Coaches keep Bulldogs grounded after rankings jump

Following their resounding 45-21 victory over then-No. 16 Clemson on Saturday, the Bulldogs moved up six places to No. 6 in the Associated Press Top 25 and four spots to No. 8 in the USA Today coaches poll. Two voters — Brett McMurphy of ESPN and Pete DiPrimio of the Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel — put the Bulldogs at No. 1 in their AP polls.

This was not necessarily received as good news by Georgia’s coaching staff, which is fighting to keep the Bulldogs grounded.

“That’s just the nature of college football,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Tuesday. “I’ve said it a lot, but every week you’ve got to ignore the noise and continue to work. I believe those guys realized that after today. We went out there and worked them hard and ran them hard after practice. You’ve got to continue to work hard to get to where you want to go

Only Texas A&M enjoyed a bigger leap than UGA. The Aggies (1-0) moved to ninth from No. 21 in the AP poll and from 20th to 13th in the coaches poll after beating South Carolina 52-28 on Thursday in Columbia. Conversely, the Gamecocks (0-1, 0-1 SEC) dropped 12 spots to No. 21 in both of the polls.

Meanwhile, Florida State (1-0) and Alabama (1-0) remained Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the polls. Oregon was No. 3 and Oklahoma No. 4 in the AP poll, which is voted on by sports writers and broadcasters, and they were inverse in the coaches poll. Auburn (1-0) was No. 5 in both rankings.

Clemson also encountered a big drop in both polls. The Tigers (0-1) fell eight spots to No. 24, according to the coaches, and seven spots to No. 23, per the writers.

In addition to the rankings, several national media pundits — including ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit — picked the Bulldogs as the No. 1 seed in their projections of the new college playoff. Bobo just rolled his eyes at the thought.

“We’d be naive to think they’re not going to listen to it and watch it,” he said. “But that’s our job as coaches to get them focused week in and week out and get them ready to play on Saturdays.”

UGA’s rankings are its highest since Sept. 19, when it moved to No. 6 in both polls after defeating No. 6 LSU 44-41. The Bulldogs were out of both polls a month later after back-to-back losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt. They briefly returned to the rankings at Nos. 23 and 24 before losing to Nebraska in the Gator Bowl and finishing unranked.

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