A few weeks back the coaches submitted their respective ballots for their pre-season Top 25 poll, today it was the AP's turn. This weekend I will be working on my pre-season BlogPoll and I have some Ideas of my own as to where USC should be ranked.
But right now I want to focus on Georgia as the #1 ranked team on both polls and probably many BlogPoll Ballots. Frankly, I don't know much about UGA and I am not going to do a whole lot analysis on them because we won't won't play them in the regular season and I am not interested in following the SEC. I would assume that most UGA fans have a strong sense of pride at being ranked #1, I know USC fans have felt the same way in the past whether they deserved it or not. But being #1 at this point in the season really is symbolism and to me doesn't carry a whole lot of weight...unless you're a fan.
While UGA, tOSU and USC probably all have a legitimate right to being #1 within the first 3-4 weeks of the season there will be some shake up within the top 3. UGA and tOSU have chip shot games against lesser opponents in the first two weeks of the season while SC goes on the road to play UVA then take a bye week before they play tOSU on Sept. 13th so someone will move there. UGA has South Carolina and then ASU in weeks 3 and 4 so there could be some movement there as well. There is then issue of how a team performs regardless of winning. UGA could see themselves out of the #1 spot if they play poorly in the early goings of the season regardless of winning.
Paul Westerdawg over at the Georgia Sports Blog thinks its a moot point as well.
Even if the Bulldogs were to go undefeated, there's almost no way we can go wire to wire #1 in the USAToday/Coaches Poll. Georgia only has an 8 vote lead over #2 Southern Cal, and we only have a 46 vote lead over #3 ranked Ohio State.
UGA has 22 first place votes in the poll, which means that only 36 percent of voters have the Bulldogs in the top overall slot.
Both USC and Ohio State each have 14 first place votes, and they play each other in Week 3. The winner of that game will almost definitely take the 14 first place votes from the other team. Those votes combined with a further consolidation of the teams behind Georgia will knock UGA down to #2 -- at best -- entering our Week 4 match-up with Arizona State.
So, I guess there really isn't a reward for being slotted #1!
Yes, UGA is talented and they have a top Heisman candidate but they haven't been in this spot in a while so we will see how they respond to all the attention.
More important to me is that while all the hype at being #1 is cool and all it can, in my opinion, lead to uneven expectations and added pressure like we have seen at USC in the past. Frankly, I am glad someone else gets to be #1 other than USC. Let UGA live under the Klieg lights and deal with the high expectations day in and day out. I am not interested in getting into a debate about about whose conference is better or who has better OOC schedules and such. I'm just happy someone else gets to deal with all the high expectations while SC can just focus on what lies ahead this season.
If not being named #1 in either poll fires SC up to and get that #1 ranking then so be it but living under the radar also has its advantages...