I’m about to get on a boat to the Bahamas with WifeYouCrazy and am thus on vacation from both my paying job and my non-paying one (DudeYouCrazy). But I couldn’t get away without a few thoughts and a thorough recap of the weekend.
1. Great second half Georgia. Great effort GA Southern. Good times.
2. Aaron “Murr-Man” Murray is now the nation’s most efficient passer.
3. Kansas State: HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAHAHAAAHAHAHA. Well played, Purple.
4. Oregon: LOLLLLL!
5. SEC, SEC, SEC!
Have a great week, I’ll be back around next Monday. Beat Tech.
That’s all I got/
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/
I didn’t watch much football this weekend. Occasional DudeYouCrazy contributor Casey Carpenter tied the knot, and between tearing up the dance floor with WifeYouCrazy and otherwise making a fool of myself with other familiar names like Andy Crawford (he wrote once, I swear) and Jason Smith (Vandy Guy, but true UGA fan) I didn’t have a whole lot of time to soak in gridiron action other than via my cell phone. So, I apologize as this will not be my best work.
Georgia vs. Kentucky
I didn’t mind missing the Georgia / Kentucky game. I think it would have bothered me the way surrendering 24 points to a team that’s averaging just 9.5 points in conference play tends to bother me. It would have perturbed me in the way that scoring 29 points against a defense that is surrendering 38 points per game in conference play tends to perturb me.
I haven’t read any blogs or recaps. I haven’t watched the replay. I haven’t absorbed the game, and frankly I’m not going to. Partially because I won’t like what I see, and partially because I want to devote significant time to the looming matchup with the Florida Gators.
The negative is this: That game should not have been close. As I said on Friday, Kentucky sucks at pretty much everything that is statistically measured by the SEC. I don’t like that one bit. Georgia gave up far too many yards for a Kentucky squad that is in the bottom-10 in the nation in scoring – even after a relative scoring outburst against the Dawgs.
The positive is this: Aaron Murray bounced back from South Carolina in a big-way. The kid went through a hell of a weekend (spent a game on his back, suffered an embarrassing defeat, learned his father had cancer, had his car egged) two weeks ago and responded in a big way. I’m not asserting that Kentucky’s defense is remotely fierce or on par with that of Carolina or Florida. But any time you hit on 79% of your passes and throw for 427 yards and 4 TDs with no INTs in rate to a QB rating of 208.1, you’ve done something right. Georgia will need a confident and poised Aaron Murray in Jacksonville, and I think they’ll have him.
What I’d like to know is this: How exactly was the game close? Again, I didn’t watch the game. I didn’t read recaps. Nobody that I normally discuss the game with watched it (most of my buddies were at this wedding and DadYouCrazy was running a conference at the church house). When I look at the box score I see a 504 yard performance by Georgia’s offense – certainly a respectable figure, and a 326 yard performance by Kentucky – impressive for them, but not necessarily a figure that screams “Disaster!” Somehow 175 more yards, over 32 minutes of possession and 0 turnovers only yielded four more points than Kentucky with a measly 29-point figure for the Bulldogs. Was Georgia inconsistent in moving the ball? I know they got several big plays that would account for large chunks of yardage, so that could have created a mis-match in the stats. But, Georgia is averaging fewer than 20 first downs in conference play and put up 25, which seems to imply they moved the ball pretty well.
Readers: give me some answers if you watched the game so I can stop guessing. And be specific.
LSU vs. Texas A&M
LSU you took their ugly brand of football on the road and welcomed the Aggies to the SEC with a 24-19 victory that saw the Tigers run up 219 yards rushing and effectively remove Johnny “Football” / “Fake ID” Manziel from Heisman contention by limiting him to 4.93 yards per pass attempt, a whopping 27 yards on 17 carries (I mean that’s Connor Shaw level right there) and forcing 3 INTs. Texas A&M was ranked 18th in last week’s BCS Rankings and I said that I anticipated they would lose to LSU and Alabama but finish the season right around 18th. They lost and only slipped to 20th so I think I’m on to something there. LSU, meanwhile, continues to claw but remains just out of the top-5.
Auburn vs. Vanderbilt
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I bet on James Franklin’s squad and he pulled me through! Chizik is now 7-14 against SEC teams when playing with a QB who was not under serious NCAA investigation.
South Carolina vs. Florida
On October 8th a few of you looked through your tears and disappointment to read an article on this site entitled “All is not Lost for Georgia, Georgia Fans Need to Wake Up.” In the article I pointed out that the loss to South Carolina would not doom the Dawgs’ season in and of itself and made the case that South Carolina had a difficult two week stretch ahead and that it was likely they would lose one or both of the games. I said, and I quote, “There is a lot of room for the Cocks to slip up, and frankly, they always do. Prior to this season South Carolina had defeated Georgia in three of the last five matchups, but following those head-to-head games Georgia had outperformed South Carolina against the rest of the Conference in four of the past five years.”
Most of you thought I was crazy, but perhaps the name of this site is a misnomer after all. I’m not that crazy. I know a thing or two about college football. I know quite a bit about South Carolina (aside from Georgia they’re the team I follow most closely) and I know a lot about Gamecock meltdowns (spoiler alert: they happen every single year).
The next day I pointed out that on October 9, 2010 South Carolina put up an equally outlier-esque effort in an upset of Alabama (then ranked 1st in the country). I pointed out that the Gamecocks followed that unparalleled success with a lost to Kentucky. The culmination of all of this is an assertion that South Carolina will not win the SEC East, because as I anticipated, they lost to Florida. And, more importantly for Bulldogs fans, Georgia can still win the East.
We rooted for the Gators last week, and now it’s time to hate them. But, we shouldn’t be stunned that Georgia is in a position to win the division (essentially) this weekend. None of the players or coaches are. If you don’t think Georgia players were looking ahead this past Saturday for that very reason then you are the crazy one.
Mississippi State is now 7-0 thanks to a beat down of MTSU. My question is this: If Mississippi State loses it’s next three games – which I fully expect because I’m either stubborn or I’m right – how far do they drop in the BCS rankings? Me thinks out of the top-25, but are three losses to Alabama, A&M and LSU that bad? Is it worse if they come in a row? Just a few questions Starkville should start asking.
Alabama vs. Tennessee
“I’m stunned!” – No one.
That’s all I got/
On Friday I posted a video of a vindictive James “Benjamin” Franklin promising the media, Vandy nation and seemingly the conference that Vanderbilt was going to “compete.” A lot of people bought into that notion, and on a superficial level I don’t know that I can blame them for doing so. Because, on the surface, Vanderbilt has done just that. They have competed.
The complete “Compete” rant was given following a five point loss to Georgia on October 15th of last year. Two weeks later the Commodores suffered a three-point loss to 10th ranked Arkansas; seems like Vandy competed. A week later Franklin’s squad gave Florida all they wanted and lost by five. The Commodores won the next conference game against Kentucky by 30 points. The next week they lost to Tennessee by six in overtime. The Commies even opened this season with a four-point loss in a competitive game to South Carolina.
The Georgia Bulldogs didn’t go against anything resembling “competition” on Saturday and the reasoning for that is two-fold:
1. Georgia played a complete game.
2. Vanderbilt is not good at football.
The first of those two reasons was more surprising to me than the second. Almost exactly one month ago I expressed the following sentiment regarding Vanderbilt’s “rise” and the Commodores 2011 season:
Little value can be derived from Vandy’s six wins in 2011. Elon plays little league, and Ole Miss, UConn, Army, Kentucky and Wake Forest combined to go 21-40. Only 11 of those 21 wins came against BCS Conference opponents.
Vanderbilt’s momentum – if wan can call it that – seems to stem from “close” games in 2011. The Commodores played Georgia close (33-28), hung around Arkansas (31-28), pushed Florida (26-21), took Tennessee to overtime (27-21) and lost by one score in their Bowl (a 31-24 loss to Cincinnati). Can Vanderbilt actually win those games this season? I don’t think so. Vanderbilt caught Georgia sleeping, played very “down” Florida and Tennessee programs and caught Arkansas looking ahead to an upcoming game against South Carolina.
Now, to be clear: I’m not making excuses for Georgia’s performance (or anyone else’s for that matter) against Vanderbilt in 2011. Vandy was ready, Georgia was not and the Commodore nearly capitalized. The problem for Vandy moving into 2012 is the fact that they did scare so many teams. Georgia, Florida and Tennessee won’t be caught sleeping again and other teams on the Vanderbilt schedule have undoubtedly taken notice.
I stand by that notion 100%. Vanderbilt’s 2011 campaign was more a culmination of lack of respect and preparation for Vandy than it was actual improvement. Furthermore, Vanderbilt’s close game with South Carolina to open the season was more a reflection of the Gamecocks’ continued struggles against middling programs and lack of offensive answers than it was of a truly talented Vanderbilt team. Because, the truth of the matter is that no truly talented Vanderbilt team exists. And, I don’t think that Franklin will ever build one. I’m not sure that anyone will ever build one.
James “Benjamin” Franklin ticked a lot of folks off last year and in doing so mirrored the “Sheldon Richardson Effect.” When Missouri’s Richardson ran his mouth about “Old Man Football” it put a tangible meaning onto a game that had no back-story, no bad blood and no real value in and of itself. Georgia’s close call with Vandy last year might have served as a wake-up call for the Bulldogs, but the Franklin/Grantham scuffle added to it. And what did the Commodores get? Arguably the most complete game the Georgia Bulldogs have played in the last five years.
Aaron Murray hit on his first 12 passes. Marlon Brown went over 100 yards. Nine Bulldogs caught passes. Todd Gurley ran for over 100 yards again. Keith Marshal had a 52 yard TD run. Georgia racked up 567 yards of offense and had 27 first downs to Vanderbilt’s 15. Six Vanderbilt drives produced fewer than 10 yards. None of them resulted in TDs.
If the Bulldogs (who get All-American candidates Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree back this week) can continue to play with such focus then reaching the Dome for a second consecutive year might not be a problem. Vanderbilt, meanwhile, must figure out a way to start surprising folks again. The Commodores don’t stand much a chance against teams that prepare.
I said on Friday that I thought if both teams played their “A” games then Georgia would win by 21+. I can’t say that Vandy played their “A” game, but did they really play an “F” game? If so, what is their grading scale? Is the gap between their “A” and their “F” 24 points? At what grade do they score touchdowns? I have so many questions for the nerds of the SEC.
That’s all I got/
Florida Atlantic was who I thought they were. My concerns with Graham Wilbert proved valid as he methodically picked apart Georgia’s defense (in very Kellen Moore-like fashion) early in the game. The Owls seemed to be moving the ball at will and largely kept pace with Georgia’s prolific offense for most of the first half of play. Fans were yet again disgruntled with the defensive showing, but I didn’t see much cause for concern (more on that later).
Offensively I hoped to see Todd Gurley go off. He did, and so did Keith Marshall. I hoped that Gurley would get 10 carries, he and Marshall split reps again. When all was said and done Marshall finished with 104 yards on 10 carried but was yet against bested by Gurley’s 111 yards on 10 carries. Ken Malcome also had a strong showing with 46 yards on just seven carries.
Initially I hesitated to call this Aaron Murray’s best game as a Bulldog, mainly because I felt the need to discount the competition first. But, the difficulty of Murray’s throws was still there. (For the last two years Georgia has had no trouble getting receivers behind coverage, Murray has just struggled connecting with said receivers. No such struggle was present against FAU.) Murray’s deep ball to Michael Bennett for a 67 yard score might have been the best throw I’ve seen him make down field. He was spot on with another toss to Tavarres King that was ultimately dropped/broken up and he hit Malcolm Mitchell in-stride later in the game to show the continued strength of that connection. Muarry’s 14/19, 342 yard, 2 TD cause was furthered by two rushing TDs and blemished only by one ill-advised interception while scrambling. Again, it was as complete of a game from Murray as I have seen.
Bennett became the third Georgia receiver in three games (joining TK and Marlon Brown) to go over 100 yards receiving and there was a big Arthur Lynch sighting as he hauled in three passes for 73 yards. He fumbled once but redeemed himself with a 36 yard TD rumble.
On the defensive side of things there are still a few holes. Here are some reasons why Georgia fans shouldn’t be too concerned:
· Expectations were unbelievably high for the defense this year after last year’s performance. Keep in mind that we still haven’t seen the defense in its entirety. Yes, we have a lot of depth but to assume that anyone could replace Bacarri Rambo (he was the best player at his position in the nation last year) or even Alec Ogletree (he’s a total beast) is off-base. Those are pretty darn talented players.
· Georgia has been plagued by big plays down the middle – the exact type of plays that Rambo (one of the nation’s leaders in INTs last year) and Ogletree (Georgia’s best coverage linebacker given his experience at safety) don’t allow. Is there an excuse for giving up those big plays down the middle? No. But I don’t think those will continue to happen when the lineup is filled.
· The big plays are what is killing Georgia, and I use the term “killing” extremely loosely. But, if I’m going to watch a defense give up points I’d prefer it to be big plays early in the game rather than game-long, methodical drives throughout the entire game. Georgia is correcting problems and making nice adjustments.
· Georgia’s first team defense has not surrendered a point in the fourth quarter this year. That means more to me than any other statistic you can find. Georgia’s offense is coming along, and if the defense can lock down the second half (which they largely have) then I’m going to like the Dawgs chances week in and week out.
· Georgia started Sanders Commings at safety this week – a position he hasn’t played in bulk for two years and rested Jarvis Jones. So, the Dawgs got Chase Vasser back, Commings back in a new position and rested an All-American Heisman Candidate. To say the Dawgs fielded a better defensive lineup this Saturday than they did against Missouri is debatable.
· Georgia wasn’t sending a whole lot of pressure in the first half against FAU. The short timing routes continued to work until Josh Dawson, Cornelius Washington and company were let loose. Again, Georgia didn’t “throw the playbook” at the Owls. There was no need to.
All in all Georgia fans need to chill out about defensive lapses and realize that Georgia’s defense will always give the offense a chance to win the game. There will still be some shots to be taken once Grantham gets his full personnel back, be patient for another game or two. Fans were confident in Grantham’s leadership going into the season and had high hopes for the talent he had assembled. I don’t think anything has changed. At the end of the day second team athletes are second team for a reason (and that’s not intended to be an insult), so to expect Connor Norman to stop a play that Rambo would might not be realistic.
All in all the atmosphere at Sanford was great this weekend. The stadium was almost entirely full by kickoff and the crowd seemed generally engaged. After two large meals of TransMet pizza and Last Resort pork belly in a three hour span I was a bit lethargic but seeing Uga IX and his masculinity pulled me through.
The music was actually pretty decent, but there was one dark, sickening moment courtesy of some song called “Dawg Bite.” The song sounds more fitting for DudeCrazy than DudeYouCrazy…if you know what I mean. I was violently disturbed to learn that the song was actually recorded by Mark Richt’s son, David. True Story. How do you address your team after a game knowing that they heard that song? That has to be awkward. What a disaster.
That’s all I got/