Alphabet soup for the WWL’s soul

Be still, my heart.  ESPN just released its first preseason Football Power Index, aka FPI.

Georgia is third, which is no real surprise.  Neither are the two teams ahead of Georgia.

While Clemson’s 44-16 drubbing of the Tide might have college football fans recalibrating their expectations for Nick Saban’s team, make no mistake — it’s still Clemson and Alabama and then everyone else. The difference in rating between No. 2-ranked Alabama (plus-27.6) and No. 3-ranked Georgia (plus-22.0) is the same as the Bulldogs’ advantage over 10th-ranked Oregon (plus-16.4). Clemson ranks first in offense and second in defense; Alabama is vice versa.

What is a little surprising is the rapid jump displayed by a few SEC teams.  LSU is fourth, Tennessee is 15th and Missouri is 20th.  The SEC’s lowest ranked team is Arkansas, with a still respectable 58th.  All of which leads to this:

The SEC has three of the top five teams in the country, five of the top 10 and half of the top 20!

The 10th-best SEC team (Missouri) is better than the second-best ACC team (Florida State) and the second-best Big 12 team (Texas).

The best division in football is the SEC West. The second-best division is the SEC East.

For the SEC — or any conference — this sort of depth is unprecedented. No conference in the past 15 years of FPI has had more than eight teams in the top 20 of the preseason rankings.

I only mention this because this is what all the yammering heads on ESPN and the SEC Network (PAWWWLLL!) will be talking about for the next few months leading into the season.

Add in a dash of selection committee tea leaf reading from Heather Dinich.

3. Georgia

Toughest game on schedule: Nov. 16 at Auburn

The committee will like: The crossover opponents.
The road trip to Auburn is followed by a Nov. 23 home game against Texas A&M. Back-to-back November victories against SEC West opponents could significantly boost Georgia’s résumé heading into the final week of the regular season — if the Dawgs win. Last season’s 36-16 loss to LSU was a dagger in the final picture. Georgia came close last season, but we still haven’t seen a two-loss team finish in the top four.

The committee won’t like: A September slip-up.
If Georgia is worthy of a playoff spot, it should start the season 3-0 with wins against Vanderbilt, Murray State and Arkansas State. Repeat: Murray State and Arkansas State, which is why beating Notre Dame on Sept. 21 has the potential to separate Georgia from other contenders. If Georgia loses to the Irish, though, its best nonconference win would be against rival Georgia Tech, and that would put enormous pressure on Georgia to win out.

One big question: How much will a win over Notre Dame be worth?
It depends, of course, on how the Irish fare. According to ESPN’s FPI, it’s the most difficult game on the Irish schedule, as they are No. 7 and projected to be No. 9 in offensive efficiency and No. 11 in defensive efficiency. Notre Dame helped Michigan almost all last season — and the Wolverines didn’t even win the game. Remember Miami’s claim to fame in 2017? The Hurricanes hammered Notre Dame 41-8, and it carried them in the eyes of the committee — until the Canes ended the season with two face-plants of their own. Win or lose, playing Notre Dame seems to help — as long as the Irish help themselves.

Most of that strikes me as iffy, but I do think that Auburn-TAMU set of games will weigh on the committee members’ minds based on timing, if nothing else.  Assuming ‘Bama comes out of the West again, though, I think we all expect the SECCG likely shapes up as another elimination game.

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50 Comments

Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

50 responses to “Alphabet soup for the WWL’s soul

  1. Rival

    FYI – Redirect ads are constant today via mobile browser.

    Like

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    This time of year, everybody sounds like Mr. Conventional Wisdom.

    Like

    • Otto

      Agreed and further if UGA wins the SEC with 1 loss they’re in the playoff. They only question is where would they be ranked.

      If UGA doesn’t win the SEC with the only loss being the SECCG, many many things would come into play, 2 loss champs, how close the game was etc etc.

      All this talk of FPI, ND, etc etc won’t be a major factor. It might in determining if a BIG or PAC champ gets in over the other but not UGA.

      Like

  3. Kevin

    Not buying the UF hype!

    Like

  4. I don’t see any SEC team going 12-0 this year, and that includes Bama and its video game offense. The league is going to be a viper pit, and as the Senator said, it seems likely that the SEC title game will be an elimination game. Any team that gets through this season 12-0 in the SEC is a lock for the playoff no matter what happens in ATL. But getting to 12-0 seems almost impossible to me.

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    • J-Dawg

      I think we have a better shot at 12-0 than anyone providing that we don’t shit the bed this year and Kirby doesn’t have any more brain farts.

      Like

    • Derek

      I foresee 12-0 for us if we just play football and quit being cute.

      We need to just bully people with that OL until they lay down and quit.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Uglydawg

      Agree with Derek. With this O line, Georgia holds the ball and keeps opponents offenses on the bench. What weaknesses Georgia may have on defense can be greatly overcome with a clock hogging offense.
      This will be the great Dawg hammer.

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      • Derek

        We’ll be a lot better in my opinion on defense. ILB and depth along the front will be much improved. Other than D Bake’s spot I think we’ll be better at the other 10 spots. Overall we may end up being better at corner as too good players may be better than 1 great one and 1 who’s consistently getting beat.

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        • Russ

          I especially agree with your last bit. I think secondary will be better due to more consistency across the board. Opponents shouldn’t be able to pick on one side. That, plus more pressure on the QB than last year should make this defense better.

          Like

  5. Greg

    ”Be still, my heart”

    Thought you were a dude…😉

    Like

  6. Russ

    Well, when I read that Missouri is better than Texas, that told me all I needed to know about their “methodology”. I’m as bullish on the SEC as anyone (or so I thought), but even I have trouble swallowing that much hype.

    Like

  7. JCDawg83

    Clemson is very good but their schedule is, once again, a cakewalk of scrimmages to the playoff. The ACC is, and has been since FSU joined, a conference of one giant and 13 dwarfs (it was 11 dwarfs until BC and Syracuse joined). The only difference is; Clemson has replaced FSU as the giant.

    Like

  8. PTC DAWG

    the GT game gets us zero cred. I have no idea how to fix the problem. UGA is the only one of the top 3 who plays 2 supposedly quality OOC games…and once again, GT is looked on at best at being Sunbelt quality.

    Like

  9. Uglydawg

    ND is still living off their name. If ND and Michigan both had losing records, they would still both be wonderful as long as they played each other a tight game. “Oh, but Michigan took ND into overtime so they’re really good” type of crap. Remember, Vandy had them on the ropes in South Bend.
    Georgia’s offensive line is going to be the difference maker this year.
    Coupled with the towering receiver corps, the Big Dawg will feast.

    Like

  10. 3rdandGrantham

    How in the hell is UT #15? They ended the year at 5-7 in embarrassing fashion, getting blown out by Mizzou and Vandy by a combined 88-30, and they’ve only won 2 SEC games combined the past two years. Yet suddenly they are knocking on the door of the top 10? If they started the year, say, 1-5, then went on to win 4 of their last 6, I could possibly see you making that argument. But they actually got worse as the year went on, and their schedule yet again is brutal this year.

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    • j

      The same way FSU and SCu are ranked at all, Mickey is setting up tv audiences for the upcoming season.

      Like

      • 3rdandGrantham

        FSU is a coaching is an unmitigated disaster, and their recruiting has fallen off a cliff to boot. I just see Taggart surviving there more than another season or two. Among the many absurd on-field decisions he made last year, the one that sticks out the most is when Taggart elected to decline a defensive penalty on a FSU punt that would have given FSU a first down around the 40-45 yard line. Even the 3rd rate announcers for the game were basically like, ‘wait…why are they declining a penalty that would give them a first down?!’

        After the game, Taggart explained the decision, stating it was a good punt and he was pleased that they had backed them up deep on their end of the field. On top of that, Taggart has not recruited/landed a QB in his two recruiting cycles as HC, and FSU is the only P5 program that has failed to do so the last two years. Thus, they have ONE scholly QB on their roster. The QB situation there is so dire that the FSU 247 site is running articles about which non-QB athletes on the team might be the best passers on the team. No, I’m not making this up.

        Like

        • Macallanlover

          Had not heard that before, there is no justification for that at all. Maybe misunderstanding the 1st down option, but to defend it? Ouch! Something very wrong in Tally, and not looking at improving much at all.

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      • Uglydawg

        3rd, that’s a really good question.

        Like

  11. Mayor

    Since Texas beat the crap out of the Dawgs a month ago I don’t put too much stock in FPI. Sorry.

    Like

  12. True, should UGA win ’em all and get to the seccg and play bama ….that IS the toughest game on our schedule and a game UGA has to win, make no mistake!(UGA staff has shown in the past we can out scheme them,should lsu a&m or anybody else slide in from the west, UGA staff will scheme accordingly)

    Like

  13. Mayor

    As I see it, Georgia has to beat the Irish, Auburn, ATM, FU and Bama to make the playoff. Plus the regular teams the Dawgs are supposed to beat—without a slip up. (Gulp) Nobody needs to be talking about how easy the schedule is this year.

    Like

    • Uglydawg

      Georgia will have the best O line in CFB…maybe the world. With a top 5 QB in JF, some talented RBs and the large WR’s and experienced TE’s, the other teams are going to have a hard time getting their offenses on the field.
      If Georgia’s defense is just pretty good, Dawgs will be amazing.
      While Georgia does have some challenges from the SECW late in the year, this should be a highly polished team focused on a great mission by then.

      Like

    • Russ

      I agree with you, Mayor, but remember Dawggrading. Once we beat a team, they automatically suck.

      Like

  14. DawgPhan

    They will be favored in every game this season. They should win them all.

    But there are some very tough games on this schedule and hard to see winning them all.

    Like

  15. Corch Irvin Meyers New WR Corch

    That Tennessee is ranked 15th is… batshit crazy. But maybe that’s just me?

    Like

    • A lot of folks are hanging their hats on UT returning 10 starters on offense.

      Like

      • Corch Irvin Meyers New WR Corch

        Still, Senator. That’s… not a lot on which to hang their hats when those starters aren’t very good and they’re being coached by “run your RB up the gut on first down against a 9 man box because toughness and forget about scheming your athletic TEs to create mismatches and no pass with be thrown over the middle ever,” Jim Chaney.

        If Tennessee wins 7 games against that schedule, it would be a miracle, though TGP would likely see it as cause for dismissal and his own glorious return to the sideline.

        Like

        • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

          I am going to worry about 10RC for a couple of reasons. One, I am a natural worrier, but also, Jim Chaney is more dangerous than you are giving him credit for, imo. He is a better OC than you are giving him credit for in general, but he also knows UGA personnel, and it worries me that he could exploit weaknesses he may be familiar with. I am not saying it will happen – I tend to think we have much better players, but I also thought we had better players than LSU last year. Just saying I wouldn’t be so cocky about UT.

          I will say that if FSU is the second best team in the ACC, that is one crappy conference.

          Like

  16. PTC DAWG

    Tennessee 15th…LMAO…they’ll be lucky to be .500

    Like

  17. Athens Dog

    They are celebrating on the flats #80 with a bullet

    Like

  18. Uglydawg

    Tennessee plays Ga State, BYU, Indiana State, UAB, and Chattanooga.
    That’s some tough scheduling you’ve got there Hillbillys.
    Maybe it will free up some practice time to focus on ending that losing streak against the best SEC football team in the Volunteer State, Vanderbilt.

    Like

    • Uglydawg

      Correction..Tennessee doesn’t play Indiana State in 2019.

      Like

    • Corch Irvin Meyers New WR Corch

      It’s everyone else on their schedule. I honestly can’t find an SEC game I’d bet them to win. Mizzou is gonna come in pissed-off at Pruitt. Vandy owns them. Us, Florida, and even Boom should be favored. Maybe Kentucky, because they’ve lost so much? I dunno, man.

      Like

  19. FlyingPeakDawg

    You can’t depend on the committee. Win the SEC and you’re in. If Kirby needs to tank the Auburn or TAMU game to knock out Bama, he’ll do it. 12-0 is too much of a grind with this schedule. He’ll need to get his team refocused for the SECCG and playoffs.

    I’m really joking about this, yet…it makes sense.

    Like

  20. california_dawg

    Kirby has been railroaded by SEC West teams on the road every season since he’s been a HC. This is a trend that needs to stop, and I’m hopeful it will this season. I’d much rather play a rebuilding Auburn team on the road than TAMU, especially considering their recruiting and second year Jimbo bump.

    Coley for me is the wildcard. It’s hard to predict how he’ll perform and how our offense might evolve, particularly with the passing game. Good news is we have a few games to warm up before the Irish come to town.

    Like

    • Corch Irvin Meyers New WR Corch

      If he calls plays that allow Fromm to throw over the middle more than once a game, he’ll already be better than Chaney ever was.

      Seriously, look at Fromm’s passing chart from last year. Chaney gave up half the field to the defense without even trying. EVERYTHING was outside the hashes.

      Like

      • Socrates

        Fromm is very shaky throwing anywhere but outside the hashes. He is very good when he does throw outside. They have basically stuck with what he does best. I don’t know if we really want Jake slinging it all over the field.

        Like

  21. stoopnagle

    Am I the only one that sees our opponents’ bye weeks as a big problem for us this year?

    I think we’re better than everyone on our schedule; but that stretch from UF to A&M has me worried.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Will Trane

    Wonder what Saban and Smart think about all this preseason chatter.
    Wait until after the Masters and the leaves are changing.
    Will the WB HC Taylor be back next season?
    Some are beginning to think she should be let go now before she runs the program in the ground like what was happening before the change in ladies gymnastics.

    Like