AP Poll rankings: Georgia football not a top-4 team

·3 min read

The 2021 preseason AP Poll top-25 is out and Georgia football finds itself outside looking in.

The Associated Press has the Bulldogs listed as the No. 5 team in the country behind Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma and defending champion Alabama.

Georgia returns 84% of its production on offense, including star quarterback J.T. Daniels, and besides a new-look secondary – which now features two of the top defensive backs in the country in transfers Derion Kendrick and Tykee Smith – Georgia will have one, if not the best front seven in college football. Pair that with returning the SEC’s best special-teams unit a year ago and I don’t see how you can put the Bulldogs anywhere but the top-4.

AP Poll voters clearly prioritized Oklahoma and the play calling ability of head coach Lincoln Riley along with Heisman-hopeful quarterback Spencer Rattler in listing Oklahoma at No. 2.

The Sooners’ defense should be the question…

While Oklahoma allowed 350 yards per game on average in 2020 (middle of the pack), the defense looked abysmal against a 4-6 Kansas State which put up 38 points on the way to an upset win. Iowa State was able to put up 37 points in the Sooner’s only other loss in 2020.

Not saying the unit can’t improve but there is a significant gap in defensive play here. For example, the Sooners have allowed 54 points per game to SEC teams in the college football playoffs on the way to an 0-3 record.

On the other hand, Alabama and Clemson are undeniable here. Alabama has reloaded with quarterback Brice Young and Ohio State transfer receiver Jameson Williams after losing some top playmakers on both sides of the ball, but when does coach Nick Saban not reload?

Clemson is once again a powerhouse even after losing some key playmakers as well. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei looked fantastic when given the chance behind Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers’ defense returns almost every starter from a year ago.

Georgia versus Clemson on Sept. 4 is going to be an awesome matchup.

Then there is Ohio State, who replaces star quarterback Justin Fields with former five-star C.J. Stroud and returns two of the top receivers in the country in Garret Wilson and Chris Olave. But on defense, the Buckeyes took a big dip in 2020 after losing multiple stars to the NFL draft. If Ohio State can find continuity on that side of the ball, they should own the Big Ten in 2021. That said, none of these things constitutes a higher ranking than the Bulldogs…

Several other SEC teams received high praise from AP voters. Texas A&M is listed at No. 6 even after losing star quarterback Kellen Mond to the NFL. The Aggies return a serious run game and most of its defensive production, which finished behind Georgia as the top unit in the SEC in 2020.

The final SEC teams included in the poll is Florida at No. 13 and LSU at No. 16.

2021 preseason AP Poll:

  1. Alabama

  2. Oklahoma

  3. Clemson

  4. Ohio State

  5. Georgia

  6. Texas A&M

  7. Iowa State

  8. Cincinnati

  9. Notre Dame

  10. North Carolina

  11. Oregon

  12. Wisconsin

  13. Florida

  14. Miami

  15. USC

  16. LSU

  17. Indiana

  18. Iowa

  19. Penn State

  20. Washington

  21. Texas

  22. Coastal Carolina

  23. Lousiana

  24. Utah

  25. Arizona State