Football season could be one to enjoy in the state

dshirley@macon.comAugust 16, 2012 

The 2011 college and pro football season in our state was OK.

It was pretty good, but it was a mixed bag.

There was some unfinished business for each of the major college programs in the state, and the same could be said of the Atlanta Falcons. That should change this season.

Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern all appear to be set for big seasons coming up this fall.

The Bulldogs have a physical, hard-hitting, fast defense. Whatever adjective you want to apply to that unit is appropriate, and Todd Grantham’s group certainly is fun to watch. Georgia also has a talented quarterback in Aaron Murray, and usually that is a good combination to have.

Georgia won the SEC East Division last year even though it lost to South Carolina, and that scenario very well could play out again this season. There’s no reason to think the Bulldogs won’t be right back in the hunt for the division crown.

Georgia Tech stumbled last year in the ACC, but the Yellow Jackets should be ready for a bounce-back season. In Georgia Tech’s run-first offense, the line is always a key, and the Yellow Jackets’ group up front this year is talented and experienced. That typically leads to good things for Georgia Tech and its option offense.

The Yellow Jackets get an early test against Virginia Tech on Labor Day, and the team that wins that game typically has gone on to win the Coastal Division championship.

Georgia Southern is once again an FCS power, and that has come quickly under head coach Jeff Monken. The Eagles won’t have Jaybo Shaw running their version of the option any more, and that loss certainly will hurt, but there is plenty of talent coming back for the Eagles.

There’s enough talent, in fact, that Georgia Southern was picked to win the Southern Conference. And it would be an upset if the Eagles don’t bring home that title.

A lot of fans are going to be upset if the Falcons don’t bring home an NFL playoff win pretty soon. Atlanta has had steady success under head coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan, but the Falcons don’t have a win in the playoffs to show for that.

That’s the next logical step for Atlanta to take. The Falcons have to start winning in the postseason if they’re going to move up the NFL ladder, but with Ryan at the helm, that’s a real possibility this year.

In fact, there’s a strong chance all four teams will take home some kind of championship hardware this season.

Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or dshirley@macon.com

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