ATHENS — Georgia football ranks as only the fourth-best team in the SEC, per Phil Steele’s celebrated preseason magazine preview.
The 350-page preview, lauded for its great detail and available online at PhilSteele.com, is entering its 26h season.
Georgia, which returns 8 of 11 starters off its Sugar Bowl defense, is ranked No. 7 overall in Steele’s preseason Top 25.
The Bulldogs led the nation in scoring defense and rushing defense, and they were third in total defense and eighth in pass efficiency defense.
Georgia added Wake Forest graduate transfer quarterback Jamie Newman and USC graduate transfer quarterback JT Daniels in the offseason.
The Bulldogs are the only team in the nation to rank in the final AP Top 7 each of the past three years, so Steele’s pick is on the conservative side where UGA is concerned.
Many expect Coach Kirby Smart’s team to compete for the national championship this season.
Steele, however, predicts three SEC teams in the West Division to be better.
To add more salt in the woulds for Georgia fans, Steele’s magazine predicts former UGA quarterback Justin Fields to lead his team to the national championship.
That’s right, Steele has Ohio State as his preseason No. 1 team.
Clemson, the team that foiled Fields and the Buckeyes in last season’s College Football Playoffs, is Steele’s No 2 team.
Here’s a look at Steele’s complete Top 25, including his eye-popping prediction the Texas A&M is the No. 5 team.
Phil Steele preseason Top 25
|1.||Ohio State||Big Ten|
|10.||Penn State||Big Ten|
|24.||Oklahoma State||Big 12|