I’ve expressed a good deal of bewilderment over the statistical story that Georgia’s 2010 season spun. Several of you have interpreted my puzzlement as being about the way the stats were compiled, but I’ve understood all along how bi-polar the team’s scoring was last year.
It’s not the math from how Georgia blew out some of its opponents and played the rest close in the losses that escapes me. It’s how a team with the Dawgs’ talent and resources can play that inconsistently over the course of a season. It’s this.
… Georgia’s season last year was so bizarre and inexplicable that it has led to almost as many theories about what went wrong in 2010 as there are analysts. Georgia needed to do better in the fourth quarter. Georgia needed to do better in the first three quarters. Athens is where statistics go to die.
Bill Connelly hits on part of the problem with trying to figure out Georgia — the games they won were blowouts over lesser competition, while the games they lost were hard-fought contests against teams that were equal to or better than Georgia. While the South Carolina game was in some ways not as close as the score might indicate, this South Carolina fan was not entirely comfortable that the game was won until the 17th point was scored.
In fact, there was only one game in 2010 that Georgia lost by more than 12 points, and only two more games that the Dawgs lost by more than a score. At the same time, four of Georgia’s six wins came by a margin of at least 27 points, and the only won a single game by less than double digits.
That points to a couple of things — first, the disparity in quality between the teams Georgia defeated and the teams that beat the Dawgs. (Though Colorado and UCF severely challenge that theory. There’s no neat and clean way to dissect Georgia in 2010.) The other point bucks the trend toward sabermetrics and non-results-based stats that’s taken off in last few years.
cocknfire attributes that to a lack of clutch in Athens. Maybe so. I wonder if it’s more accurate to say there was a lack of focus.
Consider the Florida game. I was there. I didn’t sense that Georgia lost because of a talent disparity. It might have been the best game Bobo called all year. Lack of energy from travel and/or weather? Pffft – the team clawed back from a fourteen-point deficit to tie the game twice in the fourth quarter. Nah, what cost them the win was this:
- Aaron Murray was overly amped up early on.
- Two blown fumble recoveries.
- A game-clinching interception in overtime caused by (1) Sturdivant’s failure to block his side of a three-man rush and (2) Charles’ running his route too deeply into the middle.
That’s what happens when you don’t stay mentally sharp for sixty minutes (or longer, I guess, since there was overtime). Think back to some of last season’s other nightmares, like Ealey’s ill-timed fumbles or the debacle that decided the Colorado game. It’s all a part of the same problem. This was a team that you couldn’t count on to keep its collective head in the game at all times.
That’s what I don’t get.
And that’s why I have no idea what to expect from Georgia this year.
UPDATE: Then there’s this observation from Michael Elkon.
… I found that Georgia was more likely to play close games than other top programs (five per year during the Richt era) and they had a very good 26-14 record in games decided by one score. 2009 continued with this pattern, as Georgia went 4-2 in one-score games, but then 2010 was completely against type as Georgia went 1-4 in such games (and that doesn’t include the losses at South Carolina and Mississippi State, both of which were tight games that were ultimately decided by more than one score). The 2010 team was completely against type for Mark Richt…
2010, the year of playing dangerously.