Perno, Dogs embrace No. 1 baseball ranking

Georgia baseball coach David Perno.

Georgia baseball coach David Perno.

Say whatever you want about Georgia baseball coach David Perno but one thing I’ve always liked about him is his penchant for telling it like it is. Take this new business about his Bulldogs being ranked No. 1 in the land.

When I asked him about it, Perno didn’t jump into cliché-ridden coachspeak about how “it’s early in the season” and “the only poll the matters is the last one.” He didn’t say, “We don’t look at polls.”

What he did say was: “I completely embrace it. Our players, our program, our former players, we all embrace it. It’s awesome.”

Now I know and you know the Diamond Dogs haven’t exactly been taking on the New York Yankees in pre-conference play. They have feasted on the likes of Youngstown State, Presbyterian, Wofford and Quinnipiac in building a school-record-setting 12-0 ledger. There was the trip to Tucson for three games against a rebuilding Arizona squad so we have to give them credit for that. But the key word therein is “feasted.” It hasn’t even been close. Last time I checked Georgia has not trailed at the end of an inning ALL YEAR [late edit note: The streak ended at 101 innings vs. Quinnipiac]. That’s crazy!

So after starting the season scattered all over the rankings, the Bulldogs on Monday landed on top of two of the polls. They’re now No. 1 according to Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. We could go on forever about whether Georgia deserves to be ranked No. 1. To start with there are way too many polls, four main ones and a slew of others (FWIW, the Bulldogs are 8 by Baseball America and 2 by ESPN/USA Today/Coaches). So that just could never be resolved and that’s not my point anyway.

My point is how Georgia is handling its ranking. Perno went on to say that the Bulldogs might have been more wary of such a distinction in years past but that this one is a result of what Georgia has done in recent years — it was College World Series runner-up last year and has played in three of the last five — as well as what this year’s team is doing. So it’s a program thing. And be sure, he believes his is a great program.

“I trust our players. They realize they need to keep it in perspective,” Perno said. “A lot of these guys were in the national championship game, so they know perspective. That wasn’t that long ago. But this is as much about ‘04, ‘06 and ‘08 as it is about ‘09. We appreciate that recognition and we feel like we can handle it.”

There are some that will label Perno as brash or cocky, and maybe he is. But this isn’t like Lane Kiffin who hasn’t done anything yet. If you haven’t been paying attention Perno has a good bit about which to be confident.

He is one of only 12 men in NCAA history to take three teams to the CWS in his first seven years. Georgia has won just three SEC Championships since 1955 (six overall) and Perno managed Georgia to two of them (’04, ‘08) and was an assistant for the other (’01 under Ron Polk). Suddenly first-, second- and third-round draft picks are not only signing with Georgia but actually showing up as freshmen and coming back for their senior seasons. Lest we forget, these things are always about players.

As for Perno, he’s enjoying the limelight. Besides, he feels peer pressure.

“You have to be ranked No. 1 just to keep up with the coaches at Georgia,” Perno quipped. “Suzanne (Yoculan) in gymnastics, Mark (Richt) in football, Jack (Bauerle) in swimming, men’s and women’s tennis and golf. I’m just trying to do my part.”

And he’s not shying away from it.

65 comments Add your comment

Max Sizemore

March 10th, 2009
7:07 am

Let’s not forget, Perno was hired by Dooley. It was thought at the time to be a risky hire. Attaboy, Vince.

hop

March 10th, 2009
7:55 am

max,to your point about vince going outside the box to hire perno, one wonders if chip’s “golden boy” would have made the same decision!

i doubt it!

perno is the very best georgia baseball coach ever!

Atlanta Gator

March 10th, 2009
8:10 am

The psychology of being ranked number one in Division I baseball is very different than being ranked number one in football, for at least two reasons.

First, college baseball is a playoff sport; football is not. Whether your team is ranked first, fifth, tenth or twentieth, it’s going to earn a playoff berth. Only the playoff seeding is impacted, indirectly, by the team’s ranking.

Second, college baseball teams play four times as many games as college football teams. The impact of a single loss on a team’s ranking across the entirety of the 40-game season is minimal. In college football, a single loss usually ends a team’s title hopes. In college baseball, the kids can play loose and relaxed and not worry about one or more losses cratering their title hopes.

So, Dawg fans enjoy the number one baseball ranking as long as it lasts. You can rest assured that whether your kids finish the regular season ranked first or tenth, it’s the team’s performance in the regional tournaments and the College World Series that really matters.

Say something we don't know

March 10th, 2009
8:35 am

To Atlanta Gator… DUHHHHHHHH!!

Richard Dawson

March 10th, 2009
8:36 am

Atlanta Gator, what would you know about the playoffs and CWS?

Squarebush

March 10th, 2009
8:57 am

Chip, FWIW Sunday was the first time this season that the Dawgs trailed at the end of an inning. Quinni-what-not led 2-0 at the end of two innings.

Chip Towers

March 10th, 2009
9:06 am

hop: I’m going to nip this in the bud once and for all. I, too, am a big fan of Vince Dooley. Have been for years. And Damon Evans is not my “golden boy.” In fact, he’s not a boy at all. But you need to make sure you have your facts straight. Perno was the fourth, fifth or sixth choice of Dooley, depending on whom you believe. Several others turned down the job before Dooley turned to Perno. Dooley’s right-hand man, by the way, was Damon. Dooley recommended Damon for the job. They are not mutually exclusive entities. They are in fact quite connected.

Too Easy

March 10th, 2009
9:08 am

Let’s see: Currently ranked No. 1 in men’s golf, gymnastics and now, baseball. Top 10’s in women’s golf, softball, and both tennis (actually Top 5’s in some of those). Pretty good spring so far.

AltamahaDawg

March 10th, 2009
10:19 am

I guess the thing about being undefeated and rank #1 after only playing the early schedule is that, so has everyone else at this point, so the comparison hopefully is “indexed”, and some indication of what’s to come, where everyone steps up in competition.

AG, also helps to make the tourney being previously ranked #1, eh?

Dentster

March 10th, 2009
10:30 am

Georgia will be in the CWS and I expect them to make it to the finals…again!

Huh?

March 10th, 2009
10:32 am

It seems to me that college baseball is very streaky. A #1 ranking at this point is pretty meaningless. They need to get hot in May and June, not now. Wake me up when the CWS starts. I’m not even that big of a baseball fan but last year’s CWS sure was exciting, except for the very end where we lost.

mike

March 10th, 2009
10:37 am

Garry

March 10th, 2009
10:38 am

Coach Perno is an awsome person my son has played for him for the last 2 years he lets the players play and enjoy themselves but demands dedication and commitment the team is full of very talented and very good young men its a pleasure to watch them play and get to know them.I know seasons are only measured in wins and losses but memories and experiences last a lifetime.

reservoirDAWG

March 10th, 2009
10:40 am

Congrats to the Diamond Dawgs. Keep playing hard.

ArkyTech

March 10th, 2009
10:41 am

LSU Kings of the Baseball Diamond

March 10th, 2009
10:44 am

Congrats on being #1. Once the SEC play starts we’ll see what UGA is really made of. Looking forward to series in Athens against my Tigers.

matt

March 10th, 2009
10:52 am

Chip- any plans by local media to promote college baseball a little more? The PBA and Poker are promote more than college baseball. Out of the 3 major college sports it is by far promoted the least. Miami/Fla St. baseball game is going to be a hell of a lot more exciting than the same two teams playing basketball!! Seems to me that this could be a HUGE deal if ESPN would do a Gameday type thing for a weekend series.

longtimesecfan

March 10th, 2009
11:01 am

congrats on no. 1 rating in baseball, butt sniffers””handle it as well as you did in football”””’see ya”0

SEC Fan

March 10th, 2009
11:10 am

UGA hasn’t earned the right to be #1 by playing the teams they have played so far. If you look at their RPI in baseball which is more accurate than these BS polls they are 43rd. Yeah thats a team that really deserves the #1 ranking. Congrats can’t wait to see you choke when you are put up against real teams.

buzz

March 10th, 2009
11:12 am

you might have the #1 ranking in baseball, golf and gymnastics, but you will always be second fiddle in football. Keep your 1980 flag, because it is the only one you will ever get.

SOUTHSIDE DAWG

March 10th, 2009
11:12 am

To Arkytech
tech national baseball championship? and UGA 2 out of 3 last year. When is the last tech played in the championship game? or played in the CWS?

SEC Fan

March 10th, 2009
11:20 am

“When is the last tech played in the championship game? or played in the CWS?”

When was the last time UGA won the CWS? almost as long ago as your football team winning the NC. UGA got beat by a Fresno team that really had no business being in the CWS to begin with.

I’ll beat UGA doesn’t even make it out of the Super Regionals at the end of the season.

murfdawg

March 10th, 2009
11:24 am

It will be a long season. As long as GT or fla are not ranked #1, I’m happy.

SOUTHSIDE DAWG

March 10th, 2009
11:29 am

Well for the record tech has NEVER won the CWS.

athensdawg

March 10th, 2009
11:56 am

All Hail LSU…King of the Baseball Diamond.

We will see if the dawgs are really up to snuff….LSU and company are a little bit tougher than quinnipac.

Hopefully our up and coming program can help load the CWS up with SEC schools…another sport dominated by the SEC…yawn…..

Atlanta Jackets

March 10th, 2009
11:56 am

SEC Fan speaks for me. LOL! He burns you guys. BURN! LOL! ROTFLMAO!!

Should I send the Robot over to score another touchdown? LOL!

Tell them SEC FAN!

LSU Kings of the Baseball Diamond

March 10th, 2009
12:04 pm

AthensDawg

I wasn’t trying to be a smart@ss. All I was saying was that its very easy to good against the teams UGA has played so far. I am curious to see what they do against the SEC. Then if they get the #1 ranking after that then that is the time to be puffing out your chest, not after the only quaility team you have beaten is a rebuilding Arizona team.

“All Hail LSU…King of the Baseball Diamond”

I’m sorry my 5 CWS rings couldn’t hear you on that.

Grahzny Bratchny

March 10th, 2009
12:05 pm

SEC Fan, you are off the mark. Whether Fresno St belonged there is not the point, they beat a lot good teams to win it all. That is baseball, not just college baseball that is baseball period. They were also on the road the entire time I believe. Fresno St deserved to win. Not sure how many times the Braves were the best team and only have 1 ring.

Perno has built a good program whether they get out of the regionals or not. UGA baseball does not take a back seat to any team in the SEC except maybe LSU.

LSU Kings of the Baseball Diamond

March 10th, 2009
12:06 pm

***The word Look should be in there***

Meaning its very to look good against the teams.

SEC Fan

March 10th, 2009
12:12 pm

I am sorry but Perno has had ONE good year and that was last year. They year before that UGA was a bottom dweller. I don’t believe Perno is as good of a coach as some people give him credit for.

“UGA baseball does not take a back seat to any team in the SEC except maybe LSU.”

UGA takes a back seat to alot of teams in the SEC, especially LSU.

Grahzny Bratchny

March 10th, 2009
12:46 pm

Since 2000 UGA and LSU have been to 4 CWS each. Tenn and S. Carolina have been twice. Ark, Florida, Miss St. once each.

5 programs in that time frame have been 5 times and only one of those, Miami, is in the ACC or SEC. 4 times is also better than the 2 trips by Az. St, FSU, Tech, and USC.

I don’t care about a #1 ranking, but making it to the Super Regionals and CWS is pretty good. And, 3 out of 5 years to the CWS is one more than LSU – sounds like a solid program to me.

Don’t let the facts get in your way there SEC fan

Gen Neyland

March 10th, 2009
1:48 pm

Congrats on the #1 ranking. Should the peices stay healthy, it’s back to Omaha. Switching gears, good luck to all in the SEC Tourney. And to those invited to the Dance, well, I just hope our conference shows up. The best basketball of the season is about to begin…Go Vols

CalDogg

March 10th, 2009
1:53 pm

SEC “Fan” needs to change his name. Why don’t you tell us who your team really is and put that in front. Then, at least, we could put you comments into context. I mean, you expect a GT, LSU, UF fan to mouth off about you (gee, wonder if it has anything to do with where they went to school), but an “SEC” fan? You’d expect a fan of the conference to be proud to have a team from the conference doing as well as UGA has that past several years. Where’s the hate coming from?

Come on, fess up. Who’s your real team? Gotta be somebody. It sure isn’t the SEC.

SEC Fan

March 10th, 2009
2:06 pm

Since when do I have to be proud of the conference? When did conference pride become more than pulling for your team? Huh? Just because a team is in the SEC and ranked #1 I have to pull for them? Sorry I am not a cheerleader for the whole damn conference.

People need to get off this conference pride crap. I pull for one team and to be honest I hope all other teams from the SEC gets their @ss beat.

ArkyTech

March 10th, 2009
2:09 pm

So where is Quinnipiac?

LSU Kings of the Baseball Diamond

March 10th, 2009
2:11 pm

As an LSU fan I fully expected LSU to drop from the #1 spot after dropping the series, Its a long season and while its great to be #1 now all it takes is one or two losses (which is going to happen in baseball) to drop out of that spot.

Again we will see what UGA is really made of the first weekend of April. lol

Richard

March 10th, 2009
2:15 pm

Hey, AJC.com guys…Can we change the Basketball “next game is” to Baseball? These guys deserve to get more press. Congratz on the #1 ranking Diamond Dawgs!

MARIETTA DAWG

March 10th, 2009
2:53 pm

Congratulations to the DIAMOND DAWGS.
Well deserved and long over due.
I know its early but we are looking forward to Coach Dave leading them back to Omaha.
GOOOOOOOO DAWGS…..

diamonddawgsrule

March 10th, 2009
2:56 pm

To those who criticize the ranking, it is a long season and we will see how it plays out. It’s not that big of a deal as it usually changes throughout the season with a series loss. BUT, this team is good. Yes, they have been playing sub-par teams, but they have been dominating them. They have scored less than 10 runs in only 2 games, and the pitching has been excellent. To the Tech fans, you really have no reason to talk. If I recall correctly, you had your chance to send us packing TWICE last year, but you failed to do this and were dominated in Regionals. And to SEC Fan, one good year? Perno has coached the Dawgs to 3 CWS in 5 years, that’s pretty darn good in my book.

Johnny DangerDawg

March 10th, 2009
2:58 pm

Perno is a great coach. I hope he sticks around for a long time.

Chip Towers

March 10th, 2009
3:31 pm

Hey guys. Sorry I’ve been away so long. I’ve been absolutely slammed with work that has kept me off the blog. I was over at Georgia’s basketball practice for a while. The Dogs seem genuinely excited abut the SEC tournament. They play Miss. State in the first round Thursday at 3:15 p.m. . . .

By now you’ve probably seen that Trey Thompkins was named to the Freshman All-SEC team. Talked to him briefly and he said it was definitely something he wanted but overall he didn’t seem overly thrilled about it. Thompkins was the only Bulldog represented anywhere. . . .

I’ll be flying down to Tampa for the tournament early in the morning. I’ll be providing updates and tidbits all day tomorrow from the St. Pete Time Forum. . . .

What else? Oh, yeah, the No. 1-ranked Georgia men’s golf team swept Texas Tech 5-0 in a rare college match-play event at the UGA Golf Course. . . .

Let me know what you want to know.

Wil Walton

March 10th, 2009
4:11 pm

Why is your Name “SEC Fan” if you say that you are not proud of the conference? If you’re a fan of the SEC, wouldn’t that imply that you are a fan of the SEC teamS (plural) and therefore have pride in the entire SEC???
“Since when do I have to be proud of the conference? When did conference pride become more than pulling for your team? Huh? Just because a team is in the SEC and ranked #1 I have to pull for them? Sorry I am not a cheerleader for the whole damn conference.

People need to get off this conference pride crap. I pull for one team and to be honest I hope all other teams from the SEC gets their @ss beat”

DawginLex

March 10th, 2009
4:39 pm

When is the annual beatdown of GA Tech scheduled??????????????????

Music City Dawg

March 10th, 2009
4:55 pm

I wish all the inferior schools would get their own blogs…

ceph

March 10th, 2009
5:31 pm

I love it , unlike Richt who was scared to death when he was ranked number one and complained everyone was shooting for you, Perno embraces it; that my friend is what coaching is all about!!!!!

Chip Towers

March 10th, 2009
6:16 pm

I know this has also been out all day but I meant to link it (and some other things) this morning but didn’t get a chance to. So FWIW, Jon Richt is transferring from Clemson to an as yet undetermined “small school.” http://www.thestate.com/tigers/story/709323.html

Dawd Tired

March 10th, 2009
6:46 pm

Chip – You have invited us to tell you what we want to know. Well, I want to know how someone as obnoxious and seemingly as stupid as SEC FAN is allowed to continue to do nothing but act like a complete jerk on this blog. He is the typical gutless and rude “electronic bully” who would be standing on the sidelines sucking his thumb at 3rd grade recess because no one would want him on their team. His comments are ridiculous, without any merit, thoughtless, pointless, generally stupid, and mostly irrelevant to the topic. Just what does one have to do to get banned? Is there no oversight on these blogs? Seriously, these folk (he is not the only one) whose only purpose is to antagonize other people should not be allowed to continue to participate. Of course, I also wonder what causes such boorish behavior in the first place. The man clearly needs full time counseling. You require us to provide our email address to make comments. One wonders why! Shouldn’t someone at least contact the guy and ask him what is he doing this for? One can only assume he will say it is to aggravate people. Well, may I submit that such people should not be allowed to participate on these blogs?

Thanks in advance for your reply

SthrnSrvy

March 10th, 2009
6:50 pm

Perno is an extremely good coach, and not just verbally. His “abrasiveness” is not unusual in college sports either. Take a look at some of the coaches of past chapmpions, albeit any NCAA sport. It’s the attitude that can sometimes push a team to thrive.

Dogs #1 in baseball,

March 10th, 2009
7:09 pm

#2 in the state in football….for an entire year!

Congrats!

Cuz

March 10th, 2009
7:55 pm

Fire Willie Martinez! I cannot belive that no one has said that on this blog yet. Are the bloggers getting lazy? Well, I don’t want to fire him, it is just the traditon of this blog that I want to maintain.