I’ve long respected Gary Danielson’s acumen as an in-game analyst. In fact, he’s been good enough in that department that I’ve been willing to overlook his embarrassing SEC homerism and blind stubbornness about the spread offense. So needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to hearing what he has to say about Georgia this week.
The heavens quaked, the earth moved… and Danielson opined this:
Danielson said it’s tough to judge Georgia because they’ve played a relatively soft schedule since a turnover-filled 17-9 win over Florida on Oct. 27.
“We don’t know how real Georgia is,” he said. “They hit a terrible slump in the middle of the season when even their own players called their team out. That seemed to ignite them. They played a very good defensive football game against Florida where their quarterback had a really tough first half and he almost kind of tossed a game away that they should have won pretty easily.
“But since then, when the rest of the country was playing really tough football games, Georgia has played Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. They haven’t been tested. So they’re basically coming from the Oct. 27 game into the championship game and we don’t know if they’ve gotten any better or where they stand.”
That’s it? I mean, gee, Gary, that’s a little underwhelming. You can’t tell us anything about Georgia from its play over the last month? Nothing at all?
Here’s what good football teams do against mediocre opposition: they dominate. And very good teams do it consistently. (The difference between Alabama and Georgia is that what Georgia’s done for a month or so, the Tide has done pretty much all season long.) So can’t you draw some conclusions from Georgia’s defense holding its last five opponents to their season lowest scoring totals? How many other schools have done so five times this season, let alone consecutively? What does it say that Georgia over the last month leads the nation in defensive scoring? Isn’t that what elite programs should do with football teams that don’t test them?
And as far as Aaron Murray goes, he’s been putting up obscene numbers since that “almost, kind of tossed away” time you’re focused on. That doesn’t tell you anything? Besides that, you’re the guy who, as you sat there analyzing the Georgia-Florida game in the fourth quarter, felt that Georgia was going to have to turn to Murray to put the game away with another score and then watched exactly that happen. And took (justifiable) credit for calling it!
I’m a dumbass blogger who’s never been in the arena, but even I can tell from my limited vantage point that Georgia’s playing well over its last five games. So I’m a little dumbfounded that Danielson, who’s exposed to a lot more football week in and week out than I am, can’t see that. Or won’t.
I don’t know what this is about. Maybe he thinks he’s being profound. Maybe he’s unwilling to make a prediction. Maybe he’s got too much respect for Saban to come out and say that Alabama will be seriously tested. And I get that everybody’s fixated on Georgia’s schedule (which, by the way, comes in at a respectable if not stellar 42nd in Sagarin’s SOS rankings). But, geez, how much would it hurt to take something resembling an analytical stand here?