We in Bulldog Nation had something else on our minds yesterday, so you may not have noticed that the Associated Press preseason poll was released on Saturday, and several SEC squads were included in the top 25, among them your Georgia Bulldogs.
Eight of the league’s twelve teams will enter the autumn ranked. In addition to No. 19 Georgia, the conference placed the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide, No. 4 LSU Tigers, No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks, No. 15 Arkansas Razorbacks, No. 20 Mississippi St. Bulldogs, No. 22 Florida Gators, and No. 23 Auburn Tigers in the top 25.
My emotions are decidedly mixed. On the one hand, I am pleased to see relatively objective observers placing a measure of faith in the offseason alterations that have occurred in Athens. On the other hand, I have a tough time conceding a top 20 spot to the Red and Black until I see something on the field of play that convinces me that the 2011 Bulldogs are an improvement upon the 2009 and 2010 squads. I believe they will be, but I am not an objective observer, not even relatively, so I would like to see some tangible evidence that persuades me my faith is not misplaced.
If the sportswriters are right, though, the Red and Black’s record ought to improve considerably from last year to this: Georgia plays four of the seven SEC squads that joined the Classic City Canines in the preseason poll, but the ‘Dawgs are scheduled to cross paths only with one of the four conference clubs ranked ahead of the Red and Black. The Bulldogs face two of the top twelve teams in the initial AP top 25 in the season’s first two weeks, but they will not tangle with another team ranked higher than 20th in the preseason sportswriters’ poll the rest of the way.
Critics often malign Georgia’s opening opponent, the Boise St. Broncos, for playing what amounts to a two-game season in any given year. If the rankings are right, the Red and Black effectively may play a two-game season of their own, in the campaign’s first couple of weekends.
What caught your eye about the preseason rankings? Let us know in the comments below.