Will the SEC rule again in 2011? Will UGA be a Top 25 team?

In 2006 and 2008 it was Florida. In 2007 it was LSU. Last year it was Alabama. Now it’s Auburn. Five seasons, five BCS titlists from the SEC. And now we ask: Will the run continue?

Early guess: Nope.

Looking to 2011, Auburn will surely lose its two best players — Cam Newton and Nick Fairley — to the NFL draft. Arkansas is losing Ryan Mallett, its best player. Alabama is losing Mark Ingram, Julio Jones and Marcell Dareus, perhaps its three best players. LSU could be losing its coach to Michigan. Florida has lost its coach to retirement. So who does that leave?

South Carolina? The Gamecocks will doubtless be favored in the SEC East, but they just went 9-5 and looked feeble in their two postseason losses. Mississippi State? Well, those Bulldogs seem the rising team in the West, but would you really count Mississippi State as a national championship possibility?

And what of Georgia?  As we know, these Bulldogs just had their first losing season since 1996 and have lost A.J. Green to boot. But the schedule looks much kinder, and Georgia does have a quarterback and might have a defense.

The ever-helpful Orlando Sentinel has already compiled a preseason Top 25, and UGA fans will be pleased to know Matt Murschel has included the Bulldogs at No. 18. (This from the same newspaper that didn’t have Georgia — rather presciently, we must say — in its Top 50 for 2010.) Murschel has South Carolina 14th, Arkansas 16th, Mississippi State 19th and Auburn 24th.

Only two SEC teams crack his Top 10 — Alabama at No. 3 and LSU at No. 4 — but neither seems impregnable. The Tide might be another year away from another BCS title, and who ever knows about the Tigers?

A ridiculously early guess: Next January will see a champ from a different league — perhaps the Big 12 (Oklahoma), but more probably the Pac-10. Oregon didn’t show much against Auburn, but it’s still a talented team, and Stanford might be better than that. Quarterback Andrew Luck is returning, and next year the Cardinal gets Oregon at home. But Stanford will be without Jim Harbaugh, who has fled to the 49ers.

In sum, there’s no kneejerk preseason No. 1 for 2011 the way Alabama was this season and Florida was in 2009. (Neither made it to the title game.) Next year will be unsettled, precisely as the season just completed turned out to be. Flash back to August. Know where the champion-to-be? No. 23 in the Associated Press poll, one slot ahead of Georgia, six spots behind Georgia Tech.

Update: Multiple news sources in Baton Rouge are reporting that Leslie Miles will remain at LSU. Which would seem to make the Tigers the preseason SEC favorite, wouldn’t you think?

By Mark Bradley

373 comments Add your comment

NC Dawg

January 11th, 2011
9:52 am

smyrna man

January 11th, 2011
9:52 am

1st! No UGA is not a top 25 team

Mark Bradley

January 11th, 2011
9:54 am

Where’s rawdawg?

Kudos to NC Dawg for springing the surprise “first.”

BJ Washington

January 11th, 2011
9:54 am

Rawdawg it’s time for dinner!

nemov

January 11th, 2011
9:54 am

Georgia is the last SEC champion not to win the National Championship.

Beast from the East

January 11th, 2011
9:57 am

Too damn early to be speculating about next season. Let the Barners enjoy their win.
We’ll discuss next season after all of the coaching changes, recruiting, etc are over with.

Sherry Dean

January 11th, 2011
9:57 am

rawdawg was at my house this morning

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

DawginLex

January 11th, 2011
10:00 am

It depends on which SEC team is willing to slide by the NCAA rules, open up their checkbook, set up their own mafia family and whine and cry when somebody questions their integrity.

dbc

January 11th, 2011
10:01 am

I don’t know who the next BCS Champ will be, but I know who it won’t be. UGA will be lucky to duplicate it’s record from this year. As long as mediocre Mark is at the helm, the dawgs run in circles.

Billyboy

January 11th, 2011
10:04 am

Now that’s a great conclusion after 5 years of domination . . . SEC will be an average conference. Another good analysis

JoseyWhales

January 11th, 2011
10:04 am

I don’t know why there is even a debate anymore. The winner of the SEC should just play whoever else for the National Championship every year.

Bow Wow

January 11th, 2011
10:04 am

The Little Sisters of the Poor will continue to struggle while waiting for the “dream team” which seems to be gravitating toward the state of Alabama.

Corch Richt

January 11th, 2011
10:05 am

Stick with me folks. You all know it’s a 30 year build to a national championship for a coach. We’re only in year 11.

Lowcountry "Snowed-in" Bulldawg

January 11th, 2011
10:06 am

The addition of Crowell could be a key addition to getting them to a SEC Title. Look at what Dwyer did last night and Lattimore did for USC. Got to find a go to back for 2011.

sprouse27

January 11th, 2011
10:06 am

Suspect next year WILL be tough on the SEC, but then again, you never know who the breakout stars will be and what talent will step up. Cam Newton and Auburn wasn’t on my radar screen this time last year. The SEC has proven to be a very talented and resourceful confernce. I just wish the Dawgs were part of my conference optimism.

Larry

January 11th, 2011
10:07 am

Richt never again wins the SEC East, much less the conference title.

Larry

January 11th, 2011
10:08 am

Think of the excitement if Will Muschamp and Charlie Weis were coming to Georgia instead of the Gaytors !!!

Jake

January 11th, 2011
10:08 am

Well well, it starts already. Get ready for those Wisconsin Badgers to run up 80 point wins and then have the fans scream when a one loss SEC team ranks ahead of them. The SEC may not in 2011 be as strong as 2010, but put your bucks on the conference to again dominate the top 10. In truth there is the NFL, the SEC and the rest of the NCAA.

Real Deal

January 11th, 2011
10:09 am

Georgia will not be top 25. Let’s face it, the recoed shows that Georgia, over the years is slightly better than average. Especially when compared to the rest of the SEC!! Does any one really think Mark Richt’s final year will be among Georgia’s all-time best?

TheItalianDawg

January 11th, 2011
10:10 am

Who are we kidding? Georgia is gone, will never compete for any championship as long as Richt at the helm, Bobo is the definition of inconsistency. Georgia should not be ranked next season, there is no reason to rank them!! we said that before and you Mark mentioned this, if the opposing team cant stop your fast ball why the change up! that is precisely what Bob does, when Georgia has something working he tried to stop it!!
The bottom line is Georgia and Championship will never coexist in the same sentence as long as the Clowns are in control. Go Dawgs!

Gary Patterson

January 11th, 2011
10:11 am

My team should have played for the championship. We were better than Nike U.

dawgfan

January 11th, 2011
10:12 am

Auburn was ranked #22 in the 2010 preseason AP poll and was picked to finish 4th in the West. Any attempts to label any SEC team a non-national title contender in JANUARY are absolutely freaking futile.

5150 P.O.A.D.

January 11th, 2011
10:14 am

MARK
You better look in the backseat of your car. RawDawg might be hiding.

Are you KIDDING?
The DAWGS Top 25?
They will be pretty far down the pols to start the year and not get close to the 25 after their first 5 games.
NO UGA will not be a top 25 team.

TCU should get 1/2 of the MNC this year.
Referees got the booth review wrong. There should have been OverTime at least.

Rocky

January 11th, 2011
10:14 am

2010 Bama was favored because of offense. Always known for defense wins championships, they return all of their defense save Dareus. Richardson ever bit as good as Ingram, Julio is the one we will miss most, but he plays offense. Beast from the East, never too early in Alabama where there is no time line, its 365 days a year and Auburn fans will fly those flags continuously until their first loss in about October. Go to al.com everyday and you will see an article EVERYDAY about the state of college football from the 3 major news sources. Its not just a game, its a religion of hate between the 2 teams and the newspapers thrive on it.

DougsMugs

January 11th, 2011
10:15 am

Thanks Mark, I am enjoying my coffee and reading the sports while sitting alone in my lonely coffee shop. Ice is all over the roads and parking lot down here in Henry County. :-(

puppydawg

January 11th, 2011
10:15 am

UGA will have the players to compete for the SEC East in 2011. Unfortunately, those players will not have the coaching staff that they deserve. As long as we have Bobo the Ass Clown, I will refrain from being enthusiastic about our chances.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

January 11th, 2011
10:15 am

It could still happen a 2 loss sec team has won the championship so we will just have to wait and see. I cheer for the Dawgs as hard as anyone but Cmon man being ranked at this point is a joke.

Mulk

January 11th, 2011
10:16 am

Jake,

SEC closing fast on NFL – due to salary cap restrictions imposaed on NFL teams. Not to mention amateur requirements for the rest of the NCAA.

No and No

January 11th, 2011
10:17 am

I’ll say no to both questions.

Yeah Right

January 11th, 2011
10:18 am

The only way UGA makes top 25 if Richt is coaching anywhere but UGA. He has gotten complacent and quiet frankly can’t blame him for it. His performance at any top tier SEC school would have meant immediate replacement but not here in Athens. The only thing hold the program back is the coach. He has made the program the laughing stock of the conference. Top recruit but nothing to show for it. What a Joke!!!

Mulk

January 11th, 2011
10:20 am

Jake,

SEC closing fast on NFL due to salary cap restrictions imposed upon NFL teams. Not to mention amateur status tequired by the rest of the NCAA.,

oakwood dawg

January 11th, 2011
10:21 am

I am not optimistic about next season. Believe we will have another losing season and CMR will be fired. Was hoping he would be replaced by Kirby Smart but would bet you if Miles goes to Michigan then Smart will be the next LSU coach. Hope I’m wrong but I don’t see any thing exiting about next year. Come on dawgs–prove me wrong.

Things that make you go hmmmm

January 11th, 2011
10:21 am

Of the SEC’s big 6, (Florida, Georgia, Tenn, Bama, Auburn, and LSU) which is the only one that doesn’t have a BCS title?

FalconUGAFan

January 11th, 2011
10:22 am

Yes….No……prove me wrong, Dawgs….

Field Goal Jesus

January 11th, 2011
10:23 am

Please dont knock coaches who win with field goals you ignorant red necks!

zgoldatl

January 11th, 2011
10:24 am

Finally somebody beat out Rawdawg. But to answer your question, regardless of what the Orlando Sentinel says, NO UGA is not a top 25 team until they prove it on the field. I think preseason rankings are pointless anyways. I say release the first top 25 after week 4. Then no team will start so low that they don’t have a chance, or no team will start so high that other teams dont have a chance. UGA has proved many times that talent doesn’t translate in to wins. I seem to remember them being preseason # 1 a few seasons ago, and we all know how that worked out.

Go Falcons!!! RISE UP ATLANTA!!!

Since Vince

January 11th, 2011
10:26 am

Sorry but next year is already OVA for the dawgs. See ya in 2012.

Dawg Tired

January 11th, 2011
10:27 am

Well, I wouldn’t rank UGA in the 25. However, CMR has promised to be more focused on “football” this year so we can be “on the cutting edge.” Somewhat distressing to think we pay some one over $2,000,000 and we have not had a grasp of what is going on in college football. Anyone watching last nights NC game saw two coaching staffs who already are on the cutting edge. Can you imagine CMR doing some of the stuff Oregon does? I know – Oregon lost. However, they had fun and were actually playing in the NC game. Auburn seems a little more uptight, but still prevailed and sowed some imagination on both offense and defense. Are their players really that much better than ours? Maybe they are. I don’t know.

Bob

January 11th, 2011
10:27 am

I predict complete BCS anarchy in 2011. Somebody from a big boy conference is going to get left out of the dance again, as opposed to some mid major non-AQ that nobody cares about. We could see another split champion or another 2004 Auburn. Its been a while since we’ve had a good BCS controversy. Its long overdue.

ESPN championship

January 11th, 2011
10:28 am

As long as ESPN remains the dictator of all things college football, you will never see a non-AQ school in the title game, and you probably won’t see a lesser name AQ school like Connecticut or Wisconsin get there without some major breaks thanks to the ESPN hype machine. Until the NCAA and university presidents figure out how to put together a post-season tournament, the only true championship a school can earn is their conference title.

swimdawg68

January 11th, 2011
10:30 am

I watched the OC for Auburn (Gus M.) last night, talk about a guy involved in his offense on every play. I have also watched our guy Bobo on the sideline, what a big difference in the two. Did you see the creativity of the Auburn offense? Since CMR has decided to stick with Bobo I guess we will see the same uncreative offense we have watched for many years next year.

The age old definition of stupid is doing the same thing all the time and expecting different results. Having said that, CMR is certainly personifying that statement by keeping Bobo as his OC. Did you notice the Oregon head coach on the sideline how involved he was with the entire offense? When was the last time you saw CMR that involved in the offense? I think it was back when we were willing SEC championships.

I have some very good friends in the UGA athletic dept that tell me anything short of a 10-2 season next year and playing for an SEC title and CMR’s days at UGA will be over. If Greg McGarity had been hear longer it would have happend this year. Remember, McGarity spent many years at Fla. where losing is not an option, he will instill that same attitude hear at UGA with or without CMR.

SamIAM

January 11th, 2011
10:30 am

Anyone else think Chip Kelly acked kinda snotty toward Erin last night in her pre-game questions?

Swami

January 11th, 2011
10:30 am

If the dawgs land Isaiah Crowell, they’re definitely a top 20 team next year; if not,they’ll be lucky to be a top 50 team!

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Dawg Tired

January 11th, 2011
10:32 am

We should not be ranked even though CMR is going to be “more focused on football” so we ca “be on the cutting edge” of what’s going on in college football. A $2,000,000+ salary and we have not been “focused on football.” We certainly have not been on “the cutting edge.” Can anyone on here imagine CMR doing some of the things Coach Kelly does? I mean those guys were actually having fun playing the game. It is fun to run some of those crazy plays, fake kicks, etc. That was refreshing.

cutting edge

January 11th, 2011
10:33 am

these dawgs will be proficient in cosmic bowling and cutting flips off the high dive next season.

McDawg

January 11th, 2011
10:35 am

i promise to be more focused on my job in 2012 and spend less time reading sports blogs

Douglas

January 11th, 2011
10:35 am

I still would put Bama first — Saban had a “down” year with 3 losses but I still believe he is the best coach in America. Unfortunately, I’m a UGA fan. I wish we had a coach that could even compete!

Observer

January 11th, 2011
10:36 am

I watched that game last night and never realized “the SEC” was playing. Was it an all-star team from the SEC? I thought that was Auburn winning the championship. Does the Auburn win make uga, vandy, ky, ole miss, tn better teams? According to bowl results, guess not. I don’t know why anyone who follows football would seriously include uga in a discussion of who is ranked next year. What will make them better than last year? Maybe the best laugh on here was the guy who included uga in the “Big Six” in the SEC, comparing them to teams like FL, Auburn, Bama, LSU, etc..When has uga been in that group?