College Football News lays out its top 30 teams at this pre-spring vantage point. Here’s some of what it has to say about #1 Alabama:
… Oh yeah … the offense. The backfield is jaw-dropping with a Heisman-winner (Mark Ingram) along a guy (Trent Richardson) who might be a starter in the NFL right now. Throw in top-five pro prospect WR Julio Jones and three starters on the O line, and the offense will be tremendous.
Now compare that to these comments about #20 Georgia.
… There are still big questions about an underachieving group of running backs… There’s speed and athleticism across the board, and WR A.J. Green, C Ben Jones, and DE Justin Houston bring some playmakers to build around…
Let’s skip past the idea that a center is a playmaker on offense. And the point here isn’t to say that ‘Bama isn’t deserving of a lofty rating or that Georgia is – it’s simply to ask that the pesky details be presented in a consistent manner.
Breaking some of this down:
- Alabama’s “jaw-dropping” backfield vs. Georgia’s “underachieving group of running backs”. There’s no question that ‘Bama’s seasonal rushing numbers are the better of the two by a significant amount, but the analysis glosses over the fact that by mid-season, the Dawgs had totally revamped their rotation at running back. Alabama’s rushing numbers in November (169 attempts; 814 yards; 4.82 ypc; 7 TDs) aren’t better than Georgia’s for the same month (165 attempts; 1008 yards; 6.11 ypc; 8 TDs). Indeed, if you look at the running backs returning for conference play in 2010, it’s a fair statement to make that Alabama and Georgia return the two best tandems at tailback.
- “Top-five pro prospect” Julio Jones vs. “playmaker” A.J. Green. Do I really need to go there? Okay, I will. Despite playing in three less games, Green caught more passes for more yards (at more than a yard and a half per catch better clip) and scored more touchdowns than his Tide counterpart. No knock on Jones, who’s an awesome talent, but, c’mon, guys.
- Offensive line starters. Alabama brings back three. Georgia brings back five. Alabama’s line finished tied for fourth in the conference in sacks allowed, with 15. Georgia’s line finished tied for first, with 12.
Again, the point here isn’t to diminish what Alabama brings to the table on offense next season. But if you’re going to indulge in a nod to synergy to justify broad qualitative differences between it and Georgia, how about at least letting us in on why that’s the case.
And before you point to the 2010 quarterback situation – certainly a valid distinction between the two schools – note that there wasn’t much difference between McElroy’s and Cox’ passer ratings last year, as they finished fourth and fifth in the conference. Is there going to be enough of a differential between McElroy and Georgia’s eventual starter to validate the perceived gap in overall offensive performance?