First of all, because it’s coming from Kirk Herbstreit.
“I think Georgia’s a team that’s not going to win any style points, but because of the way they’re playing defense, it’s hard not to recognize them as a team that deserves to be up where they are,” Herbstreit said. “I think, in this era of flash and dash and scoring 45 and where’s the big-play ability, Georgia … they do it in an old-school way.”
Herbstreit compared Georgia to the 2002 national championship team at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes went 14-0 and 7-0 in Big Ten play with narrow wins over Cincinnati (23-19, Sept. 21), Northwestern (27-16, Oct. 5), Wisconsin (19-14, Oct. 19), Penn State (13-7, Oct. 26), Purdue (10-6, Nov. 9), Illinois (23-16, Nov. 16) and Michigan (14-9, Nov. 23).
Jan. 3, 2003, culminated the Buckeyes’ close calls with Ohio State’s 31-24 win over Miami in the national championship game — the point being, according to Herbstreit, that Georgia can get the job done despite the lack of the Bulldogs’ firepower.
“I remember when Ohio State — in 2002, they had a team that they would win every game by a touchdown or three points,” Herbstreit said. “It was close, wasn’t pretty and they ended up getting all the way to the national championship against Miami and they ended up playing well. You could argue at the end there whether that (was a) pass interference or not, but the point is they went toe to toe with the Miami Hurricanes in that national championship, ended up winning it. But if you looked at their regular season, there’s so many people that rolled their eyes and said, ‘Ah, they’re not that good. What are we doing here?’
“Georgia’s kind of that team. And if you look at the wins, they’ve got a couple wins to offset that embarrassing loss to South Carolina. And at the end of the day, for Georgia, it’s really not a subjective analysis to break them down. What they’ve done at this point — knocking off Notre Dame (23-17, Sept. 21), knocking off Florida — now they knock off Auburn on the road in a good game. They still have a chance to go to the SEC championship and play LSU. And if they beat LSU, there’s no arguing with Georgia, right?
“It might not be pretty, but it’s effective with the way they play defense, control the ball got a great back in (junior running back D’Andre) Swift, got a veteran quarterback in (junior Jake)Fromm and the receivers are making just enough plays. So … that to me is — they’re an interesting team, but I just love that they’re not going to get caught up in a ‘do they deserve it or not’ discussion because they’ve got, more than likely, LSU in that SEC Championship Game.”
Secondly, because I’m not sure that’s a particularly relevant comparison, given how much the world of college football offense has changed since 2002. One quick example: Boise State’s nationally leading 6.9 ypp that season would only rank eleventh currently, almost two yards per play behind Oklahoma.
Still, considering the source, it’s a nice thought.