Will anything less than a New Year’s Day bowl for Dogs be a ‘mega-disappointment’?

Justin Houston is seen as a big weapon for the Dogs' defense. (Georgiadogs.com)

Justin Houston is seen as a big weapon for the Dogs' defense. (Georgiadogs.com)

If you haven’t yet checked out CollegeFootballNews.com’s preview of the 2010 Georgia Bulldogs, by all means do so. It’s a remarkably optimistic and yet balanced look at the strengths and weaknesses of Mark Richt’s team.

Writes CFN’s Pete Fiutak: “Georgia can absolutely win the East and it can absolutely rise up at the right time to win the conference championship if everything breaks right. And lately, if you win the SEC Championship, big things tend to follow. No, this isn’t a national title team, but that’s not to say it can’t come back and rebound in a huge way.”

Fiutak correctly pegs the health of the veteran offensive line as a key to the season and says it might be “the best in America” if injuries are avoided. He thinks turning NFL prospect Justin Houston loose to harass quarterbacks will help ease the transition to a 3-4 defense.

And he notes that the team will be better than last year’s if “it wins the turnover battle and if it stops screwing up. Georgia, with enough talent and speed to hang around with anyone in the SEC, forced two fumbles and picked off 10 passes, while the offense gave it away 28 times. Alright, so takeaways aren’t necessarily indicative of success (Florida and Cincinnati only recovered three fumbles and Alabama came up with seven), but the knucklehead streak when it came to penalties didn’t help. The Bulldogs were flagged 105 times; only five teams got hit with more penalties.”

What about QB Aaron Murray? Fiutak says, “Murray isn’t all that big, but he has a next-level arm and has just enough talent to grow into the job over the next few years. If he’s outstanding right away, Georgia has a legitimate shot to win the SEC title. If he’s inconsistent, the ceiling is a Florida bowl on New Year’s Day.”

Another factor in the Dogs’ favor, Fiutak notes: “Georgia won’t be the best team in the SEC, but it has the schedule to look that way. Any SEC East team worth its salt would take this slate in a heartbeat. There’s no Alabama or LSU to deal with, Florida, as always, is at a neutral site, Tennessee is a home game, and the road games are at South Carolina, Mississippi State, Kentucky, and Auburn. Throw in a home date against Vanderbilt and anything less than a New Year’s Day bowl appearance will be a mega-disappointment.”

Fiutak is setting the bar high for the 2010 Dogs, saying their season will be a success if “Georgia wins the SEC East. If you’re going to catch Florida, do it now. The Bulldogs might still be growing, too, but they have the schedule and just enough talent to win the division to get to the SEC title game. For a team with so many concerns, anything else would be gravy. If this isn’t a division-winning year, 10-2 with a January 1st bowl game would signal a big bounceback.”

Is Fiutak expecting too much of a team that’s rebuilding its defense and starting a completely inexperienced quarterback? I tend to agree with the Senator, who thinks 2011 looks much more like the year of the Dawg.

But the CFN assessment isn’t pie-in-the-sky. Bama and Florida both lost a lot of talent off last year’s teams. Georgia’s schedule is favorable. The Dogs return 10 starters on offense. Willie Martinez is no longer in Athens. The big “ifs” are staying healthy, fixing that turnover ratio, cutting way back on penalties, continuing last season’s surge in the running game, and getting at least a decently productive first season out of Murray.

Still, I think it’s going a bit far to say that success for Georgia this season will be defined by whether it wins the SEC East or not. How about you?

METTENBERGER UPDATE

Former Dog Kelin Johnson has launched a Web site/blog and reports Zach Mettenberger told him he has two scholarship offers on the table — Louisville and Cincinnati — and has had heavy interest and calls from other schools, including Tennessee, USC, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Troy, Memphis and Colorado. So even if Mett doesn’t wind up at Louisville, the Dogs still could face their former teammate. You know CBS and/or ESPN would love that storyline.

253 comments Add your comment

PTC DAWG

May 6th, 2010
3:32 pm

To the Gator poster above claiming UGA fans whine about Jax…you’ll never hear me whine….The game has had 2 tremendous streaks in the last 40 years…I’ve witnessed almost every game. I’ll be shocked if it continues alone the same path.

One more thing, what’s a Gator doing on this site? LOL

Mike

May 6th, 2010
3:33 pm

Anything less than 13-1 hard to imagine with this schedule. richt beats all on schedule, not fla, but all else. might lose 1 game, then beat bama or auburn who rucht almost always beats —7-1 against those 2.

OrlandoDawg

May 6th, 2010
3:35 pm

Bill with all due respect, are you kidding? there’s no way we’ll be in a Jan 1 bowl, but to answer your question, yes, anything less than the chickfila bowl is disappointing.

Bull

May 6th, 2010
3:38 pm

I’m ready for the season to begin

SOUTHGADAWG88

May 6th, 2010
3:39 pm

Barring major injuries we should win 10 regular season games at least.

Bull

May 6th, 2010
3:40 pm

It’s coming Bulldog fans, be patient. Richt is still our guy. I wouldn’t trade him out for any other coach PERIOD

Hmmmm

May 6th, 2010
3:57 pm

SOUTHGADAWG88

WOW!! That might be the dumbest thing I have ever heard. And I am a UGA Grad.

nickj0321

May 6th, 2010
3:59 pm

UGA will be lucky to win 7 games

SOUTHGADAWG88

May 6th, 2010
4:07 pm

You don’t know anything about football then.It’s really rather simple there hasn’t ever been a CMR team or probably any Major program in this League that has brought back 10 starters on Offense and not won at least 10 games.We are not talking the Vandy’s and MSU’s of the world.

Murray the Midget

May 6th, 2010
4:13 pm

I would sure hate to see the season fall “short” and have to settle for some “lower”bowl game. UGA should always have a “higher” level of expectation than a trip to Shreveport. Need to “raise” the standards and expect a New Years bowl every year. Anything less would be “under”achieving.

RxDawg

May 6th, 2010
4:14 pm

I kind of agree with the first poster, Dale. I’m betting that Metts just wants to leave all of this behind. I’d think he’d want to go off somewhere to play ball. Some place where his connections to UGA will be infrequently disscussed.

WTH

May 6th, 2010
4:22 pm

So, Shreveport has moved to a Jan 1 bowl game?

Me

May 6th, 2010
4:27 pm

If I were Metts, I’d go to Tennessee where I would not only fit right in with the culture but also have my shot at the Dawgs every year. Then it would be “may the tallest QB win”.

Patrick

May 6th, 2010
4:45 pm

I said Straight Jacket not yellow jacket! Somebody help me up.

Lane Pimpin

May 6th, 2010
4:54 pm

Shreveport has a fabulous Krystal and a new Walmart. I would think that any poodle fan would be thrilled to spend the holidays in Shreveport. Why all the angst over going to a New Years Bowl? If you are playing in a lesser bowl that day, e.g. 9 a.m., you do not get to see the Tide and the Gators represent the conference in a real bow.

Bulldog59

May 6th, 2010
5:11 pm

BK, nice job. One of the better articles I’ve read in quite a while.

You (and Fiutak) covered all the variables. (1) We don’t need a first-round draft choice at QB, just get the ball where it’s supposed to be, NOT fumbled, NOT blocked at the LOS, and NOT intercepted. (2) The D needs to learn the 3-4 quickly and pressure, pressure, pressure the opposing QB. (3) Get rid of these stupid a$$ penalties, especially late in the game.

We have a Florida type schedule in 2010, so it’s all ours for the taking. Probably not a BCS Title, but a BIG improvement.

What do you call a team without a QB?

May 6th, 2010
5:13 pm

Dogs.

If your A(ir)Murry gets a ding, you guys will have to call either a guy you do not want to call or play a (true) freshman…either way spells something before 1/1/2011.

DawginLex

May 6th, 2010
5:19 pm

i love all the florida idiots bashing us and making comments like “play in the chick fil a bowl so UGA can at least play in the Dome”.

I remember a stretch from 2002-2005 where UGA played in the Dome 3 out of 4 years while florida got to go only if they bought a ticket.

Be careful what you write, it could come back to haunt you.

florida football history lesson:

Prior to 1990-NOTHING

1991-2001 A bunch of SEC titles in a watered down league and only 1 fluke NT to show for it. Lose to your arch rival the last game of the year and turn around and play them again for the NT? What a joke.

2002-2009 Two titles with Tebow.

so there you have it, 1 fluke title and 2 titles with the annointed one.

No Tebow=No titles

You won’t win another one without him.

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
5:32 pm

11 arrested @ UGA. Students, Faculty, and Staff getting DUI, Open-Container, Simple batttery, and Underage Drinking charges altogether. I guess they will hold classes in Athens-Clarke County Jail until they post bail. Do all drunks go to UGA or is everybody @ UGA just a drunk?

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
5:36 pm

Dawginlex UGA has nothing past 1980! a few SEC championships in a watered down SEC and so SEC East Co-Champs and no shot at the Title game. RICHT the Dale Jr. of SEC coaches.

UgaHater

May 6th, 2010
5:49 pm

at DawginLex

And UGA hasn’t won one since 1980 so what’s your point about Florida? That they have three national championship trophies and you have zero?

italian_29

May 6th, 2010
6:09 pm

Mike, I think you may be confused about the records, CMR is 3-1 against Bama and 6-3 against Auburn which would make that record 9-4 not 7-1, but it is a good record if we don’t mention the most recent 31-0 halftime score for the 1 Bama loss.

italian_29

May 6th, 2010
6:13 pm

I think it is great that fans from other schools of NATIONAL prominance, like FL, Bama, and GT, in their minds, like to get on a UGA blog and Talk Crap about our program. You will never see me on their blogs. Oh yeah, by the way, UGA hater and KimsZpackage 30-24 and 8 of 9 with more to come.

James

May 6th, 2010
6:19 pm

None of the teams on UGA’s 2010 has any kind of long term success against Richt except the Gators, and they’ll be lucky t win 8 this year. I’m thinking THE CARDS FINALLY FALL RICHT’S WAY.

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
6:31 pm

italian-29 is that 30-24 players arrested were convicted and 8-9 this year already? STUDENTS, STAFF, and FACULTY arrested for Cinco de Mayo in Athens now that the NATIONAL PROMINANCE UGA is becoming famous for.

TechSting

May 6th, 2010
6:43 pm

Ga isn’t going to any bcs bowl this year–what a joke! They will be happy to get the lowly music city bowl, if it isn’t still underwater! Tech’s loaded and will win the ACC again–on to the Orange Bowl again and partying in south beach!!!

Bill King is a................

May 6th, 2010
6:47 pm

anything less than a new blog writer will be a megadisappointment too. Our goal needs to be a NC. To get there we have to win the SEC. Why set your goals just a New Year’s Day Bowl?? If thats all we shoot for, then at best thats all we will get. Aim the highest we can and if we happen to fall just short of a NC then maybe we will still have won the SEC and maybe still wind up with a BCS bowl or as some of you people are hoping for….”A New Years Day Bowl.”

As i still remain the ‘Speaker of Truth’,
Bill King is a…………

UGADAWGZ

May 6th, 2010
6:52 pm

kimz- Are you really that much of an idiot. First- UGA does have tons of good things past 1980.
Second- The SEC is not watered down it has won the last 4 national championships, if the SEC was watered down it would be the acc

One, two, free, fo, fi, dem der Gator don't take no jive!

May 6th, 2010
6:57 pm

Dawinlex, jealous much? I bet you’re the type that drools when I walk by with my girlfriend, too. Don’t worry….it’ll all be over soon enough. See ya in Jax!!

italian_29

May 6th, 2010
6:59 pm

KimsZpackage is that your way of deflecting, talk about arrests, even with all the arrests we have had, we have still been able to KICK your Lousy ACC championship AZZEZ 8 out of the last 9 years. So smoke on that!!!!

Bill King is a.............

May 6th, 2010
7:00 pm

i’m sorry bill

Bill King is a.............

May 6th, 2010
7:03 pm

TechSting….. too much Star Trek talk on the Techie blog?? You had to come talk football on ours?? Heck, we won the ACC last year and we really dont consider that a point of pride. The book is out on how to stop that highschool offense that PJ runs. And its not a come from behind offense so to speak. So be prepared in the fact that ya’ll will be behind in most of your games this season and a realistic expectation is a 6-6 year. Sorry dude.

Bill King is a.............

May 6th, 2010
7:04 pm

Plus……those Urine Stained uniforms are horrible…….just sayin

SOUTHGADAWG88

May 6th, 2010
7:09 pm

We have some issues of our own at UGA too.I am a realist not just some blind homer..QB depth is a concern for me if Murray gets hurt.We have changed our defensive scheme to something that is not only a different type of alignment but requires different body types than what we have recruited over CMR’s tenure.I expect some growing pains on Defense, new found aggressive attack style or not.Yet I have been a fan of the game of football all my life,played the game and love it with a passion.I know a thing or two about what it takes to win football games.I also know a little about my favorite team and when I consider this year’s edition of the Red and Black I am confident that we will be a strong player both in the SEC and Nationally.QB depth and the DL are the things that concern me the most with this team.Mark Richt has not given the back up QB many snaps period..DJ was somewhat against the grain but even his snaps were stingily given.Cox didn’t yield the field much and I don’t expect Murray to either.The area where we have been truly blessed is that all our starters have been injury free for the most part.Hope it continues.On the DL we just lost 3 guys who played most of the DT snaps over the last 3 years…I understand that under this new scheme those kids may have not been the ideal NT types but they were still good players and their leadership will be missed.Our season will have it’s hiccups but the DAWGS are a serious threat to not only win the East but the SEC.

Bill King is a.............

May 6th, 2010
7:14 pm

L-Dawg sounds LIKE A LITTLE BOY LEAVING SANTA A CHRISTMAS NOTE

Tim Rupert

May 6th, 2010
8:41 pm

Nice to finally have that Fla like schedule. Go Dawgs.

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
8:48 pm

the SEC is LSU, BAMA, & Florida.

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
8:49 pm

middle SEC Auburn, UGA, and the VOLS.

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
8:51 pm

SEC’s other teams are all the same. Now do you understand watered down?

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
8:53 pm

Uga’s best shot(under Richt) and you have to play Hawaii! That got you a preseason #1 for the blink of an eye.

SOUTHGADAWG88

May 6th, 2010
9:16 pm

last 10 SEC championships.LSU-3,FLA-3,UGA-2,ALA-1,AUB-1

Sherlock

May 6th, 2010
9:20 pm

This L-Dawg guy, is he 80 years old, or what ? “glory glory to ol georgia” ????!!

UGADAWGZ

May 6th, 2010
9:38 pm

kimz- So, from what you said the acc’s 2 best teams couldn’t beat a middle(UGA is not a middle team by the way) team or a low sec team so how is the SEC watered down

Ogeechee Dawg

May 6th, 2010
9:51 pm

Pete Fiutak’s article sure did sound familiar – this is what BAMA STAN has been saying about the DAWGS for the last month. STAN insists that UGA is poised for a big year – but is not convnced they will beat Florida.

BAMA STAN – you out there?

SEC recordkeeper

May 6th, 2010
9:53 pm

SOUTHGADAW88,

bcs champioships won by the sec – Florida 2, LSU 2, Alabama 1, UT 1, AU- got screwed out of the chance to play for 1, UGA-ZERO

SEC recordkeeper

May 6th, 2010
9:58 pm

national championships since the inception of the 12 team sec, also sec title and sec division crowns

Florida 3 national, 8 sec titles, 11 division crowns
Bama 2 national, 3 sec titles, 7 division crowns
LSU 2 national, 3 sec titles, 4 division crowns
UT 1 national, 2 sec titles, 5 division crowns
UGA 0 national, 2 sec titles, 3 division crowns
AU 0 national, 1 sec title, 2 division crowns

atl xmen

May 6th, 2010
9:59 pm

haha.. stinkinglinkon there is nothing to be scared of when tech runs an offense that 85 percent of the high schools run and when you field a team with div 1aa players to boot… your coach never even played the game of football past little league and has no clue how to prepare college football players for the NFL.

i for one will never be scared of tech when richt is the coach and PJ is yours.

SEC recordkeeper

May 6th, 2010
10:02 pm

Out of the big 6 programs in the sec, 3 in the east, 3 in the west, Georgia is 5th in terms of overall conference and national title success since we went to the 2 division format. Just the facts sir.

30 years and counting......

May 6th, 2010
10:06 pm

KimZ’sPackage,

You are pretty good at zinging the dogs with the one about beating an overmatched Hawaii team that had no business being in a bcs game to begin with. Want another one. Probably the only real powerhouse that the dogs beat in a bowl game ever was when they beat FSU in the 2002 season in the sugar. FSU was so depleted at qb that they had no qbs left. 1st string and backup were gone. They had to convert a wide receiver to play qb in the 15 practices after the Florida game and have him play qb against UGA. Should be an asterik beside that game.

gtfanfrom1951

May 6th, 2010
10:06 pm

UGA will not be Atlanta because…..of FLA,AU, MSU,USC,and GT that’s 5 loses