Ok, y'all... seriously. This craziness has got to stop. DavetheDawg started it, and Dawg2011 continued it. Heck even SBNation Atlanta's editors are getting in on the wild optimism while the gettin's good. Everyone seems to be falling into that old summer trap: It's been so long since the feral, intense suck of the last season that we forget how bad it was. We go through a positive recruiting season, and then we start to make excuses for why the this season will be different. But come on... what are we, South Carolina fans?
If there's one thing that we've learned over the past 3 years, it's that when you expect the worst, you will always be either proven correct or pleasantly surprised (sorry, no link for that phrase from 2010). The amount of faith it takes to believe that Georgia's bad football fortunes can be reversed overnight is approximately the same about of faith it takes to believe in the mythical chupacabra.
So, to help you regain your sense of healthy pessimism regarding the upcoming 2011 season, I offer to you the following ten reasons that every Georgia Bulldog fan should be sitting uneasy in their chairs:
10) Our offensive line is terrible.
It had been said by some that our offensive line was going to be a strength this year. Instead, our left tackle (the bedrock of a QB's pass protection) is now done, and one of his backups has left the team, as well. We now only have 2 starters on the line returning (Glenn and Jones), and that ain't good for our running game. Which leads me to my next point...
9) Our running backs are terrible.
Ok, so Georgia's running backs were supposed to be a strength this year, too. Except that Washaun Ealey decided to transfer. And Isaiah Crowell apparently fattened up on purple drank in between signing for the Dawgs in February and reporting to campus in June. Our new "vaunted" running back corps? Caleb King, Carlton Thomas, and an underwhelming Boo Malcome.
8) Our quarterback isn't a leader.
Ok, so Aaron Murray had a spectacular freshman season from a numbers standpoint. You know what that's worth? A 6-7 season, that's what. Georgia was within 7 points of its opponent in the 4th quarter in 6 of the 7 games we lost in 2010. That's a position when the leaders on your team step up, rally their teammates, say "We're going to win this game, dammit," then make it happen. Aaron Murray came up woefully short in these situations, and he holds the position in Georgia's offense that most needs to be filled by a natural leader.
In addition, the worst failures in this department were on the road in a hostile setting, where previous QB's Greene, Shockley, and Stafford have flourished. This is not a positive omen for the good guys.
7) Our wide receivers are
Last year, we had all-world, all-everything A.J. Green paired with seasoned senior Kris Durham. This year, we have all-fair-catch-team Logan Gray and Tavarres King, who was underwhelming and inconsistent in 2010. Oh, and Rantavious Wooten, whose tenure at Georgia, like Marlon Brown's, started with great promise but has yet to see any significant progress since his freshman season. "Marlon who?" you say? Exactly. See my note above about whether or not this is a positive omen for the good guys.
6) Our defensive line is too fat.
(You know, on second thought, that picture is probably NSFW due to the moobs, so I'll just link to the page.)
5) Our secondary is terrible.
For those of you thinking our defense is going to be radically improved in 2011, I would like to remind you of Bacarri
Rambo Fudge and Jakar Hamilton, who cleverly lulled our 2011 opponents into a false sense of security by collectively getting burned for a long touchdown in every single damn game in 2010.
It is at this point, no doubt, that someone would remind me that Greg Blue and Thomas Davis weren't exceptional cover guys, either. To that, I can say this: I have attended virtually every home game for the last 25 years. I watched Greg Blue and Thomas Davis in person. I knew their playing styles well. And these safeties are no Greg Blue or Thomas Davis.
I'll just leave this here. (Via.)
4) Our offensive coordinator is terrible.
I assume no one will dispute me on this claim.
3) The schedule ain't "easy."
It's easy to look at this schedule and see a
WAC Mountain West team, both Mississippi schools, "down" squads for Tennessee, Florida, and Auburn, and declare that the schedule isn't "nearly as tough as it could be." Nothing could be further from the truth, however. In actuality, our first two games will be against teams likely to be ranked in the preseason top 10, and two of the next 3 games will be against one of the best teams in the SEC West in 2010 and a Houston Nutt-coached team, which is always dangerous.
After those games... that "down" Tennessee squad? They're likely to have one of the best defenses in the conference, and you'll never lose any games if you keep the opponent from scoring. And it don't matter how "down" Florida is, until they start wearing Vanderbilt's uniforms in Jacksonville, it will take a monumental effort for Georgia to beat them.
This schedule could not, under any circumstances, be called "easy." Georgia will probably be an underdog in 3 of its first 5 games, so it wouldn't be a surprise at all to start the season 0-2 or 2-3.
2) We have a coach on defense whose name is "Friend."
When it comes to Georgia's historical defensive coaching pedigree, "Friendly" and this image do not mesh:
1) Spurrier owns our ass when he has a good team, and he finally has a(nother) good team.
Let there be no confusion about the 2011 season: This year, the road to SEC East championship (proverbially) passes through Columbia, South Carolina. I don't believe I have to remind anyone of Steve Spurrier's previous tenure at the head of the premier university in America's wang... needless to say, we were less than successful against his charges during that time.
Fortunately for us, the Ol' Ball Coach hasn't even had one team at South Carolina that approaches the talent level on his vintage 1990's teams... until 2011. Now, he's got Alshon Jeffrey, Marcus Lattimore, Jadeveon Clowney... and even Andiambro. For the first time in, well, ever, South Carolina looks like a legitimate SEC and national title contender... and all of that is due to the Steve Spurrier effect.
You know, if he'd stayed at Florida, then by now he could have happily sunk into relatively mediocre 9-3 and 10-2 seasons regularly, with the occasional win thrown the Dawgs' way in the annual World's Largest Outdoor Non-Alcoholic All-American Box Social by the St. John's River. But nooooooooooooo... the Gator fans had to run him off, opening the door for Georgia to be dominated both by a Florida without Spurrier and another divisional team with Spurrier. Yeah... thanks for that, Gators. Thanks a lot. (Yet another reason to hate Florida.) (I hate Florida.)
Georgia has to beat South Carolina to win the SEC East this year, and if history is any guide, Georgia can't beat a good, talented Steve Spurrier-coached team.
So there you are... I hope this has helped to temper the wildly optimistic notions being put forth by certain members of the community who can't seem to remember that the Georgia football program is mired inside a mountain of negative mojo.
In spite of my pessimism, of course, I will be cheering at the top of my lungs for the Dawgs in every game, and I hope all of you will, too. I also would love nothing better than to be proven wrong on every single one of these line items.