Monthly Archives: October 2012
10. A creative Mike Bobo – don’t out-coach yourself, Mike. Rely on your weapons.
9. Denzel Nkemdiche – The Ole Miss playmaker and older brother of top recruit Robert has nine tackles for a loss this year, two sacks and two interceptions.
8. Offensive Line Injuries – The line has remained relatively healthy and is beginning to strengthen, let’s hope that the unit can stay intact.
7. Auburn – Yes, Georgia fans should even be a little bit afraid of Auburn. This matchup transcends records more often than not and the Tigers would love nothing more than to rain defeat down on the Bulldogs’ parade.
6. Todd Grantham – If he’ll threaten to choke a kid who know what he’d be willing to do to you!
5. Goblins – Those are always scary, I don’t care who you root for.
4. Georgia Tech – Just kidding. I figured you could use some comic relief at this point.
3. Aaron Murray’s Over-zealous Arm – It is real and it can be a problem.
2. Black Jerseys – No, no, no. Please don’t do it!
1. Alabama/LSU – There’s no avoiding both of these teams this year. We’ll know who to fear this time next week.
Have fun out there in the world tonight and be safe.
That’s all I got/
A few weeks ago all hell was breaking lose if you listened to the vocal minority (or maybe majority) of Georgia Bulldogs fans. Georgia had suffered an embarrassing 35-7 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks and many couldn’t even be talked off the ledge as they were too busy trying to push Mark Richt off of it first!
In contrast to that seemingly popular panic I wrote (in my most-commented-on article of all-time, most comments coming from dissenting readers) that “in the grand scheme of things, the score [of the South Carolina loss] doesn’t matter, it was a loss to South Carolina that can be overcome.” For Georgia to overcome this setback I pointed out that the following two things needed to happen:
- South Carolina needed to lose to Florida or lose two other games – something that there was a historical precedent for (dating back several seasons) and something that came to fruition as the Cocks lost to LSU and Florida.
- Georgia needed to beat Florida – an assumption that I deemed plausible as I felt the Carolina loss was an outlier and I believed that Georgia was more experienced and more talented than Florida. That came to be.
It’s hard to believe that we are only those two measly steps removed from doomsday, or at least Richtageddon as some wanted to believe. Georgia is now sitting on a 7-1 overall record and 5-1 in the conference. The Bulldogs have four games remaining with conference matchups against Ole Miss (at home) and Auburn (on the road) preceding home dates with FCS Georgia Southern and 21-points-inferior-to-MTSU Georgia Tech. Ole Miss poses the biggest threat (at least on paper and from where I’m sitting at my non-film-evaluating job) and despite being a trendy upset pick this week the Rebels opened as 16-point underdogs against the Dawgs. Yes, Georgia has to take care of business (more on that forthcoming), but barring a disaster the Bulldogs will roll to the Georgia Dome as the SEC East Champs with an 11-1 record (11 wins has only happened 8 other times in the program’s history that I can think of – 2007, 2003, 2002, 1982, 1980, 1971, 1946, 1942) and a top-5 BCS ranking.
That’s the grand summary of where we’ve been and the general outlook. But how, more specifically is that going to play out, and what is the ceiling for this team?
Although there’s nothing on paper to indicate a pending struggle (yes, that’s why you play the games though) with Ole Miss, Auburn or Tech (I’ll respectfully skip over Georgia Southern and work on the assumption that a late-season version of App State/Michigan is unlikely), Georgia can’t afford to merely win those games. Georgia needs to dominate those games.
I predicted, rightfully so, that the “switch” would get flipped on Georgia’s defense against the Florida Gators. Now that they’re turned on they need to stay on. Georgia can ill-afford another shootout this season and momentum – which is at a premium this late in the season – is going to be requisite for post-season success. Georgia has the talent – more than I even have time to name – and the coaching, now they must maintain that intensity. By the end of last season the Dawgs’ defense was playing with a swagger that resembled the old Junkyard Dawgs defenses. They started to get that back against Florida, but that type of confidence needs to be built upon to fully develop. Ole Miss is averaging 32 points per game – I’d like to see them held to 14 or fewer. Auburn and should be kept under 10 (for the second consecutive year) and Georgia Tech under 17. And, those figures are all minimal requirements. 10, 7 and 10 is doable.
Offensively the Bulldogs need to tighten up. I think a lot of people liked the idea of a high-powered Georgia offense, and I admittedly bought into it. Frankly, the Dawgs needed that to survive with a struggling defense. But that isn’t who Georgia is. Georgia doesn’t need Aaron Murray to force passes (which he has done in his last three games but managed to do successfully only once, against Kentucky). Georgia doesn’t need to force runs up the middle (especially not with Keith Marshall – a speed back who is deadly on a toss sweep). What Georgia needs is for the offense to enter each game, play mistake-free and stick to a game plan. Ole Miss is a middle-of-the-pack defense both against the pass and the run, so I want to see Bobo call a truly balanced game. Auburn is giving up over 213 yards per game on the ground, I’d like to see the Dawgs run the ball 40 times. Georgia Tech is giving up over 260 yards in the air, so Murray should pass the ball a little more.
If the defense can dominate and the offense can take what’s available – rather than forcing what they think might catch a team off-guard – the Bulldogs can win their last few games by big margins.
If the Bulldogs can do that they’ll head to the Dome with a top-5 ranking to take on either Alabama or LSU. It’s too soon to analyze either of those teams as they relate to the Bulldogs (because we don’t even know which it will be, and it could theoretically be Mississippi State – wouldn’t we love that?), but I don’t think either team is as dominant as their respective 2011 squads were. LSU’s offense is even worse and they still haven’t found a playmaker to replace Tyrann Mathieu (that’s a big reason why they’re not in the nation’s top-50 in scoring despite being in the top-10 in defense and dominating time of possession). Alabama is certainly impressive, but remains relatively untested as several opponents that were thought to have value in the preseason have declined in credibility – Michigan opened the season ranked 8th and is now unranked at 5-3, Arkansas opened the season ranked 10th and is now 3-5 with embarrassing losses to teams like Louisiana-Monroe and Rutgers on their schedule, and Missouri and Tennessee have proved to be bottom-of-the-pack SECers, not rising programs.
But although it is early to predict this game, I’m confident in saying the Georgia Bulldogs will be an underdog in the SEC Championship – assuming all goes to plan and they get there. And, if that is the case I think it is in Georgia’s best interest to hope for the undefeated team (Alabama, pending a win over LSU) as the opponent as the upset of the Crimson Tide would do more to bolster Georgia’s résumé relative to the BCS National Championship Game and a loss to the nation’s undisputed #1 would do less damage heading into Bowl selections.
Everyone would have thought DudeYouCrazy needed to be institutionalized if I had said this immediately following the South Carolina game, but this is all that now stands between Georgia and a National Championship Game appearance:
- Four wins over teams that will most-likely all be 16+ point underdogs
- An upset against either an Alabama (who as of today holds a win against Mississippi State, who I still think will drop out of the top-25) as its top win, or an LSU team (who lost to Florida – a team Georgia beat).
Do those scenarios sound far-fetched? Maybe so. But do you think they’re less-likely than the two conditions Georgia needed to win the SEC East following the loss to South Carolina? I personally am not sure, but I was also in the minority that was confident even as the Red and Black world seemed to crumble on October 7th and 8th.
There’s still a lot of season left and I’m thankful for that. I don’t think we’ve seen Georgia’s best football yet. And that should be a little bit scary for the Alabama and LSU’s of the world, although I hope they’re not even noticing.
That’s all I got/
This recap comes from my childhood best friend, Brett, who like me made every effort to avoid the Big Orange while growing up in East Tennessee. Unfortunately he settled for a different shade of orange and took to liking the Florida Gators. I asked him to write this piece because he is knowledgeable, a life-long Florida fan and because DudeYouCrazy is the Fox News of college football:
Conservative Fair and Balanced .
On Saturday morning, prior to what was considered one of the biggest CFB games of the year, DudeYouCrazy offered me a chance to chime-in on his live blog and I excitedly accepted. Towards the end of the game I asked DudeYouCrazy to quote me word for word (in frustration) on my comments regarding the efforts of the Gators throughout the game, specifically the Gators last offensive play (which would have been maddening for any CFB fan). I also wrote a pregame piece in which I stated that neither offense nor defense would determine the outcome of this game, but instead the decisive factors would be special team’s play (I was partially correct). After taking a full two days to gather my feelings (beat a pillow to death) and mull-over the situation at-hand, I have come to an understanding as to what Florida did, what they need to do, and what they (in my perfect, Florida Gator mind) will do…and here ya go.
What the Florida Gators did on Saturday
Not one, or two, three, or four, five…but six (6, seis, sechs, seks, etc.) turnovers! I will buy the first person to comment on this post a fresh ice cream cone and a pack of bubbalicious bubble gum if they can name a team that committed six turnovers in a game and was still victorious (Hint: It was just a few weeks ago and DudeYouCrazy is barred from responding). (Dude’s Note: Come on! I actually know this one!!!!) The answer to that question is beyond the point. Now don’t get me wrong when I make this statement and I am not attempting to take anything away from the amazing defensive presence Georgia showed in this game, but Florida just gave it away. I have nothing else to say regarding the ball-handling of the Gators on Saturday besides the fact that it was poor, simply unfortunate and poor.
What the Florida Gators need to do
Plain and simple, the Gators need to focus on one thing and one thing only: Missouri. The last thing the Gators need after an unpleasant loss is an unnecessary loss to a less than mediocre team (yup, I said it Mizzou fans. Can you prove me wrong?). (Dude’s Note: “Mediocre” is a generous term for Missouri) Also, it wouldn’t hurt for the Gators to actually develop a little structure to their purported offense they attempt to run (Ground and pound? Yeah, the Dawgs grounded their offense and took them to the poundß see what I did there, DudeYouCrazy???). Oh, and back to the SIX(!!!) turnovers. How do you teach a team to not turn the ball over (mainly on the fumbling side)? Simple, you don’t. They’ll find out sooner or later that it’s a little difficult to win a game when you’re giving the ball to the guys wearing different uniforms 6 (!!!) times in one game.
What the Florida Gators will do (and the help they’ll need from the rest of the country)
Now, I understand what you’re thinking. This guy is a negative Nancy when it comes to his CFB team losing. Not exactly, but I wish you could have seen me Saturday night. Trust me Gator faithful, I still have confidence in the Gators and the following will prove my ultimate certainty towards the conclusion of this continuously shifting season. I hope you are fully prepared for this outcome, DudeYouCrazy.
- Bama will defeat LSU
- Kansas State (because I know the Dude hates them) will lose in the BIG12 ‘ship
- USC will defeat Notre Dame (but Lame Kiffin will still be considered a tool)
- Either Stanford (more likely) or Oregon St. will defeat Oregon
- Georgia WILL (play like they did against Florida) defeat Bama in the SEC ‘ship
- And there we have it folks…yet another SEC Nat’l Ship and a nice little rematch on another neutral field. Georgia vs. Florida. Jorts in January, this year’s Nat’l ship theme.
I’ll go ahead and save this for another post.
But what I will say is that this is NOT a long shot by any means. It’s just college football and we all know that anything can happen on any given week (and that the BCS is stupid).
Thanks DudeYouCrazy and all his many fans,
Week Eight Recap
- The beautiful (no win over Florida can be called ugly) win over Florida.
- The beat-down Georgia Tech (now 3-5) got from BYU.
- And the 42-point loss that Auburn took at home.
But a lot of other things went down, so let’s get into it.
Around the SEC
Unfortunately Kentucky was unable to live up to my upset bid against Missouri this past weekend. Undoubtedly some excitement is being drummed up by my two favorite Mizzou storylines. I’m sure Sheldon Richardson has taken the thrill of a first conference win (it only took five tries!) and turned it into a guarantee of victory against Florida in Gainesville this weekend. If anybody has the link to that story that I’m sure exists please send it to me. And, Dorial Green-Beckham (you know the guy whose name sounds like a cigarette brand and who I compared to Randy Moss – in an off-the-field capacity) returned from suspension to catch seven passes. That’s a lot of balls. Ignore the fact that he only had 25 yards receiving. DGB was a huge recruit – or so Missouri told us. His impact has been felt to the tune of 18 offensive touches and 172 yards and one touchdown in 6 games. That’s impressive. He’s even less noticeable in conference play where he has 9 touches for 61 yards and 0 TDs. I’ll continue to pile on the kid because I never know when to quit, and say that his average SEC game (which he only is eligible to play in 60% of the time) he’s putting up 3 catches for 20 yards. Baller.
South Carolina pushed through a Tennessee squad that became the first team not named “Vanderbilt” to start three consecutive SEC seasons 0-5 in conference play. But, the real story was the sad situation surrounding Marcus Lattimore’s knee. I’m working on a piece that should be up sometime tomorrow regarding his injury, but for now send some thoughts and more importantly some prayers his way. From what I understand the young man is turning 21 today and undoubtedly looking for some answers. He is looking to return to football in 2014. I’ll look forward to seeing him gracing the field once again.
Ole Miss held on to knock off Arkansas and moved to 5-3 (2-2 in the SEC) with just one win separating the Rebs from bowl eligibility. I am continually surprised by the Ole Miss football team and thoroughly impressed. They aren’t winning games by chance or beating up on depleted programs (Auburn) any more (although Arkansas is clearly down as well), they’re just winning games. Let’s hope the Dawgs can postpone the Rebels 6th win for another week.
Vanderbilt beat UMass…Whatever.
Texas A&M is quietly having a really good season while Auburn is very loudly and very publicly getting their Tiger tail whipped. So lost in the 63-21 massacre is the fact that A&M is now 6-2 with its only two losses coming to two top-seven BCS teams. Not lost in the massacre is the fact that Auburn is now 1-7 and has clinched at least a tie for last place in the SEC West while being outscored 185-81 in six SEC games. That’s an average score of 31-14. LOL.
As expected Mississippi State’s dream season came crashing down in a fairly substantial way against Alabama. The Bulldogs lost by 31 in a game that had a 24-point spread which seems to go a long way in supporting my theory that their perfect 7-0 record was fraudulent. Dan Mullen’s boys only slid from 11th to 15th in the BCS Poll following the loss, but they take on 16th ranked Texas A&M this week and could soon slide out of the top-25 if that proves to be a loss and is followed by a loss to 5th ranked LSU. And, for what it’s worth I don’t know if the Bulldogs will be decidedly favored in any of their remaining four games (with Arkansas at home and Ole Miss on the road closing out the season). It was a good run MSU, it was a good run.
Add, “Notre Dame looked really good against Oklahoma,” to your file of things you never thought DudeYouCrazy would say without any hint of sarcasm. It’s true. Notre Dame looked good. I still think they’re beatable and nothing would make me happier than USC bursting their bubble in a few weeks. If Georgia were to win out I’d certainly be begging for that.
Kansas State rolled over Texas Tech and launched itself to the second spot in the latest BCS Poll. I haven’t watched the Wildcats play a full game, but I find it hard to believe they’re the nation’s second best team. And given that I’m a pretty close follower of college football, shouldn’t the fact that I don’t have much of an interest in the Cats in Purple be somewhat indicative of their status? I’m not saying that I think the “Who DudeYouCrazy Wants to Watch” poll is in anyway reflected in the BCS formula – but it probably should be. I have an interest in watching all of the following teams any and every week from here on out or until they drop out of National Championship contention: Alabama, Notre Dame, Oregon, LSU, Georgia, Florida, Florida State and Clemson. I am and always have been pro-SEC, but the fact that I included Notre Dame, a Pac-12 school and two ACC teams in my eight-team short list of “worth watching” squads is equally sickening to me and accurate. I couldn’t care less about Kansas State.
That’s all I got/
On Saturday I posted a few reactions immediately following the game, and yesterday morning some of my thoughts went up. Totday I’ll run through a standard game recap with the aspiration to avoid repetition, but if ever there is a game that bears repeating information it would have to be a win over the Florida Gators. Tomorrow I’ll take a look at Georgia football on a more macro level.
To begin with anything other than the effort put together by Todd Grantham and his defense would be misguided. On Friday I offered the following sentiment:
What I like about this game is the matchup of Georgia’s defense on Florida’s offense. You’re smoking whatever the Honey Badger gave you if you think Georgia has lived up to its potential on the defensive side of the ball this season. I think you’re equally high if you don’t expect an improvement over the last stretch of the season. And maybe I’m also stoned, but I think the change could in fact be a factor of culture more so than skill/capacity. And if that is the case, the change could come quickly and it could come tomorrow.
Both a blood test and the on-field result of Saturday would show that I was not stoned. Going into the game it was odd to me how few Georgia fans believed the Bulldogs even had a shot. The defense had been frustrating, but that frustration had been a result of its underperformance relative not only to its potential but relative to what we had all actually witnessed last season. It wasn’t a result of lack of capability. With so many leaders on the squad and a fiery guy like Grantham at the helm, how did we not expect the switch to get flipped at some point? Furthermore, with a rivalry game against a team like Florida and so much on the line why wouldn’t we at least hope that it would happen Saturday? Frankly, I don’t know those answers; but a lot of people saw no hope. I actually did.
The statistics of Saturday’s performance are staggering. Six turnovers. Several other balls lost but ultimately recovered by the Gators. But, the actual performance had far too much going on to rely merely on statistics. John Jenkins constant penetration can’t be measured by stats. Cornelius Washington’s solid effort in containment won’t show up on the stat sheet. The only statistic that really matters here was the fact that Florida never crossed the goal line for a touchdown. That’s my favorite figure.
I don’t know how bad Florida’s offense actually is, because the Georgia D obviously played a heck of a game. But I do know the Florida’s offense is not good. The turnovers could have happened to anyone as Georgia players were consistently in the right place at the right time (not chance encounters, mind you, prepared attacks), but the general lack of firepower was evident.
Before the season I expressed concern about Florida’s rise but felt the offense could hold them back, and to an extent that has been the case – even if it was only in this game. Friday I mentioned that I didn’t think Mike Gillislee was that good, and Georgia certainly contained him and said that Jeff Driskel was closer to a poor man’s Connor Shaw than a poor man’s Tebow, and that proved accurate as well.
Florida needs help on offense to get back to where they want to be, and I know they’ll get it over the coming seasons. And I hate that.
The defensive side of the ball is just fine for the Gators. The way they swarm for the tackle and react to tipped passes and other loose balls is very reminiscent of last year’s LSU squad – and that is scary. They forced Murray into the fourth worst QB rating of his career (behind only UCF in 2010, LSU in 2011 and South Carolina earlier this year), and managed to take generally reliable pass-catchers off their game and induce drops.
Ultimately, however, Georgia’s offense was able to do enough to win the game, and it would be a falsehood to even imply that Florida’s defense was the best Georgia has seen this year. On one particular Saturday in early October, South Carolina was much more disruptive and much more dominating.
On Friday I explained something to Florida Eric (who chimed in on the live-blog) as he was asserting that Georgia’s offense had not taken on any good defenses. I pointed out that Florida’s defense has been great this season, but the average ranking of the offenses they had taken on (in yards per game) was 70th in the nation. Furthermore, if you averaged up those seven teams and found their average yards per game that individual entity would rank 67th in the nation.
In that same way of measuring Georgia’s offense had seen previous success against defenses with an average ranking of 54th in the nation and a per-game number that would have ranked 55th. So, Georgia’s lofty offensive averages were actually against better defenses than the offenses Florida’s defense had been destroying…if that makes any sense.
This supported my assumption that if Georgia’s defense could do it’s part Georgia’s offense would find a way to win, and they certainly were able to do so – albeit not in a pretty way. Murray’s three interceptions were darn near crippling on three consecutive possessions as Florida began to get momentum. Similarly, the receivers did their best to derail the passing game in the second half.
But if you can commit half as many turnovers as your opposition, produce a 100-yard rusher (118 to be exact) and put together a 7 play 75-yard drive in crunch time then you’re going to win some football games in this rivalry.
Lastly, I believe Special Teams actually helped Georgia win this game. Georgia won the field positioning game (albeit by a measly 3 yards), pinned Florida inside the 20 twice on punts, held Andre Debose to a long kick return of just 26 yards and one lone punt return for one lone yard and above all else avoided shooting themselves in the foot with terrible kick coverage or returns. So, in that regard it was one of the best performances I’ve seen by Georgia’s Special Teams units. Sure Georgia would have loved to have had Marshall Morgan’s missed field goal, but if I could have one thing (that kick) or the other (kick coverage) I’d take the field position over that 3-pointer.
There’s not much left to say. On Friday I said, “The much-maligned Georgia defense can win this game for the Bulldogs.”
Turns out that very same defense did win this game for the Bulldogs. Now it’s time to win one more against Ole Miss.
That’s all I got/