Georgia Bulldogs 2012 Schedule Preview: Buffalo Starts Things Off With A Breather

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 19: Marc Deas #25 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates after their 19-10 win over the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The pundits say Georgia's been blessed with another clear path to the SEC East title, but that doesn't mean there won't be pitfalls along the way.

Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga., Sept. 1

Coach: Jeff Quinn, 5-19 in two seasons at Buffalo (3-13 MAC), 6-20 overall.
Last year: 3-9 (2-6 MAC).
Best win: 38-37 over an Ohio Bobcats team that came within an eyelash of winning the MAC title.
Worst loss: 41-13 to a Miami-Ohio team that only won three other games all season.
Returning starters: 17 (eight offense, eight defense, one special teams).

Stock watch for 2012: Up, slightly. The Bulls return plenty of talent from last year, including running back Branden Oliver and four of the five guys who blocked his way to 116.3 rushing yards per game (good enough to make him the nation's No. 14 running back in 2011). They also return three of four starters from a secondary that held its own last season. Unfortunately, the Bulls still don't have either a firm starter at QB or a wealth of viable options for him to throw to in the WR corps.

Best-case scenario (from the Dawgs' perspective): Georgia's front seven takes an early opportunity to live up to its billing as one of the best in the nation and stonewalls Branden Oliver. Meanwhile, Isaiah Crowell goes nuts against a run defense that gave up more than 180 yards per game last year and gets to take a seat early in the third quarter, leaving Boo Malcome and Keith Marshall to pick up the pieces (and bring the Dawgs close to 300 net rushing yards in the process).

Worst-case scenario: A Georgia pass defense missing three suspended starters gives up a bunch of big plays and lets the Bulls hang around well into the second half. Don't laugh, it could happen -- while the Bulls haven't decided on a starting QB yet, junior Alex Zordich started four games in 2010 and can make plays with his feet as well as his arm. If the Dawgs don't make a dominant showing in the season opener, it'd certainly bode poorly for the following week's trip to Columbia, Mo., to face a Missouri Tiger offense that finished 12th in the nation last year.

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