In the end, will Georgia’s schedule be the difference?

David Wunderlich revisits his study of peer programs each SEC team will face in 2016 in order to come up with some win projections.  Here’s his methodology:

… I did a dead-simple estimation for this part. For every game against a team above its peer group, I gave that team a loss. For every game against a team below its peer group, I gave that team a win—this includes FCS opponents, as they’re not included in S&P+. And then, I had team would win half of its games against its peers. They’re toss up games, so let’s just make them coin tosses for now.

And here are his results.

Team Est. Wins
Alabama 11.5
LSU 11
Georgia 9.5
Tennessee 9.5
Florida 9
Ole Miss 7.5
Mississippi State 7.5
Arkansas 7
Auburn 7
Texas A&M 6.5
Missouri 5.5
South Carolina 4
Vanderbilt 4
Kentucky 3.5

So, even with Tennessee sporting a better S&P+ ranking than Georgia, both teams finish with the same number of projected wins.  One big factor for that is that the Vols have to punch above their class once, against Alabama, while Georgia doesn’t face a similar challenge.  Is that enough to make the difference in which team emerges as the winner of the East?

It might be.  The bottom of the division appears weak and you’d have to expect both programs get through that unscathed.  That’s four wins right there.  Historically speaking, Florida presents a similar challenge to both UT and Georgia.  That leaves the head-to-head matchup, which is in Athens this year, and the cross-division meetings where Georgia travels to Ole Miss and hosts Auburn while Tennessee has Alabama at home and Texas A&M on the road.

It doesn’t mean that Tennessee’s chances to return to Atlanta are totally dashed if it can’t beat the Tide, but you can make a decent argument that its margin for error is virtually wiped out if it doesn’t, especially if the Dawgs pull off a win in Oxford.

Georgia-Tennessee in Athens is huge, but the third Saturday in October may be shaping up to matter almost as much.

20 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

20 responses to “In the end, will Georgia’s schedule be the difference?

  1. Gaskilldawg

    Guy has his years reversed. Last year UGA had the historically easy schedule. This year our schedule is so challenging that a vastly superior coaching staff would do wrll to win 7 or 8.

    • dawgtired

      Games that are different, last year from this year –
      ULM NC
      Southern Nicholls St
      Bama Ole Miss
      GaSo UL LaF
      apparently we had a ‘vastly superior coaching staff’ last year…and I’m expecting the same or better from our current staff.

      • Gaskilldawg

        The ‘vastly superior coaching staff’ reference is to this year’s staff. Certainly UNC is better than ULM. Do you think UNC is better than UGA?
        No point is trying to argue whether this year’s cupcakes are better than last year’s cupcakes. Certainly UGA is far better than Nichols State and UL.
        UM should be favored over us in Oxford, so it is not unreasonable to figure a loss to Alabama is replaced by a loss to UM.

        So, the critics who dawggraded last year’s wins over USC, Mizzou, Vandy, Kentucky, Auburn and Tech are going to expect us to lose to USC? Or do they expect us to lose to Mizzou? Or do they expect us to lose at hone to Vandy? Or do they expect us to lose at UK? Or do they expect us to lose at home to Auburn? Or do they expect us to lose at home to Tech? At least one of those things will have to happen for us to finish 8-4 and 2 will have to happen to finish 7-5. Yet, some of the same folks who belittled last year’s wins over USC, Mizzou, Vandy, Kentucky, Auburn and Tech are saying they look forward to “no let down games” or “bedwetting games” or “brainfart games” while they are setting expectations of us losing to at least one of either USC, or Mizzou, or Vandy, or Kentucky, or Auburn and or Tech.

        • lakedawg

          Am glad to see you clarified as first post had me asking, Say What?

        • dawgman3000

          It was the expected norm of the former coach to have those annual brainfart/faceplant games after being on the job for 15 years. Now you expect CKS to win 10 games without considering the fact that a) he is a rookie coach and b) he has to change the make up of this teams psyche (lack of mental toughness). Heck dude, Richt lost 4 games his first year on the job.

          • Gaskilldawg

            If you expect UGA to no longer have “brainfart/faceplant games” then you expect us to beat the three cupcakes and not lose to USC, Mizzou, Vandy, Kentucky, Auburn and Tech. Last season everyone would have called a loss to any of those “brainfart/faceplant games.”

            So, where are the 5 losses that the “I’ll be happy with 7-5″ this year and we didn’t beat anyone with a pulse last year” folks predicting losses that are not “brainfart/faceplant games” other than at Ole Miss UT, UF and UNC?

  2. Russ

    This seems to match my gut feeling. The big unknown is our coaching staff. I think we have a good one that will avoid the letdown games, but we won’t know until it happens (in the arena and all that). I’m cautiously optimistic.

  3. Jared S.

    I feel like the UNC, Mizzou, Florida and Auburn games are a coin-toss while the Ole Miss and Tennessee games really worry me. Aye aye aye. Hasten, September.

  4. If Tennessee can’t beat Alabama this year due to the perceived advantage at quarterback, they won’t beat them as long as Saban stays in T-town.

  5. Macallanlover

    I think the schedule is absolutely the determining factor in our, or anyone’s, case. Talent/experience is 2nd, and injuries, and timing of them, is 3rd. I think usually the “historical” measure of peers is the weakest part of this analysis.

    That said, I think he has Georgia, Bama, and LSU a game too high for a really good over/under, and Ole Miss, A&M, and Arkansas possibly a game too low. The UGA/TN game is the deciding game for the East regardless of overall Ws and Ls unless injuries strike one team or the other. I think the winner of that game meets LSU, or maybe Bama in Atlanta. Teams at the bottom have the best chance at a significant variance to the projections of of total wins, imo.

  6. JCDAWG83

    UT could be another Auburn, when expectations are high, they flop. Ole Miss looks to be a mile wide and an inch deep when it comes to talent. If they can stay healthy, they should be good but they have little margin for error if they have injuries. Florida will be about the same as last season, maybe Kirby won’t go full retard like Richt did and we can actually win in Jax again.

    I’m actually pretty confident about the rest of the games. Assuming we lost all three of the UT, Ole Miss, Florida games, we end up 9-3 regular season. I see a win in at least one of those so 10 wins seems very doable to me.

    We’ll see, I’m tired of talking about it and ready for the season to get under way.

    • Russ

      Thing about it is Richt HAD turned around the Florida series, with some help from Agent Muschamp. He had gotten to a 5-5 record with them before the last two clusterf*cks. For those two alone, he should have been caned. I mean literally.

      Kirby does seem the type to avoid these meltdowns. I certainly hope so.

  7. SouthernYank

    UGA wins 9 or 10. I can’t see less than 9 and I can’t see more than 10.

    • That’s pretty much how I feel.

    • Macallanlover

      I think 8 1/2 is the truest hurdle point, so easy for me to see 8 or 9 depending on a bounce or call, either way. But 10 and 7 would be exceptional, conceivable for sure but equally thrilling/disappointing. We have a lot of questions, but we have talent and a manageable schedule.

  8. Uglydawg

    If we lose to Tennessee and still get to ATL, there will be howling from the punkin’ patch kids in K’ville. It will a bitch-fest and we will grow quickly tired of hearing how we “backed in” with a “weak schedule”…And it would be true. But where was that critiqe of theOSU’s schedule? We could find our team dawgraded to the point of winning the SEC wouldn’t be a automatic bid to the final four.