If you’ve hung around here for a while, you know I’ve been a big fan of Jerry Hinnen, going back to his days at the late, lamented Auburn-centric blog, The Joe Cribbs Car Wash. Jerry’s since moved up to the CBS Sports beat and today he’s posted something that should make everyone here uncomfortable.
This isn’t the first time he’s pulled that. I know what he’s up to. But if you want to take his piece at face value, there’s one particularly interesting set of facts he’s laid out I want to mention:
Three against-the-spread trends worth watching:
1. Since 2011, Georgia is 15-7-1 as a favorite of 10 points or less. If your sense of recent Bulldogs teams is that they show up when they expect to get a challenge and get sloppy when they expect to breeze, that’s not entirely wrong. (Also worth noting: five of those seven losses came in 2013, several after the Bulldogs’ roster had been wrecked by injuries.)
2. Since 2006, Georgia is 7-3 against Auburn. And one of those losses had been a surefire cover until a certain Tigers’ prayer was answered. Whether facing Tommy Tuberville, Gene Chizik or even Gus Malzahn, Mark Richt has mostly had the answers in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.
3. Since 2011, Georgia is 7-3-2 off a straight-up loss. Richt has done particularly good work the past two seasons in this department, going 5-1-1.
We focus on the brain farts because they suck, because they’re infrequent enough to stand out and because they suck. But the reality is over the past three seasons, this program has been pretty resilient. As Jerry notes, play an injury-free 2013 season and Mark Richt looks a whole lot better today.
But the bigger point he makes that I want to emphasize is that Georgia has more than held its own against Auburn over the last decade, regardless of who’s coaching. I’m not saying I predict the Dawgs will take Alabama, but I’m not quaking in my boots over the thought of facing the Tigers. So a split against the West wouldn’t surprise me at all. How many games that means Georgia can lose in its division and still make it to Atlanta is the real unanswered question right now.