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

Dawg Whisperer

June 8th, 2011
9:41 am

If the defense shows up well coached, #1 in the SEC East is more than possible.

@Jim/Fait Accompli, etc., etc....

June 8th, 2011
9:49 am

9. Will always dominate TECH.

10. Leads the nation in troll following

It Ain't Rocket Science

June 8th, 2011
9:57 am

DAWGINLEX,

I was kind of wondering about that statement also. They probably just met for the first time, when he started at UGA this week. It always amazes me of the facts some of these haters can invent to try and prove what they think is a pertinent point. Asking that guy to use his brain is probably a stretch at best.

truedawg

June 8th, 2011
10:02 am

Its always better to be ranked lower. The Dawgs always perform better as an underdog. I don’t think we can say anything about rankings til we get past Boise, and then SC. Depending on how the team’s conditioning turns out to be, I think they could be considerably better than last year. We had alot of close games last year, some came down to one play. I think the team is focused more this year. I also think there is now way the D will allow any team to run the ball against the Dawgs very well. I’m still not sure about the pass defence. But I’ll say this, IF the D can hold teams to 20 points, I can see this Dawgs team easily posting 10 wins and a trip to the dome. I just hope one of those wins is against UF!! GO DAWGS

truedawg

June 8th, 2011
10:12 am

Gotta love all the haters on here. Tech trolls need to just get over the fact they will never be a football school again. Bama, needs to worry about their own school under performing this year…AGAIN!, AU needs to worry about the NCAA taking away their Cyrstal ball… UF needs to worry about a new coach, new OC, new offense scheme, and too many players with the sticky icky…SC needs to worry that ol’ ball coach has sold out now and is doing anything to win, 10 years ago, he would have kicked that drunk Garcia off the team for good. and if ya’ll think Lattimore will be able to run the ball against UGA this year,…I hope SC has a good kicker!

Big Dawg

June 8th, 2011
10:23 am

First off it is preseason and no one other than YAHWEH, JESUS and the HOLY SPIRIT knows the future and what will happen. Now having said that there is always cause for optimism as this is a new season, next some of the bad attitudes are gone, also knock on wood so far they have been staying out of trouble, there seems to be a change in coaching philosophy in that these guys were going after it in spring drills unlike the last 3 three years where they were not ready physically or mentally in some of the games especially the last 2 years. Hopefully Coach Richt will finally realize you have to be able to run the football to win and you can’t get pass happy. Also, Murray has a year of experience playing against SEC defenses and hopefully we will see more consistency from him this year. At times last year he looked unstoppable but at others he looked lost. Anyway as always it will be interesting to see, I personally think we will win our first 3 games this year and then get over confident before settleling into a pretty good year all things considered with us winning 10 or 11 games including the bowl game. But that is only my opinion.

Go Dawgs

AltamahaDawg

June 8th, 2011
10:27 am

The pass defence was noticeably better as the season progressed last year.

vadawg

June 8th, 2011
10:28 am

A dawg fan. Sorry to say but the o line is to weak between the tackles. The o linemen we signed last year and year before r hurt…one may never play again. It will probably take three class signings to rebuilded the o line. I believe coach Stacy Searels did a poor job of recruiting not to mention getting along with coach BOOBOO! These given situations r the responsibility of the head Coach..It’s possible this will be a long year for me but i will still cheer for the dawgs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AltamahaDawg

June 8th, 2011
10:34 am

The Jenkins comment ranks right up there with saying “only half the defense is back”, with 8 starters and most of the back ups returning.

BTW, who is with me that we have traded up losing Houston and gainsing J. Jones at LB?

truedawg

June 8th, 2011
10:41 am

I believe gettin Jones is better than having Houston, also Tree and RS! LB is loaded. I think the line will stop anyteam from running the ball well. Yes pass coverage did look a lil better end of the year, but I think run D is still our biggest strength.

AltamahaDawg

June 8th, 2011
11:00 am

Which in turn helps the pass coverage because they aren’t having to run support. Having the faster LB helps pass coverage as well.

ugaclassof2004

June 8th, 2011
11:05 am

I like Phil Steele, but the last few years, he was been WAY off in regards to UGA. The problem with guys like Phil Steele is that they do a lot of analysis on returning starters, turnovers, strength of schedule etc., yet he doesn’t spend enough time of what is going on within the culture of a place. UGA is a program that is in transition mode. The old guard is gone( Willie, Fabris, Damon Evans) and the new guard has arrived( McGarity). If Richt goes below 8-4, he will be gone, no doubt about it. Honestly I think Evans might have fired Richt last year had he been around, but then he got canned for being a moron.McGarity didn’t have enough political capital to make that kind of high profile decision in his first year. But he does this year if Richt’s team tanks it again.

Now with all that being said UGA was probably an 8-4 caliber team in 2010 that underachieved and went 6-6. Losing AJ those first 4 games really took the wind of the season. UGA did have quite a few close losses last season, and I think if the offense had more continuity to gel with AJ in the lineup, they might have won some of those close games. South Carolina won the East last year and they probably were the best team on our division. Of course saying that is a bit like bragging about your child being the smartest kid in the special needs class. South Carolina was a good, but not great team, that chose a good year to be good.

Losing AJ and Kris Durham will be a big deal early on. Aaron Murray will really have to be the guy and Bobo with have to get creative with the playcalling( which isn’t exactly his specialty). Orson Charles and Tavarres King were pretty inconsistent last year, and we’re going to HAVE to have someone step up in the running game on a semi-consistent basis. Our defense is still a hot mess and lacks talent in its front seven to really make that 3-4 work. There is a possibility that this team could finish 8-4: especially when you consider that we play in a weak division and that many of the teams we play( Tennessee, Florida, Auburn), will also be down this year. But I really think that 8-4: with this current coaching staff and this current bunch of talent, is really the ceiling for this team.

ugaclassof2004

June 8th, 2011
11:09 am

I like Phil Steele, but the last few years, he has been WAY off in regards to UGA. The problem with guys like Phil Steele is that they do a lot of analysis on returning starters, turnovers, strength of schedule etc., yet he doesn’t spend enough time of what is going on within the culture of a place. UGA is a program that is in transition mode. The old guard is gone( Willie, Fabris, Damon Evans) and the new guard has arrived( McGarity). If Richt goes below 8-4, he will be gone, no doubt about it. Honestly I think Evans might have fired Richt last year had he been around, but then he got canned for being a moron.McGarity didn’t have enough political capital to make that kind of high profile decision in his first year. But he does this year if Richt’s team tanks it again.

Now with all that being said UGA was probably an 8-4 caliber team in 2010 that underachieved and went 6-6. Losing AJ those first 4 games really took the wind of the season. UGA did have quite a few close losses last season, and I think if the offense had more continuity to gel with AJ in the lineup, they might have won some of those close games. South Carolina won the East last year and they probably were the best team in our division. Of course saying that is a bit like bragging about your child being the smartest kid in the special needs class. South Carolina was a good, but not great team, that chose a good year to be good.

Losing AJ and Kris Durham will be a big deal early on. Aaron Murray will really have to be the guy and Bobo with have to get more creative with the playcalling( not exactly his specialty). Orson Charles and Tavarres King were pretty inconsistent last year, and we’re going to HAVE to have someone step up in the running game on a semi-consistent basis. Our defense is still a hot mess and lacks talent in its front seven to really make that 3-4 work. There is a possibility that this team could finish 8-4: especially when you consider that we play in a weak division and that many of the teams we play( Tennessee, Florida, Auburn), will also be down this year. But I really think that 8-4: with this current coaching staff and this current bunch of talent, is really the ceiling for this team.

knoxdawg

June 8th, 2011
11:37 am

Everybody is unbeaten right now. How hard this team works this summer before camp starts will have alot to do with how far they go this season. Big game to start should keep them focused. Win it and beat SC and the season could become special. Loose both and it will be rough. I believe they have the talent, the coaching, etc. They just need to make the plays and prove it to me on the field. SEC football gets better every year. Watch out for LSU now that Mettenberger is there to play QB.

AltamahaDawg

June 8th, 2011
11:55 am

He probably has not factored in Richt’s religious beliefs.

Big Dawg

June 8th, 2011
12:02 pm

knoxdawg, why do you think LSU will be better with Mettenberger I saw him play in high school and several close friends of mine saw him in spring practice at UGA and they were not impressed at all with his mobility (lack of) and decision making. So unless he has undergone some miracoulous improvements he will struggle just like any other QB in their first year of being a starter. And I don’t know that he will be LSU’s starter as I haven’t kept up with them.

AltamahaDawg

June 8th, 2011
12:20 pm

I saw him in the LSU spring game, and he uses his arm in a forward motion to propel a football is pretty much my report.

PolarCaps

June 8th, 2011
12:56 pm

Murray has 5 td’s against ranked teams is 0-6 vs. winning teams.

Offense is 81st in scoring against ranked teams.

Rush offense is 10th in SEC.

Has a noth'ern died yet?

June 8th, 2011
1:13 pm

Whas UP with the PUPS? Has Georgia named another mascot yet? Try German Shepards or Huskies, they might actually make it through a season.

AltamahaDawg

June 8th, 2011
1:50 pm

I wonder if the “against winning teams” guy is actual the reincarnation of ol’ #39.

dawg to the bone

June 8th, 2011
2:33 pm

We will be fine boys, just watch. All the doughters will be be surprised. This will be a good year, GO DAWGS!

" HOT " seat

June 8th, 2011
2:47 pm

. . . . gotta beat Boise State in the GEORGIA Dome . . . .

Brik

June 8th, 2011
5:19 pm

MURRAY’S RECORD AGAINST LOSING TEAMS IS 6-1. AND HE COMPLETES 65% OF HIS PASSES AGAINST THESE TEAMS LIKE IDAHO STATE. THIS IS A MUCH BETTER REPRESENTATION OF MURRAY’S SKILLS THAN HOW HE DOES AGAINST WINNING TEAMS. SURE, HE’S 0-6 AGAINST WINNING TEAMS AND ONLY COMPLETES 55%, BUT THAT’S TO BE EXPECTED. UGA FINISHED RANKED #64 LAST SEASON. LOOK FOR A BIG JUMP UP TO #48.

Tech Fan

June 8th, 2011
5:26 pm

I’ve watched UGA football for over thirty years. The ball has always gone the UGA way. I say at least 8 wins. But big upset end of November.

LogicalUS

June 8th, 2011
6:33 pm

Going to be a dismal season.

Sadly UGA soundslike the Dubose BAMA, Scott SC etc…always pinning hopes on JC players and freshmen who were going to show those upperclass SEC talent a step away from going to the NFL how to play football and dominate.

Folks not going to happen, listen to yourselves, the JC DL is going to solve the horrid rushing defense, counting on a oft injured high school back to save the putrid Offense? Sad.

icedawg

June 8th, 2011
7:33 pm

The schedule is not that formidable. But no one knows how the O and D lines are going to perform. Looks like we have very good talent at a number of positions. So, if we improve greatly along the line then we should pile up a few W’s. If we’re mediocre along the line it could be another long season and the blogs will be unbearable.

UGA should do well if ............

June 8th, 2011
7:36 pm

Murray MUST LOSE those Liberty Bowl Batman gloves, if UGA is to do well. THAT set the tone for that ugly loss in Memphis. He was not serious. His line was notready, nor were his defenders or receivers and backs and we stunk it up. THAT GAME set it up for CMR ……………one way or other. No more of that.

We WILL SEE IF Murray can lead in big boy ball. His record for now is not good.

We shall see …………… this is the year one way or other.

UGA man, class of 71 & 73

Go Dawgs!

June 8th, 2011
7:51 pm

The defense was in transition last year and we lacked a key component to effectively run the 3-4 and that was a dominant NG that warrants a double team.
Look at Bama in Saban’s first year, their defensive numbers are quite similar to UGAs last year.
In year 2 they basically add Terrance Cody to the mix and viola! instant dominant defense.
We are adding TWO 1)John Jenkins who btw came from the same JC as Cody and who’s coach has said he has more upside and potential than Cody. 2)a hungry Kwame Geathers- all Dawg fans know the family and their history of producing great DLinemen. There have also been a few moves that will make this defense a lot faster and nastier. Moving Olgetree to middle LB will give us faster play up the middle and a devestating hitter there. Rambo’s move to Strong saftey will do the same and putting Commings in at FS is huge because now we have a physical FS with corner ability and instinct. Not to mention having TWO 10-100 CBs in Boykin and Smith who aren’t going to have to run with WRs nearly as long now that will be getting much more pressure up front.
On the other side of the ball I think people will be pleasantly surprised with how good T.King is going to be at WR. He may not be AJ, but he was a highly touted prospect and I think he will shine now that he’s not under AJs shadow any longer, I also like the leadership role he’s embracing and not letting the other WRs off the hook. Wooten will be a surprise and will give us a Mikey Henderson type. The big surprise will come from the dream team however in Malcom Mitchell. Look for him to come in and have an imediate impact much like MoMass did his freshman year. The jury is still out on M.Brown, but hopefully the competition will bring the best out in him.
I personally think we had more “me” players than “we” players the past couple of seasons and many players have said as much. I think Ealy’s departure is a blessing in disguise and his attitude may have rubbed off on C.King who seems to have his mind right finally.

The first two games will set the tone, and hopefully in a good way. Teams that have to open up against strong opponents early AND do well against them usually go on to have great seasons. While most teams will be knocking the dust and rust off with cupcakes UGA will be thrust right into the fire with for sure two top 15 teamd but most likely two top 10 teams depending on where SC winds up. This schedule is basically McGarity’s way of throwing his son (Richt) into the deep end of the pool and telling him to sink or swim. No other team opens up their season with two tougher 1-2 opponents NO ONE. If Richt and company come away 2-0 look out. 1-2 we’re possibly looking at 8-10 wins, 0-2 probably a long season and a new coaching change to follow.

The nice thing from a ranking standpoint is Phil Steele may be on to something, because if we knock off what will likely be the #6 and #11 teams to start the season, we WILL be in the top 10 and 9 sounds about right.

Go Dawgs!

Ed (The Original)

June 8th, 2011
8:02 pm

I’m pessimistic as long as Richt is the coach. I just don’t think he’s a very good head football coach. And without Van Gorder and rare talent like Green, Pollack and Shockley to bail him out, he’s been exposed as a mediocrity. An extremely high paid mediocrity. And Florida is so deep in Richt’s head I don’t see how he ever exorcises those demons. It’s time to try someone else.

PowerDawg

June 8th, 2011
8:51 pm

Let me save you the trouble and all that mental anguish you must be suffering, Bill.

You will be PESSIMISTIC about our team’s chances of success this year because you always are.

Here’s an idea…change your picture from a smiling one to a frowning one and take off that UGA shirt and cap. Then blog away as a neutral observer and type whatever you like. At least no one will be fooled into thinking you are a supportive fan blog.

I don’t know why you have decided that Richt is such a terrible coach and that we will never win again under his tutelage, but you have.

Seriously, man. Start writing for some of these other schools that you obviously think will forever be better than us.

Hasta la vista.

Rolo

June 8th, 2011
8:53 pm

You people are nuts. This team will be lucky to win 7 games. Its the same crowd that got kicked around last year. its the same coach afraid to go for it on 4th and inches. No Running backs to speak of. the new kid could be another Hearst, or Caleb King, the latter being most likely. The DL is like wet paper, the lbers can’t tackle anyone and the dbs are the worst I’ve ever seen at UGA.

You can make all the crazy assumptions about so and so being a stud or making a difference……but its just BS until it happens. 0-2 to start the season…..

1eyedJack

June 8th, 2011
9:25 pm

Yeah Bill, I only read this blog ’cause I thought you was a homer like me.

Pops

June 8th, 2011
9:35 pm

I’m thinking Richt’s offense was 81st in scoring against ranked teams last year. Got bout 16 a game. Spurrier’s got bout 32 a game. Richt got to go.

Pops

June 8th, 2011
10:02 pm

Don’t know win total, but do know direction of program.

88% chance Richt’s team will win less games than the year before, 12% chance they won’t.

Been right 7 out of last 8 seasons.

Richt’s teams get worse under his stewardship 7 out of 8 times.

Coach Grohbo

June 8th, 2011
10:07 pm

We are about to enter the summer season. By the time August rolls around, how many UGA players do you predict will have suspensions for the first two games?

UGA has averaged seven opening day suspensions over the last ten seasons.

Now that oversigning has been addressed by the SEC, the UGA Athletic Department will be looking for other excuses for losing.

Expect them to go back to the old reliable player suspension excuses. They are coming.

AltamahaDawg

June 8th, 2011
10:25 pm

Pops, how much are you willing to wager that he loses 8 games?

Pitbull

June 8th, 2011
10:42 pm

Fla could start its second team against the Dawgs and still win. It’s a mental thing out of control now. Only a new Coach could change it or a new Fla inept Coach. The game last year should have cost Richt his job. A total disgrace! Coach Richt at half time, “Got to run, time for a prayer meeting”. God, “do we have to do this NOW”!

Tell the Truth

June 8th, 2011
10:59 pm

Lets get the facts out there:

In 2010 Mr. Phil Steele picked UGA to finish 19th in the country, USC at 21, Florida at 7.
The funny thing is that Phil Steele was in the bottom half of all the predictors of 2010. I would not put ANY stock into any selection made by Phil Steele.

The real test is going to be if UGA plays a handful of freshmen, how will they hold up and take the physical beatings that a player has to endure for a 14 game season? While UGA has a fine quarterback and two very good offensive linemen, the rest of the offense is full of question marks.

Until someone knocks USC off their pedestal and can stop Lattimore and Jeffries and until UGA can find a way to beat UGA in Jacksonville, 3rd place is where they will wind up.

Tell the Truth

June 8th, 2011
11:06 pm

A more realistic approach is:

East:
USC
UF/UGA/
UF/UGA
Tenn.
Kentucky
Vanderbilt

West
Ala/LSU
Ala/LSU
MSU/Ark
MSU/Ark
Auburn
Ole Miss

OVERALL

Ala/LSU
MSU/Ark
USC
Florida/UGA
Auburn
Tennessee
Kentucky
Ole Miss
Vandy

GTBob

June 8th, 2011
11:32 pm

Phil Steele has already proved he is a moron the last few years. I think UGA will be better. Maybe bottom half of the top 25, but expecting them to be a top 10 team after going 6-7, losing their best receiver, losing their second best receiver, losing their best RB, losing some key defensive players, and losing key members of the OL just seems insane.

AdMan

June 8th, 2011
11:40 pm

GTBob…your just jellous….Tech always has and always will suck…get used to it…..second tier in the ACC and a minor bowl…. Georgia will be much improved this year…they’ll beat Tech, Florida and Boise State…and lose to S.Carolina and still win the East….write it down…its gonna happen!

GTBob

June 9th, 2011
12:00 am

AdMan, it could happen, but can you give an objective reason for why it will happen? And I’m already used to Tech sucking, but at least I am realistic about Tech. Second tier and a minor bowl sounds good to me this year. Can you honestly say that you think UGA will be a top 10 team this year? Even with their weak schedule that is going to be pretty hard to accomplish.

It Ain't Rocket Science

June 9th, 2011
9:12 am

I don’t think UGA will finish in the top ten, mostly due to the fact that we have a lack of experience in a few key places. I do expect that UGA can get at least 9 wins this year, and actually has a legitimate chance to win the SEC East. If UGA finishes with 9 wins, they can get a mid tier bowl and build off of that for 2012.

DawginLex

June 9th, 2011
10:10 am

Well, with the percentage stat troll posting his nausea inducing stats over and over again and since our 3 best players from last year, Mettenberger, Ealey and that star QB Logan Gray are all gone, I guess I won’t bother watching the Dawgs or attending any of the games.

I keep looking for Mettenberger’s career stats since he was our top performer but I can’t seem to find any.

I’m sure Mr Percentage Troll has them and will post them shortly along with Logan Gray’s completion % and yards per carry vs the 4th string walk on scout team.

DawginLax

June 9th, 2011
10:16 am

DawginLex = Big Fat Zero.

i.e., clueless.

TROLL POWER RANKINGS

June 9th, 2011
10:18 am

DawginLax

June 9th, 2011
10:16 am
DawginLex = Big Fat Zero.

i.e., clueless.

*************************************

Personal attacks get you banned. I’d be careful.

DawginLex

June 9th, 2011
10:21 am

Clueless?

I’ve forgotten more football than you know.

How many more times are you going to post those worthless stats?
How many more times are you going to spew about Ealey,Mett and Gray?

Post something worthy of discussing in an adult manner.

Otherwise, you are going to get ignored.

AltamahaDawg

June 9th, 2011
11:25 am

Who would love to see Bob sit and debate college footbal teams with the moron Phil Steele?

It Ain't Rocket Science

June 9th, 2011
1:08 pm

Everybody seems to want CMR’s head but I still do not see anybody recommending a viable replacement for him yet. All I hear is Kirby Scott, and he has not had head coaching experience. With the fan base UGA has, I don’t think OJT is in the future for the next coach if the situation comes about. UGA has the money to offer any coach a good salary, but the question remains, whom do you pick if UGA does let CMR go? I realize the first thing will that will be said is CMR hadn’t been a head coach when he took the job. Simply fact though, is he had been an assistant for 11 years prior to getting the job, and he learned under a pretty good head coach. He was ready for the job.

Jackson

June 9th, 2011
6:11 pm

Simply put, Richt’s success early in his tenure was a product of two things. 1) stout defense and 2) a legitimate running attack. Over the past 5 years, both of those have suffered. Recently, the emphasis has been put on a lack of depth on the OL and no proven running back. The question is did we improve where we needed to improve. Defense is only going to get better in the 2nd year. Although I have concerns at safety, the front seven are going to be scary good. When your front seven is that good, it will mask potential secondary problems. 2) running attack. I have no idea how Friend will turn out but he has to be better than Searls… Thank you Texas… Friend is coming over from UAB…. whose Head Coach happened to be the last good O line coach we had. So although the jury is still out on the O line, the defense will be better which means more opportunities for the offense. More opportunities converts into more scoring chances and a lower scoring affair. A 6-7 season is not in the cards this year. If it is not 10-3, I would be shocked.