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CFT Preseason Top 25: No. 6 Georgia

Aaron Murray AP

2011 record: 10-4 overall, 7-1 in SEC (1st in East)

2011 postseason: SEC championship game (42-10 loss to LSU); Outback Bowl (33-30 3 OT win over Michigan State)

2011 final AP/coaches’ ranking: No. 19/No. 20

Head coach: Mark Richt (106-38 in 11 seasons at Georgia)

Offensive coordinator: Mike Bobo (12th season at Georgia, sixth as OC)

2011 offensive rankings: 49th rushing offense (164 ypg); 48th passing offense (244.5 ypg); 39th total offense (408.5 ypg); 33rd scoring offense (32 ppg)

Returning offensive starters: six

Defensive coordinator: Todd Grantham (fourth season at Georgia, fourth as DC)

2011 defensive rankings: 11th rushing defense (101.2 ypg); 10th passing defense (176 ypg); 5th total defense (277.2 ypg); 23rd scoring defense (20.6 ppg)

Returning defensive starters: nine

Location: Athens, Ga.

Stadium: Sanford Stadium (92,746; grass)

Last league title: 2005

Schedule: [view]

Roster: [view]

2011 statistics: [view]

The Good
This one’s easy — the schedule.  Sure, the Bulldogs will have to travel to SEC East rival South Carolina as well as Auburn, but, for the third straight season, they will avoid both Alabama and LSU.  On top of that, they won’t face Arkansas for the second year in a row.  Add that to what should once again be a stifling defense — nine starters return from a unit that finished fifth in yards allowed per game last season — and Georgia is primed for back-to-back divisional crowns.

The Bad
This one’s almost as easy — the running game.  OK, maybe “bad” is too strong of a word, but it is troublesome, at least on paper.  Not only did the Bulldogs lose their leading rusher — Isaiah Crowell, who was dismissed by Richt and landed in an FCS program — but theyalso  lost three starting linemen as well.  Fortunately, Keith Marshall, the No. 2 all-purpose back in the country, was a member of the Bulldogs recruiting class this year and will be given the opportunity to run with what should’ve been Crowell’s ball.

Make-or-break game: vs. South Carolina, Oct. 6
Last season, South Carolina handed Georgia one of its two regular-season losses, a 45-42 win in the second weekend of the season in Athens.  This season, Georgia will be forced to travel to Columbia for a game that should play a pivotal role in determining the East’s representative in the SEC title game, although Florida could very well have something to say in the division as well.

Heisman hopeful: quarterback Aaron Murray
In two years as starter, Murray has thrown for more than 6,100 yards and 59 touchdowns, including 35 last season as a sophomore.  With uncertainty swirling around the running game, an even bigger reliance on the junior’s right arm will likely be in the offing, especially early on in the season as the Bulldogs feel their way around on the ground.  Of course, the additional workload should benefit Murray statistically, which would greatly help the QB land at least a December trip to New York City.

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5 Responses to “CFT Preseason Top 25: No. 6 Georgia”
  1. indywvu says: Aug 8, 2012 4:22 PM

    Honestly, the schedule is the only reason this ranking SHOULD be possible. I’m starting to feel UGA needs to be in the category with Notre Dame and Texas A&M – you know, overrated every preseason.

  2. ugabugkiller says: Aug 8, 2012 5:34 PM

    indywvu, that statement smacks of ignorance and stupidity.

    First, look at their records over the last 11 years under Richt compared to Notre Lame and A&M, and that alone shows the depths of the idiocy of that statement.

    Second, to win a National Title, it takes more than a good team and talent, it takes LUCK, and yeah, Georgia’s been unlucky.

    Florida won two BCS titles with 1 loss. So did LSU in 2003, and Bama last year. LSU won with TWO losses in 2007.

    Georgia’s 1-loss SEC Champion in 2002, knowing what we know about the speed of SEC’s defenses, and that defense had Thomas Davis, David Pollack, and a whole team of first-rounders playing for it, would’ve destroyed the Suckeyes.

    Richt has won 2 SEC titles. That’s the same number as Phil Fulmer and Urban Meyer.

    Richt has coached his whole career in the SEC, and look at his record. He never had the benefit of jacking up his winning percentage by coaching in the WAC or MAC, like some others. He is also, unlike others, say Meyer at Florida whose whole defense in 2008 would’ve been suspended for the year had they played at UGA, hamstrung by the most stringent discipline policy not only in the SEC, but in all of CFB.

    His one biggest failing has been his loyalty to some pretty horrible coaches, namely Soft Willie Martinez, who took BVG’s aggressive defenses that spat out 1st round NFL talent and turned them into soft, undisciplined underachievers.

    So, Georgia hasn’t had the good luck streak some others have had, and Richt’s one failing, his loyalty, undid what should’ve been the prime Matthew Stafford years at UGA. Take 2007. If Georgia can hold a not-great South Carolina team in just ONE drive in the 4th quarter, then Georgia wins the East, beats LSU in the Championship Game, and beats the crap out of the Suckeyes in the BCS Game.

    But Georgia the same as Notre Lame and A&M?

    That’s just the dumbest statement you could make.

  3. ugabugkiller says: Aug 8, 2012 5:49 PM

    Also… if you look at UGA’s performance the last 11 years under Richt, you’ll actually find, contrary to your statement, that they’ve finished ranked higher than where they began the season more times than not.

    So again… dumb.

  4. houndofthebaskervols says: Aug 8, 2012 5:55 PM

    Wont take long before Mark “Fulmer” Richt is back on the hot seat. LOL

  5. 3rddegreeberns says: Aug 10, 2012 12:47 AM

    Too bad UGA didnt beat Michigan State in 3OT last year in the Outback Bowl. 1 Blair Walsh FG away though.

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