Georgia and Ohio State both have bright futures and high expectations as it pertains to the 2024 season. However, one team has the edge for the preseason No. 1 ranking heading into the summer.

Most analysts actually have the Buckeyes — a team that finished 11-2 last season and saw their starting quarterback transfer — as the No. 1 team at this point in the year. A lot of that has to do with what should be an elite defense and extensive work this offseason.

“The offseason Ohio State had and the roster they’re going to put on the field, to me, makes them No. 1 one,” said Joel Klatt during his latest episode of “The Joel Klatt Show.”

He went on to predict the Buckeye defense could potentially be on par to what Georgia put together during the Bulldog’s 2021 title season:

“The defense for Ohio State is what makes them the No. 1 team in the country because they will be the best defense in the country. I think that Ohio State is going to have as good of a defense that we’ve seen in a long time. Maybe as good as the 2021 Georgia team,” predicted Klatt. “This has draft picks littered all over it in the next 2 drafts.”

While Klatt has been bullish on Ohio State in the past, he is not alone in his assessment. Greg McElroy and Matt Barrie both share a similar view that the duo expressed on the latest “Always College Football” show.

While McElroy acknowledged Georgia’s close, Barrie sees a wide gap at the moment but says he expects the Bulldogs to reload in standard fashion under Kirby Smart.

“I have been outspoken in thinking (the No. 1 team) is Ohio State at the moment,” said McElroy. “I think Georgia’s close, but I still think Ohio State has a few more answers on both sides of the ball.”

“I’m telling you this: If the QB situation in Columbus figures itself out… With Chip Kelly calling ball plays and everything they have coming back, I think Ohio State is the biggest problem for the entire country,” Barrie claimed. “They are absolutely loaded. They don’t have a weakness…

“Georgia’s Georgia. They reload. That’s what they do, that’s what they’ve done, that’s what Kirby Smart has,” Barrie said. “He’s got the QB coming back. He did lose Ladd McConkey, he did lose Brock Bowers, but they’re always going to have talent.”

Challenges for Georgia

While the analysts have Ohio State as the top team coming out of the spring, Georgia still headlines the national championship odds entering 2024 at +320. Fans can use SDS’s DraftKings links to get in on the action ahead of training camp.

Georgia returns starting quarterback Carson Beck under center, and he’s expected to contend for the Heisman Trophy and a 1st-round pick in the 2025 Draft. However, the Bulldogs must replace some pieces on both sides of the ball.

During this year’s draft, 3 of the first 34 picks came from Georgia’s 2023 offense with TE Brock Bowers (No. 13 overall), OT Amarius Mims (No. 18) and WR Ladd McConkey (No. 34) heading to the NFL. Running backs Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards are also gone, but Georgia has the kind of depth and pedigree to replace that production.

Georgia also mined the transfer portal to find noteworthy replacements, landing former Stanford TE Benjamin Yurosek. Former Florida RB Trevor Etienne also joined the program as a key piece to the backfield while a trio of key receivers transferred to Athens.

Considering the Bulldogs are always among the elite recruiters under Kirby Smart, the talent level in Athens is unmatched, even by Ohio State’s wealth of talent in Columbus. Maintaining the experience of Beck is also important for 2024, and the culture of development at Georgia is among the best there is.

It’s understandable if Ohio State has captivated the offseason, but Georgia has the right pieces to return to the top of the college football mountain.