Daily Archives: November 9, 2018

Debating the intangibles

Here’s the case for Auburn from Al.com:

When you already know you’re headed to Atlanta to play the team you coulda, shoulda beat, and if you do it this time you’re in the College Football Playoff again, how does that not keep a Bulldog from looking ahead?

Georgia is a lock for Atlanta but Auburn and Tech are not.

Auburn needed a comeback last weekend, a really big comeback to wipe out a 10-point deficit over the final six minutes, to defeat then-No. 16 Texas A&M 28-24.

Who knew the Tigers had a comeback like that in them?

I have a better question than that.  What does Auburn have to play for tomorrow?  The division is gone.  The Tigers are already bowl eligible.  Saving the coach’s job?  The AD has already confirmed what Gus’ absurd buyout makes obvious.  All that’s left is pride, something you’d expect is in short supply from the only SEC team that’s lost to Tennessee in the last two seasons — at home!

I ask this not as a rhetorical device to dismiss Auburn’s chances tomorrow.  (The Tigers’ defensive front is too legit for that, IMO.)  Never underestimate the power of in-game momentum, particularly if it’s fueled by a turnover barrage.  (Keep in mind, though, that cuts both ways, as Auburn has lost every game in which it’s posted a negative turnover margin.) The flip side of that is if Georgia can seize control tomorrow, I really doubt Auburn’s got enough emotion in the tank to respond, Atlanta or no Atlanta.  What do y’all think?

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football

Push ’em back.

You may not have been aware of that strange time of possession stat in the Georgia-Auburn series, but I doubt anyone here will be surprised by this.

Like I said in this week’s Observation post, if the Dawgs have first-and-goal on the one this week, take a damned false start penalty.  (I keed, I keed… I think.)

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

The pressure of pressure

Remember the fretting going on before last week’s game about the matchup between Kentucky’s experienced defensive front and Georgia’s banged up offensive line?  That turned out not to be as much of a big deal as some of us feared; Georgia schemed to neutralize Josh Allen and ran the hell out of the ball to neuter the ‘Cats pressure.

All well and good.  Problem is this week.  Auburn’s defensive front really is what we worried about that Kentucky’s would be.  Kentucky is seventh in the conference in sacks, with 22.  Auburn has 29, good for second.  Similarly, with 50, UK is tenth in tackles for loss.  Auburn is first, with 78.

Like I said, that’s a problem.  Especially so, because even with all the good things Jake Fromm brings to the table, dealing with defensive pressure isn’t one of them, as this graphic indicates.

If you don’t want to exclaim “yikes!” looking at that, I’ll do it for you.

Now, there are a couple of ameliorating factors in play here.  For one thing, the Dawgs are going to push the run tomorrow, just like they did last week.  If you look at Auburn’s defensive rushing split stats, there are some valid grounds for expecting that to work, as the average yards per carry number has been steadily rising.  Texas A&M ran the ball 47 times against Auburn last week, while Georgia ran it 50 against Kentucky.  No reason to expect much of a difference there, unless the game gets out of control as it did in Baton Rouge.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the screen pass is a valuable tool to use against pass pressure.  It just so happens that Georgia’s screen game has been one of the conference’s best this season, in terms of picking up yardage.

Say what you will about Jim Chaney, but at least he had the sense to toss the LSU game plan in the trash can.  Kevin Steele, Auburn’s defensive coordinator, has been around the block himself and will no doubt be looking to find a way to shut down Georgia’s running game and force Fromm to deal with the pressure he knows Auburn’s defensive front can bring.  Should make for an interesting chess match.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

A simple lesson in why what any of us thinks about Jacksonville doesn’t matter.

At all.

Over and above all that is the financial side of things. Smart is definitely “The Man” at the moment and he has done some great things to raise the football program to another level. But he still answers to a president, an AD and a board of directors. And the facts regarding the Florida game are this: Georgia (and Florida) get $3 million a year to play in Jacksonville in the current deal that runs through 2021. That means they clear — all their expenses are paid — $6 million every two years.

To play that game home-and-home, Georgia would make $3.2 million when it plays at Sanford Stadium but lose about $500,000 when it played in Gainesville. So that’s $2.7 million every two years as opposed to $6 million…

Math is hard, but it ain’t that hard.  The game stays in Jax as long as the city is willing to pay for the privilege of hosting it, pure and simple.  So quit wasting time and energy explaining otherwise.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

“Time of possession, as long as you’re scoring points, is not that big a factor.”

Want a weird stat?  Raise your hand if you knew this:

With the Georgia-Auburn rivalry, the team with the highest time of possession is 9-0 this decade, which includes their splitting of two meetings last year.

If that holds up, it’s probably not good news for Gus’ team.

Malzahn’s tempo-oriented Tigers are a wretched 124th nationally with an average possession time of 26 minutes and 31 seconds per game. Auburn had the ball for less than 26 minutes in its 30-24 home loss to Tennessee on Oct. 13 and less than 25 minutes in its 22-21 home loss to LSU on Sept. 15.

In Auburn’s 23-9 loss at Mississippi State on Oct. 6, the Tigers had an embarrassing 18:07 in possession time.

Even in last Saturday’s 28-24 win over Texas A&M, Auburn had the ball for 21:19 but awoke from six consecutive three-and-outs with two late touchdown drives engineered by junior quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

A large part of the reason for that is how poor Auburn’s rushing game has been this season.  Take out Alabama State, and the Tigers are 13th in the conference in average yards per carry.  (That’s even with the benefit of having faced Ole Miss.)  Against D-1 opponents, Georgia averages two yards more per rush than does Auburn.

Georgia, in case you were wondering (and, given those rushing stats, you probably weren’t), sits 75 spots higher than Auburn in time of possession.  I suspect it’s going to be a bigger factor than Gus is hoping it will be.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Musical palate cleanser, juke joint guitar god

Behold the latest Delta legend, 17-year-old Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, channeling his inner Jimi Hendrix:

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Filed under Uncategorized