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Rece Davis, Pete Thamel pick Georgia over Ohio State for Preseason No. 1 right now

On3 imageby:Sam Gillenwater06/10/24


The best, most accurate Post-Spring Practice, Post-Transfer Portal College Football Top 25

There’ll be plenty of debate between Georgia and Ohio State at the top of the preseason poll for this upcoming season. Rece Davis and Pete Thamel have now weighed in on it again and agreed on their picks between the two with two and a half months before kickoff in the fall.

Davis and Thamel chose between the Bulldogs and Buckeyes during a recent episode of the ‘College GameDay Podcast’. Both of them ended up going with the ‘Dawgs to start the year as the top team in the nation.

“So, right now, I would take Georgia,” Thamel said.

“Me too,” agreed Davis.

Thamel then dove into the several reasons why Georgia was his pick. That started with yet another stacked unit on defense that has top talent to utilize at every level, specifically on the defensive line and in the secondary.

“I actually watched their spring game over the weekend last weekend. The thing that stands out to me is, you know, Mykel Williams just looked like a monster. Nazir Stackhouse is who we remember him being,” Thamel said. “Those are, like, a pair of first-round pick, difference-maker, upfront guys who will really set the tone for Georgia.”

“I really like their defense,” said Thamel. “Malaki Starks could be one of the better safety prospects we see come through college football. Like, a once every five year guy. I think people always throw around generational. I don’t know if he’s Sean Taylor but I think we’re going to be talking about drafting Malaki Starks in 2025 in a rare area for safeties to be drafted.”

For Thamel, their case then only gets better when you look at their offense. They’ve added weapons over the past two years in order to put more points on the board. However, the real separating factor for Thamel were the men up front on their offensive line.

“Again, they add the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. I thought Trevor Etienne fit in like he had been there for a while,” said Thamel. “RaRa Thomas was Mississippi State’s leading receiver two years ago, Dominic Lovett was Missouri’s leading receiver two years ago. Those guys didn’t have giant impacts last year but now they’re proven SEC guys who are growing into their roles and are going to be really, really solid. We saw what Dillon Bell could do last year. He was fantastic.”

“They have arguably the best returning offensive line in the country,” noted Thamel. “Who Georgia over Ohio State? I think that group is what you point to. Their group up front? Ohio State’s group is good but has been a weak point and has especially not been able to go toe-to-toe with Michigan in those games if you had to distill it.”

None of this is to say that the Buckeyes aren’t worthy of their own consideration, though. Thamel made that perfectly clear as well without fully going in-depth on the team that he’d presumptively have at No. 2.

“There’s some arguments for Ohio State, certainly, and we can dive in and break them down,” said Thamel.

Georgia is 42-2 over the past three years with two national titles to show for it. They were very much in the hunt for their three-peat too before another loss in the SEC Championship cost them that opportunity.

The Bulldogs have dominated this decade in just about every sense that you can. That looks as though that will now include it’s next year with them being Thamel and Davis’ pick to be the best team to start out with in college football in 2024.