Dawgs showing up in preseason Top 10 rankings (UPDATED)

Brandon Boykin won the Paul Hornung Award. (Associated Press)

Brandon Boykin won the Paul Hornung Award. (Associated Press)

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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502 comments Add your comment

BMDPD

January 10th, 2012
10:08 am

BMDPD

January 10th, 2012
10:08 am

BMDPD

January 10th, 2012
10:09 am

I have no life!

BMDPD

January 10th, 2012
10:09 am

Only losers post “First!”.

Joey

January 10th, 2012
10:17 am

Sounds like the Falcons are in trouble

MattDawg

January 10th, 2012
10:19 am

I like the direction we are headed… need some more RB for depth and competition. I hope these Frosh O-linemen are ready to come in and contribute as well.

BMDPD

January 10th, 2012
10:20 am

O-line is our real issue and has been for years. In many ways Tide Roll is right.

RP

January 10th, 2012
10:20 am

I belive we have everything in place for next year except an O line. If we can figure something out there, we will be a contender. Need Avery Young bad.

Moobs Johnson

January 10th, 2012
10:23 am

The sad reality for Georgia fans this morning is that Richt doesn’t have the kahunas to win the MNC. His teams will be better than average but never at the elite level. University of Georgia – where mediocrity is not only accepted but praised.

jsmooth

January 10th, 2012
10:28 am

Moobs:

And my-Johnson does? Are you kidding? 1 out of 11 ain’t bad.

NC Dawg

January 10th, 2012
10:29 am

Let’s translate the talent into championships!

Tony

January 10th, 2012
10:35 am

Can NOT believe BVG is back in the SEC! Big boost for Auburn!

chilidawg

January 10th, 2012
10:37 am

Auburn just got much better.

Flo-Ri-Duh

January 10th, 2012
10:38 am

Georgia should finish with a top #15 recruiting class but may not make the top #10. That doesn’t matter as much as getting some talented depth on the OL and DL. Jordan Jenkins will be all SEC by his junior year. Van Gorder felt the heat in Atlanta and did his usual evacuation ahead of the sinking ship. He has his work cut out for him at Auburn. Expect him to last about 3 years before moving on again. He decided he couldn’t take the long hours in pro ball and is looking for a HEAD COACHING job in college again. His first two head coaching jobs failed miserably. One more year like this year and the Auburn fans will put Chizik on the hot seat. Bama was dominating against the one dimensional LSU offense. To beat Bama you need a QB that can get the ball down the field accurately and Jefferson is limited. Expect Mettenberger to start forLSU next year and he can pass.

WDE

January 10th, 2012
10:40 am

@BMDPD I agree with the part that tidey roll is right only as far as we have OL issues, but who hasn’t seen that ‘ ? What the tidey one is completely wrong about is his racist rants on the nature of what does and does not make a good OL and good OL men. We could use a number of good OL in this class and just about every class, OL is the hardest positions to fill. It takes time for a high school player to grow and strengthen into a SEC caliber OL man, there are no short cuts and very few players are so gifted that they are ready to go a true freshmen. Let’s hope we can get a couple more in this class !

jaglaw

January 10th, 2012
10:42 am

I am very happy with CTG. I love the 3-4, always have. Also, CVG didnt do a lot of blitzing in ATL, so it will be interesting to see if he goes back to blitzing or playing prevent all the time. Atl defense wasnt that impressive against top teams the last 2 years. I think CVG is a good DC, however, I think all Defensive play calling has gotten better ( across the board) since CVG last coached in college. It will be interestnig to see how he compares now.

Flo-Ri-Duh

January 10th, 2012
10:43 am

Georgia should have been rated higher than #19 in the final poll. All four of their losses were to top #10 ranked teams and they should have won two of those games. Probably a couple of UGA’s juniors will turn pro but if they don’t UGA will start the season in 2012 ranked in the top #10.

wins-by-a-link

January 10th, 2012
10:44 am

Looks like McGarity will allow Richt to keep his offensive staff intact, I like many other Dog fans were hoping that some changes would be made, Just looking at how well the Alabama team is coached (only one penalty in BCS game) And although Bama’s offense struggled they did manage to play error free and secure the win, Also noted that Bama kicked away from the Honey Badger which prevented any runbacks, Something Richt and staff failed to do, I look for Ga to probably win 10 games next season but only because of easy schedule, I also look for them to lose to the top ten ranked teams they play simply because the OC and his poor play calling.

Inlet Dawg

January 10th, 2012
10:45 am

I like where we are right now we just have to win some big games.

BIGBOY

January 10th, 2012
10:46 am

BVG over CTG hands down.

Dan in AR

January 10th, 2012
10:52 am

Murray maturing and gaining experience in pressure situations will play a big role in the Dawgs future success. The running game will improve making his abilities shine even brighter than this year. Keeping Grantham may prove very difficult down the road since I believe the defense will continue to improve. We shut out LSU for 30 minutes. Bama did it for 60. Not really that far away. GO DAWGS!

CND

January 10th, 2012
10:56 am

Ill take CTG over BVG any day. What he has done with Georgias defense over the last two years is remarkable. Just look how far they have come since the Willie Martinez days! This guy can coach!

Good Grief

January 10th, 2012
10:58 am

I’m glad we we have CTG….I like the 3-4

george

January 10th, 2012
10:59 am

flo-ri-duh- how do you figure uga should have been ranked ahead of 19??Yes all the dawgs losses came to top ten teams but they also lost to every good team they played. ZERO ranked teams beat this year. What was the pups best win? a 6 loss florida team? a 5 loss auburn team? The schedule was a joke and 4 maybe 5 teams in the sec west could have won 10 games with the same schedule. The schdule next year is even more of a joke with a boise like schedule with only a couple of hard games. If the pups dont win at least 10 and get back to atl (where they will get beat by 30 again) it will be a joke of a season again.

george

January 10th, 2012
11:00 am

for that matter tell me the last GREAT win UGA had. Think hard because you have to go back 5 years.

CND

January 10th, 2012
11:01 am

We aren’t near the defense Alabama is though. They play with a level of intensity that i’ve never seen. It’s almost like they have an extra guy on the field. We have to get to this elite status before we can compete with the big boys

Bad Dawg, Bad Dawg

January 10th, 2012
11:02 am

Always hype coming out of Athens. Why didn’t UGA keep Alabama on its schedule? An elite SEC team would have beat the Spartans in overtime. I guess the Dawgs are going to win a national championship in 2012? Dream on!

Harry Dawg

January 10th, 2012
11:03 am

None of this is going to matter with Bobo at the helm of the Offense. One would think Richt would have seen what was possible with bringing in a REAL DC…

I love my Dawgs but we’ll see what happens…

Tide is rolling and nothing can stop it

January 10th, 2012
11:03 am

Any mid-tier program should be happy with this season…

harold

January 10th, 2012
11:05 am

UGA PLAYS ONLY ONE RANKED PRESEASON TOP 25 TEAM. IF RICHT CAN’T WIN THE EAST WITH THIS PIECE OF CAKE SCHEDULE HE SHOULD BE FIRED.

UGA IS NO WHERE NEAR ALABAMA & SABAN OR LSU AND MILES.

Joey

January 10th, 2012
11:07 am

Inlet Dawg, so you really don’t “like where we are right now,” because we haven’t won a big game since Tech in ‘09?

Not one thing will change next season with Richt’s program – the new (keep up the good work, we love 10 wins!) contract guarantees that. The only good news in Athens is, it looks like the AD will wrap up Grantham for 3 years. That alone will be enough for UGA to win 10 games in ‘12, provided Richt’s insanely conservative offensive approach which was displayed several times this season – mainly sitting on small leads – doesn’t cost a game or two vs underdogs. He inexplicably did this vs Ol Miss, Vandy, UT, KY, LSU, and Michigan St. It worked vs poor teams. It didn’t work vs good teams.

Spike

January 10th, 2012
11:09 am

We need O linemen and beat the Gators again!!

Dawg Dawg Dawg

January 10th, 2012
11:10 am

Mark Richt will never take us to the National Championship game.

Honestly, who gets excited about a Top 20 finish?? And it doesn’t meter where you’re ranked in the preseason, it matters where you finish. The only thing that saved Richt’s job was the powderpuff schedule.

ha

January 10th, 2012
11:10 am

“Top 20 finish likely a sign of things to come for Dawgs”

With another easy schedule, UGA can again win 10 games and get the crap beat out of them again.

Idiots.

ha

January 10th, 2012
11:11 am

“Van Gorder felt the heat in Atlanta and did his usual evacuation ahead of the sinking ship. He has his work cut out for him at Auburn. Expect him to last about 3 years before moving on again.”

UGA fan predictions are so funny. Van Gorder did pretty well with Atlanta given that Atlanta sucks and will always suck. Atlantas problems were on offense not defense, goober.

Auburn will win another championship before UGAG.

Barkin' Dog

January 10th, 2012
11:11 am

Flo-Ri-Duh – I heard on the REF this morning that a Dawg site owner predicts a top 5 ranking for recruits. And, on ESPN, Robert Smith has the Dawgs ranked #3 on his preseason rankings for 2012. That speaks highly of where the Dawgs are heading. Depth will be the biggest issue, and our QB not forcing throws in big games next season. Address those, and we’ll see them in the SEC Title game again.

CND

January 10th, 2012
11:12 am

Uga coaches should have taken notes from Saban last night. That is how championship teams are supposed to play. No mistakes, no penalties, and everyone playing their assignements. Preperation is the key to winning the big games. Uga needs to get more consistent with this. Go dawgs!

Tide is rolling and nothing can stop it

January 10th, 2012
11:14 am

UGA is a joke at football just like this entire state is one airport away from being the biggest joke in the country.

MCDAVIDDAWG

January 10th, 2012
11:14 am

For all the expectations for next year, we’ve been here before. Little hope of a great team because no matter what we still have the same head coach. Richt can’t fill his recruiting classes. We’ve played undermanned for the last two years and this years start is off to the same kind of slow start. Richt can’t win big with top talent what will he do as the closet gets more and more empty.

DIT

January 10th, 2012
11:15 am

With bad special teams, a bad OC and playing with heart I just don’t see the Dawgs making it back to the SEC CG. 9 to 10 win season again with no big victories over a quality opponent.
Bobo needs to go!
The QB position needs to be wide open during the spring.
Special teams need a serious overhaul.
Oh, did I mention that Bobo needs to go!

dmr

January 10th, 2012
11:15 am

Alabama got creative on offense and got away from tendencies. While still running the ball and be effective, Bama got McCarron on the edges and got the tight ends involved in the game plan. Also, Bama used a multitude of different formations to keep LSU off balance and honest.

Is Bobo capable of doing this type of thing? I don’t believe he is. At a minimum, he certainly has never showed it.

Tide is rolling and nothing can stop it

January 10th, 2012
11:16 am

Bobo is not the problem, Dawgs. Learn football…

harold

January 10th, 2012
11:17 am

UGA HAD A 10 GAME WINNING STREAK ALL AGAINST “UNRANKED” TEAMS. WHEN THEY THEY PLAYED RANKED TEAMS RICHT IS NOW 2-10 AGAINST THEM IN THE LAST 12 GAMES.

UGA PLAYS ONE TEAM RANKED IN THE PRESEASON TOP 25 NEXT YEAR—-ONE—SOUTH CAROLINA. RICHT JUST ISN’T A CHAMPIONSHIP COACH. BOBO IS HORRIBLE!

Dawglasville

January 10th, 2012
11:18 am

Bill, you hit it on the head. I’m surprised with the top 20 finish and I’m not happy about BVG going to Auburn. Like you said, they just got better.

LogicalUS

January 10th, 2012
11:21 am

About where they belonged….with the 4 superior SEC teams ranked well ahead.

BAMA\LSU\ARK\SC all in the Top Ten.

Dawglasville

January 10th, 2012
11:21 am

harold – don’t you ever get tired? Build something. Stop trying to tear stuff down.

Bigdsel5556

January 10th, 2012
11:21 am

As a dawg fan I’m ready for UGA to take the next step and win the nc. I’m getting tired of seeing fla, alabama, auburn, and lsu taking all the glory. Its time for UGA to step up, police their own and bring home a crystal ball. Goo dawgs. Remember off season training is what wins games in the fall. Get this team ready coach T

Tide is rolling and nothing can stop it

January 10th, 2012
11:24 am

@Bad Dawg, Bad Dawg change you name to Dumb Dawg and beat the rush..the SEC makes the schedule not UGA and if anyone has sway with them its Saban, hell he got to play for the NC and didn’t even win his conference hey come to think about it he didn’t even win his division..

BusterBlue

January 10th, 2012
11:28 am

Yeah, nice to finish in the top 20 again, nice to be relevant for the first time in 3 years. Should be pre-season top 10 in most polls, maybe top 5. 2012 schedule only has 2 top 25 type teams on it, Auburn & of course South Carolina. I expect 2 losses there, of course, as Richt always loses to top 25 teams, so a 10-2 finish, losing the East to South Carolina, and a nice Bowl game.

Dawglasville

January 10th, 2012
11:28 am

Tide is rolling and nothing can stop it – I don’t know that there is a problem but here is an explanation: UGA and Alabama view amateur athletics differently. Enjoy your National Title.