A year ago Sports Illustrated, like pretty much everyone else, ranked Georgia No. 1. This year the venerable magazine has the Bulldogs No. 15, three spots behind Georgia Tech. And I saw that yesterday and said to myself, “That’s pretty darn close.”
The USA Today coaches’ poll was released last week, and it surprised me. Georgia was No. 13, two places ahead of the Jackets. And that, you should know, made me go, “Hmmm.”
Flying home from the Capital One Bowl, I did a back-of-the-envelope estimate and guessed, without Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno, Georgia would be ranked No. 21 to Tech’s No. 9, but I realize now I might have been suffering from jet lag. (Yeah, I know. Orlando’s in the same time zone. But it’s only excuse I can find.) I probably had Tech a tad too high and definitely had Georgia too low.
Were I doing the same computations today, I’d put Tech No. 10 — I think this is a Top 10 team that will win the ACC and play in the Orange Bowl – and Georgia No. 15. I think the Bulldogs will lose four games, each to a team SI ranks above them, but no more. So that’d be, in my mind, a good 8-4 season. (I know from the tenor of your response many among you don’t feel there’s any such thing.)
I also agree with SI’s choice for No. 2 — Texas. (In fact, I see Texas, which was also No. 2 in the coaches’ poll, beating Florida in the BCS title game.) I think the magazine has Virginia Tech and Ole Miss way too high at Nos. 5 and 6, respectively, and Alabama a bit elevated at No. 8, but other than that I have no real disagreement. But I do have a mathematical quibble:
SI has both Tech and Georgia finishing 9-3 and second in their respective divisions. (Tech to Virginia Tech, Georgia to guess who.) The magazine also has Georgia going 5-3 in SEC play, which would mean finishing unbeaten against non-conference opponents. Which would mean beating Tech. But if Tech and Georgia both go 9-3 and the Bulldogs win at Bobby Dodd Stadium, shouldn’t they be ranked higher?
The magazine also has Oklahoma State, which it ranks No. 7 in the land, going unbeaten in non-conference play. Both things cannot happen. Either Georgia or OSU must lose Sept. 5 in Stillwater. And with that I’ll step aside, mindful always of what Agent Mulder once told his winsome partner:
“Nobody likes a math geek, Scully.”