If Georgia’s schedule weren’t tough enough, the Bulldogs now have an added obstacle this season: the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.
Ranked No. 1 by the magazine, Georgia — with tailback Knowshon Moreno, quarterback Matthew Stafford and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe featured — is one of five football teams on the cover of the college preview edition. Others include: Florida, Missouri, Ohio State and Southern Cal.
It has been 14 seasons since a team featured on the preview cover has gone on to win the national championship — that was in the 1993 season when Florida State’s Scott Bentley nailed the game-winning kick against Nebraska.
Since then, teams have had zero luck after being splashed on the cover of the popular magazine. In 2007, five schools were featured on separate college football editions — Arkansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Southern Cal and West Virginia. Michigan got upset by Appalachian State in the season opener; Stanford stunned Southern Cal; West Virginia got tripped up by Pittsburgh at the end of the season. Arkansas finished 8-5, and Oklahoma finished 11-3.
In 2006, LSU, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Texas and West Virginia were featured on the preseason covers, but Florida defeated Ohio State for the national championship.
This year, Sports Illustrated is predicting Georgia to edge out Florida for the East Division title. Then, the magazine expects the Bulldogs to knock off Auburn in the Southeastern Conference championship game.
Georgia will try to overcome a jinx that first hit the school in 1981 when running back Herschel Walker was on the Aug. 31 cover. Less than a month later, he fumbled twice and failed to score in the defending national champ’s 13-3 loss at Clemson.
– Courtesy of Augusta Chronicle