In 2007, I took a look at what Georgia did well in its three seasons under Richt when it traveled to the SECCG. Here’s my methodology:
I went back and looked at Georgia’s conference stats for the three years it’s won the East under Richt (’02, ’03 and ’05) to see if there were any common strands of at least above-average performance. (For this purpose, I define “above-average” pretty literally – the Dawgs had to rank no worse than fifth in a given statistical category in each of these three years for it to be significant.)
As it turns out, I found seven conference statistical results that correlated with Georgia winning the East.
- Hold opponents under 17 points per game.
- Finish at least +.67 per game in turnover margin.
- Average better than 380 yards per game on offense.
- Finish in the top five in total defensive yardage.
- Finish in the top three in first downs.
- Finish no worse than third in passing yardage.
- Finish at least third in sacks.
For obvious reasons, I didn’t track this last season, but I thought I’d take it back up again as long as it’s relevant (or until the god of hubris elects to punish me for doing so). So, after the first game, here’s where the Dawgs stack up with their conference brethren:
- Scoring defense: 7 ppg.
- Turnover margin: +2 ppg.
- Total offense: 377 ypg.
- Total defense ranking: first.
- First downs ranking: tenth.
- Passing yardage ranking: tenth.
- Sacks ranking: third.
All in all, not a bad start, although I think it’s going to be tough for this team to finish in the top three in passing yardage, considering that Arkansas and Mississippi State look like they’re both going to throw the ball all over the place (and certainly a lot more than Georgia will). We’ll see how things progress.