Ah, predictions. How many have you seen thus far regarding Georgia's impending 2009 season?
Personally, I've lost track.
You've read them from every Tom, Dick and Ghost, on blogspots to spotblogs and from esteemed columnists representing the booming newspaper industry.
So what the heck? I can make ridiculous statements like anyone else out there in Internet Land so let's give it a shot.
Here are my five picks to click. When I say "picks to click" I'm not including incoming freshmen, but which returning lettermen might be flying a bit under the radar.
1. Running back Caleb King: While all signs point to a running-back-by-committee for the Bulldogs, the guess here is that King will still get most of the snaps. Although he won't post Knowshon-like numbers, look for him to rush for 800 or so yards, followed by (I know, here's where Dasher goes off the deep end) Richard Samuel with around 500. Fans may have soured on Samuel due to his running style, but coaches haven't and they believe you'll see a different player than the one we saw last fall. Carlton Thomas, Dontavius Jackson and Washaun Ealey will get their respective chances although I'm not 100 percent convinced that head coach Mark Richt won't elect to redshirt Ealey, especially if the rest of the crew is running well. Nothing at all against Washaun, he's probably is ready to play now. But barring injuries (certainly don't hope for that), it's going to be hard for five backs to get on the field.
2. Defensive end Justin Houston: I know, I know, Houston is suspended for the first two games but I think when he comes back he'll become that pass rushing threat from the outside that Georgia so sorely lacked last fall.
3. Linebacker Marcus Washington: Washington's return from shoulder surgery is overlooked by a lot of folks. But now that he's 100 percent, the senior will prove to be one of the best run-stoppers on the team, especially from his Mike linebacker position.
4. Free safety Bryan Evans: Evans has finally found a home at free safety. Although he's probably not the hitter fans think of when it comes to the position, Evans' speed and athleticism will allow him to lead the Bulldogs in interceptions this fall.
5. Wide receiver Tavarres King: King is another player who gets overlooked with freshmen Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten now on the scene. But the guess here is that King will play a huge role on the receiver corps and enjoy a season similar to what Mike Moore did for Georgia last fall.
As for the season itself, I'm probably not as doom and gloom as a lot of people, so we'll say Georgia finishes the year 9-3. Just don't ask me to tell you who the Dawgs will lose to. Yes, I do think Florida gets the best of Georgia again, although this year's game will be much closer than the experts think. The LSU game for some reason worries me, and there's probably some other team which will rise up and bite the Dawgs, although it won't be Oklahoma State.
Yes, the Cowboys have a great offense but Georgia's speed on defense and a new GATA attitude will be enough for the Bulldogs to carry the day.
Bowl Game - Georgia returns to the Capital One Bowl, but this time will play Ohio State.
Here are some other random thoughts and predictions you can take to the bank.Orson Charles will be the SEC Freshman of the YearGeno Atkins will make the SEC first-team after being snubbed by both the coaches and media in their respective preseason polls.Georgia will finish in the Top 4 of the SEC in total defense.Joe Cox won't post the numbers that Matthew Stafford did last fall, but he'll have a solid campaign and help A.J. Green reach his preseason goal of surpassing the 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards.Logan Gray will give get his chance running the "Wild Dawg" offense inside the red zone but don't be surprised if Bacarri Rambo (who ran Georgia's scout team for much of last fall) gets an opportunity or two for himself.Rennie Curran will lead the SEC in tackles.Reshad Jones will turn pro after this season.Georgia will finish second in the SEC East.