Preseason ranking no shocker: ‘We’re still Georgia’

Georgia's ranking "shocked" Ben Jones, but it shouldn't have. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Georgia's ranking "shocked" Ben Jones, but it shouldn't have. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Some folks inside and outside the Bulldog Nation were surprised when the USA Today coaches preseason poll was released Thursday and Georgia was ranked a respectable No. 22 despite coming off a 6-7 season and a horrendous bowl game.

Even the Dogs’ Ben Jones admitted he was “shocked” at Georgia being ranked in the preseason for the 10th consecutive year.

And Abry Jones said he “didn’t think we would be that high since we didn’t do well last year.”

Tavarres King, on the other hand, said, “I’m not shocked that we’re ranked. We’re still Georgia, and I think everybody knows that.”

I think King probably nailed it right there. Despite coming off a bad season and having a lot of question marks, UGA and Mark Richt have enough residual respect to be considered among the nation’s 25 best teams without having played a down yet.

And while preseason rankings don’t mean a whole lot, as Richt said, “I think it’s a good sign for the program. It’s a good sign of respect if coaches feel like Georgia is a Top 25 team.”

Of course, last year the coaches also thought Georgia was a Top 25 team. In fact, the Dogs were ranked a notch higher in last year’s preseason poll, at 21, and briefly made it up to No. 19 before falling out of the ranking for good after the South Carolina game.

And the No. 22 preseason ranking is the lowest of Richt’s tenure since his first year, when Georgia couldn’t quite crack the Top 25.

Still, being ranked at all is encouraging, even if it might be a result of the coaches (or whoever filled out the poll for them) simply listing Georgia out of force of habit.

At the very least, it bolsters the confidence of the Georgia players as they prepare to meet the No. 7-ranked Boise State Broncos.

And another factor is that while Georgia at times looked terrible last year, they also were thisclose to winning some of those games they lost. As Jones put it: “I think people believe in us. They’re not counting us out, because we lost a lot of games by three and seven points. If we would have made the play in the fourth quarter, we would have been the team that’s 10-3 instead of going 6-7.”

Now they just have to see if they can make those fourth-quarter plays this year. If Joe Tereshinski has anything to say about it, I’m betting they will more often than not.

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271 comments Add your comment

lazlodawg

August 5th, 2011
10:45 am

Marvin

August 5th, 2011
10:50 am

I was very surprised, not because we just came off a “bad season” but because the bad season follows a downward decline over several seasons. The downward trend alone would be justification for writing us off this year which I was actually hoping for. I’d rather be under radar going in to the Boise State game.

FLADawg

August 5th, 2011
10:50 am

The Orlando Sentinel has the Dawgs rated much higer this year than last (high 20s vs. 60 something I think). We laughed last year but they were pretty accurate. Hopefully the are pretty accurate again this year.

Pete

August 5th, 2011
10:51 am

BSU 55 – 13

ARdawg

August 5th, 2011
10:51 am

Pre-season ranks mean absolutely diddly squat

Davis

August 5th, 2011
10:52 am

Phil Steele, probably the most accurate guy in the game over the last 10 years, has Georgia as his 5th favorite team, in a blog post he wrote recently. Steele cites a few things:
1- No Alabama, LSU, Ark
2- #1 Special Teams
3- Great recuriting classes and loaded with talent
4- Nice schedule, only 5 tough games, all at home or on neutral turf

http://blog.philsteele.com/2011/08/04/my-favorite-teams-for-2011/

Rozeman13

August 5th, 2011
10:53 am

This is good for us Dawgs,But we are still ranked behind Auburn! Does that mean our Dream Team is still behind a Camless and Fairless Auburn?

Destin dawg

August 5th, 2011
10:56 am

Yes what Davis said… plus Grantham’s Junkyard Dawgs defense ++ S & C program ++ much better attitudes … we’ll be in top 10 after 1st games.. Go Dawgs !!

GeoffDawg

August 5th, 2011
10:57 am

Pete – do you invest heavily in potato futures or something? Boise might win but if I was a betting man, I’d take Georgia and the points in a heartbeat.

Destin dawg

August 5th, 2011
10:58 am

1st 2 games… Can’t wait !!

Don't Matter

August 5th, 2011
10:59 am

Pre-season rankings don’t mean anything. We’ll know their real ranking after the first two games.

Destin dawg

August 5th, 2011
10:59 am

Pete = GT troll

Dawg Gone

August 5th, 2011
11:00 am

This is about right, also we benefit from a supposed down year in the SEC East…we will have to prove we are a top 25 program on the field..lets start with Boise! Go Dawgs!

Davis

August 5th, 2011
11:00 am

This website, found it on Steele’s blog, averages preseason polls to create a consensus preseason ranking.

Georgia comes in at #18.

This ranking is low considering Coach Richt’s finished in the top 10 the last 20 out of 24 seasons going back to FSU.

83% of the last 24 years, Richt’s team has finished in the top 10. Unreal consistency.

Only 4 Opponents on the schedule are even ranked, 8 arn’t ranked on the consensus ranking:
#3 Boise
#15 South Carolina
#22 Mississippi State
#25 Florida

This makes the Boise & South Carolina games, and winning those 2, even more important, as they are the only 2 top 20 teams Coach Richt will face.

Auburn, Tenn, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, due to schedule or talent issues, are not ranked consensus.

http://preseason.stassen.com/consensus/2011.html

GeoffDawg

August 5th, 2011
11:01 am

Georgia without a doubt is a very talented group. The real concern I have, following last year’s debacle, is how they’ll respond psychologically when momentum turns against them.

Joe T inspires a lot of confidence that they’ll physically be ready for all challenges, but where are their minds at? Hopefully, the purging of some prima donnas and team cancers this offseason put them in a better place.

Dawg_Mike

August 5th, 2011
11:05 am

The only ranking that means anything is the one at the end of the season.

ARdawg

August 5th, 2011
11:05 am

I don’t mind stating unequivocally Georgia beats Boise +10 points

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 5th, 2011
11:07 am

Looks like East Carolina has moved to a 3-4 defense as well. This will serve as a nice warm-up for Ga in week 2.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/08/05/2504848/pirates-seeking-better-defensive.html

Davis

August 5th, 2011
11:09 am

Wall St Journal reported 2 teams are getting a lot of bets by big money Vegas Gamblers. Michigan. And…..GEORGIA!!! Why, the big time sports gamblers think these 2 teams are really undervalued. So much money has been put on Georgia, that it’s actually changed betting line.

Here’s the Wall St. Journal Article, it’s a long address, so I shrunk it down:
http://tinyurl.com/3qsu3de

David C

August 5th, 2011
11:09 am

The 1st 2 Games of the Season will tell us if Georgia is Back or not. I see 1-1 after 1st 2 games and 10-2 by end of the season.

Red Stick (formerly Jumbeauxtiger)

August 5th, 2011
11:12 am

@Davis, Phil Steele also said a year ago, which some of you pointed, that the Dawgs were a darkhorse choice for the national title and we know how that turned out.

LSU is ranked 4th and I’ll be the first to admit it doesn’t mean anything right now.

DawgInaTruck

August 5th, 2011
11:16 am

This team faces challenges related to depth and inexperience, there is no arguing that. What this team won’t lack is conditioning, discipline and attitude. While I am by no means expecting an undefeated season I am nonetheless much more excited about this season than I was the last.

I believe it will be a fun team to watch and it is always great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Unlike a lot of trolls who will disappear or change their usernames when we succeed I will be here regardless.

GeoffDawg

August 5th, 2011
11:16 am

Nothing Could Be Finer – Boise also has an overblown sense of self-importance so that should segue for a nice warmup to South Carolina.

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 5th, 2011
11:17 am

Ga’s ranking is primarily based on the potential of incoming freshmen plus Murray.

Those freshmen will screw up but will also make plays.

Ga will probably be in-and-out of the top 25 all year.

Lindsey

August 5th, 2011
11:18 am

Hopefully the Bulldogs will make their way up the polls during the season, GO DAWGS!!!

RabidDawgFan

August 5th, 2011
11:20 am

If we start 2-0 on the season…we go at least 10-2 or maybe 11-1. I just feel that in my heart that this team is focused and hungry, ready to prove the doubters wrong. They will be fired up vs. Boise and even more fired up vs. South Carolina in Sanford Stadium because they know the impact of that game as well. It’s going to be a good season. Even if we start 1-1, we can still have a good season. But 0-2, I just don’t see our team letting that happen. No way.

kevin

August 5th, 2011
11:20 am

It’s not surprising at all. UGA went into the 4th quarter within 7pts of every opponent last year. Untimely fumbles and a lack of being able to finish games translated to losses. Without untimely fumbling and getting tired at the end of games, UGA could have very easily had a fantastic year last year. While AJ is gone, we enter the season with the best QB in the league, a great incoming freshman class, grantham’s defense is in it’s 2nd year…

UGA, like they did last year, might certainly not live up to their potential. But preseason polls, by definition, are based on potential.

gomdawg

August 5th, 2011
11:22 am

Forget the polls let’s play the way we can play and when it over DAWGS ON TOP SEC and
NC

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 5th, 2011
11:23 am

Tavarres King, on the other hand, said, “I’m not shocked that we’re ranked. We’re still Georgia, and I think everybody knows that.”
—————————————————
GeoffDawg, this sounds more like overblown sense of self-importance.

Beast from the East

August 5th, 2011
11:23 am

Red Stick,
I agree. UF and UT were preseason top 10 last year and that ended up being a total joke. So many teams have so many question marks coming into the season….even the top 10 teams.

Bama Fan#2

August 5th, 2011
11:23 am

Football polls are for fans really and do not mean nothing in reality.
Saban was talking about the polls yesterday saying that is like
fortune telling, you never know how things are going to happen
first the season starts. Good luck dawgs and hope Mark Richt
stays as head coach for a long time. You pull for good people
and he is the finest human being as a head football coach that
I know of. RTR

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 5th, 2011
11:23 am

Funny, because T. King hasn’t done jack.

RabidDawgFan

August 5th, 2011
11:24 am

They look good out there on the practice field. Look bigger, leaner due to muscle. Look at Ben Jones in that photo. Does he look like your average fat center? No. That guy has slimmed down due to the workouts and lifting weights getting leaner. Our entire team looks good. I hope it shows on the field all the hard work they’ve been putting in.

McDawg

August 5th, 2011
11:24 am

Where is Kent Turene?????

Rolaids anyone?

August 5th, 2011
11:26 am

South Carolina ’s D is gonna stuff the dogs. Didnt see where the S&C has made much diffrerence for the dawgs. These players looked like they could play for a Furman.

RiffRaff

August 5th, 2011
11:26 am

Bring on the Smurfs!!!!

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 5th, 2011
11:30 am

If Mark Richt is smart he won’t allow Tarvarres King to speak to the media anymore after that quote.

JB

August 5th, 2011
11:30 am

There are lot’s pf reasons we want the Dawgs to open 2-0. The biggest for us also is these blogs will go from 80% Dawgs fans to 99%. The Haters will be gone….( Beast, you are always welcome here. A good contributor).

dawgforlife

August 5th, 2011
11:31 am

…I agree…preseason rankings are useful only as conversation pieces. UGA will know what it has after the first two games, which kinda concerns me because even in our best years, it has taken a couple of games to get everything going.

GeoffDawg

August 5th, 2011
11:32 am

Nothing Could Be Finer – based on history longer than one season, you could’nt be more wrong.

Davis

August 5th, 2011
11:33 am

There are a couple of things most don’t know about Georgia.

1- How good Def Coor Todd Grantham is
This guy lost 3 DL to the NFL before last seaosn started and came on staff REALLY late in recruiting, didn’t have his body types and speed and height to run his 3-4, and still finished strong in defensive scoring & total defensive yards. Very close to Nick Saban’s numbers in 07′ when Saban was installing the 3-4 in his 1st year at Bama. Year 2, Bama jumped to 14 points a game–11 def points a game average 2 years later, and stuffed the run less than 90 yards a game for 2 years. Terrance Cody’s big body, quickness, made the 3-4 go. Saban went from 7-6, losing several close game in 07′, to 13 wins the next season. Grantham went out and got John Jenkins from Cody’s old school, and Cody’s old coach says Jenkins is faster, quicker, and maybe as strong and will have the same impact on Georgia that Cody had on Alabama. Jenkins is 6′ 5”, 350 lbs.

Note: Georgia Defensive Coach Todd Grantham was asked to be Nick Saban’s DEF COOR, 2X, and turned Saban down. Grantham also trained ASlabama in the off seasons before coming to Georgia. Saban’s considered the top def coach in football.

2- How good Richt is with QB’s
2 guys won a Heisman under Richt when Richt was QB Coach or OC at FSU. 2 guys had totally different styles, Richt adapted. Richt’s record is 55-11 when QB’s start their 2nd season. 80%+ win %. Richt’s win % with 1st year QB’s is much lower. This is Aaron Murray’s 2nd year as a starter. Murray threw for over 3000 yards & 24 TD’s and had a 3 to 1 td to int ratio as a Freshman QB.

GTBob

August 5th, 2011
11:35 am

They play a prime time game against a top 10 team the first week of the season. Why would anybody be shocked that they are ranked? They pretty much had to be ranked for TV ratings.

matt

August 5th, 2011
11:37 am

Some years the rankings matter. We aren’t competng for a NC this year so it means less this year. In a year where we had a realistic chance to compete for a NC the higher we are ranked the less ground we have to cover to get into the chase. They aren’t taking the #12 ranked SEC champion to the championship. Have to be a top team in the end and that’s hard to do when you start at #22.

It won’t matter this year considering 6-6 is a lot more realistic than 8-4.

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 5th, 2011
11:37 am

GTBob, maybe for other polls. But, the coaches voted in this one.

Davis

August 5th, 2011
11:38 am

Training situation was horrible last season. Didin’t even have a grass field to practice on. Didn’t have the building done, so no breeze to cool down the field. Didn’t have proper equipment as the building was being finished. Our guys were working out in trailers during the transition. It was a bad, bad situation. To have a grass field, a breeze, all the proper equipment, it will make a big difference in the 4th quarter. No one beat Georgia last year. Georgia beat Georgia with turnovers, execution mistakes and mental errors due to being tired.

Pete

August 5th, 2011
11:38 am

Watch what happens in the first few minutes of the game……. this is what it’ll be like all game for uga. VT had the talent to come back once Boise became complacent, uga doesn’t. VT’s lucky Boise had a poor game that day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgtKtJkbVYk

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 5th, 2011
11:40 am

Davis, I’m pretty sure Lattimore beat georgia all by himself last year.

LOL

JB

August 5th, 2011
11:41 am

Beast, I just read since 1992 when SC came into the conference, Which they have yet to win, Gators have 7 SEC titles………impressive………..When you consider Bama has only 2………and Dawgs have 2.Tenn. also has two…………..Reading Bammers on here, you think they’d won them all…LOL…. That’s pretty impressive.

JDawg1785

August 5th, 2011
11:41 am

I’ve never appreciated preseason polls, but it’s good to hear the guys are confident and upbeat going into a crucial season.

JB

August 5th, 2011
11:45 am

Davis at 11;22………….All that is true and I agree and I’m excited, but after the last two years, we got to fight ourselves out of this Bar, not talk ourselves out. Go Dawgs.