Georgia is widely considered a top five team going into the 2021, if not the consensus No. 3 team behind Alabama and Ohio State. The Bulldogs sit in the No. 3 spot for Athlon Sports and when the publication recently released its bowl projections, it had Kirby Smart’s seventh team returning to the College Football Playoff. Athlon predicts that the Bulldogs will make their sixth consecutive New Year’s Six Bowl and play Ohio State in the CFP Semifinal at the Peach Bowl as the No. 1 overall seed.
The outlet then projects the Buckeyes to beat the Dawgs and face Alabama in the CFP National Championship. Athlon said of Georgia:
the bulldogs return only 10 starters from last year’s team that won it all, but there’s no reason for concern in Athens. Coach Kirby Smart’s program will simply reload with the next wave of stars on both sides of the ball. An elite defense that held teams to 10.2 points a game and 4.2 yards per play lost a handful of standout defenders, including linemen Jordan Davis and Travon Walker, linebacker Nakobe Dean and safety Lewis Cine. However, look for lineman Jalen Carter, linebackers Robert Beal and Nolan Smith, and cornerback Kelee Ringo to lead the way on another dominant defense in ’22. Quarterback Stetson Bennett is back for one more ride under center after throwing for 2,862 yards and 29 touchdowns last fall. He’s joined by Kendall Milton and Kenny McIntosh at running back, and a deep collection of targets in the receiving corps, led by tight ends Brock Bowers and Arik Gilbert. Three starters return up front, but Georgia could have the nation’s best offensive line in ’22. Barring a major surprise, the Bulldogs should be favored (and likely by double-digits) in all 12 of their regular-season matchups.
After Georgia finished the 2020 season at 8-2 and won its fourth bowl game under fifth-year head coach Kirby Smart, the Dawgs went 14-1 in 2021, making the College Football Playoff and becoming the first No. 3 seed to win the national championship. The semifinal win over Michigan was Smart’s third straight New Year’s Six bowl victory and the victory over Alabama was his 12th win over a top-10 opponent as a head coach. Georgia is set to open the 2022 season on Sept. 3 against Oregon in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
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