Meet Jalen Hurts’ security blanket.
Sure hope Tucker’s got some answers for that.
Meet Jalen Hurts’ security blanket.
Sure hope Tucker’s got some answers for that.
Bill Connelly writes about the transition.
Chaney used these simple ideas to great effect all season. The Oklahoma game was the best example since the Missouri game, in which the Dawgs repeatedly sent blue-chip athletes through holes formed by wrong-footed Mizzou defenders.
But Oklahoma and Missouri had defenses that were, at best, mediocre. Alabama remains the gold standard.
Georgia has played three games against teams in the Rushing S&P+ top 15 — two against fifth-ranked Auburn and one against 13th-ranked Notre Dame — and found the going a bit rougher.
- Against Notre Dame, Michel and Chubb combined for 136 yards in 26 carries (5.2 per carry). Ten of their 26 carries (38 percent) gained at least 5 yards — six of 13 for Michel, four of 13 for Chubb.
- In the first game against Auburn, Michel and Chubb combined for 48 yards in 20 carries (2.4). Only six of 20 carries (30 percent) gained at least 5 yards. The national average is around 39 percent.
- In the second game against Auburn, things improved: Chubb and Michel gained 122 yards in 20 carries (6.1), and nine of 20 (45 percent) gained at least 5 yards.
The addition of D’Andre Swift to the equation made a big difference in the second Auburn game. He carried seven times and caught three passes, and his 64-yard explosion early in the fourth quarter sealed the game.
Swift, the latest blue-chipper in the arsenal, carried 18 times for 191 yards over the final three games of the regular season and has averaged 7.8 yards per carry in his freshman campaign. He has added one more dimension to the attack. Or should I say, one more direction.
Chubb is the north-south guy; Michel kills you with diagonals. Swift is used in a lot of east-west ways. Add to that a solid if unspectacular short passing game — Fromm was 20-of-29 against OU but averaged just 10.5 yards per completion — and you’ve got too many different things going on for most defenses to account for.
‘Bama is obviously going to be a completely different animal from what Georgia’s offense has faced all season. The question I find myself asking at this point isn’t whether Bill is right about what Swift has brought to the offense. It’s what the change made to the offensive line by inserting Cleveland as a starter after the Auburn loss has meant. Bill notes that the line is 35th in stuff rate (run stops at or behind the line) and 44th in power success rate (success in short-yardage situations), but it would be informative to see breakdowns of those stats through the first Auburn game and then after.
How many points do you see Georgia needing to score to win Monday night?
S&P+ says Alabama by 2.3 points in the title game, but I’ll worry about that later.
In the meantime, check out Bill’s percentile performances from the Rose Bowl:
That was the worst performance of the year for the Sooners defense… and here we’ve bragged about SEC defenses, when maybe we should be pumping our chests about SEC offenses. (I keed, I keed. Sort of.)
Speaking of offense, there’s one note from Bill’s five factors worth a mention. Remember how so many were talking about Georgia using its running attack to slow the pace of the game down to keep the ball out of Mayfield’s hands? My response was that given the weaknesses in the Oklahoma defense and Georgia’s own propensity for the big play, that might not be as much a thing as people hoped.
In the end, that turned out to be the case. Georgia averaged only 3.5 plays per possession, compared to Oklahoma’s five. That’s what happens when your rushing IsoPPP, which measures explosive plays, winds up more than tripling the national average. Wowzer.
It’s not just the epic great offense versus great defense aspect — it’s balanced versus unbalanced.
Oklahoma, on the other hand, is a study in imbalance.
Not only do the Sooners have the best offense of 2017, but the difference between their offensive efficiency and the second-ranked offenses (Alabama and Oklahoma State) is about the same as the difference between No. 2 and No. 10 Central Florida’s. Since the playoff started four seasons ago, the only offense remotely close to being as efficient as Oklahoma’s belonged to Oregon in 2014 — and the Ducks weren’t really that close to the Sooners.
At the same time, the Oklahoma defense is easily the worst of any playoff team. The Sooners allowed 25 points and nearly 385 yards of total offense per game this season. They rank 59th in the country in defensive efficiency. It’s safe to say that Oklahoma has the most one-dimensional profile of any team to ever make the College Football Playoff.
Does that matter? Well, maybe.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the Sooners are primed for a playoff letdown. Oklahoma has the best quarterback in the country (Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield) and a host of other weapons that can make opposing defenses pay. Their stat sheet could give any defensive coordinator a heart attack. (This is, after all, a team that surpassed 600 yards of total offense in more than half of its games!)
But it’s also worth noting that in three years of playoff action, the more efficient defense won 67 percent of its games, while the superior offense won only 56 percent. Even if those numbers are skewed by Alabama’s success as a defensive juggernaut, the Tide have won with defense for a reason. Oklahoma will have to buck that trend if they want to prove that a great offense can win, too.
I think the conclusion hits directly at what Oklahoma wants to happen and what Georgia wants to avoid.
… But perhaps Oklahoma’s best chance against the Bulldogs is to use its dominating offense to jump out to an early lead, then hope its defense can force Fromm into freshman mistakes while playing from behind. Between Georgia’s impressive balance and Oklahoma’s shaky defense, however, that might be a task easier said than done.
From your lips, brother. From your lips…
What happens when you give Mayfield time to throw? About what you’d expect.
I’d really appreciate it somebody could start tossing out a few examples of when he craps the bed. Assuming they exist, that is.
I’m going to try to make this simple for those of you who continue to have sugarplum visions of the 2008 Sugar Bowl dancing around in your heads: against Sagarin’s #28 strength of schedule, Baker Mayfield’s worst passer rating of the 2017 season (167.08, against Texas Tech) exceeded Colt Brennan’s passer rating for the 2007-8 season (159.8) against Sagarin’s #132 strength of schedule.
It’s not a close call.
That’s not to say Georgia’s defense faces an impossible task, just that it won’t be a walk in the park.
And while I’m raining on some of y’all’s parades, one other bit of wishful thinking that needs to be knocked down is the idea that Mayfield’s going to throw a pick or two, just because he throws the ball a lot. It’ll take more than that. Both teams have been good at protecting the ball.
Georgia and Oklahoma each had a plus-five turnover margins this season. The Bulldogs committed 13 turnovers while forcing 18, and the Sooners committed 12 turnovers while forcing 17. Turnovers always matter, but with two disciplined offenses, they could be a game-changer. That puts more pressure on Mayfield and Georgia’s Jake Fromm to protect the football. Keep in mind, in their respective losses this season, the Sooners and Bulldogs each had a minus-one turnover margin. A plus-two turnover margin in this game, then — for either team — could be the difference.
Despite that Mayfield has attempted 139 more passes than has Jake Fromm, both go into the Rose Bowl with only five interceptions on the season.
I think Bender makes a good point that because both teams have been disciplined with regard to turnovers, interceptions and fumbles may have a magnified effect. That’s a long way from counting on Baker Mayfield to wilt in the face of Georgia’s defense and turn into a pick machine, though.
What a great year for Army.
I’ve checked a few things off my bucket list this season, but attending an Army-Navy game is one thing still left to do.