Should Dogs be ranked as a Top 20 team?

We won’t know until August whether Mark Richt’s 2011 Dogs will crack the AP and coaches preseason rankings, but Georgia moved up in the post-spring practice edition of the Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25 poll from ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.

Schlabach, who used to cover Georgia for the AJC and knows the SEC well, had seven conference teams ranked (more than any other conference), with Alabama at No. 2, LSU at 5, Arkansas at 11, UGA at 17, South Carolina at 19, Florida at 24 and Mississippi State at 25. South Carolina slipped from 15th place in Schlabach’s post-signing day ranking and Florida fell from 20th. Auburn had been ranked in the earlier listing but didn’t make the cut this time. Boise State, UGA’s opening opponent, ranked 7th.

Georgia’s placement was up one notch from 18th in the earlier ranking. Said Schlabach: “Bulldogs coach Mark Richt probably isn’t on the hot seat, but his program definitely needs to regain momentum in 2011. Georgia lost star receiver A.J. Green to the NFL draft, and then starting left tackle Trinton Sturdivant suffered a season-ending knee injury during spring practice. Quarterback Aaron Murray returns for his second season as a starter, but the Bulldogs left spring practice still searching for a No. 1 tailback. Incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell will have a chance to win the job during preseason camp. The Bulldogs should be better in Year 2 of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme, especially if JUCO nose tackle Jonathan Jenkins is as a good as advertised. Tackle Kwame Geathers’ improvement during the spring was a big surprise. Georgia plays only four true road games (at Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech) and plays Boise State in Atlanta and Florida in Jacksonville.”

So what do you think? Does Schlabach have the Dogs too high? About right? There might even be a few folks who think they’re not ranked high enough (and if so please share the reasons for your unbounded optimism).

PAYOFF FOR COACHING OR RECRUITING?

A lot of eyebrows were raised when our Chip Towers reported that Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon had his salary more than doubled in the offseason, despite the Dogs ranking 10th in the conference in rushing in a losing season last year. But as Dawgs 247 pointed out, the raise for McClendon, which UGA says was a counter-offer to a bid for the coach from another school, came shortly after National Signing Day in February, and McClendon was the lead recruiter in Georgia signing Crowell.

Anyway, the news of the hefty raise certainly explains Richt’s heated response last week in Macon to a fan who harshly criticized McClendon.

“Bryan McClendon is a hell of a coach, he’s a hell of a recruiter,” Richt said.

Maybe the order of importance there should have been reversed.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

266 comments Add your comment

AltamahaDawg

May 4th, 2011
10:55 am

So, as a position coach, McClendon is a good recruiter is the idea?
I still think Searels was the running game, not to say McClendon was good or bad, just: we really don’t know. We are certainly gonna see real soon.

But if you are going to retain the guy, you can’t have your position coaches/recruiting pointmen as the lowest paid in the conference. Does not motivate them or anyone else in the future to do a good job for us.

chem

May 4th, 2011
10:59 am

sure, why not

SSIgator

May 4th, 2011
11:03 am

“the raise for McClendon, which UGA says was a counter-offer to a bid for the coach from another school, came shortly after National Signing Day in February, and McClendon was the lead recruiter in Georgia signing Crowell.”

Was it in the neighborhood of $180,000?

lawdawg

May 4th, 2011
11:08 am

17 is probably a little high after 6-7, losing to UCF, and losing Green and Houston and several OL. That said, we have the best QB in the SEC, which could take us a long way, and if Crowell is as good as his hype, we’ll be undefeated and win the national championship in a blowout.

Recruiting >>> Coaching when it comes to position coaches. As long as they can help with fundamentals and implementing the coordinators’ schemes, I’ll take recruiters any day.

D A DoubleU G

May 4th, 2011
11:08 am

I truly feel Schlaback is about right with his ranking.

However, I do not think we should appear in ANY poll (and likely won’t), until we prove we belong.

1eyedJack

May 4th, 2011
11:10 am

Does Mark Schlabach’s rankings count in the BCS formula? If not, who cares what he thinks.

Timmy the Techie

May 4th, 2011
11:12 am

It’s Star Wars day!!!!!!!

“May the 4th” be with you!!!!

1eyedJack

May 4th, 2011
11:14 am

“There might even be a few folks who think they’re not ranked high enough (and if so please share the reasons for your unbounded optimism).”

Bill, you’re becoming a wet blanket. Always with the negative waves. Why don’t you write something positive and righteous for a change. Maybe it’s time to turn this blog over to someone else with “unbounded” enthusiasm.

Me

May 4th, 2011
11:14 am

AJ Green, Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno and MoMass and you are down 31-0 at home vs. Alabama, with all due respect Mark Richt, I DONT THINK YOU KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU ARE DOING. NEXT.

Honky Talkin'

May 4th, 2011
11:15 am

UGA has become irrelevant in the SEC. All this ranking does is put more pressure on Richt’s already hot seat.

I hope Dawg fans enjoy the Boise State game, since that will be the only time they see the inside of the Dome.

RomeDawgs

May 4th, 2011
11:15 am

I would prefer we start the season unranked and make the players appreciate a ranking and that might take away some of “lack of effort” issues we have had recently.

I don’t think the AP or the coaches should release a poll until weeks 5 or 6 to see who is really ready to play football.

Ca dawg

May 4th, 2011
11:16 am

Too high, IMO: too many questions on offense to put us there at this point. We should have to play our way into the top 25.

JohnnyCanada

May 4th, 2011
11:17 am

In a word, Hellnaw

ARdawg

May 4th, 2011
11:18 am

Much too high in my opinion and I am as true as a Dawg fan you’ll ever find. My reasoning is quite simply, we haven’t even began to earn that type recognition. We haven’t beaten anyone and ended the season as the azz napkin of the SEC losing to UCF in the lowly Liberty.

Every year the hype over shadows everything else. Hopefully this year will be different but not if our guys think they are #17 having done nothing to earn it but put on a UGA uniform. Bullschnit I say.

Matt

May 4th, 2011
11:19 am

Richt is not on the hot seat??? Bwahahahahah!!!! UGA is a top 20 team??? Bwahahahahahaha!!! They doubled their RB coach’s salary for signing 1 guy eventhough they were one of the worst rushing teams last year??? BWAHAHHAHAHA!!! WOW!! I needed this laugh today!!

D A DoubleU G

May 4th, 2011
11:21 am

I LOVE that after 2 down years, UGA still has some seriously driven HATERS.

“A dog don’t bark at an idle car, only one that’s a movin’”

Cannot wait to dish out some grilled crow to some of you this fall.

121 Days!!!!

1eyedJack

May 4th, 2011
11:22 am

On the other hand, the higher you start out ranked the less teams you will have to leap-frog should we be fortunate to be sprinkled with the magic dust.

murfdawg

May 4th, 2011
11:23 am

Bill,
Haven’t we learned our lesson about preseason polls? Do you remember 2008? Write about golf or fishing for the rest of the summer.Not preseason polls!!!!!

red&silver

May 4th, 2011
11:24 am

It doesn’t matter. Georgia has to win first and, worry about rankings later.

dawgfaceboy

May 4th, 2011
11:24 am

1 eyed- there was nothing but positive articles during the recruiting period. It’s time to get back to reality. Reality is the team has lost more games than the season before, they are on a downward spiral. Reality is that there isn’t that much to be positive about. The D SHOULD be improved but we have no idea if they will be. Our TE is the only weapon in the passing game and we have no clear number 1 RB. It’s time to see some friggin’ results on the field.

Sam

May 4th, 2011
11:25 am

I wonder how much of the poor running game comes from poor line play and just not having talented backs. You can only do so much “coaching up”.

Bib Bob

May 4th, 2011
11:25 am

The ranking is about right to start the season, but look for a top 5 ranking at the end of the season. The DAWGS are going to shock some people this fall. Remember you read it here first.

SSIgator

May 4th, 2011
11:26 am

Is Schlabach serious? UGA does not play the SEC teams “ranked” above them and lost to all three below them last year (and probably will again this year). So what has changed? Oh, that’s right. Richt has been studying “cutting edge football” since January and has said, “I know what the hell I am doing”. Once a homer always a homer.

JaxDawg

May 4th, 2011
11:27 am

I agree with RomeDawgs about the polls not coming out until the 5th or 6th week. Preseason rankings mean absolutely nothing. The ranking system period is a little questionable until the end of the year. Hopefully the Dawgs come out swinging in the Dome and slap Boise around. I would like to the see the Dawgs have to earn their ranking though, instead of feeling entitled to it.

As for Coach McClendon, he always busted his tail when he was on the field. The hope is that he can instill that sort of mentality into these boys and Crowell coming in. I think the running game will be much improved this year over last.

D A DoubleU G

May 4th, 2011
11:29 am

John Jenkins impact will = Terrance Cody’s impact

Alec Ogletree, meet Marcus Lattimore…. POP!!

Aaron Murray, meet year #2

There truly are a LOT of things that should be in the Dawg’s favor this year. Boise lost both of its receiver threats. South Carolina has no quarterback right now.

I know whenever an UGA fan has optimistic thoughts, all the Techies in disguise as fans of other teams (the only way they can trash talk) love to jump on here and assume we are expecting the National Championship. Unfortunately nerds, you are desperate and delusional, and have a great way of convincing yourself of something and rolling with it.

I have high hopes every year because I am a pure blooded Dawg. Without the haters, it just wouldn’t be as much fun. So welcome to the Atlanta, GEORGIA, UGA FAN blog.

Glad you have so much to do today.

Cmon man

May 4th, 2011
11:30 am

Totally agree d a! When they stop talking about then you should be worried! I cant wait to see how fast the bandwagon fills up after we jump out the gate 2-0.

Rational

May 4th, 2011
11:32 am

In a word…NO!

GTBob

May 4th, 2011
11:33 am

I’m pretty sure that preseason polls only exist so that we have something to laugh at at the end of the regular season.

ARdawg

May 4th, 2011
11:33 am

Sam

I might tend to agree with you but, I haven’t seen any “coaching up” of the Dawgs in quite a few years. I’m ready

ARdawg

May 4th, 2011
11:34 am

preseason polls are laughable at best

Hankie Aron

May 4th, 2011
11:34 am

SSIgator- More interestedin UGA football than some fans who live in Athens. In the voice of the immortal Bugs Bunny- What a maroon!

Hankie Aron

May 4th, 2011
11:35 am

Please take you and drivel to the Orlando Sentinel

1eyedJack

May 4th, 2011
11:37 am

dawgface, I prefer to look at the glass as half full. Last year was just that, last year. Only a fool would bet his money on this season’s games based on last years results. This is a new year. The history of college football is chock full of teams that were terrible one year and great the next. Why not us?

CFBFan

May 4th, 2011
11:38 am

Are you serious? Schlabach has lost his ever loving mind if he thinks the Dawgs should go top 20. IMO, UGA is unranked.

Recruiting classes should not dictate a ranking. They have yet to play a single down and most of it is media hype and opinions on how good they CAN be in college. Doesn’t always mean they will, see Wayshaun Ealy, Caleb King, etc.

Look at what UGA is now. With actual players with experience. Lost their top 2 most productive receivers last year in Green and Durham. Lost important OL pieces to the draft and Sturdivant to injruy…again.

Lost their most productive LB in Justin Houston. Lost productive Akeem Dent.

Now evaluate what the have now. A good QB? Yes, best in the SEC…debateable, doesn’t seem to be able to win the close one’s. Running game? Serviceable, will Crowell help, maybe, but we don’t know, he’s hype as of right now. OL, worse off with the key peices missing than last year and last year it wasn’t good. WR’s? Inexperienced. I do not see a single positive, other than Murray should be better, but who will he be able to rely WR wise, on UGA offense based on players played last year.

Defense? Secondary got picked on consistently last year. LB’s should be a little better than last year with experience as will the whole defense. There will be some drop of with Houston missing. Overall, defense should be better next year.

So, offense is sketchy and largely unknown as of now, plenty enough to preclude a top 25 ranking IMO. I know Dawg fans don’t want to hear that, but down to the nitty gritty it’s the truth. You absolutely cannot say that a teams ranking will drastically change from 6-7 and bowl loss to top 25 much less top 20 based on, from what I can tell, an unfounded dependence on the impact of a freshman recruiting class. UGA has been burned by top recruiting classes for some time now, I figured most sports writers would have figured that out. This college football fan has.

VININGSDAWG

May 4th, 2011
11:38 am

Too high. OL has to be rebuilt, no proven back (including Crowell) and Grantham’s Defense dtill has a long way to go.

mcdaviddawg

May 4th, 2011
11:39 am

We’ll know right away if Richt is going to coach this year. I suspect this year will be more of the same, no game planning, no coaching from the head coach duting the games and no ability to adjust. If we lose the first two games it’s going to be a very ugly season. Hope I’m wrong but no faith in Richt.

Timbodog

May 4th, 2011
11:40 am

Umm…no, not even close to the top 25 until we have won a few games.

I hope no one on the team reads those articles.

We don’t need anyone to think we’re worth a darn right now…cuz we’re not.

oldbird

May 4th, 2011
11:44 am

People, please remember that mighty Alabama lost to The university of Louisiana – Monroe one year before winning the national championship. Get grip. I think we will have a good if not great season. The dawgs have not regressed into the Goff years.

Andy in Blairsville

May 4th, 2011
11:47 am

I’m going with whatever that newspaper in Florida ranks UGA as this pre-season….you know the one that ranked UGA something like #60 last season.

They were dead on.

db

May 4th, 2011
11:47 am

As always – too high

Timbodog

May 4th, 2011
11:48 am

He ranked us above SC and Miss State…did he watch any games last year?

Army Strong

May 4th, 2011
11:50 am

It seems like you can say this every year because of the constant shift in power in the SEC – this team can go 11-1 just as easy as it can go 5-7. I don’t think they will, but if Georgia takes Boise lightly in the opener, it would not be a good confidence booster going into a very tough South Carolina game the next week. However, it may be like 2005 when Boise came to Athens and a young Jared Zebransky struggled to put anything together. Make no mistake, Boise is going to be a home game for the Dawgs, but they would benefit from getting off to a fast start versus a developed Kellen Moore.

At Tennessee will be a tougher game than advertised, as will Vandy. In a learning year, Florida will struggle if John Brantley doesn’t retain any consistency. Don’t take Auburn lightly as it still has as solid of a running game as anyone in the SEC.

I think you can bank on at least one loss against USC or Mississippi State; otherwise this team should go without a loss elsewhere if they play to their full potential.

Potential. . . that seems to be the recurring theme

Timmy the Techie

May 4th, 2011
11:50 am

Meh……

I just cannot stand it that those guys from Athens love their team unconditionally.

Sven Ottke

May 4th, 2011
11:51 am

Ah yes. Same song, 2001 verse. What a joke.

Timbodog

May 4th, 2011
11:54 am

“Timmy,”
Unfortunately, many of our fanbase are happy as pigs in slop as long as we are beating your little school. I’m not really sure why, as your school really cannot compete with us on a plethora of levels.

Sadly, a huge number of our fans will accept mediocrity in our own conference as long as we beat your school consistently.

SSIgator

May 4th, 2011
11:54 am

oldbird -

You are correct. Goff’’s record in his last year at UGA – 6-6 and won the Peach Bowl. Richt 6-7 and lost the Liberty Bowl. Maybe Richt can catch Goff this year.

sogadog

May 4th, 2011
11:55 am

Auburn beat a very good Oregon team in its last game and the Dawgs lost to Central Florida community college in their last game. Therefore, Auburn should be in the top 10 and the Dawgs out of the top 25.

If the Dawgs beat Boise State, then bump them up to 17 or so.

I thought Bobo was the great recruiter who landed Crowell. Having skilled recruiters is important but they must be able to coach well and manage their players. The performance of the Dawg’s running game last year is proof McLendon may be lacking in coaching skills. He should have another chance to redeem himself, but he does not deserve a $110,000 raise. Who cares if you have great recruits if you cant coach them up to win?

Army Strong

May 4th, 2011
11:55 am

Mark my words: Christian Robinson will turn heads this year. As will Chase Vassar if he gets adequate playing time. Ray Drew can more than fill in at Houston’s role and the secondary led by Boykin and Ogletree is fast and physical. It will be surely be Grantham who silences the Debbie Downers with a good season

UGA Insider

May 4th, 2011
11:56 am

I used to drink beer with Schlabach every week at Gus Garcia’s while at UGA. He loves the Dawgs and wants them to succeed and much as anyone. However, we just lost 6 players to the NFL on a team that lost to UCF and Colorado in the same season. I don’t see how anyone can rank us ahead of USCe who just won the SEC and lost virtually no one except Gurley. I honestly don’t see why USCe is not top10. Is there anyone on the inside in Columbia that can help me? I see us at 8-4 with losses to UF, USCe, Miss St and then get upset unfortunately by either Vandy, UT or Tech.

G8R GRAD

May 4th, 2011
11:56 am

Looks about right.
(except the #24 ranking of the Gators should be transposed!)