Chris Stephens

Despite Injuries, Bulldogs Still Favorite in SEC East

Created on Oct. 09, 2013 12:22 PM EST

The Georgia Bulldogs are reeling from injuries.

It all started against LSU when running back Todd Gurley went down with an ankle injury. Then, Tennessee decimated the Bulldogs' offense; Keith Marshall, Justin Scott-Wesley and Michael Bennett all went down. For Marshall and Scott-Wesley, the season is over after tearing their ACLs.

Regardless, the Bulldogs still are the favorites to win the SEC East since the only (real) tough team left on their schedule is Florida. They'll be challenged against the likes of Missouri and Auburn, but the offense still has enough talent to continue to put up points.

Who's Left

Gurley officially is listed as day-to-day for the Bulldogs, but his status still is in doubt for the upcoming game with Missouri. Regardless, he should be back the next two weeks against Vanderbilt and Florida.

Taking Marshall's place is freshman J.J. Green, who finished last week with 129 yards on 17 carries. He proved that he can carry the load and complement Gurley. 

Consider that the receiving corps has lost Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell for the year. Add the fact that Michael Bennett is getting his knee scoped, and there are many holes in the receiving team.

However, Chris Conley is still there with his 20 receptions for 318 yards, as is Rantavious Wooten, who had six receptions and two touchdowns last week. Rhett McGowan and Reggie Davis also will be asked to step up, but so could Jonathon Rumph. Rumph starred in Georgia's spring game with two touchdowns but has had hamstring issues this year. Once healthy, he could be one of Aaron Murray's go-to receivers.

The tight end position remains in good standing as Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome can each come up with big catches.

Why They Remain The Favorite

Let's start with Missouri. The Tigers may be averaging 46.6 points per game, but who was that against? Vanderbilt? How about Arkansas State, Indiana, Toledo or Murray State?

Missouri finally is facing the meat of its schedule with Georgia, Florida and South Carolina in the next three games. The 46.6 points per game is going to go down once they play better competition.

Florida will be Georgia's main competition for the SEC East, but the Gators also have South Carolina and LSU left. And with an offense that only is averaging 25 points per game, they have a lot of work to do. Florida's defense is among the best in the country, allowing 12.2 points per game, but what happens when they face one of the best offenses in the nation?

Vanderbilt could give Georgia problems on Oct. 19, but with Jordan Matthews locked down, there's not much else for the Commodores. 

The bottom line: As long as Georgia can continue to put up points, they'll be fine. Despite the concerns on defense, the offense will still be able to rack up a massive amount of points and put themselves in a position to win.

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