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Georgia opens its 2019 season on Aug. 31 against Vanderbilt.

ESPN drops Georgia in ‘Way-Too-Early’ Top 25 for 2019

Around the Dawghouse will bring you daily updates from what people and publications are saying about Georgia, from inside and outside of Athens.

Georgia football falls to No. 4 in ESPN’s ‘Way-Too-Early’ Top 25

When ESPN first published its ‘Way-Too-Early’ Top 25 rankings, the Georgia Bulldogs came in at No. 3. They brought back a number of starters and were expected to bring in an elite recruiting class. But despite bringing in the No. 2 recruiting class and landing 5-star wide receiver George Pickens since the initial rankings were released, the Bulldogs actually dropped in ESPN’s rankings, as Oklahoma is now the No. 3 team.

Georgia came in at No. 4 in the updated rankings, behind Clemson at No. 1, Alabama at No. 2 and the afore mentioned Sooners. Ohio State — with former Georgia quarterback Justin Fields now eligible  — is at No. 5. Part of the reason for the Oklahoma jump is that the Sooners brought in Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, who transferred to Oklahoma in January and will be able to play this season.

“Quarterback Jake Fromm and what might be the best offensive line in the FBS should make the Bulldogs the SEC East favorites again,” ESPN’s Mark Schlabach wrote of Georgia. “They’ll have to find depth behind tailback D’Andre Swift and find playmakers for their depleted receiver corps. Co-offensive coordinator James Coley takes over the playcalling after Jim Chaney left for Tennessee.

“The Bulldogs bring back most of their playmakers on defense, but they’ll miss Baker, the Jim Thorpe Award winner. Georgia needs to develop pass-rushers — keep an eye on JUCO transfer Jermaine Johnson and Nolan Smith, the No. 2 defensive end in the ESPN 300. It still isn’t clear who is going to replace departed defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, who was named Colorado’s coach.”

Related: Why Georgia football could follow the New England Patriots and not formally name a defensive coordinator

As for some of Georgia’s 2019 opponents, Notre Dame came in at No. 6, Florida at No. 8, Texas A&M at No. 11 and Auburn at No. 23. The only other SEC team in the rankings was LSU, who came in at No. 12. The six SEC teams are the most by any one conference.

Earlier this week’s SBNation’s Bill Connelly had Georgia at No. 2 in his S&P+ rankings for the 2019 season, behind only the Crimson Tide.

The Bulldogs ended the 2018 season at No. 7 in the AP Poll, but that came after dropping their final two games against to Alabama and Texas. Only Alabama brought in a better recruiting class in 2019, and no program brought in more 5-star recruits than Georgia did in the 2019 cycle.

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