Daily Archives: November 20, 2018

“When they hold the ball, it’s tough on you.”

Michael Elkon mentioned in yesterday’s comments that if there’s a reason to question Georgia covering Saturday’s 17-point line, it’s the triple-option and its goal of dominating time of possession.  It may be obvious to state, but fewer possessions for Georgia’s offense mean fewer chances to score.

Georgia Tech will enter Saturday’s showdown in Sanford Stadium with a 7-4 record and the nation’s top rushing offense, averaging 353.7 yards a game. The Yellow Jackets also rank among the top five in time of possession, maintaining the ball for 34 minutes and 12 seconds per game.

The Bulldogs led Georgia Tech 27-14 entering the fourth quarter of their 2016 meeting but lost 28-27. In those final 15 minutes, the Yellow Jackets ran 24 plays for 166 yards and consumed nine minutes and 34 seconds, leaving Georgia essentially a third of the final quarter to produce just 15 plays for 29 yards.

“With the offense they run, they hold the ball and chew up clock,” Georgia junior tight end Isaac Nauta said. “That’s what they want to do, because it takes away possessions from us. Offensively, when we get the ball we’ve got to go score, because our possessions will be limited based off what they do.

“Our defense will have to stop them or take the ball from them to give us the ball back, so that aspect of the game is definitely a challenge, and it’s different from what we see every other week.”

Making things more extreme is that Georgia wants to run the ball, too.

Georgia has a top-10 rushing offense nationally that averages 257.5 yards a game, and Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart believes that could be just as advantageous as a stout performance by his defense.

“I think our number of opportunities or series or drives may be less in this game,” Smart said, “but we probably have less than most people because we’ve been a ball-controlled, time-of-possession offense. Maybe not to the extent that Tech is, but we understand these kind of games. Every offensive possession is critical, but when is it not? It’s always that way.

“I don’t think you ever panic. You take advantage of your opportunities. You just may have less opportunities.”

Ironically, as Pete Fiutak notes, “… over the last three games, Georgia has rushed for more yards than the No. 1 rushing team in college football.”  Just as ironically, despite all the chest beating at Stingtalk about the Jackets being able to run on Georgia’s 55th-ranked run defense, Tech’s 64th-ranked run defense actually sports a higher yards per rush average.

So, yeah, there will be plenty of running on the menu come Saturday noon.

All of that is reflected in the teams’ time of possession numbers — in FBS play, Tech ranks fifth and Georgia is currently 22nd.  What that really means is both teams’ opportunities are going to be limited.  In turn, that should make two things that are generally crucial to winning, explosive plays and turnovers, even more significant.

Explosive plays happens to be one area where Georgia can claim a clear advantage over the visitors.  In offensive plays of 20+ yards, Georgia ranks 13th nationally; Georgia Tech is 44th.  Just as telling, when it comes to defensive plays of 20+ yards, the Dawgs are the nation’s best, while Tech is 16th.  Everything else being equal, more big plays should lead to more possessions.

As for turnover margin, Tech is +8 and Georgia is +4 in FBS play.  In all games, the won/loss splits for both teams are most revealing.  The Jackets are +10 in their seven wins and minus-2 in their four losses.  Georgia was minus-4 in Baton Rouge and +8 everywhere else.  Quite simply, with possessions being limited, giving any up via turnover is a killer.

Can Georgia hang on to the ball and make its share of big plays?  If it can, it should have a good day.

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43 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Stats Geek!

About strength of schedule and nuance

While strength of schedule is certainly a valid metric useful in evaluating how good a team is, it’s not a be all and end all.  By that, I mean you shouldn’t confuse a team playing a weaker schedule in and of itself with being lesser.

The perfect example of that this season is (duh) Alabama.  Allow Bill Connelly to explain.

Alabama is an easy 11-0 so far, having won its games by an average margin of 35.6 points (35.2 with a 50-point cap on each game). Per their statistical profile, they have finished each game with a 100 percent post-game win expectancy, which is either unprecedented or nearly so.

Screenshot_2018-11-20 Résumé S P+, a better CFB strength of schedule ranking

Have the Crimson Tide played a rigorous schedule? Not really. If the average top-five team — by which, I mean literally the average of Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, and Oklahoma, the top five teams per S&P+ — played Alabama’s 11 opponents a countless number of times, it would have won about 89 percent of those games.

In other words, 100% > 89%.

Regardless, Bama continues to have done more with its ain’t-played-nobody schedule than anyone else. Even with the 50-point cap, and even with a lackluster performance against The Citadel, the Crimson Tide have still defeated their opponents by an average scoring margin that is 10.3 points per game higher than the nameless, faceless top-fiver would expect.

Notwithstanding the schedule, Alabama is not just good, but better.  Granted, come playoff field time, that likely won’t matter if the Tide run the table all the way through the SECCG, but it’ll be interesting to see if folks try to throw shade on Alabama’s SOS if Georgia finds a way to win the conference title again.  (You know Danny Kannell will.)

32 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Stats Geek!

Another day, another metric

Why do all these stats keep showing Georgia as one of the best teams in the country?

9 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Plug and play

Georgia’s offensive line has been injury-prone this season, to say the least.  Despite that, it really hasn’t missed much of a beat.  Latest example of that?

That was Salyer’s most extensive time on the line this season and he kicked some ass.  Just ask his head coach.

“The kid that has really gotten better the last two weeks is Jamaree (Salyer),” Smart said. “He’s a heckuva good player at either guard spot.”

As the article notes, Trey Hill got a start at guard against UMass.  Pittman has built some solid depth on the o-line in a relatively short period of time.  I know it’s relatively short because I keep pinching myself to make sure it’s real.

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Today, in sweating the small stuff

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, a tower of rectitude, demanded a public apology from a Texas player.  Why?  Because he acted like a fan.

Hager was told that Kansas put up 40 points and 524 yards on the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners while the Longhorns were playing, to which Hager quipped: “Hey, OU has no defense.”

He followed that up by pointing at a clock and saying: “And what time is it? It’s 11:12, and OU still sucks.”

First off, let me just say as a Georgia fan that a Texas player making a clock reference like that is both ironic and hilarious.  But I digress.

Where I really want to go is wishing that Bowlsby had been half as huffy about the Baylor situation as he’s been about some kid poking a little fun at a rival.  Of course, there’s no money involved with Hager, so I guess it’s easier for Big Bob.

The Big 12 still sucks, in other words.

6 Comments

Filed under Big 12 Football

Against all odds

I’m not sure there’s any better evidence of how disruptive a force Tua Tagovailoa has been this season than that it took Vegas weeks to figure out how to set a line for Alabama games without losing money on it.

8 Comments

Filed under Alabama, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

Undefeated

It’s only Tuesday, but I’m pretty sure this is going down as my favorite story of the week.

Arkansas defensive backs Ryan Pulley and Kamren Curl have been suspended and are not expected to play in the Razorbacks’ game at Missouri on Friday.

Pulley and Curl were identified as the Arkansas players who were socializing with members of Mississippi State’s dance team prior to the Razorbacks’ 52-6 loss to the Bulldogs in Starkville, Miss., last Saturday.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Pulley and Curl were seen taking pictures with and talking to female members of the MSU squad prior to warmups.

“They will not be here today or yesterday or any part of this week for unacceptable behavior – actions that are completely unacceptable to anything we’re about,” Arkansas coach Chad Morris said Monday without specifically referencing the event at Mississippi State.

Classic.  Also, a handy excuse for the ass whipping Arky took from Mississippi State.

Asked about the incident following the game, Arkansas senior linebacker Dre Greenlaw said he was not aware of players talking with cheerleaders, but added, “That’s not something I would do. I surely wasn’t doing it.

“Some people have got different focuses. Obviously, you could see this game we weren’t in the right mindset.”

I’m sure suspending two starters in the secondary just in time to face Drew Lock will get your minds right, Dre.

6 Comments

Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, General Idiocy