ATHENS, Ga. —The defending SEC Champion Georgia football team will open the season No. 4 in the Coaches’ Poll, according to the preseason rankings released on Thursday.
The Bulldogs finished last season No. 2 after a 26-23 overtime loss to Alabama in the College Football Playoff Championship Game last January.
The No 4 ranking represents the highest in the Coaches’ Poll since the Bulldogs opened the 2008 campaign ranked No 1 en route to a 10-3 season and a No. 10 final ranking.
Last season’s Georgia football team opened the season No. 15 and only rose as high as No. 2 in the human polls (AP Top 25, Coaches’ Poll), despite spending two weeks at No 1 according to the College Football Playoff Committee.
Alabama was voted the No. 1 team in the preseason Coaches’ Poll, garnering the top vote from 61 of the 65 coaches.
The Crimson Tide is replacing its offense and defensive coordinators from a season ago and has a quarterback controversy on its hands, so the No. 1 vote shows how much respect other coaches have for Nick Saban.
The SEC media members largely agree, based on the fact that three-fourths of them picked Alabama to win the SEC Championship Game this season even though the Tide failed to appear in the contest last season.
Clemson is No 2 in the Coaches’ Poll, Ohio State is No. 3 followed by Georgia and No. 5 Oklahoma.
Other SEC teams in the poll
Auburn No. 10, Mississippi State No. 18 and LSU at No. 24.
South Carolina and Florida were tops among “others receiving votes” (Nos. 26 and 27). Texas A&M (No. 31), and Kentucky (No. 43) also received votes.