Georgia at No. 1 in USA Today re-rank of Top 134 teams in college football

Georgia at No. 1 in USA Today re-rank of Top 134 teams in college football

With spring football completed and the transfer portal window closed, USA Today re-ranked its top 134 heading into the summer. Georgia comes in at No. 1, followed by No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Texas, No. 4 Oregon, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 6 LSU, No. 7 Alabama, No. 8 Florida State, No. 9 Clemson, and No. 10 Mississippi.

Led by one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Carson Beck, the Bulldogs left spring practices looking the part of the best team in the Bowl Subdivision and the current favorite to win a third national championship in four years.

The Bulldogs were left out of the College Football Playoff. Don’t expect that to be the case this year with an expanded field. Carson Beck, one of the elite quarterbacks in the country, leads their quest to get back to the top of the college football mountain. Florida transfer Trevor Etienne boosts a depleted running back position, and there’s enough talent at receiver and tight end to make this an upper-echelon offense even with some losses. The defense boasts LB Smael Mondon and DB Malaki Starks among its standouts.

Looking at Georgia’s 2024 schedule, the Dawgs will face four teams ranked in the outlet’s top 10 outside of Athens. The Dawgs will play the Longhorns, Crimson Tide, and Rebels in their home stadium and will play Clemson in Atlanta.

In all, Georgia has 10 returning starters on offense, including quarterback Carson Beck, wide receivers RaRa ThomasDominic LovettDillon Bell, transfer Colbie Young, tight end Oscar Delp, left tackle Earnest Greene, left guard Dylan Fairchild, right guard Tate Ratledge, and right tackle Xavier Truss. On defense, six starters are back, with nose tackle Nazir Stackhouse, edge defenders Mykel Williams and Chaz Chambliss, inside linebacker Smael Mondon, cornerback Daylen Everette, and Malaki Starks all returning for Georgia. The 28 incoming freshmen, considered the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, are likely to make an impact on defense just like Brock Bowers and Ladd McConkey did during the championship run. Last season Georgia wound up going 13-1 and finishing No. 4 in the final AP poll. Georgia went 14-1 in 2021, making the College Football Playoff and becoming the first No. 3 seed to win the national championship, Georgia went 15-0 in 2022. 

The Dawgs went 14-1 in 2021, making the College Football Playoff and becoming the first No. 3 seed to win the national championship. Then Georgia went 15-0 in 2022, winning its second SEC Championship under Smart and its fourth-straight New Year’s Six bowl game, with Smart earning his 13th, 14th, and 15th wins over a top 10 opponent in the march to back-to-back titles.

All of that has resulted in the Bulldogs amassing a 33-1 run, the most successful period in school history and one of the best stretches of any program in the 21st century. Vince Dooley, behind Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, went 33-3 from 1980 to 1982. Those teams won a pair of SEC titles, tied for another, and went 1-2 in three Sugar Bowls with a National Championship in 1980.

In 2023, Georgia went 13-1, including 12-0 in the regular season for the third season in a row and taking down Florida State 63-3 in the Orange Bowl to break its own FBS record for margin of victory in a bowl game. At the end of the 2023 regular season, Georgia set a program and Southeastern Conference record with 29 consecutive wins, tying the Dawgs with Michigan (1901-1903), Miami (1990-1992), Florida State (2012-2014), and Clemson (2018-2019) for the ninth-longest win streak in FBS history. Georgia then signed the No. 2 recruiting class in the country while adding three former SEC players via the transfer portal, giving Kirby Smart another elite roster to compete with this fall.

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