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  • Graham Coffey

    The 3 Questions UGA Must Find Answers for During Fall Camp

    By Graham Coffey

    1. Who will play Guard? The largest weakness on Georgia’s 2021 offense was its Guard play. The inconsistency from Warren Ericson and Justin Shaffer created dozens of busted plays and caused UGA’s rushing offense to stall on many series throughout the season. If you don’t believe me, go back and look at the way Missouri dominated the center of UGA’s line at the end of last season. Shaffer is now in the NFL, but Ericson remains in the Georgia program.  Let’s take a look at this chart for
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    • 770 views
  • Jason Brassell

    Looking Back - 2018 Receivers - How Did Georgia Do?

    By Jason Brassell

    The University of Georgia is known for having some of the best running backs in the history of college football. From Herschel Walker to Nick Chubb, there's no college football program around that can compare to the excellence that has come from that position in Athens, Georgia. Each player that has come through and toted the rock for the Georgia Bulldogs did it with their own unique capabilities. Each recruit that comes in understands the importance of continuing the tradition set by the absolu
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    • 147 views
  • Craig Lawson

    CFB Playoff expansion would increase fan interest, but at what cost?

    By Craig Lawson

    It wasn’t too long ago that CFB playoff expansion seemed like a forgone conclusion. Then Greg Sankey got into a pissing contest with the other P5 conference commissioners over automatic bids and other such logistical bullshit, and the power struggle that ensued put a pin in the entire conversation… for now. These are big money decisions and expanding the playoff means more eyes on television screens and more money for everyone. Expansionist revolutionaries will argue that more teams in the playo
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    • 188 views
  • Graham Coffey

    Welcome to Dawgs Central

    By Graham Coffey

    Hello and welcome to Dawgs Central. As we start this journey, it’s important to tell you why we are here, what we are hoping to achieve, and how we plan to bring our subscribers a valuable experience that they won’t find anywhere else on the web…  In the broadest sense, Dawgs Central is a collective of your favorite independent UGA personalities. We have come together because we believe our strengths as creators complement one another well, and by working together we will give Georgia
    • 3 comments
    • 521 views

Live recruiting intel drops and player news from "Ask Dawgs Central"

We had nearly a full house of Dawgs Central last night on "Ask Dawg Central"  @Jason Brassell gave us the next three potential commits,  @Graham Coffeyfilled us in on the latest news, @Jon Tweets Sports and @Lovelacejumped in to the conversation, too.   Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get you podcasts.   And take a minute to leave a review as it will help us spread the word about Dawgs Central and grow our community.

Josh Hancher

Josh Hancher in Ask Dawgs Central

Are We Overthinking This?

Rewind a year. What was everyone talking about? Was it that Georgia was about to field an all time defense? No. Not even close. Every talking point heading into 2021 was about Kirby Smart coming around to the idea of the modern offense. Georgia was about to unleash an air raid attack on the SEC with JT Daniels at the helm. And then the Clemson game came. Now to be fair, Georgia had a rash of injuries that contributed to that against Clemson. Go back and watch that game. It's crazy to look a

Jim Wood

Jim Wood in The Junkyard Blawg

2022 UGA Advanced Stat/Scheme Preview - The Secondary

The Known We know two things for sure about Georgia’s secondary 1. Kelee Ringo will be UGA’s top Cornerback. 2. Christopher Smith will return at Safety to anchor the back end of Georgia’s defense. Kelee Ringo started last season as the ultra talented recruit who Georgia was hoping would hold up opposite of established veteran Derion Kendrick. He had some freshman moments early in the season, but as the year went along he proved himself.  Ringo played 516 coverage snaps w

Graham Coffey

Graham Coffey in 2022 Position Room Previews

Dawgs Central B1G Preview

@Jon Tweets Sports, @Graham Coffeyand I went through the B1G and while we are in agreement that Ohio State is the clear favorite and likely winner, we diverged a bit from there.  Graham is very high on a Michigan team returning a solid passing attack and enough defense to make a run to Indy. Check it out on Twitter or on YouTube         Ohio State Wisconsin Michigan Iowa Nebraska  

Josh Hancher

Josh Hancher in Stats

Meet Your Twitter Friends: Kelley Ford

Kelley Ford of KFordRatings.com was nice enough to join me to break down his preseason rankings and shared with us what goes into his predictive numbers.  Check it out on Pod or our YouTube Channel          

Josh Hancher

Josh Hancher in stats

UGA Weekly Recruiting Overview - Big Decisions Upcoming

The great thing about fall camp starting is obvious........................FOOTBALL IS HERE!!! One of the negatives is that recruiting slows down somewhat due to another dead period in place for the month of August. We're going to swith this month to a once a week recruiting overview. Prospects can still talk to coaching staffs, but there can't be any visits on or off campus. They can also do whatever they want as far as announcing commitments and such. Many players are doing just that before th

Jason Brassell

Jason Brassell in 2023 Recruiting

Looking Back - 2017 Running Backs - How Did Georgia Do?

We could talk about the history of running backs at The University of Georgia until we're blue in the face. Most Dawg fans could recite names, awards, and stats in their sleep. The prestige of the running back position at UGA is unmatched. As Ric Flair would say, "often imitated, but never duplicated". We can go on and on talking about the RB-U tradition at Georgia, but I'm going to end this introduction like D'Andre Swift's dad was ready to end the Auburn Tigers: Georgia identified D'

Jason Brassell

Jason Brassell in Looking Back

Looking Ahead - 2024 Running Backs, Who Do We Want?

The University of Georgia is RB-U. That's the statement. That's it. With the storied history of running backs that came through UGA, one would think that the Dawgs could pull any running back in the country that they want. That simply has not been the case in 2023. Alabama also has a big history of star running backs, so it isn't s surprise when a player chooses the Crimson Tide. Let's be honest, they're in a dynasty right now, so we shouldn't be shocked when someone like five star running back

Jason Brassell

Jason Brassell in 2024 Recruiting

3 Year Trends of Offensive and Defensive Success Rate

Exciting title, right?  I have made a couple of graphs.  These are the percentage of games where a team's offense beat their opponents defensive success rate allowed.  Alabama is obviously on a 3 year heater with just a few games where the offensive success rate didn't exceed what their opponents were allowing to opposing offenses.  I was a little surprised to see Georgia's as mediocre as it was.  Once I saw the 2020 figure of just 40% of games, I realized that Georgia only had a 44% offensive s

Josh Hancher

Josh Hancher in stats

The Question We're All Waiting to be Answered

Fall camp officially started yesterday, and with that came the first round of official press conferences for Kirby Smart and a handful of players. With that, I'm here to talk about the question that is still on everyone's mind. And of course, I'm talking about what the team and fans are going to wear in the showdown with Oregon. Laugh if you will, but a quick perusal of Twitter will show a lot of people asking these questions. And my main point in writing this is that I wish Georgia would j

Jim Wood

Jim Wood in The Junkyard Blawg

Weekly Recruiting Preview - Commit Watch

And there it is..........................just when the dead period is over and we're having fun again with recruits on campus, another dead period starts for the month of August. That doesn't mean recruiting stops though; it never rests. Kirby Smart and company just had a ton of 2023 and 2024 prospects on campus for their 'Dawg Days of Summer' event. That's the last chance the guys had to visit before it's time for Gameday visits. While there won't be any recruits on campus, there will stil

Jason Brassell

Jason Brassell in 2023 Recruiting

Looking Back - 2018 Receivers - How Did Georgia Do?

The University of Georgia is known for having some of the best running backs in the history of college football. From Herschel Walker to Nick Chubb, there's no college football program around that can compare to the excellence that has come from that position in Athens, Georgia. Each player that has come through and toted the rock for the Georgia Bulldogs did it with their own unique capabilities. Each recruit that comes in understands the importance of continuing the tradition set by the absolu

Jason Brassell

Jason Brassell in Looking Back

Weekly Recruiting Review - You Win Some and You Lose Some

Recruiting would be much less entertaining if you could just make a list of the exact 25-30 prospects you want every year and they just sign on the dotted line in December and February. I'm sure there are some days that Kirby Smart wishes he could do that. There are some days that my nerves wish the Dawgs could do that very thing. That would take away all of the fun and the intrigue. It would take away all of the passion for the fans and the recruiting staffs, not to mention the recruits. We're

Jason Brassell

Jason Brassell in 2023 Recruiting

The 3 Questions UGA Must Find Answers for During Fall Camp

1. Who will play Guard? The largest weakness on Georgia’s 2021 offense was its Guard play. The inconsistency from Warren Ericson and Justin Shaffer created dozens of busted plays and caused UGA’s rushing offense to stall on many series throughout the season. If you don’t believe me, go back and look at the way Missouri dominated the center of UGA’s line at the end of last season. Shaffer is now in the NFL, but Ericson remains in the Georgia program.  Let’s take a look at this chart for

Graham Coffey

Graham Coffey in 2022 Fall Camp

Save the Cocktail Party

After one question from Tim Tebow to Kirby Smart about the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, the debate has been raging on for an entire week as to whether the game should stay in Jacksonville or move to some other format. The debate ranged from cries of abandoning tradition to deep dive analysis into the contract between the schools and the city of Jacksonville. In case you missed it, here's the interaction that seems to have started all of this. I started to type that I've

Jim Wood

Jim Wood in The Junkyard Blawg

CFB Playoff expansion would increase fan interest, but at what cost?

It wasn’t too long ago that CFB playoff expansion seemed like a forgone conclusion. Then Greg Sankey got into a pissing contest with the other P5 conference commissioners over automatic bids and other such logistical bullshit, and the power struggle that ensued put a pin in the entire conversation… for now. These are big money decisions and expanding the playoff means more eyes on television screens and more money for everyone. Expansionist revolutionaries will argue that more teams in the playo

Craig Lawson

Craig Lawson in Opinion Piece

Official Dawgs Central Prediction/Player Eval for 3* Receiver Yazeed Haynes

If you look at the commit list for Georgia for the 2023 class, you'll notice that it's loaded with highly ranked defensive prospects. From Joenel Aguero to Gabe Harris, the Dawgs will have a top of the line defense for years to come. You'll also notice that the list of offensive commits includes tight ends, offensive linemen, and one receiver. Raymond Cottrell is the lone pass catcher of the group and one of the longest committed players. He's going to need some help chasing down those dimes fro

Jason Brassell

Jason Brassell in 2023 Recruiting

Looking Ahead - 2024 Quarterbacks, Who Do We Want?

One thing UGA is known for under Kirby Smart is having a plan A, B, C, D, and E for recruiting every position. He and his staff have proved it year after year. They rarely put all their eggs in one basket for a prospect. Of course that hasn't been the case this year, as the Dawgs went all out for Arch Manning. Unfortunately, he recently chose Texas over our beloved Dawgs. Many fans will see this as a big mess up by the staff, but did the ten million dollar a year national championship head coach

Jason Brassell

Jason Brassell in 2024 Recruiting

UGA Commit CJ Allen Talks to DawgsCentral About His Game, His Goals & Georgia’s 2023 Class

CJ Allen sat down with me recently on camera for an interview that we planned on airing on DawgsCentral. Unfortunately some technical problems caused the video quality to be too spotty for us to turn into a video segment. Our conversation is printed here in its entirety. Graham: What’s up, CJ? How are you doing? CJ Allen: I’m doing good… Thank you for having me Graham: Absolutely, thanks for coming on… So you made the leap and committed to Georgia back in late June. It seems like

Graham Coffey

Graham Coffey in Interviews

Official Dawgs Central Prediction - Caleb Downs

In-state safety Caleb Downs has been a top target for Georgia for the majority of his recruitment. UGA has made him a priority target for not only his position, but for the 2023 class as a whole. The 5* safety is one of the most college ready prospects in this class. His speed, athleticism, anticipation, and football IQ are all off the charts. These factors make him an almost can't miss for the Dawgs. Kirby Smart and company would love to pair him with fellow 5* safety and recent commit, Joenel

Jason Brassell

Jason Brassell in 2023 Recruiting

Opponent Preview: Georgia Tech

Editors Note: This is part one of our Dawgs Central opponent preview series where one of our Dawgs Central contributors will give you a unique look at each opponent on Georgia's 2022 schedule. Someone decided it was a good idea to let me preview Georgia Tech. Thankfully I have @Josh Hancher's advanced stats to ground me, otherwise I'd just rant about how much I hate Georgia Tech. But I digress… The 2022 Yellow Jackets look to rebound from a 3-9 campaign in 2021. Head Coach Geoff (that'

Jim Wood

Jim Wood in 2022 Opponent Previews

Weekly Recruiting Preview - Dead Period is Over

The dead period is over for a week! It is now a "quiet period" on the NCAA calendar. This means that there can be no off-campus contact, but prospects can visit the schools. These visits have to be unofficial visits, as no officials are allowed during this period. Another dead period is set for the month of August, so expect a great deal of visitors to Athens and scross the country this week. One top target that has confirmed his trip to Athens is 2024 5* corner Ellis Robinson, who plans to

Jason Brassell

Jason Brassell in 2023 Recruiting

2022 UGA Advanced Stat/Scheme Preview: Inside WR’s

We continue our detailed position group previews this week with a look at UGA’s Inside Receivers for 2022. While much of the talk this offseason has been rightfully focused on UGA’s potentially historic group of Tight-Ends, the Dawgs will quietly deploy one of the best groups of inside receivers in the SEC and maybe all of college football.  In 2021, 56.2% of Stetson Bennett’s pass attempts came in the middle of the field. That was down slightly from the 61.5% of his attempts that came betw

Graham Coffey

Graham Coffey in 2022 Position Room Previews

  • Dawgs Central Blogs

    1. We had nearly a full house of Dawgs Central last night on "Ask Dawg Central"  @Jason Brassell gave us the next three potential commits,  @Graham Coffeyfilled us in on the latest news, @Jon Tweets Sports and @Lovelacejumped in to the conversation, too.  

      Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get you podcasts.

       

      And take a minute to leave a review as it will help us spread the word about Dawgs Central and grow our community.

    2. The Known

      We know two things for sure about Georgia’s secondary

      1. Kelee Ringo will be UGA’s top Cornerback.

      2. Christopher Smith will return at Safety to anchor the back end of Georgia’s defense.

      Kelee Ringo started last season as the ultra talented recruit who Georgia was hoping would hold up opposite of established veteran Derion Kendrick. He had some freshman moments early in the season, but as the year went along he proved himself. 

      Ringo played 516 coverage snaps while giving up just 24 receptions on 59 targets. His 40.6% reception percentage was the lowest of any player to see significant snaps in the UGA back seven. The 346 receiving yards he allowed were less than Kendrick. Quarterbacks targeting Ringo in 2021 had a passer rating of just 63.2, which was third lowest on the team after Kendrick and Christopher Smith. 

      Georgia plays a lot of match zone coverage, but they do go man more than most teams. Ringo saw the highest number of man coverage snaps last year and he gave up 1 reception for every 18.1 snaps in man. That’s really good, but what’s elite is Ringo’s ability to cover ground in zone. He gave up 1 reception for every 27.1 snaps in zone. That’s elite and it was by far the best ratio of any UGA starter in 2021. 

      Ringo’s toughest game came against Alabama in the National Championship game. He gave up 8 receptions on 12 targets and allowed 141 yards on those catches, the long coming on a 61-yard catch by Cameron Latu where Ringo ran him down inside the 10. Kelee got caught with his head turned a couple of times and misplayed some routes, but when the game was on the line he delivered Georgia a championship sealing pick-six. Another offseason should turn him into a more savvy corner and make him more adept at knowing when to turn around and play the ball. 

      Christopher Smith was the quiet name in Georgia’s back end last year, but he is crucial to Georgia’s defensive scheme. He has elite coverage skills for a safety and can step into the slot corner position if needed. His reception percentage allowed last year was 69.2%, which on its surface sounds high. In reality, he locked down his assignments so well that he was rarely targeted. In 15 games he gave up a total of just 130 yards in coverage. Opposing QB’s had a rating of just 53.8 when throwing to his man last season. 

      In 2021 he played 146 snaps as the “Star” or slot corner for the Bulldogs and 386 snaps as a free safety. He excels in both roles, and he is UGA’s best Safety or Slot DB. Through the first week of UGA’s 2022 fall camp it sounds like Smith is patrolling the back end at his safety spot. It would be a surprise if he’s not playing there regularly this year, but if UGA comes across a particularly problematic slot receiver don’t be shocked if Smith rotates down to cover him.

      Star/Nickel/Slot CB

      Like most teams in college football, UGA’s defense has a fifth DB on the field more of then than not. In most cases that player is covering the opposition’s slot receiver, but depending on down/distance/personnel you will see UGA’s safeties and linebackers pick up the slot player as well. 

      Tykee Smith transferred into UGA before last season after being PFF’s highest rated slot defender in all of college football. He is an excellent blitzer and has fantastic coverage skills, but injuries derailed his 2021 season. In two years at West Virginia he produced 54 “stop plays” (A stop play is when an offense fails to gain half the yards needed for a first down on 1st or 2nd down and fails to gain a first down on 3rd down). 

      He only played 7 snaps for Georgia last year. 6 were at Star and 1 at Free Safety. Through the first week of camp it sounds like Smith still has some work to do to return to his old form. A year’s worth of lower body injuries makes it really hard to condition, and it will take some time for him to come back to 100%. He could give UGA a boost in the secondary in October or November, and we may see him come in when UGA plays packages with 6 DB’s. For now, the focus is on getting him back into his old form. If he can do that then playing time will come to him in 2022. So who is UGA’s opening day player at Star?

      William Poole III spent an entire career as a reserve player before being thrust into the Nickel role for Latavious Brini and earning the starting role in the SEC Championship. On that day he gave up 8 receptions on 10 targets as Alabama worked the slot over and over. In Indianapolis he was a different player, holding his assignments to 29 yards on 9 targets and registering 2 pass breakups. He made a textbook break on the ball on 3rd-and-10 right after UGA scored to go up by a point in the 4th quarter of the national championship game. That play git UGA the ball back and set them up for a long drive to go up 8. His play was one of the most clutch pass breakups in UGA history.

      The question for Georgia is which Poole is the one they can expect in 2022? If it is the Indy version of Poole then I think he will regularly patrol the Star position. Poole is a savvy cover corner who is experienced and knows the Georgia defense. He saw the highest percentage of snaps in man coverage of any UGA DB in 2021, giving up just 58 yards on 13 targets. Teams tested him often, especially in man coverage. When Poole was targeted once every 4.8 snaps when playing man coverage. The willingness to put Poole on an island in man despite him being short on game experience says that Georgia’s staff trusted him, and that trust was ultimately rewarded in Indianapolis. 

      The most impressive stat I found on Poole is that he had UGA’s highest forced incompletion percentage in 2021. He had a PBU on 19% of the plays where he was targeted, and never drew a penalty flag for interference. That is a corner who knows how to play the ball cleanly. 

      There may be matchups where the opposing WR has more high end speed and in those cases we might see Javon Bullard come onto the field. Either way, I expect Poole to take the majority of the snaps as the Slot CB in 2022.

      Javon Bullard flashed some impressive speed in the spring game and picked off Stetson Bennett on the goal line to end the first half on G-Day. A reserve in 2021, Bullard only has 65 career coverage snaps. On those snaps he’s allowed just 31 yards, but the sample size is admittedly small. Bullard has been one of the secondary players I have heard the most positive reviews of so far during camp. Don’t be surprised if he is UGA’s 5th or 6th DB in certain packages versus Oregon. I think we will see him in meaningful moments in 2022. 

      Strong Safety

      Dan Jackson is back after playing significant snaps for Georgia last year and feels like the safest choice for Georgia at Strong Safety. There’s a perception that Jackson struggles to cover WR’s with elite speed, but Jackson was actually VERY good for UGA in man coverage in 2021. He gave up just 1 reception for every 22.3 snaps in man coverage, which was the second best ration on UGA’s team after Christopher Smith. Jackson has a high floor and a lower ceiling at this position, but I don’t know if anyone can actually pick on him on the regular season schedule. He’s a really good safety, but if UGA wants an elite safety they will need to look elsewhere on the roster. 

      In a scenario where Georgia goes a different route would David Daniel-Sisavanh potentially step in? Daniel only gave up 2 receptions in 51 coverage snaps last year but he mostly played in garbage time. So far in this fall camp he seems to be running with the second team pretty consistently. 

      The highest ceiling for the position might come in the form of true freshman Malaki Starks. Can UGA get him up to speed quick enough to take on the Safety role in 2022? Starks was the top rated recruit in Georgia’s 2022 class and he possesses rare speed and instincts. There was question when he was coming into the program as to whether or not Georgia would try to play him as a safety or a linebacker, but he has been focused on honing his secondary skills since arriving in January. 

      Starks has been one of the surprises of fall camp so far. Do not be surprised if he is playing in come Dime and Quarter packages. He has the perfect body to play as UGA’s Nickel Sam or Dime Jack when the Bulldogs want to roll with more DB’s on the field and are facing Spread attacks. The beauty of Starks is that he is a very sound tackler who should be great as a blitzer or when asked to spy on or rush the quarterback.

      Don’t count out true freshman JaCorey Thomas when considering the safety room at Georgia. I think he’s still a year or two from playing meaningful snaps, but he has the talent to push the players in front of him and could be seen late in games in 2022.

      CB 2?

      This is where things get really muddy for Georgia. Kamari Lassiter is the returning CB with the most career snaps other than Ringo and started opposite of Ringo in Georgia’s spring game. In just 79 coverage snaps last season he gave up 19 yards per catch on 9 receptions while being targeted 14 times. Those snaps are almost all garbage time and his 171 yards allowed are half or more of the amount of yards that Ringo and Kendrick gave up in over 6 times the snaps played. That’s the bad.

      The good? Lassiter has been the second best CB through a week of fall camp, and some sources think he will be the guy to hold onto the job into the season. Lassiter is an even 6’0” but he is bulky for a guy his size and would likely hold up well with physical outsider WR’s in the SEC. 

      Nyland Green was a much heralded recruit in the Class of 2021, but he played just 4 snaps last season and he appears to be the main competitor with Lassiter for the CB2 role so far this preseason. He was the 2nd team DB on G-Day but struggled at times, but I have been told there are moments where he puts all of his ample physical gifts to use and is able to really flash. If the light comes on for Green he could grab the starting CB role and never give it back.

      Opposite of Green on G-Day was true freshman Daylen Everette. He showed some moments of five-star potential in the spring game. In other moments he looked like a guy who was just a few months into being a college student. Everette might have the highest ceiling of any of the young DB’s competing for this spot, but time will tell if he gets enough reps in camp to get a good grasp on the scheme and find a groove in practices. If things don’t go according to plan with Lassiter or Green he could find himself on th field quickly. 

      Georgia’s 2022 recruiting class featured one of the best collections of defensive backs in school history. Everette, Thomas and Starks were part of it, but it also included other names. Marcus Washington was a heralded 2023 CB recruit who decided to reclassify into the 2022 class this spring. This is a learning year for him. 

      Houston native Julian Humphrey was a top 100 player for most of the cycle before shutting down some of the nation’s best receivers in his class at the Army All-American Bowl and becoming a five-star. 

      Jaheim Singeltary is another five-star who joined the class out of Jacksonville, FL. For much of the recruiting cycle Singeltary looked like he might be the top Cornerback in his class. 

      There’s a lot of talent… But right now there’s no telling which of these players will end up in the CB spot opposite of Ringo. Don’t be shocked if you see UGA rotating players in the spot early in the season. 

      I know some of the terminology around UGA’s defense can be confusing. Stay tuned to DawgsCentral for an upcoming video breaking down how UGA’s secondary concepts work. If you haven’t subscribed to DawgsCentral then what are you waiting for? This type of analysis is just the tip of the iceberg compared to what’s inside. Click smarter with DawgsCentral!

    3. The great thing about fall camp starting is obvious........................FOOTBALL IS HERE!!! One of the negatives is that recruiting slows down somewhat due to another dead period in place for the month of August. We're going to swith this month to a once a week recruiting overview. Prospects can still talk to coaching staffs, but there can't be any visits on or off campus. They can also do whatever they want as far as announcing commitments and such. Many players are doing just that before their seasons start in the second half of August.

      The biggest upcoming commitment announcement involving UGA is quickly approaching, as 3* DB Rickey Gibson will be announcing his decision on Sunday the 14th. I'm going to be a bit tranparent and throw myself under the bus here and say that I would have already made an 'Official Dawgs Central Prediction" for UGA if not for a small delay. Things have changed completely in the last 24 hours (as evidenced by a 247sports crystall ball pick from Steve Wiltfong) and it looks like Tennessee is the team to beat. They are the program that he has the more established relationship with, but the Dawgs had a ton of momentum since his late July visit. EVERYTHING was pointing towards UGA. I'll be on it to see exactly what has happened here, but of course there could be many more twists and turns between now and Sunday.

      Looking back at the secondary classes for Georgia the past couple of years, you can't blame anyone for looking elsewhere to get on the field earlier. Whether Gibson chhoses the Vols or the Dawgs, Chris Peal will be a top CB target. He should be back in town this fall, possibly very early in the season.

      There are two defensive line targets that the Dawgs have been in contact with who have set commitment dates. Four star Kelby Collins will announce his decision on Saturday te 13th. Florida has been a constant in his recruitment, while it really seems like Georgia and Alabama have pushed hard only at certain times. Being an in-state prospect, Alabama should be able to get him if they really want him. I believe UGA is probably third right now and expect the Dawgs to push harder for others. Tavion Gadson is an in-state prospect who received a bit of attention from Georgia, but looks to be headed to Florida State. 

      Xzavier McLeod has said that a commitment and top 3 is coming. While I believe UGA has been in more on this recruitment lately, I'm not sure how much. Right now I believe this is more between South Carolina and Michigan. Look for Georgia to make every attempt to sign the likes of Daevin Hobbs, Jordan Hall, Markis Deal, and Kamran James. Hobbs is a recent offer who is high on in-state North Carolina, but is now being made a high prioity by Georgia and Alabama.

      Georgia native Connor Lew's recruitment took a turn, when Miami gained late momentum over Auburn. He committed to the Hurricanes late last week. If this we're any other year than the year after we brougnt in Griffin Scroggs and Drew Bobo, he probably would have been a much higher priority. 

      There's going to be some receiver action happening soon and in the coming month. Anthony Evans is set to commit on August 26th. This looks to be a battle between Georgia and Oklahoma, with both of the programs feeling good about their chances. As of right now, I have UGA as the team to beat. Tyler Williams posted on Twitter that he's close to finding his home. I don't think he's moving up his September 27th commit date or anything like that and would be shocked if it's not UGA then. Hykeem Williams has now said that he's close to committing. While this has looked like a battle between UGA and Texas A&M, Pitt is a serious threat. He also visited Florida State for multiple days before the dead period started August 1st.

      Two interesting things happened in regards to UGA commits/targets. The GHSA ruled that Gabe Harris's move to Valdosta was not a legitimate move and ruled him ineligible to play there for his senior season. It looks like a recent change in ruling has made it that he also can not transfer back and play for his original school, Thomas County Central. Let's see if he ends up at IMG Academy. The second interesting thing happened when 2023 UCLA running back commit Roderick Robinson posted his official offer from UGA. Now UGA can send these to who they want and it may just be a formality, but we'll see if he's a legit target for this class.

      There was also a good bit of drama when Auburn writers and fans drummed up information that UGA commit Bo Hughley would be flipping to the Tigers. Of course that has not happened yet, and from what we're told it won't happen. Was someone just wishful thinking? Were they trying to help pressure Bo into flipping? We'll probably never know the while story, but we expect Hughley to be a Dawg in the end unless something crazy happenes.

      Ending things on a high note, UGA received a commitment from the #5 running back in the nation for the 2024 class. After visiting in late July, Tovani Mizell decided Georgia is where he wanted to be his next home and Committed to the G today! If you haven't watched his highlights, this Dawg can FLY! He joins 5* TE Landen Thomas and 4* WR Ny Carr in the 2024 class.

    4. Rewind a year. What was everyone talking about? Was it that Georgia was about to field an all time defense? No. Not even close. Every talking point heading into 2021 was about Kirby Smart coming around to the idea of the modern offense. Georgia was about to unleash an air raid attack on the SEC with JT Daniels at the helm. And then the Clemson game came.

      Now to be fair, Georgia had a rash of injuries that contributed to that against Clemson. Go back and watch that game. It's crazy to look at the wide receiver rotation. There are a lot of guys that saw significant snaps in that game that are no longer here (and I'm not talking about Jermaine Burton). Also to be fair, the offense clearly picked up after that Clemson game (regardless of who was playing quarterback, honestly).

      But here we are again. We lost a TON of talent on defense to the NFL. Stetson Bennett is in his first year knowing he's the starter all off season. Todd Monken is in year 3 as the offensive coordinator, and he's done great things in the past at that point in his tenure. The offensive line is looking like it could be dominant with Tate Ratledge's return solidifying the interior. Georgia is always RBU. The depth at receiver is looking really good, and we’re hearing great things about AD Mitchell. And of course the tight ends, oh the tight ends! On paper, and intuitively, it adds up to this Georgia team needing to lean a little more on the offense this year.

      I'm not here to say that the offense is going to regress. I actually agree with the talking points, and I do in fact expect this offense to take a step forward. But what I am here to tell you is this is a Kirby Smart team. The defense is going to be better than people think, and Kirby is going to do what he’s going to do. Kirby wants to win. He’s not into stats.

      So, all I’m saying is don’t get caught up Munsoning over the offense this season if it isn’t putting up the numbers you were hoping for (especially early on). If it is, awesome. But if it isn’t, as long as we’re winning, I’m ok with that.

    5. Riverbend Rundown

      It wasn’t too long ago that CFB playoff expansion seemed like a forgone conclusion. Then Greg Sankey got into a pissing contest with the other P5 conference commissioners over automatic bids and other such logistical bullshit, and the power struggle that ensued put a pin in the entire conversation… for now. These are big money decisions and expanding the playoff means more eyes on television screens and more money for everyone. Expansionist revolutionaries will argue that more teams in the playoff is better for college football because more fans will have a vested interest in their mediocre teams later into the season. It seems like an obvious point, and I wouldn’t presume to dispute it. But is there trade-off? What are we giving up in order to expand fan interest? The expansionists roll their eyes when traditionalists talk about valuing the regular season, but is that a real concern?

      Let’s take the 2021 season as an example. Under the current, four team format there were really only four teams that had anything to lose (or gain) heading into their conference championship games. Georgia wasn't one of them because they were making the playoff regardless of the outcome in Atlanta. However, Georgia's opponent, Alabama, would have had a much tougher case for the playoff had they taken on a second loss. Never write off Bama privilege, but there was a one loss Notre Dame waiting in the wings, and the big money Irish have their own track record of privilege that seems immune to the two decades of postseason, seal clubbings they've endured. Then there was Michigan and Cincinnati. Both of their conference championship opponents (Iowa and Houston) knew they had a shot to play spoiler, but not much else as their resumes to that point had all but excluded them from top 4 consideration. So we had Alabama, Michigan and Cincinnati. The fourth team with a shot at making the field was Oklahoma State. Coming off a major win against rival Oklahoma (whose coach was already making plans to move to Los Angeles) the Cowboys had a shot at finishing as a one loss Big 12 champion. Had they pulled it off, Cincinnati would have been sweating bullets over perhaps losing the 4 seed's honor of getting domed by Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. But it turns out, Okie St had blown their load in Bedlam as they proceeded to fall just short against Baylor in the conference championship game.

      Conference championship games aside there were some highly relevant regular season matchups in the weeks leading up to playoff selection. There was the aforementioned Bedlam game. Michigan/Ohio State had serious playoff implications for both participants, as did Ohio State/Michigan State the week prior. Oklahoma entered November undefeated, but had acquired two L's before mom's around the country had time to wash the Black Friday stink off their Lululemon battle gear. So the field of 4 was set, only two of the four teams had an actual shot of winning the title, but let's humor the expansionist crowd here. How would things have played out in a 12 team playoff?

      These were the top 20 CFP rankings headed into bowl season:

      1. Alabama
      2. Michigan
      3. Georgia
      4. Cincinnati
      5. Notre Dame
      6. Ohio State
      7. Baylor
      8. Ole Miss
      9. Oklahoma State
      10. Michigan State
      11. Utah
      12. Pittsburgh
      13. BYU
      14. Oregon
      15. Iowa
      16. Oklahoma
      17. Wake Forest
      18. NC State
      19. Clemson
      20. Houston

      It's undeniable that several late season match ups would've added some serious juice with a potential top 12 playoff berth on the line. Even absent automatic bids for conference champs, suddenly Cincinnati vs Houston in the AAC championship matters for both teams. Houston could easily have jumped into the top 12 with a win. Wake Forest had back to back games with NC State and Clemson in November leading up to the ACC Championship match up with Pittsburgh. Cousin Clem would have had a tough time making the top 12 but the Deacs, Wolfpack and Panthers would have all been in the hunt. The same goes for Iowa in the Big Ten Championship, Oregon and Utah in the Pac 12 title game, hell even the Egg Bowl would have mattered for Ole Miss. The BYU faithful may have considered reaching for their first ever pack of Marlboros to calm their nerves during that four point win at USC to close out the season. It's possible I missed a few, but you get the idea. There is a clear broader appeal with an expanded playoff.

      It's clear that there is a lot to gain, but is there a cost? On the flip side of the scenario above, suddenly the Big 10, Big 12 and AAC championships are a lot less interesting. Well, unless you're Iowa, Baylor or Houston IE the three lower ranked teams. Michigan, Oklahoma State and Cincinnati are likely to make it in regardless of the outcome of those games. Certainly nothing is guaranteed with a committee involved, but all three of those programs were in the top 5 going into their conference title games. It would require quite a tumble for any of them to fall past 12. Which brings us to the SEC Championship Game. #1 undefeated Georgia vs #3 one loss Alabama. There is virtually no way that either program could have or would have fallen out of the top 12 no matter who won in Atlanta. That being the case, and given the preference of some who would eschew the unique regional appeal of college football in exchange for a watered down NFL model I ask, for what reason would Kirby Smart or Nick Saban play their starters in the championship game? Seeding? Perhaps, but if you're all but guaranteed to choose your destination anyway is it really worth risking the health of your best players? It's not like playing a home game is on the line because the name of the game is bowl venues with corporate sponsorship. To put it another way, with seeding on the line do you think Saban would rather risk losing Bryce Young or Will Anderson (Or Jameson Williams or John Metchie) in a meaningless game, or risk a flight to Miami as opposed to the slightly preferable Dallas? I don't think that's much of a decision. Maybe the fact that the top 4 seeds get first round byes entices the coaches to take it seriously, but Georgia was ranked #1 before the 2021 SECCG and only fell to #3 after a convincing loss to Alabama. That means they were getting a bye either way. It's not a forgone conclusion that any CFP program with a guaranteed playoff spot would bench starters to prepare for the playoff, but I don't believe it's out of the question. There are also less obvious ways of making it happen like pulling a kid early because of an "injury" or switching out your playbook for a spring game vanilla version.  

      As we see within the nationally palatable NFL model, once a team has solidified their playoff position, resting players has become the norm. Some of you are reading this thinking "bUt tHe nFl oNlY hAs 32 tEaMs and cFb hAs 131." True, but CFB doesn't have 131 teams who can actually win a title in a given year. First, there are only 69 (noice!) Power 5 Programs. No disrespect to the Group of 5, but there is a reason any G5 team will jump ship to a P5 conference at a moments notice, and that reason is playoff access (and money). Of those 69 (noice) P5 schools there are rarely more than 3 teams with legitimate championship caliber rosters, and there have been years where there was clearly only one (2019 LSU anyone?). There has been a year or two during the CFB Playoff era it could be argued that 4, maybe 5 teams had a shot to win a title, but even then a 12 team playoff is still including more than double the amount of teams with the ability to win it all. The NFL has a 12 team playoff and all 12 participants actually have a shot to win. The NFL also has a draft and a hard salary cap that allows for parity. College football has an 85 scholarship limit, and recently a no holds barred payment option. This means Kirby Smart is free to sign 85 future 1st round NFL draft picks if he can convince them to come to Georgia. See the difference? There have been 6 Wild Card teams to win the Super Bowl. Granted the Super Bowl has been around for over half a century and we haven't even had the CFP Playoff for a full decade, but so far no college football team with an inverse blue chip ratio (more 2-3 star recruits than 4-5 star recruits) has ever won a CFP Championship.

      So there you have it folks. Would an expanded CFB playoff broaden the appeal of college football? Almost certainly yes, but in doing so we would see the significance stripped from the late season match ups between the highest ranked teams and redistributed to games involving lesser (mid asf) programs. Imagine a scenario where an undefeated #1 Auburn is facing an undefeated #2 Alabama in the Iron Bowl. The winner has to go play Georgia in the SEC Championship game, and the loser gets to rest for a week before they begin prepping for their first round playoff opponent. Let's say the loser also loses a first round bye, and will face Oklahoma State in their first playoff game, but they also get to duck playing an 11-1 Georgia team IN ATLANTA who narrowly lost to Auburn earlier in the year on a controversial call. Which would you prefer?

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