The UGA season game by game: Nine wins, coming right up

Russ the Temporary Mascot is ruff and ready. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Ready: Russ the Temporary Mascot. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Sept. 4, Louisiana-Lafayette: The offense will look great. The defense will look ferocious. Aaron Murray will throw two touchdown passes, one to Logan Gray, whom Murray beat out for the quarterback job. Georgia fans will seize on this game as evidence that the Bulldogs are better than they’ve been at any time since 2002 if not 1980, but we have to remember the opponent. Prediction: Georgia 45, La-La 10.

Sept. 11, at South Carolina: Mark Richt hasn’t lost in Columbia, but he has had three very close calls. (The Pollack snatch-and-grab in 2002, the comeback in 2004, the narrow escape in 2008.) This is the biggest game of Steve Spurrier’s tenure in Columbia,and the Evil Genius surely has one last trick left. The Gamecock D flusters Murray on a day when neither team scores much. Prediction: South Carolina 16, Georgia 13.

Sept. 18, Arkansas: Through two games, Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense has held up its end. Here’s where the D wobbles. This is the Razorbacks’ first real game, and it’s one Bobby Petrino and Ryan Mallett have long awaited. For all his excesses, Petrino can design an offense, and Mallett is a a thrower of the first rank. It won’t quite be the Dogs-Hogs shootout of last season, but it will be close. Prediction: Arkansas 31, Georgia 27.

Sept. 25, at Mississippi State: Georgia has two losses. The other Bulldogs, who will have already played Auburn and LSU, could have two losses. And Georgia must travel to Starkville and endure the mellifluous strains of the cowbell. But here’s where the Bulldogs and Murray start to grow up. What seems another scary road test becomes instead just another of those Richt road triumphs. Prediction: Georgia 24, Mississippi State 17.

Oct. 2, at Colorado: The Buffaloes will be honoring the 1990 team, which won the Associated Press national championship. (Georgia Tech, you’ll recall, took the UPI title.) Richt is already fretting that Colorado and its crowd will be pumped for the occasion. Big deal. It’s still only Colorado, which finished 3-9 last season and figures to be looking for a new coach soon. Prediction: Georgia 30, Colorado 17.

Oct. 9, Tennessee: This will be one of the strangest days in Georgia history. Vince Dooley’s son brings his team to play in the house Vince-didn’t-quite-build-but-expanded-a-bunch-of-times. And Tennessee, which has beaten Georgia four times since 2003, has become a nemesis. Not this time. Derek Dooley’s team was picked to finish behind Kentucky in the SEC East, for good reason. Prediction: Georgia 30, Tennessee 10.

Oct. 16, Vanderbilt: Georgia is rolling now, and Vanderbilt isn’t a team capable of stopping the surge. The Commodores have a new coach but the same players, and the reason Bobby Johnson stepped aside in July was the reality of all his hard work resulting in a 2-10 season in 2009. This is the day the Georgia offense really gets going, the day a victory over Florida begins to seem possible. Prediction: Georgia 45, Vanderbilt 3.

Oct. 23, at Kentucky: Trouble is, Georgia still has a week to go before it heads to Jacksonville, and first it must make a stop at Commonwealth Stadium. This seems a classic look-ahead game, when means there’s danger involved, but we must recall that the Wildcats are working under a new coach in Joker Phillips and don’t appear primed for a big year. Georgia wobbles but prevails. Prediction: Georgia 24, Kentucky 19.

Bradley's forecast is:

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Oct. 30, Florida at Jacksonville: Every Bulldog season comes down to this game, and Georgia, having won five in a row, goes to Jax believing this is finally the year the series turns. The Gators have no Tim Tebow, no Brandon Spikes, no Charlie Strong. They do still have Urban Meyer and an array of talent the Bulldogs can’t quite match. Maybe it’ll be different in 2011. Prediction: Florida 21, Georgia 20.

Nov. 6, Idaho State: ISU’s nickname is the Bengals. It won once in 2009. Its victory was in the season finale against Portland State, which finished 2-9. Its first two games of 2009 resulted in losses to Arizona State and Oklahoma by the aggregate tally of 114-3. It is coached by John Zamberlin, who’s 5-29 in three seasons in Pocatello. Georgia will set some records this day. Prediction: Georgia 70, Idaho State 3.

Nov. 13, at Auburn: It was the second-biggest win in a strange season. Georgia fell behind Auburn 14-0 at home and was poised to slip to 5-5, but the Bulldogs rallied to win 31-24 last November. (Then they lost to Kentucky the next week. Like I said: Strange season.) This time the game’s at Auburn, which doesn’t mean much in this series. And Georgia has better players. Prediction: Georgia 28, Auburn 20.

Nov. 27, Georgia Tech: The biggest win of 2009 was the emphatic back-to-basics defeat of the Jackets, who were ranked No. 7 in the nation. The belief here is that Georgia will be far better this season and that Tech won’t be quite as good. The belief here is that Georgia, having started the season 1-2, will wind up 9-3 and stamp itself as one of the teams to beat in 2011. Prediction: Georgia 27, Tech 24.

This was another sneak peek into Sunday’s special AJC College Football Section, which will appear in the print AJC. The 34-page section will preview Tech, Georgia, Georgia State, the SEC and ACC, top games, Heisman candidates and more.


378 comments Add your comment

Tom, Resident Georgia Fan

August 28th, 2010
10:16 am

No, we will do better and win in Jaxville.

Benjamin

August 28th, 2010
10:17 am

SoZo

August 28th, 2010
10:17 am

Richt’s 7-2 against Spurrier at SC and 39-5 on the road. He gets SC on the road, where he wins 88% of his games. Lakatos’ D at UCONN shut down Spurrier in the Bowl game.

Richt’s 5-0 against Arkansas. Mallet plays poorly on the road, completes just 40% of his passes. Mallet didn’t play well against the 3-4 last season.

Florida is down, without Tebow & Strong, they’ll go 9-3, or 8-4. With a loss ot Georgia, in fact, it will be a 20 point blowout, as will the SC & Ark games.

Sticking wiht your thinking Mark, if Georgia’s past history of success and domination has no effect for SC & Ark, why should past succes help Florida?

D.Brown

August 28th, 2010
10:18 am

smh…glad u have it all figured out. now i dont have to watch

Mark Bradley

August 28th, 2010
10:18 am

Kudos, Benjamin.

Benjamin

August 28th, 2010
10:19 am

AHHH! Denied by Tom, the Resident Georgia Fan. That was to be my first “first” in some time. [...angry fist aimed at the sky.]

I’ve always been a Dawg, but Georgia’s going to have to get things together off the field before I consider them to be a threat on it this year. When your best guys spend ample time in NCAA investigations and the police blotter during a pivotal offseason, it’s not a good sign. I’ve always been a supporter of Coach Richt, but I’m starting to wane a little in that regard.

There has to be some institutional control in there somewhere, and I’m not seeing it.

Tom, Resident Georgia Fan

August 28th, 2010
10:20 am

Mark, now you can clearly see the kudos go to me.

Jo C

August 28th, 2010
10:20 am

I don’t see it. South Carolina can’t run, and gets 7 wins a year. There just an average team. Spurrier doesn’t even know who his QB will be.

Arkansas can’t play defense. Georgia will unload on them 50 points and 500 yards of offense.

Egg Management Fee

August 28th, 2010
10:21 am

Mark,…..put down the crack pipe man. Nadlickers headed for an 8-4 record,..which will be good little season for them.The soft schedule will help. Payback for last years upset win is coming,…they know it,..you should too,..just pandering to the larger audience,..we understand.

In CPJ We Trust,….THWG!

DBrown

August 28th, 2010
10:21 am

Benjamin

August 28th, 2010
10:22 am

MB, I’m going to have to tip the kudos intended for me over toward Thomas the Bulldog. He beat me by a [pug] nose…

SugarHillDawg

August 28th, 2010
10:23 am

I will wager ANY amount we don’t lose to both SC and Arky!!!!!

Bride of Chucky Knapp

August 28th, 2010
10:23 am

I’m worried about Bama. I know we don’t play them this year; but, I’m afraid the SEC officials will still charge us with a loss anyway.

dawgfan

August 28th, 2010
10:23 am

The crap about South Carolina sounds like a broken record. We hear the same exact thing almost verbatim every single year. Its always the biggest game of Spurrier’s tenure there. We’ve always got some chink in the armor that they are going to expose. Its always going to be a challenge for us in Columbia. You probably just copied and pasted that from a previous preseason prediction. Its like freaking de ja vu. South Carolina is a total poser. Please spare me.

The records is right but the losses are wrong.

Lousiana Lafayette W
South Carolina W
Arkansas L
Mississippi State W
Colorodo W
Tennessee W
Vanderbilt W
Kentucky W
Florida L
Idaho State W
Auburn L
Joke by Coke W

Outback Bowl: W

10-3.

Trane

August 28th, 2010
10:24 am

2001/2002 Richt bounced back to finish #3. 2006/2007 bounced back to finish #2. 2009/2010 bounced back to finish______?

Hogan

August 28th, 2010
10:28 am

new results form our survey.

Most AntiGeorgia Journalist Cup Unofficial Survey:
1- Kirk Herbstreit 37%
2- Craig James 29%
3- Mark Bradley 28&
4- Chris Low 27%
5- Jeff Schultz 25%
6- Mark Schlacter 24%
7- Tony Barnhart 22%

UGA ALL THE WAY

August 28th, 2010
10:28 am

Not to sure on some of those picks but basically the same idea. i see the dawgs going 10-2, with a win @ florida or south carolina.

Benjamin

August 28th, 2010
10:29 am

Uhh, Egg Management, I’m not sure a crack-pipe reference is worthy of the difference between 9-3 and 8-4. lol 9-3 and 6-6? Certainly…

The biggest stumbling block for Georgia this year, aside from any NCAA fallout or the offensive line getting arrested, is having an untested freshman at quarterback. Murray’s talented, and he does get a little bit of a reprieve with La-Lafayette in Athens, but going to South Carolina immediately thereafter will be something of a test for the kid. Arkansas could be another…

I think Georgia will go 9-3 also, though I think we get past either the lesser [...now perhaps greater? Nah...] USC or Arkansas and lose to either Auburn or Georgia Tech at the end of the season. Florida beats us, too.

Johnny DangerDawg

August 28th, 2010
10:29 am

I do have to agree with MB that South Carolina, Arkansas, and Florida will be the 3 most difficult games for the Dawgs.

Furman Bishop

August 28th, 2010
10:30 am

Mr. Bradley, if you are correct, and Richt, notice I did not say UGA, loses to both Spurrier and Petrino, you can kiss both that 9 win prediction and Bozo’s worthless A$$ goodby. Richt will want to buy another year. Like I say, I am looking forward to a very entertaining year.

Mark Bradley

August 28th, 2010
10:30 am

Whoops. My apologies — and belated kudos — to Tom, Resident Georgia Fan.

Oh Dear

August 28th, 2010
10:32 am

That dog aint lookin good. Better have a back-up dog and some paint handy.

how2fish

August 28th, 2010
10:33 am

I think we beat Kentucky this year by a boatload..the rest is all possible. But I don’t seeing us losing to USC and Ark both if we are healthy.

Steve

August 28th, 2010
10:33 am

Mark, I like it. However I think the three losses will be to SC, UF, and AU. I will take a 9-3 record though going into the bowl season. If UGA does that, do you see them as a top five or top ten team to start 2011?

Johnny DangerDawg

August 28th, 2010
10:34 am

Any chance the Dawgs put a good old-fashioned beatdown on Tennessee this year? Derek Dooley needs a couple years to recruit some good players, and his team is very vulnerable this year. The Dawgs should be hitting their stride by the midpoint of the season, and UT will never have as bad of a talent disadvantage as they do this year.

Trane

August 28th, 2010
10:35 am

Grantham’s the guy Saban tried to hire, TWICE, to run his D, once at Mich St, again at Miami. Saban’s been bring Grantham in to coach Alabama in the off-seasons.

Grantham’s an instant results guy.

Took Colts from 3-13 to 13-3 in his 1st season.

Took Browns from 4-10 to 10-6 in 1st season.

Grantham’s the real deal folks.

Belin’s LB’s consistently win all conference.

Lakaotas’ DB’s at UCOnn consistently finish in the top 10 for pass efficiency in the nation, and beat out Alabama’s DB’s in 2008.

joe

August 28th, 2010
10:36 am

Jittery freshmen qbs don’t equate to 9 or 10 wins…either 7 or 8 at most.

Mark Bradley

August 28th, 2010
10:37 am

I do think Georgia will be a preseason top 10 team in 2011, Steve. I even said as much on WABE this week.

Trane

August 28th, 2010
10:37 am

How bout those special teams for Georgia?

Best punter, best kicker, best kick returner.

T-MAN

August 28th, 2010
10:37 am

Please…The fleabags will will lucky to finish 8-4,and will certainly head for a 2nd tier bowl…they may not end up with enough players to field a team,based on their history.

dawgfan

August 28th, 2010
10:37 am

Stafford=Jittery freshmen QB in 2006. Result? 9 wins.

You are dismissed. Next…

Egg Management Fee

August 28th, 2010
10:39 am

Ben,…the pipe reference speaks directly to 11/27/10.

THWG!!

Johnny DangerDawg

August 28th, 2010
10:39 am

joe,
I agree with you that people need to cool their expectations for a freshman QB. I think the veteran QBs at South Carolina and Arkansas give those teams the best shot at beating the Dawgs.

destin dawg

August 28th, 2010
10:39 am

Dawgs and GT should meet with only 1 or 2 losses….both Div Champs.. I hope.. Go Dawgs 1!!

destin dawg

August 28th, 2010
10:41 am

Trane is right about our new coaches!!!

Trane

August 28th, 2010
10:41 am

How bout that Georgia offense?

WR’s 4 guys who average over 16 ypc. AJ Green (#1 in NCAA).

TE’s 3 guys who average over 15 ypc, Olson, White.

RB’s King & Ealey who average 5.5 ypc as a tandem (#5 tandem in NCAA).

FB Chapas (ranked top 5 in NCAA).

OL with 155 starts (#1 in NCAA). Gave up 11 sacks, got over 225 yards rushing per game over last 5 games.

Steve

August 28th, 2010
10:42 am

Zier, Greene, Stafford are all freshman QB’s who did a fine job in their first year. 9 wins before a bowl is very possible.

asheville dawg

August 28th, 2010
10:43 am

If UGA starts 1-2, everyone will need their crying towels early. I think we get by either South Carolina or Arkansas.

Scott W.

August 28th, 2010
10:44 am

Shut up, Bradley.

destin dawg

August 28th, 2010
10:45 am

Egg Management degree…. new GT high tech major !!!! How funny !!

Benjamin

August 28th, 2010
10:46 am

Gotcha, Egg. [...good luck in that one. We've certainly had some classics in our head-to-head matchups recently.]

It’s going to be an interesting year, no matter how one chooses to slice it, for UGA. Time will tell, as it always does…

Moose

August 28th, 2010
10:47 am

Mark Richt has never had 2 seasons in a row ehre he didn’t finish in the top 10 since 1986.

Benjamin

August 28th, 2010
10:47 am

MB, after the offseason we’ve had, I’m not sure we could survive a 1-2 start. IF we were to start 1-2 and still win 9 games, I’d think that Richt would have to have a pretty tall feather in his cap; that would take a lot of mental resilience on the team’s part, I believe.

Y Park

August 28th, 2010
10:50 am

Houston will be in talks for the Heisman, he’s going to have a MONSTER season. You never hear a LINEBACKER in talks for a Heisman, but you will this year. Justin Houston, could get 20 sacks, look out.

NoGaGator

August 28th, 2010
10:51 am

dawfan, based on the schedule from here, I agree with you at 9-3 (either SC or Ark, UF and AU).

In order to do that though, Murray is going to have to improve a lot from the reports of his recent scrimmage.

Gatorbait 17-3

August 28th, 2010
10:51 am

South Carolina
is just about right low scoring, with Carolina on top

Arkansas
will be a shoot out, 2 unproven defenses, but the Hogs have just too much
offense and the dawgs can’t keep up.

Miss. State
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is not a gimmy, MS gave Gators all they wanted and played much better than Georgia did against the Gators last year. MS will be even better this year, so watch out. It’s another away game for Murray and you won’t believe how loud those cow bell are!

Tenn.

This will be interesting, and a bit of a look at the Jacksonville game. The Gators play Tenn in Knoxville 9/18 and the dawgs have them at home-I know you can’t draw too many conclusions from this, but they are a mutual opponent

Kentucky
If the dawgs aren’t hitting on all cylinders by now, this could be trouble

Florida
This will be closer than people think, but with two weeks to prepare for the dawgs,
the Gators by 7-10

At present both Auburn and GT are ranked ahead ot the dawgs, and should be favored unless Georgia has less than 3 losses.

Best case 8-3, worse case—get ready to duck—-7-5——ouch!

Randall

August 28th, 2010
10:54 am

The 3-4 will take people by surprise this year, they havn’t seen it. That advantage, will more than outweigh any disadavantage of having a young QB. I like the D to dominate immediately because it’s new, no one’s seen it before.

Gatorbait 17-3

August 28th, 2010
10:57 am

Randall

The Gators run both, so I know they have seen it. Do you really think these SEC have never seen a 3-4 defense, schemes don’t win coaching and good players win.

17 of 20

August 28th, 2010
10:57 am

Florida will win 48 to 7

Gatorbait 17-3

August 28th, 2010
10:58 am

opps, SEC coaches