Which of the Dawgs’ 2013 games are you most looking forward to?

Will Todd Gurley be a difference-maker against Clemson? (Associated Press)

Will Todd Gurley be a difference-maker against Clemson? (Associated Press)

Recently, Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated was asked which nonconference game of 2013 he was most looking forward to, and he ranked Georgia vs. Clemson at the top of his list, ahead of Oklahoma-Notre Dame, Notre Dame-Michigan, LSU-TCU (the Aug. 31 Cowboys Classic) and Florida-Miami.

Said Mandel of the Aug. 31 pairing of the Bulldogs and Tigers: “This sporadically re-continued regional rivalry takes on national importance this season, as it’s likely to pit two preseason Top 10 teams and two potential first-round quarterbacks, Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd. It should also feature a healthy heaping of Tigers receiver Sammy Watkins and strangely overlooked Dawgs running back Todd Gurley. (As a freshman, Gurley ran for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns, including 122 yards and two scores in the SEC title game against Alabama.) The winner will gain serious legitimacy going forward, especially if either Georgia’s reloading defense or Clemson’s perennially up-and-down unit can slow the other’s offense. Expect a 45-42 kind of game.”

That’s a pretty fair assessment of this year’s opener for Mark Richt’s Dawgs, and there’s no doubt that, from a fan viewpoint, Georgia-Clemson is the most anticipated nonconference game for UGA in years, easily outdistancing recent pairings with Boise State and Oklahoma State. Not to mention, this may be the last regular-season opportunity for the two former yearly rivals to meet if the SEC does indeed go to nine conference games, as many expect.

But as flashy a matchup as Georgia-Clemson is this year, it’s still a nonconference game, and for many in the Bulldog Nation the games that generally mean the most are those inside the SEC.

So, does the potential pairing of two Top 10 teams in Clemson outshine all those important conference games on Georgia’s schedule this year?

Or are you more looking forward to, say, South Carolina visiting Athens? There are several compelling storylines in that game, including Steve Spurrier’s attempt to win four in a row in the series, the giant question of how the Georgia offense will handle Jadeveon Clowney, and the fact that the winner will be the favorite to win the SEC East (though, as the Gamecocks have found out the past two years, that’s not necessarily a guarantee!).

Of course, there’s another compelling SEC game on Georgia’s overstuffed September 2013 schedule, with LSU coming to Athens. That one will mark the return of strong-armed Zach Mettenberger Between the Hedges, where the Athens area native last wowed fans in a G-Day performance that marked the height of his UGA career before getting kicked off the team.

Then there’s the annual grudge match in Jacksonville with the Gators, which always is a high point for many fans. With former Bulldog-turned-Florida coach Will Muschamp practically promising his fan base that the Bulldogs won’t make it three in a row over the Gators — and a spot in the SEC Championship Game likely hanging in the balance — this one should be even bigger than usual.

As much as I love the Georgia-Clemson rivalry (and wish the two schools could find a way to continue it), I think I have to go with Georgia-South Carolina as the game I’m most looking forward to this season.

How about you?

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86 comments Add your comment

James

May 22nd, 2013
9:49 am

just to go with the flow…first

JoeyHanie

May 22nd, 2013
9:49 am

James

May 22nd, 2013
9:49 am

AltamahaDawg

May 22nd, 2013
9:50 am

The SECCG against TAMU.

Wes

May 22nd, 2013
9:56 am

Clemson. I sincerely hope and pray our boys show up to play ball. This game will be one for the ages and if we don’t show up… it will be Boise State allllllll over again. I just can’t take that. Let’s get it done, Dawgs! FINISH THE DRILL

Dawg_Mike

May 22nd, 2013
9:57 am

The game I am looking most forward to is the first game. Cant play but one at a time. Compelling matchup against Clemson. GATA

dawggirl

May 22nd, 2013
9:57 am

Whichever one makes us look the best. I think right now I’m most looking forward to Clemson, only because that mean the long wait is finally over! Only 99 days to SEC Football!

dawggirl

May 22nd, 2013
9:58 am

*means

Sorry, my computer is being difficult.

awreed

May 22nd, 2013
10:09 am

The BCS NC game!

joker

May 22nd, 2013
10:25 am

I wish the SEC would go back to 10 teams and get rid of misfit TAMU, Arky, Mizzou, and USC(east), play nine conference games and have a real champion.

Skokie Dog

May 22nd, 2013
10:54 am

North Texas!!! There’s nothing like a cupcake game to reinforce the optimism of the gang here at the Blawg. They’ll have AM in the driver’s seat for the Heisman trophy after that game’s statistics are compiled.

True DAWG

May 22nd, 2013
11:09 am

South Carolina- hands down ! four in a row will be a huge disgrace for Richt and red and black nation!!!

Desert Fox

May 22nd, 2013
11:10 am

The first game vs Clemson w/all the hype, two good teams, first game of the season, will the dawgs D be ready and the Offense get out of the gate early and sustain drives for the win. Yet, the SC game is a conference game and more important in terms of winning the div and a shot at the SECCG. Plus, losing again to the evil genious would be very hard to take. So, its SC and Clowney, which is the game I’m looking forward to early in the season w/Clemson very close behind.

7576DAWG

May 22nd, 2013
11:38 am

I know the reason you play tough games early is to give you an excuse if you lose to them but I would prefer to play our hard game later when our players should already know the play book and they have learned that when they miss an assignment it will cost the team. Playing a team like Clemson , who will probably end up winning 9 or 10 games is crazy. Georgia is playing the ACC’s best in the first game. We have nothing to gain and everything to lose. If we win, nothing because we were suppose to win. If we lose Georgia drop’s from 7TH in the polls to 18TH. Then if we lose to either South Carolina or L.S.U. we will be lucky to still be in the top 25. I know you can’t hide in the SEC. Unlike most Conference where you only have to beat 1 to 3 hard teams , in the SEC you have to beat 4 to 7. To play legitimate top ten teams early is just crazy. Let Ohio State , another good Big Ten team , Pac -12 or Big -12 team play hard opening games to satisfy the media demands. They need a third or fourth hard game . Now if Georgia was to lose to a good team like Clemson after September then so be it. We should have been ready . The better team won. But whether Georgia was to beat them in the opening game or the 6TH game it will not help Georgia any in the polls.

Dawg72

May 22nd, 2013
11:47 am

Clemson with no natural rivals except USC and being in the inferior ACC will be hyped for us especially the first game at home. Hell they are still drunk from the LSU bowl game. Just think how good they will feel about themselves if we don’t bring our A game. What they need to do is find a way to consistently beat FSU for the rinky dink ACC title. Meanwhile, you want to talk about rivalries we got a lot of other fish to fry with USC, Fla, auburn and GT.

AltamahaDawg

May 22nd, 2013
12:24 pm

Darn, Skokie, perhaps Bill should ask which game are you looking forward to losing the most. That would be right in your wheelhouse.

BigDawg

May 22nd, 2013
12:32 pm

One at a time- So Clemson is the game I am looking forward to most at this point.

Go Dawgs

AltamahaDawg

May 22nd, 2013
12:37 pm

I think it’s pretty evenly split as if we are “supposed” to beat a top 10 team, the road.
This is a long was from a no-respect win/embarrassing loss.

Macclenny _dawg

May 22nd, 2013
12:38 pm

The one to look forward to is always the next. It is and always will be the most important!!! Go Dawgs!!!

AltamahaDawg

May 22nd, 2013
12:39 pm

I’d like to know what anybody sees in Clemson that says they will be ready for sure, in such a big game to start. I think there is a lot more pressure on them. Or that their defense will be able to stop us.

Sam

May 22nd, 2013
12:49 pm

Maybe AltamahDawg did not see Clemson play last year. Loaded offensively. Clemson usually starts well and has a mid to late season hiccup or collapse. Not sure either defense will really stop the other teams offense. That said it will probably end up 17-13.

Owen Scott, III

May 22nd, 2013
1:22 pm

South Carolina, of course, followed by LSU- as you know, I’ve lived down in Baton Rouge a long, long time (it’s 31 years now), giving me a close-up view of the Tigers every year. I consider them to be the most fanatical of all SEC fans and that says something.

old junkyard DAWG

May 22nd, 2013
3:08 pm

OUR DAWGS NEED TO HAVE THERE MINDS RIGHT FROM THE START,HUNKER DOWN AND GEEEEEETSOME!

ValricoDawg

May 22nd, 2013
3:55 pm

I am looking forward to the WLOCP. That has always been my favorite game of the year. I would definitely would like to end the 3 game losing streak to USCeast but not the game I am most looking forward to.

Richt owns Auburn

May 22nd, 2013
4:33 pm

Looking forward to another victory at Auburn since we have to play there two years in a row. We are going to spank them again in their house. Love it!

KansasJake

May 22nd, 2013
6:34 pm

Aaron Murray plays terrible against top 20 type teams (1-11 record)

So look for Murray to be l;icking his chops for the cupcakes to stuff his stat sheet:
Appalachian St–look out, Murray will try and throw for 6 td’s
North Texas State- Murray will attempt to break a 200 passer rating
Kentucky- Murray will try and throw for 400 yards

But yeah Bill, there is one game Mettenberger has been waiting a LONG TIME to play, and based on how Mett destoryed the Bama defense, he should destroy Aaron Murray.

Mett vs Murray, the revenge game–CIRCLE IT IN RED.

Spurrier vs. Grantham–Spurrier owns Grantham 3-0 so far. Grantham needs revenge.

Boyd vs. Murray–the Heisman moment for one Qb–let’s face it, Murray doesn’t play well vs. top 20 teams–EVER.

Gators vs. Dawgs– Muschamp seeks revenge after 0-2 start vs Richt.

Bulldawg35

May 22nd, 2013
7:48 pm

The chickens of course….I don’t look forward to it though!!! Because I believe they will beat us again. Spurrier has found a way to beat us since the 90’s…and will continue to do so

Natureboy809

May 22nd, 2013
7:48 pm

Florida is still our #1 enemy in the SEC. Period.

Bulldawg35

May 22nd, 2013
7:58 pm

Florida….Clemson and SC…I think will be definite losses for us this year….I just think Grantham is in over his head…he is not what we thought he was going to be…I don’t see much improvement over willie…we only have improved in forcing turnovers and that’s it

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

May 22nd, 2013
8:06 pm

Ohio St vs……………..

Buffalo— is very intriguing

San Diego St— looks like a nail biter

Florida A&M—- will come down to the wire

Cal— should be close call

Northwestern goodness what tough opponent

Wisconsin now there’s a team you better be ready for

Iowa—- whoa hang on to your hats Buckeyes

Indiana—- now that is a football program that knows football tradition

Illinois— what is there to say, one of the best football programs in history

Perdue— You might want to keep your seats

With teams like those its no wonder Ohio St and Michigan have won 78 Big Joke 10 Conference Championships the past 100 years

Man that is one powerful conference

Thank God for Reggie Ball

May 22nd, 2013
8:22 pm

Ranking the games in terms of how much importance I put on them:

1. Florida
2. Clemson
3. LSU
4. South Carolina
5. Vanderbilt
6. Tennessee

after that its all pretty irrelevant…unless you drop one of them.

That ranking is just purely off of importance to team standings and positioning in the conference, and ultimately national title race. Of course in terms of emotional importance, I would sill have Georgia tech in my top 3.

Thank God for Reggie Ball

May 22nd, 2013
8:26 pm

@KansasJake

let me assure you I have absolutely 0 fear of Zach MESSenberger. I have some fear of LSU’s defense, running game, and coach, but positively NONE of the Messmeister.

Last year with basically the same supporting casts offensively, Murray-3893 yds 36 TDs…. Messmeister-2609 yds 12 TDs…

Im shaking in my boots…

Thank God for Reggie Ball

May 22nd, 2013
8:48 pm

@7576DAWG

I agree with that to a degree, but I also get sick of watching Alabama play Georgia State and Western Kentucky, and Florida spend the first 3 weeks seeing Bowling Green and the Citadel…

We still have North Texas and App St on the schedule, and I disagree with the idea that we wouldnt move up in the polls by beating Clemson. By the CBS Sports preseason rankings, UGA is 6th with Clemson at 12. The 5 teams ahead of UGA are Bama, Oregon, TAMU, Stanford and OSU. Those teams open that day with Buffalo, Rice, Nicholls St, and a down Va Tech team…you may not move up to the top 2, but a win could easily get you to #3 or 4.

KansasJake

May 22nd, 2013
10:33 pm

Give me a break, feel free to list here the head to head stats vs Bama:

Mett: 79% completion, 2 td’s, o int’s
Murray: 54%, 1 td, 1 int: another Choke a rama (#12 loss of 13 games vs top 20 ranked teams for Murray’s 3 year career at UGA)

Mett has already beaten more top 20 ranked teams than Murray has in 3 years.

Mett will annihilate Murray in the big game, then again, so does every other Qb.

KansasJake

May 22nd, 2013
10:35 pm

Watch the old GDay game to see how Mett destroyed Murray head to head.

Richt too dumb to pick the Qb who plays big in big games.

Murray cost UGA a Natl Champ in 2012.

My-Guy

May 22nd, 2013
10:35 pm

Ranking UGA 2013 Schedule Top 7 Games from easiest to most difficult from all the years I’ve been watching my dawgs. From what I’ve learned, this is the order, no matter what anybody else says.

7. Vanderbilt- Last time UGA played in Vanderbilt Stadium, Georgia escaped 33-28 with a Drew Butler saving tackle and the first play was ALMOST caught for a TD but it went across the WR’s finger tips. It won’t get any easier this time since Vanderbilt has came off of two straight bowl appearances, finishing 9-4 last year. James Franklin gets more and more aggressive each year. They return most of their roster from last years team except Stacy & Rodgers.

My-Guy

May 22nd, 2013
10:36 pm

Ranking UGA 2013 Schedule Top 7 Games from easiest to most difficult from all the years I’ve been watching my dawgs. From what I’ve learned, this is the order, no matter what anybody else says.

6. Auburn- The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry will be held at Jordan-Hare Stadium for a second straight year, this time the game will be much closer than last season. The series is tied 54-54-8 now & Gus Malzhn will play us hard. It won’t be a blowout like last two years because of Chizik. First year coaches have given Mark Richt trouble before, ask Urban Meyer in 2005 or Paul Johnson in 2008. The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is VERY unpredictable. They’ve been very close hard fought games with LOTS of *upset bids* Go back to the 1999 or 2006 UGA-Auburn games, 7 more years later, 2013! It can’t be taken lightly.

KansasJake

May 22nd, 2013
10:37 pm

Look for Murray to beat his careeer best ( vs Powerhouse New Mexico State) against powerhouse…..

North Texas State.

Murray always has career days against the cupcakes….

and CHOKES against the big boys….

THAT’S ARRON “CHOKE A RAMA” Murray.

My-Guy

May 22nd, 2013
10:38 pm

Ranking UGA 2013 Schedule Top 7 Games from easiest to most difficult from all the years I’ve been watching my dawgs. From what I’ve learned, this is the order, no matter what anybody else says.
5. Tennessee- Another dangerous SEC road game will be taken place at Neyland Stadium, whch is NOT an easy place to place what-so-ever. Last time UGA played up there, we held on to a 20-12 victory. However, in 2012, we ESCAPED a 5-7 Tennessee team with a 51-44 win. It won’t be any easier in 2013 with Derek Dooley being replaced by Butch Jones, who is firing up the fans & players big time. We all know that the first week of October road games have been tough for UGA lately under Richt. In 2007 Tennessee upset UGA 35-14 which completely shattered our SEC/NC title hopes, same with 2004 with that 19-14 stunning upset in Athens. In 2009, UGA got blown out by a 7-6 Tennessee team 45-19 in Neyland Stadium. This speaks volumes once again. UGA-Tennessee games have usually been close lately here. That’s why Mark Richt said it should be included in the Clemson, South Carolina, & LSU category.

My-Guy

May 22nd, 2013
10:40 pm

Ranking UGA 2013 Schedule Top 7 Games from easiest to most difficult from all the years I’ve been watching my dawgs. From what I’ve learned, this is the order, no matter what anybody else says.

4. LSU- The Bayou Bengals and ‘Aint fans will be coming back to Athens once again, and they’ve beaten us the last two meetings in heart-breaking & blow-out fashion. After the LSU-Clemson game in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Zack Mettenberger said “This whole year is going to eat me off the whole off season.” Mettenberger is getting motivated big time with all the people criticizing him, and it will be LSU’s first big SEC road game of the 2013 season. They’ll be looking forward to ruin our SEC plans. Mettenberger will go hard on us in Athens revenge minded, as a 2nd year starter at LSU, he will be a much improved QB, especially under Cam Cameron. LSU has never been an easy SEC team to beat as long as Les Miles has been the coach.

My-Guy

May 22nd, 2013
10:44 pm

Ranking UGA 2013 Schedule Top 7 Games from easiest to most difficult from all the years I’ve been watching my dawgs. From what I’ve learned, this is the order, no matter what anybody else says.

3. Clemson- This will be the first game of the 2013 college football season, and lately, Mark Richt’s teams tends to have a history of starting out slow. In 2012, UGA gave up 23 points to a small Buffalo team at home but hanged on for a 45-23 victory. However, look back at the last two ODD years Georgia has played a season opener against ranked opponents. #5 Boise State 2011 L 35-21 #9 Oklahoma State 2009 L10-24. Georgia has NOT won a season opener against a ranked opponent since 2005 against Boise State at home. Plus UGA has not won consecutive season openers since 2007-2008. The 2013 Clemson team will be in Death Valley as a ranked #11 team and it will be much tougher on the dawgs if we have a slow start again. Coming off of an upset against LSU gives them a lot of momentum during the off season to prepare for us. College Gameday will be there with lots of hype coming into the hostile environment, if UGA wants the national media/ESPN to respect us. We have to prove it to them right on the field. The good news is that Mark Richt has only lost to an ACC opponent one time. The bad news is that the road game could be as dangerous as South Carolina in 2012 (really loud). It’s going to be one of the hugest games of the 2013 college football season.

Thank God for Reggie Ball

May 23rd, 2013
7:38 am

@KansasJake

Mess getting kicked off the team was the best thing to ever happen to UGA football. Guy is a mental train wreck and will be lucky to end up with more TDs than INTs overall while Murray will more than triple his INTs with TDs.

If we base a players entire resume off of one game, then Jarvis Jones is garbage and the Mess is the greatest QB in the history of college football. However, we with football intelligence know that is not the case. Mess would be the 3rd QB on the depth chart for UGA in ‘13.

Thank God for Reggie Ball

May 23rd, 2013
7:49 am

@KansasJake

I’ll say it again, LSU may win in Athens, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit. They have the better defense and OL, but Zach Messmeister will be lucky to throw for 150 and it will be cause for great celebration amongst LSU fans if he throws a TD in the game.

Murray had 2 bad games last year: South Carolina and Florida
Mess had 6: South Carolina, Florida, Texas A&M, Clemson, Ole Miss, and the mighty Auburn Tigers

Logan

May 23rd, 2013
8:03 am

I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited for a nonconference game as I am for the Clemson match-up. It has all of the makings of a classic. I sincerely hope that the odds-makers continue to favor Clemson. It alleviates a small amount of pressure, as well as potentially firing up some of our guys during workouts/practice. That’s my most anticipated overall, but as far as conference games, its SCAR all day long. It seems that its been too long since the Dawgs were responsible for a visor throw.

AltamahaDawg

May 23rd, 2013
10:28 am

Yea, I saw Clemson play. They had a pretty questionable defense, especially in the backfield and nothing I have read seems to indicate it is going to be significantly better back there. I ALSO saw UGA’s offense play last year, and it defines “loaded” this year.

As far as early season, they “usually” play pretty easy games to open, and the last time they didn’t, they lost pretty bad. Last year, They lost to the first good team they played, that was not a mid-late season “hiccup”.

So, I think I asked a pretty reasonable question.

Bulldogs for Muschamp Lifetime Contract

May 23rd, 2013
1:23 pm

kansas jake

Give it up son. You are a big idiotic moron

Murray will break every UGA record this year
Mett will lose in Athens and his mommy will still love working for Coach Richt
Murray will close out his career with a win over Spurrier
Murray will end up 3-1 versus Florida
Murray will lead UGA to the SEC title over Bama
Murray will lead us to a BCS title over Urban Crier Meyer and the overrated Suckeyes

Deal with it hater troll

KansasJake

May 23rd, 2013
2:25 pm

Murray, the big gamer, what a laugher! The kid’s a choke a rama.

0-2 in SEC Championships
0-3 vs. Spurrier
0-1 vs. Miles
0-1 vs. Saban
1-10 vs teams that finish top 20 in AP Poll
2-12 lifetime vs. top 25 ranked teams

The kid beats up on teams like New Mexico St, his stats are bogus.

KansasJake

May 23rd, 2013
2:30 pm

Mett brought it against Nick Saban and had an almost perfect game, completed near 80%, and threw for 2 td’s and 0 int’s.

Murray vs Saban? 54%, 1 td, 1 int. Forget to spike ball to stop clock. Tipped pass to end the Natl Championship hopes.

CHOKE A RAMA.

KansasJake

May 23rd, 2013
2:32 pm

mURRAY IS ALSO 1-2 IN bOWL GAMES.

Bulldogs for Muschamp Lifetime Contract

May 23rd, 2013
2:35 pm

Forget to spike ball to stop clock

*************************************

Did what the coaches told him to do

You are a moron