The second installment of this three part series picks up right where the first left off, with the Georgia Bulldogs at 4-0, ready to pounce on the Tennessee Volunteers to round out the first month of the college football season. Tennessee may very well enter Sanford Stadium undefeated as well if they can get by the Florida Gators in the third week of the season.
Whether it is justified or not, Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley is likely to spend the 2012 season on the hot seat. A victory in Athens would be the signature win that he has been looking for since his arrival in Knoxville. The junior Dooley has been close before when his Volunteers attempted to play the role of giant killer against LSU in 2010. The inexplicable conclusion of that game remains among the strangest things I have ever seen in college football.
Unfortunately for Barbara Dooley’s baby boy, the Bulldogs should be getting all of their starters back at this point in the season and Bulldog Nation will be gearing up for a clash with South Carolina the following week. Tyler Bray and company will provide a stern test but the Dawgs will not get caught looking ahead. Georgia wins.
The Bulldogs then head into a battle for SEC East supremacy against South Carolina at 5-0 with Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray determined to avoid the turnovers that doomed the Dawgs in 2011. Steve Spurrier will have his always talented Gamecocks ready for a back and forth match-up, and Bulldog Nation must be ready for a hostile crowd in Columbia.
The latest chapter of this storied rivalry will have even bigger championship implications than usual because it takes place in the middle of the season. Georgia lost at home to South Carolina last season in disastrous fashion. The Bulldogs must avenge last year’s bitter defeat. Georgia can not afford to leave South Carolina without their sixth straight win. The Dawgs find a way to survive in a nail biter on the road.
Lucky week number seven is a bye week for the Bulldogs, as Georgia remains in pursuit of perfection at 6-0. As the Dawgs spend the week resting, Alabama and LSU continue to dominate in the wild SEC West. Expect Georgia to sleep walk through the first half during week eight in Kentucky, but a pep talk from head Dawg Mark Richt wakes the boys in the silver britches up in time to pull away from the Wildcats in the second half. Joker Phillips is a good coach, but trying to build a football program at a basketball school is a tall order.
Following a lethargic win in the Bluegrass State, Bulldog Nation makes the trip to Jacksonville for the annual “Do not call this the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party” game with the Florida Gators. Out of every contest on the schedule this season, Florida is the most enigmatic one to figure because they have so many unknowns on offense. The Gator defense is in position to be stellar, but the offense will have the final say on how big of a factor Florida is in the SEC East race.
Picking against Georgia in anything competitive against the University of Florida would be cause for me to have to turn in my fan card. The Bulldogs win a close call in Jacksonville for the second straight season which is something that has been a rare occurrence over the last two decades.
The Bulldogs will head into the stretch run of the year undefeated at 8-0, with games against Auburn and Georgia Tech looming on the horizon. In the final chapter of this piece, I will prognosticate and pontificate about whether Georgia will represent the SEC East in Atlanta, and predict which SEC West division the Dawgs will to have to slay for a potential shot at the national championship.