It’s been six years since the Georgia Bulldogs have played in a SEC title game and it’s been over two years since the Bulldogs have won 10 or more games in a season.
And if the Bulldogs win the SEC Championship, they could have a inside track on the national title.
It would be great for UGA fans to see the Bulldogs have a big year because it would be the dream season they have waited years for.
But what other scenarios would make this a dream season? What are some things that have to happen that would make the 2011 season a major success?
Well, you can count out Caleb King and Washaun Ealey to help the Dawgs. King was ruled academically ineligible for the season and Ealey transferred from UGA back in May.
In 2010, King rushed for 430 yards and Ealey rushed for 811 yards while the two combined for 13 touchdowns; 11 for Ealey and two for King. That means Georgia must find a way to replace 1,241 yards and 13 touchdowns from a true freshman, In Isiah Crowell and Carlton Thomas who rushed for 272 yards in 2010.
Fair or not, all the attention for Georgia comes down to Isiah Crowell who was expected to compete for the starting job even with King and Ealey in the backfield. Now, Crowell has all the pressure in the world and will be expected by Georgia fans to come in and do what South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore did last year. Regardless of the hype, it is unfair to think that Crowell can replicate what Lattimore did in his true freshman year where he was third in the SEC in rushing with 1,197 and 17 touchdowns.
Also, the Georgia running game was to be a strength due to the loss of All-American wide receiver A.J. Green, so there will be more added pressure on quarterback Aaron Murray. Georgia must establish a running game of some sort just so that they do not become one-dimensional. Even without King and Ealey, Georgia will be tough to beat this season.
Former UGA QB’s David Greene and Matthew Stafford had great sophomore seasons and as a result the Bulldogs ended No. 2 in the final rankings both years.
The difference is both Greene and Stafford did not have the freshman season Aaron Murray had, so there is going to be some pressure on Murray to make that next step and take the Bulldogs to greater heights.
If he does take that next step, he could have a room full of trophies by mid-January.
Losing Trinton Sturdivant is a tough blow for the offensive line along with Brent Benedict, but they have the pieces to do some damage against SEC defensive lineman.
Cordy Glenn and Ben Jones are preseason ALL-SEC selections, while Kenarious Gates and Chris Burnette are young guys who have a lot of upside to them.
Bulldog fans just hope they don’t get hit with the injury bug.
On the defensive side of the ball….Alec Ogletree showed a lot of promise at safety last year, but he is making the move to linebacker because the coaching staff believes he has the ability to cover sideline-to-sideline and make big plays with his hitting abilities.
If Ogletree is able to make a smooth transition, he could be the most feared player in the conference.
Many experts have picked Georgia to win the SEC East title, but they also chose LSU to win the SEC West and the SEC title by defeating Georgia.
Can the Bulldogs defeat the Tigers? They can, but they would have to play mistake free football and players like Murray, Crowell, Ogletree, Smith and Boykin have to be on top of their game.
And if Georgia can somehow win the SEC title, head coach Mark Richt should win Coach of the Year.
But again in the SEC anything is possible. Georgia has a huge game in Atlanta against Boise State to start the season. Then South Carolina (the other SEC East favorite) comes to Athens, after that the Dawgs get upstart Mississippi State at home and then go on the road to Tennessee and to Jacksonville to face the Gators.
Considering the SEC average schedule, the Bulldogs do have a favorable one. If they can squeak some close wins out this year, they have a vary good chance of getting to Atlanta. I think overall the Bulldogs finish 9-3 in the regular season.