I’m not alone in that sentiment.
“It’s a credibility game,” said Georgia’s assistant head coach and defensive line coach Rodney Garner said. “We’re going to find out who is a contender and who is a pretender.”
Meaning, of course, that we don’t know right now.
There’s lots of focus, and justifiably so, on turnover margin and how it might impact the game. Georgia is fortunate to be 3-1 with its -9 (good for 115th nationally) TO margin after four games. But consider this: how many teams ranked fourth in the polls after four weeks have been outgained on the season? That’s LSU’s story, by more than 20 yards per game.
So it’s fair to say that neither team has played up to its potential so far. But what if that’s all there is this year for both? As cocknfire put it earlier in the week writing about the Dawgs,
… it’s quite possible that there will be no return to the mean for this team. Georgia might simply be one of those teams that turns the ball over a lot. That doesn’t mean they are a better team than the final score indicates; if turnovers are a part of a team’s identity, then they are just as much an indicator of a team’s quality as the great WR play of A.J. Green (8 catches, 153 yards, 1 TD) or a solid defensive effort (204 total yards, one offensive TD).
Put simply: Georgia still has a long way to go to prove they’re a great team that’s had a few bad breaks and not a good team with a knack for the well-time escape.
Hard to argue with that, isn’t it?
Both teams have proven themselves resourceful and gritty with key late game defensive stops. That, combined with their offensive struggles, leads me to think that it’s unlikely Saturday will see one rout the other. That’s about as much of a prediction as you’ll pry out of me.
I will say that as I look at both teams, quarterback play strikes me as the key. Jordan Jefferson has done what we hoped we’d see out of Joe Cox. He’s been a competent game manager (7/1 TD/INT ratio) who’s stopped the bleeding that the Tigers suffered from at the position last year. Instead, it’s been Cox who’s done the pick-six shuffle twice in four games. That simply can’t happen this week for Georgia to prevail.
Tony Barnhart has mentioned that there been some chatter that Miles has been biding his time with über talent Russell Shepard and intends to unleash him this week. Les is a gambler, but giving a significant role to a true freshman quarterback in an SEC road game seems like a stretch even for him. But what do I know? It’s not like this season’s gone according to plan so far.