UGA athletic program No. 8 nationally overall

UGA athletic program No. 8 nationally overall

July 1st, 2018 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Running back Sony Michel and Georgia's runner-up finish in college football this past season helped the Bulldogs to a No. 8 ranking in the Learfield Directors' Cup standings for the 2017-18 year.

Running back Sony Michel and Georgia's runner-up finish...

Photo by Steffenie Burns/University of Georgia

A much-improved football program, a much-improved baseball program and a national championship in men's track and field highlighted a banner athletic year for the University of Georgia.

Georgia finished No. 8 in the 2017-18 edition of the Learfield NACDA Directors' Cup, which is the all-sports compilation of Division I athletic programs. The final rankings were released Saturday, two days after Oregon State knocked off Arkansas in the College World Series.

The top-10 showing for Bulldogs athletic teams was the first since a No. 10 ranking in 2012-13 and signified a notable improvement over their No. 15 finish each of the past two years. This also marks Georgia's highest placement since winding up No. 7 in 2004-05.

"I'm very happy for our student-athletes, coaches and support staff for this top-10 finish," Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said in a university release. "We shared so many memorable experiences across the board this year in NCAA competition, and the Cup is an indicator of our commitment to a broad-based athletic program."

Georgia not only won the men's national title in track and field, which netted the Bulldogs 100 points, but earned 90 points with a second-place finish in women's track and field. The Bulldogs also amassed 90 points for their runner-up finish in football during the 2017 season, which occurred a year after Georgia went 8-5 and played in the Liberty Bowl.

The Bulldogs finished tied for 17th nationally in baseball after qualifying for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011.

Stanford won the Directors' Cup with 1,442 points and was followed by UCLA (1,326), Florida (1,216), Southern California (1,147) and Texas (1,143.25). Michigan (1,131), Ohio State (1,118), Georgia (1,046.35), Florida State (1,038.75) and Texas A&M (1,005.5) rounded out the top 10.

The Southeastern Conference placed seven schools in the top 20, with Alabama 14th, Arkansas 16th, Kentucky 17th and Auburn 18th. Tennessee ranked 11th among SEC programs with its finish of 35th, but that was up from 46th a year ago.

Stanford's big year was capped by a stellar spring in which the Cardinal won the women's tennis national championship, finished runner-up in women's water polo and placed third in women's golf and women's track and field.

The Learfield Directors' Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in NCAA championships.

Georgia is among just six schools to finish in the top 20 every year since 1997-98, joining Florida, North Carolina, Stanford, Texas and UCLA. Georgia's highest finish was No. 2 in 1998-99.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.


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