Well, it’s here: thoughts on Georgia-Auburn.

After an opening game that I’ll charitably call uninspiring and what then appeared to be a critical loss to South Carolina, Georgia now finds itself perhaps somewhat improbably on the brink of pulling off its first trip to the SECCG in six seasons.  The crowd should be energized, as pumped as any… well, since the 2007 Blackout Game against Auburn.  There’s even a cherry on top of the sundae, as a prodigal son comes home to take a bow.

It’s a great story so far (Verne should have plenty to talk about, right?), one that you hope the Dawgs can take to completion as they go from chasing the pack to leading it.

Anyway, take what random swirlings my mind has produced for what they’re worth:

  • Intangibles.  As much as we’ve carped about and criticized Mark Richt over the past three seasons, if there’s one thing he deserves enormous credit for this year, it’s restoring focus to the program.  The Boise State and South Carolina losses were disappointments, to be sure (although for very different reasons), but for the first time in a long while, I can’t recall a game this year in which the team pulled a disappearing act and flat out failed to show up for a quarter or a half.  You can dismiss the seven-game winning streak as being one crafted on the backs of mediocre opponents, but in previous seasons that level of opposition didn’t stop Georgia from chalking up its share of embarrassing losses to the Vandys, Kentuckys and Colorados (!) of the world.  I’m not guaranteeing a win tomorrow, but I don’t think these Dawgs show up and crap the bed, either.
  • @#()*^% Fairley!  That all being said, Richt’s biggest challenge tomorrow is making sure his team keeps its composure throughout the game.  I know everyone is making all the right mouth noises about how they’ve put last year’s nastiness behind them, but that’s a lot easier said than done in the heat of the moment.  We saw what happened when Vanderbilt got under this team’s skin.  Auburn is a more talented team than Vandy.
  • The spread spreads.  I admit to being more than a little shocked when the line opened at 12.5.  I’m even more surprised that it’s now gone to 13 or 13.5 in some places.  Given the overall closeness of the series and the historical success of the road team, I had anticipated a spread of about half that opening number.  But even the computer projections are calling for more than that:  I showed you BTN’s and Steele’s numbers yesterday; Bill Connelly’s got Georgia winning by 16.5.  The most conservative numbers I could find, Sagarin’s 8.5 and SRS’ 10, are still more than I feel easy about.  I guess the computers are more comfortable with Georgia’s special teams than I am right now.
  • Run the damn ball and stop the run.  If you want the key to the game, here it is“The team that finished with the most rushing yards has been the winner of the past eight Auburn-Georgia games. Auburn enters averaging 191 rushing yards per game. Georgia is averaging 176. However, Georgia is yielding 91 rushing yards per game while Auburn is giving up 186.”  Tommy Tuberville was right about one thing.
  • Misleading stat of the day.  “Since the SEC went to divisional play in 1992, Auburn has an 11-7 record in conference games when coming off an open date. Georgia has an 11-19 record against teams coming off a bye week.”  Take Florida out of the equation and Georgia’s pretty impressive against SEC teams coming off the bye.  Besides, you can argue that last week was a quasi-bye for the Dawgs (actually, it was a bye week for Crowell and Thomas).  Both teams are approaching full strength tomorrow, at least as healthy as SEC teams can be after playing nine games.
  • Auburn has a running quarterback.  Auburn has a throwing quarterback.  Unfortunately for the Tigers, they’re not the same person.  In last year’s game, Auburn was 10-14 on third-down conversions.  All ten came on runs by Cam Newton.  That ain’t happening tomorrow.

In the end, I can’t help but return to a pet theme of mine.  On paper, you have to like Georgia’s chances.  But these Dawgs don’t play on paper.  (If they did, we probably wouldn’t have had to wait six years for another trip to the Dome.)

I really, really like the track the defense has been on starting with the Mississippi State game.  If they can keep that up and if the offense and special teams do no worse than not get in the way, it’ll be a good day in Athens.

Which reminds me – Go Gata!

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49 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football

49 responses to “Well, it’s here: thoughts on Georgia-Auburn.

  1. Go Dawgs!

    Thanks, but I’ll be perfectly OK with beating Auburn and having Kentucky be a “must win” game. I’ll refrain from rooting for Florida. Another reason to say thank you, Arkansas.

    • If Florida wins, Spurrier loses. For a Georgia fan, there’s no wrong side to be on for that game.

      • ScoutDawg

        Time to restore the rightful order of things. UGA 38, Awbarn 21. I love my truck and Awbarn SUCKS.

      • Go Dawgs!

        You make a pretty solid point. Me, I’m rooting for a sinkhole.

      • timphd

        I am shocked to think about it, but I am no longer as hopeful that Spurrier loses as I am that the Gators and Muschamp/Weis do. Of course, I do want the SEC East title, so if that means Sakerlina loses, and the Gators win I guess I would have to accept that. I just threw up.

    • KornDawg

      For weeks I have been dreading the possibility of having to pull for a Gator victory over SC, and I personally do not know how I would handle being put in such a position. Thanks to Arkansas, all we have to do is hope for the Dawgs to handle their own business. But I agree, Senator, any loss for Spurrier is a good loss.

  2. AthensHomerDawg

    “We saw what happened when Vanderbilt got under this team’s skin. Auburn is a more talented team than Vandy.”

    “It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.”

    • Cojones

      I’ll feel better if the players are cautioned about retribution getting flagged and/or getting you kicked out of the game. Think part of their game will be trying to get inside Crowell’s head( using what I see as rabbit ears) during smack talk in an underhanded plan to get him kicked out of the game. Think his Auburn buddy would stoop so low as to furnish ammo to his teammates? I do.

  3. Red Blackman

    On September 28th, 2008, Georgia fell from grace. A victim of it’s own success.

    On November 12th, 2011, Georgia has a chance to return to national prominence.

    This team feels special to me. The planets have aligned. Georgia sends a clear, concise message not only to Auburn, but to America.

    GATA.

    • defacto dawg

      I’ve been having that same thought myself. This team has demonstrated an ability to do what is necessary to win and tomorrow, with memories of last year’s thuggish behavior and full understanding of what lies ahead, will play their best game of the year.

  4. Pingback: Auburn Information Overload | Football Problem

  5. charlottedawg

    Between reading these stats and watching tech’s shoddy excuse of a defense last night i can’t help but hope the guys realize not only can they wrap up the sec east but they have the opportunity to make a statement by absolutely embarrassing some hated enemies of bulldog nation. As much as critics, at times myself included, want to harp on the fact that our 7 game win streak is a function of schedule an objective observer cannot deny that at times georgia has shown flashes of the potential to be a very good team if they could just get out of their own way. here’s hoping everything “clicks” tomorrow and for the rest of the season because if they do auburn tech and uk will be receiving the humiliation they so richly deserve. then again i would also gladly settle for three more “ugly” wins to close out the season

  6. Aristoggle

    Jake Freakin’ Scott! I watched him and Bill Stanfill play at the age I was learning about football. I was becoming aware that there was something cooler going on in Sanford Stadium than sliding down the hill on a cardboard box.

    I got his chinstrap after a game one time. I’d love to go to the game tomorrow just to call him a Damn Good Dawg! Dang horse shows … My girls better GATA tomorrow. Y’all pull ‘em through!

    Woof!

    • Puffdawg

      +1 for sliding down the hill on a cardboard box. Those were simpler times. It’s funny you and I share that memory and yet I wasn’t alive when Jake Scott was roaming the sidelines.

      • Cojones

        Saw them both play from a seat in the student section. One year, after the season, we were treated to the season replay on film. Viewing a 30 min film of nothing but good plays in a continuous stream was more than awesome. It included the big game in the torrential rain in Jax. The packed building shook continuously!

        Someone should look for that film and show Jake’s (and Bill’s) exploits on the megatron. That’ll rock Sanford!.

  7. UGAfoo

    I wonder how much of our success this year has been due to the realization we finally have a defense on the field. This must give the offense more confidence to go out there and play their game without worrying about the other team’s offense.

    It is a wonderful feeling to have this kind of excitement again. All signs point to a huge turnout in Athens. Bulldog Park doesn’t even have enough guest spots in the facility. They have to borrow warehouse parking next door.

    One of the best games in my life was the 2003 GA/AU game in Athens. A cold night. Damn cold and damn fun. 99 yards

  8. Spike

    I need football rehab.. Help me fellas. Who do I pull for in the Cocks-Gator game? I just threw up a liitle in my mouth also.

    • Dawgy45

      I say go ahead and pull for the Gators. What I keep hearing from gator fans is that they are REALLY worried that this is more than just a bad season and more like the start of a downward trend. I don’t think a win over Carolina is really going to do much to make them feel better about that.

      • Nate Dawg

        Spike – just have a cold one, call it a meteor game, and relish the consequences either way. It’s win-win brotha, either the Dawgs get help or flaurda takes another “L”.

    • Turd Ferguson

      By my lights, what’s best for Georgia is to have the East locked up as soon as possible. And that requires a South Carolina loss. I hate Florida as much as anyone, but first and foremost, I always want what’s best for Georgia. So I’m rooting for a South Carolina loss.

    • hailtogeorgia

      To me, you have to root for Florida, as much as I hate to say it. We beat them, so it’s not like we can’t fall back on that…now it would help us if they beat the Cocks, so let’s hope for it.

  9. AusDawg85

    This team is only responsible for this year…and they surely understand what is at stake. Being focused on the positive (SECCG) is a better motivator than the negative.

    But CTG will certainly remember last year…as will Ben Jones. I hope/pray/expect our D and O-Line to play with some extra motivation and crush the plainglers or whatever the hell they are.

    • What fresh hell is this?

      @#()*^% Fairley! indeed. And while you’re at it @#()*^% Chizik and that hip-hop scum bag trailer trash Trooper Taylor.

      I for one hope that this team hasn’t put last years nastiness behind them and wouldn’t mind seeing one or two lapses in composure, especially in light of the fact that for every 5 or 6 lapses in composure (read cheap shots) by the Barners last year there was about one flag thrown.

      Any word on who’s officiating this game?

  10. D.N. Nation

    Anyone else think Florida gets off the mat and beats South Carolina something like 14-10?

  11. Nate

    If anyone is interested, take a look at the games versus common opponents UGA shares with Auburn. South Carolina, Ole Miss, Miss State, and Florida. Georgia and Auburn held Florida to similar stats, and Auburn actually did better defensively against South Carolina, but you could argue Georgia played both teams at their peak, where as Auburn got them near their lows. You can also dismiss the Florida game entirely, as it typically defies logic where the Dawgs are concerned.

    However, look at the games versus the Mississippi schools. Ole Miss put up 23 points and 382 total yards. 220 on the ground! Against Georgia? 13 points. 183 total yards with only 34 coming on the ground. Against Mississippi State, Auburn allowed 34 points and 531(!) total yards, with 333 of that on the ground. The Dawgs? 10 points and 213 total yards.

    Does any of this mean anything? Maybe, maybe not. I guess my point is that Georgia is quite a bit better defensively than Auburn. Offensively? We seem to be finding ourselves a bit on that side of the ball, but we’re not going to blow anybody’s doors off just yet. But with a D that’s better than anything we’ve seen since W’s first term in office, we may not have to. Why blow a team’s doors off, when your defense has already chopped them up sold the entire heap for scraps?

    • The Lone Stranger

      The long run prospects of Dyer are about the most concerning thing as I look at the overall matchup. With 5 scampers over 40 yards he may be a problem, so the Dawgs ought to key on bottling him up and dare Moseley to find open receivers. I doubt the Dirty Bankers have faced as competent a rush defense this season, and this OLine of the Dawgs has more than a single score to settle after ’11.

      I like UGa — 30-13.

      • Cojones

        As long as their score settling doesn’t involve being baited into retaliation and possible removal from the game. Or until the last minute and with the game in hand.

        • Cojones

          Nate, did you subtract the O yardage given to SC from the D stats? Thought the D held them to 17 honest pts.

          • Nate

            I did consider that, but Georgia still allowed 395 total yards, even if Melvin Ingram did account for 68 of that on one play. Point being, after the South Carolina game, Georgia’s defense took some major steps forward, while Auburn’s has been consistently unimpressive.

    • Nate

      All the pieces are there for an absolutely soul crushing victory for the Dawgs. The only reason I’m not predicting that outcome is because Georgia hasn’t done that to an SEC team in a while. Having said that, if the score is 30+ – 10 after the final whistle blows, I would only be mildly surprised.

    • jryu

      damn you for getting my hopes up in this game..

      even though week to week teams change so much and match up differently, it’s not necessarily an apples to apples comparison, your brief analysis does hold some water and i’m very encouraged by our defensive stats vs the mississippi schools..also, against UF we played their “first-string qb” and managed to hold them to -19 rushing yards. (although through the first half they were on pace for 1 billion yards passing.) auburn got them on the 3rd week of a brutal stretch with their true freshman qb’s taking snaps.

      one of my life’s biggest regrets is not going to the ’07 blackout game. i hope saturday is just as pumped up

      • Nate

        I would have loved to have been at the Blackout Game. I’ve actually only been in Sanford Stadium twice. Once for a day game against Mississippi State in the mid-90’s and again versus Arizona State. The Arizona State game was in the middle of without a doubt the most dramatic, torrential downpour I’ve ever experienced. It was also one of the most exciting nights of my life. I’m sure that game was frustrating and disappointing on TV. Live and in person, it was a damn blast.

        • +1 trillion. Probably the most electric game I’ve ever been to in Athens… Which is saying a lot. It was so incredible that everyone was wearing black around campus and it just created this buzz all day long and as one who never thought we’d wear anything but our classic reds and silver britches, I keep telling my buds that it would never happen… And then, it happened. After we came out to warm up in the red unis… And then we commenced to whipping the shit out of them boys from Alabama Cowpoke University. It was very dark inside that stadium, almost like you couldn’t see any people in the stands across the way… Unforgettable stuff. Great game.

  12. Scott W.

    Go Dawgs! Damn the Wareagles. Take them to the woodshed boys! GATA

  13. Scott

    Somebody posted the full Georgia v. Florida 1980 game on youtube. It is in very clear quality definition, better than anything I have seen on highlight reels. Very entertaining. check it out.

  14. Cosmic Dawg

    I’m rarely this optimistic, but I’m with Lonesome Stranger – we are going to come out fired up and crush these guys. Would not be at all surprised if we win by 17+ points.

    Also, I have a great way to make it easy to root for the Gators: Florida is in a no-win situation, too. If they beat South Carolina, it does very little to redeem their bad season, but they will have to live with the knowledge that they may have helped Georgia get back to The Dome. Think of it that way – a Florida win STILL makes the Gators feel bad.

    That said, I am on board with Go Dawgs’ sinkhole plan. Go, Sinkholewitz!

    • BCDawg97

      Doug Gillett is all dawg. He is being VERY sacrastic I promise. The man threw a toaster in the 06 Colorado (?) game.