A gap to bridge

I picked up my copy of Phil Steele’s 2019 Football Preview yesterday and I’ll have more to say about it tomorrow.  One thing I have to note is that, while Steele is certainly complimentary about the Dawgs — he has Georgia third in his power ratings and fourth in his rankings after factoring in scheduling — there’s still something of a sense of being a little underwhelmed about them.

I can think of a few reasons why Steele comes off that way, but one is because I sense the existence of a sizeable gap between Georgia and his top two teams, which are Alabama and Clemson (duh).  He’s hardly along alone in that (duh, again).  Here, for example, is Matt Hinton’s annual exercise in listing college football’s top 100 players.

It may not be definitive, but it is useful.  Check out the number of players from those three schools who make Matt’s list:

  • Alabama 13
  • Clemson 7
  • Georgia 4

It’s not that Georgia’s showing is unimpressive there.  No other SEC program has as many as four on that list.  It’s that ‘Bama and Clemson lap the field.

If you buy this as mid-June reality, Georgia’s got some player developing to do.  That’s not to say it’s an impossible task, but a task it is.


Filed under Georgia Football

29 responses to “A gap to bridge

  1. Georgia is penalized for their quick rise in the ranks. If this had been a slow build; everyone would be ranting about the Dawgs and how they are ‘on schedule’. The fact of the matter is, Georgia is well ahead of schedule and so is Kirby.

    What season was Nick in when he won his first NCS? And what season was Dabo in? Want to say it was the 9th season for both! I hope the Dawg Nation understands this and will stay patience with Kirby, should we fall short.

    With that said; you get the feeling that Georgia just might win it all his year; despite having ND on the schedule, Auburn and Missouri and South Carolina having a week off before their games with Georgia (not counting UT and UF – since those are UGA’S off weeks) and catching A&M right after Auburn.

    BAMA will likely be waiting in the SEC Championship game and I think we’ll beat them this time around; which just leaves who is remaining in the final two games.

    Long way to go – injuries play a part for everyone; all that talent at receiver needs to show up and Swift and company need to stay healthy…

    At the end of the day… Really like the Dawgs chances.. Sure beats being a Gator, or a Vol or a Gamecock…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bigshot

    A lot of people are going to be surprise at UGA’s underwhelming performance this year. This schedule is just too difficult and the answer of the school is to make it even more difficult.


  3. Guy is an effing clown. Tua is 1 and Lawrence is 2. I don’t care who you are – if you watched the last college football game of the year. Lawrence outplayed, outshined, OUT EVERYTHING Tua for the Title. No way you would put Tua first unless you are an ass clown. The rest of the list did not matter once that was established.


    • No way you would put Tua first unless you are an ass clown.

      Or unless you were impressed by him setting a new passer rating record.


    • PTC DAWG

      Call me crazy, but I’d take Fromm over Tua…but I wouldn’t have Fromm second on the list either.

      Agree on Lawrence, he’s great.


    • Biggus Rickus

      While Tua did struggle to some extent against the best defenses he faced (note that he still didn’t have a passer rating below 118 in any game), to call someone a clown for ranking him first is a touch hyperbolic. I do think Lawrence was probably better by the end of the season, though.


    • Russ

      Well, he also has Fields as the 44th best, right behind Sam Ehlinger who has actually played two full seasons at UT (and beat our ass last January).

      This list is all made up and flagellant.


  4. DawgByte

    There’s a disconnect somewhere in the storyline of UGA’s football program. Everyone seems to have this perception that UGA is a perennial Top 10 recruiting giant and loaded with talent, yet we rarely place our players on preseason lists, like the one posted here, nor do we match up with the likes of Bama and others when it comes to putting players on the 1st team All SEC rosters. Perhaps perception does not align with reality and may explain why we’ve underachieved.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Macallanlover

    Problem is, while truly great players are a needed asset, the sum total of individuals is what succeeds in football. It is a team game with all parts and pieces having to work together. I understand the appeal of star power, and how that moves the needle for the media, but this isn’t basketball where one superstar, or even 3-4, can insure the success of the team. I just don’t get the overpowering attention to individual awards and lists in football. In this case, it does take a “village” to get things done.

    That said, the sheer number of Bama players rated that highly is impressive and makes the case why having them as an obstacle between us and winning SEC titles is a difficult hill to climb. Likewise Clemson being a virtual lock in the ACC and a position in the Final 4 currently. We can all argue about who is ranked where, and who got snubbed/over rated, just give me the team info and how they are put together and utilized by the coaches. As Hinton says, this list fluctuates wildly, on a daily basis, and where the discussion is held.


    • Cojones

      And coaching may be another reason for DawgBytes observation.


      • Macallanlover

        Thus the “how they are put together and utilized” inclusion. Coaches are very much a part of the team, everyone has a role, players, and coaches, from the Long Snappah to the assistant who advises the HC which calls to challenge before the next snap, KS could use some help with that (don’t recall the specifics but there have been 3-4 significant times we failed to contest winnable challenges on plays and I wondered who Kirby relied on.)

        As for compiling such a list, the author is influenced by skill position players who will put up better numbers than UGA’s starters simply because Kirby pulls starters early, or runs the clock out at the earliest opportunity; which was too quick in the title game at the Benz.)


  6. RangerRuss

    The Dawgs have a lot of players that ain’t done shit!
    That’s gonna change soon. All the Bigshot bad vibe merchants can kiss the Red and Black parts of my Bulldog ass.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. GruvenDawg

    I would say by end of the season there should be quite a few more in that list. Wilson, Kindley, Davis, Stokes, and one of the OLB’s.


  8. Comin' Down The Track

    He’s hardly alone in that…

    You are welcome to not approve/delete this comment. 😉


  9. ugafidelis

    That’ll tamp down expectations.


  10. Ben

    I’m not sweating this right now. It took Dabo years to build that program, and saban’s been an HC since Christ was a corporal. We’ll get there or we won’t this year.

    At least that’s what I’m saying at the end of June. Check with me after the Auburn game.


  11. The Dawg abides

    What an arbitrary list. Bama’s success the last decade on the field and in the draft has earned them the benefit of the doubt for putting 13 players on the list, but some are on here simply because they play for Bama. I’d put I. Wilson at least even with Leatherwood at 57, and definitely above Willis at 63. I don’t see Ruggs at 58 or Ray at 91 as anything special, and Surtain at 92 is based all off of projected potential.
    Clemson is starting to get the same skewed talent rankings based on their recent success. Lawrence is legit and Higgins is probably underrated at 28, but there’s no way Etiene is the fifth best player in the country. Ross at 29 is high. Thomas at 30 is based all off of his recruiting ranking and potential. Simmons at 75 and Leggett at 76 are nothing spectacular and are just there to fill out the list, again just benefiting from playing for the defending champions.


  12. Uglydawg

    Good grief.
    Some of you act like Alabama lined up and beat the shit out of the Dawgs the last two meetings.
    Not so.
    Georgia went toe to toe with them for more than eight quarters (OT) and only “lost” the first one because of one of the most ridiculously bad officiating performances in the history of CFB. Either game could have fallen the Dawgs way with just one break or call or no-call, etc.
    This UGA team is right there..elite and competitive with any other team. Letting two very close losses convince you that Georgia is somehow a step down from the Tide could mean that you’ve contracted Dawgrade Syndrome.


    • Cojones

      Ug, how could two old farts like us have such a rosy attitude about their team? You seem to trot along with the same attitude of “Play’em one at the time.”.


  13. W Cobb Dawg

    If I’m using Hinton’s list as a measuring stick, Kirby must be one helluva great coach. He’s given bama everything they could handle. Yet, bama has far, far more talent. According to this list, just about every returning bama starter is better than anyone else at their respective position than anyone else in the nation. Not sure I’m willing to swallow that line.

    It would also appear bama’s DL is falling back a bit from their lofty perch.


  14. WNCDawg

    So let’s the Dawgs switch non conference schedule with the Tide’s I do admit we’ve had WCU on our schedule but really how many games with a close look at their schedule to they actually have to play rather than just show up.
    I just read some stats from ? Here on the Bone where the Dawgs had lead or been tied with the Red Elephants for something crazy like 280 minutes out of 291 minutes #check my numbers it brought tears to my eyes so I couldn’t see clearly.
    Simmons was on sides, the Bama receiver moved before the snap, how in the hell do you line up with man to man on one side and cover 2 on the other and why can our DE’s play contain on the QB, actually anyone. Somewhere this season there’ll be another LSU moment but I hope and pray there will not be another Texas nightmare.


  15. Some good points in here about expectations and how long it took Saban and Dabo. My concern, though, is how this staff was within one play of getting there in the second season. Momentum is a big thing and you have to take advantage or lose it.

    Realistic or not, I believe that season elevated things, on top of the already elevated expectations that came with firing Richt and hiring Smart. Just like within a season, it becomes about peaking at the right time.