Rick Neuheisel: ‘They’re Clearly The Class Of The SEC East’

It’s hard to tell – mainly because it came against Louisiana Monroe – but just how impressive was Georgia in its season-opener this past Saturday? After all, the Bulldogs led 35-7 at halftime and cruised to a 51-14 victory, with Greyson Lambert throwing for two touchdowns and Nick Chubb rushing for 120 yards and two scores of his own.

How good can Georgia (1-0) be this year?

“Well, let me tell you this,” CBS Sports college football analyst Rick Neuheisel began on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I had a chance to go visit all 14 SEC teams. I got to take in all of the sights and sounds that are their college towns and it was a fabulous trip, having not been to most of those places. And when I got the chance to get to Georgia in beautiful Athens, Georgia, my takeaway from that practice is Greyson Lambert is really good. At the time, Mark Richt had not made a selection who was going to be his starter. Brice Ramsey and Greyson Lambert were still battling it out. But I left there feeling like Brian Schottenheimer, the new offensive coordinator, is going to love Greyson Lambert. He didn’t miss a pass while I watched. And when you look at Nick Chubb and Sony Michel – and Keith Marshall was at 100 percent the day I was there – I said, you’re going to get all sorts of eight-man boxes because (defenses) have to stop the run to survive against Georgia, especially with such an experienced offensive line coming back.”

Georgia rushed 38 times for 243 yards and four touchdowns last weekend, with Marshall rushing 10 times for 73 yards and two scores. Michel, meanwhile, showed his big-play ability, rushing six times for 41 yards and catching two balls for 79 yards and a score.

That’s a lot of weapons at Lambert’s disposal.

“And with a quarterback who knows what he’s doing and has a big arm – the guy reminded me of Joe Flacco,” Neuheisel said. “I walked away (from that practice) going, Greyson Lambert is not only going to be their starter, but he might end up being the SEC Player of the Year. I was that impressed the day I was there. So it’s no surprise he got off to a great start.”

Georgia’s schedule, however, will get noticeably tougher, with five ranked opponents on the slate, including No. 2 Alabama (Oct. 3) and No. 6 Auburn (Nov. 14). With 10 ranked teams in the conference, where do the Bulldogs fit in the SEC pecking order?

“I think they’re clearly the class of the East portion of the SEC,” Neuheisel said. “Their two crossover games this year are Auburn and Alabama. That’s a bad draw. You look at Missouri, the defending champs, they haven’t (had to play) either one of those teams until (the championship game) since joining the SEC. So it remains to be seen if they can survive the schedule. But if they can – and that Alabama game is in Athens – if they can, then I think they’re not only a team that can win the crown in the SEC, I think they’re capable of winning the entire crown. I think Georgia can be one of the real stories of the college football season.”

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