Bulldogs #1 in AP Coaches Poll

It’s official: Georgia is No. 1.

To date, the tremendous expectations for the Bulldogs in 2008 were mostly, well, just expectations. But with Friday morning’s news that Georgia took the top spot in the USA Today coaches’ preseason poll, the notion that the Bulldogs should contend for a national championship this season is tangible and real. Georgia opens the season Aug. 30 against Georgia Southern.

“Being No. 1 in the coaches’ preseason poll does have significance, since it’s one-third of the formula to decide who plays in the national championship game,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Friday in a news release from the university. “But the postseason poll is the one that is the most important. However, I know the ranking is exciting for Georgia football, and hopefully we can do our part to stay in the race.”

Georgia has never been ranked No. 1 by a major poll in the preseason, according to the UGA sports communications office. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 2 by The Associated Press in 1942, No. 3 by AP in 2004 and No. 6 by AP in 1967. The highest preseason ranking they received from the coaches’ poll was No. 4 in 2004. Georgia finished No. 1 in 1942 in six different polls but not AP.

Rounding out the top 10 in the coaches’ poll were USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida, LSU, Missouri, West Virginia, Clemson and Texas.

Georgia has already been declared preseason No. 1 in several publications, including Sporting News, Lindy’s, Blue Ribbon and the Birmingham News. AJC columnist Mark Bradley and college football expert Tony Barnhart are among several media members who have tabbed the Bulldogs to win it all in 2008.

Oddly, Georgia, which finished last season ranked No. 2 by AP and No. 3 by the coaches, was not even predicted to win the Eastern Division in the SEC this season, much less the overall league championship. That distinction went to Florida.

The preseason expectations are not catching the Bulldogs by surprise.

“That’s all we’ve heard about since last season,” senior defensive tackle Jeff Owens said last week at SEC Media Days. “But we’re not worried about all that. We’re just trying to do what we have to do to get better every day and everything else will take care of itself.”

Only two teams ranked No. 1 in the preseason in the past 10 years have held onto the top ranking at the end of the season. USC (2004) and Florida State (1999) both started preseason No. 1 in the AP and USA Today rankings and still finished on top.

Four teams finished second: Ohio State (2006), USC (2005), Miami (2002) and Ohio State (1998). Two teams finished third: Oklahoma (2003) and Florida (2001).

There was a split decision in 2007 for the preseason No. 1 Trojans, who finished No. 2 in USA Today and No. 3 in the AP after their Rose Bowl win against Illinois.

Nebraska fell to No. 7 in 2000 to finish with the lowest USA Today post-bowl ranking for a preseason No. 1.

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1 Comment

  1. […] State News » News Bulldogs #1 in AP Coaches Poll2008-08-03 12:04:00Both on top. Four teams finished second: Ohio State (1998). … USA Today […]


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