The defending national champs will have a marquee matchup against their former defensive coordinator to kick off the 2022-23 college football season.
Dan Lanning is now the head coach at Oregon after calling plays for Georgia’s defense during a national title run last year. Not only will the Bulldogs have a new play caller, but they lost eight players to the NFL draft from last year’s dominant defensive unit.
What You Need to Know About Oregon
Oregon shocked the world with a 35-28 upset at Ohio State in Week 2 of last year. The Ducks went on to finish 10-4, but will they produce another stunner to start the 2022 campaign? Lanning certainly wouldn’t mind that outcome to begin his tenure at Oregon.
The Ducks brought in quarterback Bo Nix from Auburn through the transfer portal. Assuming he wins the starting job, Nix will play behind an offensive line that brings everybody back. The receiver group is young, but sophomore Troy Franklin is one of their many promising players in that position room.
On defense, linebacker Noah Sewell will lead the way. The younger brother of Lions’ lineman Penei Sewell recorded 114 tackles in 2021. Sewell is one of five returning starters for the Ducks’ defense, but one would expect that unit to find more success under Lanning.
What You Need to Know About Georgia
Georgia won its first title since 1980 with a come-from-behind victory over Alabama in the national championship game. Repeating is hard, however, especially for a time like the Bulldogs who have to replace so much.
Fifteen players from last year’s team were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, the most since the draft moved to a seven-round format. Eight of those players were on defense, a unit that led the country by allowing just 10.2 points per game. Only three starters return, but there is definitely enough talent to reload.
Georgia should be strong on the offensive side of the ball, with sixth-year quarterback Stetson Bennett back to lead the way. He has plenty of weapons to throw to, particularly at tight end where Georgia has Brock Bowers, Darnell Washington and Arik Gilbert. Freshman running back Branson Robinson is also a name worth watching, as he could be next in line for a program that constantly produces NFL running backs.
How you bet this game probably depends on how you view this year’s Georgia team. While the Bulldogs enter the year ranked No. 3, there could be a significant drop-off given how much talent this team lost. But Oregon has plenty of turnover, too, so give me the Bulldogs by 20.
Prediction: Georgia 38, Oregon 17
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