SEC Baseball 2011 Preview: Georgia Bulldogs

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RECORD LAST YEAR: 16-37
One of the strongest programs in the conference unexpectedly collapsed in 2010 under the weight of inexperience and terrible pitching. The Dawgs allowed almost nine runs a game, and opposing batters hit .333 in their games against Georgia. Maybe the most telling sign: The 85 wild pitches thrown by Georgia pitchers.
KEY LOSS: Christian Glisson
On a team that doesn't lose much this year, the player the Dawgs are most likely to miss is Glisson, who hit .342/.438/.456. Glisson wasn't really a star, but there weren't many of those on what was possibly the worst team in the league in 2010. And most of the potential stars return, which is only one advantage of 2011 for Georgia fans.
KEY RETURN: Zach Cone
One of the stars on the team was Cone, who batted .363/.403/.627. He did a bit of everything for the Dawgs, with a team-high 10 home runs and seven triples. Cone also stole 12 bases on as many attempts. He could be even better in his junior year, just one of many Bulldogs that fans are hoping will make this season better.
TOUGHEST NON-CONFERENCE SERIES: FLORIDA STATE (3/4-3/6)
Last year's series against the Seminoles in Tallahassee was one of first signs that Georgia was in for something even worse than a rebuilding year. A convincing showing against Florida State in this early-season showdown could be the best measure of a return to something resembling glory in Athens -- while another lopsided series could deflate the comeback season before it's begun.
TOUGHEST SEC SERIES: at SOUTH CAROLINA (3/18-3/20)
This will be another early-season test for Georgia: The first SEC series is against the reigning national champion Gamecocks. If the Dawgs are going to make a move in the league, some of that progress is going to have to come against South Carolina.
GOING TO HOOVER? Probably
It was hard enough to realize what was happening to Georgia last year after the team's track record; it's almost impossible to think that Georgia will go through that kind of a season two years in a row.
NCAAs? Good chance
One of the problems the Dawgs had last year was relative youth; that won't be as much of an issue this year. The guess here is that they at least make enough improvement to snag one of the last bids given out when the national playoff begins.

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