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Thursday
Jul292010

No. 22: Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia Bulldogs

The One Great Season College Football Countdown continues Thursday. We'll be counting down the preseason Top 25 teams in 2010. Today's No. 22 is Georgia.

By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season

For a guy whose nine seasons as Georgia's coach have ended six times in double-digit wins, Mark Richt is inexplicably on the hot seat. Such is life in the ultra-competitive Southeastern Conference.


EXTRA: Images From 2009 Georgia-Oklahoma State Game


Richt's squad went into last year trying to recover from the departures of offensive stars Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno. And this year, the Dawgs will start a new quarterback for the second straight season, but their rushing attack could prove to be one of the SEC's finest.

One Great Season College Football Preseason Top 25

Returning are Washaun Ealey and Caleb King, who ran for a combined 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. They'll continue to get the carries behind a talented and veteran offensive line. Once new QB Aaron Murray gets comfortable, he'll look for A.J. Green (53 catches last year, 808 yards, 6 TDs), a Biletnikoff Award favorite.

Defensively, a new coordinator and two new position coaches are installing a 3-4 defense that will take some getting used to. Typically a schematic change can gradually become successful when a team eases into its September schedule. But with South Carolina and Arkansas on the early season docket, the Bulldogs will need to adjust in a hurry, and that will be the X factor for this team's fortunes in 2010, especially considering five defensive starters were taken in the NFL Draft. There's a lot of talent to replace.

Who's back? WR A.J. Green, P Drew Butler, K Blair Walsh, OL Clint Boling

Who's gone? QB Joe Cox, LB Rennie Curran, DT Geno Atkins, S Reshad Jones

Why they'll win: A strong ground game gives a team a chance in every game, and Georgia's got that.

Why they'll lose: Defensively, there are holes to fill, a new scheme and no true stars.

Get your tickets: vs. Florida (at Jacksonville, Oct. 30), at Auburn (Nov. 13), vs. Georgia Tech (Nov. 27)

Prediction: 9-3 (6-2, second place SEC East)

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