So, why not? Why shouldn’t we talk about what may be ahead for the Georgia Bulldogs? If not now, when? When is an appropriate time to discuss how good this football team might be this season?
Well, it is time. The regular season is halfway over. Georgia is undefeated, one of only nine teams in the Power 5 conferences that has not lost. I think with the schedule Georgia has left, knowing it is halfway home, it’s time to talk about it.
It’s time to talk about why this might be the year for Georgia to do something special. Talking about it won’t jinx it or keep it from happening. Alabama or even Auburn are what could do it. What’s the point of talking about next season being the Bulldogs’ year when it might actually be this season?
The schedule is in Georgia’s favor. The Bulldogs should beat Missouri easily this weekend. Then the Florida game will be one they should win. If they don’t beat Florida this season, with all the Gators’ issues, they never will.
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South Carolina then comes to Athens. If Georgia is undefeated, no one more than Will Muschamp will want to beat his best friend, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, and his alma mater. We should expect nothing less. But if Georgia plays the way it has been playing and South Carolina plays like it has been playing, the Bulldogs will win going away.
The Auburn game could be a classic. On paper, it will be two similar teams — both with great running backs, both with great defenses. It might come down to the coaches — Auburn’s Gus Malzahn against Smart — and I’ll take Smart all day long.
Georgia is by no means a perfect team, and the great thing is the Bulldogs don’t even have to be perfect. Georgia could lose to Auburn in the regular season, then beat Georgia Tech, win the SEC championship and then move on to the final four. And if the Bulldogs beat the SEC opponents and still lose to Georgia Tech, Georgia would still be OK if they win in Atlanta in early December.
Lose two games, however, and the dream is over.
Georgia’s season always comes down to Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech. Those are the rivalry games, and each one will be tough. The other three — Missouri, South Carolina and Kentucky — are all winnable games.
Let’s say Georgia’s defense continues to play as well as it has the past three games, allowing only 17 points to three conference opponents. Shouldn’t we then wonder if any team can score at will on the Bulldogs?
If defense wins championships, what is this team going to win? It might just be the SEC East or maybe only the SEC or maybe something else. But the defense is giving it a chance to win something more than it has in a long time.
This is the season to do it because of the running backs that showed last week in Nashville they are still relevant. After watching the defense get all the love for the first five games, it was like Nick Chubb and Sony Michel said, “Hey, don’t forget about us!”
They’ll be gone next season, and why look back and wonder why you didn’t do something special with two great backs like that. Now is the time to do it, not next year.
Smart praised his offensive line Monday in his news conference. It’s getting better. Player development is now happening right before our eyes. And how much better might that offense be in another month if the line continues to progress and gives quarterback Jake Fromm even more time to be effective?
It’s hard to believe we’re even asking all these questions, but they are relevant. They are relevant because Georgia is undefeated through the first half of the regular season, and it puts them in position to be curious about what the next three months might have in store.
Maybe Georgia is not a year away. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to wonder if this is their year.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on “Middle Georgia’s ESPN” – 93.1 FM in Macon and 99.5 FM in Warner Robins. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at email@example.com.