Sunday, June 8, 2008

Georgia: Do You Buy Into The Hype?

I've started breaking down the SEC East on this site and I've made it through three teams. But I have to interject these thoughts about the Dawgs before I look at the other teams. What's the rush anyway, it is only June right? But college football is such a big deal, it's hard for any of us not to already be talking it up. For example, check out the great article on the SEC at The World According to Moondog. The guys at Georgia Sports Blog never stray far from the gridiron, although they give super info on everything the Dawgs are involved in. The Dawg-Gone Blog gives you some insight into UGA's impact players. You can check out many college sports blogs, and none of us go very long without getting back to football. There are HUGE expectations regarding our Georgia Bulldogs. Some would say these are legitimate expectations, some would say the Bulldogs are vastly overrated. We are projected to be a Top 5 pre-season pick, and probably closer to 1 than to 5. That's legit because we did finish the season strong last year and we do return many key players. We are loaded as far as talent is concerned, but at least half of the teams in the SEC are loaded. Loaded meaning not only talent at the starting positions, but talented depth at the back-up positions as well. SEC schools such as Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn and LSU all have guys not starting who could start at 95% of other schools. That says alot about the kids coming out of high schools in the south. Nevertheless, let me share 4 things that Georgia must have in order to win the SEC East. Notice I said to win our division, not win the national title. That's because winning the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference is the hardest part of winning the National Championship. And once you win that division, you will have a good chance to win that crystal trophy. Just look at Florida and LSU. Now for those 4 criteria:

1. Matthew Stafford will have to become the super-star quarterback we have
expected him to be since he arrived in Athens from Texas. He wiil have to take control of
games when they are on the line. In those times, he cannot make costly mistakes

2. A leader will have to emerge from the defensive side of the ball. By that I
am referring to a big play guy like Scott Woerner or David Pollack. The guy
who is going to make the big play when you have to have it.

3. Consistent and reliable play from the special teams. A punt or kickoff returned
to "The House' will possibly be a key ingredient in some crucial game. Not
allowing either of those in a close game will be just as crucial.

4. Getting good bounces of the ball and avoiding "bad" calls that make or break
games. Call it good luck if you want, but you must have it in key situations
throughout the course of the season.

All of that sounds easy enough, doesn't it? Easy or not, I feel all must happen for the University of Georgia to win the SEC East, the SEC Championship and the National Championship. If we don't accomplish those things, those of you who think we are overrated just might be right.

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