Georgia Bulldogs

The Georgia Bulldogs have gone 32-10 throughout Kirby Smart’s first three seasons in Athens. Included in those 10 defeats were crippling losses to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2018 National Championship game and 2018 SEC title game. In other words, the Dawgs have taken their lumps. But Alabama isn’t on the schedule this season out of the West; nor is LSU. Will it have built enough character up throughout the program to see it rise up and finally snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat instead of the other way around? Though five key starters are no longer on the roster, UGA has the players, coaches and schedule in place to get back to the College Football Playoff for the second time in program history. Georgia is currently lined the shortest underdog to qualify at online sportsbooks behind Clemson and Alabama; that’s saying something! Is this the year Uga finally gets the last bark?

The Bulldogs ran some exceptional offense last season in ranking No. 19 overall and No. 14 in points scored averaging nearly 38 points per game. Junior D’Andre Swift is going to be working on Sundays in the not too distant future. Before that, he’ll tote the pigskin for the Dawgs in his junior campaign looking to build upon the 1,440+ combined yards and 13 TD tallied last season. He’ll do so behind one of the best offensive lines in the country with future linemen Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson paving the way. If everything falls into place, Swift will have the opportunity to surpass the 1,500 yard barrier this season! The wide receiver corps loses its top three targets from last year. The replacements should however thrive with Jake Fromm proving to be one of the more effective and efficient passers in the country after completing over 67 percent of his passes. A banner campaign could ultimately see him win the Heisman Trophy and be selected as the No. 1 pick in next year’s NFL Draft.

As well-rounded and nasty the defense proved to be last season, there just wasn’t enough big plays made to disrupt what opposing offenses wanted to do. Just look at the point tallies logged by LSU and Bama in the two defeats. We won’t count the bowl loss to Texas since that game was partaken by a deflated bunch that just had their hearts ripped out by the Crimson Tide to prevent a return trip to the CFP. D’Andre Walker’s 7.5 sacks were the most accrued by any one player last season. He’s now gone. The second highest total was 2! Replacing Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker will be tough enough as it is. For the replacements to thrive, the front seven is going to have to rediscover how to put some pressure on the opposition. With the defensive mind Kirby Smart owns, you have to imagine he’ll have cooked something up this offseason for his current personnel to utilize and take advantage of.

The bar has been set exceptionally high in Athens in such a small time frame. That speaks volumes for what Smart and his staff have done since taking over the program. The Dawgs enter 2019-20 with season win total odds of 10.5 games with heavy -134 juice currently attached to the over. On top of that, it’s only offering up a near 8-1 return should it ultimately be the last team standing come the conclusion of the CFP. In other words, oddsmakers at top rated sportsbooks firmly believe Fromm and company have a say in who wins it all this season. Though road games at Tennessee and Auburn are concerning, the Bulldogs get most of the heavy hitters “Between the Hedges.” It’s all going to come down to the first game in November against the Florida Gators for SEC East bragging rights. Win that game, and you can pencil them into the SEC title game at the beginning of December. Should it get another crack at Alabama, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll relish it.