Defending national champion Alabama is the overwhelming favorite in these eight rankings. The Crimson Tide was picked first in four: USA Today, Sporting News, 247Sports and Stewart Mandel of The Athletic.
Georgia’s next highest prediction was No. 2 by USA Today’s Erick Smith and then No. 3 by Brett McMurphy of Stadium. The Bulldogs were fourth or fifth in five of the lists.
Taken together, Georgia enters the 2021 with an average preseason ranking of 3.5, while Clemson enters the preseason at 2.9 and Alabama at 1.5.
It all goes according to plan, the Bulldogs will play both teams in 2021, Clemson in the opener and Bama in the SEC Championship game.
But if 2021 is anything like 2020, very little will go as planned. Lest we forget, about this time last year, Georgia was still adjusting to the news that quarterback Jake Fromm was turning pro. Soon after, the Bulldogs were relieved to find out that Wake Forest’s Jamie Newman, the most sought-after graduate transfer of the offseason, was coming their way.
Everyone knows how that worked out. And virtually no one at this point had any idea who JT Daniels was.
As it stands as of Monday, pending the draft decision of running back Zamir White, the Bulldogs have Daniels among nine returning starters on offense, seven on defense (six if one counts Richard LeCounte rather than Christopher Smith returning) and all of its specialists.
So, optimism abounds. Then, again, it’s way too early.
Media outlet, Georgia, Clemson, Alabama
Fox Sports (Joel Klatt), 1 5 2
USA Today (Erick Smith), 2 4 1
Stadium (Brett McMurphy), 3 5 2
247Sports (Sonny Shipp), 4 3 1
Athletic (Stewart Mandel), 4 3 1
ESPN (Mark Schlabach), 4 1 2
Orlando Sentinel (Matt Murschel), 5 1 2
Sporting News (Bill Bender), 5 2 1
AVERAGE, 3.5 2.9 1.5