10 Things that will happen in 2012

ATHENS - Fletcher Page predicts the future only days into the new year.

The premise of writing about "things" that are going to happen to the Georgia football team in the 2012 season is fundamentally… ridiculous. But since the ancient Mayans predicted the world to end in December of this year, we could be looking at the last season of college football. So why not throw caution to the wind and take a way-too-premature gaze into the crystal ball?

10. Missouri will give Georgia all it can handle on Sept. 8. The Tigers were average in 2011, finishing 8-5 in a weak conference. But now they're the new kids on the block and will be looking to show they belong in the first game as a conference member against the Bulldogs.

Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field may only seat 65,000, but the crowd will be as loud and raucous and alcohol-induced as ever. Georgia will win this game, but it will feel more like survival than anything else.

Missouri will host Georgia in the first SEC game ever for the Tigers. (Denny Medley/US Presswire)

9. Georgia will breeze the out-of-conference schedule. Goodbye to the Boise States of the world. Hello easy victories. The Bulldogs have Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech on the slate for out-of-league foes – all should be easy wins (I know Tech is a rivalry game, but with a good season in the making, Georgia will routine the Yellow Jackets yet again). The only disappointment is the lack of Georgia State on the schedule – the claim to the Peach State title will be tainted to some degree without a win over the Fightin' Currys.

The Bulldogs have not faced Georgia Southern since 2008. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

8. Let's play a quick round of the good and the bad centering on quarterback Aaron Murray. The bad: The rising junior will NOT throw for more than 35 touchdowns (the figure he posted in 2011). The good: He will also NOT throw for more than 14 interceptions (the figure he posted in 2011).

Murray will cut down on the mistakes as he continues to grow and develop in his third season as the starter. Still, I don't project him to best the school record he set for touchdown passes last season due to a stronger running game (more on that later).

Aaron Murray's mistakes may have overshadowed a spectacular 2011. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

7. Georgia will beat Tennessee in Athens and Auburn in Jordan-Hare Stadium. A win over Florida (more to come) will mark an unprecedented run against traditional rivals in the Mark Richt Era.

The Bulldogs defeated all four of their major rivals in 2011. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

6. Linebacker Alec Ogletree will lead the team in tackles and could potentially kill somebody. He'll leave for the NFL draft following the season.

Ogletree came on strong at the end of 2011, tallying double-digit tackle totals in two of the team's last three games. He should pick up right where he left off.

Ogletree moved from safety to linebacker in spring of 2011. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

5. Vanderbilt will be shown no mercy. Remember the scuffle before the Mississippi State game and all the emotion following win? The same type of attitude will be taken toward the Commodores in 2012.

Georgia players were upset at State this past season after losing in Starkville in 2010 and hearing comments about not being "tough enough" to play with the Bulldogs. The extra motivation boiled over in warm-ups as the two teams scuffled before Georgia beat State handily.

There should be even more incentive heading into the Vanderbilt game. Coach Todd Grantham will have his unit convinced James Franklin is the anti-Christ and frothing at the mouth to make Vandy pay for the post-game run-in and perceived cheap shots in last year's game.

Grantham and Franklin did not exchange pleasantries after the 2011 contest. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

4. Georgia will beat Florida by at least 10 points. And the Bulldogs won't keep fans on edge this season by falling behind by more than two scores either. Georgia is the better team now. Georgia has more talent returning. Georgia won last year. And Georgia should take another step in resetting this rivalry.

Orson Charles overlooks one of his victims during Georgia's 24-20 win over Florida. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

3. Georgia will lose to South Carolina in Columbia on Oct. 6. The game should be another classic as this rivalry is quickly taking precedent as the most important game in determining the Eastern Division. I see South Carolina keeping it close and making more plays in the second half to take the victory.

S. Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore will return for the Bulldogs' October contest against the Cocks. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

2. Isaiah Crowell will lead Georgia in rushing. I know, I know – many aren't sure if the rising sophomore will even be in school by August. I say he's too talented for the coaching staff to let go and word is strength coach Joe Tereshinski has a special plan for Crowell for this offseason.

Keith Marshall is tremendously talented, but it remains to be seen how he'll translate at the SEC level. The competition should help push Crowell, on and off the field, and I see him bounding into both end zones and the good graces of all the haters next season.

The most talked-about player of 2011, Crowell will return as the likely starter in 2012. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

1. Georgia will win the SEC East for a second consecutive year. Although I've picked the Gamecocks to win in Columbia, South Carolina's schedule is too brutal to survive. Games against LSU, Florida and Arkansas follow the Bulldogs on the schedule – a loss or two is more than likely. Meanwhile, Georgia's schedule is a cakewalk, with LSU, Alabama and Arkansas all avoided for a second straight year.

As for winning the SEC title against whichever team comes out of the West? That's for another ridiculous prediction article. But Georgia will be there in the Dome, at least according to my crystal ball.

Fletcher Page predicts that the Bulldogs will return to the SEC Championship Game in 2012. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

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