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

DA Deez Nuts

May 4th, 2011
1:07 pm

Love how he says others have nothing to do, yet he chimes in 24/7 on all things Tech and even brings up Tech in Non Tech blogs. Mr. Obsessed is showing his real Troll form…

Buckeye

May 4th, 2011
1:13 pm

No.

And if you are, you are, you certainly won’t finish there.

Going 0-2 to start the season won’t help.

NC Dawg

May 4th, 2011
1:16 pm

There are way too many unknowns. And with last year’s performance — no way. Smart money is on no ranking, if you’re at all interested in accuracy.

UGASlobberknocker

May 4th, 2011
1:17 pm

I was laughing at some of the comments posted on ESPN.com under Schalbach’s column today..calling him a UGA homer. My recollection when he was the beat writer for the Dawgs is that he was anything but..I thought he often seemed to be trying to hard to bad mouth the Dawgs to avoid the homer tag. There was definitely no love lost between him and Donnan at that time.

I believe the Dawgs, given all the factors, including decent schedule, should win at least 9 games which would put them about where Schalbach has them ranked.

Abnerish

May 4th, 2011
1:21 pm

Sorry, Bill. Ga Tech is not a road game. It’s neutral site at best. Anyone who’s ever been to a UGA/Tech game at Bobby Dodd knows that at least 50% of the fans are Georgia fans.

If we get past Boise St and South Carolina, we could have a very good season.

UGASlobberknocker

May 4th, 2011
1:24 pm

Chuck Oliver on 680 the fan today was speculating that the very good NC State QB who just got cut loose by them (and eligible for 2011) could come to the SEC and was considering S Carolina. Put him with Lattimore and Jeffreys and USC looks like a Top 10 team IMO.

Here’s hoping that guy just sticks to baseball.

Timbodog

May 4th, 2011
1:28 pm

He’s gonna play football, Slobberknocker…he’s super-competitive and a heck of a quarterback. I suspect he goes to Auburn or SC.

Timbodog

May 4th, 2011
1:29 pm

Garcia is gonna feel even dumber than he already is if he loses his job to Russell Wilson.

Timbodog

May 4th, 2011
1:33 pm

If Wilson goes to Auburn, they become a very good team.

If he goes to SC, they become a National Championship contender.

UGASlobberknocker

May 4th, 2011
1:38 pm

Thank goodness that gas leak on Bobby Dodd Way on Monday wasnt during a football game..they would have had to evacuate the whole stadium..prob 3 , maybe 4 dozen people.

bulldogmaniac

May 4th, 2011
1:42 pm

About right for now.
One thing is for sure…..we will know if it is to high or to low after our first game against # 7 Boise.
As far as Mc’s raise…..all it did was put him in line with what other rb coaches around the NCAA are making and….he is one helluva recruiter!

Abnerish

May 4th, 2011
1:43 pm

Who ever gives Russell Wilson the most cash will win his services. My money’s on Auburn based on past experience.

Still@theBAR

May 4th, 2011
1:43 pm

Make them #10 and after 2 weeks they will be #50.
No ranking matters until after week 5 after some REAL games have been played.

Dubose Wishin

May 4th, 2011
1:44 pm

So, some of you think you have the best QB in the SEC ? Well, you may. Now think about the breadth of that statement: who’s left? It takes a TEAM to win, and a “Doing things right, all the time” mentality. Don’t see that just yet. Do you ? Schlabach is not a Dawg, so he’s an objective source. Maybe he’s right. But don’t let the Kool Aid run up your nose when you slurp. It hurts.

John

May 4th, 2011
1:47 pm

blazer

May 4th, 2011
1:48 pm

thought they always was in the top ten no matter what??

GTBob

May 4th, 2011
1:49 pm

Thats true UGASlobberknocker. At least we would have to evacuate though. If that happened at UGA it would be actually be cleaner air then usual with all of the overweight rednecks who had beer and hotdogs for breakfast.

no, we shouldn't

May 4th, 2011
1:53 pm

Heck no, we went 6-7 last season and 8-5 the season before.

Now, if we beat Boise, then we should be ranked.

This Dawg Want Hunt!!

May 4th, 2011
1:54 pm

Let’s see, a losing record, didn’t beat a team with a winning record last season, add to that the o.l. which was terrible lost it’s best 2 starters, the wide receivers which were a little above average with A.J., will be below average with both A.J & Durham gone, the Q.B. that disappeared in big games might be better, but without A.J. to bail him out, and with a terrible O.L. he might be better, and he might not. The D.L. seems to have improved, but Kwame was dominating UGA’s offensive line in spring, and every good defensive tackle did the same thing to them last year. The linebackers seem to be better, but if Robinson is the leader,then don’t see much improvement, this guy hasn’t made a big play since he has been at UGA. The secondary which was miserable last year will probably be worse, with the safety position being probably the worst in the SEC. Add that to the fact UGA’s coaching staff has been outcoached in every big game the past 3 years, and I don’t see where the improvements will come from. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, that is Richt and BoBo’s offensive play calling and offensive game plan. That is why this DAWG will not hunt as long as Richt is there. 6-7, and Richt and Bo bo will be working at the christian bookstore after next year.

Matt

May 4th, 2011
1:54 pm

I think the ranking is too high. Of course, you know that Georgia will be ranked when the preseason polls come out. Media wants to hype the Boise State vs. Georgia game. You can’t hype it unless both teams are ranked. For this reason alone, Georgia will likely be ranked between 17-25.

Osama bin Gone

May 4th, 2011
1:55 pm

Now, Bob, cut that out. It was possum, not hot dogs…..

UGASlobberknocker

May 4th, 2011
1:58 pm

@GTBob Screwdrivers for breakfast, beer for lunch

LogicalUS

May 4th, 2011
1:59 pm

Is this an April fools joke?

Dude it is May 4th not April 1st.

Lets face some truths….UGA is returning a atrocious defense without its only productive players and a hideous offense without it’s only SEC calibre playmaker in AJ Green. NOTHING but blind delusion and wishful thinking indicates anything but a dismal 2011. Every delusional UGA fans prediction of SEC domination relies on players who will not arrive until a bare 3 weeks before opening kickoff. Good luck with that.

For the nimcoop predicting pain for the RB from SC becauswe of Olgethorpe…good lord…you do realize that Lattimore outweighs him by 10 lbs and is 5 steps faster, right? Take off the blinders.

Rufus

May 4th, 2011
2:00 pm

Team Georgia Tech Captures Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge
Paul Johnson, Jon Barry combine to win $120,000 in scholarship winnings

UGASlobberknocker

May 4th, 2011
2:00 pm

and a date for dinner, but then most Tech people have never had one of those.

UGASlobberknocker

May 4th, 2011
2:05 pm

!Matt..yours may be the dumbest blog this week..and that is saying something..
Im sure the poll people are all getting together and conspiring to rank only those teams with an early TV game. What an idiotic blog.

BigDawg

May 4th, 2011
2:11 pm

Sure! We should always be in the top 25 preseason poll. Name ten more schools with more talent??? Coaching is our handicap. Next year we fail to play the top 3 teams from the SEC East, Florida and Tennessee are still down so where should we lose in those games??? South Carolina and Boise are the only two games we should consider a toss up and lose one of those (win the other) and drop two games due to coaching and we still finish 9-3. That easily equates into top 20! Top coach and for the second year in a row we should be challenging for National honors.

RL

May 4th, 2011
2:11 pm

I think UGA should be rated #1 just like last season. Fans were writing on this blog that UGA was ranked only at #22 after their first game. How UGA was really better than UF. How they owned South Carolina and Mississippi State. How they were going to win the SEC and contend for a national championship. This year UGA will win the SEC and win a national championship. They own UF. They own South Carolina. Go DOGS! I have been convinced since I moved to Atlanta last year.

mike

May 4th, 2011
2:13 pm

Coach Richt didn’t say “hell” he doesn’t use bad language……………

JB

May 4th, 2011
2:13 pm

Florida haters need to be cautious on this blog. Your new coach is going to a traditional pro set offense and you have no proven tailback. No proven fullback, if if have one at all. Running pass routes in a pro offense takes a lot of practice, not that jailbreak arena league stuff you’re used to. I say you guys struggle on offense big time this year. Hell, lost 5 last year with Meyer and all those studs.

Team Dream

May 4th, 2011
2:16 pm

why not? Heck, rank them in the top 10 every pre-season just to match their recruiting class rankings.

Always remember: no self-respecting human being should bark like a dog.

John

May 4th, 2011
2:16 pm

@ BigDawg. You are right. We will be challenging for national honors.

Andy in Blairsville

May 4th, 2011
2:21 pm

The sad part is even after a loss to Boise, Richt will still have his contract renewed. Mediocrity rules in Athens.

UGASlobberknocker

May 4th, 2011
2:28 pm

Preston

May 4th, 2011
2:31 pm

Doesn’t matter where they start. It’s where they finish.

NCbulldawg86

May 4th, 2011
2:33 pm

I just want to know what a “true road” game means. Bill acts like going to Jacksonville is what, an “almost” road game? Well, what is it, Bill? Sorry, UGA is playing five games away, plus one in the Dome. Label it the way you want, but let’s not act like Jacksonville is a “home” game, no matter the designation of “Home” or “Visitor”. It is an away game, period.

Dawghater

May 4th, 2011
2:44 pm

It’s May, shouldn’t UGA be ranked #1 at this point. Based on past years UGA’s always ranked in the top 5 preseaon!

'94 UGA Grad

May 4th, 2011
2:46 pm

What have we done to possibly earn a pre-season ranking? We just lost 6 players to the NFL draft including the overall # 4 pick and lost our best offensive lineman in Spring practice. All this after a 6-7 season. I’m a die-hard Dawg fan but I refuse to drink the Kool-aid and believe we should be ranked in the Pre-season Top 20.

techengineer

May 4th, 2011
2:48 pm

Sorry Dogs.. You should have gotten Dooley while the getting was good..
Not a fan of Bobo or Richt. UGA has not met expectations since the departure of VanGorder. All those top 10 recruiting classes and you can barely even put together a winning season?? lol
I like UGA now and I hate to be ugly.. I too use to be fan of Richt but his time has come and gone. GA will probably go 8-4 or 9-3 this year.. A year when they should be 11-1. With the only loss coming in the SEC championship but trust me they’ll find a way to blow some games.

analyzing the schedule

May 4th, 2011
2:51 pm

We are playing 6 home games, 1 almost home game (Boise), 2 neutral site games (Florida and Tech), and 3 road games (Ole Miss, Tenn, and Vandy).

From Where I Sit

May 4th, 2011
2:53 pm

Are U Serious?

Hell NO!

Enough Said!!!

G8R GRAD

May 4th, 2011
2:54 pm

JB:

Thanks!
Good luck to you as well!
But, for the record, UGA (along with LSU) had the most players drafted into the NFL from the SEC and managed to lose seven last season, so . . . . .

JOE

May 4th, 2011
2:57 pm

“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.

lol

Richt better hope he’s right.

SugarHillDawg

May 4th, 2011
2:57 pm

Aren’t sports writers supposed to know more than the average person when it comes to sports? If he thinks Mark Richt ain’t on the hot seat he is CRAZY!!. Either he wins the East or he is GONE! Bank on it!!!!

Bo in NorthCarolina

May 4th, 2011
2:57 pm

What difference does it make this time of the year. It’s what’s on the table at the end of the season that counts

JOE

May 4th, 2011
2:59 pm

BTW… I don’t think GA has done anything over the last few years to warrant a top 25 ranking, but I’m sure there are a few other teams that don’t belong either. For one, OU being ranked at #1 is a JOKE. their coadh & their team is always over-rated.

G8R GRAD

May 4th, 2011
3:03 pm

UF goes 8 and 5 (an abysmal season for us) and we have a new coach, a new offense and a fresh start.
Georgia?
Same coach, same offense and since you lost six starters to the draft, arguably less talent.
And you lost HOW MANY?

Shields Watkins

May 4th, 2011
3:05 pm

You guys are the new South Carolina…

Pre-season National Champions.

Congratulations!

Alabama Jack

May 4th, 2011
3:09 pm

Jawga – winner of more pre-season national championships than any other school. Although least in the east, they are legends in their own minds, holding delusions of adequacy while striving for mediocrity.

Dawgs97

May 4th, 2011
3:10 pm

It’s a pre-season ranking, so both the folks that think we’re ranked too low and the ones that think we’re too high, GET A GRIP.

None of those 7 SEC teams will end the season ranked where they are. I respect the heck out of Nick Saban but no way Bama ends up being in the top five with a new Quarterback and all the personnel they lost to the NFL. And I’m sorry, as long as Les Miles continues to go with Jordan Jefferson over Mettenberger at Quarterback, LSU will lose a few as well.

Which goes back to why the #17 ranking isn’t crazy. You can’t evaluate based on the year before. We went 6-7 and it happened…in 2010. It’s 2011. Georgia now easily has the best Quarterback in the conference and anyone with a pair of eyes and half a brain had to see in our G-Day game that our defense will be vastly improved.

Georgia may not win a National Title, fine, but we will end the year better than the #17 ranking. It all doesn’t matter…it will only matter when they play the games. But Schlabach’s analysis is fair in evaluating our current talent for a new season.