The Peach Bowl: humping the narrative

Be prepared for an onslaught of the hot take Seth Emerson ($$) somewhat snarkily describes as “Motivated Angry Group of 5 Team vs. Unmotivated Blueblood Team“.

Read, for example, this, from ESPN:

Georgia (7-2)

Key player: QB JT Daniels. The USC transfer gave Georgia’s offense a much-needed boost after he took over the starting job in the past three games. Sidelined while recovering from knee surgery at the beginning of the season, Daniels has completed 66.7% of his passes with nine touchdowns and just one interception. With Daniels under center, the Bulldogs have been able to throw the ball down the field more than they did previously, getting George Pickens and others involved in the passing game.

Storyline to watch: Georgia has already had three seniors opt out of the bowl game, linebacker Monty Rice, tight end Tre’ McKitty and cornerback DJ Daniel, and there might be more coming. Last season, junior offensive tackles Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson and senior safety J.R. Reed skipped the Sugar Bowl, but the Bulldogs were able to rally for a 26-14 victory over Baylor.

Cincinnati (9-0)

Key player: QB Desmond Ridder. He was named AAC Offensive Player of the Year after running for 609 yards with 12 touchdowns and completing 66.4% of his passes for 2,090 yards with 17 scores and six interceptions. Ridder will have to make some plays with his arm against a Bulldogs team that led the FBS in run defense, allowing only 69.3 yards per game and 2.3 yards per carry.

Storyline to watch: The undefeated Bearcats felt slighted by the CFP selection committee, which didn’t elevate them higher than No. 7 after the initial rankings, even after teams ranked ahead of them lost. Cincinnati defeated then-No. 22 Army, No. 16 SMU and No. 23 Tulsa this season, but knocking off Georgia in Atlanta would give the Bearcats a stamp of legitimacy.

It may be a little subtle, but it’s a variation on the same theme.  I await the earnest, dulcet tones of Kirk Herbstreit pushing a similar story.

For what it’s worth, it’s still a football game and that means matchups matter.  I haven’t watched a ton of Cincinnati football, obviously, but two things that jump out initially are that the Bearcats run a 3-3-5 defense and Ridder does a lot of damage with his legs.  With regard to the former, it’s a defensive scheme the Dawgs have previously faced this season.  I would expect Georgia to come out trying to establish the run, because it will have a physical advantage on the lines.  (Tulsa did some real damage that way in the AAC Championship Game.)

If that works, Cincinnati is going to have to make the hard choice about bringing another safety in the box, which is going to give Daniels an opening to exploit with the pass.  Which I expect he will do, based on recent history.

On the flip side, it’s going to be up to Georgia’s outside linebackers to contain Ridder and keep him bottled up in the pocket.  And, yes, I know sometimes that’s been easier said than done.  (Also, it would be irresponsible not to speculate on how well Cinci runs the wheel route.  But I digress, at least I hope so.)

And that’s before we get to the 800-pound gorilla in the room, recruiting.  Here’s a chart sent to me by a loyal reader (thanks, Scott).

Screenshot_2020-12-22 GA vs Cincinnati Recruiting Rankings - mbroch gmail com - Gmail

I don’t care how motivated you are, that’s an enormous talent gap you somehow have to make up if you’re Cincinnati.  And before you give me, “well, South Carolina did it”, note that Carolina’s averages are closer to Georgia’s than Cinci’s.  Sure, it’s football and any given Saturday applies, but that’s a lot of Jimmies and Joes to overcome, even if the Dawgs have the expected number of opt-outs.

All of which is to say that Cincinnati is a good team and I expect Georgia to be in for a tough fight.  But it won’t be because Kirk Herbstreit says so.

64 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

64 responses to “The Peach Bowl: humping the narrative

  1. Ran A

    Well coached, veteran team with a lot of confidence and knows how to win. That’s great. These kids played Ohio State in an opener two years ago and hung around for a little while before getting beat 42-0. I expect they will hang around for about a 1/2 before the weight of this much talent just over-coming them (maybe). Pickens should have a tremendous advantage and I promise you these kids have never seen anything in a tight end remotely close to Big 0.

    But like you said Senator; it is college football. Anything can happen; but I do expect Georgia to take care of business.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    2007 all over again. Hawaii is the greatest…Mr Brennan we’d like you to meet Mr Howard who greets Mr Brennan with a spine crushing “ Enchanté motherfucker”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly, I’m not sure the Hawaii comparison is that strong. Sagarin has Cinci’s strength of schedule ranked 81st; ESPN’s FPI has it at 77th.

      I’m not telling you that’s fantastic, but Sagarin ranked Hawaii’s SOS in 2007 as 142nd.

      Liked by 2 people

      • originaluglydawg

        The Hawaii comparison is strong and getting stronger in the sense that the media is going to hype the David/Goliath narrative ad nauseum. And just like it pissed the Dawgs off before, it will again.
        Just remembering the hype surrounding the Hawaiians is a laugh. The pregame show was all about the U of H and their tribal magic, their chants, dances, shamans, body paint, feathers, spears, flowers, loin clothes…the whole nine yards..(which is about what Colt Brennan threw for against the Dawgs).
        Every one of the idiot pregame crew except Granny Holtz, picked HA to win. I remember Holtz laughing at them and telling them they had bought into a bunch of meaningless hype and they were about to see what an SEC team would do to a paper tiger.
        It’s going to be about the same leading up to this game. I doubt the Bearcats have a team shaman, but they’ve got a mouthy coach that will suffice to piss us all off.

        Liked by 4 people

        • My lasting memory of that game was right before Hawaii took the field, the Fox cameras in the locker room caught June Jones telling his team to play like they belonged. He knew what they were running up against given his numerous stints as a player and coach in Atlanta and what he probably saw on film. At that point, I knew we were going to hammer them.

          Like

        • T Kyle King wrote the best post game on that…he said something like “georgia players stared with icy cold eyes at their silly dance” (much better than that, but you get the sentiment. I dont know what it takes to get a team that focused with rage, but I sure wish we could do it more often.

          Like

          • Hunkering Hank

            Hawaii was fucking hilarious! Most fun game I’ve been to. Just pure joy. Absolutely hammered drinking hurricanes in the super dome. Literally laughing at the Hawaiians all weekend and through the game. Anybody thought they had a chance was a clueless dumbass like mark may.

            Liked by 1 person

            • bigjohnson1992

              I remember that scary tongue-out dance they did pregame. Really psyched our guys out. Pffft.

              I can still picture Marcus Howard and his brutal assault on colt brennan. Were charges ever filed?

              Like

            • bmacdawg87

              That was a hell of a weekend in Nola. My experience with the Hawaiians I ran into down there was that they knew they had no chance but were excited to be there and most were having a blast and enjoying the party like we were

              Like

    • Anon

      Did you sneak in an Arn Anderson spine buster reference on purpose? Rome,GA legend

      Liked by 1 person

    • David D

      What the world needs now is love, sweet love. And for Mark May to emerge from whatever cave he’s currently living in to pick Cincy.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Whiskey Dawg

      I remember actually feeling sorry for Colt Brennan by mid third quarter. Talk about savage, it seemed like sack after sack. I don’t remember June even trying to keep a back in to help protect him. Somewhere Chris Miller was suffering PTSD flash backs. No pot of gold at the end for the Rainbow Warriors on that night.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Russ

        That last sack by Howard where Brennan fumbled, I wasn’t sure if that was the ball, or his spleen. And yeah, sitting in the Super Dome, I felt sorry for the kid by that time.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jack Klompus

      Another major difference is that we were the ones with something to prove.

      Like

  3. gotthepicture

    “the Sugar Bowl, but the Bulldogs were able to rally for a 26-14 victory over Baylor.”

    Rally is an interesting word choice for this sentence. I know what he means, but typically when I think of rally, I think of “coming from behind”, but Georgia pretty much controlled the game last year, right?

    Liked by 9 people

    • originaluglydawg

      Thought the same thing. It is a purposeful play on words to make it sound as if Georgia struggled to come back and win. In short, it’s disingenuous. The guy has a weak case so he tries to bolster it with bullshit.

      Liked by 5 people

    • I thought the same thing when I read that.

      Some made fun of the statement I made after the game last year – I thought it was Kirby’s best single-game coaching job. Sure, there were bigger wins, but he had the team locked in and ready to play when they could have pouted and just partied in New Orleans.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Russ

        It was a very good job of coaching given all the potential distractions. And I thought the Missouri coaching job this year was excellent as well. Those two games give me a lot of optimism going into this game with Cincy. We have stacked enough talent that I’m convinced Kirby can take those that want to play and put a hurting on the Bearcats.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. armydawg

    Speed of our linebackers, versatility of our runners, schemes of our receivers. Can they deal with it? I don’t think so. They have not seen or dealt with running backs like ours and I think that may be the real difference in the game.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. akascuba

    Kirby will make sure they are all sick of hearing about UCFs NC at Auburns expense. I expect the good guys ready to play with their new toys the forward passing game or run it into a soft box until Cinny is looking for the exits.

    You had to mention the wheel route. LOL
    Thank havens I was not playing during the SEC championship game the every time the announcers mention FUs success against UGA running the wheel route take shot. I would have died of alcohol poisoning.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. 79dawg

    Sure, the computers say we beat them 9.5 times out of 10, but we are only playing them once…

    Like

  7. Sure, South Carolina won last year … with the help of a -4 turnover margin (including a pick 6), a blocked field goal, another missed field goal, and a turnover on downs. If we had done that against a team with a pulse, we get beat by 30.

    If we play this game to our potential (even with opt outs), they don’t have a chance. It may not be Hawaii 2007, but it will be a comfortable 3-score win.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Texas Dawg

    Better Jimmies and Joes
    The continued memory of the Texas debacle
    The continued beating that Auburn gets for the UCF game and not wanting a volume II of being mentioned in the same breath as Cincinnati and national championship.
    I think all of these things combined will get us a win (and pretty handily). Never say never, but I think Kirby learned his lesson with Texas.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. atticus34

    This game will be a pasting. Fact. 42-14. They scored 27 on Tulsa and 24 on Army. Who did they play worth a $hit? Its a joke sorry. UGA 2nd string with JT beats them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Down Island Way

      Have heard of this particular style of defense…it just smells of “manball” until adjustments/sacrifices are made (out/over matched at the LOS), then the aerial attack starts grooving (Big 0 will be a bad situation on a db)…

      Like

  10. Hogbody Spradlin

    I superstitious of putting the jinx on us by any expression of confidence (as if I control Georgia’s football fortunes), however, CUE THE DRAMA RODENT:

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Greg

    Thinks it is at least by 21, even with all of the opt outs.

    But the cynical part of me thinks Boise State a few years ago…….but WAIT, that was a Mark “Rick” coached team, right??….. : >)

    Like

  12. PTC DAWG

    Can you feel the concern I have over this game?

    Like

  13. DawgFlan

    My only concern is if our secondary is discombobulated. With injuries and opt outs we may be seeing 2nd and 3rd stringers. And yeah they are much higher rated athletes, but to paraphrase a coach quote all that means is that they are running the wrong way faster.

    I still think we win, but unless we get to the QB early, it may be a bit uncomfortable having to keep up in scoring due to a few too many busts.

    Like

    • Campbell and Stokes haven’t said anything about leaving (at least that I’ve read). Stevenson and Cine are sophomores. LeCounte hasn’t played since mid-October. Unless Stokes decides to opt out, I’m not worried about the secondary.

      The only other defensive player I’m concerned about leaving is Jordan Davis. He’s an early down space eater.

      Liked by 1 person

      • DawgFlan

        I haven’t read anything definitive on Stokes and Campbell, but until I see them confirmed I am worried a bit. Both should get higher draft grades. Jordan Davis is for sure the other player I am worried about.

        Like

  14. RangerRuss

    It’s as gurkhadawg stated last night. This game means a great deal for me and I hope the players feel the same way. The Peach Bowl will be the highlight of my holiday season and possibly a bellwether for the program. I think CKS will have the Dawgs locked and cocked and ready to rock.
    Go Dawgs!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. siskey

    I love college football. I will watch two 2-6 MAC teams on a weeknight over just about any other sport or tv show. I am responsive to the “woo is me” stuff as it relates to the lesser conferences and that they are not really considered by the moneyed interests in the sport.
    That being said the number of national writers feigning outrage this year regarding the playoff selectors overlooking Cincy, Coastal Carolina, etc. (not that I think Notre Dame or TAMU are great teams that are going to challenge Bama or Clemson) makes me hopeful that we really take it to these guys and show them that it is a different sport at the highest level.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. CB

    I expect a blowout in Georgia’s favor, but not enough to put big money on it. I won’t be surprised either way.

    The lack of motivation of playing a G5 in a glorified scrimmage that the media refuses to acknowledge is the biggest factor at play here imo. Even a worst case scenario loss for Georgia would do little to dampen my optimism for 2021 so long the cast of expected returners all actually return.

    Like

  17. Derek

    Be careful about what you say about the Peach Bowl. The buck stops here:

    https://www.rollbamaroll.com/2009/5/3/862975/coach-saban-vs-crimson-tide-fans

    Like

    • Illini84

      “Same for the rest of the SEC. That insanity runs deeper than any one coach, and it will last longer than one coach’s tenure. These people will not have their expectations managed for them. They prefer the mentally unstable approach, thanks.”

      Like