How to Watch:
Where: College Football Hall of Fame — Atlanta
TV: SEC Network
Live stream: WatchESPN / SEC Network+
- Main Stage: 9 AM
- Main Stage: 11 AM
Recap of Last Season:
Coming off a thrilling, yet heartbreaking season Georgia looks to continue that success and then some as it heads into year three of the Kirby Smart era. The Bulldogs went undefeated in SEC East play for the first time in school history last season. Then won the SEC Championship for the first time since 2005. Georgia proceeded on to win the Rose Bowl, and play in its first National Championship game since the 1980’s.
The Bulldogs finished out the season falling to Alabama in heartbreak form, as Georgia was one play away from winning the national championship. A 13-2 overall record marks the first time Georgia has won more than 12 games since 2002. Smart accomplished a lot in his second season as head coach. It’s easy to remember how the season ended falling in OT to Alabama 26-23, but the future is brighter than it has ever been.
Look ahead to the 2018 season
Georgia returns eight on the offense and four on the defense. One of those returning is JR Reed, who had 79 total tackles, 5.0 TFL, and two interceptions. Deandre Baker returns too. Baker had 44 tackles, three interceptions, and nine pass breakups. By having these two return, it gives the Bulldogs some much-needed experience in the secondary. However, it’ll take this defense a couple of games to get that connection like the defense held last year.
The offense should have no problem adjusting to life without Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Georgia returns all but one on the offensive line, it returns its starting quarterback, and not to mention four of the top five receivers return. D’Andre Swift gets his chance to shine after toting the rock 81 times for 618 yards and three touchdowns. Not to mention the latest addition to RBU, Zamir White, a running back that some North Carolina high school coaches say is better than Todd Gurley was at his age.
Georgia has plenty of talent to win games. However, the key to success is finding its mojo and getting guys to step up and become dynamic leaders. Two games fan should circle are week two at South Carolina and week seven at LSU. The Tigers are 82-11 in Saturday night home games since 2000. Not to mention the Gamecocks have had this matchup circled since last season. If Georgia can manage to get past those two games, returning to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game should be inevitable.
The Interns Take:
I expect Georgia to be right back in the big picture this year with little to no drop-off. After consecutive solid recruiting classes including the #1 overall class in 2018 Georgia has just about closed the talent gap with Alabama. The ideal season for Georgia would a return trip to Atlanta and possible CFP appearance. I see Georgia going 11-1 with a scattered loss somewhere in the schedule, most likely a road game. However, there’s no reason why this team shouldn’t win every single game.
Savannah Leigh’s Prediction:
Georgia has big shoes to fill after such a memorable 2017 season. Despite losing some of the best Bulldogs to ever come through the program, I think this season could prove even more special than last year. If Georgia can get past South Carolina, LSU, and Auburn, then it should be in Atlanta defending its SEC Championship title. I can see Georgia going undefeated into the SEC title game. My prediction is that the Bulldogs go undefeated into ATL, win and make their second CFP appearance. However this time, Georgia doesn’t lose in overtime but wins its first national title game in over 35 years. Yes, it’s a bold prediction, but my gut is telling me to go with it, and I’m sticking to it.
*Article is contributed by Steve Conyers and Savannah Richardson*