OFFENSE DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
Georgia opens the 2019 season against Vanderbilt led by unquestioned leaders Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift. Georgia is awarded the Dawg Bone because the offensive line is primed to be the most dominant in college football and is chomping at the bit too maul an opponent.
Vanderbilt is led by Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who may be the best running back the Dawgs face all season. However, Derek Mason continues to play a game of cat and mouse as to who will start at quarterback. Riley Neal is a prototypical pocket passer while Deuce Wallace is a dual threat quarterback which presents a difficult dynamic for Coach Lanning.
Heading into this game there is no doubt the Dawgs are going to run the ball, but the play of the wide receivers will determine if this offense is good or great. Tyler Simmons returns to lead an inexperienced group of elite athletes at receiver. If they can stretch the field vertically and make the big catches on third down the offense could be unstoppable.
DEFENSE DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
Georgia and Vanderbilt bring solid defenses into the season opening matchup. Both groups are ready to face an opponent in a different uniform and will play fast and physical.
Georgia’s defensive keyword this offseason has been “Havoc” and Saturday will be their first opportunity to create havoc. The unit has a great mix of veteran leadership and explosive young talent poised to elevate their level of play in 2019. Nolan Smith, Jermaine Johnson, Azeez Ojulari and Adam Anderson’s ability to pressure the quarterback is a difference maker for UGA. Vanderbilt’s defense is traditionally very stingy early in the season and has developed a reputation for always being in position to make plays. Despite that, Georgia takes home the Dawg Bone here because the talent and depth is far superior.
SPECIAL TEAMS DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
Georgia has the advantage at kicker and punter with Blankenship and Camarda. However, the Dawgs will be breaking in first time kick and punt returners. Vanderbilt returns their kicker who struggled in 2018 and has a first time starter at punter but return solid returners. Georgia takes home the Dawg Bone because of the caliber of athletes they will have covering kicks and punts.
COACHING DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
This offseason has been all about self-scouting and developing a killer instinct for Kirby Smart. James Coley (OC) and Dan Lanning (DC) are ready to replace prove commodities Jim Chaney and Mel Tucker. Derek Mason has assembled an excellent staff at Vanderbilt and the Commodores are extremely well coached. Georgia wins the Dawg Bone because Kirby has the entire program ready to “Do More.”
OVERALL DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
Georgia is bigger, stronger, faster and deeper than the Commodores. Although it is a home game for the Commodores, the Bulldog Nation will invade Nashville and create a scene reminiscent of South Bend in 2017. Vanderbilt will be fired up and ready to play on a primetime national stage, but Georgia’s talent is simply too much to overcome.