The SEC football schedule is out, and now the fun begins! Radio hosts, television analysts, and beat writers in the Southeast will now all begin to make cases for their respective teams to win the Southeastern Conference and make their way to the College Football Playoff.
However, if you ask any host, analyst, or writer about Georgia’s chances to make the Playoff this upcoming season they will all tell you they are currently a favorite to be one of the teams from the SEC to earn a playoff berth. Jon Chuckery explained why “it’s playoff or bust” for the Bulldogs this season.
With seasoned senior quarterback JT Daniels, wide receiver George Pickens, and running backs Zamir White and James Cook all returning for the Dawgs this season, Georgia is expected to have one of the best offenses in the SEC. Chuckery believes that side of the ball is exactly what is going to carry Georgia to success.
“Yeah, they gotta get their pass-rush fixed," Chucakerry said. "Yeah, they have a young secondary, but they have to have a Kyle Trask lead type of dynamic offense this season.”
Daniels and the Dawgs really hit their stride last year when the USC transfer finally took the reins of the offense after his debut with the team being delayed due to injury. After Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs finished the season strong beating Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl, Chuckery says “the expectation isn't get to the SEC title game and see what happens, the expectation is Playoff.”
Early on it seems like the only major hiccup in Georgia’s schedule this upcoming season will be against Clemson, as the Bulldogs will face off with the Tigers in a premiere kickoff game on September 4 in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. With Dabo Swinney, DJ Uiagalelei, and company, the Tigers could very well be the No. 1 ranked team coming into Week 1, but even though Uiagalelei got some experience against Notre Dame last season and played well, growing pains are still likely. And the Dawgs could take advantage of an inexperienced quarterback early in the season.
However, even if Georgia loses to Clemson in the opening week, there is still a path to the College Football Playoff if the Dawgs run the table, including a win in the SEC Championship Game. Either way it goes, Chuckery is concerned about the endgame for Georgia and not necessarily the journey.
“I don’t really care about the process of how you get there,” said Chuckery.
Georgia has all the pieces it takes to make a championship run: veteran quarterback, dynamic skill players, and even though the defense will be younger it will still be a darn good defense. Jon believes that it’s now or never for Kirby and Georgia.
“If Georgia isn’t a Playoff team next year I’m going to start to run out of excuses,” Chuckery said. “If it’s not a Playoff for Georgia I don’t want to hear excuses anymore. I don’t want to hear excuses for Kirby.” Time will only tell if the Dawgs live up to expectations or not.
The rest of the Dawgs season includes matchups against UAB, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, Charleston Southern, and finally close out the 2021 campaign with in-state rival Georgia Tech.
For Georgia fans and Chuckery the bottom line is simple “It’s time for Georgia to be a playoff team.” The schedule is in their favor, the question is will the Georgia Bulldogs capitalize and finally take home the ultimate prize?