Boss Hawgs

I mentioned in my SEC Power Poll post that Georgia’s wins against Arkansas and Missouri look better with each passing week.  The computers agree.  Georgia is now second in Sagarin’s rankings, helped by a 5-1 record against teams in his top thirty.  Georgia has also risen to third in Football Perspective’s SRS rankings.

People are just falling over themselves about Arkansas, a team fresh off two straight shutouts of SEC West opponents.  You’d think that would make for a strong perception of Georgia.  After all, the 38 points Georgia scored in the first half against the Razorbacks was a record under Richt.  It was the last game of this season, at least to date, in which Arkansas was dominated.  But if Bruce Feldman is any indication, that’s not how the game is being seen in retrospect. Oh sure, Georgia won… the first half.

After the debacle that was Bielema’s first season at Arkansas, much of the talk was how suspect the defensive personnel was and about how dismal Bobby Petrino’s final couple recruiting classes had been. Enter Smith, who brought with him his quarter-quarter-half D and a premium on tackling fundamentals based on a system his old boss Greg Schiano had devised almost a decade ago at Rutgers. After allowing 45 points in the opener at Auburn, the Hogs started to show progress. In mid-October, they held Alabama to just 2.1 yards per carry and only 227 total yards in a 14-13 Crimson Tide win. Smith, though, says the moment he feels the Hogs turned the corner was earlier this month in a 17-10 loss at No. 1 Miss. State.

“We got back from the Miss. State game and there was a sense, ‘It’s time,'” Smith said. “We tackled the best we had tackled and we communicated really well. We really only had one communication problem, and that had led to a touchdown.”

Smith’s sense was spot on. Since then, they’ve outscored their opponents — LSU and Ole Miss — 47-0. But the defensive transformation had been in the works before the wins started to come. In their last 10 quarters at home in SEC play, Arkansas has outscored three ranked opponents — Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss — 73-7. Even more impressively, in their last 14 quarters in the SEC, facing four ranked teams, the Hogs have allowed just two touchdowns.

That’s some pretty nifty cherry picking going on there.  It’s almost as if that first half in Little Rock – and Nick Chubb’s 202 rushing yards – never happened. Sure, the Dawgs relaxed a little in the second half, but it’s not as if the outcome was ever in doubt.

There’s a certain amount of irony in all this.  It’s great that Arkansas is generating more respect as the season closes out, but what if that doesn’t carry over to the Dawgs in the public eye?  (Note that Feldman doesn’t even mention the Arkansas win in his summary of #9 Georgia.)  If the computers like Georgia more than people do, how does that play in to what the selection committee thinks? Especially if Arkansas beats Missouri Friday?


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

53 responses to “Boss Hawgs

  1. Biggus Rickus

    If Georgia beats Tech and Alabama or Mississippi State to close out the year, they’d be the first two-loss team in. They’d still need several teams to lose in front of them, and if they don’t get in (and I don’t think they will), they have nobody to blame but themselves. Don’t get dominated by a 6-5 Florida team, and they’d control their own destiny.


    • Yeah, the losses really hurt – especially when you’ve got all those one-loss teams floating around.


    • ellis

      The committee would have no credibility if the SEC champion does not make the playoff. If things were to go our way and we win the SECCG the committee would be forced to put us in, especially if that win was over a top 5 team. There is also too much money involved in the conference championship games to make them irrelevant by selecting a team that did not play in its own conference championship game.

      I don’t think any serious person who has paid attention to college football this year would believe a 1 loss Oregon, TCU, Baylor or Ohio St. would not have more losses if they had to play an SEC schedule.


  2. Russ

    Wow, does Bruce Feldman comment here? I haven’t seen cherry picking that fine since the last argument about Murray or Richt.


  3. Uglydawg

    If things hold true to recent trends, the Dawgrading will reach epic proportions this weekend when during the Missouri, Arkansas game, Georgia’s convincing wins of over both of them is barely mentioned, if it is mentioned at all. The discussion of Georgia by the talking heads is conspicuous by it’s absense. The campaign is on to deny the SEC two teams…and especailly Georgia.
    I wouldn’t be suprised at all to see Florida beat FSU. That would help.


    • Cojones

      On point, Ug. Couple his ignoring with Herbie’s innuendo and you got the SEC Dawgraded so much that, upon winning out in the SECCG, the controversy in choosing two teams from the SEC will devolve into a decision of which 2-game SEC loser should go, not if two will go. If we are the SECCG winner, ESPN will agonize on the national stage between UGA, Bama and MSU to the complete detriment of UGA in the Committee’s eyes. Where else could this manipulative crap lead?


      • Dawgfan Will

        The truly maddening thing about this is how, after Auburn’s second loss, many pundits were bending over backwards to explain how they could still work their way back into the playoffs. Even those dipshits on 96.9 The Game were doing it.


        • gastr1

          Look here, folks…there was all kind of talk about how great we were after we kicked the tar out of Clemson. ALL MANNER OF IT. And what did we do? Went out and lost to a bad SC team. Ok. So then more recently there was, if not all manner of talk about how great we were, at some talk about how we were likely to survive losing Gurley and essentially have a two-game playoff to make the NC playoff: Beat Auburn and win the SEC title game. Because after beating Missouri, our schedule was a cakewalk except for Auburn.

          Yeah. We’re getting no love. Are you all outside your bubble enough to know that we’re seen as perpetually overrated in many corners of the rest of the CFB world?


          • Uglydawg

            Got that, gastri, but so is ND, Ohio St. and maybe a few others that deserve respect much less than Georgia. At least Georgia is in the best confernce…I think the SEC f’d itself agreeing to this playoff thing. At least two of the best teams are in the SEC and Georgia is probably one of them (at this point)…not who’s been the best as the season progressed, but who’s better now.


    • Cosmic Dawg

      I don’t understand this. Mississippi State and Bama are both very much in that conversation. Nobody else from the SEC has any room to grouse at this point. There are a lot of “what if” scenarios out there where Georgia or Missouri could / should be included, but all things being equal, as of today they don’t have the resume.

      I don’t think it’s fair to accuse the pundits of bias when right now Georgia’s record CLEARLY puts them somewhere between #8 – #13 in the country.

      Obviously I hope that changes!


  4. DawgPhan

    to borrow a line from EDSBS..

    Bruce Feldman has been up doing lines of Pac12, please excuse him.

    I wonder what the “game control” stats would look like for all the Arkansas games this season.

    Seems like UGA and Auburn are the only teams to really beat them the whole game.


  5. RocketDawg

    So here is what is going to happen (and for the record I am fine with this outcome):
    Arkansas will beat Missouri sending the Dawgs to the SECCG.
    Miss St will beat Ole Miss to finish 11-1
    Alabama will beat Auburn to also finish 11-1 and go to the SECCG against UGA by virtue of the head to head win against Miss St.
    UGA will beat Tech, Tech will beat FSU
    UGA will beat Alabama to win the SEC Championship
    Miss St-Baylor-TCU-and Ohio State will contest the first CFB playoffs.
    Don’t give a shit who wins out of those 4.


  6. David K

    Georgia fans get all bent out of shape when nobody respects us. Guess what, we deserve it. We had our chance. We should have fucking beaten Florida. We should have waxed South Carolina. Texas A&M didn’t go to Columbia all tight and intimidated. We did. Our two biggest games in the national spotlight prior to the Auburn game were faceplants. Sure we later beat a good Auburn team, and now the Missouri and Arkansas games look better in retrospect. But when all eyes were on us we shit the bed. Just worry about beating Tech. If Missouri goes down, be thankful as hell for a chance to win the SEC. If we do that, perhaps the cards fall in our favor. But to sit here today bitching about nobody respecting us is a huge joke.


    • Really? A 3-point loss on the road in Columbia when USCe was still considered the team to beat in the East is a face plant? Hindsight is 20-20. Spurrier called a great game and Thompson played the game of his life. Bobo will likely go to his grave regretting the 1st down call on the goal line.

      We lost to UF. Yes, that loss looks really bad given when it happened and how it happened. Yes, that was a face plant in every definition of the word.

      Let’s win the next 2 and see what happens.


    • Charlottedawg

      This X a million. We get zero respect nationally because every time the media shows us a little love or the spot light shines on us, we promptly shit the bed. See 2008 blackout, see south Carolina 2012 & 14, etc. Etc. Georgia plays best when we’re ranked but still flying under the radar if not outright being disrespected by the media. We do not handle success well.

      If We get a chance to play in the dome we should be grateful because we had our chance and we blew it. That being said if we do make it to the SECCG I expect us to play well and probably win, again given we won’t be the media darling and all the talking heads will be saying “Alabama is AWESOME!!! OMG!!”


    • I agree with your point, but we could have survived the SC game if not for the Jacksonville horror. Not that it matters.

      And, also, we’re in the top 10 of the CFP poll and we’re going to go to one of the top 5 bowls provided we beat Tech. That’s pretty good.


  7. Bulldog Joe

    I just hope Feldman’s right about Arkansas.

    They need to get their QB healthy.


  8. Vindex

    Used to respect Feldman but that just took a huge hit. Yes, there’s no excuse for our guys’ face-plant in Jacksonville.But ALSO, no excuse for him to leave out not only the Hawgs’ first half against us in his discussion of them, but also any inclusion of that game in what he holds to be our signature wins in his discussion of the Dawgs. He just bloviated about how they are the most dangerous team in the hyper-vaunted SEC West, but doesn’t think they merit standing alongside Clemson, Mizzou or Auburn. Pathetic.


  9. Cojones

    That’s all well and good, but how do we feel about the Hogs winning? That question can go back to last week’s picks in the pool. How many picked Ark to win, not just cover the spread? Almost a qtr of participants picked Ark to win outright. So this blog puts a few teeth behind the Ark comments. I think that will pick up this week to demonstrate the doubting Thomases don’t hold sway over the true believers here.

    Hey, it’s alright to drink the Kool-Aid since it appeals to our thirst.

    While we are agonizing over our unpopularity among pundits, I see only left-handed compliments aimed Mizzou’s way as well. The pundits act as if Pinkel’s success in the SEC is a coincidence and don’t give credit to either their team or their coach. Denigration of the East seems to be their game, as if that will save them from looking like shit after they built up the West before that div played it’s toughest games.


    • I think Pinkel has one of those rabbit feet that Coach Waffle House bought. The man was busted for DWI, facing divorce for … And was sitting on a very hot seat a couple years.
      Fast forward: DWI reduced, loses a weeks pay. Divorce cost him 10 grand a month,one of his several houses (but not main house),and a van. Wins the East. Gets raise and contract extension to 2020. On pace to win the East again. * That ain’t bad sports fans.*


      • RocketDawg

        Mizzou shouldn’t get any respect if they should win the East 2 years in a row. Last year they beat an injury riddled Georgia and Florida and lost to USCe at home. This year they have lost to an awful Indiana team and were shut out at home by the Dawgs. The win over Florida is one of the strangest games I have ever seen (120 yds of total offense/42 points). It isn’t like they won the SEC East of years past


      • Dog in Fla

        Thank goodness Mr. Pink got orders to depart from Big Game Bob’s Big XII

        to reach the ultimate destination of #tSEC East. Sumlin thinks Mr. Pink has all the luck.


  10. Brandon

    I have no bone to pick with people disrespecting UGA at this point. If we beat Tech, Ark beats Mizzou and we win the SEC championship, then we will just have to see what happens because we have already shit in our bed twice, and now have no choice but to lay in it and hope someone else cleans it up.


  11. Huh. Interesting criticism on the SEC West. They go 38-3 outside of the division including wins over Wisconsin and Kansas State. The three losses came against East teams: UGA (Auburn, Arkansas) and Missouri (Texas A&M). All of their losses have been beating each other up. If they are all pretty much even on the field, is it really a surprise that they mostly end up about 4-3 or 3-4 at this point? A 3-loss (potentially 4-loss) West team proved they were better than Kansas State, who will be the best win on TCU’s resume… and could still win the Big XII.

    I understand losses taking you out of contention for a title. But, why does losses to each other mean you are no longer a quality opponent? Feldman casually mentions that Alabama has only one win over a Top 25 team. Yet, they beat LSU, who beat Wisconsin. They beat Mississippi State. If they beat Auburn, Auburn will end up with 4 losses. Will that drop them out of the Top 25, too? This is why humans trying to reason these things out is a dumb way to do things. You may look at Sagarin’s rankings and think they are bollocks, but at least they recognize a win over a four-loss LSU is better than a win over a three-loss Clemson.


  12. A10Penny

    UGA is the highest ranked two loss team in the AP, and only behind Michigan State in the Coaches poll. Their wins aren’t as good, but their losses are way better than ours.

    I get the angst about past and possible future Dawgrading, but given the two losses, I don’t think we should complain. Win out (with an Arky win) and we still have a good chance.


  13. JoshG

    Something tells me Arkansas, a mediocre team, is going to think it can just show up Saturday after all of this fawning.


  14. tludlam

    Feldman doesn’t even add right. Regarding the language quoted by the Senator, in the last 14 quarters in the SEC, the Hogs have given up 3 touchdowns, not 2 (1 to UGA in 4Q, 2 to Miss St). Feldman has since edited the article to take out the second half againstt UGA entirely, but his math is still wrong. The passage now reads, “But the defensive transformation had been in the works before the wins started to come. Even more impressively, in their last 12 quarters in the SEC, facing three teams that were ranked, the Hogs have allowed just one touchdown.” Again, they gave up 2 against Miss St.


  15. It is always frustrating how stuff like this happens and we get “Dawgraded.”

    But honestly, hasn’t our program kinda earned that reaction?

    Every time we get near the top, we shit the bed in embarrassing fashion.

    This season we shat the bed horrendously against terrible Florida, and choked to an also bad USCe team.

    We have two really bad losses – super bad.

    If we hadn’t pooped the bed against Florida, or choked away the USCe game, we’d have 100% control of our own destiny now, both in the SEC and the national title picture.

    This is very reminiscent of the 2007 season. That was an amazing team but we had two ridiculous losses.