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Georgia debuts at #3 in USA Today coaches poll

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For the first time since 2015 the Alabama Crimson Tide will not be the number one team in America entering the college football season.

Defending national champion Clemson secured 59 of the 65 1st place votes to take the top spot in the first iteration of this year’s coaches poll (which is, and we can’t say this enough, really a poll of assistant sports information directors). The Crimson Tide did roll into the #2 spot.

Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs sit at #3, which seems about right given the veteran talent the Red and Black return from 2018. Until the Classic City Canines dethrone the duopoly at the top of the college football mountain, this is the ceiling. Georgia has proven itself over everyone else, save a motivated and healthy Texas squad coached by Tom Herman.

Speaking of the Longhorns, they get the traditional bowl bounce into the top 10. Sell the Longhorns, y’all. I saw this movie in 2008 and it doesn’t end quite like Hoosiers.

Other items of note include:

•Florida checking in at #8, which owes as much to a drop off after about the #6 spot as anything Dan Mullen has done. But hey, if the Gators can just upset Kentucky this year who knows?

•The SEC in total put only six teams in the top 25, a relatively low number by historic standards. The conference with the highest representation? The Big 10 with seven, though only two made the top 12. Mediocrity does have it’s privileges. Five of the SEC’s selections are rated #11 or higher.

•Georgia will play three of the top 11 teams in the initial poll during the regular season: #8 Florida, #9 Notre Dame, and #11 Texas A&M. That’s both challenging, and an argument for a one loss Georgia team to slip into the playoff if it can get to Atlanta in December and take care of business there (he said once again...).

•Tennessee secured only one vote in year two of the Jeremy Pruitt era. I’m not saying the Vols will win the SEC East. But I am saying that the gap between them and the Florida Gators is not even close to what pollsters seem to believe.

•Oklahoma at #4 seems high for a team losing a Heisman-winning quarterback, except that they did that last year, too. Also, Jalen Hurts in Lincoln Riley’s offense is probably as close to a plug-and-play situation as you could design in college football.

You can peruse the full poll here. Also, remember that if you believe you know more than the participants in the Amway coaches poll (and we think you do). you should sign up for SB nation’s Fan Pulse poll which will come out with its initial results in the next couple of weeks. Until later…

Go ‘‘Dawgs!!!