The 2013 season was supposed to be a big one for the Georgia Bulldogs. Last season, Mark Richt’s team came up just five yards short of playing in the BCS National Championship Game. And despite several key losses on defense, a solid nucleus returned in Athens.
Quarterback Aaron Murray and running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall figured to lead an offense that would be extremely potent this season. And with a favorable schedule, especially late in the season, it appeared that the 2013 Bulldogs could contend for the Southeastern Conference title.
However, this season was derailed by injuries. Murray, Gurley and Marshall all suffered injuries and missed games. And thus, the season became one of “what could have been” rather than what actually happened.
Georgia finished the regular season 8-4, earning a bid in the Gator Bowl against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on New Year’s Day.
While the bowl game seemed to provide an opportunity for Georgia to turn the page on the Murray Era and to move forward, the Bulldogs apparently didn’t get the memo. Georgia came out flat against Nebraska, losing 24-19 to finish the campaign at 8-5.
Now, Richt must rally his troops for next season. As usual, the SEC will be a huge challenge, and Richt will be replacing many key parts in 2014. Richt also must decide if Hutson Mason will remain the quarterback, or if he should look to the future and play one of his younger signal callers.
The good news for Richt and the Georgia program is that Gurley will be back next year, and Marshall should be healthy in time for the season opener.
The bad news is that, if not for the injuries, this could have been a special season in Athens.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.