We reviewed five preseason magazines — Athlon, ESPN, Lindy’s, Phil Steele and The Sporting News — and broke down their team-by-team predictions.
Thursday, we examine Georgia. Here is what’s being said about the Bulldogs:
ESPN (2nd in SEC East — No. 13, 8.9 projected wins): “The offense faces questions galore at the skill spots, and the D hinges on a potentially dynamic, if still young, lineup. In the East, that should be enough to vie for a trip to Atlanta.”
Athlon (2nd in SEC East — No. 17, 9-3, Outback Bowl): “Georgia was Athlon Sports’ pick to win the SEC East in each of the last three seasons … (there are) a lot of ‘ifs’ for (coach Kirby) Smart to deal with right away, but he should know that the honeymoon might be exceptionally short.”
Lindy’s (2nd in SEC East, No. 18): “Smart’s hire provided the desired fireworks — 93,000 at the spring game — but it’s all still too new for the 2016 Dawgs to challenge for their first SEC title since 2005.”
Sporting News (2nd in SEC East — No. 19, Citrus Bowl): “Smart’s first Georgia team will be a lot like the Georgia teams that got Richt fired: talented, capable, but not quite ready to be counted on to win the SEC East.”
Phil Steele (2nd in SEC East [tied] — No. 23, Outback Bowl): “They face just one team on the road that had a winning record last year (Florida at neutral site). Kirby Smart could have them believing.”
Nick Chubb’s Heisman standing: No. 8 (Phil Steele — “If he comes back healthy, Chubb is a contender”), No. 14 (Athlon), honorable mention (Sporting News — “He may not be at 100 percent…”), not mentioned (Lindy’s, ESPN)
Preseason All-American selections: Nick Chubb (2nd x1, 3rd x1), Greg Pyke (2nd x1, 3rd x1)
Preseason All-SEC selections: Greg Pyke (1st x2, 2nd x2), Nick Chubb (1st x1, 2nd x2), Dominick Sanders (1st x1, 2nd x1, 3rd x2), Sony Michel (2nd x1, 3rd x2), Brandon Kublanow (3rd x2), Lorenzo Carter (3rd x2), Isaiah McKenzie (3rd x1, 4th x1), Isaiah Wynn (3rd x1), Trenton Thompson (3rd x1), Quincy Mauger (3rd x1), Jacob Eason (4th x1), Tyler Catalina (4th x1)
- Athlon named Athens the No. 1 college town in the country, citing the city’s “natural charm” and “evergreen campus” and listing The 40 Watt Club, Georgia Theatre and Five Points as places of interest.
- Lindy’s also had high praise for Athens, naming it the nation’s most ideal spot for a satellite camp: “Three of the nation’s Top 20 prospects from the 2016 class live within a 90-minute drive.”
- ESPN’s Football Power Index indicated that Georgia’s toughest games will be at Ole Miss (38 percent chance of winning) and vs. Tennessee (44 percent).
- Phil Steele ranked Georgia lower than the other four magazines, but he wrote that Georgia finished with double-digit wins in three sets of his nine power rankings.
- Lindy’s named Kirby Smart “a top five hire,” saying that question marks related to his lack of head coaching experience likely won’t matter: “Everyone wanted Smart, but only Georgia got him.”
- Sporting News named Nick Chubb the SEC’s “most elusive RB” (“assuming he can recover from a serious knee injury”) and Jacob Eason the SEC’s “top freshman,” saying, “Eason and new coach Kirby Smart hope to make beautiful music together.”
- Athlon spoke with an anonymous coach who questioned the Bulldogs’ depth: “They’re pretty solid at the No. 1s, but when you dig down the depth chart, they don’t have the No. 2s or 3s like Kirby Smart and those guys are used to having at Alabama. The recruiting kind of fell off the last few years under Mark Richt.”
- ESPN spoke with an anonymous coach who is not overly impressed with Georgia’s offensive personnel: “It’s not like there are guys who are going to scare you. Your inexperience at QB and your lack of depth at wide receiver would make it much more difficult for a guy like Chubb, even if he is healthy, to be a guy that you would not take out of the game defensively.”
- Athon wrote that it expects Greyson Lambert to win the quarterback job this offseason, but that freshman Jacob Eason “is likely to earn the starting assignment at some point in the 2016 season.”
- ESPN expert Rod Gilmore listed Georgia’s defensive backfield as the second-best in the nation, naming Aaron Davis, Malkom Parrish and Dominick Sanders as the unit’s standout players.
- Phil Steele listed Georgia’s schedule as the No. 57-toughest in the nation, well behind fellow SEC schools Ole Miss (No. 2) and Alabama (No. 3) but ahead of Tennessee (No. 58).
- Sporting News listed “Calling the Dawgs” as Georgia’s signature tradition, giving it the following description: “Georgia fans ‘Call the Dawgs’ by raising their right hand above their head and swinging it around. A long, drawn out, ‘Gooooooooo” leads up to the kickoff, when the chant is finished with ‘Dawgs! Sic’ em! Woof! Woof! Woof!’”