Most impressive thing of the day: the speed with which LSU’s defense closed on running plays. Ridiculous.
Second most impressive thing of the day: Abita Oyster Stout on draft. Yummy.
Least impressive thing of the day: the hands of Georgia’s receiving corps. Clank.
Second least impressive thing of the day: the clock at the Georgia Dome. Useless.
I’m still glad the Dawgs got to play today. Nothing invalidated the road they took to get to the Dome. Although I wouldn’t have minded if, instead of the clocks going haywire, the power to the whole joint had just gone out after the first half.
I’m not making any predictions on today’s outcome, other than to say that Chris Burnette understates the case a little here:
“I don’t feel like we have to play a perfect game,” Burnette said. “But we have to play probably the best game that we’ve played all season.”
Forget the “probably”, son. The Dawgs will have to play their best game of the year to have a shot at the upset of the number one team in the country.
Let’s get real for a minute. LSU went into Tuscaloosa and won in overtime. I don’t want to get sidetracked with an argument of the relative merits of ‘Bama and Georgia this year, so let’s just leave it that Alabama certainly isn’t a worse team than Georgia. The Dawgs have one helluva fight on their hands today.
That doesn’t mean they can’t win. Their defense says they can. Paul Myerberg makes the case for that here.
… Grantham is no Erk Russell, and no, this defense is not yet a pack of Junkyard Dogs. But you see the similarities, most notably in the simple formula of getting stops on first down, getting to the quarterback on clear passing downs and playing the football in the secondary. Russell, one of the all-time greats, would appreciate this defense. High praise.
And what does L.S.U. have on defense that Georgia doesn’t? Name value. Depth, especially along the defensive line. Cockiness — that the Tigers have in spades. Meanness? That’s a shared trait. Ability to stop the run? Also shared. Rush the quarterback? Shut things down in the secondary? Shared and shared.
The point is this: Georgia can win this game. Would it come with beauty points? Beauty has left the building, replaced by two nasty, talented defenses. One, the one in Athens, has something to prove. As does a Georgia team unwisely left for dead in September.
Yeah, they can win. But they can’t screw up… at least not much. And they’ve got to hold their emotional and mental ground for the full 60 minutes. Today’s musical theme is brought to you by Tom Petty:
I can’t confidently predict a win, because LSU is too good to dismiss. But you know what else I can’t predict? I can’t go along with all the pundits calling for a close game for three quarters and then seeing LSU pull away to win by 18. Unless Georgia starts making a bunch of mistakes with turnovers and special teams snafus, I don’t believe these Dawgs will wear down like that.
And with that, I’m getting ready to head out to the Dome. Consider this your game day thread.
It is easy to assume that Georgia wasn’t a very good team when they began the season 0-2, then they improved as they knocked off a relatively weak final 10 games of the season. This is not necessarily true. They ran into a buzzsaw in week one against Boise State (perhaps nobody in the country would have beaten the Broncos that day), and they encountered a healthy amount of bad luck in losing to South Carolina the next week. The signs were there from the start — if chemistry and effort were not damaged by the poor start, the wins were going to roll in.
The goal of Adj. Points is to determine how a team would have performed against a perfectly average opponent, and the graph above shows that the Dawgs would have gone 11-1 if playing said average opponent each week. Their propensity for sitting on the ball in the second half (once they had built a decent lead) held them down a bit, especially in the middle portion of the season (Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee), but both the offense and defense have spent most of their season on the healthy side of national averages.
Of course, LSU has still been better. But we already knew that.
There are lots of other good points Bill brings up there. His bottom line isn’t unexpected. For Georgia to win today, it’ll to have to win the double positive battles. Given that LSU sports the nation’s best turnover margin, that’s going to take some work.
While I’m on the subject of Bruce Feldman, he’s really opened up since he moved to CBS, also the home of Tony Barnhart. Unlike Mr. Conventional Wisdom, though, Feldman’s not afraid to lay out the criticism.
Could you imagine Barnhart ever writing something like this about SOD?
… Having said that, short of more NCAA trouble, I don’t believe they could pull the plug on Dooley after just two seasons given all of the turnover from the end of Fulmer — through Kiffin — to now. He has to get least get a third season. They hired him and he does have a hefty buyout. But it is looking very obvious that Dooley is in fact in over his head here.
This is a guy who didn’t even have a .500 record in the WAC, so for him to take over an elite SEC program looked really curious. I suspect there will be more turnover on the Vols staff this offseason than just WR coach Charlie Baggett. Dooley’s 0-17 against ranked teams all-time. If he doesn’t beat one or even two ranked teams next year, I have a feeling it won’t matter if he gets UT bowl eligible. It’s Tennessee. The Vols have a proud tradition, a huge stadium and a staff getting paid a lot of money. They’re also in the much easier side of the conference right now. They shouldn’t be content with bowl eligible.
I saw lots of that sentiment expressed at the game in Oxford this season. Bruce Feldman notes that it’s still a recruiting issue for Ole Miss.
… There’s also a delicate racial history that in some cases, makes it very tough to recruit players to Ole Miss. I know from talking to assistants who have coached at Ole Miss they’ve run into several situations where the kid’s parents or some grandparent or relative won’t allow them to go to Ole Miss because of the perception they have of it, which is something the football staff has to work hard to combat.
Keep in mind Feldman spent a year around that program when Orgeron was the head coach. He’s not shooting from the hip here.
No, that doesn’t excuse the Nuttster’s lazy recruiting efforts. But it does explain why Coach O was the only head coach to really excel in that department there.