Nobody does a better job of trashing Stewart Mandel’s Mailbag than Michael Elkon. So I always pay attention when he does his “Duel of the Jews” thing like this week’s.
In discussing Georgia’s MNC chances versus Florida’s and arguing that it’s not an unreasonable proposition to make that Florida’s are better, Elkon offers this comment:
The Gators’ expected improvement on defense is greater than Georgia’s expected improvement in any area.
In any area? Georgia in 2007 was 83rd in D-1 passing offense, 74th in total offense and 61st in passing efficiency – hardly the stuff of legends. That was with an essentially new offensive coordinator, a new offensive line coach, three starters on the offensive line that had never taken a snap in a D-1 game prior to last season, a sophomore quarterback who was still figuring out how to play the college game – oh yeah, and Knowshon Moreno starting out the season as the third string tailback.
Now granted, Florida starts out in a deeper statistical hole in passing defense (#98 last season), but the Gators finished a respectable 41st nationally in total defense. So let’s just say that if Elkon is correct about this, Georgia will be eating the Gators’ dust in ’08.
I’m not sure I buy that, though. To me, in looking at the two schools, the biggest potential upside in any area has to be Stafford’s game. If he steps up to elite status, that’s going to have an enormous impact – far more than Will Hill or Omar Hunter, the potential freshman saviors of the Gator defense, will. That’s not a prediction that it’s going to happen, of course, but it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored, either. Especially given that Georgia’s offense should be far better positioned to achieve from the get-go this season than at the start of 2007.