By PST Contributor: Des Boodram
August 9th, 2016
No one is ever going to accuse the Georgia Bull Dog’s of not swinging for the fences in their recent coaching hire of Kirby Smart from Alabama. Tired of just winning 10 games and bowl games pretty much every year, the Bulldogs opted to hire Smart, who has zero head coaching experience. Rhyming off that type of consistency for 15 straight years as Richt did is unprecedented, but at the end of the day UGA has no National Titles to show for it, thus the reason for the change.
Georgia Bulldogs Making the Smart Choice?
Smart a former Bulldog himself is fully vested so there’s no reason to look back, as the current Bulldog roster has the tools to make a legit run. Smart has gone all in with his coaching hires as well prying Arkansas line coach Sam Pittman and QB coaching guru Jim Chaney to handle the bulk of the offensive responsibilities so that Smart can focus on the defense – it seems like a fool proof strategy to say the least.
Expect the QB position to be infinitely more effective this season, as projected starter Greyson Lambert enters this season as the most experienced QB of the big three. His new coach is sure help his development, and 5-star freshmen QB Jacob Eason should be good enough from the bench to keep Greyson sharp. The plan seems simple, let Lambert start this season, and groom Eason for the following 2-3 seasons.
Fingers crossed that Eason doesn’t rise up, create a legit competition and put added pressure on Lambert and the coaching staff, bringing unwanted distraction and scrutiny from the media. Nick Chubb if healthy should be a Heisman front-runner this season, and the Bulldogs boast depth at all other playmaking positions on offense.
Can the Defense Hold the Fort
On defense the easy thing to do, is to sit back and watch Smart weave his defensive web of brilliance, but it’s going to be much different for Smart who is now responsible for what happens on the offensive side of the football. Time will tell if this added responsibility will sharpen Smart, or diminish what he has brought to the table in the past from scheme and execution standpoint. Smart inherits a great class including almost an entire secondary that ranked a top the country in pass defense. Dominik Sanders who is a first team All SEC, should lead the way for the Bulldogs.
At the LB position, there’s reason to be concerned, unless Smart can quickly assess what he has and game plan accordingly. The Bulldogs lost Jake Ganus, Jordan Jenkins, and Leonard Floyd, which represents a huge chunk of their playmakers at that position, but they do have some rising Juniors who lay in wait as well as others coming back from injury. How Smart handles this narrative may have National Championship implications.
Vols vs. Bulldogs in Big Game Showdown
The Tennessee/Georgia game should be hyped as the best game in the SEC this season, because it is. Better than Alabama vs Auburn, Alabama vs LSU, and whatever rivalry game can be thrown into the hat. Georgia gets Tennessee at home and that could make all the difference in the world.
It should be assumed that Florida will mess things up somehow, and that all three could have one loss at the end of conference play, but the Bulldogs have the best look at running the table, getting UT at home, and dodging Alabama. UGA’s non-conference, which includes matchups against North Carolina and Georgia Tech is impressive as well. Look for UGA and UT to both have one loss, but Georgia to win because of head-to-head, while Kirby Smart gets way too much credit, due to a friendly schedule and the team he inherited.
The Georgia Bulldogs are a -3.0 point Home Favorite in Week 1 vs. North Carolina, get all of your college football lines in the PST Odds section.