Per that PFF piece I just linked, the public — okay, the betting public — seems to think that Alabama exposed Georgia in the SECCG.
Georgia is favored by 7.5 points in this semifinal showdown, although the public is heavy on Michigan — 89% of the cash is on the Wolverines to cover the number, and 83% of the cash is on them to win outright.
That, of course, isn’t nearly as important as what these Dawgs think of themselves after a very disappointing loss. As David Hale puts it, “Can Georgia really erase the lingering effects of such a demoralizing performance so quickly?” Human beings are complicated things, so who knows, but at least the players and coaches are saying the right things.
“We’re not going to be the same team from last game to this game with Michigan,” Davis said. “We just have to keep moving forward and worry about ourselves.”
The truth might be that Georgia will face all three opponents in the Orange Bowl. Shaking off the lingering nightmare that was the SEC championship game is easier said than done, but a strong start against Michigan would certainly help. The Wolverines present a far different challenge than Alabama, too, and in many ways, their power ground game is a better matchup for the Bulldogs’ defense. There will be no rat poison this time around, either. Georgia has spent the better part of the past month talking about its failures, not its success. That might be a blessing.
“It definitely didn’t put doubt in my mind about our defense,” defensive back Chris Smith said. “Obviously things didn’t go how we wanted them to go that day, but we’re focused on a new opponent. We’re focused on Michigan, and we’re focused on being able to get a win so we can move on to the next level of our season.”
I think Hale is right about one big thing. The Dawgs need to get off to a strong start Saturday night, because right now, based on what happened in the SECCG, it feels like Michigan comes in as the more confident bunch.
“I don’t think you can call it a blueprint when its only happened once,” Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis said of the Alabama loss. “Georgia is a really good defense but it does give us a little bit of confidence.”
Added Michigan WR Mike Sainristil: “Looking at the film [of the Alabama game], we understand where they can be attacked and we just want to keep attacking those spots.”
Getting his team mentally prepared for this game is Kirby Smart’s biggest coaching challenge of the season. Agree or disagree?