How much better is Alabama’s offense than Georgia’s?

There’s a paragraph in this John Pennington post about the doubters re:  Mark Richt and the Georgia program that’s sort of a side issue I found more interesting than his main point.   It’s where he writes

… Georgia has practically its entire offense back, minus quarterback Joe Cox.  First-year starting quarterbacks in the SEC haven’t always had great success, but Greg McElroy managed quite well last year in his first season as a starter.  Obviously, Georgia doesn’t have Alabama’s talent to put around Aaron Murray, but if the redshirt freshman can just be smart with the football, the Dawgs’ offense should be productive.  [Emphasis added.]

I’m not trying to be overly presumptuous here, but is it really that obvious?  I will grant you that ‘Bama runs out the best pair of tailbacks in the country, but it’s not like Georgia’s combo are slouches.  Georgia’s receiving corps is better than Alabama’s.  I’m hard pressed to see how you can argue that the Tide has an advantage on the line.

And don’t even get me started on this (not to mention that Georgia returns more starters responsible for those stats than does Alabama).


Filed under Georgia Football

41 responses to “How much better is Alabama’s offense than Georgia’s?

  1. dean

    Here’s the money for me:
    On defense, Georgia has a new coordinator, two new assistants and a brand new 3-4 scheme. There could be lumps due to all that newness, but it’s hard to imagine Georgia getting any worse on that side of the ball.
    Heck if the defense improves just marginally then the dawgs should be every bit as good as ‘Bama and Florida.


    • chad

      I couldn’t agree more. I see the defense giving up a few big plays along the way in the first few games while the get their feet wet. But I also see a lot more turnovers and sacks created in those games. And that alone will make the offense dangerous. Example. ..see everyone else offense against us last year after a turn over


  2. Will

    To me this is the same line of thought that gave us two years of “Julio Jones is the best receiver in the SEC” even while AJ Green was out classing him on the field. The media gets an idea, and runs with it, regardless of the actual numbers.


  3. JC in Powder Springs

    I love talkin college football, but it’s getting more like politics every day. Sportswriters, like politicians, make wild generalizations, many appear to have little grasp of the subject they talk about, and they aren’t interested in doing any research – or thinking about a subject before blabbering away.

    I guess Dawg fans are going to have to wade through all this off-season dumb shit from sportswriters until the Dawgs kick ass on the field this year. I have no doubt the Dawgs will have a very good year in 2010.


  4. RAMZ

    Given Alabama’s schedule this year – I think it is reasonable to see a (couple) loss(es) this season, and it will be at that time that these “sports writers” all realize that Bama isn’t light-years ahead of other SEC teams. Remember Auburn last year??


    • I think it’s largely giving Alabama the benefit of the doubt after last season being so certain that there was no chance Alabama could go undefeated in the regular season two years in a row when they had to replace their starting RB, starting QB, and replace two All-Americans and a very quality RG on the line.


  5. gatriguy

    I don’t know that bama’s offense is necessarily better, I just think they have a more recognizable identity. I.e., you KNOW what you’re going to get with their offense, whereas UGA’s offense seems to get a bit spastic when the initial gameplan isn’t working.


  6. That particular line may be the worst thing I’ve seen since the Damon Evans DUI (see what I did there?).


  7. The problem with your numbers comparing Alabama to Georgia is that it doesn’t take the actual games into consideration. Georgia outscored Alabama by an average of less than a field goal (in conference play … against common opponents, it was less than two points). BUT, Georgia was outscored on average in conference play, whereas Alabama averaged a better than two TD margin of victory on average. You’re using that slim margin as proof Georgia’s offense was better without recognizing how early in the game Alabama would start running out the clock.

    Plus, the difference in McElroy at the beginning of last year and Murray at the beginning of this one is that McElroy had been coming off the bench for two seasons before and had three years of college experience to Murray’s one. I’m not suggesting Murray won’t be great — after all, Alabama was supposed to take a step back last year after replacing starters at RB, QB, and rebuilding the line — but it’s not like there isn’t reason to believe Alabama will have the better offense than Georgia, either. Especially considering your statement that Georgia has better wide receivers. AJ Green was fantastic last season and smart enough to sit when he got hurt, a claim Julio Jones can’t make. But let’s not pretend that the true gap between Green and Jones is significant. Past Green, you’re basing your assessment on hope: hope that King builds on a solid freshman season (that as the #2 receiver on the team, still trailed Alabama’s returning #2), that Charles sees the ball more, and that Marlon Brown isn’t the bust he looked like last season. Also that Alabama’s receiving corps does not enjoy that same possibility of improvement while returning a veteran senior QB and an allegedly healthy Julio Jones.


    • Georgia's defense

      BUT, Georgia was outscored on average in conference play, whereas Alabama averaged a better than two TD margin of victory on average.

      Hi there!


      • Not saying the defense wasn’t why Georgia was outscored. I’m saying how many games did Georgia play where they actually stopped trying to score before late in the fourth quarter? That happened fairly regularly for Alabama.


    • My whole post is about that word “obviously”. I’m not trying to make a case that Georgia’s offense is better than Alabama’s, just that I don’t see the yawning gap that Pennington does.

      As to your specific rebuttals:

      1. If I buy your running out the clock argument as an explanation for how ‘Bama’s numbers were artificially reduced in ’09, I think you’ve got to allow for the same type of argument in the two games that saw Georgia get seal-clubbed. The dogs definitely were called off in the fourth quarters of the Tennessee and Florida games.
      2. One more thing about those points: ‘Bama scored those going +13 in turnover margin; Georgia scored theirs going minus-12.
      3. Pennington is talking about the offensive talent surrounding the quarterbacks, so any McElroy/Murray comparison isn’t relevant to the question I raised in my post. But, yes, I’d rather have McElroy to start the year out than Murray.
      4. The reason I make my claim about the receivers is because (a) while the gap isn’t significant, Green is better than Jones and (b) Georgia’s tight ends are much better than ‘Bama’s.


      • And Alabama’s running backs are better in the passing game than Georgia’s. It’s a wash. At the true WR position, Jones and Green are close enough that it causes some people to question the difference and Georgia fans to obsess over it. At TE, you have talent, but White and Charles only combined for 36 catches. That’s an average of less than 3 receptions per game to both TEs. It’s not insignificant, but it’s certainly not something to build a “strength of offense” argument around. Meanwhile, your RB’s combined for only 34 catches. Alabama’s RB’s caught 64 passes, or almost as many as your RB’s and TE’s combined (the Tide’s TEs caught 39 passes). This is all while attempting exactly the same number of passes at Georgia.

        If Alabama’s passing game is about the same (Alabama’s passer rating was only a few points better) but the running game is significantly better (almost 1,000 yards better) perhaps the pundits aren’t so far off.


      • One further point: if the gap between Green and Jones isn’t significant, then it isn’t significant. If you swapped the players, neither team would be noticeably more or less productive because as it stands, the teams do not use those players in the same way.


        • Honesty compelled me to take into account the injury situation when making that assessment. I will say, though, that if AJ had been able to continue an entire season at the pace he set in the first seven games (before he got hurt), it’s likely I wouldn’t be reaching the same conclusion. Even if Jones had managed to stay healthy as well…


          • I don’t understand that statement. Are you saying that if Green had not missed time with the same injury that Jones was playing through all season, you would say the gap would be significantly wider between Green and Jones? If your contention with the post you are fisking here is the word “obviously,” I would have to question the nature of that claim.


  8. travis fain

    Assuming we don’t have drive-killing turnovers timed like someone can see the future, I say we’re significantly better on offense this year.

    Defense? Something tells me no.


  9. JaxDawg

    Let me see – this is a tough to analyze.

    Alabama won the NC in 2009.

    Alabama returns the Heisman winner from 2009.

    Alabama hasn’t lost a reg season conference game in 2 years.

    I may be reaching a bit, but I suppose this is the reason that Alabama gets the benefit of the doubt here.


    • Jax, I’m not arguing that Alabama isn’t better than Georgia. I’m only questioning how “obvious” it is that the offensive talent surrounding McElroy is better than that surrounding Murray. On that front, I don’t find your points convincing.


      • Russ

        Senator, I agree with your point, but let’s just keep it our little secret until the fall. I, too, am an optimistic Dawg fan and think we’ll surprise many teams this year.


      • JaxDawg

        Correct. I’m not trying to convince anyone of that. All I’m sayin’ is that your typical press jockey is going with the safe Bama pick due to the points I raised. They’re all sheep (or penguins if you compare them to equity analysts).


  10. Brian

    Of the 11 starters on offense, 9 would start over their counterparts at Bama, with McElroy and Ingram being the lone exceptions.

    This writer is a homer or an uniformed lunatic.

    There is no comparison at all between the levels of offensive talent at UGA and Bama. It’s as wide a gulf as the difference between UT and Alabama is.

    I’m just looking forward to punking these arrogant Bama fans in the Dome in December!


  11. The Dawg’s s/b able to run the ball consistently & how about play action passes using Charles at TE & 3 WR who are 6’5″ tall. That should work against any D. IF the Dawg’s O is not awesome, then this CMR & CMB fan will have to at least consider that it is the coaching that is to blame.


  12. Frank

    Talent wise Georgia stacks up well offensively with anyone. Murray is a bit of a mystery but redshirt freshmen QBs can get the job done. Georgia’s biggest problem in recent years has been defense. Joe Cox would have been a serviceable QB with any kind of defense. He was not a quarterback for a team that couldn’t stop people. A lot of Joe’s picks came because he had do more than he really should have because of the defense.

    Check another telling stat — time of possession. Alabama was first and Georgia was 9th in the SEC. Time of possession is effected by two factors — the ability to run the ball and the ability to get the other team off the field. Alabama had both going for them. Georgia ran the ball much better the second half of the season but was still hurt by a defense that gave the offense no help at all.

    The turnover differential is huge and is actually an indicator that gives some encouragement. Georgia’s offense almost never had a short field last year. How many drives were killed by interceptions and fumbles? How many points were taken off the board? A bunch. If Murray can play (and I believe he can) this offense will be dangerous. Hopefully the defense will be improved. Football is a true team game and each side of the ball can help or hurt the other.


  13. ConnGator

    I’ll say what has not been said: Saban is a better coach than Richt. Richt is not a bad coach, but he is #3 in the SEC after Meyer and Saban.





  15. Vious

    Amazing defenses can make any team better

    Bama’s offense is not even that good but their D allows them to start the field at great places, get the ball a lot, and have much less pressure on them


    • If Georgia’s offense is better than Alabama’s, and Alabama simply benefits from a short field, it would stand to reason that Georgia would also have more yards per game than Alabama (having both the ability and the range to move the ball further), but that’s not the case. Alabama averaged 22 yards more per game than Georgia in conference play. Likewise, Alabama converted two more first downs per game than Georgia did.


  16. Macallanlover

    I have no problem stating that UGA’s offense will be very close, or better than Bama’s. There are solid reasons to put UGA ahead in total because we except QB we are ahead, or almost dead heat in every category.

    Edge to Bama at RB, but not huge (and the talent. Edge to UGA’s OL, but not huge, Edge at TE and receivers by a good bit. Experience at QB to Bama (although not the raw talent edge), but the surrounding cast makes this closer than many would think. Solid edge to UGA at Punter.

    The difference is Bama’s offense could likely roll over UGA’s new defense as much as any other SEC defense. I don’t think Geargia would gain their SEC average over Bama head up.

    So UGA better on offense, slightly, but Bama better on defense by a good bit. STs edge to UGA. I feel Bama would prevail in a matchup in the Dome, but it wouldn’t be a shocker if UGA upset them. Of course, by then the UGA defense will be more entrenched. Actually, this is the game I expect for the SECCG, unless Murray goes down with an injury. It would be a fun game to watch.


    • Here’s the thing I would like for just one Georgia fan to acknowledge: the Bulldogs do not have a monopoly on improvement. There is zero evidence to suggest that a healthy AJ Green has more talent than a healthy Julio Jones. There is no reason to believe that the two running backs who fought injuries half of last season will be markedly improved but the two backs at Alabama who spent time in the weight room rather than the training room won’t be better than they were last year (watch the Tide’s spring game: they are, and there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest that our third string back would start for any team in the SEC). There is no reason to believe that the non-AJ Green WRs are going to suddenly outperform the non-Julio Jones WRs (they didn’t last season and both teams return their top three receivers).
      There is reason to hope for those things, but at least recognize that they are not certainties but just things you’d really like to see.


  17. negative ?


    Oh, yeah right Bluto UGA’s offense of Mike Bobo Offensive Coordinator is – adjust your glasses now BETTER – than Alabama’s.

    Would that be National Champions Alabama ?

    Alabama with Turnover Margin # 4

    UGA with Turnover Margin # 118

    Alabama with Rushing Offense # 12

    UGA with Rushing Offense # 47

    UGA who LOST to TN, LSU, Florida & Kentucky

    Alabama who BEAT TN, LSU, Florida & Kentucky

    Alabama with Scoring Offense # 22

    UGA with Scoring Offense # 51

    Alabama with 16 fumbles

    UGA with 23 fumbles

    Alabama with 18 penalties all season long 14 games

    UGA with 105 penalties in only 13 games

    Alabama with 5 interceptions in 14 games

    UGA with 17 interceptions in only 13 games

    Alabama ranked # 1

    UGA ranked nothing no ranking whatsoever

    Oh yeah, by God, our Offense is Great Bluto.

    You are FOS

    Alabama who beat # 2 Texas, # 3 Florida, # 10 Virginia Tech, # 17 LSU, and # 20 Ole Miss.

    UGA who beat only # 13 Georgia tek

    Alabama who beat 2 of the Top 5

    Alabama who beat 3 of the Top 10

    Alabama who beat 5 of the Top 20

    UGA who beat 0 of the Top 5

    UGA who beat 0 of the Top 10

    UGA who beat 1 of the Top 20

    We really measure up there Bubba.

    Nice point, Bluto, as per usual for you son.

    We had, therefore a FAR EASIER SCHEDULE than Alabama and yet our Offense managed only barely over 2000 yards rushing while Alabama beating 5 of the Top 20 teams in America in the Final AP Poll gained over 3000 yards rushing.

    We have a no slouch offense, no doubt there Bluto.

    Yet Alabama scored twice as many rushing touchdowns as did our no slouch offense.

    Yeah, right.

    Alabama also Passed for more yards than UGA.

    Alabama also threw 12 more TD passes than interceptions.

    UGA threw only 7 more TD passes than interceptions.

    For the life of me, I cannot find a damn thing on Offense we did better than Alabama.

    And, you brag about our OL ?

    Good Lord son.

    We ran the ball at the end of the season against 2 of the worst rushing defenses in America : Georgia tek and Texas A&M.

    Our OL has not blocked for us against any good rushing defense.

    Jim McElwain is a Legendary Offensive Coordinator.

    Mike Bobo was stolen by us from Jacksonville State where he was the Quarterbacks’ Coach 1 year.

    He should have been fired last year along with ALL the offensive coaches on Coach Richt’s staff. Stubbornly, he kept him on but took over the job from Mike Bobo this off-season.

    Jim McElwain not only coached in the NFL, but was before that the Offensive Coordinator at Montana State where his highly successful Offense averaged in excess of 31 points per game. Everyone knows about Montana State. Then, he coached on the highly successful offense at Louisville. Then, he coached at Michigan State.

    Then, he coached at Fresno State where he averaged 420 yards a game and 33 points a game, as Fresno State Offensive Coordinator beating Georgia tek in their bowl game. Head Coach Pat Hill hired Jim McElwain as his Offensive Coordinator at Fresno State.

    Then, Nick Saban hired him to come to Alabama as Alabama Offensive Coordinator. In his 1st two seasons, he has only gone completely undefeated both regular seasons. Alabama finished # 6 in the nation 2008 and then last year 2009 # 1 in the nation.

    In the game against the # 1 team in the nation in The SEC Championship Game, Jim McElwain’s Offense beat Florida’s great defense last year by 163 yards despite Tim Tebow. Jim McElwain’s Offense put up 32 points on Florida’s great defense and held the football for 40 minutes, leaving Tim Tebow on the sidelines able to only play 20 minutes because of the Offense of Alabama keeping the football away from Tim Tebow and the # 1 Florida Gators. This was the last SEC game last year.

    Against that same Florida defense, the former Jacksonville State quarterbacks’ coach Mike Bobo’s Offense threw 4 interceptions and lost 17-41 in a blowout of Biblical Proportions again.

    There is so NO COMPARISON between Jim McElwain’s Offense and Mike Bobo’s Offense that it makes no sense to log in here and rah rah about how great our offense is and how poorly coached the Alabama Offense is.

    It is just the opposite as every time you open your mouth Bluto about football.


    • Jim McElwain not only coached in the NFL, but was before that the Offensive Coordinator at Montana State where his highly successful Offense averaged in excess of 31 points per game. Everyone knows about Montana State.

      I’m not sure if anyone will ever top that comment here, Thomas. Definitely one for the ages…


  18. negative ?

    What makes you think Bluto that you are God’s Gift son ?

    Mike Bobo or Jim McElwain.

    Here is your comment for the ages from above :

    “yes, I’d rather have McElroy to start the year out than Murray.”

    I’ll stack up the Resume of Jim McElwain to Mike Bobo any day.

    YOU just DO NOT KNOW Bluto.

    Never have, like Mike Bobo.


  19. negative ?

    I’ll also choose my comebacks to your Holier than Thou comments, Bluto.


  20. bamabelle in ga

    you are ga. we are alabama. y’all are fools.