When Georgia lost that two-touchdown lead to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, it took the wind out of this team. Completely. After that crushing loss to the Crimson Tide, the Bulldogs went on to lose an uninspired game to Texas in the Sugar Bowl, lost their backup quarterback to Ohio State, lost a handful of players to transfer and the NFL a year early and, well, may have even lost some confidence as a program.
But there is plenty of bright side to the Bulldog fortunes for next season. All is not lost. Read on and see why there is not a ton to worry about Silver Britches fans. The Dawgs will still win the SEC East, they will still be in the mix for a spot in the College Football Playoff and if the pieces fall into place, they may still have a shot at the whole enchilada. Yes, the big brass spittoon. All the marbles. Think I’m crazy? Here is why I’m not.
1. The Jake Fromm comfort level
A lot of people took the transfer of Justin Fields to Ohio State as a huge negative for the Bulldogs. And sure, the departure of a very talented five-star quarterback leaves a big hole at the position for the future, but let's focus on the present. The bright side is that Fromm is still around and he will be a year older, a junior. He will have a pair of All-American-caliber tackles in Isaiah Wilson and Andrew Thomas to flank his protection and he will still have some talented skill position players to plug in for some losses. Either way, Fromm will be a force and will probably be a little more relaxed, knowing there won’t be a quick hook for him after a mistake or two.
2. D'Andre Swift Is primed to become a stud
With Elijah Holyfield turning pro a year early, Swift is going to become the go-to back for the Bulldogs. After running for 1,049 yards at 6.4 yards per carry and scoring a team-high 10 touchdowns, can you imagine what he will be like as the featured back? This should be good. You could tell he was starting to catch his stride this past season, running for 673 yards in his final six games, averaging 7.9 yards per carry against Florida, Kentucky, Auburn, UMass, Georgia Tech, and Alabama. Swift is now being named as a possible Heisman contender in 2019.
3. The top-rated recruiting class of 2018 will be ready to bloom
This is good. Because the Bulldog fans can take heart that head coach Kirby Smart has turned his program into another Alabama. The Bulldogs are starting to reload each year and not just rebuild. The coaching staff pulled in the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in 2018 and those players will be ready to step into prime time roles as sophomores this fall. Six five-star talents and 14 four-star talents will be available, including OG Jamaree Salyer (who played in 13 of 14 games), OT Trey Hill (started the final four games), CB Tyson Campbell (seventh on the team in tackles and returned a fumble for a TD vs. Missouri), LB Quay Walker (played in all 14 games), and DT Jordan Davis (started four of the last six games). These are among the “new” faces that will soon be household names for Bulldog fans everywhere.
— Written by Eric Sorenson, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He is a college football, college baseball and college hockey addict... and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Stitch_Head.