It’s time to seriously consider if Georgia is the second-best team in the SEC.
The Bulldogs resoundingly beat Mississippi State 31-3 Saturday night to move to 4-0 and establish themselves as the team to beat in the SEC East.
After forcing MSU into a three-and-out to start the game, Georgia’s offense got off to a raucous start when Jake Fromm hit Terry Godwin on a flea flicker 59-yard touchdown on the team’s first offensive play.
It pretty much went like that for Georgia the rest of the game, especially in the third quarter. UGA forced Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald into two interceptions in the third and converted them into 10 points and a 31-3 lead.
Mississippi State entered the game fresh off a big win vs. LSU and would have established itself as a challenger to Alabama with a win on the road at Georgia.
Instead, as Alabama cruised to a demolition of Vanderbilt, Mississippi State crumbled and gave more credence to the theory that the SEC West is simply Alabama and a morass of six teams a few stories below.
The East isn’t much less of a cluster. South Carolina struggled with Louisiana Tech, Tennessee did with UMass as well and who knows just how good Vanderbilt is after losing by more than 50 at home to Alabama. We know Missouri is terrible, and Kentucky and Florida each have flaws.
So if we’re being completely honest, Georgia is the favorite by default at this point. But UGA has shown enough through four games to be considered more than that. The defense is fast and has kept Appalachian State, Notre Dame and Mississippi State in check. And the run game looks like it’s back on track with Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, two of the best backs in the SEC when healthy.
Oh yeah, the quarterback situation looks pretty good too. Though if you ascribe to the theory that having two quarterbacks isn’t much better than having none, then Georgia may be in some trouble.
Freshman Jake Fromm took over after Jacob Eason injured a knee in Week 1. Fromm has performed admirably, including vs. Mississippi State, throwing for 201 yards and two touchdowns on 9-12 passing. But Eason’s getting healthier every week and was the starter as a freshman in 2016.
Does Fromm keep the starting job, or does Eason get it back? This is the biggest decision of coach Kirby Smart’s young tenure and there may be no “wrong” answer. But the moment either Fromm or Eason struggles will elicit cries for the other. How Smart and his staff listen and handle that situation may dictate just how easy Georgia’s path to Atlanta and the SEC Championship Game is.
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