but Spencer Hall reports that Phil Steele [brief pause for secular genuflection . . . ] lists Georgia among his possible surprise teams for the coming season in his soon to be released preview magazine. This instantly made me a) dislike Phil Steele for placing the burning ember of hope deep in my soul, because it just feels uncomfortable, this learning to smile again, and b) dislike Spencer Hall solely because he got a copy of Steele's magazine before me. The green-eyed monster of jealousy: not just for your lottery winning brother-in-law anymore!*
This designation makes a lot of sense when you get right down to it. The Bulldog defense would have a difficult time being worse than they were last season. I would argue (and will in greater detail later this summer) that even with depth issues at outside linebacker and nose tackle the unit is not much worse personnel-wise than last season, and will get a bit of a bounce from the fact that demonstrated incompetents won't know what we're doing before the ball's even snapped. Duplicating a -16 turnover ratio would require not only a momentous streak of bad luck but probably some earnest effort involving either pregame narcotics or Varsity Blues level night-before escapades. The offense returns all five starters from a unit that was the most experienced in the conference coming into last season, among ten total returning starters on that unit, none of whom threw two hapless late game interceptions against Kentucky.
As much as we here at Dawg Sports believe in tempering one's expectations, that's the gridiron equivalent of a 1950's era Coca-Cola bottling franchise. You'd have to be a serious, dedicated moron not to profit from this type of setup. And while I am on record saying that "addition by subtraction" almost never actually works in college sports, it's nice to know that a guy who follows college football with a thoroughness and zeal unmatched by others, a sort of anti-Mark May if you will, looks at Georgia's total package for 2010 and thinks "hey, this could actually work." Because, objectively speaking, it could work, right? Until later . . .
*Even though had it been me I would have opened up a Twitter account just so I could tweet random factoids about The Citadel's run defense and Eastern Illinois's backup receivers, all using inscrutable abbreviations, just to let the rest of you know about my shiny new toy. I said I was jealous, not morally consistent.