Georgia Has Massive Holes To Fill If They Want To Stay Elite in 2022

New faces may bring some growing pains early for the Bulldogs

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For years, Nick Saban and Alabama have had a strangle hold on the SEC, and college football in general. Eight SEC titles and six national championships will certainly do that. So many programs over the years have tried and failed to stay on the level the Crimson Tide have maintained during Saban's tenure.

Saban's former assistant Kirby Smart is now the latest to finally break through and in a rare feat, beat Saban for a national title after falling short in the SEC Championship just weeks before this past season.

Now though, the question becomes whether or not the Bulldogs can continue to push the Tide on a consistent basis over the coming years.

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Georgia has the second-best odds to win the National Title (+350 FanDuel) this year behind, of course, Alabama, but those odds are actually inflated given the team that's returning.

Sure, Georgia winning a title is massive for their program, both from a recruiting perspective and for their image as a program. But their defense last year was historically great, giving up just 10.2 points per game, and that's not the same group that's coming back to Athens. With guys like Quay and Travon Walker off to the NFL along with Nakobe Dean, Jordan Davis and countless others, you're looking at major chucks missing from that foundation.

Overall, Georgia had five players from their defense taken in the first round of the NFL Draft alone, 15 players from last year's roster taken overall, and another 13 transferring out of the program, leaving gashes all over their roster they need to patch up. Obviously, that's not impossible, but it's an uphill battle nonetheless.

Plenty of major college football programs have had turnover like this, especially after winning a championship. That's the nature of the business. The difference here is we've seen schools like Alabama and Ohio State reload quickly, so they've proven they can keep pace for the most part with the previous season.

Can Georgia do the same?

There's bound to be regression on the defensive side of the ball. How much really becomes the question at this point with that mass exodus of talent.

It very well could end up being a season where the offense is their bigger strength, with quarterback Stetson Bennett returning to an offense that averaged 38.6 points per game in 2021. Their point differential as you can see was wider than the Grand Canyon, which gives them some wiggle room if they struggle early on the defensive side of the ball.

Georgia also brought in 30 recruits for 2022, so it's not like they just forgot about the future after winning the title, but the lack of experience can sometimes be a major factor early on in a situation like this.

If you're thinking about betting on Georgia to repeat, you'd be better off waiting to see how the season starts, and wait for a potential change in those title odds that could bring more value if their stock drops off a bit. The Bulldogs won't lack talent, but they also like won't look like the team we saw last year, and that could make the wait-and-see approach worth it in 2022.