Game 3: Sept. 17: Georgia 48, South Carolina 7
Stetson Bennett was 16-of-23 passing for 284 yards and two touchdowns, plus a rushing score. The Gamecocks’ only touchdown came with 53 seconds left in the game against Georgia’s defensive backups. That was the first touchdown allowed by the Bulldogs in 2022.
Game 4: Sept. 24 vs. Kent State (Noon, SEC Network-Plus)
Georgia’s defense promises to have a busy day as coach Sean Lewis brings his “Flash Fast Offense” to Sanford Stadium. Kent State averaged 493 yards and 33 points in their three games against Power 5 opponents last season. Alas, they were 0-3 in those contests.
Game 5: Oct. 1 at Missouri (7:30 p,m., SEC Network)
Georgia has given up only two touchdowns in its past three games against the Tigers and hasn’t lost to them in eight years. But the thinking in Columbia is this is the year Mizzou gets going on offense under coach Eli Drinkwitz, with four returning starters on the line, quarterback Brady Cook back under center and 5-star receiver signee Luther Burden in the fold. Logistically, this is the Bulldogs’ longest and most difficult road trip.
Game 6: Oct. 8 vs. Auburn (TBA)
Nobody knows what to expect from Auburn this year. After a mass exodus of both players and coaches following the 6-7 season in 2021, coach Bryan Harsin had to survive an internal coup attempt. Quarterback Bo Nix (who transferred to Oregon), will be replaced by either former Texas A&M QB Zach Calzada or LSU’s TJ Finley. But running back Tank Bigsby, a returning offensive line and a representative SEC defense give the Tigers a chance to be competitive.
Game 7: Oct. 15 vs. Vanderbilt (TBA)
Second-year Commodores coach Clark Lea got a rise out of the audience when he said at SEC Media Days, “in time, Vanderbilt will be the best program in the country.” Perhaps, but it won’t be in this century and certainly not in 2022.
BYE: Oct. 22
Game 8: Oct. 29 vs. Florida (Jacksonville, 3:30 p.m., CBS)
While the Bulldog Nation continues to debate whether this game should be played in Jacksonville, it will be for 92nd time in 102 overall meetings this year for sure. Billy Napier, another apple off the Nick Saban tree, takes over for the ousted Dan Mullen. He’ll try to turn the tide in a series that has seen Georgia win four of the past five. Two former Bulldogs will suit up for the Gators’ defense in defensive end Brenton Cox and cornerback Jalen Kimber.
Game 9: Nov. 5 vs. Tennessee (TBA)
No rivalry has been more dramatically reversed than this one, in which Georgia has won 10 of the past 12. Second-year coach Josh Heupel has the Volunteers rolling on offense, but it’s the defense that has let them down. The Dogs have averaged 41.4 points in winning the past five.
Game 10: Nov. 12 at Mississippi State (TBA)
Circle this one as a proverbial trap game for Georgia. This is Year 3 for offensive guru Mike Leach, who finally should have the program retrofitted for his unique brand of “Air Raid” offense. Quarterback Will Rogers, one of the better running back duos in the SEC and an experienced offensive line makes them dangerous, as do all those cowbells.
Game 11: Nov. 19 at Kentucky (TBA)
This game could well decide the Eastern Division. Mark Stoops has done a phenomenal job as the Wildcats’ coach, leading them two 10-win seasons and six consecutive bowl games, the past four of which Kentucky won. With Will Levis at quarterback, the Cats will be in the hunt again this year. A defensive rebuild could be their undoing.
Game 12: Nov. 26 vs. Georgia Tech (TBA)
Under coach Geoff Collins, the Yellow Jackets no longer are competitive in this once-proud series. Tech has lost the past four by an average score of 45-9. That margin is unlikely to get trimmed this season.