First day back from Italy, I saw one of the sure signs of impending summer: preseason college football preview magazines on the newsstands.
Not surprisingly, the Dawgs don’t have the lofty expectations of last year at this time, when they were the consensus preseason No. 1 team, but both Lindy’s Southeastern 2009 Preview ($6.99) and Sporting News College Football ‘09 ($7.99) see them in the Top 20.
Lindy’s puts UGA at No. 17, right behind the Trade School. Florida is, of course, No. 1 and other SEC schools ranked include LSU (6), Alabama (7) and Ole Miss (9). The Dawgs’ opening opponent, Oklahoma State, is ranked No. 10.
The magazine’s assessment of Georgia includes a cheap shot quote from an anonymous SEC coach (who sounds like he probably was one of those who lost to Mark Richt last year). He says last year’s UGA team might have been “kind of soft. They never knocked you off the ball or blocked that well.”
Lindy’s sums up the 2009 Dawgs by noting their “ambitious” schedule and saying: “The ‘wow’ factor [Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno] is gone, but eight or nine victories in the regular season seems reasonable for a stable program that never takes an off year in recruiting.”
Rennie Curran is UGA’s only preseason All-American in Lindy’s, making the second team defense. Lindy’s ranks A.J. Green (who’s on the cover for this region) at No. 6 among wide receivers (with Alabama’s Julio Jones at No. 3 and Okie State’s Dez Bryant at No. 1). Ben Jones is ranked No. 6 among centers, Clint Bolling is No. 5 at offensive guard, Geno Atkins is No. 8 among defensive tackles, Curran is the No. 4 outside linebacker and Reshad Jones is No. 12 among safeties. UGA has the second best offensive line, Lindy’s reckons, and its recruiting class is ranked No. 6.
The same rankings are used in a companion publication, Lindy’s Football 2009 College Preview ($7.99).
The Sporting News preview, which has Joe Cox and South Carolina’s Stephen Garcia on the cover of this region’s edition, ranks UGA at No. 15. They also have Florida at No. 1, with Ole Miss at No. 5, LSU at No. 8 and Alabama at No. 13. Oklahoma State is ranked No. 10 and Georgia Tech is No. 11. Curran is a third-team All-American.
SN’s “fearless forecast” trashes this year’s No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, saying “Georgia won’t miss Matthew Stafford. Good riddance to his 33 career interceptions in a Georgia uniform. New quarterback Joe Cox isn’t going to win games by himself, but he won’t hurt the Bulldogs like Stafford did.”
Sounds like Stafford ran over this guy’s dog. And like the writer never watched Georgia play over the past two seasons.
Overall, the Sporting News has UGA finishing second in the SEC East and projects the Dawgs in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, giving them a B+ grade and commenting that Georgia has “stacked defensive and offensive lines. … A.J. Green might be SEC’s best receiver. … Always better when not hyped in preseason.”
Can’t argue with that.
Anyone think preseason rankings of No. 17 or No. 15 for the Dawgs are way off the mark or are they about right?