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Five Toughest Opponents On UGA's 2013 Schedule

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The Georgia-Clemson matchup is garnering national attention, but it might not be the toughest game facing the Bulldogs this fall. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.
The Georgia-Clemson matchup is garnering national attention, but it might not be the toughest game facing the Bulldogs this fall. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

The 2012 season gave the Georgia Bulldogs one of their easier schedules in recent memory.

Although some critics say it helped propel the Bulldogs to the SEC Championship Game, don't blame the Bulldogs. After all, they don't make the schedule.

This year, however, the Bulldogs face a much tougher schedule. Instead of opening the season with Buffalo, the Bulldogs will pay a visit to Clemson. And instead of playing Ole Miss from the SEC West, the Bulldogs will get LSU.

Throw in Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee, and the Bulldogs face their toughest regular-season schedule since 2009 when Oklahoma State, LSU, Arkansas and Arizona State were all on the schedule.

So, which teams will give the Bulldogs the most trouble this year?

5. Auburn (Nov. 16)

It would be easy to put Tennessee in the No. 5 spot, but the difference with 2013's version of Auburn is the fact that Gus Malzahn returns to Auburn. Malzahn is an offensive genius and I wouldn't put it past him to get more out of his team than many expect.

Offensively the Tigers should be fine. The biggest question will be their defense.

4. LSU (Sept. 28)

The status of running back Jeremy Hill puts LSU at No. 4, or else they'd rank a little higher on Georgia's schedule. Still, LSU is going to be LSU, meaning they'll have a great defense. 

This game will feature LSU's Zach Mettenberger versus Georgia's Aaron Murray, two quarterbacks who signed with Georgia in the same signing class. After Mettenberger was kicked off the UGA squad, Murray was named the starter and the Bulldogs haven't looked back.

Mettenberger will look for revenge as he'll try to give Sanford Stadium a look at what could've been.

3. Clemson (Aug. 31)

The fear of the unknown is the biggest key in this game. How will the young Bulldogs defense hold up against a Clemson offense that can score in bunches?

Georgia's offense is just as powerful and this game could come down to who has the ball last.

Both teams have national title aspirations in 2013, so opening the season with a significant non-conference win will be key.

2. Florida (Nov. 2)

The Georgia-Florida matchup always is exciting. For the winning team, a trip to the SEC title game has been the reward in four of the last five years.

Last year's matchup saw nine turnovers with the Bulldogs winning 17-9.

This year, the defenses on both sides seem to be weaker and the offenses seem stronger. What will happen in this matchup?

Nobody knows, but I'm sure it will go a long way in deciding the winner of the SEC East.

1. South Carolina (Sept. 7)

South Carolina is the proverbial thorn in the side of the Bulldogs. They would love nothing more than to break the three-game losing streak they have to the Gamecocks right now.

Jadeveon Clowney is the key player in this matchup. If the offensive line can keep him out of the backfield, Georgia should have no problem putting up a lot of points.

However, if he gets back there, it could be a long day for Murray and the Bulldogs.

The degree of difficulty climbs because Georgia faces Clemson the week before, while South Carolina hosts North Carolina.

The biggest key will be how the Bulldogs respond to adversity. If they can't respond to South Carolina's first score, problems could arise for the Bulldogs.