ATHENS - The Georgia football team will start the season high in the rankings, and over the first month that status will be put to the test often.
The preseason coaches poll was released on Thursday, and Georgia came in at No. 5, with its first two opponents also in the top 10: Clemson at No. 8 and South Carolina at No. 7.
LSU, which is Georgia's fourth opponent, is ranked No. 13.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Georgia juinor receiver Chris Conley said. “Because as soon as we come out on the field we’re gonna have to test our mettle. We’re gonna have to see what we’re made of, and we’re gonna see what Georgia can do. There’s gonna be adversity, how are we gonna fight through that. We’re gonna see how far this team can go, really early.”
“Coach Richt’s been saying it’s a race to get ready, because we’ve got a whole bunch of teams we play off the bang, and we’ve got a strong schedule this year,” sophomore tailback Keith Marshall said. “We don’t have the time to have bad practices and not get better.”
Alabama, the two-time defending BCS champion, is ranked No. 1. Texas A&M is ranked No. 6, and Florida is No. 10.
This is a familiar spot for the Bulldogs. They started last season ranked sixth in both major polls, and finished fourth in the USA Today poll, and fifth in the AP. (The difference being Ohio State, which was ineligible for the coaches poll.) During the season, Georgia was never lower than 14th (after the loss at South Carolina), and spent all but three weeks somewhere in the top seven of both polls.
Richt is one of six SEC coaches with a vote in the poll.
“On my poll I actually ask (sports information director) Claude (Felton) to get everybody’s preseason poll and try to get a consensus and that’s where I start. That’s maybe where a lot of other coaches start too, and I think that’s where we are on mine," Richt said. "We’re five or six on mine because of what everybody said. I’ll start with that, and then I’m move from there.”
The Associated Press poll is due out on Aug. 17.
The other preseason rankings for Georgia in the coaches poll during the Richt era: