Look, Mizzou is 5-3, ranked, on a three-game winning streak and a lock to finish no worse than third in the division. That’s not nothing. That streak, though, consists of a narrow win over South Carolina, a beatdown of Vanderbilt and a game against Arkansas that literally came down to last team with the ball wins.
Georgia averages more points per game than Missouri. It gives up fewer points per game than does Missouri. The Dawgs’ net yards per play is higher than the Tigers’. Missouri’s turnover margin is worse than Georgia’s, to boot. And, to repeat myself, Missouri’s stats, unlike Georgia’s, have the benefit of a game against Vanderbilt.
All of which isn’t to say there aren’t a few concerns for me.
It’s a noon start (11AM local time) and the weather, to put it mildly, isn’t going to be friendly. Do I worry about the Dawgs coming out of the gate slowly? The thought has crossed my mind, yes.
I really, really like Larry Rountree’s game. He’s a senior who’s fourth in the conference in rushing yards per game. He’s a smart, tough runner who’s got a little burst to his game. His backup, Tyler Badie, is a nice compliment, too. Georgia’s done a good job shutting down the run all season, but I’d feel better if Jordan Davis could contribute.
Connor Bazelak’s done a nice job for them at quarterback. He’s completing almost 70% of his pass attempts and was money in the winning drive against Arkansas. That being said, his passer rating is a meh 139.41, mainly because he’s averaging only 7.8 yards per attempt. That doesn’t speak well as to Mizzou’s deep passing game, which is a good thing. On the other hand, what it does say is that Missouri’s passing attack is prepared to dink and dunk you to death. I do worry about Georgia’s pass defense having problems stopping that. (That being said, Missouri’s third down conversion rate is strictly middle of the pack.)
So, yeah, if the game turns out to be a struggle, I won’t be surprised. For one thing, Missouri’s been about as good limiting big plays as Georgia has been. For another, the Tigers ought to be a confident bunch; winning streaks tend to do that for a team. But it’s also a game I expect Georgia to win. We’ll see.
But now, here we are once again in college athletics at the intersection of commerce and integrity. Ohio State is probably in the CFP regardless as long as it stays undefeated, but just to make sure, it would be nice if they got there as Big Ten champions. The Big Ten Championship Game is Dec. 19. The CFP’s Selection Sunday is a day later.
In good faith, the Big Ten decided in September to protect the integrity of its championship game by requiring the participants play at least six of their eight scheduled games. The league’s athletic directors, coaches and presidents decided unanimously on that point, sources told CBS Sports.
Now the athletic directors face the prospect of contemplating whether to rescind that requirement in the name of … what, exactly? Money, for sure. Ohio State would have a smoother path to the playoff and a payday for the Big Ten by winning the conference title.
We’re really going to try this again? In a season that exists because the conferences need the money?
Perhaps Dennis Dodd needs to have a chat with Mike Krzyzewski.
Coach K’s full response when asked about the challenges of playing through the pandemic, and if it “feels right”: pic.twitter.com/oDxK5oOXnV
The next week the Bulldogs mostly kept the ball on the ground to pound South Carolina. Daniels attempted only 16 passes with 10 completions, including touchdowns of 40 and 31 yards. That was not a function of Daniels picking pass on run-pass options, coach Kirby Smart said, because coordinator Todd Monken didn’t often give the QB a choice.
“You don’t have to throw the ‘RPO’ because there are bad things that can happen, balls batted and things like that, and you could have had five yards on a run,” Smart said. “You have to weigh out what your success ratio is (running) on extra (defenders) in the box versus throwing the ball. If you give JT the choice every time, he’s going to probably pull it and throw it.”
The question was about whether transfers should be able to play immediately at their new school, a subject where Smart is aware that coaches are often on the minority side of public opinion.
“Do you want an honest answer on that?” Smart said. “I can give you the stock answer, which is indifferent. But as every coach in the SEC wouldn’t admit, it’s based on who they can get with how they want that rule.”
If it can benefit your team, in other words, you want transfers to be able to play right away. If it can benefit your opponent, you don’t want it. Got it.
“It’s a selfish world out there and every guy is trying to do what gives his team the best chance to win,” Smart said.
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