The Georgia Bulldogs are preseason No. 1 in the AP Top 25 College Football Poll after winning back-to-back national championships. Here’s what you need to know:
- Georgia received 60 of 63 first-place votes in the poll released Monday as it tries to become the first team to win three consecutive AP Poll national championships. This is the second time Georgia has joined the team since 2008.
- No. 2 Michigan (2) and no. 3 Ohio State (1) received other first-place votes. No. 4 Alabama and no. 5 LSU made the top five.
- Michigan, seeking its first national title since 1997, has its highest preseason ranking since 1991. It’s the second time in 11 seasons Ohio State hasn’t entered the preseason without a top-ranked team in the Big Ten.
- It’s the first time Alabama has been ranked outside the top three since starting fifth in 2009 and winning the national title.
- TCU, which was ranked No. 2 last season after losing the national championship to Georgia, was ranked No. 17 in the preseason.
Complete preseason AP Top 25 poll
- Georgia (60)
- Michigan (2)
- Ohio State (1)
- Penn State
- State of Florida
- Our lady
- Kansas State
- State of Oregon
- North Carolina
- Be missed
- Texas A&M
Predicting what the AP Top 25 says about what 2023 will look like: Can Michigan top Georgia?
Georgia chases history
No team has won three consecutive unanimous national championships since the first year of the AP poll in 1936, when Minnesota was voted No. 1 after winning non-poll national championship honors in 1934 and 1935. Some teams have come close — Vince Young and Texas denied USC a three-peat in 2005, for example, and Alabama and Nebraska have won three titles in four seasons over the past 30 years — but that’s a big hurdle, even for a program as talented as the Bulldogs.
And while the No. 1-ranked team going into the season is always a contender, it rarely actually wins the title. Georgia’s back-to-back championships come after third- and fifth-place finishes the previous season. The only preseason No. 1 teams in the last 50 years to win national titles are 2017 Alabama, 2004 USC, 1999 Florida State, 1993 Florida State, 1985 Oklahoma, 1978 Alabama and 1974 and ’75 Oklahoma. However, each of the last 10 preseason No. 1 teams has finished in the top seven. — Matt Brown, deputy managing editor and AP Poll pollster
What does Georgia need to do to make the three-peat?
The most immediate thing it needs is to avoid complacency: Last year, from the first championship, Kirby Smart borrowed a page from Michael Jordan and told his players they weren’t selected to return to CFP (even though they were) and then-veteran Nolan Smith told his teammates they were 7-5. (Smith knew it was ridiculous.) As other No. 1 rankings show this year, there’s no evidence of motivation. .
The schedule doesn’t help as Georgia doesn’t have Clemson or Oregon to open the season. Instead, it was a series of games that didn’t scare a team with UT Martin and Georgia’s talent. Other than concerns about starting a new quarterback, there are no glaring weaknesses. Of course, some concerns may emerge as the season progresses. For now, Smart’s message to his team is all about himself.
“About playing Georgia today. “You’re not going to play many teams better than Georgia,” Smart said. “So, let’s play Georgia and worry about that, don’t worry about who our opponent is. Does that matter to me? No, because I don’t care who we’re playing for nine days. – Seth Emerson, Georgia Beat writer
(Photo by Brock Bowers: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)