Sep 2, 2022 - Sports

UGA starts title defense with showdown vs. Oregon

January flashback: Coach Kirby Smart celebrates. Photo: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty

It's title defense time for the Georgia Bulldogs. Expect Atlanta to be a sea of red and black and green and yellow Saturday.

What's happening: The Dawgs open their season with a clash against the Oregon Ducks.

  • UGA won't be between the hedges though. They'll be just down the road at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:30pm.

The big picture: This marks the first time since the 1981 season that Georgia has had a national title to defend.

  • After winning it all in 1980, UGA went a painstaking 41 years before sitting atop the throne of the college football world.

Catch up fast: UGA avenged their 2017-18 championship loss to Alabama by beating the Crimson Tide 33-18 in a dominating performance to win the CFP title.

Yes, but: Since then, they've lost 15 players to the NFL, setting a record for most players taken in a single draft.

  • Those included key defensive players Travon Walker (picked first overall), Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean.
  • They also lost some talent on the offensive end in receiver George Pickens and running backs James Cook and Zamir White.

Of note: Their 2022 signing class should help lessen the blow. Four of their five star recruits are on the defensive side of the ball.

What's next: Not saying this season will be easy, but the scheduling gods smiled on UGA.

  • UGA is currently only set to face two teams who are ranked in the AP's preseason poll — Oregon at no. 11 and Kentucky at no. 20.
  • Matchups against Samford and Kent State are cake walks.
  • That leaves the Georgia/Florida game and a visit from Auburn as the only other times we could see UGA sweat a little.

What we're watching: Will Georgia end its season playing in the same place it started: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, site of the SEC championship.

  • Even with its national victory, UGA hasn't won the SEC title since 2017.
  • They've appeared in the game six times since 2011, losing five. (Three to Alabama and two to LSU)

Ross' thought bubble: Yea, yea I get it. All the hype surrounding the Dawgs and their dominating season last year. Kirby Smart got his bag with a 10 year, $112.5 million deal.

  • But this season will belong to The Ohio State University.
  • Go Bucks! OH!
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