No. 15: Georgia

Tell me if this makes any sense. You finish the season with a 10-3 record, with 10 wins in four of the last five seasons. You compete in, arguably, the toughest conference in college football, you sell out your home games and you are perennially a Top 25 team. You average 9.6 wins for 15 seasons. You are also a poster child for civility in the shark infested waters of big time college football.

And, of course, you are fired for not doing better, which in the world of Georgia football, which includes, Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Florida, means not only SEC champs, but national championships. But Georgia hasn't won an SEC title since 2003. 

Which is the main reason why long time Alabama assistant Kirby Smart is now coaching the Bulldogs and Mark Richt, who was the man in charge of the Bulldogs, is back at his alma mater Miami.

For Bulldog fans who thought it was time for Richt to move on, the lack of recent football trophies in Athens is enough justification. Losing non-conference games to teams such as South Carolina, Georgia Tech and losing to arch-rival Florida just solidifies the case.

The problem--no make that the challenge--for Smart, of course, is that 10 wins is the absolute MINIMUM number of games Georgia must get this season.

And, of course, the Bulldogs can do it. They have talent and depth almost everywhere, ranging from QB where a lively battle between starter Greyson Lambert, back up Brice Ramsey and highly touted freshman Jacob Eason was the main show in the spring and early part of the summer.

Throw in the expected return to health of running back Nick Chubb, a WR corps led by Terry Goodwin and a veteran defense and you have a built in formula for success.

But we are talking about the 10 win rule here, which means we should know by the end of September how the Dawgs will do, with an opener in the Georgia Dome against North Carolina and road games against Missouri and Ole Miss.

Factor in the absence of either LSU or Alabama on the regular season schedule and the Dawgs could be much higher than No. 15 and the Bulldogs will look very Smart indeed for making the change.

A jersey guy's take on the other rankings: Guys. Washington. Not enough love. USC--too much love. Rankman: Washington is a legitimate sleeper. Gould Standard: USC at No. 16. What if the Trojans have three losses in September?

The countdown thus far: No. 16--Pepper Hamilton [/membership]