Bark and Bite?
By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
There is a lot of hype surrounding the 2021 University of Georgia football team; five straight years of top five recruiting classes, close calls with Alabama on the national stage and other heartbreaks.
The big question is this team ready to break through and win that first national title since Jimmy Carter was President of the United States?
Many say it’s now or never for UGA, but I don’t agree with that mentality. UGA, under Kirby Smart, has established itself as an annual contender for SEC Championships. SEC Champions typically get a bid to the College Football Playoff.
The news out of Athens, other than the George Pickens injury, has been positive this spring.
JT Daniels has developed into a leader both on and off the field.
With the loss of Pickens, the WR room is still very talented.
The defense could be the best in the country, and Georgia’s 2022 recruiting class is currently ranked in the top three in the nation.
A lot of things have to break your way to have a national championship season and that starts with a schedule that you can navigate through. Let’s rank UGA’s 2021 opponents from 12 to 1.
12.Charleston Southern: The Buccaneers roll into Athens late in the season sandwiched in between Tennessee and Georgia Tech. This one will be over before the coin flip.
11.Vanderbilt: Vandy will be in total rebuild mode with a new head coach and a roster that needs major upgrades. Vanderbilt bailed out of the UGA game in 2020, even after the game was rescheduled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Georgia will want to make them pay for that decision.
10.South Carolina: The Gamecocks are starting over with a new head coach also, but ruined UGA’s regular season in 2019 with an upset win.
Carolina spoiled UGA seasons in 2000, 2007, 2011, 2012, and 2019. UGA better be prepared.
9.UAB: UAB went 6-3 last season, and was invited to a bowl game before it got canceled.
8.@ Georgia Tech: UGA and Tech did not play in 2020, and the pandemic cost UGA a home game in the series.
Tech is improving fast and this game starts moving back up high in the opponent rankings in 2022 and beyond.
7.@ Tennessee: The Tennessee program is in maybe the worse shape at any point in the history of the program.
The NCAA is about to drop the hammer on major recruiting violations, and it make take a while for this program to recover.
6.Kentucky: At home in October the Dawgs will handle The Cats.
5.Arkansas: The Razorbacks travel to Athens on 10/2, and this will not be an easy game for UGA. We all watched the first half last year at Arkansas.
4.Missouri: Another program that is improving fast, and UGA better be ready to play the Tigers coming off the Florida game the previous week.
3.@ Auburn: New coach at Auburn, but look at Auburn’s history some of their best seasons ever have come with first year coaches in 1993 and 2013. This team has talent and this will be a war. This game has now been moved to October permanently.
2.Florida in Jacksonville: The SEC East will be on the line Halloween weekend. UF beat UGA 44-28 in 2020, won the East and ruined UGA’s season. Enough said.
1.Clemson in Charlotte: UGA opens the season on 9/4 with the Tigers and we will know right away if this UGA team is ready for primetime.
Clemson is as talented as anyone and is in the College Football Playoff annually.
The 2021 UGA schedule sets up nicely for a title run.