Observations from the armchair, Georgia – Arkansas edition

So now we know.  These Dawgs are still a trifle cheesed over the perception that they’re nothing without Todd Gurley.  How do you get the pundits’ attention?  What kind of two-by-four do you whomp up side their heads? How about going from playing one of the most complete road games we’ve seen a Richt-coached team to playing an even more dominating half of football on the road?

The whole game reeked of “we’re just tired of that shit”.  (I hope they’ve got some of that stuff bottled for later use.)

Yeah, I got your bullet points right here.

  • The game opened the way we’ve seen more than once, with an opponent’s perfectly executed scripted scoring drive.  However, whatever wind the Ray Drew-blocked extra point didn’t take out of the Hogs’ sails, Bobo’s playcalling on Georgia’s first drive did.  That was as good a job of in your face calls and execution as I’ve seen since that 2010 game against Georgia Tech, when Bobo kept calling for throws to AJ Green over and over again.  Bobo clearly saw something in Arkansas’ secondary he was sure he could exploit, and damned if he didn’t do just that.  The other great call in the game came on Georgia’s last score.  The playcalling had been so conservative over the second half that nobody in the joint was expecting the deep ball then, and it sent a message that Bobo knew he could collect on that play any time he needed it.
  • Thirty more carries for Nick Chubb, and over 130 more yards than Alabama rushed for against Arky’s defense.  I am officially not worried about next year’s running game.
  • Great to see a big game out of Chris Conley.  It’s weird, but that’s the first payoff from Malcolm Mitchell back on the field.
  • Offensive line was, again, a mixed bag.  Dominant at times, but also confused on some of Arkansas blitzes.  And Theus got burned on a speed rush that turned into a sack.
  • Great blocking from the fullbacks, though.
  • Mason has shaken the uncertainty from his game.  He is still not being asked to do too much, but he’s giving them everything they need from him.  His throw on that last touchdown was as pretty as any college quarterback could make.
  • Pruitt said after the South Carolina game that he was done playing soft.  He wasn’t kidding.  Georgia was aggressive with its blitzes throughout the first half, and that paid off big time.
  • Another big day on the turnover margin front.  Some of that obviously comes from the offense being careful, but the defense continues to improve in being alert and around the ball.  Mauger is much improved in pass coverage from last season.  And Swann’s confidence has grown remarkably over the last three games.  You can see how all the defensive backs are feeding off the pressure being generated from the front six/seven.
  • The only bummer on the day was the continued inability to cover the intermediate pass over the middle.  Arkansas’ tight ends feasted on the coverage.  Unfortunately, that situation is what it is.
  • Special teams were, shall we say, consistent with what we’ve seen of late.  Punting wasn’t anything special, although there two landed inside the twenty.  McKenzie flashed again in the return game.  Morgan was perfect with his extra points and field goal, also knocking out a bunch of touchbacks on kickoffs.  And none of the kickoff returns really threatened.
  • The officiating was strange.  Tons of flags thrown in the second half helped Arkansas hang around.  At least a few of the calls were questionable, especially the last PI call Bowman drew, as it looked like the receiver pushed off big time.  And Arkansas got away with a ton of holding.  (I know, forget it, it’s the SEC… but, still.)

You can complain about the foot coming off the gas in the second half, I suppose.  But, really, that game was done when they walked off after the first half ended.  And I doubt the coaches expected that the players would relax a bit, too.  Given how balls out they’d played over their last three halves of football, it’s somewhat understandable.

In any event, this team is showing that there’s something to its emotional and mental makeup that we haven’t seen from Georgia in a while.  I bet most of them would prefer not to have a bye week coming up.  For me, not so much.  It’ll be good to see if they can get some players healthier and see the resolution to the Gurley suspension.

About all that, can you imagine what Florida will be thinking if the Dawgs get Gurley, Marshall and Michel back in time for the Cocktail Party?

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My Mumme Poll ballot, Week 8

Nothing like a few blowouts to clarify a ballot.

Here’s mine this week:

  • Alabama
  • Auburn
  • Florida State
  • Georgia
  • Mississippi
  • Mississippi State
  • Oregon
  • TCU

Also considered:  Baylor, Kansas State, Michigan State

COMMENTS:

  • Yeah, I know it looks like a SEC love fest.  Can’t help it.
  • The only other conference I could even think about voting for two schools was the Big Twelve.

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Time to retire the crayon

Georgia is now tops in the SEC in scoring offense.

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The conversion of Jeff Sagarin

Remember when everybody used to complain that Sagarin was biased in favor of the Pac-12?  Not anymore.

College Football 2014 through games of October 18 Saturday                                                                          
                                RATING    W   L  SCHEDL(RANK) VS top 10 | VS top 30 | GOLDEN_MEAN  | PREDICTOR    | ELO_SCORE  
                HOME ADVANTAGE=[  3.23]                                               [  3.16]       [  3.39]       [  3.13]
   1  Mississippi          A  =  97.20    7   0   74.95(  13)    1   0  |    3   0  |   95.44    3 |   96.08    1 |   97.30    1
   2  Alabama              A  =  96.91    6   1   77.11(   9)    0   1  |    3   1  |   96.42    1 |   95.68    2 |   95.62    4
   3  Auburn               A  =  96.55    5   1   79.22(   3)    0   1  |    2   1  |   95.93    2 |   94.43    3 |   96.74    2
   4  Mississippi State    A  =  93.52    6   0   73.84(  20)    1   0  |    3   0  |   93.64    5 |   89.83    7 |   96.26    3
   5  Georgia              A  =  92.44    6   1   74.64(  14)    0   0  |    3   0  |   92.46    6 |   92.60    4 |   89.74    7

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Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Great moments in punditry

This is why they pay Desmond Howard the big bucks.

At least he’s got a bye week to hide behind next Saturday.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football

Abandon all hope, ye who enter Gainesville.

This is simply sad beyond words.

(Photo by Stranko Montana)

After losing 42-13 to Mizzou on homecoming night in the new new low of lows, only two players came over for the alma mater: punter Kyle Christy, and lineman Trip Thurman. I can’t write anything sadder than that image. I can’t write anything with more hope than that image, either.

This, however, is beyond amazing.

Florida held Maty Mauk to a passer rating of 31.5 – lower than his rating of a week ago against Georgia – and still lost by 29 points.  I honestly have a hard time understanding how something like that is even possible.

Muschamp’s head coaching career looks to be over in Gainesville after that debacle – it wouldn’t have surprised me to have been greeted by news of Foley’s decision when I woke up this morning – but my only question at this point is a selfish one.  How will his status affect the Cocktail Party?

This wouldn’t be the first time Richt’s coached against a lame duck in Jacksonville.  In 2004 he got a win, but what looked like an easy game early got uncomfortably tight before the Dawgs put it away.  Then again, this may be the worst Gator offense I’ve ever seen.

[Insert "but Florida always gives Georgia its best shot" reference here.]

What do you guys think?

*********************************************************************

UPDATE:  When you’ve lost Pat Dooley

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Georgia-Arkansas game day thoughts

The tenth-ranked team in the country takes on a team on a fifteen-game conference losing streak… and to hear many of the pundits speak, none of that seems to matter.  Because (1) Arkansas is a physical football team and because (2) Arkansas is due.  With regard to the first item, I can only refer you to the Razorbacks’ less than impressive effort during the fourth quarter in its last five SEC games.  As for the latter, what makes Arkansas due now, as opposed to, say, its last three or four conference games?

My favorite part of the talking heads’ spin is how many of them admit they picked Missouri last week, but this week they’ll surely get it right.

The pundits may be full of shit, but if you’re a Georgia fan, there’s still reason to be nervous about today’s game.  The main reason for concern is because, unlike last week, the Gurley situation has had another week to play out, with no resolution.  I have no idea how that plays with the team’s psyche today, but I remember how the AJ Green suspension slowly sucked all the oxygen out of the room.  You hope the team plays with the same chip on its shoulder that was there in Columbia, but there really is no telling.

There is a certain truth to strength facing strength today.  But there are also key areas where Georgia is clearly better.  Special teams being one.  Fourth quarter play being another.

If Georgia keeps it close late, controls field position and doesn’t lose the turnover margin battle, I don’t see how the Dawgs lose today.

Your thoughts?

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