Dawg Bone Offense – Georgia
Arkansas struggled to find a stable starting quarterback last year and are going with Florida graduate transfer Feleipe Franks this season. Franks has shown inconsistency in the past, and even though Georgia doesn’t have a lot of experience at the position, the Bulldogs do have a lot more depth and talent. Give the Razorbacks the edge at running back because Rakeem Boyd is an exceptional player, and neither Zamir White or James Cook have proven themselves capable enough of handling the bulk of the carries. Meanwhile, even though Georgia’s receiving corps is fairly untested, George Pickens and company display a lot of talent. Georgia’s offensive line also has a lot more depth even though there’s been some shuffling around. Neither team got much production out of their tight ends last year, but signing Tre McKitty and Darnell Washington will give Georgia an edge at the position.
Dawg Bone Defense – Georgia
This is a clear no-brainer. Arkansas finished the season 2-10 last season and the defense that allowed 36.8 points per game in 2019. The Razorbacks also were ranked No. 110 nationally in total defense, allowing 450.7 yards per game. Georgia’s defense returns a ton of talent and depth at every position coming off of a dominant 2019 performance. The Bulldogs ranked third nationally in total defense, eighth in team passing efficiency (defense) and first in rush defense. That same unit also only allowed two rushing touchdowns all season, and they were both to opposing quarterbacks. No opposing team’s running back ever broke the plane against Georgia’s defense last season. That ‘nameless’ Georgia defense is looking to repeat and have an even better year heading into 2020.
Specials Teams Dawg Bone – Arkansas
This one is a toss-up, giving the Razorbacks the edge. Georgia has to replace Lou Graza award winner Rodrigo Blankenship and that’s going to be hard to do. Freshman Jared Zirkel is a highly touted recruit, but hasn’t played a collegiate down yet. Zirkel is in a fierce battle for the job with redshirt sophomore Jack Podlesny. Bulldogs’ punter Jake Camarda has been inconsistent at times throughout his career, but has a better net-punt average than Razorback specialist Sam Loy. Georgia lost long snapper Steven Nixon in the offseason, and Arkansas returns Jordan Silver, who did an exceptional job last year. It’s hard to say who Georgia’s punt returner will be after Dominick Blaylock went down with a season ending injury. Razorbacks’ wide receiver Treylon Burks played well as a freshman and is an immediate threat once he touches the ball. He’s the projected punt returner and for good reason.
Coaching Dawg Bone – Georgia
Heading into the season opener, Georgia clearly has the edge here. Kirby Smart lost his former assistant Sam Pittman, who’s now in his first year in Fayetteville. Pittman will have a tough task of turning around a program that Chad Morris couldn’t. Both staffs have exceptional coaches, but Georgia is the third ranked team nationally for a reason. In the offseason, Smart replaced Pittman with former Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke. That was seen as excellent hire and Luke has brought in a lot of energy to keep Georgia’s offensive front together. Smart also brought in former longtime Alabama strength and conditioning Scott Cochran to coach special teams. The move brings even more energy to the program.
Dawg Bone Overall – Georgia
Georgia opens this game as a huge favorite because the Bulldogs have a ton of experience and depth returning. On the other hand, Arkansas is in their first year under head coach Sam Pittman. This season will be tough for them because they will have growing pains, and also have one of the toughest schedules in the SEC. Expect the Bulldogs to dominate this one in the end. The offense might start out shaky, but against an inferior defense, they should pick up the slack as the game goes on. The Bulldogs will have to face one of the best running backs in the SEC, but that was no problem for them last season.