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Baseball America College Top 25 Released: Georgia Bulldogs Face Daunting Diamond Slate in 2011

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When Kit Kitchens and I spoke on Monday night to record this week’s "Dawg Gone Podcast," one of our topics for discussion was the fact that 2011 is going to be a big year for Greg McGarity’s athletic directorship; eleven months from now, he will have decided whether to pay Mark Fox and whether to keep David Perno and Mark Richt. Whatever one may think of the prospects for the Bulldog basketball and football programs to reach a high water Mark (see what I did there?), Coach Perno’s future in Athens appears very much in jeopardy, particularly in light of the recent release of Baseball America’s preseason college top 25. Read it and weep:

  • The nation’s No. 1 team is Florida. Georgia faces the Gators for a three-game set at Foley Field on April 15, 16, and 17.
  • The nation’s No. 2 team is UCLA. Georgia faces the Bruins in Los Angeles on March 11.
  • The nation’s No. 4 team is Vanderbilt. Georgia faces the Commodores for a three-game set at Foley Field on May 19, 20, and 21.
  • The nation’s No. 7 team is South Carolina. Georgia faces the Gamecocks for a three-game set in Columbia on March 18, 19, and 20.
  • The nation’s No. 10 team is Clemson. Georgia faces the Tigers by the shores of Lake Hartwell on March 29 and in the Classic City on April 20.
  • The nation’s No. 12 team is Florida State. Georgia faces the Seminoles for a three-game set at Foley Field on March 4, 5, and 6.
  • The nation’s No. 16 team is Baylor. Georgia faces the Bears for a three-game set at Foley Field on February 25, 26, and 27.
  • The nation’s No. 22 team is Louisiana State. Georgia faces the Tigers for a three-game set at Foley Field on March 25, 26, and 27.

The good news is that, if you’re a baseball season ticket holder, you’re going to see some darned fine baseball at the corner of Pinecrest Drive and Rutherford Street. The bad news is that it is apt to be played by the visiting team. The Diamond Dogs must face eight teams ranked in the preseason top 25, including five ranked in the top ten. In a 56-game campaign, Georgia will take the field 21 times against a team ranked in the preseason top 25; for those of you who have trouble with fractions, that’s three-eighths of the time. The Red and Black could be much improved on the field yet remain downtrodden in their won-lost record.

If you’re inclined to look for a silver lining, I suppose it is that, if Georgia makes it into postseason play, the Bulldogs’ schedule strength is likely to ease up a little in NCAA Regional and Super Regional action. Based on the murderer’s row David Perno’s club will face as part of its prearranged slate, it looks like the College World Series has been moved from Omaha to Athens.

Go ‘Dawgs!