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Georgia Football: Bulldogs' 2022 Schedule Analysis

Kirby Smart, Georgia Bulldogs Football

Kirby Smart's Bulldogs have a manageable schedule as they seek to defend their national title with a reshuffled roster

For the first time in 41 years, Georgia will open up a college football season as defending national champions. There will be key personnel losses in 2022, but whether or not that results in losses on the field remains to be seen.

Related: Bulldogs' 2022 Spring Preview

If you go by the schedule, it's difficult to see many defeats coming this fall. The biggest non-conference game is a "neutral-site" game against a Pac-12 team that will be played in Atlanta. While the Florida game is always in Jacksonville, arguably the next two toughest SEC games will be played at Sanford Stadium.

Here's what is on the docket for Georgia starting on Sept. 3.

Georgia Bulldogs' 2022 Schedule

Bye: Week 8

Week 1 - Sept. 3 vs. Oregon (Atlanta)

Former Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning's first game as head coach of the Oregon Ducks comes against his former team. Playing in Atlanta won't be the easiest environment for the boys from Eugene, though projected starting quarterback Bo Nix knows all about playing the Bulldogs from his days at Auburn.

Week 2 - Sept. 10 vs. Samford (Athens, Ga.)

Samford will come to Sanford Stadium in week two in a battle of the Bulldogs. Georgia is 2-0 versus Samford, with the last meeting resulting in a 42-14 UGA victory over the FCS program.

Week 3 - Sept. 17 at South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.)

The Bulldogs open conference play as they often do, by facing off with South Carolina. Shane Beamer injected life into the Gamecocks' program by playing in and winning the Belk Bowl in his first season. With Oklahoma transfer Spencer Rattler set to go at quarterback, South Carolina could take another step forward this season.

Week 4 - Sept. 24 vs. Kent State (Athens, Ga.)

With Dustin Crum no longer the Golden Flashes' quarterback, Georgia will focus on stopping Marquez Cooper and Xavier Williams, a pair of running backs that combined for more than 2,000 rushing yards last fall. Kent State came to Athens once before – in 1998 – and was devoured 56-3.

Week 5 - Oct. 1 at Missouri (Columbia, Mo.)

After opening the conference season in Columbia, S.C., the Bulldogs play their second SEC game in Columbia, Mo. Since joining the SEC, the Tigers have beaten Georgia just once and have lost the last five games by an average of 28 points per game.

Week 6 - Oct. 8 vs. Auburn (Athens, Ga.)

It was an interesting offseason at Auburn, but Bryan Harsin is still the Tigers' head coach. With games against Penn State, Missouri, and LSU before the trip to Georgia, things could get even dicier on the Plains.

Week 7 - Oct. 15 vs. Vanderbilt (Athens, Ga.)

Year one under Clark Lea at Vanderbilt ended with a 2-10 record and only a couple of truly competitive games in the SEC. Lea built his reputation as a defensive coordinator and fixing the nation's No. 118 unit needs to happen if improvement is to occur in 2022.

Week 9 - Oct. 29 vs. Florida (Jacksonville, Fla.)

The villain that was Dan Mullen is now gone from the Georgia-Florida rivalry as Billy Napier assumes the role as Gators head coach. Napier knows that beating Georgia is imperative for any Florida head coach and that part of the reason for Mullen's departure was his 1-3 record vs. the Dawgs.

Week 10 - Nov. 5 vs. Tennessee (Athens, Ga.)

While the Florida game always gets the hype, the biggest game in the SEC East could come the very next week when the Volunteers invade Athens. Josh Heupel's first year saw a bowl appearance and an offensive renaissance, something that could continue to blossom with quarterback Hendon Hooker and wide receiver Cedric Tilman back for another year wearing orange.

Week 11 - Nov. 12 at Mississippi State (Starkville, Miss.)

In his previous stops at Texas Tech and Washington State, it took Mike Leach a few years to get the program really cranked up. It's year three in Starkville for Leach and the Bulldogs return solid production on both sides of the ball, with Will Rogers entering his third season as the starting quarterback.

Week 12 - Nov. 19 at Kentucky (Lexington, Ky.)

Every downtrodden program is looking for a quick turnaround, but the slow build that Mike Stoops did at Kentucky should be a model for many. A 2-10 team in 2013 made a bowl game in 2016 and has won 10 games in two of the last four seasons. Despite the loss of star receiver Wan'Dale Robinson, the Wildcats should be good again in 2022.

Week 13 - Nov. 26 vs. Georgia Tech (Athens, Ga.)

At Georgia Tech, they are looking for any type of momentum. Geoff Collins is 9-25 after three seasons and has to get things moving in the right direction. In his three games against the Bulldogs', Collins has seen his Yellow Jackets lose by scores of 45-21, 52-7, and 45-0.

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Written by Jon Kinne, who has been part of the Athlon Contributor Network for three years, covering the ACC and Notre Dame. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.