Jack Podlesny, money.
JT Daniels, gutty.
Azeez Ojulari, dominant.
Cincinnati is a well-coached, physical football team with a talent gap that played Georgia better than at least five teams the Dawgs faced this season. They deserved to be there.
Think I’m just going to present this as a bunch of random thoughts and points…
- The line shifted again this morning. It’s now Georgia -9.5. How much of that is due to the Dawgs’ strength and how much to the AAC’s, um… perceived lack thereof, I can’t say.
- For what it’s worth, PFF says we’re looking at its two best defenses in this game.
- 247Sports’ Cinci’s staff have all picked their team to win today. That isn’t as interesting as some of the reasons why: “If the Blackcat defense can contain the Georgia run game, they will limit JT Daniels through the air…” “Sounds like a hell of a lot has to go right for UC but that’s usually the case in these types of games.” “Cincinnati has every chance to beat Georgia on Friday and history has shown it is not that far fetched. UCF beat favorite Auburn 34-27 three years ago and Houston defeated favorite Florida State 38-24 just two years before that both in the Peach Bowl.” “Georgia, on the other hand, is kind of your typical top-tier SEC team that has plenty of eye-candy talent, but for whom the chemistry has never quite fit up to expectations.” “If Cincinnati can hold Georgia under 20, this game should be well in hand. That said, I don’t expect them to finish under 20.”
- Back in the real world, I thought Tulsa’s success running the ball against Cincinnati’s 3-3-5 defense in their championship game raised a red flag. So, apparently, did the Bearcats’ defensive coordinator: … Marcus Freeman said Tulsa “kind of pounded on us a little bit. I think our guys understand in order to have success versus the University of Georgia, we’re going to have to stop the run. We’re going to have to do some different things. We’re going to have to put some different people in different place, make sure we have a chance to stop the run. They have an extremely good offensive line. Good stable of running backs. … We have to understand we have to stop the run, do everything in our power to stop the run, or it can be a long day.”
- Along those lines, this from The Athletic’s Cinci beat writer:
- I do think we’re going to see something of a chess match between Freeman and Monken, but I’ve gotta say I like Georgia’s chances between the two, based on what I’ve seen over the past three games especially.
- On the other side, how well can Georgia’s defense contain Ridder? Per Jake Rowe, “Georgia has the athletes to spy him in big situations but it’s the early-down designed runs that the Bulldogs will have to guard against. The good thing for Lanning is that he has guys like Jordan Davis at his disposal to eat up space and control gaps. If the Bulldogs are sound on the edge, they are capable of making life tough on Ridder. When it comes to third down, a guy like Adam Anderson could have a big day.”
- As big a deal as the opt-outs might be, Ojulari opting in might be even bigger.
- I’m starting to worry more about how Ridder fares throwing the ball. He has a deep receiving corps and a good tight end to work with. And Georgia will be shifting bodies around all day in the defensive backfield. Is it too much to ask that this becomes the day Lanning figures out how to defend the wheel route?
- There hasn’t been much talk about it, but when you talk about roster depth, an area where Georgia has the edge, that should mean an advantage in special teams for the Dawgs, amirite?
My initial thought on the game when it was announced was that it would be a tough one for Georgia. I think Smart has learned how to approach games like this. I also think the relatively low number of opt-outs is an indication that the team has responded well to that. In other words, I think the Dawgs show up and cover the original 6.5-point line, getting 2021 off to a good start.
Have at it in the comments, peeps.
He was so upset by that, he forgot to blame Mark Richt for losing control.
He’s saying there’s a chance, y’all.
We’ve got three after the Peach Bowl:
And here are the current spreads, per ESPN:
And brief thoughts on each:
- No idea what to make of the Citrus, given the coaching change and all that typically ensues from something like that. Both teams play better defense than offense, so the four-point spread in the abstract doesn’t bother me. Northwestern gave Ohio State a decent fight in the championship game, but ran out of gas and had a disastrous time defending the run in the second half.
Cox is Cox Nix is Nix, damn it, but Auburn can run the ball and Tank Bigsby is out for the game. Your guess is as good as mine, but I’d probably go with the Wildcats.
- Alabama by 19.5? And people think expanding the playoffs is going to make for better football? Sure, man. Take the Tide and the points.
- The CFP meteor game ought to be a real hoot. No matter who wins, I’m going to cringe. Given I think Ohio State’s defense has shown some weakness defending the pass and Fields has looked just a little bit shaky at times recently, I think Clemson covers. On the bright side, that ought to be good for at least one more comment from Dabo to chew on.
Per Seth Emerson, who obviously doesn’t want to miss the kickoff.
- There is a little intrigue at the center of the o-line, with Hill and Cleveland gone. Ericson is listed as a starter at both center and right guard, which obviously ain’t happening. More intriguing are the options — Van Pran at center and Salyer (!) at right guard. Sounds like we’re in for a little mixing and matching today. It will be interesting to see if Cinci can take advantage.
- James Cook is listed at running back, but won’t be at the game, due to his father’s passing.
- Defensively, Quay Walker gets the start in Rice’s absence, which is to be expected.
- There were whispers during the week that Stevenson might see a move to cornerback, but he’s still listed at star, with Webb, about whom there have also been some whispers about being banged up. Ameer Speed gets the nod to fill in at corner opposite Campbell. I ain’t gonna lie — between the injuries and opt-outs, I’m a little nervous about the secondary today.
Put away the bulletin board. Luke Fickell made sure you wouldn’t need it.
About all that’s left after that is an observation about Georgia’s long snappah.
Bill Connelly had some follow up thoughts on that tweet of his I just posted that might be of interest.
My quick thought on the opt outs are that they’ll miss Stokes, cover Rice and McKitty okay and miss Cleveland, perhaps most of all, as he’s been the most consistent o-lineman all season. And you?
Honestly, this made me smile.
It’s been that kind of season.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Stay safe, everyone, and appreciate what you’ve got.