We’re three weeks in, and this season’s college football landscape is beginning to take shape. At roughly the quarter point of the season, we can finally start talking a little less about what we think and a little more about what we know.
The most obvious thing we know: Georgia looks like the best team in college football. These Dawgs have seemingly done the impossible and improved after losing 15 players to the NFL. Having an offense that can be relied on to win games will do that.
With three weeks in the books, we also have a sense of what to expect from the teams on Georgia’s schedule, as well as the teams that are competing with the Dawgs to win the national title. Alabama has managed a 3-0 start, but had to escape Texas in Week 2. I’ll never fully count out Alabama or Nick Saban, but the Dawgs look like a much more complete team at the moment. The third team occupying the rare air of college football’s elite this season is the Ohio State Buckeyes, who also sit at 3-0. The Buckeyes’ signature win is a 21-10 victory over Notre Dame. However, after the Irish lost to Marshall and went to the wire with Cal, that result has lost its shine.
Meanwhile, in their first game against an FBS team since they were walloped 49-3 by the Dawgs, the Oregon Ducks trounced No. 12 BYU 41-20. If the Ducks keep improving and winning, that season-opener is going to look better and better.
It may take a while for the Dawgs to find a legitimate challenge. Next week, Kent State comes to Athens, and will be paid a hefty sum for their sacrifice at the altar of Kirby. Then comes a trip to Missouri, which shouldn’t be bad either, considering the Tigers lost their only game against a Power Five opponent 40-12 to Kansas State.
After that is a home game with Auburn, which just lost to Penn State and is currently being coached by a man waiting to be fired so he can take his buyout and go home. Then we welcome Vanderbilt to Sanford, and I don’t know if Kirby Smart will ever allow the ‘Dores to get within a touchdown again after we lost to them in his inaugural season.
The schedule gets spicy with the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Florida always worries me, because I hate losing to them more than anyone. But Week 1 Heisman winner Anthony Richardson still doesn’t have a passing touchdown, and the Gators almost lost to the University of South Florida.
Then comes the toughest stretch of the schedule: Tennessee, at Mississippi State and at Kentucky. Tennessee has the most explosive offense we’ll face all year, and should prove a real test for the defense. Mississippi State worries me less following their loss to LSU, but the Mike Leach Air Raid is always tough to prepare for.
Then there’s the Wildcats, probably the toughest team on our regular season schedule. They have talent and experience, and they want to win badly. If we travel to Kentucky, and the Cats still have a shot at the SEC East, Commonwealth Stadium will be rocking, and we’ll be in for a real fight.
We finish off, of course, with Georgia Tech, which comes to Athens for the first time since 2018. Tech coach Geoff Collins has never coached a game in Sanford. I hope he isn’t fired before the end of the season so we can have the pleasure of finishing off his ignominious time in Atlanta with a proper ass-whooping in the Classic City. You can’t really be a Tech coach until you’ve experienced one.
It sometimes feels wrong to be so blasé about potentially going 12-0 again, something the program has only done twice in its history. But looking forward, the Dawgs will be favored all the way. And not just in the regular season. As was the case last year, Vegas will probably favor Georgia over Bama in the SEC Championship Game and the playoff. The Dawgs will almost certainly be favored over anyone else they might meet, too. Based on what we’ve seen from our opponents and ourselves, a 12-0 season should no longer be the aim. It should be the expectation.
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