Jason Butt does an excellent job exploring the story behind the point spread for the opener. The reality is that ASU hasn’t done all that well against P5 programs since its historic win over Michigan ten years ago.
The Mountaineers, however, haven’t had much success against Power 5 programs since that win over Michigan. Since the 34-32 victory over Michigan, here is how Appalachian State has fared against Power 5 teams:
- 2008: Loss vs. No. 7 LSU 41-13
- 2010: Loss vs. Florida 48-10
- 2011: Loss vs. No. 13 Virginia Tech 66-13
- 2013: Loss vs. Georgia 45-6
- 2014: Loss vs. Michigan 52-14
- 2015: Loss vs. No. 12 Clemson 41-10
- 2016: Loss vs. No. 9 Tennessee 20-13 in overtime
- 2016: Loss vs. No. 25 Miami 45-10
Judging by recent point spreads, Appalachian State’s plus-14.5 line against Georgia isn’t out of the ordinary. In 2015, Clemson entered the game as a 17-point favorite. Tennessee was a 20.5-point favorite in last year’s close overtime win over the Mountaineers.
Miami was only a 3.5-point favorite before blowing out Appalachian State just a couple of weeks later. Obviously, the performance against Tennessee had a lot to do with this line.
When Georgia and Appalachian State played in 2013, the Bulldogs were only 11-point favorites. It seems evident that the oddsmakers in Las Vegas have respected Appalachian State a lot more since the Michigan win. But in totality, the Mountaineers have lost its last eight games against Power 5 opponents by an average of 34 points.
Hmm… maybe that’s why it’s called an upset. However, even with that track record in mind, it’s not necessarily a stretch to be concerned about Saturday’s game, because the other side of the coin is that Georgia hasn’t consistently crushed lesser opposition lately.
When it comes to Georgia, however, it isn’t like the Bulldogs have been dominant against Group of 5 or FCS opponents in recent meetings. Here is how Georgia’s last five games against these opponents have gone:
- 2015: Win vs. Louisiana-Monroe 51-14
- 2015: Win vs. Southern 48-6
- 2015: Win vs. Georgia Southern 24-17 in overtime
- 2016: Win vs. Nicholls 26-24
- 2016: Win vs. Louisiana-Lafayette 35-21
It’s worth noting that Georgia held only a 20-6 lead over Southern at the half. It’s also worth noting Georgia held a 35-7 lead against Louisiana-Lafayette before putting in the backups.
But in the three games it played against Georgia Southern, Nicholls and Lousiana-Lafayette, Georgia’s average margin of victory was only eight points.
Perhaps that explains Phil Steele’s attitude.