The national media loves Georgia, as we’ve seen with several publications and sites blessing the Dawgs with a preseason #1 ranking. Yet the SEC media didn’t even see fit to anoint Georgia as the preseason favorite to win the SEC East.
Tony Barnhart gives us his theory as to why that’s happened here. He lists five reasons (mind you, they’re not his thoughts personally, just his explanation for the disparity):
1. A lot of national media saw Georgia beat Hawaii-and fell in love.
2. The SEC media knows how tough this league really is.
3. The Tebow factor.
4. Florida’s SEC road schedule.
5. Gators will have mental edge.
Barnhart rightly dismissed the last item, but finds #2 and #4 compelling. I don’t get the respect for the SEC media on this – it’s only gotten the conference champ right twice in the last fourteen years. What makes its insight any better than the national media’s?
Judging from the preseason All-SEC teams, I think that #3 deserves more credence than he’s giving it. Plenty of people are buying into the “even better Florida offense and the defense is bound to improve” line.
This is far from the last we’ll hear on this, but it’s the kind of debate that’s bound to keep Georgia in the minds of people nationally. That’s a good thing – unless it can’t handle the pressure from the attention and pulls off an 8-4 season. Then we’ll be hearing a very different narrative.