Now, has Bill Connelly got your attention to read his Georgia preview? I thought he might.
Bill summarized it to me as: “a) this might be the best offense in the country, b) the defense was only good (not great) with Jones, Ogletree, Jenkins, Rambo, Geathers, Williams, Commings, etc., and now all of those guys are gone (which is terrifying), and c) holy crap, September is brutal”, but there’s a lot more in his analysis to unpack.
Start with how big the Cocktail Party is – not as a rivalry, but for what it heralds for the rest of the season.
Since 2005, the Dawgs have gone 3-4 versus Florida. Following their three wins, they have gone 12-0 with an average score of 39-14 for the rest of the regular season. Following their four losses, they have gone 12-5 with an average score of 32-23. After their loss to Florida in 2006, they lost to Kentucky. After their loss in 2008, they barely beat Kentucky and lost at home to Georgia Tech. They lost to Kentucky again in 2009, three weeks after the Florida loss.
But when the Dawgs win that game, they wreck shop for the rest of the regular season. They certainly did last year.
And how ’bout this Jarvis-Clowney comparison?
I pointed out in last week’s South Carolina preview how opponents tended to run a lot against the Gamecocks on passing downs for fear of Clowney obliteration. But opponents only ran 38 percent of the time on passing downs against South Carolina; they ran nearly 50 percent of the time on Georgia. Clowney may hit harder than Jones did, but Jones had an even larger impact on opponents’ game plans.
Bill is a Missouri fan, in case you forgot, so he knows from where he speaks there.
I think I’m gonna miss that guy… where was I? Oh, yeah. Bill has this to say about the biggest loss on the offensive side of the ball:
As good as players like Bennett, Conley, Lynch, etc., looked last season, nobody could touch King’s combination of efficiency (a perfectly solid 62 percent catch rate) and absurd explosiveness (22.6 yards per catch). King caught nine passes for 188 yards versus Kentucky, three for 104 versus Nebraska, and a ridiculous five for 142 versus Alabama, which is like 15 for 500 against a mortal defense. Mitchell could very well be a strong No. 1 receiver, but King was more than strong. He always had the explosiveness, but his efficiency improved dramatically in 2012; so did Georgia’s offense.
I’m actually not very worried about that. Bill makes a good point about how King’s increased efficiency made the offense better. Mitchell’s catch rate was considerably higher than King’s, so what does that say about making him the number one target in 2013? He’s explosive; it’s whether he can stay healthy enough to maintain that explosiveness that’s a concern.
There’s lots more good stuff. Needless to say, read the whole thing.