Georgia football vs. Oregon Ducks
Last season many fans looked at the first game of the season for Georgia football against Clemson as a season-defining game, which seemed crazy given how early in the season it came. That game provided a huge confidence boost to the program and skyrocketed Georgia’s momentum toward its national championship run.
This year, Georgia has a similar season opener against Oregon. The Ducks are a team that is excited to the max, with Oregon fans nearly hysterical at the thought of challenging for a playoff berth. Oregon believes it is a contender this year with a new head coach and a new quarterback. Contender or pretender? Let’s take a look.
The Duck’s new head coach is a familiar face for Georgia football fans. Whether Georgia fans felt or perhaps still think that Dan Lanning betrayed the Dawgs to move across the country to become the Ducks’ head coach is now largely irrelevant. However, make no mistake Lanning takes on a challenging job in Eugene.
Expectations in Eugene have remained high since former head coach Chip Kelly bailed for the NFL. However, results on the field since have seldom matched those lofty expectations. While Oregon fans may have believed that Mario Cristobal was making progress, the truth is Oregon was still some way from making a playoff berth. Utah made Cristobal’s job pretty difficult during his time, and it seemed a no-brainer when he left Oregon for his alma mater in Miami.
So Oregon turned to the genius behind Georgia’s historic defense as their new savior. The question is, can Lanning work his magic and repeat his national championship success in Eugene?
Firstly it would seem unrealistic to expect Lanning to get his team in the shape he wants for game one in year one. But despite the obvious advantage for Georgia football, this also presents a problem for Kirby Smart and his staff because there will be no film on how the Ducks match up. The bonus for Smart and his staff is that they are closer than anyone to how Lanning will set up his team, so there should be less opportunity for complete surprises for the Dawgs.
Oregon has a new head coach, a new set of coordinators, and a new quarterback. Another familiar face to Georgia fans is ex-Auburn quarterback Bo Nix. It’s fair to say that Nix divides opinion amongst commentators. To some, he is a genius that didn’t get the right support at Auburn. To others, he has nowhere near the talent that others assume. At this stage, Oregon fans think they got a good one. Whether this move is good for all concerned will only be determined at the end of this season.
What is fact is that Nix, while at Auburn, did not have a good record against the Bulldogs. In three games, Nix only threw for two touchdowns and two interceptions. Auburn lost all three games. So it’s unlikely Georgia football fans will be watching from behind the couch when Nix has the ball. He can be dangerous because that moxy he possesses is infatuating, and perhaps offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham’s pro-style offense might suit Nix. We shall see.
Finally, the game is at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta — a home away from home for the Bulldogs. It is 2,200 miles and a five-hour flight for the Ducks. From a fan perspective, as previously experienced, Mercedes Benz will be like a home game for Georgia football. Expect it to be loaded down in Red and Black with a few lime green fans in attendance.