Will Collier is one of my more favorite bloggers out there, so I hope he won’t mind if I use something he posted yesterday as a foil.
… Georgia is going to score some points. Star receiver A.J. Green has a big mouth, but he’s got big-time skills to go with it; he’ll find the end zone against Auburn’s secondary. UGA’s problem is, beyond Green, they’ve got a lot of issues. Georgia has a lot of trouble on third down, on both sides of the football. Their running game has been suspect all year, and I don’t think Georgia’s offensive line can stop Nick Fairley any more than LSU’s could, meaning freshman quarterback Aaron Murray is likely in for a long and painful day.
I also don’t think the Georgia defense has a prayer of slowing down Auburn’s offensive machine, either on the ground or through the air. They’ll have a chance if the game is a shootout in the fourth quarter, but if Auburn can get to Murray, it probably won’t come to that.
Some of that I don’t disagree with. Push comes to shove, I see Saturday’s game as Jacksonville with more touchdowns. Nick Fairley is a beast. And logic suggests that having home field advantage and the most transcendent player in college football makes Auburn a deserving favorite (if you could find anybody to take your bet, that is).
Buuuutttt… I think Will is being overly dismissive about Georgia’s offense. On the topic of third-down conversions, for example, the Dawgs are middle of the pack in the conference on offense and separated on defense from the Tigers by a whopping four-tenths of a percent. (Here’s the link to the SEC’s stat pages.)
It’s pretty much the same story with the rest of the stats he cites. The suspect running game ranks seventh in the conference. Is it anemic in comparison with Auburn’s? Sure, but whose isn’t? And while Nick Fairley is a scary dude, that hasn’t prevented the Tigers from ranking eleventh in the conference in pass defense or sixth in the SEC in sacks, one behind Georgia. My feeling is that Aaron Murray is going to get his yards and more respect when the day is done. At least he will if the offense avoids the turnovers that killed the team’s chances against Florida.