Early Road Schedule Challenging
How good can GEORGIA be in 2016?
Consider that Georgia had the best pass D statistically in the whole nation last year and gets the whole secondary back, with current heavy competition for starting spots within the cornerbacks group. Consider the level of statistical achievement Kirby Smart defenses have reached throughout his eight years as defensive coordinator, including four national championships and four SEC championships.
But on the other hand, those are all Nick Saban’s wins; meanwhile, UGA’s defensive maestro from last year Pruitt will be calling Saban’s defenses this season on the Capstone, while Mel Tucker takes over in Athens. Also, that statistic is less revealing because Georgia had a weak early schedule last year with blowout wins and then faced ground attacks in Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech and to a lesser extent last year’s Tennessee – who gets everybody back and broke a five-game skid to the Dawgs late on Rocky Top. 10/1 should be epic this year.
We will be throwing 2016 big home game events at The Max Canada in Downtown Athens this season, so please come on down. The launch for what we are calling Athens Legacy is the pregame for #GEORGIA-Tennessee. Starting October first! (We’re doing postgame for Homecoming 10/15 and will have events for Aubie and Tech games.)
It’s a wonky schedule, man. That’s a whole lot of time away before you get your first SEC home game as head coach. First, Kirby gets an explosive UNC in Atlanta at a neutral site – the University of Georgia has not done as well as we need to in these big contests considering we’ve dropped two in a row to the Gators and lost our last two SEC title appearances. We dropped an opener to Boise State in our other preseason appearance in this kickoff game at the Dome.
Then a virtually meaningless noon home tuneup versus Nicholls State. Sure, it’s a first home game, but it’s out of conference and a cupcake.
At Mizzou could actually be a bit of a trap game. Defensively, they may cause major problems for a young QB if it is Eason starting, and they totally shut down Lambert last season in Athens but dropped several picks. They have a good D line and had to replace their great head coach in Gary Pinkel, who left for health reasons at the 15-year mark. We’ve won up there twice, which bodes well for our confidence.
Then, it’s time for me to head to Oxford for my first ever visit and while I’m justifiably excited, the Ole Miss faithful will be at a fever pitch either having dropped a game to BAMA and desperate not to lose two conference games in a row at home or coming off beating the Tide three straight years. I’m routing for the latter both teams’ psychology-wise, as we’d love to have them riding high for a fall. Ah, fall…I could actually care less what happens in the Mississippi-Alabama game, actually, as long as we win. The Rebs will have opened with FSU, too.
I’m already deep into schedule pontification and Kirby still has not coached an SEC home game, y’all. Then the first time he does is the fifth game of the season and it’s the biggest game of the year.
That’s unusually challenging.
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Book: “Richt Era” Debuts 11/11 at Avid in Athens, GA