Countdown to No. 1: Should Georgia be higher or lower than No. 18?

We continue our countdown to the nation’s top five teams on Friday,  Today we rank teams 16-20. If you see teams that should not be ranked at all or should be ranked in another position, let me know and tell me why. Here we go:

 

20. Miami

**–It will be a good season if: QB Jacory Harris stays healthy. Harris threw for 3,352 yards as a sophomore but at the end of the season was battling with a bad thumb. He’s had surgery and then just watched during spring practice. If Harris can cut back on the interceptions (17 in 2009) the Hurricanes could have a special season.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: The ‘Canes don’t play big in the big games. They were 9-4 last season but in the big games they had a tendency to turn it over and make other big mistakes (Eight combined turnovers in losses to Clemson and North Carolina). After a 3-1 start against Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma, Miami should have finished better.

19. Oregon State

**–It will be a good season if: The Rodgers brothers stay healthy. RB Jacquizz Rodgers had almost 2,000 yards of total offense (1,440 rush, 522 receiving) last season. WR James Rodgers has blazing speed and had 2,328 all-purpose yards in 2009.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: The Beavers don’t win the Civil War and go to a really good bowl. The past two years they were a win against Oregon away from going to the Rose Bowl. With 16 starters returning and with Oregon coming to Corvallis on Dec. 4, this is the year.

18. Georgia

**–It will be a good season if: A veteran offensive line is good on day one and a defense which forced only 12 turnovers last season gets an attitude adjustment from new coordinator Todd Grantham. If the Bulldogs can run the ball and play defense, they have a chance every week.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: Redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray struggles and the Bulldogs lose back-to-back games at South Carolina (on Sept. 11) and at home to Arkansas (on Sept. 18).

17. Pittsburgh

**–It will be a good season if: Running back Dion Lewis can continue to be a workhorse. Lewis carried the ball 325 times in 13 games as a freshman last season. Only Stanford’s Toby Gerhart carried it more (345). Lewis will still be the focal point of the offense, especially with a new quarterback in sophomore Tino Sunseri.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: The Panthers don’t win the Big East championship. They came so close a year ago, losing to West Virginia (19-16) and Cincinnati (45-44) in the last two games of the regular season. Cincinnati has a new coach and Pittsburgh gets West Virginia at home on Nov. 26.

16. Arkansas

**–It will be a good season if: Quarterback Ryan Mallett improves on last season’s numbers. The 6-7 quarterback threw for over 3,600 yards and 30 touchdowns in his first season in Bobby Petrino’s offense. He has a deep stable of receivers and at least four really good running backs.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: The Hogs don’t at least split games on Sept. 18 at Georgia and Sept. 25 against Alabama in Fayetteville. Expectations are high in Arkansas. Starting 0-2 in the SEC would be a setback.

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403 comments Add your comment

Jake

August 17th, 2010
7:30 am

I would say Ga. ranked 18th,,is about right.

reality

August 17th, 2010
7:32 am

Looks again like GT will be ranked higher than UGA.

Browndog

August 17th, 2010
7:36 am

Arkansas is going to get spanked this year. They have no defense.

reality

August 17th, 2010
7:38 am

GT was ranked higher than UGA last year. Oops!

Dustin

August 17th, 2010
7:39 am

Other folks have Georgia ranked #3 pre-season.

I’d say anyone who doesn’t think Richt will finish in the top 10, or should be pre-season top 10, is simply not thinking.

Here’s why:
1) Mark Richt’s track record following tough seasons (2002 & 2007) where he finished in the top 3 both times
2) Mark Richt’s track record, where his teams have finished in the top 10, 19 seasons since 1986
3) Much easier schedule than SC, Bama, or Florida
4) 10 starters back on offense
5) Best running attack in the nation when you consider experienced starts of O-Line (155 starts), and AJ Green, TE White/Olson, RB’s King/Ealey, FB Chapas
6) Best special teams in nation (punter, kicker, kick returner)
7) Best defensive staff in country–Saban tried to hire Grantham to run his defense twice, at both Mich St., and later at Miami, Beli’s LB’s are consistently all-conference, Lakatos DB’s consistently top 10 in nation in pass efficiency
8) Tremendous QB trio- 2 Elite 11 QB’s and a Parade All American
9) Mark Richt’s 3rd best win % of 120 active coaches with 5 years experience

Really amazing that the AJC folks can’t appreciate Coach Richt. A lot of journalists, including ESPN’s, not picking Richt, are going to hurt their credibility. Some of the MOST ACCURATE, like Phil Steele, will look like a genius.

UGA will win the National Championship in 2010.

sleeze

August 17th, 2010
7:40 am

Dustin, please lay off the weed, dude.

JB

August 17th, 2010
7:42 am

Coming out of the gate hot with wins over Carolina and Arkansas will tell the whole year…
Win those two we could go 10-2 and play in a News years day bowl….lose those two and we’ll be 7-5, 8-4 and play in the Chick fil a bowl against Clemson or Miami or VT. Do the same in 2011 and McGarity has his first big decision. Four years in a downward spiral would not bode well for Richt.

Dustin

August 17th, 2010
7:47 am

Richt’s record against SC? 7-2. 5-0 against Ark. Great on the road. Will win both of those games in blowout fashion by 20 points +.

tim

August 17th, 2010
7:47 am

Dustin you must quit drinking so early in the morning….top 10 you are out of your mind the puppies will have 2 beatdowns by the end of Sept.

Dustin

August 17th, 2010
7:49 am

Richt’s road record, and SC will be a road game, is like 39-4?

Mallet is 40% accuracy in away games.

Dustin

August 17th, 2010
7:55 am

In 2001 & 2006, all the cynics rolled out the same garbage on why Georgia would struggle. In BOTH 2002 & 2007, following Richt’s 2 toughest seasons, UGA finished either #2 or #3 in the nation in the final polls. If you’re a person who values common sense, you realize how irrational it is, considering his 100% track record, to NOT pick Richt to finish in the top 3 in 2010, following a tough season.

JB

August 17th, 2010
7:56 am

The biggest difference I want to see in Georgia this year is Average QB’s not looking like All Americans against us. Willie’s scheme allowed opposing QB’s to sit back and look and look and look. A NFL defensive backfield can not contain that long. Grantham defense will bring pressure all the time form different areas. I read there is some concern about us being able to stop a good “running” team. It will be nice to watch an aggressive Georgia defense for a change.

17 of 20

August 17th, 2010
7:57 am

Georgia’s quarterback is vertically challenged. They will start conference play 0-2 and not be ranked when the season is over.

Greg

August 17th, 2010
7:58 am

I find myself losing respect for journalist who continue to be wrong so consistently about Coach Richt. I am sure I am not alone. Coahc Richt is the best coach in the nation, 4 top 10 finishes in a row, something Meyer or Saban have never done.

JB

August 17th, 2010
7:58 am

So was Fran Tarkenton, he turned out OK

Dustin

August 17th, 2010
7:59 am

Since 1986, Richt has NEVER had 2 seasons in a row, where his team did not finish in the top 10. Not 1 single time. 2010 will be a top 10 finish, as in #1.

Jay Dog

August 17th, 2010
8:02 am

Actually, we heard the same negative cynicism from sports writers in 1979. UGA was ‘doomed in 1980′, according to all the “experts” after only winning 6 games in 79′.

How’d that work out? UGA just went 12-0 in 1980 and won the National Championship.

All the sports writers were dead wrong in 1979 about UGA, and are dead wrong in 2010 about UGA.

JB

August 17th, 2010
8:03 am

17 of 20, just in case your jail doesn’t get or have research material, Fran was All pro 9 or 10 times……………..He was 5′9″……………………………I look at Aaron’s heart, not his height, and if you knew anything about him, his senior year in high school, you’ll know he has a big one. Broke his leg his senior year, rehabbed in just a few weeks, and came back and led his team, Plant High school to the state title……………….I’ll go to war with this guy.

Jay Dog

August 17th, 2010
8:04 am

Miami & Oklahoma were never given a chance with their “young” QB’s by the sports “experts”. Both Kosar and Jamelle won a National Championship as a freshman QB.

kaput

August 17th, 2010
8:06 am

Dustin,

How did you get away? There was a big sting last night for meth users, how’d you get missed?

Larry

August 17th, 2010
8:06 am

With an unproven freshman at QB I think you’re in the neighbor hood at #18. If the freshman QB meets or exceeds expectations this should be a top 10 football team.

I have two primary concerns:
1.) Bobo’s play calling: Often bizarre, unimaginative and predictable. A few games it seems every other play was a screen pass–most often unsuccessful, untimely or both.
2.) Pass rush: They must not only generate one but they must have a dominant defense to take the pressure of the freshman QB, especially early in the season as he learns and matures. Should our “D” be less than at least moderately or occasionally dominating, this could be a long season if Murray is forced to pass the team back into contention to win games at SC and Arkansas.

Truck

August 17th, 2010
8:07 am

Dustin you are so delusional. I agree that Richt has an excellent track record the season after he struggles but for you to say the dawgs will finish top 3 is just crazy. We have an unproven freshman qb and we are totally changing our D. I’m die hard dawg but even I don’t see us doing that well. We will surprise some people but we wont be top 3. Maybe next year.

dodo bird

August 17th, 2010
8:10 am

Murray played with one of the most talented teams in Florida when they won the title. This notion that the team was put on his back and was great BECAUSE of him is completely wrong – I live in the Tampa area and watch more than my fair share of games. He’s not near as special as a lot of you want to believe. the guy that replaced him is a dog of a prospect, everyone thinks he’s not much of a high school quarterback and yet Max Preps has him ranked the number five pro style quarterback in the nation?

Playing at Plant adds a star or two, take that to the bank.

guy

August 17th, 2010
8:10 am

im sick of sports writers being wrong about uga too. i remember everyone drooling all over themselves in 08 predicting the national title and such. glad richt showed them what’s up by falling flat on his face.

and dustin, uga may win the usc and ark games, but please point me to one time theyve blown any legitimate team out recently. they may win, but its usually ugly.

also, your mighty richt is 10-10 vs the sec east the past couple of years. thats pretty much the definition of mediocre.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

August 17th, 2010
8:12 am

#18 sounds good. i think UGA is certainly an underdog this year and will surprise a lot of folks.

Larry

August 17th, 2010
8:13 am

david

August 17th, 2010
8:20 am

I see Mr. SEC Blue Blood is showing his hatred, against Miami. Most polls have Miami no lower then 15 in the top 25. Keep writing negative about Miami. I am sure you are going to change your tune on September 12th.

Ormewood

August 17th, 2010
8:20 am

Fran Tarkenton played what, fify years ago? I think defenders are a little bigger now than they were then.

JB

August 17th, 2010
8:21 am

dodo bird…………………….Give Murray a chance……All I know is every Major Div. 1 school in the South wanted him by scouting him…………..Maybe he would be a career clip board holder at Bama or Florida, who knows…but they wanted to sign him……I’ll wait for the proof in the pudding vs a layman’s opinion.

rduck

August 17th, 2010
8:23 am

I as a Tech fan will not say anything about Aaron Murray’s height. I seem to recall Joe Hamilton catching the same flack from people. He only went on to be one of the best QB’s in GT and ACC history…

JB

August 17th, 2010
8:25 am

also, you need a good QB to win, but look at Bama winning the National title with a little above average QB, and Georgia had the Number one pick in the NFL draft and won nothing.

JB

August 17th, 2010
8:26 am

thanks rduck…………….and Hamilton was a great QB…..I’d take him in Athens RIGHT NOW !

Yeah Right

August 17th, 2010
8:26 am

Yep, Dustin, time for the meds.

DawginLex

August 17th, 2010
8:28 am

The reality of the situation is that the QB’s at UGA and florida are better suited for the offense of THE OTHER TEAM. Brantley is a pro style QB playing in a spread and Murray is a spread option QB playing in a pro style formation.

Which one adapts better and gets coached better will tell a lot about their success.

JB

August 17th, 2010
8:29 am

also, If ( big if) Georgia could get back to playing Georgia defense, Branden Smith could QB the team and we’d win big….Saban has the formula…..Great defense and control the clock on offense= Winning.

Josh

August 17th, 2010
8:33 am

They shouldn’t even be in the top 25. Did you watch last season? The qb couldn’t even beat out Cox? Ae you kidding. Well the answer to your obvious question will be known to bullfrogs in denial by week 3 when you get blown out by S Carolina and Mallet throws all over your lousy defense.

SC 37
Uga 17

Ark 31
Uga 28

Dawglasville

August 17th, 2010
8:35 am

reality – like most fans preseason polls are great when they work out in your favor. Losing to UGA didn’t matter last year because you finished higher in the polls. Two years ago the final polls didn’t mean anything when Georgia finished higher because Tech beat UGA. In reality your not here to add anything just her to annoy people.

Dawglasville

August 17th, 2010
8:37 am

reality – “you are.” I know.

lucky21

August 17th, 2010
8:37 am

hey dustin your whole sine 1986 crap what about 2008 anmd 2009 those were two not top 10 finishes.

JB

August 17th, 2010
8:37 am

Josh……do you know who Phil Steele is…..how he makes his living ( unlike whatever you do)
He makes his living by forecasting upcoming college football seasons, and he’s real good at it.
He has Georgia as being better than most think this year…..Now, you can hate, or you can chime in with some football conversation………….We know you hate us…what else ya got?

Rogeriter

August 17th, 2010
8:39 am

Pros who are more knowledgable than you said Murray was the 2nd best high school QB in the nation. Good enough for me! As for ranking, who cares? I’m more interested in the last poll rather than some journalist’s opinion. Lets let the players on the field do the talking!

uga_b

August 17th, 2010
8:39 am

Don’t care bout rankings go and play the games! Let ESPN talk about UF, Alabama, the Red Soxs, and the Yankees.

uga_b

August 17th, 2010
8:41 am

@Josh

Thanks for finally making football seem eminent again. You know it’s time when you hear the THIS YEAR SC WILL BE GOOD drivel we hear every year. 1 ACC title in 100 years. Wow.

m is for mullet

August 17th, 2010
8:43 am

Josh why so angry this early, just getting off from the The Varsity night shift?

DAWG07

August 17th, 2010
8:43 am

Let start the DAWGS in the 20s. If we can win first two SEC games then …

lucky21

August 17th, 2010
8:43 am

nice insight dawginLex I hhadn’t really thought about that

Gbal

August 17th, 2010
8:46 am

Enough with all the rankings… Someone is bound to end up right… the majority will be wrong …. Lets play the games.

Mikey in SAV

August 17th, 2010
8:46 am

We happen to like flying under the radar.

Hoss

August 17th, 2010
8:50 am

AJC journalist picking UGA so low are just trying to drub up some hits to their website, create a stir, a little sensationalism, that’s all. Surely, they don’t honestly believe Richt’s a bad coach, seriously, #3 winningest coach in the country?

Columbus Dawg

August 17th, 2010
8:50 am

UGA caught much more grief about not winning the Title in 2008 after being ranked #1 preseason than any of the other countless teams who were ranked there in August and did not achieve the title. That coupled with the fact that only a small few of these pencil necked geeks who cover college football have a clue to begin with. UGA will have more talented ability on both sides of the ball than probably all but a couple of teams ranked ahead of them. They really do not trail anyone in the nation in that regard. Therein lies the problem. The pundits are mostly against Mark Richt more than anything else, which is a huge mistake. He will be more involved with the team this year than he has since Van Gorder was there, and it will show. Anyone who regularly bets against the Dawgs this year had better be ready to lose some property.