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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266 comments Add your comment

Timbodog

May 4th, 2011
11:57 am

sogadog,
Don’t forget that our O-line was pretty weak last year. I don’t think McLendon is entirely to blame for our running game troubles.

Solon

May 4th, 2011
11:57 am

AJC put a character limit on comments. Some of the rant is way to long and who reads them anyway?

RedPantsDawg

May 4th, 2011
11:58 am

Is Mark Richt still on the sideline? Then no, they shouldn’t be in the top 20. If he knows what the Hell he is doing then why doesn’t he act like it?

Timbodog

May 4th, 2011
11:59 am

“Army Strong,”
Ray Drew will be a great player in time, but don’t expect him to make up for the loss of Houston this year. That’s way too much to ask of a true freshman.

sogadog

May 4th, 2011
12:04 pm

Can someone at AJC please check and see how much Ball and McLendon were offered by other schools? That should be public record under the open records act.

dawg man

May 4th, 2011
12:04 pm

We should be Number 1 for the next 5 seasons. With all these “superstars”, we should be National Champs—I bet Boise is trembling now having to play us, they may even forfeit rather than be run off the field by the dawgs

sogadog

May 4th, 2011
12:09 pm

Timbodog, true about the O line, but how do you explain our top two running backs being suspended for run ins with the law, fumbling the ball at key moments in critical games (Colorado, USC & Miss State), and missing key blocks? (Arkansas) At least in part, it seems like a lack of coaching. I truly hope McLendon turns it around and the running game produces next year and he earns his 200,000.00 dollars.

DMR

May 4th, 2011
12:09 pm

Too high. Georgia may have the players. That hasn’t necessarily been their problem over the last 3 seasons. Georgia took a No. 1 ranking into a home tilt with Alabama and got physically whipped, I am ashamed to say.

After going 8 – 5, 8 – 5, 6 – 7, losing a huge offensive threat in Green, a lineman in Sturdivant, revamping the LB corp, having a suspect secondary, no leadership at running back, and a special teams unit, that besides Boykin, has been less than special, I don’t see giving this team a spot in the top 25 of all teams in the Country. They will have to earn it. Sorry.

Ed (The Original)

May 4th, 2011
12:12 pm

I don’t care what we are ranked in the preseason, as long as Richt is the head coach it won’t matter. I’m tired of the automatic loss in Jacksonville every year, let’s get a coach who can motivate and compete.

Tiger Mania

May 4th, 2011
12:13 pm

Ranked in the Top 20 in what?

ARdawg

May 4th, 2011
12:13 pm

Timbo

Houston was the best “we” had last year but that isn’t saying a hellava lot. I think Ray Drew can come in and make an immediate impact as well as some of the other incoming freshmen Crowell and Rome included.

The talent is there. It’s there every year. So many teams do so much more with so much less. We haven’t had the coaching contributions needed to jel the team. Richt can say what he wants. He can even prove it this year but, it’s up to him to prove it

red&silver

May 4th, 2011
12:14 pm

McClendon is the rb coach! Searels was the running game coordinator the past couple of seasons along with being th ol line coach. Please stop placing all blame on McClendon.

Delbert D.

May 4th, 2011
12:14 pm

Wait for the preseason assessment of Boise St. by espn.com. Other than the QB position, for them to resemble the teams of the past 2 years is going to be difficult. I posted a list of returnees with significant playing experience a couple of weeks ago, and the defense is in better shape than the offense.

gt4ever

May 4th, 2011
12:15 pm

You dawg fans are DELUSIIONAL! You were 6 and 7…. You belong with us at the bottom of the barrel….. Maybe 50 …….. I mean good grief, an article about being in the Top 20… The only thing you do Top 10 every year is your recruiting, and still your the whipping boys of the SEC…

Columbus Dawg

May 4th, 2011
12:15 pm

Just because Trinton went down again does not constitute a “rebuilding of the OL”. There will be enough experience, and talent from first year redshirts for depth. I think the OL sees great improvement this season.

Todd Grantham’s 2011 D will not resemble the 2010 version, and I will be glad to take bets on that. Georgia’s D will return to the top three defenses in the SEC this year, taking a lot of pressure off of Murray. Murray was constantly being asked to return to the field after the D had given up one big play after another in 2010, and was being asked to try to regain some kind of momentum after the D had stunk it up. Defense creates momentum in college ball, and offenses feed off of this. Great defense will greatly spark a better running game, and yes I believe Richt will be more than willing to run the ball once he sees that they can do it.

I can remember all of the negativity on this blog before the 2005 season when Shockley was coming in as starting QB, and Shockley being hurt for the UF game was the only reason the Dawgs came up short in that one. Now I know that Willie’s defense sucked that year, but I am seeing similarities in the 2011 and 2005 teams, with this years team having a much stronger D.

The more the D.A. gator fans come on here running their mouths, the more enjoyable it will be when the Dawgs whip FORMER Georgia Bulldog, soon to be known as “Mediocre Muschamp”.

Tiger Mania

May 4th, 2011
12:16 pm

Zero point Zero !

They are lucky to be still be allowed in the SECOND with all of those players in the pros without a national title in 31 years.

ARdawg

May 4th, 2011
12:17 pm

Heya Delbert!

Honestly, I think we give Boise a thrashing they haven’t experienced since they were last in Athens. USC east bothers me though

Tiger Mania

May 4th, 2011
12:18 pm

Should be “southeastern conference”

ARdawg

May 4th, 2011
12:19 pm

The Oline doesn’t need much improvement to surpass last year, do they?

Dawglasville

May 4th, 2011
12:19 pm

It doesn’t matter. We are fortunate to play in a highly regarded (not respected)conference. Just win and the rest will take care of itself.

Timbodog

May 4th, 2011
12:23 pm

Exactly, Dawglasville.

We should not want to be ranked at all. We don’t want our guys to get big heads, and we have absolutely no need to be ranked. It’s not as if we play in the Big East, where we need a high initial ranking to have a chance to play in the NCG.

If we win all our games, we’re in the Big Game. It’s that simple.

We don’t want to be ranked in the preseason. Ever, as far as I’m concerned.

And this year, frankly, we don’t deserve to be. Not even close.

Dawglasville

May 4th, 2011
12:23 pm

gt4ever – If we are the “whipping boys of the SEC,” where do you think Tech would finish in our conference?

D A DoubleU G

May 4th, 2011
12:24 pm

It’s EXTREMELY easy to spot the true Dawg fans and Techies posing as “Dawg fans” when the topic of UCF comes up.

A Techie refers to UCF as a “community college” or anything else to degrade themsince they are not used to being in any kind of athletic spotlight.

A True Dawg fan only complains about the lack of effort and wanting to be there by the UGA team itself.

UCF was a top 25 NATIONALLY ranked football team going up against the worst UGA team in 20 years.

Anybody know what NAVY was/is ranked????

Thought so.

Pago Pago Dawg

May 4th, 2011
12:25 pm

Sure would like to know the names of all these colleges that were after those two guys!
Their agents pulled a fast one on our AD.

Wonderful-Ohio-On-The-Gulf 'Dog

May 4th, 2011
12:27 pm

I’d rather début in the Top 25 at Number 17, after, say, Week One or Week Two.

Tiger Mania

May 4th, 2011
12:27 pm

Every year same optimism, same grandiose outlook, same great talent, same pitiful coaching staff, an easy schedule playing teams who are down and still a chance to lose up to 6 games.

Dawg 1

May 4th, 2011
12:28 pm

dawgfaceboy

May 4th, 2011
12:29 pm

Red and Silver- the RB didn’t exactly block too well either. Won’t even mention the fumbles. Mclendon has done nothing other than getting Crowell to sign to deserve a doubling of pay. Crowell could be the next Jasper Sanks. If he turns out to be the next Rodney Hampton, Garrison Hearst then I’ll say he desrves it.

jay

May 4th, 2011
12:30 pm

I bleed red and black (I should really see a doctor) but I say let them earn it. Sweep Boise and SC, they’re legit.

SSIgator

May 4th, 2011
12:30 pm

Love the picture of Richt that goes with this article:

“When I was a bartender (shortly before becoming head coah at UGA) I could pour drinks with a fifth of liquor in each hand. Is that good or what? I knew what the hell I was doing”.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Delbert D.

May 4th, 2011
12:35 pm

ARdawg – That’s possible; they are inexperienced at RB and WR. The DL appears to be their strongest area among returnees. The lost their biggest sack/TFL guy, but the others had pretty good stats in those areas. Kellen Moore lost his top WR and his RB/WR/Mr. everything to the NFL. You’d expect some graduation losses after a season where they returned 20 of their 22 starters.

Murray has a decent bunch of receivers to work with, and I expect Georgia will pass a lot in this game. King and Ealey remain mysteries to me. The LB positions and OL have to overcome significant losses. The Moore test in game 1 should provide clarity on the DB situation.

Sven Ottke

May 4th, 2011
12:36 pm

Thanks for pulling my post, as there was a grammatical error. I meant to say “Oh yes, same song, 2011 verse (not 2001 verse). What a joke.” Thanks again.

Ogeechee Dawg

May 4th, 2011
12:38 pm

What matters is where UGA is at the END of the Season.

We are coming off a 6-7 year – and being humiliated by UCF – a team that showed some heart, effort and game day coaching vs UGA’s lack thereof (still get angry after driving 90 yards – 4th & inches inside the UCF 5 – and kick a field goal – Nice message – way to “finish the drill”!

If UGA wins – the polls will take care of themselves.

Focus needs to be on Boise and SC – not polls!
Go Dogs!

UCFGT

May 4th, 2011
12:38 pm

UCF is better than anyone is giving them credit. Dawgs unfortunately will be fine.

Dawglasville

May 4th, 2011
12:40 pm

Timbodog I agree. Until we show something on the field we don’t deserve it.

gt4ever

May 4th, 2011
12:48 pm

Right there with you, Douglasvilledawg….. That’s the point, we are both PATHETIC……. The difference being that you guys recruit the best every year and still don’t have the coaching to make it happen…. It’s really pretty sad that the two flagship institutions in the state of Georgia are so pathetic when it comes to football…

Brian

May 4th, 2011
12:49 pm

doesn’t matter. The Dawgs get a chance to prove themselves right off the bat. Win the first two and they s/b top 10. Split them and s/b top 25. Lose em both and CMR’s finale has begun.

OldFan

May 4th, 2011
12:49 pm

What a bunch of nonsense—fun, but nonsense! There’s a good chance we’ll finish somewhere between 13-0 and 0-12. Beyond that the only thing worth saying is, “Whip Boise State”. Then we can talk polls.

Tech Guy

May 4th, 2011
12:49 pm

Yes.. I predict UGA will win the SEC and end up in the top five. One loss might prevent a national title match up. This is the year of the Dawg.

Timbodog

May 4th, 2011
12:51 pm

Umm…no, UCF was not that good, guys. We were just worse.

We lost to a C-USA team. I know that’s embarrassing to admit, but let’s not try to puff UCF up into something they’re not, like a good football team.

Averyboy

May 4th, 2011
12:52 pm

I think the dawgs should be ranked number one in the whole wide world and that they should be let to play in the national championship game next season because they are so awesome and great and it won’t matter if they have 3, 4 or 5 losses they are still bestest program go dawgs go dawgs glory glory glory

red&silver

May 4th, 2011
12:54 pm

dawgfaceboy

May 4th, 2011
12:29 pm
Red and Silver- the RB didn’t exactly block too well either. Won’t even mention the fumbles. Mclendon has done nothing other than getting Crowell to sign to deserve a doubling of pay. Crowell could be the next Jasper Sanks. If he turns out to be the next Rodney Hampton, Garrison Hearst then I’ll say he desrves it.

It seems like you have a particular rb you are talking about. Blocking and fumbles have alot to do with your desire and heart. The block in the Arkansas game had nothing to do with technique but, effort. The fumbles if you know anything about football comes with you putting forth the work ethic to correct the problem.

chilidawg

May 4th, 2011
12:56 pm

If you base the preseason rankings on potential, sure. If you base them on performance, no.

Bronco Billy

May 4th, 2011
12:57 pm

The Bulldawgs will be 0-1 after week 1. So, no. They should not be ranked.

SuwaneeDawg

May 4th, 2011
12:59 pm

I thought we had all learned our lessons about the meaningless preseason rankings. Regardless of ‘08 they would still be meaningless. Are we ranked too high? Absolutely. After Boise and Carolina then we can start talking about where the team should be ranked. Until then, let it be.

DA Deez Nuts

May 4th, 2011
1:03 pm

DA Double U G= obsessed with Tech daily

Dawglasville

May 4th, 2011
1:03 pm

gt4ever Well, we do get top recruits but we aze not out recruiting Florida, LSU, Alabama. Those programs beat us every year. We recruit well enough to finish in the top 15 every year with out a question.

DA Deez Nuts

May 4th, 2011
1:04 pm

What the heck does Navy have to do with anything Mr. Obsessed?

DA Deez Nuts

May 4th, 2011
1:06 pm

Ooooohhhh! The big bad troll called them nerds! Oh my. Best not offend Mr. Obsessed!