The Georgia Bulldogs haven't won a national championship since 1980. They are getting ready to make a run at that all-so elusive title in 2021, and have a real chance at bringing the trophy back to Athens.
Georgia will have to answer some questions along the way in order to make the College Football Playoff. These questions could make or break their season and determine if they are among college football's elite.
Can the Bulldogs Become an Elite Passing Offense?
Quarterback JT Daniels had a strong finish to the 2020 season. He passed for 1,231 yards, adding 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions in only four starts.
In addition, the Bulldogs won all four games Daniels started.
History shows us the national champion has an elite passing offense. Here is a list of recent national champions and the numbers for their starting quarterback:
- Alabama, 2020: Mac Jones: 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, 4 interceptions
- LSU, 2019: Joe Burrow: 5,671 yards, 60 touchdowns, 6 interceptions
- Clemson, 2018: Trevor Lawrence: 3,280 yards, 30 touchdowns, 4 interceptions
- Alabama 2017: Jalen Hurts: 2,081 yards, 17 touchdowns, 1 interception
- Clemson, 2016: Deshaun Watson: 4,593 yards, 41 touchdowns, 17 interceptions
Georgia has not become an elite passing offense to this point. If they hope to win a national title, Daniels has to elevate his play this season.
Is this Front Four the Best in America?
Despite the emphasis on passing in modern college football, teams still have to be able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
This year, Georgia has the chance to have the best front four in the country.
The Bulldogs have arguably the best defensive line trio in the SEC with defensive tackles Jalen Carter, Devonte Wyatt and Jordan Davis. The trio has a wealth of experience in defensive coordinator Dan Lanning's system and are very smart players.
They will draw a lot of attention on the interior this year. This means that the Bulldogs edge rushers will see a lot of one-on-one opportunities.
Edge rusher Adam Anderson could have a very big season. Even with limited playing time over his first three seasons, Anderson has proven that given the opportunity he can rush the passer.
Nolan Smith has put on some good weight in the offseason. We will have to see if he keeps it on, but the former SI All-American could generate some pressure off the edge.
Travon Walker is a name that Georgia fans have been waiting on since his arrival in 2019. He's been extremely effective when on the field with the only problem being that he's seen limited playing time in his first two seasons. That will change this fall.
Can Georgia Beat the Elite Teams?
Georgia will have to face the nation's very best in order to win the national championship.
In the first game of the season, the Bulldogs will travel to Charlotte, N.C. to play the Clemson Tigers. It's a litmus test to start the season for the Dawgs, and easily their most difficult regular-season game on the schedule.
They will presumably play Alabama in the SEC title game. It doesn't get any easier from there, where they would have to face more national powers in the College Football Playoff.
Every Georgia fan knows the history of second-half struggles against Alabama that the Bulldogs have suffered through during the Kirby Smart regime. They will need to break the streak in 2021 in order to reach their goal of a national championship.
Avoid a Letdown
If Georgia is to reach the College Football Playoff, what they can't have is a reiteration of 2019 South Carolina or 2018 LSU. These were games where Georgia seemingly failed to show up or at least perform to its standard.
With Clemson on the schedule and a matchup with Alabama in the SEC Championship Game looming, they not only have to win at least one of the two, but they will need to run the table the remainder of the season.
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