The University of Georgia has always has one of the most respected football programs in the country, and head coach Mark Richt has accomplished nearly every major feat in college football during his tenure at Georgia (since 2001), compiling a 106-38 record with two SEC Championships and five SEC Eastern Division titles. Only the biggest prize of them all has eluded Richt, the national title, their best finish under Richt was second overall in the AP Poll in 2007. That all changes during the 2012 season, I am picking the University of Georgia Bulldogs to win the BCS Championship, and this is my reasoning:
1) Aaron Murray gives the Bulldogs leadership at the most important position on the field, Quarterback. The redshirt Junior has a ton of experience, as he been the starting quarterback at Georgia for the previous two seasons, where he has not missed a meaningful snap and thrown for over 3,000 yards each season. Murray is coming off of a 2011 campaign where he posted an impressive 35 touchdown to 14 interception ratio and threw for 3,149 yards, and earned a second team All-SEC selection at quarterback. This season Murray is expected to be more polished and confident as he enters the year, however he needs to play better in big games and cut down on turnovers, which should come with added maturity.
2) Georgia’s defensive unit may be the best in the nation when all is said and done. The unit returns two first team All-Americans in senior free safety Baccari Rambo and redshirt junior linebacker Jarvis Jones, the later who was a finalist for the 2011 Butkis Award (Nation’s Top Linebacker). Georgia’s defense is lead up front by two monster defensive tackles, John Jenkins (6’3 351lbs) and Kwame Geathers (6’6 350lbs) are a devastating combination who make it nearly impossible to run the football up the middle and were a big reason they had the eleventh ranked rush defense in the country in 2011. The linebackers are highlighted by Jones, who is widely considered the top linebacking prospect in the 2013 NFL draft by scouts, and had 70 tackles with 13.5 sacks in 2011 (plus an absurd 49 quarterback hurries). He is joined by another stud who is on NFL draft radars Alec Ogletree, and experienced players in Amarlo Herrera, Mike Gilliard and Christian Robinson. The secondary is also experienced, but needs to overcome a few early season suspensions as Sanders Commings is suspended the first two games, Branden Smith is suspended one game, and the aforementioned All-American safety Rambo is currently appealing a four game suspension. The unit will be helped early with the addition of former standout wide receiver, now two-way star, cornerback Malcolm Mitchell. The Georgia defensive unit will be scary good and a treat to watch during the 2012 season.
3) For a team currently ranked sixth overall that plays in the hardest conference in college football, Georgia surprisingly has a fairly easy schedule, as easy as it gets in the SEC. After opening at home against Buffalo, the Bulldogs head to conference new addition Missouri, a difficult game that Georgia should win. They then face conference rivals Vanderbilt and an improving Tennessee team at home, before the most pivotal game of their season, when the Bulldogs travel to South Carolina to face a dangerous Gamecocks team. The remainder of Georgia’s schedule includes The World’s Largest Cocktail Party against the Florida Gators, a contest at still-rebuilding Auburn, and closes out with a home game against in state rival Georgia Tech along with a few cupcake games mixed in. That’s it, and I would guess that Georgia will be favored in every single game this season, with the one exception possibly being at South Carolina. I think that there is a strong chance that Georgia wins the SEC East and a decent chance the Bulldogs enter the SEC Championship Game (against Alabama or LSU) unbeaten. If this happens, the Georgia Bulldogs and Mark Richt are just two wins away from their first National Championship since 1980.
P.S. The Georgia Bulldogs have 18/1 odds to win the BCS Title in Vegas. Place your bets now, thank sportsmasher.com later.