Saturday night the Georgia Bulldogs faced off against Clemson in a match up of top ten teams. The Bulldogs came out on the short end of the battle as Clemson held serve at home winning 38-35. Georgia suffered more than just a loss on Saturday, but a huge road block in their hopes of making an appearance in the national championship game.
The Bulldogs' bright spot in the game was the running of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Gurley had 12 carries accounting for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Gurley was electric including a 75 yard rushing touchdown in the first half. The Bulldogs enter SEC play next Saturday and Gurley will be the key in just how success they are. Marshall also had a rushing touchdown, but the two backs efforts just wasn't quit enough.
The Bulldogs also lost a key piece to their offense in a freak accident. Georgia receiver Malcolm Mitchell suffered a torn ACL in a celebration following a Bulldogs touchdown. This isn't the first of these type of freak injuries. Ohio State returner and wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. was injured in the 2006 national title game against Florida following his opening kickoff touchdown. While these celebrating injuries are rare they do happen and this one for Georgia will be costly.
The Bulldogs not only lose a top wide out, but one of the upperclassmen and leaders on the team. The Bulldogs will have to adjust with Mitchell, but have the weapons and skill players to do so. The schedule shows no signs of letting up as another top ten team comes to Athens, Georgia Saturday.
Georgia will open up SEC East play against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Gamecocks come off a victory against North Carolina. The talk around this game will be how Jadeveon Clowney bounces back from a sub par game in the opener. Georgia will have to contain Clowney and what appears to be an explosive South Carolina offense. A loss to the Gamecocks and the Bulldogs will be in for even a longer season.
My feelings on this Georgia team is that they are going to be down because of the loss to Clemson as they realize more than likely their national title dreams are gone. The beauty of college football is one loss in the very first game and all your dreams you waited eight months for can be dashed. This is also the down side to college football for players, coaches and fans alike. The loss to Clemson does not affect the SEC part of the Bulldogs season, but national title dreams were dramatically hit.
Georgia has lost to South Carolina the last three years. A fourth consecutive loss to South Carlina and the 2013 season will be a dark one for Georgia. The Bulldogs were five yards short from beating Alabama in the 2012 SEC title game and being a possible heavy favorite to defeat Notre Dame in the national title game. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray returned to take the next step and get to and win the national championship. This possibility is in serious doubt and may only get worse as the season moves along.
I know things seem dark for Georgia, but a win against South Carolina can bring a new sense of hope. The SEC has had multiple teams suffer a loss, even two losses with LSU in 2007, and win a national title. The Bulldogs also have to face LSU in September which will be another match up against a possible top ten team. The September schedule for Georgia is rough and without doubt the toughest in all of college football.
I feel that the loss to Clemson will be a real downer for Georgia which will lead to a loss to South Carolina come Saturday. Most of these Georgia players returned to finish the mission and win a national title, but with the loss to Clemson I believe the players' hope will be dashed. The Bulldogs will need a lot of help with losses by other top teams in the nation and more importantly navigate through one of the nation's toughest schedules.
This 2013 season seems to be shaping up a lot like 2011 when Georgia lost their season opener to Boise State and then followed it up with a loss to South Carolina. This year I believe history repeats itself and Georgia opens the season 0-2 once again.
This will start the "Fire Richt" chants again, which are absurd. Richt doesn't deserve to go and Georgia would find a hard time replacing him. As the saying goes "You don't know what you have until it's gone" would fit the Georgia situation perfectly. You never know how big of a challenge it would be finding a replacement better than what you have, just ask the Tennessee Volunteers about that regarding Phil Fulmer.
The Bulldogs still have many of their goals in sight this season. Murray will still have the opportunity to break numerous of SEC passing records and be a first round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Dawgs can still win the SEC East and even the SEC championship. I believe this season will be a big disappointment the further Georgia gets in their schedule, but a win against the Gamecocks Saturday in Athens and things could get back on track.