For a while here, I tracked seven SEC statistical categories because they had in common that they were areas that Georgia excelled in during the three years that the Dawgs played in the SECCG under Mark Richt. (You can read the background on my analysis here.) I did this wanting to know if Richt would be able to capture lightning in a bottle in the ’07 season.
Anyway, the statistical goals I followed were
- Hold opponents under 17 points per game.
- Finish at least +8 in turnover margin.
- Average better than 380 yards per game on offense.
- Finish in the top five in total defensive yardage.
- Finish in the top three in first downs.
- Finish no worse than third in passing yardage.
- Finish no worse than third in sacks.
I quit tracking these when Georgia went in the tank at Tennessee. Of course, after I stopped, the Dawgs started winning and I didn’t want to tempt fate by revisiting this analysis. But that’s a moot consideration at this point.
So, with the regular season in the books, here’s where the Dawgs wound up in the SEC in each of these categories:
- Points allowed per game: 21.0
- Turnover margin:+4
- Total offense per game: 379.1 yards
- Total defense per game: 324.7 yards, 3rd in the conference
- First downs: 232, 8th in the conference
- Passing yardage per game: 200.3, 8th in the conference
- Sacks: 34, 1st in the conference
In the end, Georgia only covered two of the seven goals, although they were close in a third. Yet they came within a whisker – more accurately, a missed field goal or three – from making it back to Atlanta for what would have been a remarkable fourth time in seven years under Richt.
Coming that close in the standings while being that far off statistically from what worked before makes me wonder if something has changed, either with the conference as a whole or with Richt’s philosophy on how to win in the SEC, that could explain this. Or maybe it’s completely random, who knows?
It looks like something I might occupy myself with on a rainy Saturday in February. Consider yourselves warned.