With the final step in the regular season journey taken, here’s how this year’s team finished against its predecessors who also traveled to Atlanta (stats via cfbstats.com):
- Hold opponents under 18 points per game. As a team, Georgia yielded 17.7 ppg.
- Finish at least +8 in turnover margin. Georgia’s turnover margin is +9.
- Average better than 380 yards per game on offense. Georgia’s offense averaged 463.7 ypg.
- Finish in the top five in total defensive yardage. Georgia’s defense ranks sixth in total defense.
- Finish in the top three in first downs. Georgia is fourth in first downs.
- Finish no worse than third in passing yardage. Georgia is fourth in passing yardage.
- Finish no worse than third in sacks. Georgia is tenth in sacks.
Two categories, defensive scoring and turnover margin, clicked in place after the Tech game. I tend to see the near misses in defensive yardage, first downs and passing yardage as a consequence of league expansion. Really, the only thing that’s a true outlier is the sack ranking, some of which can be chalked up to Jarvis Jones missing a couple of games and finishing out the season with two triple-option offenses. I’ll no doubt return to this in the offseason, but if you pushed me, I’d say what the data shows is that the first three categories are the keys to watching whether a Richt-coached squad is destined for SEC success.