That’s what I did. But you know what? Even after sifting through all the data and analysis I still feel a bit gun shy trying to assess Georgia’s chances tomorrow. Maybe David Hale has the right approach: all we can do is ask questions, grasshopper.
Well, running with the metaphor a little further, if you did the gun to the head thing and ordered me to blog something about what I think about the game, here’s what I’d come up with for you:
- The one truly excellent unit that will see the field tomorrow is the Georgia offense. Looking at the others, both Georgia’s and Auburn’s defenses started out well this season, but have sagged lately, and Auburn’s offense never got going. If there aren’t any hiccups or surprises, on paper that should be enough to generate at least a two-touchdown difference in the score. On paper.
- Georgia’s special teams can’t be as putrid as they were against Kentucky. That should be the case, if for no other reason than I wouldn’t expect to see Prince Miller returning punts tomorrow. (How about Knowshon, though?) And the weather during the game is predicted to be considerably less windy than were the conditions in Lexington, which should help. One troubling thing here: Richt’s confidence in Blair Walsh seems to be dwindling, as evidenced by his decision last week to pass on a 50-yard field goal attempt with the wind at his kicker’s back to go for it on fourth and six. Three weeks ago, I doubt that’s the call.
- The turnover margin battle favors Georgia. Auburn certainly ain’t no Florida here; it’s not even a Kentucky. The trick here is to force the Tigers into a passing game. Ole Miss accomplished that and was rewarded with three picks. I’d much rather see Burns trying to hurt the Dawgs with his arm than with his feet. On top of that, Massaquoi isn’t going to fumble the ball two series in a row this week.
That’s all I’ve got. If Georgia can just hold serve in all the other areas of the game, its offense is more than good enough to win the game comfortably. If it can’t… unlike last week, this is a rivalry game against an opponent which has little left to play for this year except for its last two regular season games. Auburn may not have proven itself to be a better team statistically than the one Georgia played last week, but it’s going to come in with more emotion. If Georgia implodes in certain areas of the game as it did in Lexington, that emotion may be enough to make the difference. I’ll split the baby and predict that the road team in this series comes though again, although it won’t be especially pretty. Georgia wins by no more than a touchdown.