A consensus appears to be forming. Phil Steele has the Georgia Bulldogs ranked 13th. Athlon Sports has them ranked 14th. The Sporting News has them ranked 15th. Lindy’s gave the Red and Black the nod at No. 17.
Everyone seems to think the ‘Dawgs will finish the season ranked in the mid-teens. There’s only one problem with this theory.
No one believes that. You don’t believe it, I don’t believe it, and the people compiling lists of the top 25 teams in the land don’t believe it.
I don’t believe anyone thinks Georgia will be the No. 15 team in the country the second week in January 2010. That’s a hedge . . . and not of the Sanford Stadium variety.
The pollsters are splitting the difference between two extremes, one or the other of which will come to pass.
Either the Classic City Canines will come together as a team, quickly find their sea legs, put together a surprising record against a daunting schedule, and finish in the top ten, or the Red and Black will falter as a result of their brutal slate and personnel changes and finish ranked outside the top 20.
It’s one or the other. No one seriously thinks it won’t be one of those two possibilities, and neither of those prospects will yield a final ranking at or near No. 15.
Everyone who has the ‘Dawgs pegged between 13th and 17th knows this, but no one---not even Steele, who annually raises eyebrows with the boldness of his preseason predictions---has the guts to go out on a limb and pick Mark Richt’s club either to excel (after last year) or to collapse (after the seven preceding seasons).
So which is it? This year’s expectations almost certainly are wrong, but in which direction? Is No. 15 sandbagging or wishful thinking?