Georgia finally got over the hump last season, but now it's time to see if they can do what has never been done in the College Football Playoff era: go back-to-back.
The Bulldogs have become a truly elite program under Kirby Smart, constantly bringing in top recruiting classes in the best conference in the sport. Can Smart continue to build his legend after crafting a powerhouse in Athens?
Let's break down how the Georgia Bulldogs look in 2022.
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
Georgia Football in 2022: National Championship, SEC, Win Total Odds
- Win Total: 10.5 (Over -240/Under -195)
- SEC Championship: +155
- National Championship: +400
Georgia Offense Preview
Stetson Bennett took control of the starting quarterback job for the Bulldogs last season and validated Smart's decision in the National Championship, leading two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to seal the title.
Bennett is not the game-changing quarterback that other title contenders have-- a la Ohio State with C.J. Stroud or Alabama with Bryce Young -- but Georgia has an elite receiving corps, one that enters the season as good if not better than Alabama, for the game manager to thrive.
The team lost No. 2 receiver Jermaine Burton to Alabama, but brings back a pair of sophomores in Ladd McConkey and Adonai Mitchell who had over 800 receiving combined last season. Also, the team has the No. 1 receiving recruit in the country in tight end Arik Gilbert joining the group after missing all of 2021. Tight end Brock Bowers, the team's leading receiver, is back as well after he had 882 receiving yards as a freshman.
Georgia must replace its two star running backs Zamir White and James Cook, but this has always been a running back by committee group that has plenty of talent on hand including veteran Kenny McIntosh and the No. 3 running back recruit Branson Robinson.
There's plenty of reasons to buy this offense being great again despite the turnover, and a ton of the reason is on the offensive line, which has become an NFL factory. Georgia did lose a pair of starters but it has a former No. 2 offensive line recruit in Broderick Jones stepping in at left tackle.
White and Cook may be gone, but this offense is more than equipped to be dominant again based on their past few recruiting classes.
Georgia Defense Preview
I alluded to this in the offensive preview, but I feel like Georgia's 61% returning production is a bit of a misnomer when evaluating this team. On defense, the team loses the entire National Championship defensive line, but they replace them with a top three DLine in 2022.
The team has another potential No. 1 draft pick in the 2023 NFL Draft in pass rusher in Jalen Carter, and there are several blue chip prospects that would have a ton more hype around them had they not been playing behind one of the best defensive fronts in the sport's history.
At linebacker, Nolan Smith returns after being the No. 5 tackler on the team last season. He would've been drafted, but opted to return and headline this unit that will also look to replace NFL players like Nakobe Dean and Quay Walker.
The defense may not allow less than 10 points per game again, but there is talent all over this roster that should have little issue being arguably the best in college football yet again.
Georgia Special Teams Preview
Georgia has constantly been an elite special teams unit, and the expectations should remain the same in 2022.
UGA brings back elite kicker Jack Podlesny (22-of-27 on field goals with a long of 49) and has explosive players in the return game. Last season, the team was top half of the country in punt return average and had the No. 3 kickoff return average in the nation.
Georgia Schedule Breakdown
The heavily juiced win total of 10.5 indicates exactly what we think: Georgia will be massive favorites in every regular season game.
The team opens in Atlanta against Oregon as 17-point favorites. The team was also treated to a fairly easy SEC schedule compared to most, drawing Tennessee at home. However, there are challenging games such as at Mississippi State and Kentucky in back-to-back weeks in November.
While there is always worry of a drop off after winning the title, the Bulldogs have the mix of young talent and experience to run through the SEC East and make it to another SEC title game as well as a second straight College Football Playoff.
2022 Georgia Football Betting Preview, Predictions, Best Bets
Georgia finds themselves atop the college football hierarchy with Alabama and Ohio State and while the number may feel short, I don't see one team separating that much from the pack. Georgia currently has the longest odds of the three, making them valuable.
I believe that Bennett can take a step forward with this emerging receiving corps while the defense can maintain a dominant level of play to guide this team back to the CFP.
I don't have as many questions for the Bulldogs as I do for Alabama, who needs to replace some key pieces in the secondary as well as replace most of their targets at receiver. Yes, they have the Heisman Trophy winner, but there isn't a ton of returning production around him.
Georgia has the talent and continuity to go on another run. They don't boast a Heisman candidate like the other contenders do, but that didn't stop them from winning in 2021.
Many may rule out the Bulldogs, considering how rare it is to go back-to-back, but this team is right there for another title and I believe at +400 this is the longest the number will be to win the National Championship as the season gets started. This number is going one way and it's down, so I like getting in before the season starts.
LEAN: Georgia to Win National Championship: +400
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