The University of Georgia Bulldogs find themselves ranked No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll. While this does not guarantee a shot at the title game, it does mean fewer teams to leapfrog on the way. An undefeated season would be the surest way, but scenarios exist where even that would not be enough.
The Bulldogs will have several chances to impress voters on national television. This also means several chances to disappoint.
Every game will most likely be a must-win, but some games will shape the national perception of Georgia more than others. In my opinion, these are the five biggest stumbling blocks on the path to the national championship:
Top 5 Make Or Break Games
1. Georgia versus Buffalo, September 1: Georgia kicks off the season with a home game against Buffalo. Unlike last year's opening loss to Boise State, Georgia is expecting to chalk up an opening-day "W." But winning this one will not be enough. The BCS number crunchers and busy box-score reading coaches need say "wow" after this one. The Dawgs need a two-score victory margin just to justify their preseason ranking.
2. Georgia versus Missouri, September 8:Georgia will travel to SEC newcomer Missouri for the second game of the season. Mizzou's first taste of SEC competition may draw some extra attention. Georgia will need to be firing on all cylinders and give the Tigers a rude welcome to the SEC. Even a 3-point win could hurt Georgia in the polls.
3. Georgia versus South Carolina, October 6: Traveling to Steve Spurrier's South Carolina is never fun. The Gamecocks enter the season ranked No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll. If both teams live of to preseason expectations, this matchup could be huge. It is a must win. Even a hard-fought 1-point win will keep championship hope alive.
4. Georgia versus Florida, October 27: Georgia's annual trip to Jacksonville (a supposedly neutral site) to take on Florida has tripped up Georgia's hopes before. Georgia must win this game -- period. A victory by more than a touchdown could be a launching pad entering the last month of the season.
5. Georgia versus Georgia Tech, November 24:Georgia finishes the regular season against in-state rival Georgia Tech. If Georgia comes into this game still on course for a title, the Yellow Jackets would love to derail those plans. Georgia might have an eye on the SEC Championship Game and could be vulnerable. No matter how Georgia Tech's year plays out, Georgia must have a solid win to end the season.
Christopher Beheler is a Georgia native and life long Bulldogs fan.
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