I have been very preoccupied the last few weeks (both personally and professionally), and I know we are now closer to the Ole Miss game than we are from the Florida game, but allow me a moment to go back and share some general thoughts I had this past Saturday night. My thoughts on Ole Miss are at the bottom.
One, I think a lot of you so-called “fans” who wanted to fire the entire coaching staff following the Kentucky game feel pretty stupid now. If you don’t, then I think you should. Consider this me shaking my finger at you. Shame on you all. Shame. Shame. Shame.
As we saw Saturday night, the old passive ball coach who doesn’t care about winning, who doesn’t have the fire in his belly, who would rather be a Missionary in Haiti than coaching football in Athens, pulled out a big win for the program.
Georgia is on the verge of winning the SEC East for two consecutive years. Only two schools have done that this decade: Georgia in 2002 and 2003, and Florida in 2008 and 2009. Take out the ramifications on the SEC East race. More importantly, the Dawgs finally put to rest the ridiculous notion about Florida’s dominance in the series. I have thought for years it was absurd for media pundits to harp on Georgia’s lack of success in the series, when the lion’s share of Florida victories were Steve Spurrier over Ray Goff and Jim Donnan, and many of the current players were either not born or in diapers. Now that Georgia has won 4/9, 3/6 and two in a row, talking about what happened in the 1990s when we are in the third decade removed from then is now over. Georgia did on Saturday night what Georgia Tech couldn’t do in 2009-turn the tide in a lopsided rivalry.
Also, Saturday showed how completely absurd all the talk about Aaron Murray couldn’t win the “big game.” Aaron Murray played for three quarters of the game as bad as he could, yet the team still won. Of course, some of the games that we have lost against ranked opponents in Murray’s tenure were not entirely his fault. Saturday’s victory was as much about Jarvis Jones and Todd Gurley was it was Aaron Murray. But he will get the credit as “winning” against a ranked opponent. That meme was stupid before Saturday, and despite winning, it is stupid now. It is too easy to get caught up in talking points without using some brain power and common sense.
Ok, I had to get up on my high horse and do some finger pointing. Now, onto Ole Miss.
Georgia should win this game. The players are going to need to be jacked up and not think this is a pushover. Becuase it won’t be. I know, I know. Ole Miss hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record, but aside from Florida, neither has UGA. I was feeling very good about this game until I went to CFBstats.com and was comparing what UGA and Ole Miss each does well. There are a few stats I look at when comparing teams. It surprised me.
Scoring offense: UGA is good (36.8), but Ole Miss is not too bad (32.4).
Scoring defense: UGA is mediocre (22.3) and Ole Miss is just a little worse (26.6)
Rushing offense: Both are equal (UGA: 194.88; Ole Miss: 194.63)
Rushing defense: Ole Miss (148) is slightly better than UGA (157)
Passing offense: UGA (265.3); Ole Miss (235.4)
Passing defense: UGA: 197.8; Ole Miss: 221.5
Sacks: Ole Miss is much better (22 vs 16)
Sacks allowed: Georgia gets the big edge here (12 vs Ole Miss’ 22)
Turnover margin: Near equal (UGA +0.38 and Ole Miss +0.13).
I know stats can be misleading. But I think it is clear that Ole Miss is not going to go away without a fight, and if UGA takes them lightly or makes a few mistakes, then we could be looking at another game where it is too close for comfort late in the game. Their defense held TAMU in check and gave Alabama its biggest test. I don’t think Georgia will lose this game, as too much is riding on the line, but I do think that it will be much closer than the guys in Vegas think.
A lot of people out there are drawing comparisons between this season and 2007. An early blowout loss, struggle against awful team before a big win against Florida that carried the team throughout the rest of the season. What fans don’t remember is the weekend after the Florida game and before the Auburn Blackout game, the Homecoming game against Troy was sandwiched between those two great days. And though Georgia put them away, Georgia let Troy hang around. So I fully expect Ole Miss to be the same way; it will be a pesky and somewhat tense game for the most part. Then, on Monday, I expect the fans to be in full freak out mode.
The players can’t let up. The fans can’t let up. Be loud, be proud, and make Sanford Stadium a tough place to play for Bo Wallace and company.