ATHENS - When the clock ran out on the SEC championship, it seemed to many Georgia fans that it was an opportunity lost. You never know how often you get a shot at a national title, and this may have been the year.
Well, at least one very, very early prediction about next year says the window hasn't closed on the Bulldogs quite yet.
The web site Nationalchamps.net is out with its "early bird" top 25 for next season, and Georgia ranks No. 6. You can see the entire top 25 at this link right here.
Obviously, much of this depends on the offseason, and who comes and goes. But the basic shape of Georgia's team for 2013 is apparent: A high-scoring offense and an inexperienced defense. The reverse of what was expected coming into 2012.
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Head coach Mark Richt spoke on that last Thursday, as his team prepared to break for the holiday.
"It’ll be the defense’s turn to have all the questions about can they possibly be good enough to help us win the SEC," Richt said. "And it’ll be the offense’s turn to hear that, Hey everybody’s coming back, or just about everybody is coming back. So can they perform up to the expectations everyone has for them. And I would think our special teams we certainly will be more mature in the punting and kicking category.”
A big part of that is quarterback Aaron Murray’s decision. Richt said he didn’t have any plans to talk about it with his quarterback, but that could change.
“If Aaron’s decision is to play the game and then do all the thinking and soul-searching and that kind of stuff, then we’ll definitely sit down and talk,” Richt said. “Just kind of lay it out there, as far as the history of the draft, and just why would there be an advantage to staying, why would there be a thought to go, and all that.”
“I think maybe sometimes if a quarterback’s sitting there going: All my skill guys are gone, all my linemen are gone. Now I’m playing with a bunch of rookies. That might be something that might make a quarterback think twice. Because he is very dependant on everybody else around him to play well in order for him to play well. But in this case the great majority of everybody will be back. So I don’t think that will be a factor for him.”