as a cucumber. Although young, there’s a ton of talent on D. If I have a concern it’s depth at DT, and even there we have plenty of good candidates for playing time.

    We’re the only sec team that comes close to challenging bama. I’m looking for 12 wins. If we don’t get back in the cfp, then some other teams around the country are far exceeding expectations.

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  27. I really think 2019 and beyond will be when uga hits it’s stride. This year’s team probably has more talent than last. Last year was talent and experience, but I think leadership on a level that I don’t know any dawgs team has ever had was what propelled them to the ncg and made the difference. I have no doubt that new leaders will develop, but no way it matches what uga had on every level. Save Fromm, the top guys at every position have moved on. Backfield…chubb and michel, o-line…Isaiah, d-line….Carter, bellamy, Atkins, backer…Roquan, secodary….Sanders. Think on that. Every single position group. If you’re of the opinion that talent means results …look no further than eason vs Fromm. All world talent, little leadership vs very solid talent, all world leader. I think that, if anything is the biggest obstacle to matching last year’s results. Two conference losses before seccg is very possible

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  28. Captain Obvious

    All in

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