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The Georgia football team scrimmaged for its annual G-Day game on Saturday, April 20, 2019, at Sanford, Stadium in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Ryan Cameron)

Aug. 31: at Vanderbilt

Breakdown: Derek Mason’s Vanderbilt team had a lot of players leave after going 6-7 last season, most notably starting quarterback Kyle Shurmer on offense and four of the top five tacklers on defense. The Commodores will have trouble stopping dynamic players like D’Andre Swift and also piecing together drives with a new starting quarterback under center.

Player to Watch: Senior running back, Ke’Shawn Vaughn

Prediction: 37-17, UGA

Sept. 7: vs. Murray State

Breakdown: This is first non-conference home game in week two of Georgia’s season, rather than the usual week one. Murray State went 5-6 in 2018, that included a 48-10 loss to the University of Kentucky. The Racers have a great number of receiver returning this year and should provide the Georgia secondary with some healthy competition early in the season.

Player to Watch: Senior wide receiver and kick returner, Malik Honeycutt

Prediction: 52-10, UGA

Sept. 14: vs. Arkansas State

Breakdown: Back-to-back home games should provide Georgia with a calm and encouraging start to the 2019 season. The Arkansas State Red Wolves went 8-5 with Blake Henderson in 5th season at the helm. The Red Wolves played No. 1 ranked Alabama last season and lost 57-7, so expect a similar outcome against the Bulldogs in Athens.

Player to Watch: Senior wide receiver, Kirk Merritt

Prediction: 49-13, UGA

Sept. 21: vs. Notre Dame

Breakdown: The 2017 matchup between the Bulldogs and the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Indiana introduced Jake Fromm as the starting quarterback for Georgia and a fan favorite. Now, Notre Dame travels to Athens coming off a 12-1 season, a College Football Playoff appearance and is returning key starters on both sides of the ball like defensive end Julian Okwara and quarterback Ian Book. Brace for a similarly tense clash between these two historical programs.

Player to Watch: Senior safety, Alohi Gilman

Prediction: 28-24, UGA

Oct. 5: at Tennessee

Breakdown: After ending their season on a disheartening note and missing out on postseason play, Tennessee brought in a top-15 recruiting class and added former Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney onto Jeremy Pruitt’s staff. Tennessee has seemed outmatched by the Bulldogs the past two years, but anticipate a closer game between these two bitter rivals this season.

Player to Watch: senior linebacker, Darrell Taylor

Prediction: 27-17, UGA

Oct. 12: vs. South Carolina

Breakdown: Will Muschamp said at SEC Media Days in mid-July that he believes this is the best team he’s had in his fourth season as head coach at South Carolina. The Gamecocks went 7-6 last season, and now possess one of the toughest schedules in the nation. South Carolina is returning 16 starters, so there's a reason to believe the Gamecocks won’t let the game get out of hand like last year.

Player to Watch: senior quarterback, Jake Bentley

Prediction: 31-14, UGA

Oct. 19: vs. Kentucky

Breakdown: Kentucky hailed their best season under seven year head coach Mark Stoops, but lost a lot of their production on both sides of the ball after their 10-win 2018. Outside linebacker Josh Allen and running back Benny Snell were both selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, and now the Wildcats are left trying to fill their void. Kentucky probably won’t achieve what they did last year, and will have trouble keeping up with the Bulldogs in Athens.

Player to Watch: junior wide receiver, Lynn Bowden Jr.

Prediction: 42-21, UGA

Nov. 2: vs. Florida

Breakdown: Georgia has beat Florida the past two years by a combined of 78-24, but the rivalry game should be closer in Dan Mullen’s second year as head coach of the Gators. The offense which averaged 35 points per game in 2018 is returning almost all of its important pieces, but the defense will be the deciding factor when the two teams meet in Jacksonville, Florida, for the “World’s Largest Cocktail Party.”

Player to Watch: redshirt senior defensive lineman Jabari Zuniga

Prediction: 24-20, Florida

Nov. 9: vs. Missouri

Breakdown: Missouri went 8-5 in 2018, and returns the majority of its core of offensive and defensive players for 2019. Also, quarterback Kelly Bryant lost the starting job at Clemson and decided to transfer to Missouri to get playing time and prove he’s ready for the NFL. Despite being under a postseason ban due to NCAA sanctions given out earlier this year, don’t wait for the Tigers to lay down and let Georgia cruise into their matchup against Auburn.

Player to Watch: redshirt senior quarterback, Kelly Bryant

Prediction: 44-27, UGA

Nov. 16: at Auburn

Breakdown: Guz Malzhan and Auburn enter the 2019 season with questions regarding the starting quarterback position after the departure of Jarrett Stidham. The defense has been the steady unit for the Tigers over the last few years and this upcoming season feels no different. If Auburn resolves the offensive problems it has before Georgia comes to town, then this matchup could make or break the Bulldogs’ title chances.

Player to Watch: senior defensive tackle, Derrick Brown

Prediction: 17-13, UGA

Nov. 23: vs. Texas A&M

Breakdown: In his second year as head coach, Jimbo Fisher has a lot of positives to work with. Those include, but aren’t limited to, self-proclaimed “best quarterback in the SEC” Kellen Mond. Mond is a dual-threat weapon and the Aggies will rise and fall with how he plays. The question will be how well can Georgia defend him and if they can put points against a much-improved Texas A&M defense.

Player to Watch: junior quarterback, Kellen Mond

Prediction: 33-21, UGA

Nov. 30: at Georgia Tech

Breakdown: Georgia Tech is coming off a 7-6 season and an appearance at the Quick Lane Bowl against Minnesota. Paul Johnson retired last season and now the team is in a transitional period under newly-minted head coach Geoff Collins who’ll be moving away from the eccentric triple-option offense that gave opponents trouble over the years. Don’t await a contentious end to the regular season for the Bulldogs.

Player to Watch: redshirt senior linebacker, David Curry

Prediction: 45-7, UGA

 

Predicted Final Record: 11-1, 8-1 SEC East Champions

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