Note: This is part 4 of a 12-part series. Each day, we will take a look at an opponent for the upcoming 2010 football season.
After traveling to Baton Rouge, State returns home to Starkville and welcomes the "other" bulldogs to Davis Wade Stadium. The last time Georgia and Mississippi State met, Georgia barely came away with a win in Athens. They hold a 9-1 record over the last 10 meetings and lead the series overall 16-5.
2009 seemed to be a down year for Georiga. After coming off a #1 ranking in 2008 to finishing with 7 wins in 2009, many Georgia fans were calling for the head of Mark Richt on a silver platter. Nevermind the fact that Richt has averaged 10 wins per season in his nine years in Athens. Georgia will look to silence their critics in 2010 and compete heavily for the SEC East title and beyond.
This team may have one the most experienced returning offenses in the conference. They averaged 29 points per game in 2009 and are returning ten starters on offense alone. Unfortunately, the one new starter comes in at the quarterback position. Redshirt freshman Aaron Murray will go under center this fall with little to no depth at the position.
Surrounding Murray will be a solid offensive line with five upperclassmen starters with most entering their 3rd or 4th season at the top of the depth chart. The experience on the line will be a bonus to the Georgia running game. The feature of the offense will be the receiving corps, led by A.J. Green.
The clear weak spot for Georgia has been the slow decline of the defense under former defensive coordinator Willie Martinez. With Martinez out at Georgia, Richt brought in former NFL coordinator Todd Grantham, who has been tasked with installing the 3-4 defense. The switch to a new defensive scheme saw many players trying out for different positions in spring practice.
The Georgia defensive line was hit hard by graduation, losing 3 tackles to the NFL draft. The secondary will also be a concern with only 1 returning starter. The strength of the Georgia defense will be linebackers where there is more than enough talent to overcome the loss of the SECs leading tackler, Rennie Curran, to the NFL draft.
As An Opponent
I think Georgia has the potential to be an upset win for MIssissippi State. Prior to arriving in Starkville, Georgia must travel to South Carolina and host Arkansas in Athens. They could come in to Davis Wade on a down swing and be caught off guard, with the only real Bulldogs coming out on top.