Recap: Is Auburn the New Georgia Tech?
This whole Auburn thing is getting out of control. Not their 2-8 start with lone wins over Louisiana-Monroe (in overtime) and New Mexico State. Not their refusal to win a conference game. I’m talking about their refusal to be competitive in a bitter rivalry.
Not since 1961 has a team in this series (which is tied 54-54-8 all-time) won six of seven matchups. And that’s what the Georgia Bulldogs just did on Saturday. Much like Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate (Georgia vs. Georgia Tech) there seems to be severe pro-Georgia bend in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.
How out hand is this getting? With the lone exception of the Cam Newton/Nick Fairley year (more on that in a moment) Georgia has not only won- but more often than not won convincingly– against Auburn in recent history. Dating back to 2006 (again excluding the 2010 game) the Bulldogs have these games by 22, 25, 4, 7, 38 and 38 points. In those six wins Auburn has scored just 79 points, Georgia has scored 213.
You can add the 2010 game and somewhat narrow the gap (total score over the last seven games: Georgia 244, Auburn 128), but ask any Auburn fan around and they’ll tell you that 2010 seems an awful long time ago. I’d have to agree. I won’t make any allegations regarding pay-for-play schemes today but regardless of how Cam and Nick Fairley (who had an entire year of high school changed on his transcript) showed up in Auburn, Alabama they combined with a seasoned offensive line and an explosive freshman running back to create a perfect storm of a team. That perfect storm has not been and will not be replicated for Auburn. And even that perfect storm struggled (relatively so) against a Georgia team that finished with a losing record.
And the way Auburn has looked against Georgia over the past two seasons might make the comparison to the Georgia Tech rivialry offensive to the Yellow Jackets.
I said on Friday that I Georgia could threaten 2011’s margin of victory against the Tigers. Georgia matched it and pitched a shutout in the process. Grantham’s defense held Auburn to 11 first downs and forced two turnovers while Georgia’s offense saw two runners go over 100 yards (both Marshall and Gurley averaged over 10 yards per carry), Aaron Murray hit on 75% of his passes and throw 3 TDs before making way for backs ups.
I’m sure that the Auburn/Alabama rivalry remains fierce, but the Georgia/Auburn rivalry may be slipping. The painfully annoying memory of Cam Newton’s cheesy smile and the gruesome illegal hits by Nick Fairley still resonate in my memory, but as this series becomes less competitive, I become less concerned.
For me the Georgia Rivalry Hierarchy is as follows:
- South Carolina
- Georgia Tech
And Auburn is falling fast. How fast? Fast enough that I’m already over this game.
A Note on Aaron Murray
Last week I wrote about the Georgia signal-caller. By way of update: on Saturday Murray posted an 18/24 for 208 yards and 3 TD performance in route to a 189.1 QB Rating and a spot on the bench for the fourth quarter. Murray’s passer rating now ranks third in the nation and his completion percentage has risen to 65.8% – which if maintained would set a single-season record at Georgia.
For what it’s worth, within the SEC Murray now ranks 4th in passing yards and 2nd in TD passes despite ranking 6th in the conference in passes thrown. Murray blows the field away in yards per attempt because he doesn’t make easy short passes all the time like AJ McCarron, Connor Shaw and Johnny Football (Murray’s actually tied for first in the country at 9.7 yards per attempt). And his passer rating has now edged McCarron’s by 2.5 points with the next closest trailing another 9.2 points (Connor Shaw).
So yeah, he’s good.
That’s all I got/