AJ Reynolds/Special to DawgNation
Georgia's Roquan Smith was named a semifinalist on Monday for the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker.

2 Georgia linebackers named Butkus Award semifinalists

Cy Brown

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Multiple Dawgs in the running for individual accolades

Georgia linebackers Roquan Smith and Lorenzo Carter are two of the 15 semifinalists named for the Butkus Award, given annually to the best linebacker in college football.

Smith is on pace to lead the Bulldogs in tackles for the second consecutive season. He leads Georgia in tackles this season with 61 and also has 1 1/2 tackles for loss and a sack from his post at inside linebacker. Carter, meanwhile, has wreaked havoc for Georgia on the edge. He leads the team with 4 sacks and is second nationally with 3 fumbles recovered. He also has 2 forced fumbles.

Smith and Carter are two of five players from the SEC on the list of semifinalists. Along with Alabama, Georgia is one of two teams with multiple players named semifinalists.

The list will be narrowed to finalists on Nov. 4 and a winner will be announced on or before Dec. 5. Should either Smith or Carter win the honor, they would be the first Georgia Bulldogs player to claim the Butkus Award.

Smith was also one of 18 players named semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the best defensive player in college football. Georgia legend David Pollack (2004) is the only Bulldogs player to ever win the Bednarik.

Running back Nick Chubb was named a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, given to the best all-around player in college football. Chubb leads the SEC in rushing yards with 765 and also has scored 9 touchdowns. He would join Charley Trippi (1946) and Herschel Walker (1982) as Maxwell winners from UGA.

“We have talked a long time about team success equals individual success,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said Monday. “I think a lot of these kids on this team are deserving of some of those individual accolades, but you do not usually get them unless you have team success first. I think some of the team offense, defense and special teams success can lead to some recognition, but to win it you have to play well.”

Will Georgia be ranked No. 1 in the CFP rankings?

The first edition of the College Football Playoff rankings will be released Tuesday, and I have a sneaking suspicion Georgia will be ranked No. 1. Unlike me, Chip Towers of DawgNation doesn’t believe Georgia will get the No. 1 ranking, but he lays out a good case for why it should:

If this were a blind review of each team’s resume only, Georgia would get the nod over Alabama. Thanks to Florida State’s collapse this season — the Crimson Tide beat the Seminoles (2-5) 24-7 in Week 1 — the Bulldogs have the better nonconference slate. Georgia’s 20-19 road win over No. 5 Notre Dame carries more weight than anything the Crimson Tide have done against Florida State, or Fresno State and Colorado State at home. That will only be enhanced when Georgia plays Georgia Tech in the season finale and Alabama plays Mercer. The Bulldogs also have beaten Appalachian State and Samford.

I have a theory that the CFP selection committee intentionally eschews the conventional wisdom created by weeks and weeks of the AP and coaches polls for the purpose of differentiating itself from those other polls and creating buzz. The committee goes to great lengths to explain the it uses its own criteria and doesn’t rely on the other polls. What better way to get that point across than to make sure your poll says something different from the others? Considering the rankings don’t matter at this point — and the fact that the committee can drastically change the order at their own whim without any explanation — there’s really no risk in doing so.

If you look back at the brief, three-year history of the CFP rankings, the inaugural top four each season has never lined up with the AP poll. Now add that to the fact that Georgia actually does have a great case for the No. 1 spot and, baby, you got a stew going.

The Top Whatever

Moving on to more important rankings, Georgia was ranked No. 1 in the Top Whatever by Spencer Hall of SB Nation, who gave the best analysis I’ve seen yet of what Smart and his coaching staff have done to make the Dawgs so successful this season.

 Georgia is 8-0 because it’s ridiculously disciplined, well-coached, and unlike a thousand other teams in the country, builds around its ingredients.

The Bulldogs have two outstanding running backs and a young QB. Guess what they do? They run the ball with those two backs, block well, and don’t ask Fromm to do too much yet. The Georgia defense? Y’all, just watch how they read and react, and see what simple, systematic teaching can do to free up defenders to make plays without getting too deep in their own heads.

And considering the following point is coming from a Florida fan, Georgia fans should be beyond excited about what the future holds for this program.

P.S. I don’t even think this team is much more talented than a lot of the teams they face yet. The bulk of what Georgia could be is still in the mail, growing in the weight room in the form of incoming recruiting classes and underclassmen. Doubt this, and ask yourself why Florida tossed Jim McElwain on the curb, free to a good home, and why Tennessee is going to rehome Butch Jones any day now. This is good, but there is much more coming, and everyone in the SEC East knows it.

Dawgs nab another commit for 2019

The recruiting class of 2018 isn’t inked yet, but Smart is already doing work on the class of 2019. On Monday, the Dawgs received their seventh commitment for the class of 2019 with the pledge of 4-star Dacula cornerback Jalen Perry.

No kickoff time set for UGA-Auburn yet

CBS exercised its six-day option and will wait to decide whether or not to broadcast the Georgia-Auburn game on Nov. 11 in Auburn. If CBS picks up the option, kickoff will be at 3:30 p.m. ET. If CBS declines the option, kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on ESPN.

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