Preseason picks for Richt’s Dawgs all over the place

Phil Steele is picking Georgia to win the SEC East.

Phil Steele is picking Georgia to win the SEC East.

Seems like we get another preseason prediction or poll every couple of days, and so far there’s absolutely no consensus at all when it comes to Mark Richt’s 2011 Georgia Bulldogs.

Just in the past few days we’ve had the SEC’s sports information directors picking the Dogs to finish third in the SEC East behind South Carolina and Florida and Sporting News doing likewise. Georgia didn’t even crack the SN preseason Top 25.

And then there’s Phil Steele, one of the most respected college football analysts, who has Georgia as his upset pick to win the SEC East and ranks the Dogs No. 9 nationally.

On paper, considering the favorable conference schedule Georgia has, Steele’s prediction doesn’t look that unrealistic. But then you think back to the way Richt’s teams have underperformed the past couple of years and ponder all the question marks still hanging over this team and you can’t really fault the SIDs and Sporting News for their view, either.

I haven’t made my mind up yet how optimistic or pessimistic I’m going to be about this season. How about you?

SPRING HIGHLIGHTS

Early in the season I didn’t think there was much likelihood that David Perno’s 2011 team would still be playing baseball come June, but the baseball Dogs persevered through arguably the nation’s toughest schedule and the loss of a key player to make the final four in the conference tournament and then last all the way to the finals of their NCAA regional before being eliminated by Oregon State. A tip of the cap to Diamond Dave.

Likewise to Chris Haack’s UGA men’s golf team, which made it to the NCAA final, only to lose to defending champion Augusta State, which was led by a former Bulldogs player.

And a big woof to UGA’s Marta Silva Zamora, the consensus national player of the year in women’s golf.

Not a bad finish to the spring sports scene. Go Dogs!

Got a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

204 comments Add your comment

AltamahaDawg

June 7th, 2011
12:36 pm

I see the Aaron Murray Against Ranked Teams stat chart is still hanging in the tech freshmen dorm computer lounge.

59bulldawg

June 7th, 2011
12:38 pm

I know it may not mean a thing, but for some reason I am unusually optimistic about the upcoming season. I think we are going to open well and stun both Boise State and South Carolina. Go Dawgs!

WTR

June 7th, 2011
12:38 pm

OFFENSIVE SCORING HAS DROPPED EVERY SEASON AGAINST RANKED TEAMS.

DOWN FROM 36 IN 07, TO 27 IN 08′, TO 20 IN 09′, TO 16 IN 10′.

RICHT CAN’T SCORE ENOUGH POINTSD AGAINST THE RANKED TEAMS TO WIN HIS OWN DIVISION.

HE WOULD HAVE FIXED IT 2 YEARS AGO, OR LAST YEAR, IF HE KNEW HOW.

Mr. Dawg

June 7th, 2011
12:39 pm

I fully anticipate another season of mediocrity before the 2011 recruiting class has time to hit it’s stride and the Bulldogs are “back”. The backfield has questions. The O-line continues to be thin and in transition. The receiving corp has quesions. This is but year two for the Defense in Grantham’s 3-4 scheme. I just hope the team performs well enough to keep Richt in place. I still believe in him.

WTR

June 7th, 2011
12:40 pm

MURRAY STUNK IT UP AGAINST THE BETTER TEAMS, REALLY CRACKED WHEN THE PRESSURE WAS ON:
SC- O TD’S
MSU- 1 TD
FLORIDA- 4 TO’S
ARK- 6 SACKS
AUB- FELL APART AFTER 1ST QRTR
UCF- 3 TO’S, 0 TD’S

DID WELL AGAINST IDAHO ST, AND LA LAFAYETTE AND VANDERBILT.

ckgator

June 7th, 2011
12:40 pm

Will be interesting to see how UGA does against Boise. A huge game for BSU with much to prove against the nation’s #1 conference. I hope the Dogs don’t disappoint.

Looking forward to Florida’s 6 tight-end set this year… ;-P

It Ain't Rocket Science

June 7th, 2011
12:41 pm

Polls are just opinions and are assumptions and we all know what happens when you assume something.
Let’s see how it works on the field this year, since none of us, including numerous journalist at this time of year, have any idea what a team is going to look like until they lace em on and buckle them up.
Heart, discipline and desire aren’t measurable qualities in pre-season polls. An accident here, a personal tragedy there and and a injury in camp and the the polls and opinions become even more meaningless.

DawgByte

June 7th, 2011
12:43 pm

Will we win the East? Nobody knows for certain. Will we improve on last year’s record? Absolutely!

tide roll

June 7th, 2011
12:44 pm

Your offensive coordinator has the position, not because of qualifications, but rather due to the fact that his wife is Barb Dooley’s niece! Your head coach evaluates Cam Newton as a tight end and rather than keeping such an embarassing revelation on the “down low”, the fool goes public with it! You’ve defeated Florida 3 times in 21 years, and your athletic department, rather than apologizing to the Bulldog nation for this inexcusable dominance by the Gators, decides to raise ticket prices. Auburn loses their entire defensive front, and you counter by bringing in the 9th rated offensive line class IN THE CONFERENCE, and call it a dream team. If this group of coaches and athletic administrators result in Georgia winning the East, it’s because the Division and your schedule is incredibly weak. Even at that it will be an aberration. Arguably the most under achieving program in the country. Central Fla. 10 – Uga 6. Enough said Kool Aiders.

DawginLex

June 7th, 2011
12:47 pm

SHUTUP TIDE ROLL

whoknowsnow

June 7th, 2011
12:47 pm

i dont know which way to lean on the 11 dawgs. we didnt look like we had a pulse last year without aj on the field the first four games. our defense will be good this year but even good defenses allow 20 points a game. thought that gives me hope is that our losses last year were close and when games are close experience is usually the winning factor and a majority of our playmakers last yr besides houstin green and durham were all sophomores or freshmen so maybe the tide will turn this year.

AltamahaDawg

June 7th, 2011
12:53 pm

I think this is all just a carefully orchestrated plan hatched a few years ago from Richt. He knew the inevitability of disappointing the fans at some point once you are are preseason ranked #1, and calculated the best curve of hitting bottom, working back up to maximize his time of employment.

ARdawg

June 7th, 2011
12:57 pm

Altamaha
You know I love you baby but I’ve been gagging on the kool-aid for 5 years running. I just can’t make it go down this time. Your point is well made on the emotion/analysis. Phile Steele is the best out there IMHO but, SI and the rest are objective too

RabidDawgFan

June 7th, 2011
12:57 pm

If our defense is stellar, like I think it will, and hold people under 20 points a game then we should be good to go. Surely our offense can manage to score more than 20. Hopefully with our outstanding special teams unit, and our defense, our offense can be put in short field situations so they can cash in. With a punter like Drew Butler, opposing offenses should have to go the length of the field just to score against a defense like ours.

Bill

June 7th, 2011
12:58 pm

You completely left off the success of the UGA women’s equestrian team. They just barely lost the NCAA chanmpionship to Auburn this Spring. This would have been their 4th straight NCAA chanmpionship.

http://www.georgiadogs.com/sports/w-equest/recaps/041611aad.html

SOUTHGADAWG88

June 7th, 2011
1:01 pm

The first game is not a must win…it’s the first game for christ sakes.I feel good about this season though…the defensive talent level has increased and there is some home run ability coming in on Offense.Give Mark Richt a decent Defense and he will produce double digit wins.Also tide roll I think Bobo is a better OC than what you have.Bama is definitely NOT on the cutting edge when it comes to Offensive innovations.I predict we will see a lot less of you Bama fans trolling these boards this season because your OC is going to have to step it up…Bama’s D talent aint what is was a couple of years ago.

SSIgator

June 7th, 2011
1:02 pm

“absolutely no consensus at all when it comes to Mark Richt’s 2011 Georgia Bulldogs”

Sure there is. Same main coaches and coaching philosophy as last year. The KoolAid machine is about to blow a gasket from over-use. Why would anyone expect anything vastly different from the year before? Oh, that’s right. It is UGA that we are talking about. Belley up to the bar boys. Bartender Richt is serving up another round. Cheers.

ARdawg

June 7th, 2011
1:03 pm

I see the first game as setting the stage for the season. Lose to BST and the Carolina game is a mountain. Lose it, then the SEC schedule is near insurmountable. Lose the first one and the dominoes tumble. It is imparitive that BSU is not only beaten like the red headed step child they are but, convincingly.

SOUTHGADAWG88

June 7th, 2011
1:11 pm

Muschamp will be crying into more than a few beers after finishing 3rd in the SEC east this year.

SOUTHGADAWG88

June 7th, 2011
1:13 pm

Hard to judge the ole momentum thing…Tenn blew our doors off in 07 yet the team responded well to it didn’t they?

tide roll

June 7th, 2011
1:15 pm

Why is Atlanta Westlake’s Chance Warmack only 2nd team All-SEC by Phil Steele? Warmack started for Bama as Freshman, and is the best OG in the conference. He and James Carpenter (from Hepzibah, Ga. and an NFL 1st rounder) made up the left side of our National Championship,offensive line! Who’s Steele’s advisor on this? Mike Bobo?

RabidDawgFan

June 7th, 2011
1:17 pm

Check this out, believe it or not, our defense was light years better than Willie Martinez’s defenses and it was just year 1 with Coach Grantham. Grantham was working with Martinez recruits and not his own. He had to put them in the best situations possible and we struggle at times but we also played lights out at times. Double that production this season. Our defense should be lights out. Martinez always recruited 5′8 corners that weigh about 175 pounds. Grantham recruits corners that are at least 6′0 and about 195-200. Size matters. Our linebackers are so much bigger than what we had with Martinez. We are about to witness greatness.

SOUTHGADAWG88

June 7th, 2011
1:20 pm

Our D sucked last year…I don’t think it had as much to do with the 1st year under CTG as it was playing Tripp and Wood a ton of minutes at DT.Terrible idea….the DL got caved in by just about every team we faced.Failure to get the other team off the field on 3rd down will cost you in close games.

Dawgs open up @ GEORGIA Dome with #5 Boise State

June 7th, 2011
1:23 pm

`
Cool down that ” hot seat ” . . . Coach Richt.
.

Trigger

June 7th, 2011
1:25 pm

Collegiate Women’s Equestrian teams: Just another sign the apocalypse is upon us.

AltamahaDawg

June 7th, 2011
1:34 pm

Well, you know ARDawg. Might as well be optimistic right? No need to lose the games 100 times before they get here.

But you didn’t hear me talking a big game last year. I took a bit of abuse from the guy who kept saying I was predicting 5 losses. I wasn’t, but I said I didn’t think we would be much better than 09 given what we had (new D without a lot of top SEC caliber players for it, and a new QB.) I also said last year that I wasn’t convinced out O-line was as good as advertised. I was definitely not somebody talking big going into 2008. That wasn’t the #1 team and I never thought so, especially when we started taking some hits. I DID think we had one of the best teams in the end of 2007 because it was so obvious on the field. SO I never considered myself a koolaid drinker, and I think my record is that I am pretty conservative and honest in my expectations.

So feel free to take it form me: It’s pretty safe to assume the Dawgs will win a few more games that they did in 2010. For reasons 1,2,3. And if they let us down, we all promise not to put any blame on you for being hopefull.

If they only split the games that come down to a single score (as so many did) they will end up ranked, in a decent bowl, and very much favored in 2012.

AceDawg

June 7th, 2011
1:34 pm

I think internal UGA optimism is great, but outside predictors ought to be pretty cautious in assuming that UGA will rebound. The personnel seemed to exist over the last couple years to at least beat teams like Colorado and Central Florida, no? No matter what people say about the UGA offense, I’m pinning my hopes on a strong defense. If the defense isn’t improved by at least the same degree it improved between 2009 and 2010, 2011 will be 2010-esque.

DawginLex

June 7th, 2011
1:35 pm

tide roll

June 7th, 2011
1:15 pm
Why is Atlanta Westlake’s Chance Warmack only 2nd team All-SEC by Phil Steele? Warmack started for Bama as Freshman, and is the best OG in the conference. He and James Carpenter (from Hepzibah, Ga. and an NFL 1st rounder) made up the left side of our National Championship,offensive line! Who’s Steele’s advisor on this? Mike Bobo
*****************************************************************

Maybe Steele asked someone who knows something about football instead of the 5 guys sitting at the counter at the Tuscaloosa Drug & Feed Store who believe Alabama actually has 37 national titles.

AltamahaDawg

June 7th, 2011
1:46 pm

The wrong front linemen would not be good in CTG 5th year, but you could most definitely see our LB and DBs looking pretty lost those first few games.

Hollywould

June 7th, 2011
1:50 pm

Dawgnlex, funny stuff but I swear they said 38 titles. War Eagle

Nomobama

June 7th, 2011
1:59 pm

last year, phil steele ranked uga’s offense #2 in the nation. Look how that turned out. He is a uga himer, so cant take him seriously…he is only trying to sell magazines to blind loyalists.

Otto

June 7th, 2011
2:02 pm

AltamahaDawg, I do admire your optimism. However I do not think Auburn is a fair comparison. Auburn started out hot in ‘09 before they ran out of depth and hit the meat of the SEC schedule. Malzahn has also been one of the op new OCs.

I expect UGA’s defense to carry the team especially the LBs. However I do not have reason to be optimistic on offense. My fear is that they do win these one score games but continue to be mediocre. Thus the mediocre teams continue. The only games that should come be that close are other teams contending for a SEC title.I hope I am proven wrong on my low expectations.

ARdawg

June 7th, 2011
2:07 pm

Altamaha

LOL…That’s a deal although I do remain hopeful regardless. My faith and hope has brought us little in the way of victories. I didn’t expect we’d be a good team last year. The main reason was the change on defense and the frosh Murray. My guess was we would win 8 games and we should have. Let’s face it, we were awful. I did expect more from the OL but it didn’t happen. What did happen as a result of the poor showing there is Murray got some baptism by fire and should be now a seasoned QB going forward. Improved defense and more of the same from Murray I again think 8-9 wins is attainable. We have some offensive weapons I do not have any faith in the gameday offensive coaching. I don’t think we have the talent to overcome it as we have had in the past

WDE

June 7th, 2011
2:09 pm

tide roll you were 4th in the West last year care to comment ? You blew a 24 point lead with that defensive genius Saban calling the game..really and you have rocks to throw???

DawginLex

June 7th, 2011
2:12 pm

Herschel Talker is always right. The man is a genius.

6-6

June 7th, 2011
2:56 pm

that’s provided we can beat the orange and blue team in the dome.

if we beat them, richt will hold a backflip and watermelon eating contest the next week and lattimore will run wild.

if we lose….break out the torches and pitchforks!

other wins: ole miss, kentucky, miss st, c. carolina, nmex state.

can’t wait for another year of perfect gameplans!

Big Johnson Dawg

June 7th, 2011
2:59 pm

Pre-season picks mean nothing. If they did, the Braves would be leading their division.

Chickasaw

June 7th, 2011
3:00 pm

Bill, I bleed red and black and always have, but 3d in the East–even 4th–is not an unfair rating. Question marks include our deep receiving game, running game, O Line and secondary–and coaching. Discipline and intensity has ticked steadily downward for 3 years in a row. On the flip side, we are returning our starting QB for the first time in 3 years, and for only the 3d time in 8 years; we have the strongest set of TEs in the country; our D Line should at least be solid; we may have the best Special Teams in the country; and our defensive coaches have another year under their belts. But from where I sit, until we see real production on the field, I’ve become a skeptic.

RxDawg

June 7th, 2011
3:08 pm

Um… Phil Steele ranked us pretty high last year too. I love my Dawgs… but we’ve got problems. I’m convinced our O-line is going to a major weakness. An injury or two (which always happens) and we can start looking to next year. We never beat UF. We lost to UCF and Colorado last year… theres no excuse for that.

Like I said, I love my Dawgs but I don’t have a lot of confidence in them.

red&silver

June 7th, 2011
3:14 pm

UGA allowed 28ppg in the losses last year but, all I hear is the offense wasn’t good enough. You can’t give up points like that and expect to win.

Otto

June 7th, 2011
3:20 pm

Multiple 3 and out and drives lasting 3 and half minutes or less will result in a defense that gives up 28 ppg. Auburn had short possesions too but they put up more than 30ppg on offense.

red&silver

June 7th, 2011
3:28 pm

Not getting off the field when you have a team 3rd and long,allowing a rb to do what he pleases,and not tackling results in 28ppg. As far as Auburn goes lets just be honest, Cam Newton was special. There were plenty of times he converted on 3rd and 4th downs after his defense put him and the offense in bad situations. Once again I repeat he was a special player.

AltamahaDawg

June 7th, 2011
3:34 pm

I didn’t recall making any comparisons to Auburn.

And as much as I appreciate all the pats on the back for being “optimistic”, It actually news to me that I am being optimistic. I do think I am being realistic to say that, when 6/7 losses came down to a possession or two, with some very identifiable issue, its pretty simple to see how that can easily be differnt. Why we lost is not some big mystery. That wasn;t some loaded mature team, that was getting blown out of games, or anything like that. Then I think you would have to wonder where do we go from there. IN this case ist just doing what we know has been done in the past. IN fact I believe the odds of NOT correcting them is greater. 2 of the biggest factors are by any historical measure not going to be there, and the other lesser issues have been, even if not corrected, at least identified and addressed.

I just don’t see expecting an improvement over last year as optimistic.

Otto

June 7th, 2011
3:35 pm

Auburn’s defense was good but gave up plenty of points thanks to Cam’s ability to score quickly, the down side is the defense doesn’t get much rest and has to defend more possesions.

UGA’s offense has been very boom or bust. Clock killing drives have become rare since David Green and DJ are not on the field.

DawginLex

June 7th, 2011
3:40 pm

to my 2:12 impostor

HT, is that you?

Must be because that is the only way you will ever get me to say nice things about you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

tony martin

June 7th, 2011
3:41 pm

Enter your comments here My thoughts two years ago that this would be the year the Dogs have a break out season. Watched spring practice, and their off season weight program under the direction of coach T. There is a different attitude, and I think we will win some of those games we have lost in the fourth quarter. Dogs have a chance to be an elite group on Defense if they stay healthy

red&silver

June 7th, 2011
3:43 pm

I don’t care who you have on offense! When you have to repeatedly start drives in your own territory or start every possessionat or inside the 20 the offense is not going to produce. UGA lost games last year because they couldn’t get anybody off the field when they needed. Look at the games we lost and why. 4th quarter belong to the other team. UGA’s offense has never been explosive to me and, honestly it will probably will never be. When UGA had success it was with defense.

DawginLex

June 7th, 2011
3:44 pm

One year later, after a 6-7 season, losses to Arkansas where we had the ball wiht a chance to win with under 2 minutes to go become “beatdowns”.
OT loss to Florida where we had the ball in OT with a chance to score in a tie game becomes a “beatdown”.

Haters label things for us and we let them.

6-7 is dissappointing. 6-7 is not acceptable

But to say all 7 losses were “beatdowns” is a lie. 49-31 is the closest thing to it and that game was a close shootout for awhile.

Defensive improvement-like 3 more stops on 3rd down per game equals wins.

JB

June 7th, 2011
3:47 pm

I’m back from vacation and feeling relaxed……..and less optimistic after talking to people other than these blogs or Dawg fans talking about our situation in Athens. We have slid in outside opinion.

tony martin

June 7th, 2011
3:50 pm

My thoughts two years ago that this would be the year the Dogs have a break out season. Watched spring practice, and their off season weight program under the direction of coach T. There is a different attitude, and I think we will win some of those games we have lost in the fourth quarter. Dogs have a chance to be an elite group on Defense if they stay healthy