No program has ever won three straight national championships in the modern era. Minnesota was the last to do so nearly 100 years ago. The Georgia Bulldogs have a chance to do just that.
Kirby Smart has built a monster in Athens. Not only are they recruiting and developing talent at a level few can compete with, but the Dawgs also sit in a division that doesn’t have many challengers.
The SEC is no joke, but nobody can compete with Georgia in the eastern division. Tennessee is likely the toughest regular season matchup the Bulldogs will face, especially considering it’s in Knoxville.
They should waltz to Atlanta to face one of Alabama, LSU, or Texas A&M in the SEC championship. What’s even sweeter for Georgia fans? As long as they don’t slip up and lose a game they shouldn’t in the regular season, they should be able to get a bid to the college football playoff regardless of if they win the SEC Championship.
Once you get to the playoffs, it’s anyone’s game. However, worst case scenario seems quite hard to imagine, which is what ESPN attempted to do — best and worst case scenario for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Worst case: Two losses? For the schedule reasons stated above, it’s difficult to imagine the Bulldogs losing twice in the regular season. If we’re talking lowest floor, then Beck would have to struggle in his first season as a starter and Georgia’s running game would have to be less productive. Beck will benefit from having what might be the deepest receiver corps in school history after the Bulldogs added Missouri transfer Dominic Lovett and Mississippi State transfer Rara Thomas. All-America tight end Brock Bowers and receiver Ladd McConkey are back as well. Maybe Georgia slips up against Ole Miss at home and then falls at Tennessee on Nov. 18. Probably not. Losing at Tennessee and then falling to Alabama or LSU in the SEC championship is probably a more plausible scenario. If Georgia finishes unbeaten in the regular season and falls in the SEC championship game, will it get the benefit of doubt from the CFP selection committee? Or will its nonconference schedule keep it out of another playoff? — Mark Schlabach
Honestly, I don’t even know if two losses is worst case scenario, might be too far. One regular season loss seems to be the worst it could possibly be without accounting for an onslaught of injuries. The Georgia Bulldogs are loaded and primed to make another run at a title, so you could probably guess what the best case scenario is — a third natty in a row.
Best case: A third straight national championship. Georgia would become the first FBS program in the modern era to win three straight national titles. Minnesota was the last team to do it in 1934, 1935 and 1936. Yes, Georgia’s nonconference schedule is especially soft after the SEC ordered the Bulldogs to cancel a home-and-home series against Oklahoma, which is joining the conference next year. The Bulldogs replaced the Sooners with Ball State. They’ll also play FCS opponent UT Martin, UAB and struggling Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs play South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri and Ole Miss at home. They’ll play only three true SEC road games — at Auburn, Vanderbilt and Tennessee — and will face Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. Georgia will be heavy favorites in every game it plays. If Carson Beck steps in and plays well at quarterback, the offense should be explosive. The defense has to replace a number of key contributors again, but four of the top five tacklers are back in Smael Mondon Jr., Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Malaki Starks and Javon Bullard.
Carson Beck and Mike Bobo are the biggest factors in the Dawgs’ returning to the CFP. Beck is more talented than Stetson Bennett, but it takes more than that to be the quarterback of a championship team. Beck displays the intangibles needed, but only time will tell if he’s the guy.
Photographer: Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire