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Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) during a preseason scrimmage on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

Georgia football comes in at No. 3 in Preseason 2022 AP Poll

The first AP Poll of the 2022 season was released on Monday. And despite ending the previous season as the No. 1 team in the country, the Bulldogs will begin the year as the No. 3 team.

Sitting ahead of Georgia is Alabama at No. 1 with 54 first-place votes, followed by Ohio State. The Bulldogs did receive three first-place votes as well. Georgia also came in at No. 3 in the coaches poll that was released last Monday.

The Bulldogs bring back the bulk of their offense from last season and look to be well positioned to have an even stronger season on that side of the ball.

Defensively, the Bulldogs have to replace eight players who were drafted last season, including five who were first-round picks. Georgia does bring back the likes of Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith, but there are a number of questions about the unit as a whole.

Not helping matters was that Georgia coach Kirby Smart was less than thrilled with the effort level he see from the group on Saturday during the team’s first scrimmage.

“Today was not pretty from a tackling standpoint,” Smart said. “Offense was ahead of the defense, which is probably to be expected. I’m a little disappointed in the energy, enthusiasm and leadership from the defense. There wasn’t a lot of support there. When things go bad, there wasn’t a guy to pick them up and grab the bull by the horns, we didn’t have the right direction.”

Related: Georgia football defense called out by Kirby Smart after first scrimmage: ‘I’m a little disappointed’

Despite the early concerns, Georgia does appear to have a favorable schedule based on the teams in the preseason poll. Only Oregon and Kentucky are ranked, with the Ducks coming at No. 11 and Kentucky slotting in at 20. The game against Oregon will be played on Sept. 3 in Atlanta, while the Bulldogs visit Kentucky on Nov. 19.

“We have a long way to go to get where we need to go, and that has nothing to do with Oregon, that has nothing to do with anybody we play, that has to do with the Georgia Bulldogs,” Smart said. “We have to look ourselves in the eyes, as coaches, and figure out what guys we have to do the best and get them to go execute that at the best.”

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