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Georgia football finished the 2020 season ranked No. 4.

National media projects where Georgia football will start in 2020 Way-Too-Early Top 25

The 2019 season has officially come to an end and the Georgia Bulldogs finished the year ranked No. 4 in the final AP Poll. Only LSU, Clemson and Ohio State finished higher, and all three of those teams made the 2019 College Football Playoff.

But as for where the Bulldogs might begin the 2020 season, it likely won’t be as high. A number of early top 25 projections have been released by various publications and just about all of them see Georgia starting the season ranked outside the top-5.

Related: Predicting Georgia football 2020 schedule, record

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach has the Bulldogs pegged to be the No. 6 team in the country. And Schlabach expects the defense once again to carry the team.

“Georgia’s defense carried the load in 2019 and should be stout again, especially with safety Richard LeCounte, linebacker Monty Rice and cornerback Eric Stokes electing to return,” Schlabach wrote. “The Bulldogs open the season against Virginia in Atlanta and play at Alabama on Sept. 19 and against Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, on Oct. 31.”

Part of the reason Schlabach has Georgia ranked below teams like LSU, Alabama and Oregon is because of the massive turnover Georgia is set to undergo on offense next season. Georgia will have to replace four offensive linemen with starting experience, star tailback D’Andre Swift and three-year starting quarterback Jake Fromm.

Georgia seems to have an answer for replacing Fromm, as the Bulldogs landed Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman over the weekend. He threw for 26 touchdowns and rushed for 574 yards and six touchdowns last season. Georgia also landed Tre Mckitty on Monday, a graduate transfer tight end from Florida State.

The Bulldogs also came in at No. 6 in 247Sports’ early top 25 rankings. Another reason for potential optimism around Georgia next season is the fact the Bulldogs are set to bring in another elite recruiting class, highlighted by four 5-star prospects and four 4-star wide receivers.

Not everyone is quite as high on Georgia next season, though. Athlon Sports had Georgia at No. 8, behind the Florida Gators. Though that article was published prior to the addition of Newman.

Stadium’s Brett McMurphy doesn’t even have the Bulldogs listed as a top-10 team next season, as he slid the Bulldogs in the No. 13 spot in his rankings. But he does think Georgia might have a possibility of rebounding on the offensive side of the ball.

“The Bulldogs may not regress in 2020 — and might even be better off — with the addition of Wake Forest QB transfer Jamie Newman,” McMurphy wrote. “His versatility will give Kirby Smart an added element on offense that it’s lacked with Fromm.”

Georgia does play a challenging schedule in 2020, as the Bulldogs visit Alabama while also facing off against the likes of Florida, Auburn and Tennessee. Georgia opens the 2020 season on Sept. 7 against Virginia. The game will be played in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as a part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff.

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