As usual, the Bulldogs’ 2014 football season will be defined by three games: South Carolina, Florida, and Auburn. Now add pesky 2013 SEC East Champion Missouri to that list. For first year starting quarterback Hutson Mason (above) go write his name in Bulldog lore, he must win on the road at SC, Gainesville, and Missouri – and at home against Auburn. Otherwise fans could be looking at a another “disappointing” 10-2 season, missing the SEC Championship Game, and a New Year’s Day Bowl against another Big Ten opponent.
It will take some magic to get into to SEC Championship Game. The defense gels. Gurley stays healthy, and runs wild. Mason runs the hurry-up offense to perfection, and keeps defenses off-balance with passes all over the field. The breaks will all have to go their way, instead of against them. But should they knock the door down, the Dawgs will face another down-to-the-wire battle against LSU, Auburn, or Alabama. Beating Auburn twice would be tough. LSU’s new QB has played, but could crumble on the big stage. By the end of the season he’ll have plenty of big game practice. Georgia has proven they can beat LSU and Missouri on the road. Bama reloads, but has a first year starter at QB. The winner gets a seat at the National Championship play-in game. Could the Dawgs play 15 games this season?
Clemson Aug 30: WIN (1-0) Both teams start the season with new quarterbacks. The Tigers are also missing big play man Samy Watkins, who was the difference in last year’s close, down to the wire thriller. This time UGA wins the close one.
At South Carolina Sept 13: WIN (2-0) Tough game. Both teams start the season with new quarterbacks. Game plan is the key, on both sides of the ball: stopping Spurrier’s off-balance play calls, and Bobo calling a run/pass mix to keep the Gamecocks off guard. If Hutson Mason can engineer at W in Columbia, the season gets so much easier.
Troy Sept 20: WIN (3-0) Hopefully no one gets hurt.
Tennessee Sept 27: WIN (4-0) Last year in Neyland the Vols played Georgia tough. This year will be only slightly easier.
Vanderbilt Oct 4: WIN (5-0) After playing over their heads last year, in 2014 the Commodores come back to earth. A much easier win for the Dawgs.
At Missouri Oct 11: LOSE (5-1) The 2014 Tigers won’t be quite the team the 2013 Division Champs were, but the undefeated Dawgs won’t be able to quite climb this mountain.
At Arkansas Oct 17: WIN (6-1) A tough, needed road win.
At Florida Nov 1: WIN (7-1) Another close, hard-fought game. Gurley is the difference.
At Kentucky Nov 8: WIN (8-1) Tougher than it looks, but Georgia wins at night.
Auburn Nov 15: LOSE (8-2) College Gameday in Athens again. Prime time. Last year Auburn needed a miracle to win. This year the Tigers come in confident. Another close game that Auburn wins in the end.
Charleston Southern Nov 22: WIN (9-2) A blowout. Since it’s the week before Thanksgiving, few attend. Ignored by the SEC Network, WSB televises the game.
Georgia Tech Nov 29: WIN (10-2) The Jackets will come into Athens confident, as usual - but limp home again with their stinger between their legs.
SEC Championship Game Dec 6: WIN (11-2) Georgia beats mighty LSU.
NCAA semi-final: WIN (12-2). UGA beats a team who hasn’t played such a tough schedule.
NCAA Championship: LOSE (12-3) And fans will want Richt and Bobo fired.