First thoughts on Auburn-Georgia

For a game that has absolutely no ramifications either in the SEC or nationally, this year’s meeting is still a fairly big deal for the two programs.  Georgia is chasing bowl eligibility and a loss Saturday night makes the chances for a winning record in 2009 somewhat dicey.  Auburn has done better than most people were willing to credit in Chizik’s first season, but a win in either of its last two games would validate the decision to can Tuberville.

Taking an early look at Auburn, let’s do the bullet point thingy, shall we?

  • Auburn’s schedule. Auburn is 7-3 at present (3-3 in the conference).  The Georgia game makes the eleventh straight week the Tigers have played.  Fortunately for them, there’s been a decent sprinkling of cupcakes throughout (Sagarin has the Tigers ranked a decent, but not great, 48th in strength of schedule).  What’s more interesting is that Auburn’s only been on the road for three games so far this season – and the Tigers have lost two of those.
  • Auburn’s injuries. A thin squad to start with, particularly on defense, Auburn’s struggled with injuries all season.  Not having an off week to date doesn’t help.
  • Auburn’s offense, statistically speaking. They’re first in the conference in total offense and second in scoring offense, which is obviously light years from where Georgia finds itself.  But the split stats tell a very interesting story.  Auburn averages 150 yards less per game on the road than at home, a nearly two yards per play difference.  The splits for conference vs. non-conference games and games against teams with winning records vs. teams with losing records are even bigger.  In short, this is an offense that’s feasted against lousy teams in its home games.
  • Auburn’s defense, statistically speaking. When you look at scoring defense and total defense, Auburn is worse than Georgia, which, given the contrast in scheduling, is fairly remarkable.  I’ve never been impressed with Ted Roof’s prowess as a defensive coordinator and this season isn’t doing anything to change my mind.  The split stats don’t contain any surprises here – Auburn does better against weaker teams at home.
  • Special teams. Wes Byrum is having an outstanding season.  He’s matched Walsh on PAT percentage and field goal percentage.  Other than that, Auburn is inferior in its special teams play to Georgia.  If the game comes down to that, you have to like Georgia’s chances.
  • Turnover margin. Unfortunately, this is more likely where the balance of the game will hang.  And that’s not a good thing for the home team.  For the season, Auburn is +4 in this category, but the splits show that it’s plus-nine in its wins and minus-five in its losses.  (Georgia, as you might surmise, pretty much sucks equally in TO margin whether it’s winning or losing.)  So if the Dawgs choose to play their first game of the year with a positive TO margin Saturday night, it probably couldn’t come at a better time.
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15 Comments

Filed under Gene Chizik Is The Chiznit, Georgia Football

15 responses to “First thoughts on Auburn-Georgia

  1. godawg

    Turnovers OR penalties…

  2. Jbird

    Senator…I just looked at your SEC power rankings, and agree, this game is what Saturday night is for..to settle things. I leave Sandestin for Athens on Thursday, and expect a game of “ineptness” on a scale that the AU-UGA rivalry has never achieved. Irregardless, (which, as Lewis used to say is not a word, but should be) I am looking forward to it, as it should be, well, for a lack of a better word, “something.” War Damn Eagle. That is all.

    • … and expect a game of “ineptness” on a scale that the AU-UGA rivalry has never achieved.

      Jbird, I expect you’re right, but at least it should be entertaining. ;)

    • Hopefully it’s ineptness on the defensive side of the ball so that although we’re seeing two crappy teams, at least we can get a shootout from it. Georgia has showed no signs of defensive competence this season against anything resembling a D-1 offense. I expect Auburn to hold up its end of the bargain here.

  3. Russell

    Won’t be pretty. But four in a row. I think Cox will have a pretty decent game.

  4. hodgie

    I really hope we play well. This game really means a lot for our season. Win this one and we set ourselves up to run the table. Lose and we could lose all three. It sure would be nice to see “big mo” back in Athens for a while.

  5. Brandon

    I am afraid Gus Mulzahn is going to take Willie to school on Saturday night, hope I’m wrong or that we can score a whole lot.

  6. Dog in Fla

    Global War on Marks and Martinez (GWOM) Crisis of the Day (COD) Piece

    Butts-Mehre bunker film room, 1045 hours, 10 November 2009

    Head Coach Mark having recently held off the complainers by a thumping of Tennessee Tech with only eleven (11) penalties, tells his staff that today is ’80’s oldies day and that this weekend against the War Eagle Tiger Plainsmen will be easy. It will be just like it was way back when both teams were ranked although many enemy correspondents and those who used to be friendlies think it will be a generalized clusterblank of ineptness and self-inflicted wounds done equally by each team unto itself.

    Searels as a Pat Dye trained more than man enough alum is somewhat offended but keeps it to himself as he always does. Mark is happy that Chizik already has his first SEC win so he doesn’t have to welcome him to the league by giving the Chiz his first win like he did Lane. Mark does have some concern with the way Chiz cracked the Nutt of Ole Miss on Halloween to become bowl eligible, like Mark wants his team to be, but Mark keeps it to himself just so his assistants won’t be freaked out anymore than they usually are.

    The assistants ask Mark what’s up and Mark unfurls a poster of himself when back in the ‘80’s he was fronting for Loverboy, cues the sound guy and launches into a lip-synch of the Loverboy one hit wonder way back then to fire up the coaching staff…

    After listening to the tune and grading it out at 65%, showing that the assistants aren’t really too fired up, they ask Mark what does he expect of them this Saturday night in Athens. Marks tells them to keep up with the laid-back coaching style because it adds spontaneity to the Georgia brand and most important of all on Saturday night he wants them to make sure that against Auburn they and the seniors…

    Meanwhile in Tuscaloosa and Gainesville, the silence of the lamb head coach guys there are, as usual, busy at work not making friends and influencing people by continuing to figure out how to take the livers, hearts and gizzards out of the next teams they face so that they and The SEC officiating krewes may preserve the unspoiled records of the respective teams for when they face each other in this year’s greatest game in the world as we know it, this year’s upcoming The SECCG.

  7. You’re not wrong that Auburn’s been much better at home on the road, Senator, but we’re also talking about a pretty small sample size–three road games–and one that even there isn’t entirely consistent. Auburn was horrible on the road at LSU and definitely subpar at Arkansas, but they also went to Knoxville and handed the elder Kiffin’s defense its worst outing of the year in both total yards and yards-per-play:

    http://www.cfbstats.com/2009/team/694/total/defense/gamelog.html

    I certainly agree that being at home is a big advantage for Georgia in this game (series history notwithstanding) and that the Dawgs deserve to be the favorite coming into it, but especially with the way Todd’s come back to life the last two weeks, I also don’t think that you can assume the Auburn offense will no-show just because the game’s in Athens.

    • Jerry, I’m expecting a shootout, to be honest. Unless turnovers do Georgia in, of course.

      What I think is most significant about the home/road split is that Auburn’s faced weaker opposition at home than it has on the road, which indicates to me that the offensive numbers are a bit inflated as a result. Even with that, there’s no question which team has the better offense coming in.

  8. Normaltown Mike

    The Seniors have asked coach if we can have a “Code Red” this Saturday. The team will wear the “throw back” red helmet with single black bar and iconic elongated letter G on either side. Jersey will also be red.

    Everybody get your red on!

    • Dog in Fla

      From his outpost sitting on the Wall in Gitmo, Jack is totally onboard with this Code Red thing. In addition to not only liking blanket parties and snuggies in general, Jack also likes the idea of throw back helmets without face masks knowing that can’t be any worse than the last two times we rolled out the Code Black schtick…

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  10. Normaltown Mike

    Well done sir. The following is a gripping adaptation of the epic “Code Red” testimony.

    http://www.mtv.com/videos/misc/221039/you-cant-handle-the-truth.jhtml#id=1584648

    • Dog in Fla

      That mother of a hen makes a seamless transition from the dysfunctional family sitcom mom role to the normal military sadist role and manages to man up about it much more than even Jack does. Women, and I use that term not so loosely, like that in uniform are much, much scarier than Jack could ever hope to be.