Georgia Football's Path to a National Title
It's become harder than ever before to win a national title in college football.
In the days of the BCS, you could survive one loss at times and win a bowl game against another one-loss or better football team to come home with a trophy.
Now, not only do you have to make it out of your conference schedule with no more than one loss, but you've got to win TWO games against national title contenders in the College Football Playoff.
So, there are a lot of "Ifs." If Georgia hadn't dropped that home game to South Carolina last season, it is likely in the CFP. If Georgia doesn't lay an egg in Baton Rouge in 2018, it goes back to the CFP for a second straight season. If "2nd & 26" doesn't happen or Tyler Simmons isn't called offsides... You get the point.
So, what will Georgia need to do in order to make it back and come home with the trophy this time around in 2020?
1. Jamie Newman & Todd Monken
Two new additions, and two major keys to success in 2020 for the Georgia Bulldogs. There's certainly some growing wonder about whether or not JT Daniels is going to receive a transfer waiver from the NCAA, but in my opinion, Daniels is a 2021 option at the moment considering his rehab from a gruesome knee injury a year ago.
Newman has all the hype in the world headed to Athens, and for good reason. He's every bit of 6' 4", 230 pounds, and he makes all of the throws. Not to mention, for the first time in seemingly decades, there's a threat to run the football at the quarterback position, which is something that will open up much more offensively for the Dawgs.
Then there's Todd Monken. Look, there's a reason he's going to make over $1 million as an offensive coordinator this next season. He not only has an NFL pedigree—having spent the last three seasons in the NFL as an offensive coordinator—but he's a chameleon of a coordinator, meaning he's going to adapt his offensive style to what's available on the roster and what the matchup is on Saturday. If these two can overcome the shortened offseason, lookout.
2. Avoid a slip-up, overcome Bama
If you're Georgia, you're going to have to beat Alabama at least once, and you'd best hope it's in the SEC championship game. The Week 3 matchup on the road in Tuscaloosa could not have come at a worse time. The offense will likely still be relatively new to a lot of players, and there's no worse place to play when you're having to think about your assignment than Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Win or lose that Sept. 21 matchup, Georgia can't afford another South Carolina. That should go without saying, but each of the last two seasons it has failed to show up in a game it was expected to win. That simply can't happen if the Bulldogs are going to make it back to the CFP.
As for Bama, this is the year you're going to get them if you're Kirby Smart. For one thing, you seemingly have the advantage at quarterback. Whether it is Mac Jones or the freshman Bryce Young under center for the Tide, my money is on the guy who's projected to be a first-rounder in the upcoming NFL draft in Newman. You certainly have the better defense, and the recruiting crop has finally grown up. There are little-to-no excuses remaining.
3. Continuity on the OL and WR
If I were a Georgia fan, I wouldn't be concerned about the loss of Jake Fromm or D'Andre Swift. Though both great players, Smart and his staff have done as good of a job replacing them as possible. What I would be concerned about is the four starters gone off that offensive line. What I would be concerned about is, outside of George Pickens, who is the established wide receiver in the bunch?
The great news is, as we saw last season with Pickens and Dominick Blaylock, freshman wideouts can make an impact early, and what a group they have enrolling today. Marcus Rosemy and Jermaine Burton are bonafide studs. Arian Smith is a burner but will be recovering from hand surgery. Justin Robinson and Ladd McConkey are going to be impact players, but not immediately in my opinion. So, if those young men—Rosemy and Burton—can learn the playbook and make plays early and often, all the questions about the receivers are thrown out the window.
As for the offensive line, Jamaree Salyer appears to be a man on an absolute mission this offseason and will lock down one of the tackle spots. Ben Cleveland is as solid as they come in the SEC, and Trey Hill is the only returning starter from a year ago. After that, it's a lot of extremely talented guys like Justin Shaffer that haven't played a ton but are still high-quality football players.
What we know
Did you notice all those questions are about the offense for the most part? Well, that's because there are no questions about the defense. Georgia had the best defense in the country a year ago, and there's little-to-no concern that it will be just as good in 2020, with a chance to be slightly better.
Lewis Cine steps in for J.R. Reed, who was limited physically in terms of what he provided to the defense, but that will not be the case for Cine. Though he will need to take a page out of Reed's playbook in terms of knowledge of the defense.
Freshmen such as Kelee Ringo and Jalen Carter will be impressive from Day 1. And the sophomore crop of defenders are set to have a huge season. Players like Nolan Smith, Nakobe Dean, Travon Walker, and Tyrique Stevenson are going to flash all over the field for this defense this fall.
You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the top righthand corner of the page. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook @BulldogMaven & follow us on Twitter at @DawgsDailySI.