Friday, August 18, 2017

2017: will the scenery change this season?

When collecting one's initial thoughts about an upcoming season of Georgia Football, Lewis Grizzard is as fine a place to start as any:

"If you ain't the lead dog, the 
scenery never changes."

For Dawg fans, the scenery has been about the same for some time. Since our last December trip to Atlanta in 2012, the SEC East has remained very much winnable. But Georgia has only gone 20-12 in conference play during that span, finishing 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, and 3rd. So, far from the back of the pack, but still staring at a lot of rivals' asses.

Pass the Lysol please.
What we hope is the gators' view this season.
(pic taken @ Kenny B's French Quarter Cafe,
Hilton Head Island, SC)

A quick glance shows that the division once again is firmly in Georgia's sights this year. Tennessee, 2016's pre-season darling, lost most of its starters and plays at both Florida and Alabama. South Carolina should be improved but is still at least a year away from bringing in the talent necessary to compete for the East. Missouri is awful, and Kentucky and Vandy will do their best to keep the western Tigers in the cellar.

That leaves Florida. I tend to think our schedule is very favorable this season, but a look at Florida's proves they may have an easier road to Atlanta. We have road trips to Knoxville and West Opelika. They're biggest test away from The Swamp is a toss up between Columbia East or Lexington's new Kroger Stadium. The Gamecocks might be improved, but they're still a young offense and Florida's defense will once again be one of the conference's toughest. And while the former Commonwealth Stadium may not be a true beauty to look at, there's only one brand of conference turf whose recent life mission has become to shred as many Bulldog's knees as possible within a 60 minute game - Knoxville's Neyland Stadium.

"It's bad." Advantage gators.

If all that plays out in the division the way that I just typed it, then it will come down to the annual clash along the St. Johns River. Well, I should say it could come down to the Georgia-florida game. We lost there in 2002 and still made it to Atlanta, but wasn't the trip a little sweeter in 2004, 2011 and 2012?

After all, the lead dog shouldn't need a back door in. Go Dawgs!