Georgia enters the season ranked No. 3 in the media and coaches polls, the highest preseason ranking for the Bulldogs since they sat atop the polls in 2008.
The poll rankings reflect the heightened expectations for coach Kirby Smart’s fourth season, expectations built upon appearances in the past two SEC Championship games and a near-miss in the College Football Playoff Championship game two seasons ago … and upon the remarkable recruiting success since Smart arrived … and upon the play of junior quarterback Jake Fromm.
Because of that recruiting success, Fromm is surrounded by an enormous collection of talent. Junior left tackle Andrew Thomas leads an offensive line ranked by some as potentially the best in the nation. Running back D’Andre Swift, also a junior, has the talent to run himself into consideration for the Heisman Trophy. The has a few question marks, but as with the rest of the team, also has loads of talent.
The time for speculation is over, and the show begins Saturday night in Nashville against Vanderbilt, when the Bulldogs open the regular season against an SEC opponent for the first time since 1995.
Here is some important information regarding how to follow the action:
Before the game: “Bulldogs Game Day” airs from 10-11 a.m. on WSB-TV Channel 2 Action News. Channel 2 sports director Zach Klein and Heather Catlin host the show each Saturday.
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Date: Saturday, Aug. 31
Location: Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, Tenn.
Television: ESPN will televise the game. Tom Hart will handle play-by-play. Jordan Rodgers is the analyst, and Cole Cubelic is the sideline reporter.
Local radio: The game will be broadcast on the Georgia Bulldogs Sports Network, heard in metro Atlanta on WSB radio (750 AM/95.5 FM). Scott Howard is handling play-by-play. Eric Zeier is the analyst, and Chuck Dowdle is the sideline reporter.
National radio: The game will be broadcast on Touchdown Radio. Brett Dolan is handling play-by-play, and Gino Toretta is the analyst.
Satellite radio: You can listen on Sirius XM Radio Channel 84/84.
> Vanderbilt must replace quarterback Kyle Shumur, who left Vandy as the Commodores’ all-time leader in passing yards (8,865). Last season, he completed 62.6 percent of his passes and threw for 24 touchdowns compared with six interceptions.
> Vandy features three key playmakers: running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb and tight end Jared Pinkney. Each was chosen second-team preseason All-SEC by voters at the SEC Media Days in July.
> For the first time since 1956, Georgia and Vandy are meeting in the season opener for each team. They also opened their seasons against each other in 1952. Both games took place in Nashville. Vandy won the first game 14-0 and Georgia the second, 19-7.
> Georgia defeated Vandy 41-13 on Oct. 6, 2018, at Sanford Stadium. The victory kept the Bulldogs undefeated at 6-0 on their way to an 11-3 overall record. Also, Kirby Smart is 2-1 against the Commodores as Georgia’s head coach.
> The Bulldogs have a 28-6 record since losing to Florida in Kirby Smart’s first season, a loss that dropped the Dogs to 4-4 on the season. Georgia is 10-3 on the road since Smart was hired.