It’s time for our annual debate about which game on Georgia’s upcoming football schedule will be toughest — other than the meeting with the Gators in Jacksonville, which has unfortunately achieved a level of toughness for the Dogs above and beyond all other opponents.
Last year at this time when I asked this question, 43 percent of the poll votes went to the LSU game. Ironically, the Dogs came within about a minute, one blown call and a muffed tackle of winning that one. The second most worrying game for poll voters last year was Georgia Tech, but that was before The Dogs proved they still run this state. The opener against Oklahoma State drew 21 percent of the vote as the likely toughest game, but would have been winnable if not for some lousy kickoff coverage. But the Tennessee game drew only 5 percent of the vote and that turned out to be the worst beating of the season for the Dogs. And nobody saw the second-half collapse against Kentucky coming.
So, what about this season? We all know what can happen on “any given day,” but frankly not too many UGA fans are concerned about Louisiana-Lafayette, Mississippi State, Colorado, Vandy or Idaho State. And as was proved last year, Kentucky is good enough to beat the Dogs if Georgia makes too many mistakes. But what are the odds of that happening two years in a row?
However, the South Carolina game worries a lot of folks for a number of reasons, including a noon kickoff in summer heat, the fact that Aaron Murray will be making his first SEC start on the road in Columbia, the usual closeness of this series, and the fact that the Gamecocks have a veteran (if inconsistent) quarterback in Stephen Garcia.
Then there’s the Arkansas Razorbacks’ visit to Athens, which some folks see as a potential “trap” game for the Dogs, coming the week after the Cocks. QB Ryan Mallett definitely will be a challenge for the revamped Georgia defense, but with the Hogs being this year’s most overhyped SEC team, I don’t see any chance of Georgia overlooking Arkansas, so I’m not sure you can really call this a trap game. A tough one, though. Many fans are marking this as a possible “L.”
Tennessee is always a challenge, but at the rate that program is losing players Derek Dooley might have to suit up the managers, and after their abysmal showing in Knoxville last year the Dogs definitely will be looking to make Barbara regret wearing orange at Sanford Stadium.
And then there’s Georgia Tech. While the Dogs upset the ACC champions in Atlanta in 2009, the last time Paul Johnson brought his triple option to Athens it didn’t turn out so well. Of course, Willie Martinez is not in charge of Georgia’s defense any more. But the Jackets definitely will be keying on this game even more than usual (which is a lot).
So which game on the 2010 schedule looks toughest to you besides the one in Jacksonville? South Carolina? Arkansas? Tennessee? Auburn? Tech?
Feel free to comment, vote in the poll or both.
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