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Sallee: Welcome Back Georgia To The SEC Chase
Georgia QB Aaron Murray
Georgia QB Aaron Murray
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 3, 2011


The Bulldogs are suddenly back in the SEC title hunt.


CFN Analysis 

5 Thoughts, Oct. 3


- Fiutak: Will LSU vs. Bama be for the title?
- Cirminiello: Russell Wilson is what the game needs 
- Zemek: The time problem at South Carolina
- Sallee: Georgia is back in the SEC title hunt
- Mitchell: What's wrong with South Carolina
- Harrison: What went wrong with Ohio State    

By Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee

Saturday was a really good day for the Georgia Bulldogs.

All but forgotten after starting the season with losses to Boise State and South Carolina, the Bulldogs came out of the first Saturday in October with new life in the SEC East race. The 24-10 drubbing - yes, it was a drubbing - of Mississippi State was nice, but it was what took place in other locations across the SEC - Columbia and Gainesville in particular - that has the natives in Athens thinking Georgia Dome in December.

As a result of Georgia’s 45-42 loss to South Carolina in Week 2, the Bulldogs entered October down one game and a tiebreak to the odds-on SEC East favorite. After Auburn’s 16-13 win over the Gamecocks, one in which South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia looked woefully inconsistent for the third straight week, Georgia now only trails the Gamecocks by virtue of that tiebreaker. South Carolina still have a trip to Arkansas looming, and if quarterback Stephen Garcia doesn’t improve - which at this point is almost a certainty - you have to assume that at some point he will give another game away.

Florida looked like a contender, but Alabama exposed the biggest question mark I had for Florida going in - the absence of a between-the-tackles running back. Now that quarterback John Brantley is nursing an injury, that void is going to be more and more noticeable as the year goes on. Oh, and did I mention that the one-loss Gators have trips to LSU, Auburn and South Carolina still on the schedule? That’s at least one loss and probably two.

With one loss, the Tennessee Volunteers are still hanging around; but the Vols still have to go to Alabama and Arkansas, and host LSU and Georgia. Getting through that gauntlet with anything more than two wins should be considered a major accomplishment. Even though Tennessee is ranked second in the SEC in pass offense, the Vols are last in rush offense; and being one-dimensional in the SEC isn’t the best idea in the world - especially against defenses like LSU and Alabama.

Georgia’s schedule for the remainder of the season is remarkably light. After a road game against Tennessee, the Bulldogs visit Vanderbilt, play Florida in a neutral site and finish up the SEC slate with home games against Auburn and Kentucky. Tennessee is decent, the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (yes, Dr. Adams, it’s still called that) is always a challenge and Auburn looks like it’s improving, but that’s still a pretty easy path compared to the rest of the conference.

The light schedule, coupled with the emergence of running back Isaiah Crowell and the SEC’s No. 3 defense - one spot AHEAD of LSU, has re-ignited the fire in Athens that was all but extinguished after the first two games of the season.

When you really look about the landscape of the SEC East, and where the teams are going, ask yourself one simple question, “Why Not Georgia?”

There isn’t an answer to that question yet.

- Fiutak: Will LSU vs. Bama be for the title?
- Cirminiello: Russell Wilson is what the game needs 
- Zemek: The time problem at South Carolina
- Sallee: Georgia is back in the SEC title hunt
- Mitchell: What's wrong with South Carolina
- Harrison: What went wrong with Ohio State