Trust me, if you enjoyed today’s Seth Emerson’s piece about Georgia’s defense, you’re gonna need a cigarette and/or a cold shower after reading Max Olson’s post ($$).
Georgia has the nation’s No. 1 pass defense, and that unit never lets up. They’ve taken big leads into halftime of their last four games (35-0, 26-6, 38-0, 24-0) and have allowed a total of 170 passing yards in the second half of those games. That’s insane. Opponents have dropped back to pass on them 150 times, according to PFF. More of those plays have ended in sacks (18) than completions of 10+ yards (16). The Bulldogs have allowed the second-fewest 10- or 20-plus-yard plays in FBS. They’re one of only three defenses that have forced three-and-outs on more than half their drives.
There’s more where that came from, so read the whole thing. Hubba hubba.
After a one-year hiatus (with all the COVID-related, delayed starts last year, I made an executive decision not to host the poll in 2020), the Mumme Poll has returned, ladies and gentlemen. As we’re in Week Six, Peyton and I will be gearing up the balloting after this weekend’s play is in the books.
Since it’s been a while, here’s a reminder of what few rules there are in casting ballots:
- Mumme Poll ranking is determined by approval voting. You don’t submit a ballot ranking the teams in some subjective order. You do not designate a particular team as your choice for number one, unless, of course, you limit your ballot to one team. You simply list the number of teams you think are worthy of consideration and teams are ranked on the basis of the total number of ballots on which they appear in a given week.
- There are no restrictions on the number of teams you choose to place on your ballot. If you want to choose a top 25 every week, be my guest (just realize we won’t pay any attention to your order). If you want to select a potential playoff field of eight or four teams, that’s fine, too. If you think Alabama and Georgia are college football’s shiznit, buddy, have at it.
- Don’t try to game the process. Don’t submit more than one ballot a week. Do not list a particular school more than once on a given ballot. Don’t list your favorite team along with the 23 worst teams in college football. We do toss questionable votes.
For any newbies out there reading this, it may seem strange and against all your natural instincts as a way to rank college football teams, but trust us, approval voting works. Plus, the real beauty of this is that you won’t have to spend any time weighing the difference between the nineteenth-best and twentieth-best teams in the country. By the time you reach season’s end, barring a return to 2007-like chaos, you’ll probably be able to assemble your ballot in less than a couple of minutes. It doesn’t get much easier than that. (We don’t have to rent a conference room in Texas and fly all the voters out there each week, either.)
As for the logistics regarding voting each week, here’s how it works:
- Starting this weekend, I will put up a post at GTP every Sunday morning with a link to the week’s ballot.
- The ballot contains 25 slots with drop down menus containing the names of the programs you can vote for, in case you want to place that many teams on your ballot. (That doesn’t mean you have to select that many!) Whatever number of teams you include will be all that counts. Also, you’ll need to answer the question at the end of the ballot for security purposes. Give us a valid email address where indicated and you’re good to go.
- You have two days to vote. We’ll chew on our individual ballots in a Tuesday post and the poll results will be posted every Wednesday.
That’s it. Hope you’ll participate. Let any friends who are fans know, too. The more, the merrier. If you have any questions, post them in the comments.
Will Bo Nix pull out his twinkle toes routine this week? Probably, but it’s not a recipe for success against Georgia’s defense. At least it hasn’t been so far:
The five starting quarterbacks to face Georgia this season — DJ Uiagalelei (Clemson), Tyler Johnston (UAB), Luke Doty (South Carolina), Ken Seals (Vanderbilt) and KJ Jefferson (Arkansas) — have combined on 33 carries for minus-6 yards.
Bo’s had some success running the ball this season — he averaged over six yards per rush against LSU last week — but he’s going up against the best run defense in the country this year, so we’ll see.
When asked about Nix’s frenetic performance in Baton Rouge with Georgia looming, Harsin said, “That’s not how you draw everything up, but there is that ability.”
Brian Fremeau’s advanced stat specialty is efficiency; he tracks points per drive as a measure of a team’s success. Points per drive doesn’t care if a scoring drive is one play or ten. So look here at what Georgia’s doing in that regard:
Super efficient works just fine for me, thanks.
By the way, if you want to see a yards per play stat from him, here you go.
David Wunderlich writes it’s his tendency to coach in a way that reduces his margin for error.
A second loss to Kentucky in four years gave Gator Nation the opportunity to air their frustrations with Dan Mullen. The grievances ranged from the details of individual play calls to the head coach’s overarching program management.
For as varied as they are, the complaints all boil down to one concept: margin for error. Mullen doesn’t always build it where he can, and he makes some decisions that actively reduce it. Without a large margin for error, unexpected events too often turn wins into losses. Let’s go from the small scale to the large to illustrate.
How many field goals get blocked? Not many. Then, how many of those blocked field goals get returned for touchdowns? Again, not many. The Wildcats’ second score on Saturday was an anomaly within an anomaly.
When you build up margin for error, low probability events don’t sink your team. That touchdown should’ve been a funny footnote that merely made the final margin a closer Florida win. Instead, it was a critical play that gave free points to a team that couldn’t score without a defensive bust or a short field.
Mullen played things conservatively all night, trying to trade some of the margin for error inherent in the quality gap between the teams for reducing the chances of a big play going against him. Such was even his actual explanation for not trying to score right before the half.
However, sometimes the universe doesn’t play along.
It’s a good argument, although I think I’d phrase it differently. Dan Mullen coaches Florida as if he’s still coaching at Mississippi State. There, it was all about avoiding the low percentage plays, taking few risks and maximizing a talent build up that would result in a great (for MSU, anyway) season every three or four years when the roster was experience-laden. It made sense there, because Mississippi State was never going to be a recruiting hotbed.
Mullen’s problem is that Gainesville, Florida should be a recruiting hotbed — it was when he was working for Corch a decade or so ago — but he’s not treating it like one. Old habits die hard.
Seth Emerson ($$) logs in 23 amazing items about Georgia’s defense this morning, but for my money, this one’s the winner:
After the emphasis on havoc the past few years, Georgia is creating it without forcing it: The blitz rate is down to 22.8 percent of dropbacks, 86th at the FBS level. That’s down from 27 percent last year and 31 percent in 2019. And yet the Bulldogs still rank in the top 5 nationally in sacks and turnovers forced, while also pressuring the QB at a higher rate than the last few years.
Geez. There’s your recipe for leading the nation with a 78.20 (!) defensive passer rating. Dan Lanning is a bad man.
It may turn out to be a minor point, but Pat Forde notes something about this week’s opponent that may be worth filing in the back of our heads:
Something else to keep in mind, if we progress toward any kind of résumé contest that involves Georgia, Alabama and Penn State: All three will have played Auburn. The Nittany Lions beat the Tigers 28–20 at home in September; the Bulldogs visit them this week; and the Crimson Tide plays at their ancient rival Nov. 27. Results against that common opponent could influence perceptions of the three.
I could see that coming into play if all three finish the regular season with one loss. Otherwise, probably not much to see here.
This is crazy.
This week, the honor goes to Wyatt, a 6-3, 315-pounder who terrorized Arkansas to the tune of 6 tackles, 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a 91.4 PFF grade on just 20 snaps. [Emphasis added.]
He wasn’t the only defensive player with absurd production like that.
If you lean more toward LB Nakobe Dean (3 TFLs on 27 snaps, including 2 sacks) or edge Adam Anderson (5 tackles, 2 TFLs on 19 snaps)…
I’m sure those numbers won’t be there when the defense finally plays somebody, though.