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Dawgs Check In At No. 21 In Preseason Coaches' Poll

If Georgia wants to crack the top 10 for the seventh time in Richt's tenure, they've got some climbin' to do.

Georgia heads into the 2010 season in somewhat unfamiliar territory, rankings-wise: The Dawgs appear at #21 in the preseason USA Today Coaches' Poll, their lowest ranking since Richt's first year (when they didn't appear in the preseason poll at all). As you can see in the table below, this breaks an eight-year streak of appearances in the top 15 of the preseason rankings:

Year Coaches’ rank (preseason) Coaches’ rank (final) Record

2001

25

8-4

2002

12

3

13-1

2003

9

6

11-3

2004

4

6

10-2

2005

13

10

10-3

2006

14

9-4

2007

13

3

11-2

2008

1

10

10-3

2009

13

8-5

On the one hand, it's a bit humbling to pop up in the twenties for the first time in Richt's tenure; on the other hand, you could look at Georgia's 8-5 record, teeth-gnashing losses to Tennessee and Florida, and meh bowl bid from the previous season and count yourself lucky that the Dawgs made it into the poll at all. (That's if you take any stock in the preseason rankings in the first place, which clearly not everyone does.)

In five out of nine seasons, Richt's Dawgs have finished the year with a better ranking than they had in the preseason coaches' poll. That leaves four seasons in which they finished lower, and Richt's detractors are sure to point out that three of those campaigns occurred in the last four years. But the chart also shows that 10 wins and a top-10 final ranking are really the norm for a Richt team; both have happened six times in nine years. If the 2010 team fails to clear either of those bars, it'd be the first time in Richt's tenure that they've fallen below the 10-win mark or finished outside the top 10 in back-to-back seasons.

In a season in which the Dawgs play a fair number of good opponents (four of which are also ranked in the preseason poll) but very few outright juggernauts, this has to be seen as a promising development.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.