DAWGS’ Prospects for 2011

NCAA football season is now complete with the SEC going 5-5 in bowls and winning a 5th straight National Championship. The SEC East division finished a terrible 1-4, with only 5-loss Florida getting a bowl win.

With no SEC team repeating as conference champion in the past 10 years, the league should expect a new winner next season. In the SEC West: Cam and Fairley are going pro early from SEC Champion Auburn; Ingram and Julio are going pro from Bama; Mallett is declaring from Arkansas. Neither Miss State nor Ole Miss has ever played in a BCS bowl. LSU has returning talent but is good rather than great.

In the SEC East, South Carolina won the division but has now lost consecutive games (both played in Atlanta). Florida will have new coaches and had a very down year. Vandy is Vandy. Tennessee and Kentucky were both under .500 and beaten soundly by the Dawgs this season.

Despite recent program struggles, Georgia has a really nice chance to have a much needed rebound year in 2011, considering the schedule and increased experience levels of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and upcoming redshirt sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray set the single-season total touchdowns mark at the school his first year playing, and Richt has won 10 plus games as head coach of UGA each season he has had a starting quarterback returning with experience. In 10 years, Richt had 6 10-win teams; coached in 3 BCS bowls; won 2 SEC rings; finished national #3; finished national #2 (only 4 years ago). The sky may not be falling after all.

Georgia’s SEC West contests in 2011: at Ole Miss, Miss State in Athens, Auburn in Athens. At least 8 UGA football games will be played in the state of Georgia, as the Dawgs open the season with Boise State in the Kickoff Classic at the Georgia Dome and finish the regular season at Georgia Tech. Richt has averaged 9.6 wins per year over his 10 in Athens and may need to better his average to return for a 12th Between the Hedges.

2010-2011 SEC Bowl Game Recap:

NCAA Title (Phoenix area, 1/10): BCS #1 vs BCS #2 – Auburn beat Oregon

Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, 1/4): SEC/BCS vs. other BCS – Ohio State beat Arkansas

Capital One (Orlando, 1/1): SEC vs. Big 10 – Alabama beat Michigan State

Cotton (Dallas area, 1/7): SEC vs. Big 12 – LSU beat Texas A&M

Outback (Tampa, 1/1): SEC vs Big 10 – Florida beat Penn State

Gator (Jacksonville, 1/1): SEC vs. Big 10 – Mississippi State beat Michigan

Chick-fil-A (Atlanta, 12/31): SEC vs. ACC – Florida State beat S. Carolina

Liberty (Memphis, 12/31): SEC vs. CUSA – Central Florida beat Georgia

Music City (Nashville, 12/30): SEC vs. ACC – N. Carolina beat Tennessee

BBVA Compass (Birmingham, 1/8): SEC vs. Big East – Pittsburgh beat Kentucky