Of the Bulldogs’ 12 known opponents, two cracked the preseason Associated Press Top 25. Neither – No. 12 Tennessee and No. 22 Ole Miss – made the top 10. Georgia won’t see No. 4 Alabama or No. 5 LSU before the SEC championship. Nor will the Bulldogs see No. 20 Oklahoma, the SEC ordering cancellation of a scheduled game because the Sooners are SEC-bound.
Filling the Sooners’ sked spot – Ball State. The Cardinals have lost their past two games against Power 5 opposition by an aggregate 80 points.
Georgia has lost once at home since 2016, the blip coming against South Carolina on Oct. 12, 2019. It was the biggest upset – the Bulldogs were favored by 24-1/2 points – in Sanford Stadium annals. It stands as Georgia’s only loss since 2019 against an unranked team.
Since that loss, Georgia is 18-0 between the hedges. None of the 18 victories were by single digits. Since 2016, Kirby Smart’s first season as coach, his team is 34-1 at home. Of the 31 victories, three were by single digits – Notre Dame and Texas A&M in 2019, Mississippi State in 2020.
We turn to the annual affair in Jacksonville. The Bulldogs are 5-1 against Florida since 2016. The loss was in 2020, the COVID year. Of Georgia’s five victories, four were by double figures.
Georgia got really good in 2017. It lost at Auburn that season, at LSU the next, at Alabama in 2020. All three victors ranked in the top 10. Since Oct. 17, 2020, the Bulldogs are 11-0 on an opponent’s field.
Since Nov. 7, 2020, they’ve lost once, period. That was against Alabama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the 2021 SEC championship game. Over that span, Georgia is 12-1 at neutral sites
The Bulldogs are 71-10 over the past seven seasons. That’s a winning percentage of .876. They’re 33-1 since the 2020 loss in Jax. That’s a winning percentage of .971. They’ve made the transition from excellent to superior. We used to ask if/when they’d win the big game. Now we ask if/when they’ll ever lose, even if we know that – once again, with feeling – nobody wins ‘em all.
The counterpoint: An underdog must get close before it can prevail. Over Georgia’s past two regular seasons, only twice has an opponent – Clemson in Charlotte in 2021 and Missouri last year in Columbia West – come within 10 points.
Georgia’s average margin of victory over its two championship seasons – counting two SEC title tilts and four playoff games – was 27.6 points. Only five times in 30 games did it have a realistic chance to lose. Only once in 30 did it lose.
The Alabama of Saban isn’t a necessarily a reference point for where Georgia sits. Bama has lost only 21 games over 15 seasons, but only twice – in 2009 and shortened 2020 – did it finish undefeated. It played in the SEC West, where Auburn and LSU rose to claim national titles themselves. There wouldn’t seem a team in the East of that exalted ilk. (Note: SEC divisional play ends with this season.)
Georgia has ceased losing. That cessation will inevitably cease, but I’ll be darned if I spy an L in the Bulldogs’ future. In that regard, Georgia has indeed become what Bama was – so mighty you’ll believe it can lose only when it does.
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