Georgia (Last Season: 12-2 overall, 7-1 SEC) – If you believe that a team or coach can be “due,” then Georgia and Mark Richt must qualify. Aside from one season, the Dawgs have been consistently good under Richt, yet they’ve never been able to get over the proverbial hump (falling five yards short in last year’s SEC title game, for example). But there was a time when guys like Tom Osborne, Bobby Bowden, and Mack Brown “couldn’t win the Big Game” either. If UGA can split its first two games, Richt could be in a position to win his own ring by the time January rolls around.
Five #CFB teams favored in every scheduled game this season: Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, Georgia, Louisville.
New Georgia president Jere Morehead said in an interview this week that he intends to push the topic of a uniform drug-testing policy to his fellow SEC presidents:
“We’ll get a good sense on where others stand on that subject. You know it sometimes takes the conference a period of time to work through an issue. When I was faculty athletics representative (from Georgia to the SEC), I know sometimes an issue would percolate for a few years before a consensus would develop around how to resolve the issue. But I’ve gotta believe that other presidents and chancellors are as concerned about the issue of drug or alcohol misuse by their student-athletes as we are. And I’ll be interested to see what sorts of ideas they have on this subject.”
Where the other presidents will stand is probably where they’ve always stood — with the power to make their own decisions regarding the types of drug tests, the number of drug tests, and the penalties for drug tests on their campuses.
“My motivation is to live up to some of the expectations people put out there for me,” Jenkins said.Jenkins doesn’t plan to waste his gift, even if he needed time to realize it. The son of an Army career counselor, Jenkins lived in Texas, South Carolina, Alaska, California and Washington before his family settled in Hamilton, Ga.
In the second grade, Jenkins wrote on a classroom note about his talents: “I am good at sports.” But he only played youth football because his dad wanted him to. That changed when he was cut from his middle school team, he said. The feeling of rejection pushed him to work.
A few years later, Harris County High School coaches nicknamed him ‘Freak’ because he was power-cleaning the bejeezus out of weights in the sweaty Harris County gym. (He now power-cleans more than 400 pounds, per Ronald).
“I always want to make my dad and mom proud of me,” Jenkins said of parents Ronald and Phyleshia.
Mark Richt’s Bulldogs won’t get a chance to test the waters before jumping in headlong this season, as Clemson awaits in Game 1. Never mind letting Aaron Murray and his talented tandem of tailbacks get their bearings, and never mind allowing the revamped defense to find its stride; Georgia will encounter its first obstacle on the road to the national championship right away. Tajh Boyd and the Tigers offense are prolific — and dangerous — averaging 512 yards per game a season ago, which was good enough for ninth in the country. And while there’s no doubting Georgia’s ability on offense, there are some serious questions on the other side of the ball. After all, 10 of the 22 players listed on Georgia’s two-deep depth chart have never played a down of FBS football.
Jon: Can Clemson win back-to-back games against ranked SEC teams? Has that ever been done before? It isn’t happening Saturday. A track meet will be an understatement, and take the over (+72). Georgia 38, Clemson 35
Kevin: I like Georgia to win this game handily late. Clemson can’t hang with the Georgia run game, and Clemson is too one-dimensional offensively – though they’re excellent on offense. I like Georgia by ten points on the road against Clemson. Georgia 41, Clemson 31.
After reading Scott’s statistical reviews of both teams, I’ve become more confident that Georgia will win this game. Clemson’s achilles heel last season was allowing big plays, and no team was much better at making big plays happen than Georgia. Georgia breaks in a lot of new names on defense, but these names, unlike most of the departing guys, were hand-picked for Todd Grantham’s defense. That’s not to say the men they’re replacing weren’t good, and that’s something I have seen suggested in this preseason. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Georgia’s defense ranked in the top 20 last year in both opponent-adjusted EPA/pass and EPA/rush – along with Florida, Alabama, Stanford, LSU, South Carolina, Michigan State, Notre Dame, TCU, and Florida State. Defensively, that’s good company to be in. Georgia has restocked the D with talent, although there are the usual opening game suspensions. If this game comes down to a field goal, I can’t help but think Clemson has the advantage – Georgia’s Marshall Morgan, who wasn’t particularly good to start with, is suspended. It’s on Aaron Murray, Todd Gurley, and what should be an elite offense to make sure that doesn’t happen. They should get it done.
Georgia’s deep receiving corps looks like it will indeed make room for freshman speedster Reggie Davis this year. “I think Reggie will play,” coach Mark Richt said. “I don’t know how much, but he’s not been on the scout team. He’s been practicing with the offense.”
SEC and National News
The N.F.L. agreed on Thursday to a $765 million settlement with retired players in concussion suit.
We’ve got questions about tailgate recipes. Have you tried my widely acclaimed SEC Banter poppers yet? If grilled chicken topped with jalapenos and a dollup of cream cheese all wrapped in bacon isn’t your thing, honcho your own SEC tailgate recipe and let me know if it beats the poppers.We’ve got questions about SEC teams on the rise. Vanderbilt kicked four players off the team this summer. Does that signal the ‘Dores are finally attracting SEC-caliber talent? Auburn is supposedly on the rise, too, but the bar is low. Can the Plainsmen win just two SEC games? (Aubie went winless in the SEC in 2012)
We’ve got questions about our habits during football season. After a big win, will you spend the following work week reading and watching everything college football-related? Will you ignore college football entirely after a big loss? On Sundays at church, will you avoid that guy who pulls against your team but pretends he’s sorry your team lost?
We’ve got questions about what poor non-SEC team will con itself into believing it can beat Alabama or Georgia in the national championship game. Ohio State? Oregon? Stanford? Puh-leaze.
History dictates that the true national title game takes place on the first Saturday in December in the Georgia Dome, and in an exhibition contest following that game, the SEC champ will make it eight crystal ball trophies in a row.