Who will win the 2013 BCS national championship?
It’s a question most haven’t asked themselves yet, but one that we feel very prepared to answer despite it only being the first week of June. Georgia is BTB’s pick to win the national title, becoming the seventh straight SEC team to earn top honors. It would be the school’s first championship since 1980.
Here are a few reasons why we think the Bulldogs will have some bite this season:
1. THEY’RE GOOD
At 19-to-1, Georgia has the seventh-best odds to win the national championship. Aaron Murray, who set a school record with 35 touchdown passes in 2011, is among the many returning starters—the Bulldogs return seven on offense and nine on defense.
The passing game will again be one of the country’s best, and Georgia should finally have a running game to complement it. The Bulldogs’ ground game was nonexistent in losses to LSU and Michigan State last year, but should improve with the continued development of Isaiah Crowell and the emergence of Keith Marshall, the top freshman running back in the country. The defense, which returns 20 of 22 players on its depth chart, will again be dominant and could be the best in the conference.
The offensive line will be the major concern, as the Bulldogs must replace both tackles and add depth along the interior. Nonetheless, they should have no trouble improving upon last year’s 10-win season, and one of the main reasons why is the …
Only three teams in the SEC will avoid both Alabama and LSU: Kentucky, Vanderbilt and … Georgia. The Bulldogs also won’t have to play Arkansas, widely projected to be the third-best team in the SEC and a fringe national title contender.
Georgia will play seven games at home, four on the road and one—the annual matchup against Florida on Oct. 27—at a neutral field. That’s as manageable a schedule as any you’ll find, particularly when you consider that they’ll be favored in three of the four road games—at Kentucky, Missouri and Auburn.
The toughest game on Georgia’s schedule will come against South Carolina, a team it has double revenge on after suffering Week 2 losses to the Gamecocks in consecutive seasons.
Here is a game-by-game look at Georgia’s schedule, with projected point spreads for each game. Notice that the Bulldogs are a projected favorite in 11 of 12 games, including eight by double digits.
|Sept. 8||at Missouri||-3||Win|
|Sept. 15||Florida Atlantic||-39||Win|
|Oct. 6||at South Carolina||+4||Toss-up|
|Oct. 20||at Kentucky||-17.5||Win|
|Nov. 3||Ole Miss||-24.5||Win|
|Nov. 10||at Auburn||-1.5||Toss-up|
|Nov. 17||Georgia Southern||-34||Win|
|Nov. 24||Georgia Tech||-12.5||Win|
3. THEY CAN AFFORD TO LOSE A GAME
Georgia is one of the few teams in the country that has the potential to lose a game and still appear in the national championship.
Assuming the Bulldogs open the season in the top 10 as expected, they’ll likely rise as high as fifth or sixth prior to their big swing game against South Carolina on Oct. 6. If the Bulldogs lose, they’ll have two full months to climb back into the top 5 of the polls and should still have a chance to earn a second straight SEC East crown.
With a win over LSU or Alabama in the SEC championship, Georgia will be in position to play for the national title, either against the Pac-12 winner (USC?) or one of a handful of other teams—Oklahoma, Florida State, etc.
Unless, of course, the BCS system screws everything up.
Which is entirely possible.