Georgia Season Win Total Prediction
A powerhouse division, the SEC East is not. Will the competition be pedestrian enough, though, to let Georgia capture the crown in Kirby Smart’s first year on the job?
Online sports book Bovada.lv sets the Bulldogs’ 2016 win total at 8.5. Last season’s crew notched 10 victories, including the TaxSlayer Bowl, in Mark Richt’s final go-round in Athens. Massive shortcomings in the passing attack, however, prevented UGA from capitalizing on a relatively weak set of common opponents.
With Smart taking over the reins, fans are hoping for a renewed hunger from the squad. The new man in charge spent a decade at Alabama and, for the majority of that time, served as Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator. Such expertise will undoubtedly come in handy given the uncertain nature of the front seven. Leading tackler Jake Ganus departed for the NFL, as did fierce edge rushers Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins. In fact, linebacker Tim Kimbrough represents the school’s lone returning starter at the second level.
Experience won’t be a problem on offense, where Nick Chubb’s on a mission to reclaim his spot among the nation’s premier playmakers. The tailback suffered a slew of torn knee ligaments on the first snap of the Tennessee contest last November, ending a campaign that had 1,500-yard potential. According to various reports, though, Chubb’s rehab continues to progress swimmingly.
Even if the sophomore hits a bit of a snag along the way, Sony Michel’s an absolute beast in reserve. The fleet-footed junior amassed 1,168 yards and 11 touchdowns despite starting just six tilts in 2015. O-line guru Sam Pittman arrives to solidify a unit that lost mainstays Kolton Houston and Jon Theus, too.
Predictably, however, so many things boil down to the quarterback position. After a sound September, Grayson Lambert failed to push the pigskin down the field often enough. The limited interceptions were nice, but Georgia needed a dart thrower.
Enter five-star freshman Jacob Eason. Blessed with a cannon of a right arm and impressive athleticism, he could challenge Lambert sooner rather than later. Junior Brice Ramsey also gives Smart a serviceable third option.
First and foremost, this fall should be about Smart’s quest to put his stamp on the program. To that end, expect an in-your-face style that’ll grate on the Missouris, South Carolinas and Floridas of the world. If the Bulldogs can prevail in a Sept. 24 road clash with Ole Miss, the Athens faithful have every right to think big. We’re on board with them.
SUNDAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL FREE PICK: GEORGIA BULLDOGS OVER 8.5 WINS (-140)