Georgia Bulldogs

Bogus Rankings

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Here are the initial college football playoff rankings released on Tuesday night with my thoughts by each team:

Tennessee: Wins over Alabama and LSU land the Vols in the top slot. The argument against Georgia by the committee was that they struggled with Missouri and Kent State.

Did the committee not watch Tennessee struggle against Pitt and give up almost 500 yards passing to Anthony Richardson and Florida in a 38-33 Vol win?

Vols land here by virtue of beating Alabama. I’m good with it. This defense is not championship caliber, however.

Ohio State: A brand the playoff committee loves. They always have and always will. Game with Michigan is coming up.

Georgia: Defending national champs are undefeated with number one Tennessee coming to Athens this weekend.

It will all sort itself out in a couple of days. Can you hear Kirby talking to his team about respect about right now?

Clemson: Another loved brand by the committee. The ACC did their best to protect the brand against Syracuse a couple of weeks ago. Is there a team in the top ten this week that Clemson could beat? This team is vastly overrated.

Michigan: I guess the committee does not think much of the Michigan out of conference schedule this year. That is my only guess on why they are ranked behind Clemson.

Alabama: The loss to Tennessee does not hurt Alabama as they control their own destiny. This Alabama team does not seem as good as previous Alabama teams. Loved name brand though by the committee.

TCU: Unbeaten TCU gets the hose job by the committee plain and simple. Ranked behind a one loss Alabama team and behind a Clemson team that has not beat anyone noteworthy.

If Oklahoma or Texas had the TCU resume, they would be in the top four. The committee loves name brands.

Oregon: The Ducks may be playing the best football in the country right now, but that 46-point loss to Georgia opening weekend looms large right now.

USC: The Trojans might beat Clemson in the top 10 and nobody else, but if they do not lose at Utah a couple the brand loving committee would have had this team near the top four.

LSU: The two loss Tigers believe it or not control their destiny in the SEC West. Beat Alabama this weekend and get to Atlanta and win the SEC and the Tigers will be the first two loss team to get into the playoff.

Tennessee is the easy #1 team in the country based on their body of work so far.

No argument from most reasonable college football fans that follow the sport. My question is why the committee didn’t give us a #1 vs #2 matchup this weekend?

We had an entire hour show on ESPN last night focused on the hypotheticals of it all. I firmly believe that if the Dawgs and Vols were playing on ABC or ESPN Saturday we would have that #1 vs #2 matchup.

Since the game is on CBS, I believe ESPN pressured the committee to put UGA at #3 to keep CBS from hyping a game of the century type matchup this weekend. It will sort itself out in the end but a #1 vs #2 would have been fantastic.

 

Initial rankings winners:

Tennessee: They beat the beloved brand Alabama.

Clemson: No way they should be in the top four.

 

Losers:

Michigan: Being behind Clemson is an absolute joke.

TCU: Not a preferred name brand by the committee.

 

Final Thoughts: If your name is Alabama, Clemson, or Ohio State you will get a favorable ranking. If you are not one of those three, then your resume gets nitpicked by the talking heads on ESPN.

 

Georgia Bulldogs and Tennessee Volunteers Preview

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Tennessee and Georgia square off Saturday afternoon between the hedges in a showdown that dictates the SEC East and the landscape of the college football playoffs.

Tennessee has scored 40+ points in all five of their SEC games. The Vols are also coming off their best defensive performance of the season after holding Kentucky to six points and 205 yards (total offense).

On the other side, Georgia just took care of business with a 42-20 performance against Florida. The Bulldogs are hitting on all cylinders, and not just on one side of the football.

The Dawgs defense has earned a lot of hype over their past seasons, but this year the offense is the only unit in the SEC that’s currently averaging both 200+ yards rushing and 300+ yards passing per game.

Georgia and Tennessee enter the battle unbeaten and on top of the college football world. Who will stay there? And who will fall?

Tennessee has risen to the occasion once this season in a similar matchup, knocking off Alabama 52-49 earlier this season.

The reigning national champions pose a real threat for this hot handed team, but the preparation remains the same for Josh Heupel and the Vols.

Georgia is 8-0 on the season, and they did go through about 10 quarters of football this season where they clearly underperformed: between Kent State, Missouri, and the first half of Auburn- they showed real signs of dysfunction and had fans convinced that they could lose.

Despite the lackluster play at the time, in each game the Bulldogs prevailed and looked dominant once the final whistle blew.

Stetson Bennett leads an offense that averages 41 points on 530 yards per game. The quarterback has thrown for 2,349 yards with 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions while completing 67 percent of his passes. Bennett has also rushed for five scores, and that’s an underrated part of his game.

“I think he’s undervalued in some respects with his feet. He’s explosive, he’s twitchy,” Heupel said of Bennett. “When it’s not right in the pocket, he extends plays. That can be him throwing on scrambles, but also him tucking the ball and making plays. He made a couple against us last year that changed the game. You have to do a great job of bottling him up.”

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker remains squarely in the Heisman Trophy race, but the senior quarterback’s focus is on his first goal: Atlanta in December.

Jalin Hyatt’s stats in the last four weeks (three of those SEC games) have just been ridiculous. In the Vols’ last four games, Hyatt has 584 yards receiving and 11 touchdown catches.

Tennessee’s offense is fun to talk about, I get it, but the most eye-opening thing about Saturday’s thrashing of Kentucky was the defensive dominance.

Kentucky ended the night with just 205 yards of total offense. Chris Rodriguez was held to just 64 yards rushing. The defense forced three turnovers.

Let’s be clear, Georgia remains great on defense. They’re the only team holding SEC opponents to less than 100 yards rushing (86.4 ypg) and in five SEC games they’re allowing 189 yards per game in the air.

One thing I feel confident about is that Kirby Smart and Will Muschamp will have the Bulldogs Defense ready for the high-octane Vol’s offense.

Slowing down Tennessee, to me, means keeping them in the 30s. Something no SEC defense has done yet.

With that, I think Georgia will also score, and control the clock. Saturday, Tennessee will show up prepared to play in a monster game like this under the national spotlight, but the lights will be too bright for them.

Georgia’s Defense and Stetson Bennett’s big game experience will lead the Dawgs to victory.

Georgia 48   Tennessee 31

Memorable Moments

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The city of Jacksonville will get its annual rowdiness booster this weekend when Florida and Georgia come to town.

About time Jacksonville gets excited about some football. If top-ranked Georgia wins, it will be a game closer from claiming the SEC East and continuing its unbeaten season.

If the Gators are able to spoil all of that momentum, it will make up for what I’m forecasting to be a mediocre season.

Here’s a look at the five best all-time moments from the World’s Largest Cocktail Party.

  1. THE TIMEOUT: Let’s start it off with one of the most controversial endings in college football history.

In a game which featured consistent rain, the Bulldogs were down 33-26 in the fourth quarter. But with the help of quarterback Eric Zeier, the Bulldogs drove into Florida territory with 1:30 left.

With five seconds left, Zeier threw what was thought as the game-tying touchdown to Jerry Jerman, but Gators cornerback Anthone Lott called timeout right before the ball was snapped.

Zeier’s next and final pass fell incomplete, and Florida held on to the victory and went on to win the SEC and Sugar Bowl.

  1. THE GATOR STOMP: After years of Gator wins, Georgia’s head coach Mark Richt decided to change things up.

To start, Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno scored to give the Bulldogs the 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Then, the entire team came into the end zone to celebrate with Moreno, which is now referred to as the “Gator Stomp.”

That move gave the Bulldogs the motivation it needed to take down the defending national champions with a 42-30 win.

Moreno ended the day with 188 yards on the ground, and the Bulldogs defense sacked Florida’s Tim Tebow six times.

  1. HALF A 100: In 1994, the battle was moved to Gainesville because Jacksonville’s stadium was being used by the Jags and in return the battle took place in Athens in ‘95.

Georgia was 5-3 and limping through head coach Ray Goff’s final year.

Florida was undefeated and coach Steve Spurrier – at the height of his cockiness – decided he wanted the Gators to be the first team to “hang half a hundred between the hedges.” The Gators scored seven touchdowns and accomplished that goal with 1:21 left in the game.

  1. TIMEOUTS: Georgia had won the year before in a game where the entire team ran into the end zone to celebrate the first touchdown.

Although the Gators did not discuss their anger, they were seething and a picture of the celebration hung in every player’s locker.

Each team had one loss when they met in 2008 and the winner would be in the driver’s seat to win the SEC East and have a possible shot at the national title.

The Gators jumped out to a 14-3 halftime lead and then Georgia imploded in the second half, turning the ball over four times.

Florida capitalized and scored 35 unanswered points. The vindicated Gators then went on to win the SEC title and national championship.

1.RUN LINDSAY, RUN:

The most memorable moment had to be when the Bulldogs went on their championship run in 1980.

The Bulldogs were down 21-20 in the fourth quarter, facing third-and-long at their own 7-yard line.

Backed up in his own end zone, Georgia quarterback Buck Belue found Lindsay Scott at the 25-yard line. Scott was able to blow past the Florida secondary and score the game-winning touchdown with seconds left on the clock.

The 93-yard touchdown pass kept the Bulldogs’ title hopes alive. They moved to No. 1 in the polls the following week and went on to win their second consensus national title.

All in all, this is a historical matchup that college football fans look forward to every year. There have been plenty of memorable moments from this series, but these are five that really stand out from the rest. Let’s hope for a safe and sportsmanlike battle- although no one ever anticipates it.

Proud Gator Hater

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I was born and raised in the United Methodist church.

In fact, I currently serve as Assistant Pastor at the very church I grew up in. My parents made sure that I was, among other things, raised with a strong sense faith.

Of course, they were responsible for raising me as a member of Dawg Nation, and thus responsible for one of the great incongruities of my life.

You see, in Mark 12:29-31, Jesus tells us that the Greatest Commandment is to ”love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.“ And to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

There’s the problem – I can’t completely do that. I just can’t do that for the sole reason that the Florida Gators exist.

I HATE the Gators. Always have. With every fiber of my existence, with every breath I draw, down to every quark, neutron, positron, electron, atom, and molecule that makes up my mortal form. Hate, hate, hate ‘em.

The host of one of my favorite Dawg-centric podcasts (and I listen to a lot of them), says that every good Dawg fan is first and foremost a Gator hater. Boy howdy, do I agree with him. Nothing but contempt for those lousy, stinkin’ Gators.

I hate their color scheme. To be fair, I have a distaste for orange-clad sports teams in general, but blue and orange especially (lookin’ at you, Mets…).

I hate their uniforms. I don’t care if it’s their standard home and aways, the word mark helmet kit, their ‘60s block letter throwbacks, those stupid alligator skin pattern monstrosities, or this year’s black helmets (“Oo! Black helmets? How CREATIVE! <end sarcasm>”).

I hate their mascots. Albert AND Alberta. Take a mascot, give him an opposite gendered partner, and you’re just half a step from parading Furries on your sideline for all the world to see. Ew. And they’re wearing orange and blue? Double ew. (Again, lookin’ at you, Mr. & Mrs. Met…)

I hate the Steve Spurrier years. I hate the Ol’ Bawl Coach and his stupid visor. Visors are for tennis courts and golf courses, and this deviant made them mainstream for football sidelines. I hate that painful 11-1 streak he put up against us in the ’90s.

I REALLY hate the fact that after that, he had the audacity to give the Gamecocks hope. That’s just cruel.

I hate the Urban Meyer years. I hate that he was able to ride Spurrier’s coattails (well, at least what coattails were left after Ron Zook) and get Gator fans two more Nattys, making them even more unbearable than before (I know, I didn’t think that was possible either).

I REALLY hate the fact that after that, he had the audacity to give the Jaguars hope. Again, just cruel.

I hate what coaching there did to Will Muschamp. I know it was that swamp water still sludging through his bowels that made him disrespect the hedges the way he did when he was at Carolina (again with the giving hope to the Gamecocks…YOU MONSTERS!).

I hate Gator fans. I actually dated a girl once who went to UF during the Spurrier era. She admitted that the students didn’t care about the actual game at the WLOCP since they knew they were going to win anyway and just wanted the excuse to drink off campus.

I still regret that one.

Regardless, there are still some things I love about UGA’s biggest rival (definitely NOT lookin’ at you, Tennessee…). I love the fact that Georgia still leads the series all time 54-44-2.

I love the fact that UGA is coming into this year’s matchup ranked #1 in the nation for back-to-back years.

I love the fact that Florida keeps hiring booger-eatin’ morons as head coach like Dan Mullen & Billy Napier, pretty much guaranteeing that the numbers on my “Days Since Florida’s Last National Championship” calendar keep going up (5,034 as I write this, in case you were wondering).

And I love that my mama raised me right. She raised me to be a Gator hater.

 

 

Georgia Bulldog Legend

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Georgia Bulldog fans everywhere were saddened to hear of the passing of the great Charley Trippi this week.

It’s easy to think that yeah, the old dude was pretty good from what we’ve all heard……… Well, think again. Charley Trippi was GREAT. His passing this week at the age of 100 marked the end of a great era in Georgia football.

As a youth on St. Simons MANY years ago, I read about the exploits of Charley as I looked at the history books.

This was mainly to read about our own Lamar “Racehorse” Davis. It was difficult to read anything about the Dawgs of that era and not hear mention of Charley.

My interest in Racehorse came from him coaching me in youth football on St. Simons, alongside the Glynn Academy great Lee Owens.

Racehorse’s son, the late Lamar “Pic” Davis, and I grew up together on St. Simons and we ran around with our own little group of hoodlums. It was a wonderful time to be a kid with about 6000 people on St. Simons.  It was kind of like Mayberry with a beach.

So, Charley was great? As the Georgia Florida game looms upon us consider this. In the 1942 game, the Bulldogs won 75-0 over the Gators. Charley threw a TD pass. He also ran for two more touchdowns and returned an interception for a fourth score. Seen anyone doing that lately? Charley was the man!

In the 1943 Rose Bowl, Charley, Racehorse, 1942 Heisman winner Frank Sinkwich and the Dawgs ran all over the UCLA Bruins in route to a 9-0 win.

Trippi was named the game MVP. The game really wasn’t that close as the Dawgs rolled up 379 yards of offense to the Bruins 157. The Bulldogs hammered out 22 first downs to 4 for UCLA in front of 93,000 fans. The Bulldogs would wait another 75 years to play in the Rose Bowl again.

In 1943 and 1944 Trippi was in the military and returned halfway through the 1945 season. Still, he was named All-SEC and led Georgia to a 20-6 Oil Bowl victory over Tulsa, in which he threw a 54-yard TD and returned a punt 69 yards for another TD. But the best was yet to come.

1946 was Charley’s senior season and the guy went CRAZY. He led Georgia to an undefeated season.

In the season finale against Georgia Tech, he accumulated 544 yards of offense and scored 3 TDs in the 35-7 rout of the Bees.

The Dawgs finished out the season with a 20-10 win over North Carolina. Charley was named the Maxwell Award winner as the best collegiate player in the country and came in second in the Heisman voting to Glenn Davis of Army.

That spring in Athens, Charley played shortstop and outfield for the Diamond Dawgs and hit .475 with 11 home runs in 30 games.

He chose to play football over baseball even with the New York Yankees and other MLB teams lobbying for his services.

The 6’0 186lb Trippi went on to have a stellar career with the Chicago Cardinals of the NFL. Being the number one overall pick, he signed an unbelievable, at the time, $100000 contract with a $25000 signing bonus. The Cardinals got their moneys’ worth.

Charley is in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

His #62 was retired by the Dawgs. In a fitting tribute, Bear Bryant said “Charley Trippi was the greatest college football I ever saw”. Yes, Charley was THE MAN.

Trippi had a long and wonderful life. He passed away this week in his beloved Athens. Rest in Peace Charley. DAMN GOOD DAWG.

Instant Classics

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Georgia-Florida rivalry dates back over 100 years.

If you ask Georgia the first meeting was in 1904. If you ask Florida the first game was in 1915. They have played every season since 1926, with the exception of a World War II interruption in 1943.

The game has been held in Jacksonville since 1933. It’s one of the few neutral site rivalry games in college football. Let’s take a look at some of the best games in the series history.

1966: #7 Florida was 7 – 0 entering the game. Quarterback Steve Spurrier went on to win the Heisman Trophy and Walter Camp Trophy this season but he couldn’t beat Georgia.

The Bulldog defense forced him to throw three interceptions and won the game 27 – 10.

All-American defensive tackle Bill Stanfill said: “Holding pigs for my dad to castrate was quite a challenge. I can’t say that helped prepare me for football, but it sure did remind me an awful lot of sacking Steve Spurrier.”

This game defined the rivalry years later when Spurrier became the head coach of his alma mater in 1990. He emphasized the Georgia game as “the biggest of the year” and his players responded well to that.

2002: Since 1990 Florida only lost one game to Georgia.

The Bulldogs were 8 – 0 and ranked fifth going into this game. The Gators were surprisingly 5 -3 and unranked. They upset UGA and won 20 – 13.

Florida QB Rex Grossman was very inconsistent but he played well. Grossman threw for 339 yards and two touchdowns.

“This was huge,” Grossman said. “It couldn’t have been any bigger for us.”

“It’s real unbearable,” said Georgia senior tackle Jon Stinchcomb, tears streaming down his face. “For the rest of our lives, all the seniors will know they never beat Florida. It’s one of our biggest rivalries, and we’re all 0-4. That’s a pretty tough pill to swallow.”

This was UGA’s only loss and they finished 13 – 1 and ranked third.

1997: #14 Georgia snapped a seven-game losing streak in the series with an emphatic 37 – 17 win. Junior safety Kirby Smart intercepted two passes in the game. His mother Sharon is from Florida and she may have been more happy about the victory than he was.

“She was born and raised in Florida, almost went to the University of Florida, she’s from Plant City,” Smart said this week. “So, it meant a lot to her. And getting to see her, that was probably the best part of it.”

Robert Edwards rushed for 124 yards and tied his school record with four touchdown runs. Hines Ward finished with 203 total yards.

“That’s one of the few scores that I actually remember,” said Matt Stinchcomb, an All-American left tackle for the Bulldogs. “I don’t think I can tell you what the score was I don’t think in any other game that I’ve ever played in – 37-17 sticks out in my mind. It was certainly a special day for sure.”

The Gators had won 52-14, 52-17 and 47-7 the previous three years against the Bulldogs.

Little Chubby and Malaki

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Kinda sounds like a TV or Movie Duo, doesn’t it? Fighting criminals or being superheroes. Well not yet anyway!

But with 6 games in the bag and the season almost half over, the Georgia Bulldogs have come into focus as a definite threat to repeat as National Champs.

Sure, they looked half asleep in the Kent State game and who can blame them.

Then came a trip to Columbia MO. and a wakeup call that said you better be ready every week in the SEC.

But back home in the friendly confines of Sanford Stadium, the Dawgs woke up and hammered the dog crap outta the Auburn Tigers 42-10.

So, as we move forward in the season there are 2 freshmen dawgs that have really stood out. One for the entire year and one who is going to be very difficult to keep off the field moving forward.

Malaki Starks has been a rising star since the first day he walked off the practice field in Athens.  Kirby knew it, Muschamp knew it and anybody close to the program knew it. He is that good.

His amazing interception against the Oregon Ducks and Bo Nix in the opener only let everyone else know how good this guy was. Eight tackles in his first game against the Ducks didn’t hurt either.

Now 6 games into the season the 6’1” 205lb DB from Jefferson, Ga has 25 tackles and 2 interceptions. The second interception, he returned 42 yards against South Carolina.

The 19-year-old freshman was the ESPN #12 ranked overall player in the class of 2022 and looks every bit the part. A rare combination of length, size and speed coupled with superior athleticism put him on the field early.

Look for this guy to be a leader for the Dawgs D for the foreseeable future. He and Kelee Ringo have first round NFL written all over them.

Branson Robinson has taken a little longer to get on the field for the dawgs. Kenny Mcintosh, Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards have all been ahead of Branson. All three of those guys are also All SEC caliber backs. There is only one ball, so his carries have been limited.  At least until the Auburn game.

He led the Dawgs in rushing against the Tigers and did it in VERY impressive fashion. He ran for 98 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. That’s an 8.2 yard average. And it earned him SEC Freshman of the Week honors.

But more importantly was HOW he did it. The 5’10” 220lb brick with 4.4 speed showed great vision, speed and above all power. He really is Nick 2.0. Wanna know how hard he runs? Ask J.D. Rhym from Auburn. I think his teeth are probably still chattering from his effort to tackle Branson in the fourth quarter.

Branson broke that and 4 or 5 other tackles in the fourth quarter alone. His style mimics that of Nick Chubb and he is just as strong. Robinson bench presses 415lbs, Squats 630lbs and dead lifts 715lbs. He’s coming Dawg fans. It’s just a matter of time.

So, mark my words, Little Chubby might be the best Georgia running back RIGHT NOW.

And GEEZ……… I never even got to Oscar Delp, Bear Alexander, etc etc.

The future is bright in Athens…….GO DAWGS!

Stetson For Heisman

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

2017 seems so long ago. The Georgia Bulldogs won the SEC Championship, Rose Bowl, and were a blown coverage away from winning the national championship.

At the time there was the walk-on QB that was giving Roquan Smith and company fits on the scout team all during that championship season. That QB was Stetson Bennett.

After a brief stint away from Athens, and a global pandemic the former walk-on led Georgia to a national title in 2021. He lit up an Alabama defense for fourteen points in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line.

Still during the lead up to the 2022 season there were doubters. The doubters said UGA won despite Bennett. They do not remember the 40-yard strike to AD Mitchell and the capping TD toss to Brock Bowers facing an Alabama blitz to end the 41-year championship drought.

Then something amazing happened and Stetson Bennett torched 11th ranked Oregon for a career high 368 yards and a 49-3 curb stomping.

Then he has backed it up with great performances against Samford and South Carolina. Now Georgia is the top ranked team in the country, and you are hearing the impossible being said and that is STETSON FOR HEISMAN!

Wait one second Kipp what are you saying? I am saying Stetson for Heisman. Why not?

As of now Bennett sits high on the list of favorites. He is playing better than the media darlings that he trails in the current odds.

If the award were given today Stetson Bennett would be your 2022 Heisman winner based on performance, and if you base it on team accomplishments who is better than Georgia right now?

Brock Bowers is in the mix as well. Who throws Brock the football?

Bennett is a dual threat for the UGA offense this season. His grasp of the Todd Monken system makes the offense look unstoppable at times.

UGA scored in their first seven possessions against Oregon. Georgia put on an offensive clinic against South Carolina. UGA rolled up almost 550 yards of total offense against an SEC defense.

If you look at the UGA schedule from now until the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, you see the likes of Kent State, Missouri, a down Auburn team, and Vanderbilt.

Bennett should put up some substantial numbers in those contests. UGA should enter the Florida game at 7-0.

Then you have Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Kentucky, and Georgia Tech. If Georgia can run the table and go 12-0, then how can Stetson not be invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony?

If UGA was to be a 13-0 SEC Champion and Bennett has played as well as he has during the first three games of the season, then he will have earned the Heisman Trophy.

Folks this thing could happen because Stetson is the leader of a complete football team in Athens, Georgia.

This story has the makings of a Hollywood movie script. The Stetson Bennett story would be an impressive movie. I know about ten million fellow Georgians who would agree.

The season still must play itself out, but Stetson Bennett is already a Georgia Legend.

The only real question that remains is, which actor would portray Stetson Bennett in a Hollywood adapted movie in the next 5 years?

Move over Rudy the Stetson Bennett story will be coming to the theaters soon.

Back to Back?

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

“Oh, woe are the Dawgs” seems to be the theme of the sports media glitterati. The poor, impoverished defending national champions lost so much from last year. Woe, I tell you. Gloom, despair and misery on ye, Dawg Nation.

Oh, just stop it. Everything is fine in Athens. More than fine, really.

Yes, the Dawgs saw 15 players go in the NFL draft. Yes, Jermaine Burton jumped ship & sold his soul to the Crimson Tide. Yes, UGA still have Stetson Bennett as QB1.

And that’s where I’m going stop you. Stetson has not only earned the right to be the starter, he’s going to have a potentially Heisman-worthy year.

Look at last year’s stats in the 11 regular and 3 post season games. 2,862 yards, 29 TDs vs. 7 INTs, 64.5% completion, plus 259 yds rushing. It’s been said before, I’ll say it again – if any other QB posted those stats with a year of eligibility left, we’d be begging him to come back.

Consider me #TeamSBIV, and proudly so.

And while there was a lot of talent lost to the NFL, keep in mind exactly how much production Kirby got from underclassmen. All told, 13 starters return to the Dawgs this year, mostly on an offense that looks to be somewhat improved; SBIV, Brock Bowers, Ladd McConkey, Adonai Mitchell, Sedrick Van Pran, Warren Ericson, and BHS alum Warren McClendon.

Add the RB stable of Kendall Milton, Kenny McIntosh, Daijun Edwards, and the beastly Branson Robinson, and it’s not a stretch to think that the 2022 offense is going to surprise some folks.

While the defense will not reach the historic standards of last year, Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith and Kelee Ringo will lead a squad that should still statistically lead the SEC.

And of course, Glynn Academy’s own Jack Podlesny will carry on the proud legacy of UGA kickers for one more year.

While there are a few pundits out there that seem to think UGA can’t go undefeated in the regular season again (including one SSE writer that has the Dawgs going 9-3), here’s how this humble correspondent sees the 2022 campaign playing out;

WEEK 1 – vs Oregon – My favorite Dawg podcaster says the Silver Britches are going to blank the Ducks. I’ll ride those coattails and call it a 31-0 win to start the season.

WEEK 2 – vs. Samford – The Athenian Bulldogs wallop the Alabamian mutts 49-6.

WEEK 3 – @ Carolina – Although I’m admittedly an appreciator of Beamer Ball, this ain’t the year quite yet. Dawgs on top 35-14.

WEEK 4 – vs. Kent State – My best friend’s dad graduated from Kent State and was present for the darkest day in their history. I’ll forgo the jokes out of respect and just predict a lopsided 55-12 final.

WEEK 5 – @ Mizzou – The first of back-to-back Tiger matchups. Dawgs dispatch the midwestern SEC pretenders handily, 42-10.

WEEK 6 – vs. Auburn – There are trendy upset picks, and then there’s delusions of grandeur. Absolutely no way War Eagle Nation walks out of Sanford Stadium with a “W.

Georgia stretches their record in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry to 63–56–8 to the tune of 35-17.

WEEK 7 – vs. Vanderbilt – Some things never change, and some things rarely change. The outcome of UGA versus Vandy falls somewhere in between the two. More of the same this year, red and black dispatches The Commodores 41-9.

WEEK 8 – vs. Florida – Dan Mullen may be gone, but the stench still remains…oh, who are we kidding. That stench has always been there. Dawgs thump the lousy stinkin’ Gators 49-7.

WEEK 9 – vs. Tennessee – This is another fashionable pick for a trap game. Much like your typical Volunteer fan, I’ve never been accused of being “fashionable.” Sanford security confiscates the mustard & Dawgs keep rolling 42-20.

WEEK 10 – MISSISSIPPI STATE – If there’s any potential stumbling block for 2022, this is it. Those cowbells are loud and annoying, but I have faith. Kirby & company ekes it out 27-24 in OT.

WEEK 11 – KENTUCKY – Another tough road game, another close score, another W for the Dawgs. Put ‘em down for a 31-28 final.

WEEK 12 – North Avenue Trade School – The only anticipation in this game will be seeing what my spirit animal Andrew Smart put on the dry erase board this year. Dawgs still run this state 52-0.

FINAL RECORD – 12-0, 1st place in the SEC East, CFB playoffs.

QB1 Room

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It’s about that time in Athens, Ga. You can smell it in the air. We’re weeks away from the Georgia Bulldogs padding up for preseason camp.

For the first time in 41 years, Kirby Smart and company will be starting the 2022 NCAAF season as the defending national champions.

There are certainly a lot of questions to answer, and competitions to be had.

Losing a record 15 players to the NFL Draft creates uncertainty at some key positions.

However, several starters on offense, as well as a couple of key leaders on the defensive side of the football, will help ease any concerns.

I’ll take the time to provide a preview of the quarterback group in red and black.

Stetson Bennett returns after leading Georgia to the National Championship in 2021.

Starting 12 of 15 games including each of the last 11, Bennett threw for 2,862 yards and 29 touchdowns on 185-of-287 passing.

There were times where he didn’t look great – turn on the tape from Florida (10-of-19, 161 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) or the SEC Championship Game against Alabama (29-of-48, 340 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions).

However, there were also times that he was spectacular. Bennett tied the program record for touchdowns in a single game with five scores in the first half alone against UAB.

The Blackshear, Ga. native threw three touchdowns over Kentucky in a top-15 SEC Game of the Week. He didn’t throw a single interception in that game or their game against Auburn.

Two touchdowns against Missouri and four against Georgia Tech with 255 yards in both contests helped the Bulldogs finish the regular season undefeated.

Then, of course, there were the Playoffs when Bennett earned Offensive MVP of the Orange Bowl against Michigan and the CFP Championship Game against Alabama, combining for 537 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.

So, like lots of quarterbacks, Bennett has lots of good that comes with the occasional bad. You just have to be able to help him out and put him in good situations.

Because Bennett isn’t perfect and because he wasn’t the highest-rated recruit, some question Kirby Smart’s decision to stick with him.

Carson Beck seems to have solidified himself as the backup. Beck, a four-star and the No. 16 quarterback in the Class of 2020, threw for 274 yards during Georgia’s G-Day spring scrimmage.

Beck was awarded Mr. Football in the state of Florida for 2018 after leading Mandarin High School to a Class 8A state championship.

Brock Vandagriff also offers a talented option off the bench. A former five-star and the No. 4-ranked quarterback in the Class of 2021 from right down the road in Bogart, Ga.,

Vandagriff has the ability to make plays with both his arms and his legs. Georgia fans have been calling for a player like that for quite some time.

Finally, Gunner Stockton is the fresh face in the quarterback room. He’s just a freshman, don’t expect to see him often.

He’ll be busy learning the playbook and running the scout team.

Bennett elected to return for another year with the Bulldogs, which is a large reason why I rank the Dawg’s quarterback room the very best in the SEC.