Georgia-Florida Atlantic: the obligatory preview post

If you’re looking for some false humility – OMG, UL-M won! – about the Florida Atlantic game here, I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong post.  There’s a reason that Georgia is looking at the biggest point spread of the Mark Richt era.  Paul Myerberg explains (in a post that’s not about either Georgia or FAU):

Blind squirrels are known to stumble upon a nut every now and again, especially if that nut is, say, Maine’s football team. Or if the blind squirrel is Middle Tennessee State and the nut is Florida Atlantic, which houses the only Sun Belt team more impotent than Rick Stockstill’s Blue Raiders. So what to make of these wins? At face value, dates with Maine and the Owls pushed Boston College and Middle Tennessee State into the win column – that’s the biggest takeaway for both the Eagles and Blue Raiders. But beyond that point, what did these wins prove? That B.C. is not good enough to run with Miami (Fla.) but good enough to beat an F.C.S. opponent? That Stockstill’s gang can beat F.A.U. but not McNeese State?

There you go.  McNeese State > FAU.

This is a game to go in, get a big lead, pull your starters (except for Commings and Vasser, who need the game reps) and prepare for Vanderbilt.  And before you play your looking-ahead-is-bad card, note that Grantham did just that against Buffalo.

They did it by making adjustments to their traditional scheme in order to defend Missouri’s wide-open spread offense. The Bulldogs trotted out some of those changes in the opener against Buffalo — and it didn’t always look pretty in Georgia’s 45-23 win — but Grantham believes it made a difference when the quality of competition improved against Missouri.

“Really, we’ve actually played this way for two weeks,” Grantham said. “We kind of played a little bit of the stuff we were going to do against these guys last week to get them used to it. I felt like we needed the extra prep and didn’t always match up. But I think in the end it allowed us to play better today.”

Three weeks from now, people are going to care a lot less about whether Georgia covered the spread against the Owls than they will about whether the Dawgs are undefeated in conference play.  Trust me on that one.

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36 Comments

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36 responses to “Georgia-Florida Atlantic: the obligatory preview post

  1. ScoutDawg

    You are damn skippy there Senator. I love that we have a professional DC. Can we take ads out to thank Foster and Ellis and (not so)Smart for getting raises while turning us down?

  2. Dboy

    Although painful for fans, I think the cupcake games scattered through the schedule are ultimately advantageous for the team, particularly early in the season. It helps creates depth, allows banged up players to rest (and in UGA’s case) allows suspension to be served while the team is facing inferior competition.

    Imagine what we would be thinking right now if our first game had been a kickoff classic game against a top 10 opponent lets say Oklahoma, then Mizzou and then SCe to start SEC play. I think the outlook on the season would be grim. Each year, the new players (especially the new starters / freshmen) need reps badly and generally improve rapidly. However, they will rarely see the field if the early season is stacked with big games. A soft early season schedule really allows your team to peak at the right time mid season, and nearly guarantees a decent record with maximal preparation entering that brutal stretch of SEC games.

    Bottom line, no matter how good you are, if you play enough good teams you will ultimately lose one (see LSU last year). As anticlimactic as it is for us fans, I think Foley / Mcgarrity have this one right.

    • Macallanlover

      I don’t think anyone has an issue with a cupcake opener to get the kinks out, the NFL calls them “exhibitions” and they serve a purpose. But we should play two challenging games OOC a year, after all, we all have some semi-cupcakes every year in conference.

      This is entertainment, and the home schedule is just not a good value buy most years. That is why you will more and more fans selectively picking games to attend. It isn’t just a Georgia issue, it is happening everywhere….even the loonies in Alabama had to be spanked last week. Injuries occur against all opponents, tough games may cause more bumps and bruises but serious injuries seem just as prevalent in cupcake games. If it is all just about the record, go to the Sunbelt, or buy a crystal football. I understand many feel it only matters about the Ws, but I want to see quality games in every conference. Try finding more than 5 really compelling games the first three weeks of the season, there are a few, but otherwise this is even less than the NFL’s August (the only difference is you get to see the 1st team players run up the score against the Savannah States, Tennessee Techs, FAUs., etc.)

      • Cojones

        Hear! Hear!

      • Dboy

        “This is entertainment”. Macallanlover, I hear you. This is going to be very unpopular, especially with season ticket holders. However, I think the team will do better year-in year out w some cupcakes early on…several in fact. I personally was getting tired of seeming a 1 and 2 record to start the year playing that first game against a top 10 opponent (Boisie / Ok st) then following soon thereafter with SCe. When you are breaking in a new QB, bunch of new OL or defenders, or all of the above… Those early big games are not going to end well very often. Blame the the coaches, attrition or whatever but it seems to be a pattern. I will put up with a few more bad out of conference games to increase my chance of seeing UGA at the SEC champ game / opportunity to play for it all if we win the thing. Just my opinion.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Look at Florida (2 BCSNCs in the last 7 years) and Bama (2 BCSNCs in the last 3 years). They almost always start the season with a cupcake and have at least 2 more cupcakes sprinkled though the schedule. Even when Bama starts the season with one of those preseason bowl-type games, the next game is always a cupcake. This is the type of scheduling that teams do that win championships. We finally have an AD that understands that.

          • charlottedawg

            If we’re being fair in Florida’s National Championship season in 2006 they played LSU, Auburn, and Bama in their west rotation, and only lost to Auburn. I think they actually had a pretty tough SOS.

            • Dboy

              Charlottedawg,Tthe SEC conf SOS is not the issue…teams have no control of that. The out of conference SOS is the issue. For instance, would Fla have won the 2006 championship if they had to play Texas and So Cal (for example) as early season out of conf opponents on top of their tough SEC schedule?

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                Florida’s OOC schedule in 2006 was Southern Miss, Central Florida, Western Carolina and FSU. The first 3 were in the Swamp. Florida won all 4 games.

          • Dboy

            I’ll take that as a second mayor of dawgtown.

      • When auburn and UT return to their traditional competence, us season ticket holders will be very happy with our investment. And Tech used to be a competitive game, but the annual ass whipping is still very enjoyable.

        I think the “poor home schedule” this year is really an anomaly.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Let’s not jump to any conclusions about UT. If they can’t do it this season–when? Even if they do return to competence this year, Bray probably leaves along with all the best receivers. I had them at 5-7 with a loss to NC State. I still think they are no better than 6-6 or 7-5. If that’s what happens Dooley is gone and it’s rebuilding time all over again. We can only hope.

      • Bevo

        “But we should play two challenging games OOC a year”

        Other than entertainment value, there is no compelling reason to do this. McGarity and Richt both know this and you can see it in the tone of their statements. How did Boise State and Ok State work out for us?

        Our AD knows that if we win the SEC, which we are scheduled to attempt every season in any event, we’ll have a good shot at a BCS. One headliner OOC game a year is justifiable but two or more is a pipe dream.

        • Bevo

          Oh yea… and then there was Colorado. Ugh. That season…

          My point is, there isn’t enough incentive for SEC teams to go crazy with OOC scheduling beyond one blockbuster game per season. Now, if you’re in a marginal conference and you’re trying to bolster your ranking and make some coin, by all means…

  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    Yeah, Bluto….I got a few thoughts about your swell-headed “Obligatory” post….How bout Southern Miss? Or Colorado? were they “Obligatory?”

    Or Miami of Freaking Ohio? was that “Obligatory?”

    Take no prisoners, pick the right hat and take NOTHING for granted, people, it is FAU’s way of life against OUR way of life…

    • D.N. Nation

      2010 Colorado would beat 2012 FAU by three scores.

    • Cojones

      Dang Scorpio, you have flipped from the “Worry Dawg” to “What, Me Worry? Dawg”. Good Dawg! Sic’em!

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        If anything I have said created the “What, Me Worry?” impression I have failed.

        • Macallanlover

          LOL, you keep your eye on FAU, I will spend time thinking of Vandy and TN. Conference games, that is the focus, we don’t need blowouts, it isn’t like we are going to become America’s sweetheart. Screw ‘em, win the SEC and you can spit at them.

          • The Lone Stranger

            America’s sweetheart has been in place since the spring: USCw. I continue to believe that they have a loss or two in them, though.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              I watched several PAC 12 games this season. Several teams out West are pretty damn good. Oregon is obvious, but Oregon State just beat Wisconsin. Arizona beat Okie State handily. The best turnaround may be UCLA which upset Nebraska and after seeing the game I don’t think it was an upset. USCw is going to lose some conference games.

              • Macallanlover

                I agree, Oregon is scary good, USC has offensive firepower, the two AZ teams are capable, UCLA is improved, and only the very bottom are unable to knock off the big boys. That isn’t much different from most conferences, which is a step up for the PAC12.

                I think USC could lose 2, maybe three times. They will probably face Oregon twice, a prospect no DC would look forward to. Some good games to be seen out West late at night.

  4. Mark

    The players and coaches often talk about taking it one game at a time. but if you’ve been around long enough, you can bet that most coaches and players are looking at the big games and making prep for them before the week of the game.

  5. Cojones

    We are aware of the importance of tune-up games. Richt has said that his best players want to play in this game as well as bigger games. The players feel that they need a workout to get better. That sounds like to me that they will dictate their time in the game accordingly.

    If injury happens to any !st stringer, it will be on their heads, not Richt’s or any other coach. Setting up a cupcake game for fans to start worrying how long a player is in the game and having calls from the nail-biters to cease and desist playing our best players isn’t something that will help coaches, no matter who remains in the game or for what reason. There is a chance for injury every day in practice(I give you MM,ankle, and JJ, groin, as proof) so why worry about something you have no control over?

    I too want the lack of big injuries to continue. If one occurs, I will not spew my angst toward a coach. It would be classless to do so. Everything from here on out is kharma; the good kind is what this team and fans deserve.

  6. JN

    But if that’s the case, then Pinkel/Yost saw how UGA would defend them, therefore Grantham willingly gave Missou the upper hand…ohhh wait, that’s engineering logic…

  7. AusDawg85

    Guess Grantham is going to have his guys prepare for being chopped block by getting the D line to beg FAU to “Hit us low, please! We need the practice!”.

    And since no one else has gone there yet, I will…

    Mark Richt has lost control of the Senator’s fretting.

  8. shane#1

    Listen up people! I am sick and tired of all this blazain’ around. This ani’t no (freakin) tea party! This is the by (george) Bulldog army! I want you people in ranks and at attention when I come on this blog! There WILL be no more he-hawin’ and by (george) gee-jawin and blazain’ around on this (freakin) blog! You people are supposed to be officers in the Bulldog army one day, not a (goldang) social club. Get them smiles off your faces and look miserable. You are supposed to be Bulldogs by (george}! Paraphrased from an actual address delivered to the cadets by a regular army Master Sergeant when I was in military college. I cleaned it up for the blog. No more having fun on this blog or I am calling Thomas Brown.

  9. evolveddeepsoutherner

    Could we pre-emptively suspend some players, hold them out of the game, and then just sentence them to “time served” when they get in trouble later on this season?

  10. Go Braves

    68-0 Georgia in a slaughter. yep, you’ve seen it here first.

  11. Scorpio Jones, III

    Hats….lemme see….uhh hmmm

    Double, Double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble.

  12. Watching the game streaming thru my Xbox. Defense is giving up big plays right and left. On the bright side we have some legit Keith Marshall flashes of talent. But yeah, defense has already given up 14 and the first half isn’t over yet…