Thursday, February 21, 2008
Updated: February 29, 4:47 PM ET
Key players returning for motivated, talented Bulldogs
By Chris Low
Georgia's beef at the end of the 2007 season was that it didn't even get a chance to play for the national championship.
Of course, the irony there is that the Bulldogs' undoing among the pollsters was that they didn't even play in their own conference championship game.
Chances are Georgia will start the 2008 season as the team to beat in the SEC and one of the teams to beat nationally. The Bulldogs have all of the key pieces returning both offensively and defensively and are still irked about not being a part of the BCS national championship party last season.
Here's their chance to do something about it. But beware Bulldog Nation. The schedule doesn't have what you would call a championship feel to it.
Georgia plays at South Carolina on Sept. 13 and at Arizona State on Sept. 20 before returning home to face Alabama and Tennessee. Before the season finale against Georgia Tech, the Bulldogs play four straight SEC road games: at LSU on Oct. 25, the annual game against Florida in Jacksonville on Nov. 1, at Kentucky on Nov. 8 and at Auburn on Nov. 15.
What we know: The Bulldogs have fewer question marks than anyone else in the conference.
What we don't know: How will Georgia navigate a schedule that might be the SEC's toughest?
How the Bulldogs can get to Atlanta: By riding the coattails of No. 24, Knowshon Moreno.
What we know: Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow is a one-man wrecking machine on offense.
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What we don't know: Can the Gators stop anybody capable of throwing the football?
How the Gators can get to Atlanta: Keep Tebow in one piece and find a pass defense.
What we know: The Tigers will be plenty formidable in their front seven again.
What we don't know: Will Ryan Perrilloux survive this latest suspension?
How the Tigers can get to Atlanta: With or without Perrilloux, finding some leadership at quarterback.
What we know: Safety Eric Berry is part of a sophomore class that has star potential.
What we don't know: How will new offensive coordinator Dave Clawson impact the Vols?
How the Volunteers can get to Atlanta: Making it out of September, which includes games against Florida and Auburn, alive.
What we know: Despite some key losses, the Tigers will again be stout on their defensive line.
What we don't know: The quarterback battle is a four-man race. Kodi Burns has the edge in experience.
How the Tigers can get to Atlanta: Find a quarterback that's a fit in Tony Franklin's new spread offense.
What we know: The Gamecocks return 18 of 22 starters from last season's 6-6 club.
What we don't know: Will the Head Ball Coach settle on Stephen Garcia as his quarterback?
How the Gamecocks can get to Atlanta: By shoring up a run defense that was last in the SEC last season.
What we know: Nick Saban is stockpiling talent the way he did at LSU.
What we don't know: Are there enough difference makers on offense to break through in the West?
How the Crimson Tide can get to Atlanta: Play the way they did in October last season and not November.
What we know: Sylvester Croom has the Bulldogs believing they can compete in the West.
What we don't know: Does Mississippi State have enough playmakers on offense to make a run?
How the Bulldogs can get to Atlanta: Quarterback Wesley Carroll needs a big sophomore season.
What we know: New coach Houston Nutt inherits some good young talent.
What we don't know: Is quarterback Jevan Snead, a transfer from Texas, the real thing?
How the Rebels can get to Atlanta: Hope some of their younger players play like All-SEC players.
What we know: The Razorbacks are looking for anybody that can make a play on offense.
What we don't know: How will Bobby Petrino's offense fare with so many new faces?
How the Razorbacks can get to Atlanta: Hope that Darren McFadden magically decides to return to school.
What we know: Rich Brooks has restored credibility back to Kentucky football.
What we don't know: Is there life after Andre' Woodson?
How the Wildcats can get to Atlanta: Buying a ticket would be their best bet.
What we know: Bobby Johnson is one of the most underrated coaches in the country.
What we don't know: How do the Commodores recover from major personnel losses?
How the Commodores can get to Atlanta: Maybe in their wildest dreams.
Chris Low is a college football writer for ESPN.com. Send your questions and comments to Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.