Georgia football: Buckle up for the next two matchups

ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 15: Devin Willock #77 of the Georgia Bulldogs at the line of scrimmage against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Sanford Stadium on October 15, 2022 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 15: Devin Willock #77 of the Georgia Bulldogs at the line of scrimmage against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Sanford Stadium on October 15, 2022 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images) /

Well, that was fun opening half to the 2022 Georgia football season. After an exciting opening game in Atlanta against Oregon — who is back in the AP Top 10. Georgia had almost two months of tying up any loose ends— playing the likes of Samford and Kent State and SEC games against the bottom three, plus a much improved South Carolina. The Dawgs have looked good at times and not as good at others.

Georgia has five games remaining, and as of typing this article, three of those opponents are ranked. All five games are huge. However, I wanted to highlight the first two games after the off week. Without those two going accordingly, the rest will not matter.

Georgia comes into the off-week as the AP and Coaches Poll No. 1 overall team. The Dawgs are No. 4 in total offense and No. 3 in total defense — dominating numbers. Tennessee, for example, is No. 1 in total offense and No. 104 in total defense. Georgia and Ohio State are the only two teams in the country with the top 5 units on offense and defense.

Will having both a dominating offense and defense help the Dawgs against the next two weeks?

Georgia football: Week 9 vs. Florida in Jacksonville

After a week off, Georgia’s stakes will pick up a big way.   A rivalry game in Jacksonville against the hated Florida Gators will be up first. Since coming to Georgia, head coach Kirby Smart has somewhat taken back control of this game. Georgia is 4-2 since Smart began walking the sidelines. A 5-2 record sounds much better than a 4-3 one. The Gators would love to knock Georgia off their top-seeded perch.

Georgia’s last regular season loss was to Florida in 2020. The Dawgs cannot afford to come into Jacksonville looking ahead to the next week’s big matchup. As this is not a game, Georgia fans want just to win, but most want it to be ugly, like in 2017.

One record that Florida has been hanging on to is that they have scored in 423 consecutive games. That is the longest by a lot. TCU is the second at 367 games in a row. I will save you the time— Georgia is No. 6 with 343. With that in mind, Smart and Georgia have been close twice to ending that streak.

Once in 2017 when Florida scored a touchdown while trailing 42-0 with 2:42 remaining in the game. Again Georgia was close in 2021 when Florida scored a touchdown while trailing 27-0 with 2:49 remaining in the game. Since coming to Georgia, Smart’s Dawgs have pitched 10 shutouts. None would be sweeter than shutting out the Gators and ending their streak.

Georgia football: Week 10 vs. No. 3 Tennessee in Athens

After Jacksonville, the Dawgs come home for that big matchup against Tennesse, who is currently No. 3 in the nation. If Georgia handles their business against Florida and the Vols handles theirs against Kentucky, the game will be unlike anything Athens has seen in some time, if ever — a matchup of No.1 and No. 3, with the SEC East on the line.

Tennessee has not played in the SEC Championship since 2007. Georgia fans expect it to play in it, as they’ve been in Atlanta for four of the last five. The Vols are the new shiny toy to the media and fans across the country — a cute story of a school’s rise back to relevance.

One thing fans love about Smart is that he is a Bulldog and views rivalries as the fans do. The first lady of Georgia football is a former Lady Dog who played basketball for Georgia in the 1990s. Who was the big rival at that time, dominating women’s hoops? That’s right, Pat Summit and the Lady Vols.

Mary Beth Smart mentioned that Tennessee is her biggest rival even still. There will be plenty of passion from Georgia fans on display, and even from the Smarts when the Vols come to Athens on Nov. 5.

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Georgia must stay focused for these next two matchups because they could get wild. The Dawgs must come out swinging and show no mercy to either team. If they want to repeat, getting to Atlanta is the top priority right now, and these two matchups are the most important ones standing in front of the Dawgs.