“I think this Georgia team is capable of being a surprise.”

Mr. Steele explains the case for Georgia being in the national title picture:

“This year my No. 1 surprise team is the Georgia Bulldogs. When you look at Georgia, they had five losses last year. But let’s look at why they lost five games last year. First of all, coming into the year you knew their defense was going to struggle.They had a lot of freshmen and sophomores in the two-deep, and they gave up 29 points per game, which is extremely high for the University of Georgia. Well, now they bring in Jeremy Pruitt, who’s the defensive coordinator, and he’s going to look like a genius. They’re coming off a horrific season for their defense. They’ve got eight starters back. So they’re now a veteran unit and Pruitt knows a thing or two about defense. In fact, he’s been a part of the last three national championships: two with Alabama and one with Florida State. He’s trying to make it four in a row this year. I see Georgia’s defense giving up more like 304 yards per game this year, a big-time improvement. …

“Then you factor in that schedule. They get Clemson at home. Florida, of course, at a neutral site. Auburn comes in at home. As we know, Auburn needed a tipped-pass touchdown to beat them at the end of the game last year, and that was at Auburn. So the only game I have them an underdog all year is at South Carolina, I’ve got them a slight three-point underdog. I think this Georgia team is capable of being a surprise.”

Last year’s defense yielded 375.5 yards a game, so, yeah, lopping almost 20% off of that would be one helluva big-time improvement.  From your lips to Gawd’s ears, sir.


Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

71 responses to ““I think this Georgia team is capable of being a surprise.”

  1. sectionzalum

    “Florida, of course, at a neutral site.”

    4 in a row, please

    • I can remember a time not too long ago when that observation would have sent a shiver of despair up my spine.

      Thanks, Boom!

      • Ed Kilgore

        The odds are pretty high that Boom will be coaching to save his job in Jax this year. I can’t imagine them keeping him with a fourth straight loss to Georgia unless they manage to slither into the SECCG or beat FSU. But breaking the Dawgs’ streak might save him even if they lose three or four other games.

        • Hackerdog

          Conversely, given the fact that they went 4-8 last year, I think perhaps 8 wins, and certainly 10, would keep him employed regardless of who they lost to.

  2. Certainly we have the potential to be right there at the end of the year, and that’s exciting to think about. It’ll take a lot more things going right than Steele talked about, but it is still a very reasonable possibility, and we’re already into July.

    That’s something, since in early January we had no chance to even be ranked at the end of year, IMO.

  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    Does anyone know where Steele gets his…well, you know…it must be senfuckingsational.

  4. Dog in Fla

    “Florida, of course, at a neutral site.”

    Countdown to Ecstasy

    • Crew members and Mayor close and lock their visors for short ride to Jacksonville (T-2 minutes, 0 seconds)
    • Orbiter transfers from ground to internal power (T-50 seconds)
    • Ground launch sequencer is go for auto sequence start (T-31 seconds)
    • Activate launch pad sound suppression system (T-16 seconds)
    • Activate Munson’s Greatest Hits to 11 (T-11 seconds)
    • Activate main engine hydrogen burnoff system (T-10 seconds)
    • Main engine start (T-6.6 seconds)
    • T-0
    • Solid Rocket Boosters ignite
    • Explosive bolts release the boosters
    • Entire shuttle stack from the mobile launch platform and the vehicle and Mayor lift off the launch pad

  5. DW

    After what will probably a close win against Clemson and a loss @ SC, I see us doing quite well. Florida is the only game other than SC that I am really all that worried about. I think we beat Mizz, Auburn, and all others and end up with a solid 10-2 or 11-1 record.

    SC’s schedule includes games @ Auburn and @ UF. I think they drop at least one of those, hopefully both.

    Plus I think Florida will be much better this year too. Should be an interesting battle in the East between us, SC, and UF. None of these 3 teams are much better than the others, each have different strengths and weaknesses. If the SC game was in Athens this year I would pick us to win the East, easily.

    • Mayor

      Missouri in Columbia is going to be a tough out. If you look at Mizzou’s schedule, the Tigers are kind of where UGA was in 2011. If we lose to Mizzou it will be awfully tough to get to Atlanta, even if we beat South Carolina and go 11-1 with the only loss being to Missouri.

      • Krautdawg

        Not to mention Mizzou will be coming from on off week when they face us …

      • Is It September yet?

        Have you seen what Mizzou lost from last year’s team? Take a look and you won’t be as worried. That team last year had a crapton of seniors.

  6. We’ll know after Columbia East. Beat the nouveau riches and we should be okay.

    • HS, you can’t be nouveau riche until you have something to show off. The Poultry still doesn’t have that. There are no conference championship trophy or BCS bowl game wins (or appearances). They’re upper middle class and that’s it right now.

      • Macallanlover

        “upper middle” is the right term for them, well done. They can see where they want to be but haven’t earned the stripes to live there yet. And the sand is running out of the hour glass for Stevie, I don’t think he will get to win any rings in Columbia before he hangs his spurs up. About all he accomplished was taking the State Championship from Clem’s Son….and nationally the Cocks still perceived as 2nd in the state.

  7. SBlue

    I say throw that ball, forget defense, let’s just outscore everybody.

    40 pts a game outta beat everybody on the schedule except Auburn, might need 45 to beat them.

  8. Doubledawg09

    I think a lot of our success hinges on just how good of a position coach Pruitt is. Regardless of the experience level of Clemson’s starting qb, I think they will be looking to throw in that offense. They lost a ton of talent on that side of the ball, but will still be a test. The game in Columbia scares me, as do all games there. It’s a rough environment to play in. How well can the secondary handle spurrier’s offense? If Pruitt manages to contain the gamecock passing attack (I expect Davis to get some yards, but the strength of our team should be run defense with the dl and lbs we have) then the schedule sets up for a fun year. You really have to get things rolling early. Do that and the sky’s the limit. As has been mentioned before, we should be favored in every regular season game following USC.

    • Good post, DD. Spot on, IMO.

      The game in Columbia scares me, as do all games there.

      Sure does. Not sure how many young guys we have here, but Columbia was a tough place to play before Spurrier got there. It’s been tough, historically. Most years, it was really tough. A lot of our wins there were tough, even some of those scores where you might not think so. And we had some tough losses there with some good teams.

      Now, of course, it’s even tougher. I’d say it’s the toughest venue we have now, bar none. I just hope we get due credit from the Committee if we are fortunate enough to win there.

  9. Also, a quick thank you to the Senator for his work here. The quality of this blog is outstanding and makes me proud to be a Dawg every time I read it. I almost never comment, but read daily. Just great stuff here. Also, almost all of the commenters are thoughtful and articulate (regardless of this weekend’s painful trolling). Thanks to everyone here for being such Damn Good Dawgs!

  10. Ed Kilgore

    We all know about the bye week before SC, which could be huge (the Gamecocks play East Carolina–not a complete gimme–during our bye week, though they do get two extra days after the Thursday opener against A&M). I’d note that Tennessee and Mizzou both have bye weeks before playing the Dawgs. And Auburn comes into Athens after a three-week run against SC, Ole Miss (on the road) and A&M (we have a bye, then the Gators & Kentucky).

  11. CannonDawg

    I see no reason to think we’ll lose to South Carolina for the following reasons: a) they had their way with us in ’12, which is at least a decade’s worth of accrued smack for them; enjoy it ’cause it ain’t happening again; b) it’s a 5:30 start; and c) coming off a victory over Clemson and a week off to improve, which from game 1 to 2 is typically a period of big improvement, we’ll be a very good football team by then.

    Of course Spurrier will want to humiliate us. CMR well knows his shtick, but now he’s got Pruitt and staff to more than even the odds. And an offense to cause their defensive coaches to throw hands at each other before the night’s over. Nah, we kick their butts and move on.

    We go 2-0 and then get ready for Troy.🙂

    • Ed Kilgore

      While I’d love to see a butt-kicking of Spurrier, it’s more likely the UGA/USC game will be a very close match-up with a lot of question marks answered about both teams. There’s a lot of uncertainty, for example, about the quality of our OL and their DL. That contest, along with the relative ability of our pass rush to help our vulnerable secondary, could determine the outcome.

      I hope everyone’s right about the afternoon start (it’s 3:30 EDT, not 5:30) making a difference in the crowd dynamics. The Dawgs were clearly (and admittedly) intimidated last time in Columbia.

    • Man, sounds good to me. I have no reason to think it can’t happen that way. Or even that it shouldn’t happen that way.

    • Bazooka Joe

      Plus…. they do lose a lot of experience and their 2 best DL from last year. And their QB wasn’t that great last year, doesn’t throw as well as “Deliverance Boy” Shaw (he does look like the banjo player from Deliverance doesn’t he….), and cant run like him either, so I am not doom and gloom about this one.

      • Plus…. they do lose a lot of experience and their 2 best DL from last year.

        In that regard, I do expect Carolina will come up with a good DL. But we will have just played Clemson, who has maybe the best DL in the country. If we can hold our own with them, our OL should have some confidence they can be successful in Columbia.

        It’s a tough place to play, and something like that can make a difference.

  12. HamDawg11

    Ok, I just re-watched the bowl game and it didn’t give me any more confidence in Mason leading the show. I truly hope he and the receivers have been working hard and are on the same page by game #1. Gurley will have to be a grown man for those first two games, for sure.

    Somebody talk me down from the ledge…..

    • SBlue

      Look at Hutson’s most recent performances.

      1- He comes off the bench in the 2nd half versus Kentucky and ends up #11 on the ESPN QB rating that week (13 for 19, 189 yards in 2 quarters).
      2- First start, throws for 299 yards.
      3- 2nd start throws for 320 yards.
      4- Completes Spring with 0 interceptions all Spring.
      5- GDay, throws for most yards in the history of Georgia spring game and 0 interceptions.

      • HamDawg11

        Ok, those numbers give me some relief, but I didn’t love how he looked vs Nebraska, yardage withstanding….

        • WF dawg

          Mechanics-wise, I thought Hutson often seemed to be short-arming the ball against Nebraska, but the weather might have had a lot to do with it. The drops didn’t help things, either.

          • Slaw Dawg

            Not sure there’s much you can do when your D gives up a 99 yard TD play on 3d and 14. I know there was still a lot of time left, but when your D is doin’ s__t like that (and it was nowhere near the first time), it’s kinda disheartening.

            Also, O Line play left a bit to be desired.

  13. Didn’t he say this BEFORE we lost another defensive starter or two?

  14. Timphd

    Sure seems to me there are a lot of eggs in the Pruitt basket this year. I hope he can handle it.

  15. Goat Balls

    Anybody know if directtv will get the SEC Network? I haven’t seen any news anywhere. I’m stuck in Arizona, Munson is gone but I may have to resort to the radio. The days of a Saturday dove hunt and listening to Munson are gone….

  16. dubyadee

    It’s a tribute to how much effort the Senator puts into this site that, when I log on in the morning and there aren’t at least three new posts, I worry about him. Hope everything is okay, and either (i) business is too good, or (ii) it’s a slow news day.

    That’s the problem with consistent excellence. People learn to expect it.

    • bobbyjoe

      I thought the same thing.

    • JG Shellnutt

      Selfishly, I’ve missed having posts today.
      Selflessly, I hope all is well with our host, the Honorable Senator.

      • Thanks for posting that… cause I was wondering what was up myself.

        • 202dawg

          Starting to worry a little more. He’s usually posted something by this time in the am. Hope all is ok…

            • What fresh hell is this?

              Yeah, very curious in that he usually leaves a housekeeping note when a lack of posting is expected.

              • Dank Jankins

                I have never known him not to leave an out of pocket post and I have been following him since he was a regular poster on Athens Online before starting his blog. I hope everything is ok with him and his family.

                • 202dawg

                  I just sent him an email, making sure all is ok. Hopefully I won’t get a reply telling my i’m a blog addict. Genuinely concerned that something is wrong…

              • Anybody knows what’s going on with senator …. Need news … Getting close to edge….

            • Dog in Fla

              There’s an APB for an ATL on Bluto to find where he’s at. For some, if it’s within a Dooley Unit, they’ve got a full tank of gas, a carton of cigarettes, it’s dark and they’re wearing sunglasses so hit it on the BOLO. For others, they know that an adult of sound-mind can make himself MIA and in those many times when one chooses to drop off the grid and separate themselves absent any suspicious mind circumstances they have a right to get in a cab and do so

  17. JAX

    I have absolutely no clue as to why so many believe we will lose to USc. Both team’s are good, both have strengths and deficiencies, both introduce new starting QB’s, both have strong ground games (but I’ll give the edge to GA), etc.

    Columbia will be hot as hell and rowdy, but it’s not at night and that’s a blessing for us. Their only advantage over us might be their passing game vs our defensive backfield, but does that equate to a win?

    The game is a pick ’em with GA holding the edge in more categories than Carolina who get’s 3 points for the home field advantage.

    In terms of the season, hopefully we get Ramsey and/or Bauta so quality reps.

    What else am I missing here?

  18. Russ

    Well, I guess I’m a Disney Dawg because I can rationalize this every year. I agree.with him. With a few breaks we can have a great year.

  19. Mayor

    Note that Steele didn’t even mention injuries to offensive skill position players–the real reason for the 5 losses, IMHO.

    • Macallanlover

      Sure he refers to it in his articles in the magazine. The man doesn’t miss anything in CFB. Like everyone, he may draw the wrong conclusions, or pick a loser on his picks, but he sees everything of significance. Our injury situation wasn’t missed by anyone, especially PS. You can bet he wouldn’t have us picked as a Surprise Team if he didn’t know what we could have been last year. That being said, his pick for us to win the East and lose in the SECG isn’t that big of a surprise to anyone. Finishing 7th in the final poll, that would be a pleasant surprise to me…but it is possible.

      • Mayor

        PS picks Georgia to win the East, Bama to win the West and Bama to win the SECCG. If UGA could win the East AND win the SECCG over Bama (or whoever wins the West) the Dawgs would be in a 4 team playoff for the National Championship. If that were to happen I really like Georgia’s chances in the playoff. Gotta win the East first, though.