2013’s Toughest Opponents (and Why)
1. The SEC West Champion: But who will it be? Texas A&M has a hot coach and the player who gained the most yards from scrimmage in SEC history and gets BAMA at Kyle Field. Johnny Football is 1-0 vs the Tide and hasn’t lost a game since he really got it going on the Capstone. BAMA hasn’t been to back-to-back conference title games since they upset #1 Florida in 2009 for Saban’s first Tide conference ring and has lost a divisional home game for three straight years; last repeat conference champ was Tennessee in 1998 in the first year of the BCS. LSU is the only program with a better winning percentage than GEORGIA during Richt’s twelve-year tenure. Arkansas was the third best team in America just two years ago. Miss State played a perfect half-season last year. Ole Miss is surging and has the nation’s top incoming recruits. Auburn hoisted a crystal trophy a few short years ago and always recruits very well. Probably Bama, based much on their very soft schedule compared to LSU and A&M. Win one of those two games, which is all they were able to do last season, and they may be back in ATL (and 100% beatable – they plan to become much more of a passing team this season, supposedly.) Richt is only 14-15 in neutral site games and 2-3 in SEC championship games.
2. Florida: You think the Gators want to go .500 versus Georgia over a ten-year period, while dropping a third straight to the team they now must admit is their single biggest rival? They won eleven games last year, and we annually play the game in a stadium formerly known as the Gator Bowl, in the state of Florida. They want to beat us the most.
3. South Carolina: They go for four consecutive over UGA and have a big advantage in the fear factor. Murray: “Please don’t Clown me, again.”
4. Clemson: Dawgs have not started seasons well against elite competition lately or played well on the road out of conference (except at Tech), and coming off a comeback bowl win over the SEC’s LSU Tigers they are confident. Georgia’s new D up to it against explosive wideout Sammy Watkins and top QB Tajh Boyd you think? Maybe.
5. LSU: Win this football game and they look like a league title contender. Lose it and they face an uphill battle of a season with a tough schedule which also includes Florida, Texas A&M, Bama, resurgent border rival Ole Miss and a TCU team finally returning its top gun from 2010 (when the Horned Frogs had a 13-0 perfect season and BCS win) and 2011 (when TCU beat Boise State for the Mt. West crown). Big game in Athens, where the phantom A.J. call which downturned the program still haunts our fan base. The SEC refs acknowledged the bad call cost UGA the game, and the negative momentum of that huge loss led to the Richt hot seat.
Honorable Mentions: I take it back; Tech actually wants it the most. Vandy badly wants revenge from last year’s ugly 45-point spanking in Athens and has won eight of nine games since then. Tennessee hates being a distant second fiddle to us in our SEC East rivalry. GEORGIA would be a signature win for any of those three programs. Actually, any of the eight when y’all really think about it. And you do: THIS IS GEORGIA FOOTBALL!