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What the SEC Media Days voting says about Georgia football
Last Friday, Georgia was voted to win the SEC East once again but fall to Alabama in the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs also placed four players on the first team of the All-SEC voting. Only Alabama had more, but the Crimson Tide had a whopping 11 players selected to 12 spots — Jaylen Waddle made it as a return specialist and all-purpose player.
Clearly, the biggest takeaway is that the media has the perception that there is a wide margin between the Bulldogs and the Crimson Tide. But when the two teams have met on the field, Alabama has been only fractionally better than the Bulldogs. Even though the last two meetings have ended in Alabama wins, the two games were decided by a combined 10 points.
As far as the actual voter tally, 203 people picked Alabama to win the SEC this year. Only 49 selected Georgia to win. More people actually picked Alabama to win the SEC West than Georgia in the SEC East, even with the likes of Texas A&M, LSU and Auburn in the division.
When comparing 2019 to the 2018 results, the media seemed to better recognize Georgia’s top-end talent. The four first-team players is actually an improvement from a season ago when only three players made the team. But more voters picked Georgia to win the conference a year ago — 69 votes — than in 2019. And Alabama is coming off a 44-16 loss to Clemson, whereas last year the Crimson Tide was the defending national champion.
So from a media lens, it still seems like Georgia has a good distance to go before it finally catches up to Alabama. But it wasn’t the only takeaway you can have from how the media voted on Georgia at the 2019 SEC Media Days.
Georgia’s offensive line is good, but is it the best?
Among the first, second and third teams, four Georgia offensive linemen were honored. Left tackle Andrew Thomas was named to the first team, left guard Solomon Kindley and right tackle Isaiah Wilson were both on the second team and Ben Cleveland earned a spot on the third team.
But Georgia wasn’t the only team to have four offensive linemen earn a preseason honor. Alabama also placed four linemen on the three teams, with the Crimson Tide placing two members on the first team in tackles Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Willis.
One slight difference between the two schools though is that Georgia does not have to replace nearly as much on the offensive line as Alabama. The Bulldogs lost only one starter from last season. Alabama must replace three starters from the unit, including three-year starter Jonah Williams.
Georgia also could have two former 5-star prospects coming off the bench, as Cade Mays and Jamaree Salyer may not be able to make their way onto the field this season with some of the players ahead of them.
Inside the Georgia community, most would say the Bulldogs have the best offensive line in the conference. And one notable expert — Cole Cubelic — agrees with that. But the media at large is saying the Bulldogs might not have the advantage they think they do at the position.
Lots of questions on if Georgia has any difference-makers in the front 7
Based on the player representatives on the first, second and third teams, there are two major areas of concern heading into the season. Following the dismissal of Jeremiah Holloman, pass catcher pretty clearly was going to be one. The Bulldogs did see tight end Charlie Woerner grab a third-team honor from the voting media.
The other was the defensive front seven. Despite signing plenty of 5-star prospects at the position in recent years, only one Bulldog was voted All-SEC, and that was senior defensive tackle Tyler Clark landing on the third team.
The Bulldogs have a lot of options at both the inside and outside linebacker positions, and in all likelihood Monty Rice should’ve made it on the list as well. Freshmen Nakobe Dean and Nolan Smith both stood out this spring, while many have tabbed second-year players like Azeez Ojulari and Channing Tindall as breakout players.
The 2019 Georgia football team has a number of strengths, but going into the season it’s pretty clear that just about everyone knows what the Bulldogs’ two biggest weaknesses are. How well the players address that concern could go a long way in determining how successful the 2019 season will be.
For any Florida hype, Georgia still an overwhelming favorite
Following the end of the 2018 season, it looked like Florida was possibly closing the gap on Georgia. The Gators finished the season with an emphatic win over Michigan in the Peach Bowl, while Georgia never bothered to show up for the Sugar Bowl loss to Texas.
The Gators then signed a top-10 class and seemed to be in a position to be a real dark horse pick to possibly unseat Georgia.
But following a rough couple of months due to transfers, arrests and 2019 signees not making it to campus, Florida didn’t quite get that kind buzz in Hoover, Ala. The Gators were picked to finish second in the SEC East. But only 21 voters picked the Gators to win the SEC East and end Georgia’s two-year run atop the division.
When the two teams have met on the field the last two seasons, Georgia has clearly shown it’s the better team. And for as much chirping as Florida coach Dan Mullen wants to do, it doesn’t look like the media as a whole is ready to consider Florida as a serious threat to the Bulldogs.
More Georgia football news from around DawgNation
- WATCH: South Carolina QB Jake Bentley suggests double date with Jake Fromm
- WATCH: Reel talk with former All-American Mike Johnson on UGA commit Tate Ratledge
- DN90: UGA, Alabama had wildly different responses to tough questions at Media Days
- Kirby Smart won’t let ’emotion’ affect judgment in Georgia-Florida rivalry game location
- Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart says right things regarding UGA’s unfinished business
- Priority OL target Sedrick Van Pran previews his big weekend family visit
- Jake Fromm on freshman George Pickens: ‘Could be next A.J. Green’
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) July 22, 2019
I’m going to be back in Athens this Saturday 🐶🐶 #GoDawgs
— Carson Beck (@carsonbeck01) July 22, 2019
No. 8 all-time
Into a headwind
Another 🥇 pic.twitter.com/dRsupHnUxe
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See you there 🤝 https://t.co/IhLy7QzTcH
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This is Parker. He's very dangerous. Will nibble you limb from limb. Still 13/10 would pet with caution pic.twitter.com/x7SgcKH2Zv
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