Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs fared better in the final college football rankings than I had feared, managing to stay in the Top 20 of both polls despite losing their last two games. UGA was No. 19 in the final AP poll and No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches poll.
Of course, it probably didn’t hurt Georgia that one of those final two losses was the SEC championship game and the the bowl loss was a three-overtime affair, or that all four of the Dogs’ losses this season were to teams that finished in the USA Today Coaches’ poll Top 10 and the Top 11 of the Associated Press ranking.
Based on returning talent and a favorable schedule (and perhaps depending on who all leaves or doesn’t leave for the NFL), it’s likely that Georgia will start the 2012 season at least in the vicinity of the Top 10.
Meanwhile, Monday saw running back Keith Marshall on campus in Athens, highly-rated defensive end recruit Jordan Jenkins picking the Dawgs over Alabama and Brandon Boykin very deservedly winning the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player.
Sure, I would have preferred for LSU to win the BCS game (we don’t recruit much against them, unlike Bammer) and I’m not thrilled with Brian VanGorder’s crazy zig-zag career path leading the erratic but undeniably talented defensive coach to Auburn (for the moment, at least). It will be interesting to see how BVG fares in his return to college ball. He’s definitely an upgrade for AU, but if I had to choose between him and current UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who apparently nailed down the Jenkins commitment, I think I’d go with what Georgia has now.
Anyway, overall, the postseason is off to a pretty good start, don’t you think?
UPDATE: Sure enough, the Dawgs are hitting the Top 10 of the early preseason rankings that are showing up. USA Today’s Kelly Whiteside has UGA #8 and says “the Bulldogs are back.” ESPN’s Mark Schlabach’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 has Georgia #6. He says defense and schedule are reasons the Dogs are favored to win the SEC East again. And CBSSports.com’s Brett McMurphy has the Bulldogs ranked all the way up at #3 and says they could be legitimate national title contenders because of their returning talent plus the SEC’s easiest schedule.
So what do you think, is Georgia a legitimate Top 10 team for 2012?
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg