Back to Back?

By: Jeff Doke 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.