I told myself that I would never root for the Florida Gators. This weekend I am breaking that promise to myself for the greater good of humanity.
3rd Best In SEC East
Florida State is due for a loss. Luckily, the Noles play in the ACC where you can play terribly for 3 quarters waiting for an inferior opponent to screw up and allow you to sneak in the back door and win. If the Noles played in the SEC East (not the West) they would have at least 3 losses. Those losses would include Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. This weekend Florida State will play one of the bottom feeders of the East in Florida, but God willing they will finally falter.
Florida State has not played a defense near as good as the Gators, and I believe that will be the key in the Gators winning this football game. If the Gators can create some turnovers and find a way to turn them into points (unlike Louisville) then the Gators will win this game. You wont find me doing the Gator chomp anytime soon, but I will be praising Will Muschamp till the cows come home.
If me rooting for Florida ends up backfiring on me, it will only cement my hatred for them, so really I have nothing to lose. Florida has shown on a consistent basis that they are not a good football team, but if they establish the run game and Treon Harris does not have to throw (like against Georgia) then I believe this will be a huge win for the Gators. Sadly, if the Gators do not get the job done, I will become the biggest Yellow Jacket fan and pray they beat them in the ACC Title.
Andrew Hall (@DudeYouCrazy on Twitter) and Daniel Palmer (@dpalm66) get together for a few laughs at Georgia Tech’s expense as Palmer explains why the Yellow Jackets are NOT one of Georgia’s rivals. The two discuss all kinds of hypotheticals and dig way too deep on crappy teams like Missouri (potential SEC East Champ) and Charleston Southern (one of the better teams in the SEC – Southeastern Charleston).
Be sure to download and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.
Stream online via Spreaker, or check it out on Stitcher Radio.
Looking for Georgia Bulldogs football highlights on your phone? Download the UGA Vault for free on iTunes or Android. Just click here. It’s that easy.
Dabo To Gators?
It is getting very hard to keep up with all the coaches that are being added to the Florida Head Coaching search list, but now we get to add Dabo Swinney to the list. If Florida wants to become the new Clemson, more power to them, but I think this would be an awful hire for the Gators. Make someone like Brian Kelly or John Harbaugh tell you no before you just write them off. Here is the full list of possible hires.
Tide VS Noles
We all want to see this matchup. I would love to see what Reggie Ragland and the Alabama defense would due to Jameis Winston, but it looks like we might not get to see that till 2017 unless they both make it to the CFP. I hope both teams are still relevant (I know the Tide will be) in 2017, and hopefully this will be a home an home aside from a neutral site. Check out the possibilities here.
The main problem I have with this list is the fact they have Georgia Tech as Georgia’s biggest rival. In my 22 years, Florida has been the rival I wanted to beat most. Is that because Tech is irrelevant? Maybe. Either way I would rank Tech behind Florida and Auburn. Here is list of all SEC teams biggest rival.
This year’s iteration of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets is the most vexing of the Paul Johnson era. Upon his arrival, he was handed talent perfect for his system in the forms of Josh Nesbitt, Jonathan Dwyer, and Demaryius Thomas, and his early success, in retrospect, was no surprise. As Nesbitt became Tevin Washington, Dwyer and Thomas were replaced by more and more anonymous guys, and defensive standouts such as Darrick Morgan and Morgan Burnett departed, Tech, unsurprisingly, returned to mediocrity.
This was supposed to be the make-or-break year for Paul Johnson’s program, or at least the one where Tech boosters could finally swallow his insane buyout. Via his most balanced offense to date (and ironically, his worst defense), Johnson and the Jackets have gotten to 9-2 in a weak division mostly on smoke and mirrors. Or have they?
I saw the Jackets play at UNC back in October, and the thing that struck me was how inept their defense looked against a good, but not formidable Carolina offense. The Heels had their way with Ted Roof’s D on that night, and that is not an isolated incident. Georgia Southern and Virginia Tech both probably should have come away with wins against the Jackets, and both exceeded their season averages in offensive output in those games. Both lost the game late on offensive miscues. Pitt’s James Connor ran all over them, but three early fumbles buried the Panthers in a 56-28 loss. Two defensive touchdowns turned a close game at N.C. State into a blowout.
Personnel-wise, I would advise you to watch out for Paul Davis and Quayshawn Nealy at the linebacker position, and Jamal Golden as a corner/returner. Nobody has done anything exceptional, but they are the playmakers on this (not great) defense.
While, to their credit, their D has put together three very solid performances (all at home, mind you) against pro-style attacks in Miami and Virginia, and held Clemson to 6 points, what I’m saying is this: their D is not very good and has not seen talent approaching the caliber of Georgia’s. Barring an uncharacteristic barrage of turnovers from surehanded Hutson Mason, Georgia should be able to do what they want on O this week.
Offense is where Tech has made hay in the CPJ era, and that sucks for the Tech hater because it is so infuriating to watch. This is Johnson’s highest-scoring offense at Tech, and its evolved with a (finally) competent passing game.
Besides Tevin Washington’s 2012 season, QB Justin Thomas is the first CPJ quarterback to complete over half of his passes. His passer rating of 164 far trumps anything anyone else has done in this offense, as for the first time the Jackets are actually utilizing two receivers effectively (along with backs on wheel routes, which will always be open against such a run-heavy approach). DeAndre Smelter and Darren Waller are both in the Thomas/Stephen Hill mold, fast guys with tight end size. Both average over a catch and a half per game, which, as I said, is formidable in their offense. While Waller only has 15 catches, he has missed three games due to injury, and at 6’5 240 is a problem in man coverage (which, again, their run dictates). Smelter is the ‘go-to’ guy, and is a worthy one at over 20 YPC and 7 TD.
Tech’s Vad Lee threw for a career-high 232 yards against Georgia last year (and was actually their first 200-yard passer since Western Carolina in 2011). Thomas has exceeded that number twice this year, and Tech’s offense poses a never-before-seen threat to Jeremy Pruitt’s hybridization of the secondary. If they’re going to match Georgia on the scoreboard, they will do so through the air.
The ground attack is what it is. Only in 2008 and 2010 did a running back lead the Jackets in rush attempts. True to form Thomas leads the Jackets with 153 totes this year. His 5.4 yards per rush best any previous CPJ quarterback, so again: he is the common denominator in Johnson’s best attack to date.
The ‘B’ back, essentially the fullback (where Dwyer and Anthony Allen both excelled) is Zach Laskey, and he is the least formidable to come through the system thus far. Think Brendan Douglas (who was actually a Tech commit before a late Georgia offer). He only poses a threat if Tech starts gashing the Dawgs on the outside, which (see Florida game) is not an impossible task.
Their wing backs are as by-committee as they have been in the Johnson era, which allows the Jackets to throw a lot of looks from a pretty homogeneous offensive system. Synjyn Days is the bellcow with 101 totes at a decent six yards per clip. The guy to watch is senior Charles Perkins, who represents the most explosive threat in both the running and passing games. He’s missed some action, but is running for over 10 yards a carry and 23 per completion. Tony Zenon and Deon Hill are predominately pass-catchers, and each sit around 20 yards per catch on about one per game.
To effectively sum up the last six paragraphs, I’ll say this: Tech’s offense is the same basic high school attack that it has been. However, effective quarterback play and balance between playmakers mean the nerds will have five threats (including Thomas) on the field to be accounted for on any given play, and that spells trouble against such a run-heavy attack.
We at DudeYouCrazy.net never overlook special teams play, as it has cost Georgia more times than we care to count. We can go into this game knowing that CPJ is desperate for a win over the Dawgs, and something kitchen sink-like will come from their special teams unit.
Overall, like I said, the Dawgs should have no issues scoring on the Tech defense. Get them down early, and it should be a Georgia win going away. However, I expect the teams to trade scores for much of the game with Georgia pulling away late.
Georgia 49, Nerds 38.
Want Georgia highlights and access to some other great exclusive content at your fingertips? Download The UGA Vault! (There’s also an Auburn Vault, lurkers.)
Georgia gives the East the best chance to beat the West winner in the SEC Title, but Mizzou is one win away from going back to Atlanta and repeating as East Champions. This is the same Mizzou team that lost to UGA by 34 points right? Whether you agree with it or not, Mizzou has taken care of business in the East and has rightfully earned a spot in the Title game.
Say what you will about Mizzou, but they went into Columbia and The Swamp, and came away with victories. Georgia lost in Columbia, and lost on a “neutral” field to an anemic Florida team. Mizzou is consistently mediocre, while Georgia has looked like a playoff team at times, and an Independence Bowl team at other times. Is the SEC East so bad that all it takes to win is to be consistently mediocre? If so, then Mizzou has passed that test with flying colors. Imagine if Georgia would have played somewhat mediocre against Florida? They would only have one loss and would be in control of their own playoff destiny! Instead, UGA fans are rooting for Rocky Top, and Pig Suey just to get to Atlanta.
Mizzou deserves to win the SEC East. They beat Tennessee, South Carolina, and Florida all on the road. It might not be the sexiest of wins, but at the end of the day they are still taking care of business when it matters most. Georgia is a MUCH BETTER football team from top to bottom, but they did not play well enough to beat two 6 win teams. If your main argument is “Georgia won the head to head so they should win the East”, then clearly by your logic South Carolina should have won the East in 2011 and 2012 instead of UGA.
If Mizzou beats the hottest team in the SEC (Arkansas) on saturday to clinch the East, swallow your pride and congratulate a Mizzou fan (If you know one). Realize that UGA had their opportunities all season, but squandered them away with poor play. All UGA can blame is themselves if they do not punch a ticket to Atlanta, and as big of a pill as it is to swallow, Mizzou might be back-to-back SEC East Winners.