Georgia Football: A Quick Primer on Georgia’s Chances to Win the SEC
At 6-2, Georgia has done its part to position itself as well as possible for a trip to the SEC title game in Atlanta. Due to the rarity of mollywoppings of top 10 rivals, it was difficult to accurately gauge Georgia’s title chances without feeling like some kind of jinx would be in order.
With no more SEC tilts on the schedule, however, it’s time to see what needs to happen for Georgia to win the conference, and who the Dawgs could see in Atlanta.
Winning the East
This Missouri thing has gone on long enough. In conference play, their total scoring margin is plus-23 points. Take away the strange aberration that was the Florida game, and they’re actually being outscored in SEC play. Hell, take away the Georgia game and their average margin of victory in six wins is a pedestrian 9.5. Missouri is so across the board unimpressive that it is incomprehensible that they could go 7-1.
|Strength of Schedule||29th||16th|
|Rushing Yards Per Att||4.61||6.09|
*Bangs head against wall*
Coming up for Mizzou are two interesting opponents, both of whom are peaking (in the most liberal interpretation of the word) at the right time. A trip to Rocky Top looms this Saturday, where Tennessee has won two in row following a brutal stretch of schedule that saw them go 0-for-October. Josh Dobbs has saved the Butch Jones honeymoon in Tennessee, and the Vols will be playing for their first bowl appearance since 2010. These are all positive developments for Georgia’s chances.
This should be a low-scoring game in Knoxville, and Maty Mauk’s propensity to turn the ball over will face off with his propensity to inexplicably win on the road (where he is now 6-0, 5-0 in SEC play). Something’s gotta give.
Failing a Tennessee win, Georgia’s last chance to go to the title game is via an Arkansas win the Friday after Thanksgiving. For a team who, until last Saturday, had lost 17 straight SEC games, I’ve been pretty high on the Hogs this year. Their 17-0 win over LSU vindicated that feeling.
Arkansas’ gameplan is to lean on you with the run until you break, which only works if you have a competent defense. Well, since the Georgia game, the ‘Backs have given up 34 points in 3 contests, moving to 27th overall in scoring defense at 22.2 points a game. Without going too in-depth, the two-headed monster of Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins should be able to amass more than 22 points.
Beating the West
With the river card to be played, Alabama holds by far the best hand in the SEC West. Additionally, Alabama is playing like 2008-2013 Alabama again, and that is not the best news for anyone hoping to romp through the SEC Championship.
The Tide plays host to Western Carolina this week as a tuneup before the Iron Bowl against an Auburn team whom I personally believe has been figured out by the SEC in the past two weeks (reverse jinx alert).
As it stands, Alabama is my pick for the national champion from where we sit today.
If the inexplicable happens and Auburn beats Alabama again, one needs to start prepping for Mississippians to invade Atlanta.
With an Alabama loss in the Iron Bowl, the best-case scenario for the SEC, Georgia, and both entities’ playoff chances is for Mississippi State to win out. For the SEC, a two-loss champion (with recent losses) does itself no favors in the eyes of the playoff committee. For Georgia, a quality win over a team that would be ranked #2 or #3 going in could boost them into said playoff.
Ole Miss has a tricky road game at Arkansas before the Egg Bowl, but winning out provides them the head-to-head tiebreaker over 6-2 Alabama and Mississippi State (this, of course, assumes Mississippi State beats Vanderbilt this Saturday. I LIKE THEIR CHANCES.) What’s funny is this is the chaos scenario I wrote about three weeks ago, and we sit here today with it looking a LOT more likely than it did then.
We’ll break this down in more detail once Mizzou clinches us the East. Failing a Missouri loss, the last six paragraphs are irrelevant, as the SEC would play its least exciting championship game in over a decade. Nobody got time for that.