MILLEDGEVILLE — Finishing 7-4 last season against many top-ranked teams, the Georgia Military College Bulldogs go into the 2013 football season ranked 25th according to the JCGridiron.com “Dirty Thirty” Poll released last Saturday.
The poll touts Gulf Coast Community College as the team to beat this fall.
The poll combines the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and California-school rankings and takes into consideration the previous season’s game-day performance, strength of conference, season records, returning players and recruiting.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a surprise. We finished the season 7-4,” Bert Williams, head coach, said. “If there was a surprise it was that we weren’t a little higher.”
While JCGridiron.com recognizes GMC as one of the top-tier teams in the nation for junior college football programs, Williams admits the Bulldogs still have to take care of business on the field.
“That’s nice recognition, but the important thing is to put the best on your field on Saturday,” he said. “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.”
Williams expects the Bulldogs to be recognized as one of the top teams once again in the NJCAA pre-season polls later this month, but he said he believes it is hard to take the rankings seriously because of all the variables that go into them.
“There’s just a lot of things, and it’s hard to gauge with a pre-season poll for junior college,” Williams said. “Honestly, if they look at who we play and how we play, and what we have on the team, transfer and new, I would say we should be in the top-15 in the NJCAA.”
Unlike many of the other top programs in the country, GMC competes as an independent outside of conference play; therefore, the school must boast one of the most difficult schedules each season against many top-10 teams.
“One thing we have to do at GMC is play an extremely tough schedule,” Williams said. “You just got to feel if you’re the best, you have to play the toughest schedule out there.”
Though Williams is quick to mention that pre-season rankings are exactly that — preseason rankings; he also suggests that if the Bulldogs fall a little lower in the rankings than expected this month, that they plan on letting their performances speak for themselves in August.
“We’ll end up playing five or six teams that are in that top-15 in that season poll,” he said. “If we don’t get in there, we’ll make the statement we need to make.”