I’m not going to break down any keys for the game with this post. I’ll save some of that for later in the week, when I’m trying to fight off a turkey-induced coma.
Instead, I’ve got a word I want to drop on you: malaise.
Here’s something Realist posted at his blog yesterday.
Georgia’s fanbase seems to be rather scared, no… that’s not the word… I’m not sure there is a word… let’s try horrifraidypantywaistedaghastmentness’d, of Georgia Tech. This is a response that, quite frankly stuns me. It’s almost like losing to Tech would validate the feeling of it all slipping away…
Let me just say that I second that emotion. Where did all this dread come from?
Look, I don’t ask this as a knock on what Tech’s accomplished so far this year. And I’ve said all along that Paul Johnson was a home run as a hire on the Flats. I’ll even grant that the Jackets and their coach are motivated to play this Saturday (although, as Paul asks, so what?). I still don’t see where this attitude is coming from.
Sure, Tech walloped Miami last week. That’s the Miami team ranked 90th in total offense in the country this year (not to be confused with the higher ranked Miami of Ohio offense, by the way). The Miami team whose offensive coordinator is the same guy that couldn’t help Reggie Ball count to four in 2004. Somehow, I expect Stafford and Bobo to perform a little more competently against the Jacket defense this Saturday.
As for those 472 rushing yards Tech picked up, Miami’s defense, ranked #57 nationally against the run, looked dazed and confused, no doubt. As the game rolled on, the ‘Canes looked more and more like they didn’t like the weather and didn’t want to be out there. As maligned as Georgia’s run defense has been of late, it’s still ranked fifteenth in the nation. Tech’s run defense ranks 29th – where’s the concern about how the Jackets will handle Moreno?
None of this is offered as a prediction, just as context.
Then, there’s the concern over the team’s frame of mind. As usual, Barnhart pulled out the “if Georgia doesn’t take them seriously” card yesterday.
Georgia Tech has a couple of big things going for them on Saturday against Georgia. No. 1, the Yellow Jackets are going to be very excited about playing this game. I could be wrong, but I just don’t get the sense that the Bulldogs are that jacked up about playing the state rival…
Based on what, Barnhart doesn’t say. But I’ll say this right now – Mark Richt has proven himself to be a good student of the history of this program and I have no doubt at all that he recognizes the significance of a win this Saturday. It’s a chance for the Dawgs to rewrite the record books.
In other words, this team has a chance to make some history for itself, to do something that no other Georgia squad has ever done before. If that hasn’t been stressed to this bunch repeatedly over the two weeks of preparation and, more importantly, if that message can’t serve to motivate these kids more than the typical rivalry game already should, I’d be seriously disappointed.
Fortunately, I’m already seeing a hint that nobody in red and black is taking this game for granted.
Said Collins: “It is a little bit more challenging, but because it is Georgia Tech, I think the kids are buying in a little bit more.”
By the way, Vegas isn’t buying the weak-kneed stuff. Sheridan has Georgia as an 8.5 point favorite. Considering that it’s a rivarly game between two ranked opponents with seventeen wins between them, that’s a pretty strong vote of confidence.
Have a little faith, folks.