Eye of the beholder, baby.

Saturday looks like a tough game for Georgia.  Don’t take my word for that.

There’s no way Arkansas can get a “moral victory” out of Saturday. Win or it’s a disappointment, especially if Gurley doesn’t play.

Funny thing about that is Mr. S&P+, Bill Connelly, rates Georgia’s chance of success Saturday at 80.4%.  (His cohort with the F/+ ratings has Georgia seventh nationally and Arkansas outside the top 25.)

Now I’m not trying to dismiss the game, as I, too, think it’s gonna be a battle.  In fact, I like the keys to the game set up in that post.

Keys to the Game

  1. Break even or win the turnover battle. A win would be really nice, but it’s not completely necessary unless Arkansas fails in other areas. Losing could be disastrous. Georgia hasn’t lost it yet, and has lost a game in which it went +2 (South Carolina).
  2. Record fewer than 15 yards per point. Same as last week, Arkansas needs to maximize its yards. The Hogs are 0-3 when recording more than 15 yards per point, so this is kind of necessary. Holding Georgia above 15 yards per point would almost guarantee a victory, but it’s not completely necessary.
  3. Win the spike rate. Arkansas lost it badly last week (44.1 percent to 28.3 percent). That means 44.1 percent of Arkansas’ offensive snaps went for no gain, lost yardage, or a turnover. Against a team running a similar offense, Arkansas needs to win it this week.
  4. Win the field position battle. Arkansas also lost the field position battle badly last week, averaging 12 yards worse per possession (37 to 25) in starting field position. Alabama has a great punter, but Arkansas is not interesting in letting D.J. Dean actually field punts. Sam Irwin-Hill didn’t have a great game punting the ball, either. Georgia’s offense sans Todd Gurley lacks explosiveness, so forcing the Dawgs to drive the length of the field for every point is essential.
  5. Hold Georgia below 33 percent success rate rushing, and under 9.5 isoYPP rushing. Arkansas held Alabama to 24 percent and 7.83 isoYPP rushing, so this should not be a tall order. Against Alabama, Arkansas loaded up the box, shut down the run, and forced Blake Sims to win the game with his arm, which he was barely able to do. Hutson Mason doesn’t have the benefit of a dominant defense or ultra-talented receivers, so if Arkansas can shut down Georgia’s run game, the Hogs should win, perhaps by a large margin.

Don’t let Georgia get on the plus side of turnover margin, don’t let Georgia control field position, shut down Georgia’s running game… yeah, I think any team that can do all that beats this Dawgs team.  The thing is, doing those things has been Georgia’s modus operandi all season, and the team has been pretty good at them.

Stats can be useful, and I do think it’s clear from the stats that this year’s Arkansas team is a better squad than last year’s.  But learning how to win isn’t a stat, it’s a state of mind.  And it’s something that a team on a long conference losing streak still hasn’t got figured out, kind of like Tennessee.

And to illustrate that with a stat I heard today on Seth’s and Gentry’s podcast, in Arkansas’ last five SEC losses, it’s been outscored 48-0 in the fourth quarter.  Think Georgia’s conditioning may be a factor?


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

51 responses to “Eye of the beholder, baby.

  1. The other Doug

    The Let Down Game is Georgia’s nemesis this Saturday.


  2. charlottedawg

    I hope our boys are ready for a knock down drag out fight because that’s what awaits in little rock. Arkansas gave two top ten teams all they could handle, this’ll be a tough game. That huge o line against our lighter d scares me. My Bama co worker also said their line has a reputation for dirty play.


    • DawginExile

      Yes, Arkansas looked as physical if not more so than Bama. Big, tough and mean. Hope we bring our Mizzou game.


    • SCDawg

      Been worried about this game all year. The defense all lost weight to play with the spread teams, but Ark aint exactly a spread team. They are big and run it pretty much right at you. We have been good against the run, but haven’t faced a power team like this yet.


  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    The Kharmic Bitches love them some candy and purty flowers….I am loading the truck even as we speak.

    This thing could be like the fat lady who backed into the electric fan.

    If any team could possibly want it worse than we do it would be Arkansas.

    Read the stats if you wanna…but I spect you need to be reading them on your knees.

    “Half a league, half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    “Forward, the Light Brigade!
    “Charge for the guns!” he said:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.


    • Scorp… I think it’s time for new encouragement.
      This team is a real team. It lives, eats, sleeps, and fights as a team. This individual hero stuff is bullshit. The bilious bastards who write that stuff for the AJC don’t know any more about real battle than they do about fucking. And we have the best team—we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit and the best men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity these poor bastards we’re going up against.

      I smell Bacon!


      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Ok General, but you need to understand…sometimes folks think you are crazy…

        “That’s ok it is not important for them to know if I am crazy, it is only important for me to know.” (or something like that)

        “Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men.”

        Tee that fucker up, Homes, I am getting ready.


      • W Cobb Dawg

        Cause when you stick your hand into a pile of goo that used to be a razorback hog, you’ll know what to do. All REAL Americans love bacon.


      • I am laughing my fat, white, hairy ass off. thank you AHD!


  4. I Wanna Red Cup

    This game scares me alot more that Mizzou. Will be a physical LOS battle and to winner of that battle on both lines will win. Field position is crucial. I think our special teams may just be the key to winning a close one.


  5. Goat Balls

    We can beat these guys as long as we can play a good game. Count on it. If we suck, then hey all bets are off.

    Speaking of big linemen, have you guys seen the nose tackle for Kentucky? Hes about nine feet tall and weighs around six hundred pounds. He looks like some ancient giant, a cyclops. Kentucky found a giant. How are we supposed to deal with this?


  6. Scorpio Jones, III

    Last week, we were pissed, I was pissed, you were pissed, the team was pissed, the coaches were pissed….angry. We went to Columbia, Missouri with malice aforethought.

    We may have told happy stories in the whirlpool, but Arkansas just got more pissed.

    You better believe we better get ready for a bar fight.


  7. But learning how to win isn’t a stat, it’s a state of mind.

    Exactly right. Arkansas actually beat A&M and Alabama, or at least had them beat. They just haven’t learned how to win games like that yet.

    It’s gonna happen for them. This year, IMO. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t happen this week.

    Arkansas (has been) outscored 48-0 in the fourth quarter. Think Georgia’s conditioning may be a factor?

    Sorta funny reading that. The idea that our conditioning might be an advantage. Seems almost strange. Sure is nice though.


    • Will (the other one)

      Mental toughness too. As miserable as last season was at times, and as long stretches of the SCar game were this season, they battled back and were in every game at some point in the 4th quarter (and won quite a few).
      Arky? They’ve been in some 4 quarter games, and lost ’em all.


  8. I think Arkansas is as good as Alabama. Better than Missou or USCe.
    That makes me believe hat the Dawgs have to play their best game of the
    year to wjn.


    • RocketDawg

      I disagree. The weather played a huge role in that game against Bama and they muffed two punts that ordinarily that guy catches and runs with 9 times out of 10.

      Their QB is no better than Mauck and definitely not better than Thompson and they don’t have the receivers that the Chickens or Mizzou have.

      That being said we still have to play well to win, our C game just isn’t going to cut it. I also think that Richt, Bobo, Pruitt are better than Bert and his staff at game planning.


    • What fresh hell is this?

      I don’t know if Arky is as good as Bama but they’re easily the best 3-loss team in the country, are desperate for a win, and are playing in front of a home crowd…none of that is encouraging.


    • the Dawgs have to play their best game of the year to win.

      That’s the way I’m leaning. This is likely the toughest test yet, and a real test of how good we are as a team.

      Can we match their physicality? Be on our A game again this week? Can we play two very solid games in a row? Because I suspect that’s what it’ll take to win.

      Because of our success the last month, we’ve arrived at the point where, until we lose, our overall psychology and mentality will be tested almost every week. As everybody here knows all too well, we haven’t passed very many of those tests since the early Richt days.

      But we’ve seen enough to know this team is very different from any recent team. And in fundamental, good ways. We’ve talked about the different components involved all year as they were being implemented. So now it’s time to see if we can pass the head test.

      Can we handle success? Arkansas is trying to learn how to win. We have to learn how to handle success. Can we do it? We did it in 2002, and nobody on that team had a clue how to handle it either. They had to learn. So to heck with the past, I think we can.

      This week, we start finding out.


  9. David K

    With Gurley, we win convincingly. Probably by around 2 touchdowns. Without him it’s a toss up. Chubb is a tough, good runner, I’m glad he’s a Dawg but he doesn’t have the explosiveness that Gurley or Marshall had as freshmen. McGarity laid an egg this week. We should have #3 back by now.


    • Will (the other one)

      It’s Wednesday and I’d feel a lot better if we hear some positive news about Marshall. Get him loose on the outside, or on a well-called screen-pass and we have another homerun threat we didn’t have vs Mizzou. But only if he’s healthy again.


      • It’s Wednesday and I’d feel a lot better if we hear some positive news about Marshall.

        Would love to oblige.

        But I’m afraid we won’t see Marshall this week. Not sure when he plays again, but when he does I honestly doubt we’ll see the Keith Marshall we expect at any time this year. If we see that guy again, it’ll be next year.


    • Chubb hasn’t broken a huge one yet, but he’s due. A lot of speed packed into that muscle. And the guy never seems to get tired.


  10. Rebar

    My only concern is the long trip back west for these young men. Just played a bruising team and beat them down in their house. I’m not worried about Arkansas beating us, we’re better and I hope we play mad. Jump on them from the start and pile on.


  11. I think our biggest player this week will be our punter. Need his best game of the season.


  12. Frisco Kid

    What happened to McGarity having something for us early this week?


  13. Russ

    Arkansas has some beef. Bama played a terrible game and almost lost to them. I think if we can play clean, we can win. We got some lucky bounces last week but didn’t really need them. Hope we didn’t waste the lucky bounces for this week.

    Also, I don’t buy the talk that Mason can’t throw down field. We haven’t needed to. I think we can if we absolutely have to. However, I think we will stick to last week’s plan where we will run, run, run, even if it doesn’t yield much early on. As long as we can slow down their running game, we can wear them out in the 4th when that old 0-15 doubt starts to creep into the Hogs minds.


    • I think if we can play clean, we can win. We got some lucky bounces last week but didn’t really need them. Hope we didn’t waste the lucky bounces for this week.

      It’s a good point. The answer to that is for us to take care of the ball. That’s the one thing last week that was sloppy. Do that, and we won’t need lucky bounces because of us.

      Which BTW, is something that HAS to happen. Because we won’t keep getting away with it. If it doesn’t, it could easily end up deciding one of these remaining games.


  14. JAX

    CFN has us losing a close one. They had the same last week too. I don’t know this Arkansas team at all, other than they can tote the rock and that they threw the ball a helluva lot against AL. We can win this game if we play OUR game and not be sloppy with penalties and turnovers. Are you worried about their giant OL? Why? Do you not think we can beat them off the snap? Are our LBers not as good our equal (rhetorical)? Hell we have Malcolm back, maybe JSW, Conley, Davis, et al — I like that battle.

    I think the early game last week really really gave us the advantage, not so sure about a 3:00 kickoff. Maybe a draw in that regard.


  15. Otto

    The let down game has been UGA’s problem along with giving up signature wins.

    UGA needs to win the turn over battle and get points off turnovers something that UGA has struggled at.


  16. 69Dawg

    In this game the only team that can beat UGA is UGA. Limit the mistakes and we win.


  17. ScoutDawg

    For years we had the biggest (fat) line in the country. Let’s run these dudes in the ground.


  18. BMan

    Bobo is going to figure out a way to get points. That’s generally what he does. It will come down to how the defense competes. How quick are those oversized hogs on the OL for Arky, and can our front 6 or 7 get into their backfield every now and then to put them in bad down and distance. I think Herrera and Wilson are going to get a workout. The Dogs conditioning is vital, and part of that comes from Pruitt’s willingness to sub in fresh troops. That means more and more each and every week. The team may have lost a lot of bodies on D, but I’m starting to think the ones still here would run through a wall for their coaches and teammates.


  19. JT

    I like the Georgia doesn’t have “ultra” talented receivers…maybe no AJ Green’s or Julio Jones BUT we do have some pretty good WR’s who IMO will play on Sunday’s.
    Yes Hutson doesn’t have Sims arm BUT he is a better decision maker and knows this offense. Sims is still learning Kiffin’s offense.
    I love the way these columnist seem to miss the “little” facts like that.
    Hutson also has two 300+ games passing. One we won one we lost (dropped pass by our TE which would have won it…).


  20. I think if Gurley was out with an injury, the team would have a different mindset. Remember when he went out last year and they played tentatively, almost like they were unsure of themselves. The fact that he’s out because of a suspension has given them something to be pissed about. A tip of the hat to Richt, the coaching staff, and the player leadership for making this an issue that’s personal to every player….I think it has galvanized this team and given them a common purpose for which to fight. They’ve taken the whole “us against the world” mentality to a whole new level!

    Here’s hoping they can use it to their advantage for yet another week!

    Go Dawgs!!!


  21. Cojones

    No mention of field goals and kickers. The field goal was never more important than this game when it comes to winning it.

    Sounds like the old SEC has gotten together to sport a slobberknocker. There’s nothing better for a team’s fighting spirit than good physical football. The D line will come out with their version of David’s sling and stone and bean these Philistines.

    Sic’em Dawgs! We owe them for a few things that preceed many bloggers’s birth dates.


  22. Slaw Dawg

    The thing I’m most worried about is the Gurley situation. Not in the usual “we need Todd to win” but in the “is discussion about Todd a distraction”? It’s certainly been a distraction for the fans. Unlike last week, there’s been plenty of time this week for coaches and players to worry, kvetch, discuss, etc, rather than being totally focused on the best D we’ll have seen yet. Arky, on the other hand, probably stewed about Bama a day or so, then moved to “this is our statement game opportunity.” (Seems like everybody and their brother has either had or tried to have a statement game against UGA in recent years.)

    If you made me predict, it’d be this: Dawgs show up a bit flat and get behind early. We’ll be bitchin’ about the play calling, wringing our hands over all the time Hogs have to throw, wondering why we can’t get a run game going, etc. Then we get a coupla breaks and pull it out in the 4th quarter, ’cause that’s what happens to poor Arky of late.