Georgia 16/1 to win championship
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - With all 11 starters returning on defense, can Georgia make a run at a national title in 2014?
As previously mentioned, the Bulldogs will bring back all 11 starters on defense this season, including 2013 All-Conference inside linebacker Ramik Wilson. He'll also have his 'backer mates Leonard Floyd, Amarlo Herrera and Jordan Jenkins by his side, as well as sterling Bailey, Ray Drew and Chris Mayes taking on blockers in front of him. The entire secondary also returns, including cornerback Shaq Wiggins and free safety Tray Matthews.
The big question marks are on offense as Hutson Mason will be tasked with replacing Aaron Murray, who was drafted into the NFL back in May. While Mason will benefit from the return of 2013 All-Conference running back Todd Gurley and receivers Michael Bennett and Chris Conley, only two starters return along the offensive line.
Despite the concerns under center and along the O-line, Georgia is 16/1 to win the college football FBS championship according to oddsmakers from online sports book BetDSI. That puts the Bulldogs behind only six teams, including title favorites Florida State (11/2), Alabama (6/1), Oregon (8/1), Auburn (9/1), Ohio State (10/1) and Oklahoma (12/1).
Mason waited patiently behind Murray for three years so you know he's chomping at the bit to show Mark Richt and his coaching staff what he can do. Led by Gurley, he's surrounded by marquee skill players but the O-line is a serious question mark. If that unit can gel quickly, then the defense is going to keep this team in every game. If they can avoid serious injuries, the Bulldogs has as good a chance as any team to make the four-team playoff.