First thoughts on the opener

A couple of early outsider takes on Georgia’s opener:

First, Herbstreit thinks a running back will be a big key, which sounds good, until it turns out the back he’s referring to is North Carolina’s Elijah Hood.  He’s picking the Heels to win.

Over at Statistically Speaking, Matt Melton leans the other way.

Georgia -2.5 North Carolina @Atlanta
Believe it or not, these two southern foes separated by just one state have not faced each other since clashing in the Gator Bowl following the 1971 season. North Carolina will look to build on their Coastal Division title last season which saw them climb as eighth in the AP Poll and finish ranked for the first time since 1997. For Larry Fedora, the season cannot start soon enough, as he has certainly not won the offseason with his condescending comments to a female reporter and his curious defense of Tim Beckman’s presence on the coaching staff (he has since resigned). For Georgia, the Bulldogs will begin the season with a head coach other than Mark Richt for the first time since 2000. Former Nick Saban assistant Kirby Smart has taken the reigns and will look to lead Georgia to their first SEC title since 2005. While the Tar Heels finished with the second highest Net YPP (my preferred rating system) in the ACC last season, those numbers were accumulated against an easy schedule. No other team in the Coastal boasted a positive Net YPP and the Tar Heels drew NC State (their permanent rival) and Wake Forest in their cross-division games. NC State ranked sixth in the ACC in Net YPP, but Wake Forest was dead last in the conference. Meanwhile, based on Net YPP in the SEC, Georgia was arguably the best team in the SEC East despite their disappointing season. You may remember North Carolina and their improved defense were last seen allowing a season’s worth of rushing yards to Baylor in Art Briles’ final game as coach. Of course, Georgia does not run the same type of offense as Baylor, but the Dawgs do have two of the country’s best running backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Chubb and Michel do have some injury concerns, but my guess is one or both will see action in this game. Even if they do not, Georgia has other talented backs to carry the rock. North Carolina has a checkered history against non-conference BCS/Power 5 foes under Fedora, going 2-6 straight up and just 3-5 ATS. While some of those losses have come to good teams, like South Carolina in 2013, they have also dropped games to Rutgers and last year’s version of South Carolina. Clemson and Florida State (and maybe Louisville) are the only teams I currently trust in the ACC/SEC clashes. Take the Dawgs to cover this small number.

Picking up on the next to last sentence there, if I can go as briefly superficial as Herbstreit does for a moment, I have a hard time picking the ACC to go 3-0 against the SEC opening weekend — and I don’t see either Clemson or FSU losing their games.

Obviously, I’ll have more on Georgia’s opener as we get closer to Saturday.

61 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

61 responses to “First thoughts on the opener

  1. Nate Dawg

    Just heard Herbie on Mike & Mike. Not only was it your daily Bama hug & plug party first, but then it was ‘Hey, watch Georgia get beat & turn UNC nationally relevant’.
    Same as it ever was…just disappointed he didn’t suggest a national ban on bebe guns.

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    • 81Dog

      I must have missed Herbie’s appearance. I am a little surprised they could slip in some actual sports talk amongst all the Colin Kapernick discussion, which seems to be a better fit with their apparent desire to become ESJWPN (the Endless Social Justice Warrior Programming Network).

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      • Nate Dawg

        I’m with you on that..I’m usually in the car then w Steve Czaban but had some extra time this morning so I thought I’d remind myself why I can’t hardly stomach M&M. Breaking news: they are just not funny either…

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  2. Starbreaker

    I really have no idea how to pick this game…I could see every possible scenario playing out, as there are just too many unknowns on our side of the ball. Anytime you have an entirely new coaching staff (almost) you have to figure there will be some hiccups early on, especially on offense. I just really hope the defense holds serve while the offense can get it’s feet under them and get in some sort of rhythm. One thing I like about what I’ve read about Chaney’s offense is that he knows how to utilize the weapons at his disposal and, if Pittman is as good as advertised, you have to figure the OL will be opening holes for the RBs. One thing that will be for certain is we will have a very motivated Dawg squad this Saturday…the concern there being that hopefully they can control their emotions/energy positively (ie, no false start on the first snap, no bone headed personal fouls, etc.). I feel like we should win, and I feel like if we get to the half even or winning that we will, but I’m just concerned about a slow start and UNC capitalizing with their pace. I realize I will need to select my beverage of choice wisely Saturday so I am not totally obliterated by halftime trying to numb MY nervous energy!

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    • I highly recommend “WL Weller” four year for the price or if that isn’t available then the “Four Roses Select Reserve” will suffice. “Woodford Reserve” four year is quite nice too.

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      • Starbreaker

        Thanks for the recs…I’ve already prepared the wife and kids that daddy’s “out of pocket” starting around 3ish on Saturday!

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        • Got Cowdog

          My wife advised me to lock myself in the basement. Fortunately that is where the bigscreen, kegerator, snack fridge, and sleep it off bedroom is.
          It also houses my autographed ’66-67 Cotton Bowl jersey and my Munson autographed toilet seat (yeah, you read it right) reside.
          Can’t wait for Saturday!

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      • paul

        Knob Creek has been my go to for a while, but I like Bulleit too.

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      • Noonan

        That Weller is the best value in bourbon. I also love the Old Grand Dad bonded.

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        • stoopnagle

          Yeah, and if you people don’t shut up about it, then it’s going to be even more difficult to find.🙂 I always like wheated bourbons and Weller is so good.

          I’ve long since switched to Four Roses based purely on availability. I’m so over the idea that I’ve got to chase certain bottles. But if I find a Weller antique collection, oh, man, the absolute best.

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        • Russ

          Hard to find Weller out here. I keep going back to Buffalo Trace. Similar heritage.

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      • Cojones

        You guys should try cookies. With 100% agave tequila.

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    • Derek

      Redbreast 12 year (neat) with a beer of your choice (preferably Irish) on the side. Enough of those and by halftime you won’t remember your own name and the score can be whatever you want it to be. When it comes to booze trust the professionals… Tiocfaidh ár lá!

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    • Sh3rl0ck

      For those that are looking for a quality whiskey on the cheap, here is the bourbon family tree. Each branch represents a specific recipe / batch of barrels. Start with your favorite expensive brand and work your way down until you hit your value target. Personally, I like my bourbon wheated.

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    • Oh… well, then I stand corrected.

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      • rusdawg

        Adelson is a reporter and drives me nuts with her complete laziness in some of her articles.

        For instance, this from the current article: “And UNC faces an excellent running back in Georgia’s Nick Chubb, who has been cleared to play after tearing his ACL last season. ”

        The ACL was basically the ONLY ligament he DID NOT tear. It takes two seconds to look that up to verify it. She just assumes every knee ligament injury must be an ACL I guess. That is just lazy.

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        • Jared S.

          Ha. What a goober she is.

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        • 81Dog

          look, it’s IN the knee with all those other ligaments and muscles and whatnot. There was tearing, there were doctors, what do you want? Dan Rather says her report was fake but accurate, give her a break. Reading and research are hard!

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  3. Derek

    I’d feel better about the conclusion from someone who had the good sense to know that Georgia shares a border with NC. Virginia, Mississippi, Kentucky are “seperated by just one state” but not NC dumbass.

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    • I take it that’s one of your keys to the game, then.

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      • Move the game to Hiwassee?

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      • Derek

        I’m sure that Melton, Herbie or adelson don’t have a clue about what those keys might actually be. It would help sports commentator’s credibility with me if they weren’t so consistently and transparently stupid. I’ve pretty much determined that if you want a career in sports journalism the most important thing is to convince your prospective employer that you are intellectually disabled. That’s a pretty clear key to that game, unlike the Oscars: https://youtu.be/3yU_-nmf7AM

        In short, Melton not knowing that you can drive from Valdosta to highlands, nc and cross only a single border is just another in a long list of reasons not to care about what sports media has to say about football.

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        • Dude, he’s a blogger, not a journalist. People make mistakes. Except for yourself, I guess.

          If making a mountain out of a molehill helps you figure out who’s going to win Saturday night, more power to you.

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          • Matt

            Thanks for the link Senator. I can always tell when you link because my traffic spikes to more than ten views per day. Glad that such a small number makes me a member of the media now. 👍
            Also, i really did not realize georgia shared a border with nc. Glad your readers politely pointed that out. Geography was never my strong suit.

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          • Derek

            Dude, you’re missing the point which is: Melton won’t help me or anyone else figure it out.

            I’m not getting paid by anyone for my opinions on the subject. If you’re attempting to monetize your own opinions about things, then credibility matters.

            Moreover, I don’t think it’s a big point. It’s a small point which illustrates a larger point which is that sports media (of all types) is packed to the gills with morons. I don’t watch ESPN. I don’t listen to PAWWLLL. On the other hand I come here everyday, multiple times per day. You’re free to accept that as a compliment.

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            • RugbyDawg79

              I gotta side with Derek on this one – anybody that does not know our Border states should not be stating anything about it. I mean he should not have mentioned it–when he did some light should have come on somewhere.

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      • 81Dog

        Next time, we should play it in the Clayton Dome.

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    • Tommy

      ^This. That line probably came as news to anyone residing in Highlands, NC.

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    • TimberRidgeDawg

      I was born in a Murphy, NC hospital and my parents made the border crossing with me back to GA. I’m sure we didn’t pass through SC to get home.

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  4. I’m just glad, Herbicide picked UNC. His words have bad karma.

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  5. Columbus Dawg

    First off, Herbstreit can not claim to be a journalist,or a blogger. He is just a butthurt ex Ohio State QB that the Dawgs happen to embarrass in a bowl game in the nineties. I have willfully endured enough of his so called football knowledge since then to know that he has little of it. Next week both he and Luginbill will be talking out of the other side of their mouths when the Mighty Bulldogs are mentioned! Can’t wait!

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    • Derek

      Just don’t listen to any of it, good or bad. The last day I paid any attention to ESPN “analysis” was in 2007 when they screwed us over with an argument which was the exact opposite of what was said in 2006. Fuck Herbie and the rest. You’ll feel a whole lot better without them.

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  6. Logan Gray Fair Catch

    This is turning out to be the longest week ever. I think our fanbase is optimistic about the detail-oriented approach CKS has, but now we find out what we’ve got on the field. As far as the UNC game, I know they looked darn good (at least offensively) against Clemson in the ACC title game last year. Their RB Hood is a beast and though not as good as Chubb, better have our full attention.

    I am looking at two players to be the difference for us: Roquan Smith and Natrez Patrick. Roquan can run sideline-to-sideline with anyone and I think Patrick is going to be a disrupter. Would love to see Zo Carter pick it up this year too.

    Screw ESPN and their machine. Who knew that a sports network could be so obsessed with political correctness? With their constant lovefest for their preferred teams and obsession with squeezing a few more bucks out of cable subscribers and advertisers, they are doing their best to kill the sport we love.

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    • Jared S.

      ESPN sucks. And not just because of what they’ve helped do to college football. Their broadcasts are hideous. Everything from their commentators (including Herbie) to the quality of their camera work. It’s awful. I am really, really bummed that Georgia’s first game is on ESPN. I’m seriously considering just listening to it on the Bulldog Radio Network on my the Georgia app.

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  7. Noonan

    “No other team in the Coastal boasted a positive Net YPP”

    Impressive.

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  8. I’m going to be very disappointed if we lose to a basketball school. Losing to UNC is not like losing to UK, but it’s close. People in Baby Blue Country don’t care a bit about football. They say the same thing when we play them in hoops.

    The mean machine in Red & Black and the DawgNation need to go out and make a statement on Saturday afternoon in the GEORGIA Dome.

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    • just sayin

      I worked for a “worship at the altar of Dean Smith”, self-righteous Heels alumnus in 1983. He maintained football was for common people that didn’t have the intellect to appreciate the elite sport of basketball. Sorta agreed with him and said, “who gives a shit about basketball”. When the Dawgs knocked the Heels and Michael Jordan out of the tourney, I thought he was gonna have a stroke. Didn’t see him at the office for 2 days. It was sweet!

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  9. stoopnagle

    It’ll be the over-reaction of week one: ACC>SEC. And then we’ll get to November.

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    • Bulldog Joe

      Agree.

      The three best teams in the ACC vs. one of the SEC’s best teams and two mediocre ones will give ESPN an inflated narrative to chew on for a few months.

      Gotta cash in on that new ACC TV contract for as long as they can.

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      • 92 grad

        Ding ding ding ding! We have a winner! ESPN will inflate the acc and push for an acc playoff winner just so they can make the acc network as valuable as possible. It’s going to be a long year….

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  10. Austen

    It’s simply not possible to know enough about how UGA will play with a new coaching staff and lots of new starters. Still, UGA has the base of talent necessary to compete in games like this, so I’m thinking optimistically about it. If UGA’s passing game has improved enough to notice, that will make the running game click. And if the running game clicks, UGA will score enough to win, partly based on time of possession and wearing UNC down by the end.

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