If you’re looking for some detailed breakdowns on the Alabama-Georgia game, here you go:
- Jody does his usual thorough job here.
- Doug gives you his thoughts here.
- Michael shows us five steps to beating Georgia here.
- Bama Sports Report reciprocates with five steps to beating ‘Bama here.
- Third Saturday in Blogtober calls for the ‘Bama win, based on the statistical story and Mark Richt’s recent viewing habits.
Me, I’m just going with my gut feelings on this one. And what my gut’s telling me is this:
- The more I think about it, the more I believe the running games for both teams are going to be a wash. Both teams run the ball well and both teams defense the run well; I don’t see either Georgia or Alabama having an advantage. But if the running games play out evenly, that’s a net plus for Georgia, because as Elkon notes, when you compare positions, the biggest talent gap in this game is at quarterback.
- Making matters worse for Alabama in the passing game is the emergence of A. J. Green as a legitimate pass receiving threat. I guarantee you that Saban’s had to rethink how he’ll deploy his safeties after watching the ASU game tape. Massaquoi should benefit greatly from that. (For that matter, if you assume that Moreno manages to elude the ‘Bama front seven now and then, it should be an occasional plus for the Georgia running game.)
- Surprisingly enough, at least from a statistical standpoint, the kicking games for both schools are fairly even. That being said, Alabama was able to rely on its return game to get a win against Tulane; Georgia has yet to be in a position where it’s needed to lean on its special teams to win – although Mimbs’ punting against South Carolina was a factor in how the fourth quarter played out. And I’m still going to hold my breath every time the Dawgs tee it up Saturday night.
- This is a game where Georgia needs to get its penalty problems under control. Yes, I know the five most penalized teams in the country have a combined 19-0 record right now, but I also know that there’s almost a 60-yard spread between the penalty yardage per game that Georgia and Alabama have yielded this season. Essentially, that’s enough yardage to negate the three points attributed to home field advantage.
- Speaking of home field advantage, it seems to me that the intangibles favor Georgia in a big way for this game. All the pooh-pooing that we’ve seen from ‘Bama bloggers with regard to the Blackout misses one essential point: sure, the jersey color won’t make much difference to the kids on the field once they line up and start knocking heads, but if the Auburn game from last year is any indication, it definitely electrifies the crowd. And that’s a plus for Georgia in two ways. First, the players will feed off of that energy and second, it will interfere at some point in time with ‘Bama’s ability to call plays and signals. Which is why the biggest key for Alabama in this game is to get out to an early lead in order to take the crowd out of the game. Oh, and another thing about those intangibles? This certainly can’t hurt.
If Georgia can stay away from turnover troubles in this game, something that the Dawgs have done well so far, it should come away with the win. One thing I like about this team is that its best days still seem to be ahead of it, especially on offense, where the line needs time to jell and where it’ll get Southerland back for the Tennessee game (he’ll only play on special teams against ‘Bama, per Richt). If it plays better than last week, I don’t think Alabama’s best will be good enough.