By Sydney Gibbs
Well, the Georgia Bulldogs were finally tested after going against the Louisiana Tigers down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. However, the outcome wasn’t what the fans expected nor wanted.
After a disappointing 36-16 loss in Death Valley, the Bulldogs dropped from No. 2 to No. 8 in the AP Top 25 Poll.
They entered the bye week with plenty of questions regarding the team and how they’ll approach the rest of the season. Nearly all the weaknesses that Georgia possesses were exposed last weekend in Tiger Stadium.
Looking at a roster like Georgia’s, they were the most talented team on the field but got embarrassed by 20 points. You don’t go into an environment of that caliber not ready to play and the Bulldogs weren’t prepared so they ended up suffering the consequences.
The problem isn’t the talent, they are loaded all over the field so it’s undoubtedly there, it is the focus. They didn’t play well. The offense looked sluggish and couldn’t move the ball. The defense was scattered and gave up too many big plays on the ground and through the air. Don’t even get me started on special teams, I mean the fake field goal? The fumble off the kick return? And the awful punts from Camarda? Completely abysmal. Everything that could’ve gone wrong in the game went wrong. They weren’t locked in.
How can those weaknesses displayed from the LSU game turn into strengths? How can they improve the passing game? What needs to happen with the Georgia defense especially in the secondary? And, who will be the starting quarterback going forward?
These pressing questions and problems need to be addressed and solved because the game in Jacksonville against the Gators will be just as tough. This then leads to the question: Is there still playoff hope for Georgia?
With arduous games coming up against borderline rivals No. 9 Florida, and Auburn, as well as a Top 25 road matchup against the Kentucky Wildcats; a lot of work needs to be put in. In all honesty, this loss had to happen and in ways, it was a good thing because it woke them up. Take for instance the 40-17 loss last year to Auburn. They bounced back.
They approached the next week looking like a different team. A team that attacked every game with explosiveness and a fiery passion. Georgia still achieved everything they set to achieve before falling just a play short of a national championship. Sometimes you just got to get punched in the mouth if you want to succeed.
To answer the intial question, of course, there’s still hope. The Bulldogs control their own destiny. They need to take it one game at a time. If they win out, win the SEC East and win the SEC showdown in Atlanta against either Alabama LSU then, of course, they’ll take over one of those playoff spots.
According to the ESPN’s playoff predictor, there’s a 16% chance Georgia will win out and if that happens they have a 94% chance to reach the playoffs. They clearly have very little to no room for error.
Let’s not forget to mention the shocking but comical 49-20 loss Ohio State suffered this past Saturday on the road against Purdue helps the Bulldog cause by moving them up to the No. 7 team in the nation. Numerous scenarios can occur that could either help or hurt Georgia on their path to the playoffs. They just have to trust the process.
No road to the playoff is ever easy. They haven’t been playing to their fullest potential but after a bye week infused with energy and determination, they’ll come out stronger and rejuvenated as ever. Coach Smart reiterates every time that a National Championship is the goal and that goal has not changed.
Shoutout to LSU for giving these Dawgs an edge because they’re hungry and ready to take on all the challenges that lie ahead. These players are angry and if you think they will walk into Jacksonville playing as poorly as they did in Baton Rouge, then you are sadly mistaken.
Don’t write off the Bulldogs just yet.