My annual Dawgs welcome back to the Blawg hereby extends a real hopeful encouragement throughout our program. A football program seemingly poised for an immediate uptick, we are actually on somewhat of an uptick now after going 4-1 late.
And: “It’s Saturday…in Athens” when little App State comes to the Classic City for an early evening (6:15 p.m.) summer tussle. The Mountaineers have the third best record at our level of football over the past two seasons (Clemson, Bama), but Georgia has the 2nd best winning percentage of SEC teams over the past five, to an Alabama who won two national titles during the window. Georgia was a one-loss national title contender SEC East champ who then came up four yards from a promise of glory in Atlanta, yet were Orlando-bowl relegated in 2012. We have nothing more to show for it.
Welcome back for your senior years, to the guys. We had a lot of great guys stay and have a lot of key guys healthier and more mature. We get back our whole defense (16th in nation) and actually add major playmakers on that side of the ball. It’s at the very least going to be an interesting year when you suit up a defense like ours this season. GEORGIA hasn’t had a defense like this since we were a national title contender, folks. Throw an upperclassman Aaron Murray who could throw guys open on this team, and we’d easily be a legit contender to win it all this year.
Instead, we’ve got a 2nd year top recruit in the country big gunslinger who must show maturation, backed up by another new 5-star quarterback. Brice Ramsey is staying after all, after making the play of the game in the nice bowl win on a fake field goal pitch. Welcome to UGA, Jake, and welcome back to class, Mr. Eason. Let’s see it.
Welcome back senior runner Sony Michel, he finished just under 300 yards short of Chubb’s team leading eleven hundred in 2016, where Chubb slipped to five yards per carry, from an amazing career average of seven per run over his first two years. Consider that Chubb gashed UNC for 222 in the Georgia Dome opener while Sony was hurting early, from a sporting utility accident. Throw out that game – which who would want to, it was our 2nd-best win of the whole damn year – and they played equally last season, with Chubb getting much more of the work. I’m calling for Sony to get way, way more touches in 2017.
When, Heisman Trophy candidate senior running back Nick Chubb returns to stalk the school and conference rushing record held by Herschel Walker (he needs 1,800+ yards). We are witnessing greatness in this backfield at UGA, fans, and I’m frothing at the mouth.
Welcome to an already much more pressure filled and promising second season at your school, Coach Kirby Smart. This is a key moment in the regime of Greg McGarity as athletic director, as well.
Pick ’em: I see all the big rivalries flipping in revenge wins, Georgia takes out Florida and wins at Tech and also at Tennessee, while UGA finally drops another game to Auburn on the Plains, getting Bama in Atlanta. Nobody wants Alabama in Atlanta. If somehow an Auburn or LSU could get through, Georgia would have a higher probability of winning. Though, if we can put it together enough to capture the East from Florida again, we can compete in any one football game. We’ve yet to face Auburn for the league title and are 1-2 versus LSU. I like Georgia in what is being called a tossup at Notre Dame early.