ESPN and Georgia football…not quite like peas ‘n carrots.
You know how everyone jokes that ESPN hates the Dawgs? You have to wonder about the rationale of ranking the Dawgs third, not in the SEC overall, but third in the SEC East behind South Carolina and Florida.
— ESPNU (@ESPNU) July 22, 2014
Florida? The same Florida who went 4-8 last year and lost to Georgia Southern?
The same Florida who for the first time in 22 years did not go bowling?
And let’s not forget this is the Florida that has lost to Georgia for the last three years, a feat not accomplished since the 1980s, before Hutson Mason was born.
What Happened last Year
Both Georgia and Florida were gutted by injuries last year. Georgia persevered because of the depth at positions where injuries took place – WR and RB. Florida didn’t have any solution for an already powerless offense when Matt Jones and Andre Dubose went down with season ending injuries in the pre-season. The leading tackler for the Gators, LB Antonio Morrison tore his meniscus, a season ending injury that occurred after the season was already lost. However, his season was far from glorious, keyed by a missed block against the Dawgs in the Cocktail Party.
Attrition and Additions
Georgia brings in a new QB in Hutson Mason, and he was shaky in his 2.5 game performances taking over for 4-year starter Aaron Murray. However, an offseason in a proven offensive game with Bobo and Richt is still an improvement over Driskell in an anemic offense with a new coordinator, Kurt Roper, formerly with Duke.
The Dawgs defense had an offseason of addition by subtraction with the losses of defensive coordinator Grantham, Tray “Tip the Ball” Matthews, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins. The Dawgs add defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt who brings a winning attitude and a ring case to match. The two-deep this year is slightly more inexperienced than last year, but maybe these guys can be coached UP?
The Gators’ 2013 defense was stout despite the injuries, and returns 10 starters. However, like the Dawgs’ defense, the Gators’ offense couldn’t get much worse, so they do have room to improve there.
Georgia faces a winnable schedule with its toughest SEC test at home vs Auburn, but South Carolina in Columbia. Florida faces South Carolina and LSU at home, and Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Georgia’s out-of-conference opponents, Clemson and Georgia Tech, balance Florida’s slate of Idaho, Eastern Michigan, Eastern Kentucky and Florida State.
Other media picks:
2. South Carolina
1. South Carolina
Interesting note: noted handicapper Jack Jones picked a three-way tiebreaker in which Florida wins the East.
1. South Carolina
I took off my red & black glasses, and I still see a 2nd place or better finish for the Dawgs. Of course, Kevin Carter did play for Florida and Steve Spurrier.
Where do you see the Dawgs finishing?