Will the Georgia Bulldogs defend their title and win back-to-back national titles? Or will we see a new champion this year?
With the Big 12 conference completed, it is time to move on to the strongest conference in college football, the SEC. The SEC is split into two divisions, the east, and the west but we will start with the east division. The defending champion Georgia Bulldogs reside in the east, which is who we will predict for first.
The Bulldogs nearly ran the entire table in 2021 after finishing 14-1 overall and 8-1 in conference play. The 2021 season is the most successful under Kirby Smart who became the first head coach to win a national title at his alma mater since 1998. It also ended the drought for Georgia as it was their first national title since 1980. So with all of that, what better way to follow up a national title than repeating right? Let’s predict the Georgia Bulldogs’ 2022 schedule, shall we?
Week One, Home Game vs Oregon
It is very rare that a team opens up their title defense against a tough non-conference opponent. However, Georgia is in the SEC and they are part of the gold standard that is “elite programs”. Therefore, opening their season against Oregon should not worry Bulldogs fans in any way. This is the first matchup against Oregon since 1977. That being said, this Oregon team is going to bring a solid squad to the field this year.
Oregon is now coached by Dan Lanning who was on Georgia’s staff for the past four seasons. They also brought in former Auburn offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham and paired him with his former quarterback Bo Nix, who played under Dillingham during his freshman season in 2019. However, Nix has yet to conquer the Bulldogs as he is 0-3 against them in his collegiate career so far.
The Ducks bring some high-caliber defensive players that will keep it close for most of the game. While Georgia lost 14 of their starters from last year’s team, they also retained and recruited plenty of replacements. Bo Nix will want to take down the champs but I do not see that happening, especially with this being a “home game” for the Bulldogs. Give me the defending champs to pull away late and start the year off with a win.
Score Prediction: Georgia 28, Oregon 14
Week Two, Home Game vs Samford
After a huge non-conference game in week one, the schedule gets quite a bit easier in week two. The stereotypical “tune-up game” against Samford comes in week two. This game will not be close nor will it be worth watching until the end of the game unless you’re curious how many points the Dogs win by.
Give me Georgia by a bunch with no surprises here besides a happy reunion between Kirby Smart and Chris Hatcher. Smart was one of the defensive coordinators at Valdosta State under Hatcher. This game will not be good for Hatcher and his team.
Score Prediction: Georgia 42, Samford 10
Week Three, Away Game vs South Carolina
Georgia’s first road game and conference game has them in Columbia, South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks. Georgia bullied South Carolina last year by a score of 40-13 and that surprised no one. However, Shane Beamer has turned this program around in Columbia after a six-win regular season in 2021. They had a huge offseason considering they landed former Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler in the transfer portal. Beamer and company landed the 25th ranked recruiting class in the country for 2022.
So what does that mean for the 2022 matchup against Georgia? Well, this game will not be one-sided this time around. Georgia has lost most of the elite players from last year’s team and South Carolina has reloaded in many high-need areas. That being said, Georgia will win this game with their most reliable piece, the defense. Give me Georgia in a close game that will show that South Carolina is no pushover, at least in 2022.
Score Prediction: Georgia 24, South Carolina 14
Week Four, Home Game vs Kent State
The Bulldogs will close out their non-conference schedule at home against Kent State in week four. Kent State is one of the better Group of 5 teams which is why Georgia has them on the schedule. The Golden Eagles finished as the runner-up in the MAC title game last season. However, they lost most of the pieces that carried them there this offseason and will struggle against Georgia. These teams have only met once before back in 1998 when Georgia won 56-3. Do not be surprised if this year’s meeting ends in a similar fashion, Bulldogs by a bunch.
Score Prediction: Georgia 54, Kent State 10
Week Five, Away Game vs Missouri
In week five, the Bulldogs once again head on the road for their next conference game against the Missouri Tigers. This matchup used to be a rather competitive series but now the Dogs have full control of the series. Georgia has won the last eight meetings by an impressive scoring margin of around 27 points. Mizzou is still trying to rediscover who they are as a team and that is bad news for the Tigers. Give me the Bulldogs to go into Columbia MO and win in a blowout.
Score Prediction: Georgia 42, Missouri 14
Week Six, Home Game vs Auburn
As the defending champs continue conference play, the Auburn Tigers come to town for the 2022 version of their rivalry. The Bulldogs have dominated this rivalry in recent years considering Georgia has only lost to Auburn twice since 2010. The Bulldogs have not lost to Auburn in Athens since 2005 meaning Auburn has failed to win in Athens eight consecutive times. The 2022 version of this rivalry game will see a much different Auburn team and not in a good way.
The Tigers lost quite a bit in the offseason including Bo Knix as I mentioned earlier. They have a few bright spots on defense but other than that, not much is there this year. Georgia has far too many talented players still around to let Auburn beat them in Athens. Give me the Dogs to win big and once again defeat Auburn.
Score Prediction: Georgia 35, Auburn 17
Week Seven, Home Game vs Vanderbilt
The Dogs’ conference schedule continues at home in week seven against Vanderbilt. Last year, Vanderbilt didn’t even score as the Bulldogs won 62-0 and nearly matched their points scored with Vanderbilt’s total offensive yards. The Commodores are still in the process of rebuilding but that is not where you want to be against the defending champs. I like the Bulldogs to walk away with a victory by halftime. It might not be 62-0 but it won’t be too far off from that.
Score Prediction: Georgia 56, Vanderbilt 7
Week Eight, Away Game vs Florida
Week eight has the Bulldogs in Jacksonville, Florida for a huge road matchup against the Gators. This is definitely going to be the Bulldogs’ toughest game at this point in the season. While Georgia has the upper hand in the series as of late, winning seven of the last 11 and four of the last five meetings. The Gators took down the Bulldogs 44-28 in 2020 but the Dogs avenged that loss with a 34-7 victory over Florida in 2021.
While the Gators are nowhere near the same talent level as Georgia, playing in Jacksonville is always a weird road trip. The Gators will play well this time around after getting beat up in 2021. This will be the first game of the year where Georgia will have to win this game with a few late game plays and not cruise to a win. I still like the Bulldogs to win on the road but Bulldogs fans will be on the edge of their seat until the end of the game.
Score Prediction: Georgia 35, Florida 28
Week Nine, Home Game vs Tennessee
Next up on the schedule is a home game vs Tennessee in week nine. The Volunteers are heading in the right direction as far as winning more games. They won seven games last year and have a shot to contend in the SEC East this year. Georgia has controlled this series winning 10 of the last 12 meetings as far back as 2010. Last year’s road win for the Bulldogs, saw them take down the Volunteers by a 41-17 score.
The 2022 version of this game will be a tad closer than 41-17 but with it being in Athens, the Volunteers are still nowhere near being able to compete late in the game. Give me the Bulldogs to pull away late in this matchup and flex their muscles at home.
Score Prediction: Georgia 38, Tennessee 24
Week Ten, Away Game vs Mississippi State
The Dogs will then go on the road to take on the SEC West’s Bulldogs of Mississippi State. Georgia and State do not meet up often considering they play on opposite sides of the SEC. In the only six meetings between these squads, Georgia has won five of them. This 2022 Mississippi State team is going to be a problem in the SEC West. This will be the terrifying trap game for Georgia and Mississippi State knows they can win this one at home.
However, the difference between a national champion program and a team competing in their conference are two different levels in the SEC. That will be the difference here as the Georgia Bulldogs will defeat the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a tough road win. Georgia winning this one will all but solidify the Dogs to run the table in the regular season. Yes, I am predicting it early before you read the next two predictions that Georgia runs the regular season table.
Score Prediction: Georgia 31, Mississippi State 28
Week Eleven, Away Game vs Kentucky
The Bulldogs’ road trip will continue in week eleven as they head to Kentucky to take on the Wildcats. One of the few things that Kirby Smart has his program do consistently is beat Kentucky. Smart is 6-0 against Kentucky and Georgia has won 12 in a row against the Wildcats. The last time Georgia lost to Kentucky was in 2009 when the Bulldogs lost to the Wildcats in Sanford Stadium for the first time since 1977.
Remember how I said Kirby Smart is 6-0 as a coach against Kentucky? That win streak continues here in a closer than they’d like game. The Bulldogs are the better team despite Kentucky returning 11 starters from their double-digit win team from 2021. Give me Kirby Smarts squad to win this one and continue their dominance over the Wildcats.
Score Prediction: Georgia 28, Kentucky 17
Week Twelve, Home Game vs Georgia Tech
The final regular season game of the 2022 season is a home game against in-state rival, Georgia Tech. Once upon a time, the Yellow Jackets beat the Bulldogs back in 2016 in thrilling fashion, 28-27. Since then, this matchup has been nothing but dominated by the Dogs. The Bulldogs have won four straight games by an average margin of 36.3 points, with last year’s 45-0 victory tied for the largest margin of victory for Georgia in series history.
The 2022 version of this game will not be much different. The Yellow Jackets lost far too much this offseason when their roster was already hurting. The Bulldogs will win this one easily and officially finish their perfect regular season with a good win at home.
Score Prediction: Georgia 48, Georgia Tech 7
Final Record For Georgia Football In 2022-23: 12-0 (8-0)
The Bulldogs are blessed with a favorable schedule in 2022 and that is why they will finish the regular season unscathed. This team is still one of the best in the country and defending its title starts by running the table in the regular season. Sure Kirby Smart does not view them as “defending their title but rather starting from scratch” but that does not discredit them. From their returning veteran players to their new additions, do not be surprised when the Dogs win the SEC East and probably play Alabama in the SEC title game again.
Which SEC team will improve the most in 2022? Comment below and join the discussion!
Check back for the rest of the conference’s predictions here!