Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Dawgs ranked #22 in preseason coaches poll – really?

Thursday August 4, 2011

The Georgia homer in me is just happy to be ranked at any point in the season. The Georgia fan in me who’s spent much of the past seven months trying to reconcile last season wonders what seemed rankable about a 6-7 team that lost its best play on both sides of the ball.

We could get all analytical and wonder if it’s the effect of offseason changes or belief in Mark Richt by his peers or anticipation of the Dream Team or any other factor that led to coaches ranking Georgia. Or we could remember that it’s a preseason poll and that coaches (or their SID interns) put as much thought into it as what they had for lunch. “What do you mean I haven’t ranked Georgia, Florida, or Texas yet? OK…stick them on the end.” Silly and pointless, but not ever going away.

There is one angle worth talking about: if Georgia finishes ranked where they begin, that implies a 3 or 4-loss season. Would you take a 9-3 or 8-4 season right now with this schedule? More specifically, would 8-4 and a #22 ranking mean that Mark Richt is still coaching when the Dawgs head to their bowl game?

A few other thoughts about the SEC in the poll:

  • Alabama and LSU are ranked about where you’d expect. The two have been favorites to battle for the West since last year ended.
  • That said, a lot of people seem to be sleeping on Arkansas. There they are at #14 and fresh off a BCS win game. Mallett will be missed, but his replacement is capable. They have more preseason All-SEC players than any other team.
  • Has Auburn fallen that much to be closer to 6-7 Georgia than someone like Arkansas? I know they lose Cam and Fairley, but I also know that Malzahn can do a lot with a little. Add in a little swagger after the national title, and they’ll be a lot tougher to knock off their perch than these pollsters think. One thing working against them is the conference schedule; 7 of their 8 conference opponents are ranked in this poll.
  • On the other hand, I’m not buying Mississippi State. Mullen gets the genius label due to a sometimes-competent offense and a defense that got a good bit better. The man behind that defensive improvement is gone. This is a team that was 4-4 in the league last year, and is there really that much more room for improvement to merit a top 20 ranking? That early game at Auburn will tell us a ton about both teams and whether the preseason read was correct about either of them.

Comments are closed.