Blog Archives

Georgia vs. Kentucky Preview: Spoiler Alert! Georgia Wins!


Last week the University of Kentucky spent $300,000 on lights for Midnight Madness, a glorified basketball practice.  The Widlcats’ football recruiting budget last year was $336,000.  If that doesn’t give you insight into this weekend’s game then I don’t know that I can either.

Stats are for losers, but the Wildcats will be losers so the following is applicable.

Kentucky is in the bottom-half of the SEC in the following categories:

  • Scoring Offense*
  • Scoring Defense**
  • Total Offense*
  • Total Defense*
  • Rushing Offense**
  • Rushing Defense*
  • Pass Offense*
  • Pass Defense*
  • Pass Efficiency*
  • Pass Defense Efficiency**
  • Punt Return Average*
  • Interceptions*
  • Field Goals**
  • Sacks By
  • Sacks Against
  • First Downs
  • Opponent First Downs**
  • Opponent 3rd Down Conversions**
  • 4th Down Conversions**
  • Opponent Penalties**
  • Time of Possession**
  • Turnover Margin*
  • Red Zone Offense**
  • Red Zone Defense

 * = Bottom Four in the Conference ** = Last in the Conference

In 24 of the team statistical categories listed on the SEC’s website the Wildcats are in the bottom-half.  Twenty of those represent bottom-four placings and nine represent the worst number in the league.  The Wildcats are only in the top-half in nine categories (Kickoff Returns – 7th, Punting – 6th, Kickoff Coverage – 7th, PAT – 9-way tie for 1st, 3rd Down Conversions – 7th, Opponent 4th Down Conversions – 3rd =, Penalties – 2nd, On-Side Kicks – 1st, On-Side Kicks against – 12-way tie for 1st).

There’s no way this team beats the Georgia Bulldogs.  Mark Richt’s squad should be looking to knock of a little rust and knock off an SEC East opponent in the process. When it’s all said and done there will be no doubt that the Southeastern portion of the SEC is the strength of the division as Georgia will have rolled through Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt with great success.

That’s all I got/

Andrew

Georgia vs. South Carolina Preview: What’s About to Happen?


I don’t even know where to go with this game, because I really don’t know where this game is going to go.  I’m going to throw out a bunch of thoughts today from a Georgia-centric perspective and I hope at the end I can support my gut and/or desire for UGA to win.

 

The Road

 This is Georgia’s first road test of the season.  For obvious reasons, I don’t count Missouri as a road “test” when speaking of game environments.  Williams-Brice (So nice they named it twice) Stadium’s 80,000 fans make more noise on any given Saturday than the 70k at Faurot Field make in a lifetime.  This will be the most hostile crowd the Dawgs have seen in one year (the last notable volume heard was at Tennessee October 8, 2011).  How the Dawgs – particularly freshmen RBs looking to pick up blitz schemes and audibles – respond will be crucial to the game’s outcome.

 

Georgia fans will miss this friendly crowd when taking on the Cocks

 

Missing Bennett

Georgia will miss Michael Bennett, as discussed here, most when key third downs are needed.  His lack of presence will be compounded by the fact that he didn’t just happen to be really clutch on second and third downs.  He was Murray’s go-to target.  Tavarres King may be Murray’s first-down guy and Malcolm Mitchell and Marlon Brown may be his big play guys, but Bennett was his go-to possession receiver.  Not only will his physical presence be missed, but also the psychological reliance Murray had on him.  Someone must fill the void left by Bennett and before him the departure of Orson Charles.  I’d love to see a Tight End fill that role, and Artie Lynch sure has looked good.

 

This photo of Steve Spurrier drinking a Coors topless has nothing to to with Michael Bennett.

 

Offensive Pace 

Georgia must “keep pace” on two fronts on offense: both in timing and in downs.  The strength of South Carolina’s defense lies on their defensive line.  D.J. Swearinger may be an All-American this season at safety, but his success (much like Rambo for UGA) is dependent on pressure forced by his DL.  Like Georgia, however, South Carolina’s defensive line can become worn out.  It happened against Kentucky (albeit for a half) and fatigue neutralized the squad.  With Murray’s plethora of offensive weapons (Gurley, Marshall, Mitchell, Brown, King, Wooten, Lynch, Rome, etc.) the Dawgs hold an advantage if they can keep a fast pace and wear out Jadeveon Clowney and company – even if UGA’s OL becomes equally fatigued.

Georgia must also stay ahead on the snap-count, so to speak.  You hear about pitchers getting ahead in the count (more strikes than balls), well the same needs to happen for Murray and the offense.  Bennett’s six third-down conversions lead the team (Marshall is second with four), but perhaps even more indicting is the fact that the average yardage needed during those six 3rd downs was six yards.  Georgia cannot afford many 3rd and six play calls on Saturday.

The Dawgs need effective running by Marshall and Gurley (fortunately the two have combined for 35 first down runs on 1st and 2nd down) early in possessions, solid hands by guys like Tavarres King (Nine first down catches on first downs) on play action and top-notch play-calling from Mike Bobo (which frankly, I think the Dawgs have gotten).

 

Style of Play

Last week it was clear that Tennessee’s only chance of keeping up with the Dawgs was in a shootout.  I would love to see Georgia’s defense dominate the game (and I think they’re due for a game), but I also think a shootout favors the Bulldogs.  I don’t think Connor Shaw, who is playing terrific ball right now but has been inconsistent even by South Carolina QB standards, has weapons that can match Georgia’s on the receiving end.  And, as much as I fear Lattimore, he has not been himself this season (at least not yet) and would be hard pressed to go run-for-run with two fresh backs from Georgia.

 Are we sure Joe Cox didn’t just change his hair color and suit up for the Gamecocks?

 

Upside

Georgia has shown much more of an “upside” this season with a flawless game against Vanderbilt even with out Rambo and Ogletree.  South Carolina is still looking for their truly “scary good” game.  If both teams play their best game I like the Bulldogs a whole lot, probably by more than a touchdown.  But every step down from their concerns me.  Because, Georgia has also looked a lot worse than South Carolina has at any given time (FAU defensive stuggles, UT offensive and defensive struggles, etc.).

 

Talent

I think Georgia is a much more talented team than South Carolina this year – and I’m not sure that I would have said the same thing last year.  And, for the first time in several seasons it seems like we have a group of guys that is capable of not only playing with intensity, but also playing with crisp, sharp precision.  This will be a great test for the Dawgs, because unlike years in the past I don’t foresee this being a “Wow, what an ugly game.  Those teams really bring out the worst in each other.” type matchup.  I think one of these teams will gain considerable national attention for winning this game in a respectable fashion.

 

And, I think it will be Georgia.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

Georgia vs. Tennessee Preview: Murray vs. Bray and more


I’d like to start by pointing out that this touchdown was scored 15 feet in front of me during freshman year, and I swear Thomas Brown and I made eye contact just after he broke the last tackle.  He scored that TD for me.  I don’t even care if Georgia lost that game.

Rocky Top Talk – a Tennessee sports blog that is much more accomplished than the site you’re currently reading – described Saturday’s game in this way:

A Georgia team facing its toughest test, a Tennessee team looking to pass its first test, and two quarterbacks ready to ascend.  Who graduates on Saturday?

I’m not sure that I can whole-heartedly agree with all of those sentiments, simply because I don’t know what is true about Tennessee.  It certainly seems – at first glance particularly – that Tennessee would be Georgia’s toughest test to date, but is that accurate?  With all due respect to Tennessee, I’m just not sure how much respect is due to Tennessee.

I do respect the crap out of this guy though.

Tennessee as Georgia’s Toughest Test

I’m not sure, for instance, that hosting Tennessee is a tougher task than traveling to Missouri for the Tigers’ first ever SEC home game.  Is Tennessee better than Missouri?  Probably so.  But, there’s nothing to indicate that Tennessee is better than Missouri by a margin large enough to make up for the gap between Sanford Stadium in Athens and Columbia, Missouri.  In fact, Missouri’s “signature” win this season – a 24-20 victory over Arizona State – might be more significant than Tennessee’s win over the NC State Wolfpack.  (I think Arizona State could beat NC State any day.)  Missouri has lost two games (one at home, one on the road), both to teams ranked 7th in the country at the time and both by 21 points.  I’m not sure those losses are any worse than UT’s 17-point home loss to then 18th ranked Florida.

Tennessee moved into the top-25 earlier this year following the aforementioned win against NC State and a victory against FCS Georgia State.  Georgia State is the fourth best team in the state of Georgia (following UGA, Tech and GA Southern) if – and only if – we exclude some of the powerhouse high school teams in metro Atlanta.  Tennessee got beat down at home by Florida to promptly drop out of the top-25 before letting Akron hang around for a half in Knoxville last weekend.  From an accomplishment standpoint the only thing that separates Tennessee from Vanderbilt is a win over NC State, and the Commodores haven’t played NC State.

So, are the Volunteers really  Georgia’s toughest test so far this season?  If they are, I don’t think they are by an overwhelming margin.  What scares me about Tennessee is this: Georgia is a much, much better team than the Tennessee Volunteers, but a lot of time that doesn’t mean anything in this rivalry.  In 2007 the Bulldogs suffered a defeat to an inferior Tennessee team and that loss came back to haunt Matthew Stafford and company as it essentially eliminated the Dawgs from National Championship contention.  The next season 10th ranked Georgia played host to a Tennessee team that was outmatched and carrying a record of 2-3 (0-2 in the SEC).  Matthew Stafford had his first career 300-yard game that day and Knowshon Moreno ran for 100, but Georgia still was clinging to a fragile 6-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter.  And, to be fair but not waste time looking into it, I’m sure that Vol fans can spout off a number of times when a superior Tennessee team struggled against the Bulldogs.

Tennessee’s Need to Pass a Test

I certainly agree that Tennessee is, in fact, looking to pass its first “test.”  Derek Dooley’s squad is looking for its first “signature” (I hate that term) victory.  They’re looking for a win over a top-25 team.  They’re looking for an SEC win.  They’re looking for a win over a rival.  They’re looking for hope.  And, a win over Georgia gives them all of that.  That kind of motivation should scare Georgia a little bit.  A team scratching and clawing for respect can be a scary thing.

Fortunately for Georgia, Tennessee is very much entering the “unknown.”  When you lose 12-straight games against ranked opponents your players struggle to know how to win against good teams.  They struggle to maintain leads.  They struggle to rally from behind.  They struggle with confidence late in the game.  They struggle to execute.  Tennessee’s last win over a ranked opponent was on Halloween night of 2009. I was actually at that game as Tennessee wore their Jack-o-lantern black and puke orange uniforms.  No player that scored against South Carolina that night still plays for UT.

Like zoinks, scooby!

Tennessee’s last victory over a top-25 team on the road was against the Georgia Bulldogs.  On Octber 7, 2006.  Tyler Bray was 14 years old.  The Vols are a long way removed from that, and will need damn-near perfection to take down the Dawgs.  Or a disaster of a game from the Dawgs.

I don’t think Jarvis Jones and the (presumably) returning Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo will let that happen defensively.  I know Aaron Murray won’t let that happen.

Murray vs. Bray

The latter point brings me to Rocky Top Talk’s expressed notion that this game features two quarterbacks who are “ready to ascend.”  Frankly, these two QBs are on two different levels.  Tyler “Fifty Shades of” Bray may have NFL scouts drooling with his 6-6 frame and his beer-bottle-toss, but if you’re looking for accomplishments on the collegiate level, Aaron Murray has already “ascended.”

Murray and Bray are both juniors.  Murray held a decisive advantage over Bray in passing yardage, touchdown passes and QB rating in each of those three seasons.  Bray missed significant time due to a wittle injuwy on his finga last season, but Murray has never missed a game – further evidence that Bray can ascend, but Murray has probably already made it.  Murray gets a bad rap for throwing interceptions, but are his 24 picks over 31 starts worse than Bray’s 17 INTs in 16 starts?  Mathematically, the answer is no – and I was captain of my high school math team.

Bray may boast a 300 yard per game passing, but his performance against the SEC has been much less impressive.  In his last five outing against conference foes (Florida this season and Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Florida and Georgia last season) Bray has posted the following statistics:

opp comp att yards td int rtg
UF

22

44

257

2

2

105

UK

15

38

215

1

2

85.2

Vandy

16

33

189

2

2

104.5

Georgia

18

33

251

0

0

118.4

Florida

26

48

288

3

2

116.9

 

In Murray’s last five SEC games he’s done the following:

opp comp att yards td int rtg
Vandy

18

24

250

2

0

190

Missouri

22

35

242

3

1

143.5

LSU

16

40

163

1

2

72.5

Kentucky

16

29

162

1

1

106.6

Auburn

14

18

224

4

0

255.6

 

Over that stretch an average game for Bray has the following stat line:

19.4 completions on 39.2 attempts (49.5%) for 240 yards, 1.6 TDs and 1.6 INTs.  That yields a QB rating of 106.2.

 A QB rating of 106 would currently rank 115th in the country.  No wonder Tennessee is 1-4 in those games scoring an average of 16.8 points per contest.

Murray’s average over the last five games looks like this:

17.2 of 29.2 (58.9 % completions) for 208.2 yards, 2.2 TDs and 0.8 INTs.  His QB rating is 138.2.

Georgia is 4-1 in those five games and has scored an average of 32.6 points in each game.

So, I don’t exactly buy the notion that Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray both have the opportunity to “ascend” in this game.  Murray is there, Bray is not.  And, to be clear, I’m not slighting Bray.  He may very well have a higher upside than Murray and he’s only had about half the playing time of Murray.  But let’s not compare apples to oranges here.

Bray only holds a lead on Murray in raw passing yard stats.  Why is that?  Murray just doesn’t get as many attempts as Bray with Georgia’s balanced offense.  Murray is currently hitting on 66.3% of his passes while throwing a TD every 10.4 attempts and throwing picks once every 52 attempts.  If he was given the chance to pass as often as Bray has this season, Murray’s current stat line would be:

98 of 148 for 1554 yards, 14 TDs and 3 INTs.

In other words Aaron Murray would be the nation’s leader in passing yards (by 73 yards) and in TDs (by two) if he got Tyler Bray’s reps.  He’d have thrown for 253 more yards than Bray and two more TD passes.

Prognosticationing 

Another writer for Rocky Top Talk offers a 38-31 win by Georgia prediction and the following:

Both teams figure to put up a lot of yards and a lot of points, although they probably won’t hit their high averages.

I might be naïve, but I don’t anticipate Tennessee putting up a lot of yards and a lot of points.  This will be the first game of a fully present defense for Georgia (presumably).  The Georgia defense’s only glaring hole this season has been long plays down the middle – the exact types of plays that an All-American Free Safety (Rambo) and an All-SEC middle linebacker (Ogletree) should stop.  If you take away those plays Georgia’s defense has been tremendous for a second consecutive year.

Rambo doesn’t take too kindly to fools trying to cross the middle.

Tennessee hasn’t produced over 300 yards of offense against an SEC defense since September 17th of last year when they rolled up 340 yards against Florida.  I mentioned that Bray’s offense has only scored 16.8 points per game in their last five SEC games.  Well, that’s going to happen a lot to teams who only rack up an average of 291 yards.

Georgia’s defense may not quite be at full-speed on Saturday (although I hope it is), but there’s no reason to think the Dawgs defense will ultimately (by November at the latest) end up being any less stifling than it was last year.  Last season the Vols scored 12 points against Georgia in Knoxville.  I could see a similar showing if Georgia’s defense shows up in peak form.

Is Tennessee’s offense better this year than last year?  Maybe so.  But, in the Vols first four games last season they averaged 37.75 points against an FCS opponent, a Big East squad, a MAC team and Florida.  This year the Vols are averaging 38.25 points against an eerily similar slate of an FCS opponent, an ACC squad, a MAC team and Florida.

For the first time in several years I actually fully expect Georgia to come in and take care of business this weekend against an SEC foe.  If I’m right Georgia will cover the 14-16 point spread.  If I’m wrong they’ll hold on for a close, ugly victory.  Either way, Georgia wins this game.

Editor’s Note: Please check out Rocky Top Talk.  Again, they do a phenomenal job and are probably much more knowledgeable than I am.  And, although I disagree with some of the points they made, I wouldn’t even mention them or debate them if I didn’t respect their work.

That’s all I got/

Andrew

PS: How about that Stanford upset?

Week Four Preview, Georgia vs. Vandy Preview


YouTube Video


We, we, we, we so excited about this weekend’s games!  After a real barn-burner between Boise State and BYU last night (the Broncos dominated in true 7-6 fashion) that saw over 460 yards of offense between the two teams I think the nation is ready for some real football.

Here’s what is shaking in the SEC this weekend…

Kentucky travels to Florida in what would be a terrific basketball matchup but could very well be a blood bath in this sport.  The Wildcats look like they might be bad even by Blue Grass State Football standards and Florida is (allegedly) the 14th best team in the nation.  I’m not quite on the “Florida is back” campaign yet, but to start winning me over the Gators need to decimate Kentucky – and I think that will happen.  Florida wins by a score comparable to that of the Alabama-Arkansas game last week (never forget!).

Ole Miss will be taking on Tulane in a battle of football programs that America has forgotten about.  I can see why everyone forgets about Ole Miss: the Rebels are bottom-feeders in an attention-heavy conference and they pretty much win eve3ry game they should (very few) and lose every game they should.  But I don’t understand how Tulane is overlooked.  The Green Wave is in the bottom 20 of the nation in scoring offense and scoring defense.  That is hard to do.  Only eight teams in the country have managed that kind of consistency on both sides of the ball.  Unfortunately that consistency is going to yield a loss for Tulane as Ole Miss moves to 3-1 before heading into conference play (or, an eight-game losing streak as I like to call it).

Alabama gets Georgia’s sloppy seconds as the Crimson Tide gets to take on Florida Atlantic this week.  Not to worry college football fans this won’t be another massacre.  FAU defensive end Cory Henry says Alabama can be beat.  Now, if you’re wondering what credentials Cory Henry has besides two first names, fear not: he knows a thing or two about SEC football.  You see, Cory Henry played in an SEC game against Georgia last week and he recorded one entire tackle – so he’s pretty well established in big-boy football.  In fact one writer said recently that Cory Henry was a favorite for SEC Defensive Player of the Year for his single-tackle performance, but he’s just not eligible since he plays in another conference.  In totality Cory Henry said the following:

They ain’t what people think.  They’re good and everything, but they can (be) beat, too.  They just execute well.  The just execute and beat you.”

I’m confused as to how Alabama “ain’t” what people think.  I’m a person and I think (as Cory Henry himself insists) that Alabama is “good and everything.”  I talked to another person earlier today who said he agrees that “They just execute well.”  Yet another character who could best be described as a person agreed that Alabama executes well and beats you.  So what part of Cory Henry’s qualifying statements is contrary to “what people think?”  And, what more could you want outside of the following:

1.    A good team

2.   A team that executes well

3.   A team that beats other team

 

YouTube Video

Can everyone please stop trying to talk trash about the SEC?  Please.  I’m tired of trolling.  Oh yeah, and Alabama executes like a good team and wins this game.

 

Missouri gets to travel from Columbia to Columbia to take on South Carolina in what is probably the Tigers first visit to Hell’s Armpit.  If Mizzou can survive they humidity…who am I kidding?  Nobody survives Columbia’s humidity.  I think South Carolina and their lack of an offense continues into the 432nd year but the Gamecocks win.

 

Arkansas gets a chance to show that things could be worse in Fayetteville as they take on Rutgers in a game that will send a resounding, “See, at least we aren’t in the Big East” across the state.

 

Texas A&MMississippi State, and Tennessee will roll against South Carolina State, and South Alabama – in some order.

 

The LSU Auburn game is shaping up to be a real cat fight at Jordan-Hare stadium  The scrap will pit the Tigers from LSU against the raggedy feral cats of Auburn and when nature plays out LSU will have killed every last kitty.

 

Georgia vs. Vanderbilt

Last year Vanderbilt’s coach James “Benjamin” Franklin (he needs a nickname to set him apart from the Missouri quarterback) thought it in his best interest to show his hind parts whenever possible.  This culminated in him acting like a jackass after Georgia pulled out a victory and then implying that Georgia defensive coordinator was acting like a jackass.   I sincerely hope that tomfoolery was enough to make Georgia take this game seriously.

Much like the Missouri game earlier this season I will point out that there is a significant talent gap between Vandy and UGA.  In fact, that gap is much wider than the schism presented by Missouri.  I hope that Georgia comes out and plays with a tenacity that shuts James “Benjamin” Franklin up early and shuts him up hard.  I want any messages he has for Georgia to be written on his head with a dry-erase marker because I don’t want to see his whining to the refs about “no calls” as the Commodores chop block and threaten the safety of Georgia’s defensive linemen.

I ride Georgia fans for lack of intensity often, but I hope that the fans all leave the stadium at the end of the third quarter having seen enough of Georgia’s domination.

Here are some tidbits:

Vandy has played three opponents this season: South Carolina, Northwestern and Presbyterian.  Against FBS schools that are not Vanderbilt those three opponents have averaged 32.8 points per game. Against Vandy they averaged 13.33 points.  Defensively speaking, those teams have surrendered 25.8 points per game against other FBS opponents.  Against Vandy they gave up an average of 28 points.  So what does this tell us?  Well, for starters Vanderbilt’s offense and defense have outperformed what would be expected of their competition based on this season’s averages.  But, the fact that Vanderbilts opponents are (on the same average) giving up more points than they are scoring says a lot about Vandy’s schedule thus far.

The same can be said thus far about Georgia as the Bulldogs’ opponents have scored an average of 18.33 points against UGA and 16 points aall other FBS opponents.  And, defensively Georgia has scored an average 47.3 points against the teams’ outside average of 32.

A Vandy fan could easily point to the close loss to South Carolina as a sign of hope against UGA, but that was a miserable game by both teams hardly a loss to hang a hat on.  Similarly though, I’m not sure that Vandy can be dismissed just for a loss to Northwestern as the purple Wildcats are actually 3-0 this season and have defeated three BCS Conference opponents.

So, if you’re looking for evidence as to why Georgia will win this game or as to how big the margin will be, I’m not sure what to tell you.  I do think the Las Vegas line of 16 is about right, but gamblers are undoubtedly terrified of a line bigger than 15 or 16 for a traditionally underperforming Bulldogs team that is taking on an SEC opponent.  That is telling.  Truthfully I think both teams playing their A-game would result in a 21+ point W for Georgia.  I hope we get Georgia’s A-game and Vanderbilt’s B or C-game.  I hope “Benjamin” cries.  I can’t wait for his excuses!

 

Must-Miss YouTube

 

This is James Franklin after last year’s loss to Georgia.  He tries to address the post-game scuttle-butt.  Don’t watch it or it might make you believe in Vanderbilt football.

YouTube Video


If you do watch it note the following:

·         He stresses that Vandy will “Compete and Play with Class.”  Note that he is unable to mention “Winning with Class.”

·         He makes it clear that he has respect for Mark Richt, but not so much for other coaches. 

·         Starting at 1:15 Franklin stresses that he was upset about “things that were said” on the football field.  Yes, this is a guy who coaches grown athletes upset about trash talk.

·         At 1:40 he goes into his “We’re also going to fight…I want to make sure everyone understands that.”  The rant culminates with him saying “we’re not going to take stuff from anyone…those days are long gone.”  Two weeks later Arkansas “gave” Vandy a loss and Florida did so the following week.  On November 19 Tennessee “gave” Vandy some stuff.  Cincinnati also “gave” them stuff on December 31st in the Liberty Bowl.

·         Starting at the 1:20 mark Franklin uses either “emotional” or “passionate” five times in sixty seconds to describe the game of football.  Not sure if that was plagiarized from the back of a romance novel or what.

 

 ACC

If you didn’t notice ESPN is pretty excited about the Florida State/Clemson game.  College Gameday is there and as ESPN.com reads, “To emerge from the SEC’s shadow, theACC needs a title contender to call its own.”

There are so many things wrong with that notion that I am left with no choice but to expose them all.

First of all to “emerge from the SEC’s shadow” the ACC needs to be a damn good conference.  The ACC needs to emerge from the shadow of the Pac-12 before emerging from the shadow of the Big 10 before emerging from the shadow of the Big XII before it can begin to consider emerging from the shadow of the SEC.  Please don’t act like the ACC is just thiiiiiiiis close to being the best league in the country.  Child, please..

Secondly, one title “contender” won’t do the conference any good.  Last time I checked the ACC had a title contender.  In fact, doesn’t the conference actually have two contenders that are playing each other?  Isn’t that why this game matters?  Don’t act like the media hasn’t been able to label a “contender” out of the ACC in recent past.  Last November Clemson was that “contender” before getting beaten by the same Georgia Tech team that lost to Georgia and then losing to South Carolina.  The notion that the conference needs a contender is ridiculous.

The conference needs depth.  Only two teams in the ACC are undefeated through the first three weeks of the season.  Three Big East teams are undefeated.  Three Big Ten teams are undefeated.  Four Pac-12 teams are undefeated.  Six SEC teams are undefeated.  Eight Big XII teams are undefeated.  Obviously both teams can’t win in a conference match up, but ACC teams have lost games to the following out-of-conference opponents: Connecticut, Tennessee, Kansas State, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Louisville and Northwestern.  Within their respective conferences those teams combine for one conference win.  The ACC needs depth to become relevant.

ESPN is just giddy over the ACC’s rare top-ten matchup.  But, consider this:

·         5th ranked UGA takes on 7th Ranked South Carolina on October 6th.

·         That same day 2nd ranked LSU squares off against a Florida team that is currently 14th and could move into the top 10.

·         South Carolina and LSU then turn right around to play each other the next weekend.

·         South Carolina plays Florida on October 20th and both could be top-10 teams.

·         Georgia plays Florida on November 3rd when both teams could be in the top-10.

 

As many as five top-10 matchups will take place over the course of this season pitting at least one team from the SEC East against another conference opponent.  The ACC’s annual matchup up of half-decent teams just can’t match that.  And, I didn’t even mention the potential 1 vs. 2 in Alabama / LSU.

If you don’t want an ACC team in the national championship game rooting for Clemson is in your best interest.  The Tigers tend to slip up late in the season and will have to play South Carolina late in the year.  FSU hasn’t been great in several years, so I don’t know what to expect of them when expectations are high – but I know Clemson tends to falter.  So root for Clemson.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

Georgia vs. FAU Preview


The Florida Atlantic Owls are a real hoot.  And frankly, I can’t figure them out.  After battling Wagner for a 7-3 victory the Owls were then routed by Middle Tennessee by a score of 31-17.  Now, these tidbits aren’t that confounding in and of themselves, but when I look at the numbers things start to get weird.

FAU is averaging only 12 points per game, but the Owls seem – at least in these two games – to have a pretty good quarterback.  Graham Wilbert, a 6-foot-6, 225 pound senior lines up under center for the owls and he’s putting up a QB rating in excess of 170.  Wilbert opened the season not only with a pig’s last name but also with a 10/13 passing performance yielding 126 yards, a TD and no interceptions – as a backup!  Why didn’t they toss the ball more if he was connecting on 77% of his attempts and why was another clown starting?  The man was hot; let him throw it!  The Graham Cracker followed the game with a start in the form of a 25/32 for 260 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INT performance against MTSU.  Those numbers are pretty daggum good.

YouTube Video

Graham Wilbert completed passes against Auburn last year.  Along with everyone else.

Graham Wilbert is fourth in the nation in completion percentage, 25th in yards per attempt and 14th in QB rating.  Thirteen players in the nation can make that claim and he is one of them. To take it a step further Wilbert is one of six players to be in the top 25 in completion percentage, yards per attempt and QB rating without throwing a single interception.

Hey big man lemme whisper in yo ear,
Tell ya something that ya might like to hear.
 

So, the obvious question becomes: Why don’t the Owls throw the football more often?  The short answer is: I’m not sure, but they should get on it.  The longer answer is: they seem committed to the run. The owls are 45th in the nation in rushing attempts despite only yielding the nation’s 89th best running yardage total.  That’s not a good return on effort.  It’s math.

Maybe Graham Wilbert is just on a hot streak.  Or, maybe he’s the next small school-to-NFL surprise.  He’s got the frame for it, and if you’re completing almost 80% of your passes I’m impressed regardless of your competition.  But…I’ve never seen him throw a single ball.  Bottom line is this: Georgia needs to come to play or he could pick them apart like Kellen Moore (with smaller teeth and longer legs) with accurate, intentional, long drives.  And I don’t want the Owls hanging around.

(FYI: My favorite statistical anomaly related to Graham Wilbert is his 2010 season stats.  He completed only one of his five passes.  But it was for 41 yards!  And it wasn’t a TD!!)

Defensively I don’t see much that should slow Aaron Murray down.  FAU has recorded only two sacks this season, and even Georgia’s raw offensive line should assert its dominance.  I’d like to see a mistake-free game from Murray with three touchdowns.  I’d really like to see Todd Gurley let loose.  Gurley is fifth in the nation among runners with 15 or more carries with an average of 9.2 yards per attempt.  But, he only has 18 touches.  I’d like to see him get 20 this week.

I’m not even going to delve into a score prediction her because frankly I’m hoping the game tightens up as backups flood the field in the second half.

That’s all I got/

Andrew

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