Archive for October, 2014

SEC Races Will Go Down To Wire

With all due respect to South Carolina, Kentucky or Florida, who aren’t technically eliminated from the SEC Eastern Division race, I think it is very safe to say that  Missouri and Georgia are the only teams who have a chance to make a return trip back to Atlanta.

Georgia has three conference games left-vs Florida, at Kentucky, and Auburn.

Missouri has five conference games left-Vanderbilt, Kentucky, at Texas A&M, at Tennessee, Arkansas.

While Missouri is capable of losing one or two of their remaining 5 games, Georgia is capable of losing one or more of their remaining three games. So to say the East is locked down is still quite premature, although either Missouri or Georgia will be playing an Alabama or Mississippi school in Atlanta.

At this point, I think I give the nod to the Georgia Bulldogs. I think it is safe to assume victories against Florida and Kentucky, with Auburn being the tossup. I can assume Missouri victories over Vanderbilt and Kentucky, with A&M, Tennessee and Arkansas being toss up games. The latter group of teams all look beatable for Missouri. However, Missouri could lose any number of those games. If Missouri wins out, and Georgia loses again, Missouri goes back to Atlanta. It is just too murky to tell.

Over in the Central Time Zone, things are even more muddled.  Auburn looks the least likely to make it to Atlanta. The Tigers have road tests against Alabama, Georgia and Ole Miss.

Ole Miss has to play at LSU, Auburn, at Arkansas and Mississippi State. Ole Miss should dispatch the Bayou Bengals this weekend.

Alabama has to get by LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn. Don’t cout out the Crimson Tide to run the table.

Mississippi State has Arkansas, Auburn and Ole Miss.

So really, at this point, it is still up in the air.

If you had to put a gun to my head and make me offer a prediction, I would say that it will be Georgia and Ole Miss in Atlanta. Ole Miss can lose to Auburn and beat Mississippi State and still get in. Of course, Mississippi State can lose to Alabama and still get in by winning the Egg Bowl. Based on their athletic defense, I will give the nod to Ole Miss. Slightly.

Two things are certain. Nothing is for certain and this is going to be an exciting final 6 weeks of the season. Holy Cow!


Tip Of The Cap To Missouri

We shouldn’t think Missouri is as bad as they looked against Georgia-wrong time for anyone to play the Dawgs. Georgia was fired up to play with a chip on their shoulder and unfortunately Missouri was the next victim in line. I am not sure many teams would have beaten the Dawgs in that spot. Likewise, while Florida did in fact beat themselves, so we shouldn’t get too carried away with ourselves with Missouri’s win against Florida. The Gators just flat out imploded, and Missouri was the fortunate beneficiary. One week, wrong place at the wrong time. The next week, right place at the right time.

That is what makes picking games so difficult, and this season has been that way on steroids. You have two options for football-the homogenized style of the NFL, or the emotion-fueled college game.

This example shows why I’d take college every single time.

But Missouri deserves some credit here. Yes, their offense has looked very pedestrian against South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. But they are 2-1 in those Conference games. Missouri has beaten Georgia, Tennessee (2x), South Carolina and Florida. They have won in Knoxville, Athens, Columbia and Gainesville. In the SEC Championship game, they played good enough to win most years. Auburn was just too strong at that point in the season.

Missouri and Gary Pinkel have turned into a relevant player in the SEC in a very short time. Who would have thought they would be a more legitimate threat in the SEC than Texas A&M, especially after both teams’ inaugural SEC campaigns?

You can say that Missouri was again at the right place at the right time when some of the other programs were either riddled with injuries or not playing well. But I will still give all the credit in the world to what Missouri has done so far. Kudos to Coach Pinkel and his staff.


A Last Look at Arkansas

I wanted to go back and look at Arkansas’ losses in their current 14 game SEC losing streak.  Their last SEC victory came almost two years ago against Kentucky on October 13, 2012.  It was a 49-7 win.  Since then…


South Carolina, 38-20

Mississippi State, 45-14

LSU, 20-13


Texas A&M, 45-33

Florida, 30-20

South Carolina, 52-7

Alabama, 52-0

Auburn, 35-17

Ole Miss, 34-24

Mississippi State, 24-17 (OT)

LSU, 31-27


Auburn, 45-21

Texas A&M, 35-28 (OT)

Alabama, 14-13

Arkansas currently sits at 3-3 and 0-3 in the SEC.  They still have both Mississippi schools, Ole Miss, LSU and Missouri in SEC play and UAB in non-conference.

Realistically, if Arkansas wants to go bowling or show any improvement from their 4-8 and 3-9 seasons, this is a game they have to win.

2013 was a rough year, but I see a team that got better in Bret Bielema’s first year and they are playing better so far this season.  They hung with Auburn for a half, should have beaten A&M and gave Alabama fits.

One thing that gives me pause is Georgia’s rushing defense.  Yes, Georgia is 2nd in the SEC in run defense.  But the teams we have played haven’t really run the ball like Arkansas does, and most teams have been pass first teams.  This is opposite than what we have typically seen-UGA has not done well against the spread offenses and have had better success against the pro-style teams.  We have done well against the spread offenses this year; can we still do well against the pro-style teams?  We haven’t seen a team that is going to run the ball like Arkansas so we the jury is still out there.

But talking out of both sides of my mouth, I am not sure how good Arkansas running game truly is.  Yes, they run the ball for an average of 278 ypg, first in the SEC ahead of Georgia’s 275 ypg.  But their rushing numbers are inflated:

Auburn, 29 attempts, 153 yards

Nicholls St, 40 rushes, 495 yards

Texas Tech, 68 rushes, 438 yards

Northern Illinois, 45 rushes, 212 yards

Texas A&M, 47 rushes, 285 yards

Alabama, 39 rushes, 89 yards

Yes, they have gaudy stats, but a lot of it was inflated due to their competition.  By comparison, Georgia has been successful running the ball against everyone they have played, and Clemson and Missouri have really good defensive lines.

Teams comparable to talent to what Georgia has-Alabama and Auburn-have been able to slow down the Arkansas rushing attack.

So while I am not completely ready to buy in to Georgia’s rush defense ( think we’ll get a good idea tomorrow), I’m not sold 100% on Arkansas’ running game.  Basically, tomorrow afternoon something has gotta give.

This is going to be a tough game. This feeling was further enforced when I saw the line. Arkansas has been money this season going 5-1 ATS. So the 3 points Vegas is giving us doesn’t give me much confidence.

I think we will win because even without Gurley, UGA has better talent and better coaching.  But I hope Georgia fans don’t be like Alabama and cry foul for a close win.  Because this will be a close one.



What the UGA Athletic Department is Like

When you are driving in Atlanta and you get on the Connector, the speed limit is inexplicably 55 mph.  And as we all know, no one ever drives the posted speed.  Everyone goes 75 or 80.  But there is that one car that is going the speed limit and it pisses everyone else off.

Georgia is that one car.  Georgia is the plain white 2003 Toyota Camry.  An efficient and suitable car that gets good gas mileage, but isn’t too flashy.  Georgia is that Camry that is driving in the center lane on I-75 going the posted speed limit.  Sure, it may get to where it needs to go, albeit slower than everyone else and watching all the other cars pass you by.  Florida, FSU, Auburn, Alabama, LSU, etc. are going to go 80 and run the risk of getting a ticket, but they probably won’t.


If You Are Traveling To Little Rock

If you are going to Little Rock today, and are driving, you probably are already hitting the road.  Safe travels and cheer us on to victory.

When you are stopping to make a pit stop, and if you read this becuase I know you wouldn’t while you are driving, make sure and stop in Memphis for a meal or snack.  Gotta stop at the BBQ Shop in Memphis either on your way there or on your way there.

Uchee and I went there several years ago, and it was awesome.  Worth the stop for sure.  Some of the best ribs you’ll ever have.

Go Dawgs!


What you missed on Thursday afternoon

Now, Mason Is The Best Choice

Hutson Mason went 22/28 with 156 yards passing and 1 TD with 0 interceptions against Missouri. This was an outstanding performance for the embattled quarterback.   Throwing it nearly 30 times, while completing ~78% of passes and 0 picks is quite impressive.   He deserves kudos for a great performance.

I came out strong a couple of weeks ago against Mason. Once you come out that strong, it is hard to go back on it.   I’ve been wrong before, and I’m not afraid to say when I was wrong.  Matter of fact, I still stand firmly behind what I said.  I still believe, despite the excellent performance Saturday, that at some point over the course of the season your quarterback is going to have to stretch the field and win a game for you.  I still don’t think Mason can do that.

But something different has happened. With Todd Gurley out of the mix for an undetermined amount of time, Mason becomes the best option. With Gurley, Brice Ramsey could learn his way with the best player in America to help take the pressure off.   Without Gurley, Mason is needed to be the field general and game manager.

Basically, someone to be there who knows what the hell they are doing.

So while I still believe what I said a couple of weeks ago, and nothing Mason has done changed my mind, with the changing situation Mason is the currently the best option we have.

So far, so good.


Timing is everything

Sometimes, timing is everything.

Once the Gurley bombshell broke, one thing that immediately jumped out was that being on the road against Mizzou may have been the best thing for this team.

Halfway across the country, free of close friends and family and the buzz around campus, free of the fog of gameday on campus may have been just what this group needed. It enabled them to focus in and send the entire country a message, and it showed. The memo was laid out – if you think that this team will fold because its best player is sidelined by archaic NCAA rules, you have another thing coming.

And as if the day could not get better, we got to spend the rest of it watching Auburn, Tech and Florida lose. Icing on the cake!

Saturday was one of those moments, kind of like when Georgia hired Jeremy Pruitt, when you thought to yourself, “this is real? This is UGA football and not someone else?”

For whatever reason, it has been quite some time since Georgia dominated someone like it did in all phases of the game like it did Saturday that was a quality opponent. 2006 Auburn comes to mind.

Will this team click as well against Arkansas as it did on Saturday? Probably not. I’m already worried about stopping a run game that’s stronger than what Mizzou had.

But that’s a worry for another day.

For now, let’s enjoy this one.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Thoughts on Todd Gurley’s suspension

Frankly, I don’t want to talk about it.

Lugnut Dawg

More Keys For A Georgia Win

Yesterday, I said I was changing my heart on the outcome of the Missouri game because we have Todd Gurley, and they do not.

I was reviewing the stats and box scores from last year’s game, and something I had forgotten (I have tried to forget that game as much as possible) were the amount of turnovers we had.

One fumble by Murray led to s scoop and score, right after Missouri scored a TD to go up 21-10.  So just like that, it was 28-10 and the Dawgs were behind the 8 ball all day.

On the very next possession for Georgia, they put togethr a nice drive, going all the way down to Missouri 10 yard line before Brendan Douglas fumbled.  Missouri then basicallly ate the clock to end the first half.

Right there, that was a 14 point swing.  Georgia lost by 15.

Georgia fought back to make it 28-26 early in the 4th quarter.  James Franklin got hurt, then Missouri and Pinkel made a great call to do a trick play on a WR pass for a 40 yard touchdown.

So having a year to digest everything and looking back, to over simplify things, three big plays were really the difference.

Like with any game, if Georgia can avoid turnovers and big plays we should be in good shape.  If Georgia just goes out and plays its game and avoid the catastrophic moments, Georgia should win this game.

The good news is Georgia has been on the plus side of the turnovers this season.  We’ve only lost 1 fumble-which was a questionable call on Michael Bennett, and for the most part with the last two games excluded, Mason has been solid protecting the football.

As bad as the secondary has been, Georgia is the only team in the SEC who hasn’t given up a passing play of 40+ yards.  Georgia does rank dead last with passing plays of 20+ yards.  But overall, the big plays haven’t hurt hus.  For long running plays, Georgia is one of the best teams in the conference in lmiting long runs of 20+ yards, and has not given up a rushing play of 30+ yards.

If these trends can continue-not turning it over and limiting the big plays-Georgia should be in good shape Saturday.