Georgia Coach: Kirby Smart, second season (8-5, all at Georgia).
Last year: 8-5 overall, 4-4 in the SEC (T-2nd in the East). Defeated TCU 31-23 in the Liberty Bowl.
Best case scenario: In his second season as the starter, quarterback Jacob Eason starts playing with the consistency that was missing in his game as a true freshman, and the offense becomes one of the most balanced and explosive in the SEC. Smart’s defense was stingy in his first season in Athens. With 11 starters returning, the Dogs are dominant, and handle their two biggest rivals in the East — Florida and Tennessee — to win the division.
Worst case scenario: Inexperience on the offensive line and at wide receiver becomes an issue and hampers the development of Eason and the offense. As a result the defense is on the field too long. It adds up to potential losses at Tennessee and against Florida in Jacksonville and a runner-up finish in the East.
Quotable: “As far as expectations, I know everybody wants to talk about it and ask questions about it. It’s important that you understand as the head coach of the University of Georgia, we embrace those as the coaching staff, we embrace those as our players. When you come to the University of Georgia, the expectation is to win championships. That’s what we expect to do at the University of Georgia, and that’s the standard we will be held to.” — Smart