Can the Georgia Bulldogs Contend Again in 2018?

Swinging Johnson

Monday, January 8, 2018 4:24 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 8, 2018 4:24 PM UTC

The Georgia Bulldogs exceeded all expectations this season under the masterful command of former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. The question is: Can they do it again next season?

2018 Georgia Schedule (2017 record in parentheses)
  • Sept. 1 vs. Austin Peay (Div 1-AA 8-4)
  • Sept. 8 at South Carolina (9-4)
  • Sept. 15 vs. Middle Tennessee State (7-6)
  • Sept. 22 at Missouri (7-6)
  • Sept. 29 vs. Tennessee (4-8)
  • Oct. 6 vs. Vanderbilt (5-7)
  • Oct. 13 at LSU (9-4)
  • Oct. 27 at Florida in Jacksonville (4-7)
  • Nov. 3 at Kentucky (7-6)
  • Nov. 10 vs. Auburn (10-4)
  • Nov. 17 vs. UMass (4-8)
  • Nov. 24 vs. Georgia Tech (5-6)
  • 2018 Opponents' Combined Record: 79-70 (.530)

You could make a case that Georgia's tilt with the Gamecocks in South Carolina may prove fatal if the Dawgs are not clicking on all cylinders, but we suspect they will be undefeated heading into their first major test on Oct. 13 when they visit LSU. That game will tell the tale of whether the Bulldogs are truly poised for a return to the College Football Playoff. The Dawgs opened at +1000 to win next season's national title.

If Georgia does escape the bayou with a win, the only obstacle likely preventing them from another SEC East title will be on Nov. 10 when they face Auburn. A win in that, and the Bulldogs could very easily find themselves battling an SEC championship once again and a spot in the CFP.

NFL Beckons

Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, the Butkus Award winner, is projected to go in the first round of the 2018 draft, but the 20-year-old wrecking ball has not officially announced his intentions. Needless to say, next season Smith will be wearing a uniform with an NFL logo and Georgia will be the stuff of fond memories for the highly-touted prospect. Outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter is a candidate to go in the fourth round of this year’s draft and could see time at defensive end as an edge rusher.

The Bulldogs’ workhorse running back Nick Chubb is gone and should be a low first- to high second-round pick. One half of the Dawgs’ two-headed monster will be missed. The other half of that talented backfield tandem is senior tailback Sony Michel, who will also don an NFL uniform next September. A versatile running back with breakaway speed, Michel should be gone in the low second to high third round. Offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn and his 6-foot-2, 302-pound frame appears to be NFL-bound as well and many are projecting a shift from tackle to center when he reaches the pro ranks. He is slated on many boards as a high fourth-rounder.

Senior safety Dominick Sanders will likely ply his trade at the professional level next season and could go as early as the top of the fifth round. Junior defensive back Deandre Baker could declare for the draft, and his nose for the ball could garner him attention from secondary-starved NFL teams. If he does make himself available, he should see his name announced in the lower rounds.

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This @FootballUGA duo 🔥

Nick Chubb & Sony Michel have the most combined rushing yards by RB teammates in FBS history.

— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) January 5, 2018

Chances for 2018

Every college team will see an exodus of players at season’s end, but Georgia will have its largest void to fill at running back. Their defense will still be stacked, although Smith’s absence will be felt, and QB Jake Fromm will be under center with a year of Division I football under his belt. The 2018 season looks promising, and when the college football odds makers release their futures, it might not be a bad idea to consider Georgia in your college football picks for over totals wins and competing for the national championship again.

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