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6 Reasons Georgia Will Win the National Championship
The 2017 Georgia Bulldog football season was one of the best for the program in years. Led by seniors Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Lorenzo Carter and Davim Bellamy along with Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith, the Dawgs experienced many upsets such as taking on South Bend, blowing out the Florida Gators, capturing of the SEC Championship and finally getting to smell the roses in Pasadena. Ultimately, a season full of highs ended in lows and lows – seeing DeVonta Smith haul in a forty-one-yard touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa to beat Georgia in the National Championship. Even though the 2017 season ended in such a terrible way, hopes are high in Athens and there are plenty of reasons for Dawg fans to be optimistic about the 2018 season. Here are six reasons why the Georgia Bulldogs will bounce back and finish the job in the Championship. their first National since 1980.
1. Recruiting class
Kirby Smart was a man on a mission on the recruiting trail for the class of 2018. His seven five-stars were the most in the country and helped Georgia land the top-ranked signing class in the country. It featured eleven players who were in the top three of their respective positions out of high school and that includes four who were ranked number one at their position. The 2018 class consisted of the number one guard in the country, Jamaree Salyer, the number one outside linebacker, Adam Anderson, and the number one dual threat quarterback, who many feel should be the best overall player in Justin Fields. Zamir White, the nations latest, was also signed but will miss the 2018 season after tearing his ACL in preseason practices. Other big names like number two linebacker Tyson Campbell and also number two outside linebacker Brenton Cox should play early and often. The top class in Georgia history is fully capable of not only filling the holes left by the 2018 graduating class, but much more.
2. Offensive line
The offensive line was a strong part of Georgia’s run in 2017, so it’s hard to imagine it improving. It will and it is better. The Dawgs lost first-rounder Isaiah Wynn to the Patriots, but sophomore Andrew Thomas is more than ready to slide into the left tackle position. As a true freshman, he started all fifteen games for the Dawgs at right tackle and was able to hold his own. Every other position is up for grabs although there seem to be several front runners for each position. Ben Cleveland will be the starting right guard unless something unforeseen happens. He took that spot in the Auburn regular season game last year and never looked back. At 6’7 340 pounds, it’s hard to get bigger than Big Ben, right? Wrong. At 6’8 350 Isaiah Wilson is an absolute mountain of a man and looks to be the front runner for the right tackle spot. Wilson entered as the No. 5 offensive tackle in the 2017 class, but struggled with Georgia’s heat last year. He has adapted and is looking to make his name known. Right now in the center is Lamont Gaillard. Gaillard is a very solid blocker and gets the ball to the quarterback consistently without any problems. If your center isn’t calling his name a lot, then he’s doing something right, and that’s the case with Lamont Gaillard. Perhaps the most wide open spot on the line is left guard. However, it should be Kendall Baker’s place to lose. Baker is a 6’5 310 pound senior. His experience will be beneficial to a young but talented and powerful offensive line. If one of those five starters doesn’t perform or goes down, there are plenty of young guys like former 5-stars Cade Mays and Trey Hill ready to play. The projected engine averages 325 pounds, so there’s plenty of meat for that stable of backs in Athens to run after.
3. “Light hours”
The reason I say “easy” is because in the SEC nothing is easy, but Georgia’s schedule is very favorable. The first week they play Austin Peay before going to South Carolina the second week. The Gamecocks will be bolstered to play a top-three team at home, but Georgia’s glut of talent will be more than enough to take care of the Gamecocks. Week three is another cupcake with Middle Tennessee before heading to Missouri to face the Tigers. Mizzou has arguably the best quarterback in the country in Drew Locke, however with the lack of a team around him on both sides of the ball Georgia will take him over especially in the trenches and easily. However, it will be a great test for junior secondary education and can be a great learning experience. Week Five Tennessee comes to town. Tennessee’s problems run deeper than just their coaching staff, so expect another big Georgia win. Vandy is Vandy for week six. Week seven things start to get a little more complicated. The Dawgs travel to Death Valley to face the LSU Tigers. Death Valley is always a tough place to play, but Georgia showed in 2017 that it can play anywhere and the Dawgnation should come out strong as this is the hotspot game for 2018. The Dawgs will win it. So Georgia will enter its eighth week sitting at a nice 7-0 heading into Jacksonville. Florida will be better than they were in 2017, but their situation is very similar to Tennessee’s and they will fall to the Dawgs again. Kentucky just can’t match Georgia anywhere on the court. Auburn is the only team on Georgia’s schedule that can match him across the board from a talent standpoint. With more depth and the home field advantage they will get in Athens, the Dawgs will be favored. The last two weeks of the regular season are UMass and Georgia Tech, so there are two easy wins to end the regular season. If the Dawgs can stay healthy, it’s hard to see them losing one game and virtually impossible to see them losing two.
4. Generally more talented
Georgia lost great talent and valuable leaders to graduation and the draft, however, strong recruiting in recent years has Georgia poised for a refresh. There are plenty of inside linebackers ready to fill in for Roquan Smith. Deandre Walker and Jonathon Ledbetter along with freshman Brenton Cox are poised to take over and possibly improve the holes left by Lorenzo Carter and Davim Bellamy. The secondary will replace Dominick Sanders, Malkom Parrish and Aaron Davis with younger but more talented players like Richard Lecounte, Tyson Campbell, Tyree Mcgee and Deangelo Gibbs. Future first rounder Deandre Baker will hold down a corner spot. On offense, true sophomore Jake Fromm will have a year under his belt, and he’ll have more weapons as Demetrius Robinson joins an already loaded receiving corps that features Terry Godwin and Mecole Hardman. The best duo in history is in the NFL right now, but there will be no decline in the running game. Deandre Swift has already shown what he can do and Elijah Holyfield has been waiting for his chance to show what he can do. The aforementioned offensive line will give these backs huge holes to explode through. This might be the most talented team on paper Georgia has ever fielded.
Every team has its secret weapons and that includes Georgia. The Dawgs have three players who will be able to give them the edge in close games. James Cook is a quick and explosive runner. The 5’11, 190-pound back came in as a four-star in the 2018 class and will give Georgia’s offense a big boost with his sweep and catch out of the backfield. He will be a big play threat that can help the offense in those close and contested games. Georgia also returns much of their 2017 success in forward Rodrigo Blankenship. Hot-Rod was virtually automatic on field goals last year making twenty of the twenty-three he attempted including a fifty-five yarder in the Rose Bowl that apparently sparked the Georgia comeback. The Dawgs will benefit from Blankenship’s field goals as well as his deep starts. Georgia also brought back dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields. Justin Fields is not your everyday dual-threat quarterback. At 6’3 230 pounds, he runs a sub 4.5 forty yard dash. What separates Fields from other dual threats is his arm. He won the Elite 11 MVP by not throwing a single interception and scoring a touchdown on seventy percent of his teams’ drives in an event he couldn’t fumble. His special arm and special feet will provide a spark for Georgia’s offense when it needs it.
The 2017 season was nicknamed the “Revenge Tour” as the Dawgs dominated every opponent they beat last year. Georgia has now gotten its “payback” on every team. The only team they haven’t gotten revenge on is the Alabama Crimson Tide. A game in Atlanta for the SEC Championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff is very likely and Kirby Smart’s squad will be greatly strengthened along with the Dawgnation that should once again fill Mercedes Benz Stadium. It will feel like a home game for the Dawgs and they will be very tough to beat. It’s hard to say who Georgia’s playoff opponents would be, but they won’t be as tough as Alabama and the Dawgs have to be favored both games to win. Add that to the motivation they will have to not be deprived of glory again and they will be very hard to beat.
The 2017 Georgia Football season was one of the best in years, however, the Dawgs are eager to make 2018 the year of the Dawg and make this season even better.
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