Georgia, the two-time, defending national champion, hasn’t lost a regular-season game since falling to Florida in Jacksonville on Nov. 7, 2020. But the Bulldogs (5-0, 2-0) have had two close calls already.
Georgia fell behind by double digits in both its SEC games. The Bulldogs rallied in the second half to beat Auburn 27-20 on the road and defeated South Carolina 24-14 in Sanford Stadium on Sept. 16. But Georgia’s average margin of victory in SEC play so far — 8.5 points — indicates a much less dominant team than the last seasons. Georgia’s average margin of victory in conference play in 2022 was 25.5 points and 31.9 in 2021.
The national press and coaches clearly are losing some confidence in the Bulldogs. Georgia lost two No. 1 votes in the coaches’ poll and 20 in the AP poll this week. Even coach Kirby Smart seems unsure what to make of his team.
“I don’t know how good of a team we’ve got,” he said after the Auburn game. “I really don’t. I don’t sit here and proclaim that we’ve got some unbelievable team. But I do think that we’ve got a team that believes in each other.”
Here’s a look at the SEC’s three undefeated teams:
- Record: 5-0, 2-0 SEC
- Current rank: No. 1 AP, No. 1 coaches
- Last game: Won at Auburn, 27-20
- Next game: At home versus No. 22 Kentucky
- Highest-ranked opponent so far: N/A
- Best wins: South Carolina (24-14), at Auburn (27-20)
- Best tests remaining: Saturday vs. No. 20 Kentucky, 11/4 vs. No. 21 Missouri, 11/11 vs. No. 16 Ole Miss, 11/18 @ No. 22 Tenneessee
- Outlook: The Bulldogs look more vulnerable than at any time over the last three seasons. Injuries have impacted their early-season play and that has improved. But Georgia clearly is not as dominant on defense and, besides tight end Brock Bowers and safety Malaki Starks, lacks many truly exceptional players.
- Record: 5-0, 2-0 SEC
- Current rank: No. 20 AP, No. 20 coaches
- Last game: Defeated No. 22 Florida 33-14 in Lexington
- Next game: On road at No. 1 Georgia
- Highest-ranked opponent so far: No. 22 Florida
- Best wins: No. 22 Florida (33-14), at Vanderbilt (45-28)
- Best tests remaining: Saturday at No. 1 Georgia, 10/14 vs. No. 21 Missouri, 10/28 vs. No. 22 Tennessee, 11/11 vs. No. 11 Alabama
- Outlook: The Wildcats have the SEC’s best running game and the SEC’s best back in Ray Davis. The Vanderbilt transfer leads the league with 594 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns, 8 on the ground. After Georgia, their toughest games all are at home on Kroger Field.
- Record: 5-0, 1-0 SEC
- Current rank: No. 21 AP, No. 22 coaches
- Last game: Defeated Vanderbilt 38-21 in Nashville
- Next game: Saturday vs. No. 23 LSU (3-2, 2-1)
- Highest-ranked opponent so far: No. 15 Kansas State
- Best wins: Defeated No. 15K-State 30-27 on a 60-yard field as time expired.
- Best tests remaining: 10/14 at Kentucky, 11/4 at Georgia, 11/11 vs. Tennessee
- Outlook: The Tigers look like the biggest pretender of the group. But veteran quarterback Brady Cook is playing well and moving receiver Luther Burden into the slot is paying dividends so far as the sophomore has scored a touchdown in every game. Defense is somewhat suspect.