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Blog: Unranked Bulldogs viewed as top 15 team for early 2014 projections

Georgia is unranked in the final college football polls of the 2013 season.

That was expected after its 24-19 Gator Bowl loss to Nebraska on New Year’s Day.

Is that a sign of a program in decline or a one-season slide for a team hit hard by injuries?

Georgia is unranked in the AP poll for the third time in five seasons. The 2009 Bulldogs went 8-5 and the 2010 team was 6-7.

Georgia went to the SEC championship game the next two seasons, going 10-4 and 12-2 before finishing 8-5 in 2013.

There are seven SEC teams ranked in the final AP poll: No. 2 Auburn, No. 4 South Carolina, No. 5 Missouri, No. 7 Alabama, No. 14 LSU, No. 18 Texas A&M and No. 24 Vanderbilt.

Based on some early preseason rankings, Georgia will be in the mix again next season.

The Bulldogs are No. 10 in CBSSports.com’s early preseason rankings and No. 11 by ESPN.com.

Of course, Auburn was unranked entering this season and reached the BCS title game, where it lost to Florida State 34-31.

Would Georgia be willing to go to the depths of 3-9 and 0-8 in the SEC like Auburn in 2012 if it meant a shot at the national title game the next season? The Bulldogs only losing season under coach Mark Richt was 6-7 in 2009.

“If I sit here and say, yeah, I’d be willing to go through a two-win season in order to win a national championship the next year, we’re in the if only world,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said back in December. “We’re speculating here. Our charge has always been to show improvement every year. That is determined at the end of the day by me. That’s my responsibility. It lands at this desk.”

Georgia’s 2014 schedule includes four teams on ESPN.com’s early top 25. They are at home against Clemson and Auburn, at South Carolina and in Jacksonville against Florida (which is No. 25). An Oct. 11 game at defending SEC East champion Missouri also awaits.

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