AP poll got it right but Dogs, Jackets will rise (and watch out for LSU)

The AP got it right ranking Alabama and Nick Saban over Clemson and Dabo Swinney. (AP photo)

The AP got it right ranking Alabama and Nick Saban over Clemson and Dabo Swinney. (AP photo)

The AP Top 25 came out Sunday and there are at least three reasons why the response was far more muted than it used to be: 1) There’s a playoff system now; 2) There’s an official selection committee that ultimately decides the four playoff teams and it won’t come out with its first set of rankings until November; 3) Frankly, a lot of sports writers don’t feel like blogging on Sundays.

But here I am and this is what I think. The AP got it right for a “preseason” poll by voting Alabama No. 1, Clemson No. 2 and Georgia No. 18, and leaving Georgia Tech out altogether.

But that’s not how things will look at the end.

Quick thoughts:

• Alabama should be over Clemson: There’s some folks, particularly just north of Atlanta off Interstate-85, screaming that Clemson should be ranked No. 1. I get that. Clemson went to the national championship game and lost to the Crimson Tide only 45-40. They also bring back a number of key players, including quarterback Deshaun Watson. But the Tigers lost a lot on defense, including linemen Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd and safeties Mackensie Alexander and T.J. Green (all taken in the first two rounds of the NFL draft). Clemson will be a fun team to watch again but it could get tripped up, even with a relatively soft schedule. I also believe most people still look at this debate as, “Nick Saban vs. Dabo Swinney (or anybody)” and think, “Come on.” So they vote Alabama. Plus, everybody wants to make a big deal about Alabama’s uncertainty at quarterback, but how is this year any different than last year? For as much of a goofball as Lane Kiffin was as a head coach, Kiffin’s done a great job with quarterbacks and the Alabama offense. My pick (subject to change weekly): LSU. Les Miles will have a great running game (Leonard Fournette), should be better at quarterback and also should benefit defensively from the switch to the 3-4. LSU also gets Alabama at home.

• Georgia will finish higher than 18: The Bulldogs figured to be somewhere in the mid-to-low-teens. Any higher and they would’ve been overranked. The obvious questions: 1) Quarterback. True freshman Jacob Eason will get a lot of playing time and wind up as the starter, even if Greyson Lambert starts the opener. True freshmen, no matter how talented, make mistakes; 2) Defensive line. The Dogs are thin up front and are expected to be without the suspended Jonathan Ledbetter for at least a few games (though coach Kirby Smart has yet to say how many). Even then, there has to be a question about Ledbetter’s conditioning and state of mind after treatment following two alcohol-related arrests; 3) New head coach. While many are excited about Smart’s arrival from Alabama, believing Georgia needed a fresh start and could benefit from the Saban coaching tree, he’s never been a head coach before. Georgia’s biggest tests will come in the first five weeks: North Carolina in the opener at the Georgia Dome, then at Ole Miss and home against Tennessee in Weeks 4 and 5. Getting the Volunteers in Athens is key. If the Dogs come through that early stretch clean, they’ll be back in the Dome for the SEC championship game. My guess: They will, and they’ll finish higher than 18th.

• Don’t sleep at Georgia Tech: I’m not sure how good the Jackets will be but I am certain they won’t be 2015-level of bad (3-9, 1-7). Quarterback Justin Thomas succumbed to trying to do way too much with a weakened/injury-wrecked supporting cast last season and made far too many mistakes and turnovers. The Jackets will have a better offensive line and cast of ball carriers this season. The defense, as always, be an adventure. Tech should win its opener against Boston College in Ireland and could be 3-0 when it enters a difficult stretch against Clemson (home), Miami (Mark Richt, home) and at Pittsburgh. Tech wasn’t even listed in the AP’s “also receiving votes” category. My projection: The Jackets will not only receive votes, they’ll finish the regular season as a top 25 team.

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72 comments
FlatTire
FlatTire

We actually have a blog to post about UGA football?

TOJacket
TOJacket

Those dawgs are jumping ship 2 at the time!

TideDawg
TideDawg

With Harbaugh and MS dominating Meyer and OSU, Ole Urban better start thumbing through his book of excuses to retire. Illness, be with my wife, be with my children, just get the heck out of Harbaugh's way. Urban better tune up that 2nd fiddle! OH:IO...you say who's dominating? I say wait!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Suck on this, AGAIN, blowhio:

"The NCAA tagged Ohio State with a one-year bowl ban in 2012 and docked the Buckeyes nine scholarships over three years."

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO Suck on this,  SEC 6 teams in AP top 25,  Big Mac only 4.  Heck, the sorry ACC has 4. Enjoy the noon kickoffs bucky.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally The sorry ACC......can't wait to remind you of that statement sport.

TideDawg
TideDawg

OH:IO, you're just fodder for the Ga. bloggers. Nothing more!

Big Wally
Big Wally

Hey Blowhio, look at all those noon kickoffs for the Big Mac Conference. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally


Not sure about the rest of the B1G but we have two nooners followed by 4 primetime and a 5PM start. You know, the games with the ratings? 


Tell me about the late November Cupcakes? Not enough time slots in the regional interest network. 

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO @Big Wally Almost half the conference playing at noon.  Talk about a conference no one care about............

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO @Big Wally Yea, that Michigan State selection last year really has them patting themselves on their backs. LOL.    Hey did Bama just score again?

dirtybird33
dirtybird33

Thanks Schultzie but you are schizophrenic!

GTroller
GTroller

The preseason hype that Georgia football.  Hilarious.. It just never gets old.

Scamwatcher
Scamwatcher

Is cheap shot B. Kubalow on the Georgia team this year?

TideDawg
TideDawg

Stinger2, don't worry about where a team is rated in the preseason polls. Winning changes all of that pretty quick. "Win the East "If" they can beat Tennessee". That big little word "IF" is the key there. My Dad always told me "IF" hadn't been in the way, hell would have been a peach orchard. I hope the Dawgs kick them right out of the stadium.....but that ain't gonna happen. It'll be a blood letting. Smart came to Ga. hating Tn. Go Dawgs!

bigmacondawg
bigmacondawg

Dawgs will make the playoffs this year.  Easton will be the starter against Carolina.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@bigmacondawg Not likely! Lambert has the experience to start as he should. That game could be decided by 1 or 2 mistakes early in the game. Eason is a freshman with no experience. He'll be in the game but not to start.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO @DawgNole

Um, I was responding to bigmacondawg's comment, in which he referred to a person--NOT a location--as "Easton." 

Duh.

And yup, I'm still waiting, and you're still way out of your league.

Now go back to licking yourself.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@TOJacket @bigmacondawg "Chosen One"! That's pretty good, but I think he chose Georgia. However, I'm not ready to "Saint" a freshman.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole


Um, that would be "where's Easton". 


And you claim to be "still waiting". 

Peachs
Peachs

You do this every year like it was the 1960s and the SEC was king, and there was unlimited scholarships. And I don't blame you, why not be a homer and not make people mad that may be your customer base. 


Brand is not the way to select the ranking, but now that we have a playoff it really doesn't matter, whatever the truth, it will come out. 

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Peachs Atlanta sports writers build their fan base from negative articles, albeit a hostile fan base at times. Evidently they don't get much mileage from writing with sanity. I don't remember the SEC being King in the 60s, but I'll take your word with a grain of salt. I do remember Notre Dame and, I think, Michigan State playing in what was considered a game for the National Championship, and was, as it turned out. Lost all respect for ND in that game that ended in a tie. ND refused to try and win that game by laying down and killing the clock instead of trying to win with about 3 mins. left. They had, and still do have, the voting power and a tie to them was considered a win. I also remember ND putting the ball in the air on 3rd and long inside their own 20, with time running out, to beat Ala. for the NC. No guts no glory.....they earned that one.

TideDawg
TideDawg

The Jackets are probably not as bad as they played last year and probably not as good as was expected. Things are getting tougher in the ACC. The Jackets really need to change some things to compete. 

Peachs
Peachs

@TideDawg TideDawg now there is a guy who covers his bases. 

TideDawg
TideDawg

I'm a lifetime Tide fan and a Dawg fan. No way do I understand the preseason ranking of Number 1, for Alabama. I would put Clemson first and Bama 3rd until proven different. If the Tide can develop a QB quickly(like the second half of the USC game) they should stay in the mix. If they make it to the SEC Championship game I wouldn't rule them out of another NC. Georgia, on the other hand, is ranked in the top 20. They could move into the top 10 after 3 games....provided they win them. I don't like the Alabama ranking but I do like the Georgia ranking which doesn't put a lot of pressure on them with a new coach. Clemson has the number one QB in the country and he and their offense will carry them until the defense matures. Swinney should rank in the top 5 coaches in the country. Alabama is.....well, Alabama. Everybody they play brings their "A" game and it gets tougher every week to "get up" for every opponent. Looks like 10-2 for the Tide, and at Alabama that's considered a failure.

Peachs
Peachs

@TideDawg totally agree, the ACC has had the players for a while as shown in the draft but not the coaches, Swinney may be the coach, and there is a fun atmosphere at Clemson.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@TideDawg


The above diatribe hits the mark with the dog trifecta:


shoulda woulda coulda

NorwegianBlue
NorwegianBlue

It's bad enough to hear it all day in conversation and on tv news, but when a writer (that I used to respect) says, "There IS some folks.." then I just effing give up. 

TideDawg
TideDawg

@NorwegianBlue Don't tell me you thought sports writers were perfect. Probably a ghost writer made that mistake.:o))

Stinger2
Stinger2

UGA should be ranked pre season at least No.12, I agree they have a good opportunity to win SEC East if they beat Tennessee.  May  lose at Ole Miss but that could be the only loss.They wind up maybe in top 5 but no worse than 8-10.

As for the Jackets, I am hoping for at least 7-5 but they are

my team regardless.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Just read where Sony Michel just released a new rap song.....his stage name will be 0-4-Ten.

swb7
swb7

@TOJacket Funny, considering that so far he is 1-1as a Dawg vs UT. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

See how dumb it makes you look when you can't spell five-letter words, gtcd?

That's why I'm always correcting you--trying to help you look smart.

OK, OK, I've failed so far, but I ain't givin' up yet.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket @DawgNole

You DO realize you made four more errors in that brief post, don't you?

THAT is what looks dumb.