MACON — The last time the Georgia football team ran the table in the regular season was 30 years ago.
Georgia head football coach Mark Richt, center, speaks with members of the media during the 11th Annual Peach State Pigskin Preview, Tuesday, June 12, 2012, at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in Macon, Ga. (Photo/Jason Vorhees)
Oddsmakers in Las Vegas think it could happen again. They have installed Georgia as an early favorite to win every regular season game this year in a schedule that many view as set up for just such a possibility.
“Well, I hope they’re right,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Tuesday at the Peach State Pigskin Preview at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. “We’ve got potential. We really haven’t done anything yet. We know that.”
The Golden Nugget listed Georgia the favorite in five of its more than 100 games with early lines, including a three-point favorite over Missouri, a two-and-a-half point favorite against South Carolina and a four-and-a-half point favorite against Florida.
Georgia is also projected to be favored in every game on its schedule, according to RJ Bell of Pregame.com, which lists Georgia as a 1.8-to-1 odd to repeat as Southeastern Conference Eastern Division champions.
“It’s great that people say that, but I think it does put a lot of pressure on us to go out and just win games,” senior safety Shawn Williams said. “We always feel like we have a pretty good team and a decent chance of winning. We’ve just got to go out and do it each and every game.”
The 1982 Bulldogs went 11-0 in Herschel Walker’s final college season before losing to Penn State 27-23 in the Sugar Bowl.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray says the Bulldogs — who return 15 starters on offense and defense — have what it takes to go 12-0 this season.
“I think so,” said Murray, part of a Bulldogs team that won 10 straight last season sandwiched between two losses to start the season and two to end it. “I think we have the talent. We just gotta work hard. I mean you can have all the talent in the world and not want to put in the work and put in the time and think you’re just going to roll through everyone and that’s when you have bad seasons. I think we have guys that are willing to put the time in.”
Murray planned to take part in 7-on-7 workouts later Tuesday, the first to include the incoming freshmen who arrived on campus last week.
Murray is one of the team leaders organizing the summer workouts. He said the schedule includes weight-room workouts Monday, Wednesday and Friday and agility training, 7-on-7, pass skeleton and position drills on Tuesday and Thursday.
“Preseason predictions are fun to talk about, but bottom line is we’ve got to get the job done between now and when camp begins and when camp begins we need to hopefully have a very healthy and productive camp,” Richt said. “Then start playing those games and you hope to start out with some good momentum and build on it. But it’s going to be a great challenge.”
Georgia last year won the SEC East even after there was heat on Richt following an 0-2 start. Now, this year Murray says the team is doing its best to ignore the top-five or top-10 preseason projections.
“Our motto last year was, ‘We’re on the bus and we’re not listening to any outside noise,’” Murray said. “There was a lot of negative noise, and we wanted to ignore that. The hard thing now is to ignore all the positives and people wanting to pat you on the back and tell you that you’re great and this and that. We have to ignore that, too, and just do what we did last year. Just focus on what we need to do to improve, what we need to get better and go from there.”