Oregon vs Georgia

The highlight of this weekend’s college football schedule is the showdown between the no. 11 Oregon Ducks and the no. 3 Georgia Bulldogs. The only other previous meeting between these teams came in 1977. Saturday’s game is on a “neutral” field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta with the Bulldogs set as 17-point favorites and the over/under listed at 53 points.

Of course, the Bulldogs enter the 2022 season as reigning national champs. Kirby Smart finally managed to win the big game last season for a Georgia team that went 14-1. Plus, the Bulldogs have been a powerhouse for the last half-decade, averaging 11.6 wins per season over the last five years.

Meanwhile, Oregon is a program in transition with Dan Lanning taking over for Mario Cristobal, who left for Miami after last season. The good news is Lanning inherits a solid program that went 10-3 last year and won the Pac-12 title in both 2019 and 2020. Also, Lanning has spent the last four years on Georgia’s staff, including three seasons as defensive coordinator, so he should be familiar with Smart and the Bulldogs.

Quack Attack

With 14 starters returning for the Ducks, Lanning is in good shape on both sides of the ball. While Oregon will have a ton of turnover at the offensive skill positions, the Ducks return all five starters on the offensive line, which should help them to hit the ground running. Of course, the X-factor will be quarterback Bo Nix, who has transferred from Auburn and already lost to Georgia three times in his career.

On the defensive end, the Ducks lost first-round pick Kayvon Thibodeaux but are otherwise in good shape. Behind a veteran defensive line and a linebacker unit led by Noah Sewell, Oregon should have one of the best front sevens in the Pac-12. To be fair, the Ducks were hit hard in the secondary, losing three starters, although Lanning has brought in a couple of transfers to help reinforce that unit.


For the Bulldogs, the biggest question this season is how they’ll replace eight defensive players who were selected in the NFL, including five who went in the first round. That’s a lot of talent to replace at one time, even for a team that only allowed 10.4 points per game last season. Plus, with Lanning going to Oregon, the Bulldogs have a new defensive coordinator.

On the other side of the ball, quarterback Stetson Bennett returns after guiding Georgia to the national championship last year. But the Bulldogs have to replace two running backs, two offensive linemen, and a tight end who were also NFL draft picks. Of course, the cupboard is far from bare, as the Bulldogs should still have one of the best offensive lines in the country and an elite tight end in Brock Bowers.

Stay Close

The Ducks are surely facing a tough battle in what amounts to a home game for Georgia. But Oregon has an experienced quarterback and a strong offensive line against a Georgia defense that suffered heavy losses from last season. Plus, while Bennett is proven, he’s not an elite talent, so Georgia could have a tough time pulling away in this game, allowing the Ducks to at least beat the 17-point spread.

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