2022 Georgia Bulldogs Preview

by Matt Fargo

Georgia Bulldogs

2021-22 Season Record 14-1 (8-0 SEC East) - 9-6-0 ATS - 8-7-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 7
Defense - 3

Overview

For 41 years after winning the 1980 National Championship, there have been some dominant seasons for Georgia but it was never able to get over the top, finishing in the top 4 five times until last season when the Bulldogs brought home its second National Championship. They took out conference nemesis Alabama despite getting outgained and it was well deserved after being dominant until the SEC Championship so they extracted their revenge at the best time. Georgia lost a lot in the offseason with numerous players going to the NFL and a handful transferring out but it is still loaded with talent and has every opportunity to repeat but it will not be easy as it never is for any team trying to go back-to-back. Another double-digit win season is expected and another date with Alabama in the SEC Championship is in the cards but the Bulldogs have to avoid any sort of complacency.

Offense

The Georgia offense finished No. 13 overall and No. 7 in scoring but were just No. 53 in passing and No. 29 in rushing as the defense made things a lot easier. Seven starters are back so there is plenty of experience to build on and it starts with quarterback Stetson Bennett who is unbelievably back for his sixth season in the program. He was great in the regular season as he threw for 2,325 yards with 24 touchdowns and just seven interceptions and proved his worth with a spectacular playoff run. His leading receiver was tight end Brock Bowers and he returns with a solid group of returning wide receivers sans Jermaine Burton who transferred to Alabama of all places. The two top rushers are gone but the next two in line are expected to not miss a beat. The offensive line brings back three starters and a fourth that saw plenty of time so pass protection and open holes will be there again.

Defense

Massive hits affect the defense as eight starters are gone from the No. 2 overall defense and No. 1 scoring defense but like last year when only five starters returned and Georgia simply reloaded, it will repeat the scenario. The defensive line arguably took the biggest hit but Georgia has Jalen Carter back who is a projected first round draft pick to lead the unit. The Bulldogs could have been even more depleted but linebackers Nolan Smith and Robert Beal Jr. decided to come back although talent was certainly lost as three linebackers were drafted. There is plenty waiting in the wings to pick up the slack as there was a lot of rotation with underclassmen getting substantial time. The secondary has to replace two starters but safety Chris Smith is back for his fifth season while cornerback Kelee Ringo also returns. There will be a defensive drop off overall, but it should not be much.

2022 Season Outlook

Head coach Kirby Smart did something in six seasons that the great Mark Richt could not accomplish in 15 years and while the pressure is off, the quest for a legacy is starting. The bulls-eye is on every jersey so Georgia will get the best out of every team but most will not be able to compete. The schedule sets up for another big run as the Bulldogs have only four true road games while missing four of the top five teams out of the SEC West including Alabama. They open with a neutral game against Oregon and then get Samford and Kent St. at home sandwiched around a road game against South Carolina. The rest of the SEC slate is pretty tame until road games at Mississippi St. and Kentucky close the schedule and both will not be easy. The O/U win total is 10.5 and this is an unbettable number as the Bulldogs could surely run the table but also have a couple slipups if the new group cannot gel. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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