Darren Epps over at the Chattanooga Times Free Press thinks the keys to a successful MNC run boil down to four key things: no road games against top-10 teams, a high turnover margin, an extremely efficient passing game and an elite rush defense.
As those might apply to Georgia, the first seems problematic and the history is formidable.
… First, the schedule. Oklahoma in 2000 (at Kansas State) and Texas in 2005 (at Ohio State) are the only championship teams who beat road opponents that finished in the top 10 of the final Associated Press poll. Last year, for instance, LSU didn’t visit a single Top 25 team (in the final poll, a better indicator of a team’s strength).
Only one school, that crazy-good Miami team in 2001, beat five ranked opponents during a championship season. But none of them were ranked higher than 14th.
What does this mean for Georgia? The Bulldogs, based on the coaches’ preseason poll, will play five ranked teams. Three of those teams — No. 16 Arizona State, No. 6 LSU and No. 11 Auburn — are road matchups. And they’ll play No. 5 Florida at a neutral site in the state of Florida.
But such a run, Georgia fans will he relieved to know, is not unprecedented. Miami beat three ranked teams on the road in 2001. (Warning: In consecutive weeks, Miami beat 14th-ranked Syracuse 59-0 and 19th-ranked Washington State 65-7. It was a very special team. Just a gentle reminder to Tennessee fans.)
As for the rest of the factors he cites, the rush defense should be there for Georgia in ’08. It’s the other two that Epps thinks in the end turn on Stafford’s performance this season. No pressure there, right?