That was fun.
— Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd) November 13, 2016
Let’s start with that, as it is a perfect (albeit more entertaining than much of the game itself) portrayal of Saturday’s 13-7 win between the hedges. Now that you’re ready to run through a brick wall, let’s dive into it.
FRESH HELL, DEFENSE, WHAT WAS THAT?!?!
Auburn entered the Georgia game third in the nation in rushing, at 300 yards per game. Auburn finished Saturday’s game with 164 yards TOTAL. Last I checked in with y’all, I was of the mindset that Auburn would march up and down the field on Georgia’s young (but talented) front. Put it this way: Auburn ran for 543 yards against Arkansas, who allowed 12 versus Florida. While Florida ran for a pedestrian 100 against the Dawgs, pure transitive projection states that we should’ve expected the Barn to hit 4,525 yards on Saturday.
Everyone simply did their job and played perfect assignment football in this game. Trent Thompson and Jon Ledbetter got pressure up the middle, Roquan Smith, Davin Bellamy, and Reggie Carter cleaned up anything the front couldn’t handle, and Malkolm Parrish had an outstanding game making plays in space. When you can force Auburn largely out of its initial read and force Sean White to beat you with his arm, good things can happen.
If I had the technology (or the time) I’d love to go back and show y’all some GIF’s of what made this performance so great. In true 2011 Alabama fashion, Georgia was able to constrict the field with great consistency. That only happens against inept offenses or when everyone is winning their 1-on-1’s. Mad props to EVERYONE associated with the defensive gameplan.
OFFENSE: A WORK IN PROGRESS
Big plays? Check, with the caveat that a few were called back.
Mistakes? OH YEAH I’D SAY THERE WAS ONE, TERRY GODWIN.
Even though 6 points is nothing to be super proud of, the Georgia offense was consistent in moving the ball and allowing the defense to have the performance stated above. Besides bookend three-and-outs to end the 2nd and start the 3rd…there were no three-and-outs by the Georgia offense. That’s amazing progress. The running game was able to sustainably get forward progress and allow Jacob Eason to not throw out of 3rd-and-12, as had become the norm. And Eason played his most composed game of the season. I think we’re going to grow to enjoy his scramble drill bombs over the next two years– his deep sideline throws to Riley Ridley and Javon Wims were electrifying.
The offensive line came through with their most consistent performance, and did so against the most talented defensive line they’ll face. Props to them.
4,51 yards per play won’t win you a ton of games, but when you can do it and play keep away (can’t say I saw this offense running 76 plays against anyone) you give yourself a chance.
RODRECSPECS DA GAWD
That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
Dude Emeritus here, back from the dead to grow some whiskers.
The crew from my day job is doing a contest, and I really don’t want to lose to a bunch of Big 10 and Pac-12 amateurs in my office. So show me some love by donating to the cause (not to me…just to my fundraiser). In exchange, I promise daily updates on my facial hair non-progress.
And as you can tell by this video, I’ve been really working over-time on that beard.
Thanks for your consideration.
And, because Chad is horrible at deadlines, we should mention he is running a similar campaign in via his real estate business.
Essentially, the idea is this: call him with a ready-to-go client referral, and he donates in your name. $100 in the Charlotte, NC area, $25 literally ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD.
No contests here, but he wants to at least beat the last two years’ combined total of just over $500.
Donate your own money here, or contact Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect him with someone in need of help buying, selling, or investing in property.
His selfie game is not nearly as strong, but his beard game is electric. Watch out for this one, folks.
I don’t need to break down, again, why this is a lost season.
Our young Bulldogs are a trash football team. Andrew and I said it many times on the podcast leading into the team’s rough October, but just remember: Nick Saban’s first Alabama team went 6-6 *whispers “its the process” in a creepy voice*. Enjoy the rebuilding effort, ignore the fact that we didn’t necessarily have to rebuild, and let’s ride on.
With Georgia now sitting at 4-4, however, the question becomes “how bad can it get?” and “does Georgia miss a bowl game?”, unthinkable results even as we had all the warning signs of a lucky football team through September. Let’s take a look at the path to 6-6.
Saturday: at Kentucky
A “mea culpa” from myself and literally every other person who watches college football intently is in order here. We buried Mark Stoops after season-opening losses to Southern Miss and Florida, and they’ve been competent ever sense. They beat South Carolina (which Tennessee didn’t do). They kept the Alabama game within 30 (which Tennessee didn’t do). At 4-2, we’re talking about a Kentucky team that has an outside chance, with some help from Florida’s opponents, of winning the SEC East.*
* – BIG BOLD DISCLAIMER: THE SEC EAST IS ABSOLUTE TRASH, Y’ALL
The change for Kentucky? A more run-heavy approach. After thinking for the first month that they were back in the Hal Mumme era, Eddie Gran reset around ‘backs Ben Snell, Jr. and Boom Williams and has gotten marvelous results. The two split touches almost evenly. Williams is averaging 7.53 yards per carry and Snell is finishing drives with 8 TD’s.
UK is not too efficient in the passing game, and will not wow you on defense (though they will create some havoc plays). Georgia SHOULD be the favorite here, selling out on the run and hopefully finding some success with…anything on offense.
Odds: Georgia 55%. Pick: Georgia, 23-21
So Auburn forgot they were supposed to get Gus Malzahn fired, and are a legitimate top-10 team right now.
Their defense is ferocious, and their offense should be able to spit out rushing yards against Georgia.
Odds: Georgia 7%. Pick Auburn, 44-14.
We learned with Nicholls not to take anything for granted. I hope. With Georgia hopefully at 5 wins, a snoozer to get to bowl eligibility would be great.
LaFayette is great against the run (just over 3 YPC against terrible competition) but can’t run the ball at all. Jacob Eason needs to be on (no guarantee) in this one, because their pass defense is a glaring weakness.
Odds: Georgia 80% (I mean, right?) Pick: Georgia, 38-13
As excited as I am about putting the final nail in Paul Johnson’s coffin, I’m thinking that won’t be the case because Paul Johnson has the best agent on the planet, and his contract is fully guaranteed.
I know nothing about Kirby Smart and Mel Tucker’s experience versus the option, and that scares me a little bit. Conversely, Georgia has seemed to have more success than anyone outside of Clemson shutting down the Bees historically, and I like that to continue.
The Tech defense is rough. They don’t get pressure (happy feet Eason may create it on his own by this point), they don’t make tackles for loss, and they don’t…do much of anything well on that side.
We know this game is always wonky, but talent and pride will hopefully prevail.
Odds: Georgia 68%. Pick: Georgia 27-21
At this point, I’m taking a 2-2 November for extra bowl prep reps and running with it. Somehow, I get the feeling that, despite my picks above, that’s the most likely scenario.
3-1 to get to 7 wins is a depressing reality in Year Zero of the Kirby era, but getting them against this group would show some progress from a team that has regressed since the beginning of the season.
Oh hey! We don’t know what happened, but for some reason the WordPress server hasn’t accepted any of our posts since October 15 or so…
Its that time of year again. The one where jean shorts, puking strangers, and creative drinking reign supreme. Where the quality of the game itself is inversely correlated its stakes. Where, for Georgia fans not born on the I-95 corridor, noses get very sensitive to storm drains, paper factories, and the nastiness of the state of Florida.
Seriously, going to The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party* is a feat in alcoholism and conditions that would make the Brazil Olympics blush. Why do it? Because you have NO idea what’s going to happen.
*- yes, it’ll always be the cocktail party.
Florida is a 7.5-point favorite in this year’s iteration, an alarmingly comforting number for the Georgia fan still reeling (as our entire website is) from the inexcusable Vandy loss. 7.5 points is two turnovers, a miracle at Mizzou, or patented Georgia/Florida weirdness away from a Georgia upset. And I’m calling for it now, because this rivalry is just stupid enough to lend itself to that result.
So how, stupid blogger-by-night sportswriter that I am, come up with such a pick?
- Georgia wins turnovers. Luke Del Rio is at his third university. Austin Appleby couldn’t cut it at Purdue. Georgia’s defense, meanwhile? Pretty damn good! Sell out against the run, pressure the quarterbacks, and force them to beat Georgia’s ballhawking DB’s 1-on-1. Or, any one of Lorenzo Carter/Natrez Patrick/Roquan Smith/Davin Bellamy/D’Andre Walker could go all Jarvis on it. For review:
- Which means, don’t turn the ball over. Florida’s defense is, outside of Ann Arbor and Tuscaloosa, probably the best in the country. Their secondary may be the best now that Eddie Jackson is out at Alabama. So, do what the Jim Chaney offense has been incredibly adept at: playing way too conservatively, running our running backs’ heads into a brick wall, and finding creative ways to get Isaiah McKenzie the ball in space. 250 yards and some well-executed punts are all we need.
- The special teams gods still owe us. Self-explanatory.
Convinced yet? No? Good. Neither am I. Try explaining the run massacre of 2014, the decision to start Faton Bauta last year (and run him exactly twice), or the game in 2013 becoming close.
Georgia could win this on safeties and field goals…or some karmic interference from Florida stonewalling LSU and causing 10 days of handwringing throughout the SEC.
For some reason that defies even the shaky logic presented above, I think they will.
I am not making light of Hurricane Matthew, and am not (intentionally) showing my bias.
As has been discussed throughout SEC country this week, Florida and LSU failed to play a football game last weekend. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley mandated that the Georgia/South Carolina game not happen on Saturday, and it was played on a beautiful Sunday. Notre Dame/N.C. State and Virginia Tech/UNC were played in torrential downpours. And every model had the games right in the Carolinas by Saturday.
So why didn’t the Florida/LSU game happen, and what happens if it (likely doesn’t) happen later?
It is abundantly clear that LSU was down to play this game. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, they moved a game from Baton Rouge to Tempe. The Tigers had a game with Tennessee move to a Monday to avoid another storm. Oh, and just last year, they agreed with South Carolina to play a game in Baton Rouge and donate all proceeds to flooding relief victims. Suffice it to say, they’ve been down this road before.
Florida, too, has been in this situation, as lightning caused their 2014 showdown with Idaho to be delayed, delayed, and finally cancelled. That’s fine, LSU cancelled a game with McNeese State for similar reasons last year.
BUT LSU MADE EVERY EFFORT TO PLAY THIS GAME.
Tigers AD Joe Alleva came out on the offensive in the wake of Thursday’s cancellation, stating that overtures had been made to play the game in Gainesville earlier or later in the day or week. No dice. In Baton Rouge? No, Florida found that unfair. In Mobile? Birmingham? Nashville? New Orleans? No, no, no, and no.
Even from an outside (and again, unbiased) perspective, Jeremy Foley stonewalled until arrangements to play this game wouldn’t happen.
Ironically, safety was the issue. I say ‘ironically’, because his solution kept his players in Gainesville, and because his ‘solution’ is to have LSU play three straight road games in 12 days at the end of the season.
Oh, and in the process take away the home game revenue of LSU’s last home game, Nov. 19, against South Alabama. You may recall that Baton Rouge had some flooding this summer, and their economy is in need of a home game. From Steven Godfrey’s article on the matter:
“I’d say for restaurants like ours in the community, it’s upwards of a $100,000 loss in sales compared to a normal Friday through Sunday,” said Ruffin Rodrigue, a former LSU player and owner of Ruffino’s restaurant in Baton Rouge.
“Of that number, a lot of that is money going directly to our employees, most of whom are coming off the flood. We’re trying to catch up right now. This is the last home game of the season. It’s senior night. That means it’s a homecoming for a lot of fans and families.”
His Ruffino’s location took on no water in the flood, but the Lafayette location did. A 9 p.m. post-flood curfew killed business across the city for almost a month.
“We were open for those three weeks, but no one could get here. The streets were flooded. Our sales went down 80 percent. But hey, still gotta pay your taxes and insurance, except there’s no cash coming in. So, everyone got really, really hurt. We need these home games to make good,” Rodrigue said.
“These home games are critical to getting our head above water, so to speak.”
So, we’re all in agreement that Florida has the egg on its face here, right?
Well, so does the SEC.
Mike Slive was critical in getting the aforementioned games to happen, as the SEC rules state that the commissioner can act as a facilitator to make agreeable concessions in incidents such as this. Greg Sankey? 0 for 1. By not taking a hard stance with Foley on LSU’s reasonable compromises, a failure in leadership up top throws the whole SEC season’s validity into question, because…
What could this impact?
The. Whole. Damn. SEC. Race.
As currently constituted, Florida and LSU will finish with 7 SEC games each. At 2-1, Florida’s remaining path includes Mizzou, Georgia, Arkansas and South Carolina. Logically played out, Florida should finish that schedule at 6-1, with a lone loss to Tennessee.
Tennessee, you ask? Oh, they play Bama this week. They finish with an easier schedule than that, but one can assume they finish 6-2.
Your SEC East champion based on the SEC’s rules? The Florida Gators.
You could run a similar hypothetical in the West, but its hard to see LSU going through Ole Miss, Alabama, Texas A&M, and Arkansas unscathed. (Although, COACH O!)
With its most daunting challenge ahead, and its starting quarterback out, Florida made zero effort to make this game happen. Until it was cancelled. Then, they leaned on Sankey to make something happen. These things included:
- Asking Georgia to move the Cocktail Party up a week so they could host LSU on Oct. 29. Jacksonville declined.
- Asking Texas A&M to move their Thanksgiving tilt with LSU to Thanksgiving Saturday, thus giving LSU a week’s rest between three tough road games. Both A&M and LSU declined.
- All of this, too, assuming that LSU would sacrifice its Senior Day game, pay off South Alabama (guarantee: $1.5 million), and come to Gainesville on Nov. 21. Florida’s guarantee for Presbyterian, by the way? $500,000.
To Foley’s credit, he is going out with a bang. He has yet to make one concession that would risk the Florida Gators football team, which I guess is his job. In so doing, though, he has undermined the SEC offices and pissed off every member institution in the conference.
Goddamnit, I hate Florida.