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10 Greatest Georgia Football Teams of All Time

Georgia Bulldogs Football, 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship

Behind a dominant defense, the 2021 Georgia Bulldogs lost just once and avenged that loss to Alabama to claim the program's second national title

Georgia avenged its SEC Championship Game loss to Alabama to win the program’s first national title since 1980. These Bulldogs have put together one of the best seasons in the school’s history, but where do they rank all time?

Before we dive in, we bid farewell to the 2012 squad. After losing 35-7 at South Carolina in the first half of the season, Georgia won six straight games. Then in arguably the greatest conference championship game ever played, the Bulldogs lost to Alabama 32-28 in a contest that ended with Georgia on the Crimson Tide’s 5-yard line. Since Alabama then trounced Notre Dame in the BCS title game, many fans considered the Crimson Tide/Bulldogs matchup to be the true national championship.

Now, here are the 10 best Bulldog teams of all time.

10. 1959

Record: 10-1
Finished: Beat Missouri 14-0 in the Orange Bowl
Final Ranking: No. 5

Picked to finish ninth in the SEC going into the season, the Fran Tarkenton-led Bulldogs beat out three top-10 teams to take home the school’s first conference championship since 1948. Georgia clinched the SEC title with a last-minute pass from Tarkenton to Bill Herron to beat Auburn 14-13.

9. 2002

Record: 13-1
Finished: Beat Florida State 26-13 in the Sugar Bowl
Final Ranking: No. 3

Second-year head coach Mark Richt announced his arrival by leading the program to its first conference title since 1982. Only a misstep against archrival Florida kept this team from having a perfect season.

8. 1920

Record: 8-0-1
Finished: Beat Clemson 55-0
Final Ranking: No. 1 (Retroactively named national champion by Berryman Quality Point Rating System)

The Bulldogs allowed only 17 points during the season and their only blemish was a 0-0 tie with Virginia in Charlottesville. Because of its dominance during the season, Georgia was retroactively awarded the national championship by the Berryman Quality Point Rating System, but does not claim this title.

7. 1966

Record: 10-1
Finished: Beat SMU 24-9 in the Cotton Bowl
Final Ranking: No. 4

Ironically, both Alabama and Georgia fielded one of their 10 best teams of all time in 1966. But because of the way college football was structured back then, they never met on the gridiron and end up sharing the SEC title. It would not have affected the national championship picture though since all eyes were focused on Michigan State and Notre Dame.

6. 2017

Record: 13-2
Finished: Lost to Alabama 26-23 (OT) in the College Football Playoff National Championship
Final Ranking: No. 2

In Kirby Smart’s second season, the Bulldogs won the SEC and made the College Football Playoff. In the Rose Bowl, Georgia beat Oklahoma in double overtime to play Alabama for the national title. The Bulldogs led 13-0 at halftime and Nick Saban put Tua Tagovailoa in at quarterback. The rest is history and Georgia was on the losing end of it.

5. 1942

Record: 11-1
Finished: Beat UCLA 9-0 in the Rose Bowl
Final Ranking: No. 1 (Named by Litkenhous and seven other math-based ranking systems)

Led by Heisman Trophy-winning halfback Frank Sinkwich, the Bulldogs steamrolled their opposition, and Sinkwich set the single-season total offense record with 2,187 yards. The only blemish was a 27-13 loss to Auburn, but Georgia bounced back to shut out No. 2 Georgia Tech and No. 13 UCLA in its final two games. The 9-1 Ohio State Buckeyes were named the AP national champions, but the Bulldogs were awarded the top spot in numerous other polls.

4. 1982

Record: 11-1
Finished: Lost to Penn State 27-23 in the Sugar Bowl
Final Ranking: No. 4

If not for that loss to Penn State, the 1982 Bulldogs would have won their second national championship in three seasons and would likely top this list. Instead, the Nittany Lions gave Joe Paterno his first national title.

3. 1946

Record: 11-0
Finished: Beat North Carolina 20-10 in the Sugar Bowl
Final Ranking: No. 3

Powered by halfback Charley Trippi, the Bulldogs averaged 35.6 points a game and beat all of its opponents by at least 10 points. Georgia finished the season with the only perfect record, but was ranked third behind Army and Notre Dame; yet another victim of the era when the national champion was crowned before the bowls.

2. 1980

Record: 12-0
Finished: Beat Notre Dame 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl
Final Ranking: No. 1

Down 15-2 to Tennessee late in the third quarter of the season opener, Georgia head coach Vince Dooley put in true freshman Herschel Walker. From there, the rest is history. Walker scored two touchdowns to beat the Volunteers 16-15 and Georgia went on to win the rest of its games en route to a national championship.

Related: Ranking Every College Football National Champion Over the Last 50 Years

1. 2021

Record: 14-1
Finished: Beat Alabama 33-18 in the College Football Playoff National Championship
Final Ranking: No. 1

While the 1980 squad went undefeated, the 2021 Bulldogs played a longer and tougher schedule. This team was also more dominant. Even with the loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, Georgia’s defense only gave up 13 touchdowns the entire season and all but one of the Bulldogs' wins were by at least two touchdowns.

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.