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Sports Illustrated Ranks Georgia No. 16 in Preseason Top 25

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“If Nick Chubb (knee) and Sony Michel (arm) can return healthy from injuries, the running game will take pressure off the quarterbacks.”

NCAA Football: Georgia Spring Game Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Illustrated has released its preseason top 25 and the publication has the Georgia Bulldogs ranked a respectable No. 16.

It’s always hard to rank a program with a first-year head coach, not to mention a potential true freshman starting at quarterback.

Here’s SI’s breakdown of the ‘Dawgs:

Coordinator Jim Chaney’s dilemma is deciding whether to stick with senior Greyson Lambert, who won 10 games as a starter, or hand the offense over to freshman Jacob Eason, who is raw but can make throws most college quarterbacks can’t. If Nick Chubb (knee) and Sony Michel (arm) can return healthy from injuries, the running game will take pressure off the quarterbacks.

The front seven is young, and new head coach Kirby Smart will miss the depth he left behind on defense at Alabama. If Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy can rush the passer nearly as well as Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins, the veteran secondary should allow the Bulldogs to fluster opponents’ passing games.

Safe to say we’ll know a lot more about the 2016 UGA team by the end of September. As expected, the SEC is well represented in the poll, led by No. 1 Alabama and followed by LSU (No. 5), Tennessee (10) and Ole Miss (19).

Opening day opponent North Carolina checks in at No. 22.