Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ESPN's future power rankings: UGA is No. 8

"See if you can get me higher grade than 7.9, Jeremy." (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Not content simply to dissect the here and now, ESPN Insider has turned its collective eye toward the next three college football seasons . Travis Haney and an illustrious panel -- recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill, playoff maven Brad Edwards, former quarterback Brock Huard and esteemed former colleague Mark Schlabach -- have cast votes and (big shock here) Alabama is ranked No. 1 going way, way forward.

Florida State is No. 2, Ohio State No. 3. Then come SEC reps LSU and Auburn. Then comes Southern Cal, then Oklahoma. Then comes Georgia.

The panel assesses five categories -- coaching, talent, recruiting, title path and something called program power, which essentially entails tradition and fans and intangible stuff like that. Georgia gets an 8.6  (of 10) on recruiting, 8.2 on program power, 7.9 on coaching and talent and 7 on title path.

The coaching grade, Haney notes, constitutes a gain over last summer's rankings. Writes Haney: "Maybe the boost is as a result of the upgrade at defensive coordinator, from Todd Grantham -- who was considered overrated by even those on the payroll -- to FSU's (Jeremy) Pruitt."

Then there's this discouraging word from Luginbill, once a Georgia Tech quarterback:

It's as down talent-level-wise on defense as I've seen certainly in Mark Richt's tenure. They don't have depth. ... I don't know outside one or two guys that would have started for Florida State last year. Coaching is one thing, but they've got to replenish their depth and talent pool.

Then this summation from Haney:

Richt has no doubt been a consistent winner, but not being able to break through in a big way has kept Georgia from pushing the teams listed above. Will it remain that way, with Bulldogs fans wondering what five more yards in the SEC title game two years ago would have done for the program and ultimately Richt's legacy?

Beats the heck outta me. What do y'all think?

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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.