Columbia Missouri is not the usual destination to which Bulldog Nation is accustomed to traveling to begin conference play, but after the uninspiring at best performance Georgia turned in against Buffalo, the Dawgs are probably glad to hit the road. Georgia’s effort against Buffalo this past weekend was unacceptable no matter the height of expectations in Athens.
With that said, I prefer to look at the first game as an aberration. Admittedly, doing so ignores the fact that such lethargic efforts have become more of a trend in the past few years. Georgia fans are well aware of who is not available against the Missouri Tigers, so the Bulldogs must make sure that those who are playing on Saturday night put forth their best possible effort. Failure to do so would ensure that last Saturday’s post game sentiment of Georgia head coach Mark Richt rings true. We will all come away from that game sad. Add very angry to the list of emotions as well.
Steve Spurrier once said that the biggest improvement a college football team makes occurs from week one to week two. Georgia is extremely talented, but the Bulldogs can not afford to tread water until the suspended players return. If the speculation around the program is accurate, Georgia will not have the opportunity to be at full strength until the start of week five, when the season is about a quarter of the way over.
Suspensions and injuries are no excuse to squander the perfect opportunity sitting right in front of Bulldog Nation. The Georgia Bulldogs are among the top eight teams in the country with only one game against an opponent currently ranked in the top ten on the schedule. For the first time in over 25 years, the Dawgs have no choice but to live up to the hype.
The pieces are falling in place to do just that. Freshman running back Todd Gurley was a bright silver lining in the three and a half hour lesson in mediocrity that was the Buffalo game. Keith Marshall had an impressive debut as well. Georgia played better in the second half of the season opener, but it was not enough to encourage fans and critics alike to block out the disturbing images that marred the opening act.
So where does Bulldog Nation go from here? On to the next one. The SEC opener against the Missouri Tigers. Columbia Missouri is eagerly anticipating the Tigers maiden voyage in the Southeastern Conference. but if all of the “Show Me State” indeed believes that Georgia plays “Old man football’ Missouri’s chances to pull off an upset are going to sink faster than the Titanic.
Simply put, Georgia is a better football team than Missouri. However, if the Bulldogs do not play sound football for 60 minutes the only thing people are going to remember about the preseason number six team is that they were the icing on the cake of the 2012 Missouri Football highlight reel. Georgia must be physical up front on the offensive and defensive line because the Dawgs need to sic the Tigers early and often to welcome them to the SEC.
Offensively, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray has to stop missing open receivers. At his size, he must be more accurate if he wants to have a memorable football career. Murray is now the leader of the Georgia football team, he needs to play like it and make a statement to the rest of college football that these Bulldogs have a ferocious bite.
Georgia has not started a season 2-0 since 2008. While it is only the second game of the year, the Bulldogs absolutely can not afford to leave Missouri without a win. The immediate future of the football program depends on how Georgia performs on Saturday night. If the Dawgs are victorious, every single goal that Bulldog Nation set at the beginning of the year is achievable. It will not be pretty, but Georgia will find a way to start the season with two straight wins.