The SEC has 14 teams. One is elite. Another 12 have already declared they’re flawed in some significant way. And one is Georgia.
Alabama looks more like a wire-to-wire No. 1 than ever this weekend, after the Tide put a beating of biblical proportions on poor Vanderbilt on Saturday. Like every year, the Tide are going to win the SEC West unless something wacky happens.
Georgia has now joined Bama in the top 10, at No. 7.
The Dawgs hosted then-No. 17 Mississippi State on Saturday. They won 31-3. The run of play wasn’t that lopsided (UGA got 10 points off turnovers), but it was a convincing show. They led from their first offensive play of the game, when true freshman Jake Fromm hit receiver Terry Godwin on a picturesque flea-flicker of 59 yards.
Georgia's first play of the game is a FLEA FLICKER that goes 59 yards for the score! #MSSTvsUGA pic.twitter.com/Iwx1wdOSBR— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) September 23, 2017
Kirby Smart’s team is 4-0 now. It handled business fine against strong mid-major Appalachian State in Week 1. It edged Notre Dame on the road, and the Irish look like they’re pretty good. It also played Samford, which, whatever. This thrashing of a ranked team that beat LSU by 30 the week before will catapult the Dawgs up the rankings.
Barring wildness, Georgia’s the SEC’s last best hope to stop Bama.
Here is every other possible option:
- Vanderbilt: Already lost to Alabama by 59 points.
- LSU: Got destroyed by Mississippi State, which got destroyed by Georgia. No quarterback solution to speak of. Plays at Alabama.
- Mississippi State: See Saturday.
- Florida: See 2015, 2016, and any Florida offensive series this year except for the ones that ended with Tennessee not having the right guys on the field or Kentucky not having enough guys on the field.
- Tennessee: Just beat the UMass Minutemen by four points at home.
- Auburn: Let Clemson sack its QB 11 times a few weeks ago. There is one other defensive front in America like Clemson’s: Bama’s.
- Ole Miss: Ole Miss.
- Texas A&M: More likely to fire its coach than beat Alabama.
- Arkansas: See above.
- Kentucky, South Carolina, Missouri: Could all play against Bama at the same time and have 33 players on the field at once and still lose to Bama.
Bama sure is good. Everyone’s aware.
If the Tide go 15-0 and win the national title without needing to win so much as a one-possession game until their inevitable Playoff rematch with Clemson, it will shock no one. They’ve already beaten FSU with little more than special teams. Their offense is clicking fine under new coordinator Brian Daboll, no matter how much we miss Lane Kiffin’s shenanigans. Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts has raised his passer rating about 31 points on last August/September.
UGA might be really good, too. Why not?
The Dawgs have yet to show anything like crippling weakness, which is saying something, when it comes to Bama’s conference opponents.
The defensive front is suffocating against the run and more than adequate against the pass. Mississippi State dual-threat Nick Fitzgerald had 83 passing yards and two interceptions on his 29 throws. MSU piled up good rushing totals in the second half Saturday, only once UGA had huge cushion and was content to let it happen.
The offense is a work in progress. Fromm is still basically a child, and an injury to five-star sophomore Jacob Eason pressed him into action in the first game. Fromm’s been poised, and he’s now rocking a 7-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio while completing 60 percent of his passes across four games. Eason’s return doesn’t sound far away, and when he’s back, UGA will have the best kind of QB controversy. The Nick Chubb-D’Andre Swift-Sony Michel running back trio is a rare luxury.
If anyone’s going to keep Bama out of another league title, UGA is it.
The Dawgs might have two of the top five quarterbacks in the league. They’ve got a solid defense and a dangerous offense. Oh, and the SEC Championship Game is still played in their home state, at a bonkers new stadium their fans would fill up.
So no pressure, Dawgs.
You only might end up with all of college football counting on you.