Three keys to Georgia Bulldogs winning College Football Playoff

If it’s true that failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor, the University of Georgia’s fans and players will have every brat and burger slathered up and soaked for a revenge season after a historical three-peat just slipped through their fingers. 

Even though a stinging loss to hated rivals Alabama in the 2023 SEC Championship game in Nick Saban’s final season ended their three-peat dream, Georgia can still cement their dynasty by adding a third championship in four years.

Heading toward the 2024 college football kickoff, the Bulldogs are currently neck-and-neck with Ohio State as betting favorites, and the unanimous preseason No. 1 across every poll. With the thirteenth toughest schedule in the country and road games against Alabama under new head coach Kalen DeBoer, and SEC newcomer and fellow contender Texas led by quarterback Quinn Ewers, Georgia has its work cut out for them. 

Fortunately with potential No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Carson Beck at the reins and a best-in-class head coach Kirby Smart, the Bulldogs have what it takes to come out on top of a stacked SEC and claim the all important first-round bye in this year’s expanded playoffs. It won’t be easy, but it won’t be impossible. These keys could make the difference:

Stiffen up against the run

Yes, Georgia finished in the top 10 defensively in 2023, but a closer look reveals a weakness in run defense. Georgia was only ranked 29th in rushing yards allowed and 43rd in rushing yards per attempt. The final three games they played last year were their worst, and two Alabama rushing touchdowns sent the Bulldogs packing. Teams that want to slow down the Bulldog’s offense know they can exploit this phase of the game. Hold on to the ball, and grind out an upset. But Georgia is aware of this issue and keen to fix it for 2024.

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According to defensive end standout Mykel Williams: “Our goal is to be top one in every defensive statistic that matters.” 

Score in the red zone

Based on their dynastic run, it’s hard to believe Georgia has anything to improve offensively. But in 2023, the Bulldogs had a nearly 10 percent drop in red zone scoring compared to their 2022 national championship campaign. This was mitigated by the fact that Georgia got into the red zone more times than any other team in the country, but with Georgia trying to climb back to the top of the mountain this season, avoiding missed scoring opportunities could be the difference between hoisting the national championship trophy for a third time in four years or dreaming of what could have been. 

Beat Texas

Circle October 19 on the calendar, because that could be the day the SEC champion reveals themselves. Currently, both Georgia and Texas are projected to win 10.5 games, tied for the most in the SEC. But there can be only one team to take the SEC crown and grab a coveted playoff bye. The Longhorns are returning a lot of talent and are ranked third in ESPN’S FPI rankings, behind only Oregon and Georgia. But the good news for Bulldogs fans is that they’ll be watching this game from the seats of Sanford Stadium, where Georgia hasn’t lost since 2019. 

In a loaded SEC, Georgia has a tough road ahead. But with the talent, leadership, and program they have in place, their 2024 campaign will be must watch TV every Saturday. Get your popcorn ready!

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