Bulldogs back in top 10, where they belong

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Georgia came painfully close to winning a national championship in football. Instead, Sony Michel (1) Nick Chubb and the Bulldogs lost to Alabama in overtime.

ATHENS — The results are in — well, mostly — and Georgia is back where it belongs.

That’d be in the top 10. And we’re talking about the entirety of the athletic department, not just the football team.

The final calculations for the NACDA Learfield Cup standings have not been done pending the completion of the baseball season. But the Bulldogs currently rank No. 9 in those quantitative standings and cannot fall back. In fact, Georgia is expected to move up based on point-distribution projections from baseball. The Bulldogs, who lost in the NCAA Regional finals, should move ahead of No. 8 Florida State, which went two-and-out in its regional.

The College World Series gets underway this weekend with three SEC participants: Arkansas, Florida and Mississippi State. Only the Gators, at No. 4, are ranked ahead of Georgia and neither the Razorbacks (24) or the Maroon Dogs (47) are in position to run down the Bulldogs.

“It’s an indicator of the success that our coaches and student-athletes enjoyed this year,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said.

Georgia was very close to finishing even higher. The Bulldogs were an overtime loss to Alabama in football and a 1-point, final-event defeat in women’s track from winning two more national championships. As it was, UGA logged national titles in outdoor men’s track and indoor women’s track. The NACDA does not recognize women’s equestrian, in which the Bulldogs finished second this year (the sport doesn’t meet the minimum requirement of 40 participating teams).

Also, it was somewhat of a down year for UGA in men’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf and swimming.

“We had three teams that were right there,” McGarity said. “It might not have improved our place [in the standings], but from a national championship standpoint certainly would have had an impact.”

An eighth-place finish would represent Georgia’s best in the Learfield Cup standings since 2004-05, when it was seventh. The school’s best showing came in 1998-99 when it won a record four national championships and finished second. The Bulldogs also were third in the nation in 2000-01 and fifth in 2003-04 under the leadership of Vince Dooley. The academic year of 2007-08 ended a 10-year run of seven top-10 finishes. The last top-10 showing came at No. 10 in 2012-13.

Stanford continued its run as perennial all-sports national champions. The Cardinal has finished first in the standings every year but the first year they were kept. North Carolina claimed the trophy in 1994.

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