Enough with this already:
… Alabama announced its presence with authority with a 34-10 season-opening victory over then-No. 9 Clemson and continued to impress in a 49-14 rout over Arkansas last week. [Emphasis added.]
Can someone explain to me exactly what is impressive about hammering Arky this year? The NCAA tracks seventeen statistical categories. The Razorbacks are in the bottom three in the SEC in ten of those categories, including last in rushing defense, scoring defense, turnover margin and sacks allowed. They’ve barely beaten 1-AA Western Illinois and Sun Belt mediocrity Louisiana-Monroe.
In short, they suck. This isn’t said to knock ‘Bama, which is clearly the best team that Georgia has faced this year, but I don’t get what the big deal is about beating what may wind up being the worst team in the SEC this season.
No, I’m not talking about your tailgating plans for tomorrow. There are a couple of excellent posts up worth your attention:
By the way, check out this little factoid, courtesy of ESPN.com:
• Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno has been exceptional in the second half. Thanks to a national-best seven second-half runs of 20 yards or more, he’s averaging more than 10 yards per carry after halftime. He also has 20 rushing touchdowns in his past 10 games.
Over at his Dr. Saturday blog, Matt Hinton asks the question of the day:
But if Ohio State deserves to be ridiculed and scorned and run out the mythical championship picture on a rail for its primetime, big game failures, when are we going to hold USC accountable for repeatedly losing the little one?
Gosh, and just think: twenty four hours ago, pundit after pundit was fretting over USC going undefeated and being shut out of the BCS title game if undefeated teams won the Big XII and SEC. When are we going to see these stupid September hypothetical discussions stop?
OK, folks, Week 5 is upon us, which means it’s time to get a handle on what we’re up to with the Mumme Poll.
Beginning this Sunday at 9:00 AM until Monday at 9:00 PM, you are asked to cast your first ballot if you want to participate in voting this season. Keep in mind that while this is a dry run in the sense that I’m not tallying the votes this week, you must send me your ballot this week if you want to participate the rest of the year.
The reason for this is that it’s tied to how I’m going to keep track of making sure we have the same people participating each week. I expect somewhere between 60-80 of you to vote and I simply don’t have the time to check each e-mail address every week to verify that we don’t have people trying to jump in and change the mix of voters. The mechanism I intend to use to track the voters is to rely upon a reply chain in our e-mails: you’ll e-mail me your ballots and I’ll reply with an OK if the format of your ballot is correct, or a suggested correction if it isn’t. In turn, you’ll reply to my e-mail and we’ll play it out that way each week of the season. That way, all I’ll have to do to confirm the validity of your participation is to see that you sent me a ballot this week.
So don’t forget to vote. I’ll post reminders on Sunday and Monday. Send your ballots to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just a brief reminder about the ballot format. Here are the rules:
- Vote for twelve teams, no more, no less. Any ballot that doesn’t contain the names of exactly twelve different schools will be bounced back to you for one shot at correction. If you can’t get this right, your ballot won’t be counted. Oh, D-1 schools only, please.
- Clearly indicate which five of the twelve schools are the ones that you think are the five best in the nation. I would suggest putting their names in all caps, or with asterisks. If I can’t figure out your designation, I’ll bounce your ballot back and ask you to clarify. Again, if you can’t get this right, you won’t see your vote counted.
- Other than the top five group as a whole, don’t rank your teams in your vote. The whole point to this exercise is to get away from trying to split hairs between the sixth and seventh best teams in America when you cast your ballot.
One more thing I would ask you to do only with this first vote is to tell me in your e-mail what your school affiliation is. I won’t post that information on an individual basis, but I do think it would be useful to let anyone know what the overall breakdown of our group looks like.
If you have any questions about this, please raise them in the comments and I’ll respond. Again, thanks to all of you who are going to participate in this little experiment of mine. I hope it’s a blast for one and all.
If you’re looking for some detailed breakdowns on the Alabama-Georgia game, here you go:
- Jody does his usual thorough job here.
- Doug gives you his thoughts here.
- Michael shows us five steps to beating Georgia here.
- Bama Sports Report reciprocates with five steps to beating ‘Bama here.
- Third Saturday in Blogtober calls for the ‘Bama win, based on the statistical story and Mark Richt’s recent viewing habits.
Me, I’m just going with my gut feelings on this one. And what my gut’s telling me is this:
- The more I think about it, the more I believe the running games for both teams are going to be a wash. Both teams run the ball well and both teams defense the run well; I don’t see either Georgia or Alabama having an advantage. But if the running games play out evenly, that’s a net plus for Georgia, because as Elkon notes, when you compare positions, the biggest talent gap in this game is at quarterback.
- Making matters worse for Alabama in the passing game is the emergence of A. J. Green as a legitimate pass receiving threat. I guarantee you that Saban’s had to rethink how he’ll deploy his safeties after watching the ASU game tape. Massaquoi should benefit greatly from that. (For that matter, if you assume that Moreno manages to elude the ‘Bama front seven now and then, it should be an occasional plus for the Georgia running game.)
- Surprisingly enough, at least from a statistical standpoint, the kicking games for both schools are fairly even. That being said, Alabama was able to rely on its return game to get a win against Tulane; Georgia has yet to be in a position where it’s needed to lean on its special teams to win – although Mimbs’ punting against South Carolina was a factor in how the fourth quarter played out. And I’m still going to hold my breath every time the Dawgs tee it up Saturday night.
- This is a game where Georgia needs to get its penalty problems under control. Yes, I know the five most penalized teams in the country have a combined 19-0 record right now, but I also know that there’s almost a 60-yard spread between the penalty yardage per game that Georgia and Alabama have yielded this season. Essentially, that’s enough yardage to negate the three points attributed to home field advantage.
- Speaking of home field advantage, it seems to me that the intangibles favor Georgia in a big way for this game. All the pooh-pooing that we’ve seen from ‘Bama bloggers with regard to the Blackout misses one essential point: sure, the jersey color won’t make much difference to the kids on the field once they line up and start knocking heads, but if the Auburn game from last year is any indication, it definitely electrifies the crowd. And that’s a plus for Georgia in two ways. First, the players will feed off of that energy and second, it will interfere at some point in time with ‘Bama’s ability to call plays and signals. Which is why the biggest key for Alabama in this game is to get out to an early lead in order to take the crowd out of the game. Oh, and another thing about those intangibles? This certainly can’t hurt.
If Georgia can stay away from turnover troubles in this game, something that the Dawgs have done well so far, it should come away with the win. One thing I like about this team is that its best days still seem to be ahead of it, especially on offense, where the line needs time to jell and where it’ll get Southerland back for the Tennessee game (he’ll only play on special teams against ‘Bama, per Richt). If it plays better than last week, I don’t think Alabama’s best will be good enough.