Zamir White - Freshman running back at Camp Sunshine June 20, 2018

Zamir White – Freshman running back at Camp Sunshine June 20, 2018

Han Vance on Georgia football: Because I was able to accurately project in the preseason every single Georgia football outcome last season through the Dawgs getting Auburn again in Atlanta and through the Rose Bowl, where I had Georgia appearing and winning –  I had us winning it all in Atlanta as my only (very near) miss – there has been a lot of clamoring for my picks.

Georgia will win the SEC East this season, perhaps by two games over the next place finisher. I’m leaning towards Florida as SEC East runner-up, with South Carolina and Mizzou projected to be the nearest contenders by the national media. It is that much easier to believe in the Florida program as a whole.

I see us appearing in Atlanta and hanging in, and we may get the break we need to do it again, but I can’t honestly project UGA as the back-to-back SEC champs. That’s based on attrition and the pure power of the league as a whole.

This year, I have Bama winning the league and getting knocked out in the first round of the playoff. Consider that only the SEC has won the CFP more than once as a conference while considering the relative strengths of Clemson and Ohio State, who do make the CFP usually. Do you see Ohio State getting shut out in consecutive years, with their usual winning percentage and bandwagon? I don’t. Unless it is the year for Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin. The second-strongest conference certainly won’t be getting locked out in consecutive seasons, and the (too-short) two-round playoff ultimately survive it. No conference, much less a team, has repeated as CFP champions and repeat college football champions for a program have been rare.

Tyler Simmons was onside, right? (Shown here at Camp Sunshine (June 20, 2018)

Tyler Simmons was onside, right? (Camp Sunshine June 20, 2018)

I’ll take Ohio State and Urban Meyer this year, with Ohio State over Clemson in NorCal. I have Bama and Washington going out in the Cotton and Orange, Bama settling for half the total national championships in a decade. That said, if Georgia gets into either, I’m so there. And, I have NorCal experience.

I have Ol’ Georgia winning back-to-back Nattys for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, so please don’t question my optimism. Usually, in college, the team poised to arise could easily have individuals coming back pointed to, who will do it, who are ready to do it.

Count me in the camp of those projecting UGA to greatly miss the productivity, leadership and clutch play of Roquan Smith, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Isaiah Wynn especially, and also Javon Wims, Dominick Sanders, Trent Thompson, John Atkins, Lorenzo Carter, Davin Bellamy and others. I see this team as raw, talented and benefiting from a soft regular season schedule and watered down division. Young, scrappy and hungry.

Meanwhile, Georgia will be winning a lot of games. Winning is contagious. Get in the SEC championship game, get back in the playoff, anything could happen.

2019 season, I have Georgia winning the Peach (other CFP site is Fiesta) near my house and then the national title in New Orleans, again. 2020 season we win it all over Richt in Miami, after a glorious return trip to the Rose Bowl (Sugar other CFP site). While many among us would settle for either of these or similar scenarios where Georgia holds up a crystal trophy, that’s really how bright the future feels right now for the University of Georgia.

Georgia is a 65% career winner (13th best in the nation) in all football games played, with 808 wins (11th best) and has played in the 2nd most bowl games (54) nationally and won the third most bowl games (31), 2nd in consecutive (eligible) bowls played. Yet, at no point since 1982 have our fans felt so universally optimistic.

Maybe back in 2003, coming off the 13-1 season and getting our stars back for their junior years. The preseason #1 (a full decade old now, in 2008) felt like an albatross from the get-go, by contrast.

Sure, we could drop a couple of games, maybe even early, due to overall team immaturity this season, and the sky would seem falling. I have to consider this a reloading year, folks and would love to be pleasantly surprised with more.

Disappointment is an option, too, that all Georgia fans have known too well.

Georgia will probably lose one-to-two games between the four games of: 1. at South Carolina in the SEC and SEC East opener, 2. at Mizzou two weeks later where they have the quarterback with the single-season SEC touchdown passing mark (44, Drew Luck), 3. at LSU, where the Bayou Bengals have a way of winning ugly, 4. Auburn, where while Georgia has owned old Aubie in the Classic City the ancient series is so historically close. I call for one loss, at LSU.

There is a whole lot of public pressure on this young football team, even some by Kirby himself with his “Georgia is here to stay” statement at the end of last season, to continue to dominate as a program, rather than simply taking it game by game. It’s also much easier to say it than do it in college football history.

Georgia will be favored in every single game this regular season, as long as they keep winning. I have UGA more likely to lose two games than to win out the regular season, though. The guys dropped one seasonal game last year, after all. Are we, as a fanbase, looking to somehow be improved this season?

I have us besting Florida in the “neutral” site down there and taking Tennessee and Tech at home. And, I do have us getting passed Auburn in Athens, where they’ve only won once since 2002 (a 31-30 Aubie “miracle” in 2005, in D.J. Shockley’s only career regular season loss as a starting quarterback). Any year you whip your four biggest rivals and win your division is a darn good year.

Though, lasting greatness is surely a whole other complex subject.

Realistically, I could certainly live with say a 12-2 or 11-3 final record and a Sugar Bowl win, over say Penn State, primarily considering the amount of maturing to matured talent Georgia will field in 2019 and 2020.

 

 

 

Han Vance