Georgia football 2022 season prediction, preview, awards, 2022 bowl game

Georgia football fans are waiting to see how Kirby and the Dawgs respond after winning it all.

Kirby Smart and his absolute … DAWGS! look to build off the third national championship-winning season in Georgia football history.

The clock was ticking on Smart to get this puppy going. He and his staff had recruited at an elite level for years, yet Alabama had been the hammer in the hammer vs. nail rivalry defining the SEC over the last half decade. After coining the phrase “you’re either elite or you’re not”, those puppies became full-grown ferocious canine beasts. 41 years of pain and suffering has ended. Now what?

Coming down the track at No. 3 on FanSided’s Preseason Top 50 Rankings, the Georgia Bulldogs!

Georgia football 2021 season in review

Picked to win the SEC East after coming up short the year prior, expectations were sky-high for Georgia. The Dawgs opened in a neutral-site affair in Clemson’s backyard. Points were at a premium in the Duke’s Mayo Classic, but a little pick-six goes a long way. Christopher Smith hit pay dirt, as Georgia eked out its greatest defensive battle of the season while rendering D.J. U useless.

After balling all over the UAB Blazers, the Dawgs clipped South Carolina’s wings. Georgia improved to 4-0 after handing Vanderbilt one of its worst losses in program history. All the while, starting quarterback JT Daniels suffered an upper-body injury that hurt his throwing motion. Taking advantage of the situation was Stetson “The Mailman” Bennett IV. The post was always delivered.

Dan Jackson blocked Arkansas’ punt with College GameDay in town to get to 5-0. While no Auburn prayers were answered in the latest rendition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, the Dawgs put all that banana mayonnaise coffee-drinking nonsense to bed when Kentucky came to town, alright. Don’t think for a second that Coach Smart forgot about the petty late-game score by UK…

In a matter of seconds, Georgia would spin Dan Mullen’s Florida team like a top down in Jacksonville. After making Missouri look like the mediocre Big 12 program they are, Georgia went clean sweep in SEC play, despite Tennessee putting forth a genuine effort. Charleston Southern would score seven more points then the Atlanta Trade School Bumblebees could put forth (zero).

Unfortunately, Georgia was sorry it could not be perfect. The Dawgs had a simple plan, but they couldn’t do anything vs. Alabama in Atlanta. Still, Georgia made it into the big dance as the No. 3 seed. Meeting them in Miami were Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan milkmen. They lost so badly, he went missing on national signing day, so we looked for him on the side of a carton of 2-percent.

With a rematch vs. Alabama in Indianapolis, the Dawgs finally had their day in the sun. The defense came to play on that Monday night, as Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young was under pressure all game long. This defense gave Bennett the confidence to be his generation’s Buck Belue. Once Kelee Ringo picked off Young in the 11th hour, all of those 1980 jokes died after that.

Trophies were kissed, Pappy bottles were polished off and then Good Morning America, Mailman!

Previewing Georgia offense for 2022 season

  • Returning starters (7): Stetson Bennett IV (QB), Adonai Mitchell (WR), Ladd McConkey (WR), Brock Bowers (TE), Darnell Washington (TE), Sedrick Van Pran (C), Warren McClendon (RT)
  • Newcomers (2): Oscar Delp (TE), Earnest Greene III (LT)
  • Impact player: Brock Bowers (TE)

Despite setting a modern-era NFL record for most players selected off one team in an NFL Draft, Georgia should be in great shape offensively with how many guys they have returning. While the Dawgs technically have seven returning starters, including Bennett at quarterback and tight end Brock Bowers, other key contributors like running back Kenny McIntosh have played a ton already.

Although Georgia did not take a single transfer this past offseason because this roster is freaking loaded, they do have a pair of true freshmen who could see ample playing time because of where they fall on the depth chart. Tight end Oscar Delp could be part of a Todd Monken fever dream of 14 personnel-ing the SEC to death. Earnest Greene III is the team’s backup up left tackle right now.

Although Bennett is The Mailman, Bowers is the most impressive player on this Georgia offense. If he was draft-eligible after this season, he would be a lock to go in the first round. Fortunately for him and Dawg Nation, he has one more year to play in the greatest tight end room ever assembled by coach Todd Hartley with he, Darnell Washington, Arik Gilbert and Delp all being a huge part of it.

Previewing Georgia defense for 2022 season

  • Returning starters (3): Nolan Smith (LB), Kelee Ringo (CB), Christopher Smith (SS)
  • Newcomers (3): Jalon Walker (LB), Malaki Starks (FS), Daylen Everette (CB)
  • Impact player: Jalen Carter (DT)

Although Georgia technically only returns three starters off its national championship defense, so what? The Dawgs have plenty of four and five-star playmakers just chomping at the bit to get more run this fall. However, Georgia does return three starters of note defensively in linebacker Nolan Smith, ball-hawking extraordinaire Christopher Smith and the Indianapolis legend Ringo.

As with the offense, the defense does not have a single player transferring in. However, there are three true freshmen who could be worth keeping an eye on as the season develops on that side of the ball. Those players include linebacker Jalon Walker, safety Malaki Starks and cornerback Daylen Everette. Needless to say, it will be all about competition on defense for the Dawgs this season.

While Georgia could have several All-Americans and awards winners on the defensive side of the ball, it starts and ends with defensive tackle Jalen Carter. Though Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, Devonte Wyatt, Quay Walker and Travon Walker are all gone off one of the greatest defenses college football has ever seen, Carter was seen as the most talented. He will go top-five in 2023.

Georgia football players awards watch for 2022 season

I kid you not, 14 Georgia football players have appeared on award watch lists for this season.

Stetson Bennett IV, Davey O’Brien, Maxwell

Bennett should be front-runner to win the Burlsworth as a former walk-on, but look at him appearing on preseason watch lists for both the Davey O’Brien and the Maxwell. Good for him!

Kearis Jackson, Wuerffel

Injuries have slowed down wide receiver Kearis Jackson a good bit, but his leadership has long gone unrecognized. Given the role on the team he plays on, he could potentially win the Wuerffel.

Brock Bowers, Biletnikoff, Mackey, Maxwell, Walter Camp

Bowers is up for everything when it comes to a pass-catcher. Not only is he the front-runner to win the Mackey, but he is in the mix for the Maxwell, the Walter Camp and even the Biletnikoff.

Arik Gilbert, Mackey

Gilbert is entering his third year of college football, but may be the most talented player on the Georgia offense. He turned heads at G-Day, so he too finds himself in the mix to win the Mackey.

Darnell Washington, Mackey

And because Georgia is quickly becoming Tight End U, of course, the 6-foot-7 mountain of a man playing tight end of the Dawgs is in the mix for the Mackey. Washington is such a mismatch, y’all.

Broderick Jones, Outland

Georgia has two offensive linemen up for the Outland Trophy and three in serious consideration to win major awards. Broderick Jones will have his chance as the starting left tackle for Georgia.

Warren Ericson, Outland

Although Warren Ericson is not slated to start for the Dawgs, he is the most valuable backup on the Georgia offensive line. If somebody goes down, or they go jumbo, he could win the Outland.

Sedrick Van Pran, Rimington

Georgia has had a long line of great centers over the last decade-plus, but Sedrick Van Pran has the chance to be the best of them. The sophomore is a serious contender to win the Rimington.

Jalen Carter, Bednarik, Nagurski, Outland, Walter Camp

Few, if any, defensive players in college football could be as decorated during awards season more than Carter. He is on watch lists for the Bednarik, the Nagurski, the Outland and the Walter Camp.

Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Butkus

After Dean won the Butkus a year ago, perhaps Jamon Dumas-Johnson has the best chance to keep that prestigious defensive honor in Athens for the second straight awards season, alright?

Nolan Smith, Bednarik

Dumas-Johnson could have competition for the Butkus in Nolan Smith. However, the only awards watch list he appears on ahead of what looks to be his final collegiate season is for the Bednarik.

Kelee Ringo, Bednarik, Nagurski, Thorpe, Walter Camp

Ringo is already set for life after picking off Young in the national title bout to send it forever in Georgia’s favor. The redshirt sophomore is up for the Bednarik, Nagurski, Thorpe and Walter Camp.

Christopher Smith, Thorpe

Ringo will be challenged in the defensive backfield during awards season, as Christopher Smith is also on the preseason awards watch list for the Thorpe. He is going to have all the interceptions.

Jack Podlesny, Groza

While Jake Camarda has turned pro, placekicker Jack Podlesny could be the second Georgia kicker to win the Lou Groza. If Hot Pod is as good as Hot Rod, then Georgia will have toe be very excited.

Georgia football biggest name on 2022 schedule

Looking at Georgia’s 2022 regular-season schedule, the Dawgs have a very real possibility of winning the SEC East and getting to Atlanta undefeated for the second year in a row. Though one could argue the season opener vs. Dan Lanning’s Oregon Ducks in Atlanta for being Georgia’s most important game, it may very well end up being the mid-November game in Lexington vs. Kentucky.

Yes, there are spots on Georgia’s schedule where the Dawgs could slip up in SEC play and suffer a bad loss. Those games include at South Carolina in mid-September, as well as the week before the Kentucky game at Mississippi State in Starkville. However, there is a chance Kentucky may only have one SEC loss by the time the Dawgs come to town. This one could be for all the East marbles.

Georgia has not lost to Kentucky since 2009 at home, but night games in Lexington are very tricky.

Georgia football best-case scenario

The best-case scenario for Georgia is really simple: Repeat as national champions. Realistically, Georgia is one of three, or four teams if you include Clemson, that can win it all this fall. It should be noted that if Alabama and Georgia both get to Atlanta undefeated, they are both making the College Football Playoff, regardless of the outcome. However, Georgia may have a shot at 15-0.

One would think Georgia will have somewhere around three, or maybe even four, wins over ranked opponents before getting to Atlanta. Oregon will be ranked, Kentucky probably will and pick another team or two that just cracks the top-25 ahead of their meeting with Georgia. If the Dawgs beat Alabama in Atlanta, they will be the No. 1 seed and will stay at home for the Peach Bowl.

At 13-0 Georgia team will play someone like Baylor, Clemson or Utah in this national semifinal game. Waiting for them in the national title bout would be presumably the winner of Alabama vs. Ohio State going down in Glendale. The winner between the Crimson Tide and Buckeyes suffer far more attrition than do the Dawgs vs. the No. 4 seed. Georgia keeps its eye on the prize to repeat.

While Georgia is not the favorite to win it all and go 15-0, this is not an impossible outcome at all.

Georgia football worst-case scenario

What if complacency has plagued this team ahead of its title defense? Smart may not allow that to happen, but what if it hits the fan for Dawg Nation? What would that smell like? It starts by not taking Oregon seriously. The Ducks fly together on Labor Day Weekend, as the Dawgs get embarrassed as badly as they did vs. Boise State over a decade ago. I missed a wedding for that…

Between South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and Mississippi State, Georgia shockingly drops its first conference game. Although a national title repeat has bit the dust by then, they can still win the East if they beat UK in Lexington. Unfortunately, Will Levis will have his Heisman moment to send the ‘Cats to Atlanta. Georgia goes 9-3 after wrecking Georgia Tech, but miss out on the NY6.

Georgia still gets to 11 wins by cleaning an inferior Big Ten team’s clock in the Citrus Bowl, alright.

Georgia football 2022 season prediction

The title defense will not be easy, but Georgia puts forth an incredible effort. As weird as it may sound, the team will be led by Bennett and the passing attack, while the defense and ground game grow on the fly as the season develops. After winning a game closer than it ever needed to be vs. Oregon, Georgia runs the gauntlet in SEC play and gets back to Atlanta with a perfect record.

Let’s be real. We would not script it any other way. If Georgia beats Alabama in Atlanta, the Dawgs will be the No. 1 seed and will repeat as national champions fairly easily. Should the Dawgs fall to the Crimson Tide, they will still make the playoff, but only as the No. 3 seed, where they will have to travel to the Valley of the Sun to face the juggernaut known as the Ohio State passing attack.

Bryce Young and Will Anderson will be playing like their hair is on fire in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide three-peat as SEC champions, while “overrated” Georgia takes on Ohio State in the house Larry Fitzgerald built. If Bennett can match Heisman Trophy winner C.J. Stroud through the air, Georgia will meet Alabama in a national title rematch. If not, at least the Dawgs made the playoff again…

Georgia will go 12-0 again, but it remains to be seen what happens in Atlanta vs. the Crimson Tide.

Georgia football 2022 season bowl prediction

We still have plenty of time to see how this all unfolds, but Georgia will be favored in all of its games heading into the SEC Championship Game vs. Alabama, one in which they will be not. Until proven otherwise, Georgia has not shown it can beat Alabama in consecutive meetings. This means they are poised to face Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl with a national title trip on the line.

Up next: No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes

Other articles in this series:

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John Verrall

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