Despite nearly every preseason poll having the Georgia Bulldogs ranked 12th, the guru of college football projections and predictions, Phil Steele, has a much loftier view of UGA coming into this 2014 season.
In a story for ESPN (pay to read), Steele lays out his projections for the SEC, and says that Georgia will be 11-1 when the final regular season game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets is complete.
Among the reasons Steele likes Georgia – Todd Gurley and the rest of the running back group, 10 returning defensive players, the linebacker corps, and new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
Steele ranked Georgia No. 1 in his Top 10 Surprise Teams this year, and that adds to the fire of his thinking for such a successful UGA campaign.
Georgia was a much stronger team at the start of last season than the one that finished 8-5 with a loss to Nebraska in the Gator Bowl. The key to the downfall of their season was a huge amount of injuries at the skill positions on offense. This season’s team caught a break from last season’s misfortune, as quarterback Hutson Mason got in nearly three games of experience at the end of 2013. He will also be surrounded by my No. 2 set of running backs in the country, led by Todd Gurley, and my No. 10 set of receivers.
If the questions at secondary and offensive line turn out to be in Georgia’s favor when the season gets rolling, then the sky is absolutely the limit for this talented group.
An 11-1 regular season would obviously give Georgia a nearly automatic shot to be in the SEC Championship game, and – win or lose that game – likely one of the four teams chosen for the first College Football Playoff.