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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Initial thoughts: Before Auburn

Normally in this space we’d be looking back and evaluating the previous game. But this week we’ll take a pass and look immediately to the big game that awaits. Because really, grading Georgia after playing Idaho State would be like grading a bunch of college juniors on how they did in a third-grade spelling bee.

No, the question on everyone’s mind around Georgia today is simple: Can it be done? Can the Bulldogs roll into Auburn and pull off the upset?

The quick answer is … of course they can. Auburn may be a great team, but it doesn’t have a great defense. It’s not even a good defense. So the formula for Georgia seems obvious: Exploit that defense, win the turnover and special teams battles, and presto, the BCS is thrown into chaos. (Again.)

But … cue up the cliché’ alert … that’s easier said than done. So if Georgia can pull it off, here are a few things that could help:

Cam Newton gets suspended by the NCAA.
Chances of happening: 10-25 percent.

As I pointed out when it first broke, the investigation has been happening for awhile now, all that happened the other day is the public found out about it. Newton and his family aren’t admitting anything, and Auburn has reportedly found nothing incriminating in its own investigation. (For whatever that’s worth.)

The NCAA, on the other hand, has shown it operates on its own timetable, and probably won’t care about any BCS or Heisman Trophy implications.

Cam Newton gets run over by a hippopotamus and can’t play.
2 percent.

Hippos are not, as far as I know, indigenous to eastern Alabama. (If anybody has seen any on the side of the road during their travels around Columbus, lemme know.) A bobcat attack is more likely, but Newton is a big dude. A hippo is more likely to do damage, so unless Newton decides to take off on a mid-week safari, the chances of this aren’t likely.

A.J. Green proves totally undefendable
75 percent

South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery had 192 receiving yards and two touchdowns against Auburn. Arkansas’ Greg Childs had 164 yards and two touchdowns. There’s no reason Green shouldn’t do some damage too.

Green’s prowess opens up things for the rest of the Georgia offense
50-60 percent

Orson Charles and Tavarres King appear to be hitting stride just in time, and Kris Durham will be back. The question is whether Georgia will be able to run the ball against Nick Fairley and company. The Bulldogs will have to run Caleb King and Washaun Ealey up the middle sometimes to keep them honest. But the passing game is likely to drive the train, along with Aaron Murray's scrambling ability.

Georgia plays loose and Auburn plays tight.
50 percent.

There were signs of that in the locker room Saturday. The players seemed relieved just to get a win, even though it doesn’t erase the sting of the Florida loss.

Then there was Todd Grantham, who was positively ebullient: After school president Michael Adams stuck his hand in a group of reporters to shake Grantham’s hand, I took Adams’ place, and Grantham looked at me and grinned: “Whaddaya got? C’mon! You’ve always got another question, so whaddaya got!”

It had been a hard week for Grantham, so it was understandable. Maybe it’ll rub off on the players.

As for Auburn, it knows what’s at stake, especially with Alabama losing on Saturday. At some point, do the Tigers stop feeling like the upstart national title contender, and feel the pressure that comes with the territory?

The Bulldogs score first
50 percent

This probably depends on the coin toss. You all know that Georgia is 5-0 when it scores first, and 0-5 when it doesn’t. But this isn’t as important as the next thing.

The Bulldogs keep control of the game, and it isn’t close
20 percent

Everyone also knows that Georgia hasn’t won close games, even when it has rallied. Auburn, meanwhile, is tested in coming back and in close games: It rallied from 21-7 down against South Carolina, and also won close games against LSU and Mississippi State.

If somehow Georgia can jump out to a big early lead, then Justin Houston and company could be really unloosed, the secondary could sit back and wait for turnovers, and who knows what happens from there.

Aaron Murray is perfect, and Cam Newton is not
40-50 percent

Murray’s only blemish was against Florida, when he was due for a clunker. Newton may be due for his own, and Georgia’s defense has proved opportunistic lately.
But the crowd will be on Newton’s side.

Obviously we'll have more as the week goes on. It's a CBS, mid-afternoon game, the college football world will be watching, and Georgia has a chance to redeem its season. We shall see.


Anonymous said...

OUR players are just not very smart. AJ Green has already ran his mouth with an absurd prediction. Its time to change the culture at UGA. Im glad after this years debacle that AJ will be gone.

matt b. said...


You have the intelligence of an Obama supporter.

Anonymous said...

Pray for 2006 redux!!

Go Dawg said...

The comment that our players are "Not Smart."

Ridiculous, absurd and clueless.

Or A**holish?

Not sure which, or maybe both??

Hard to believe a fool like you can get online, let alone type such drivel.

Anonymous said...

@anon 12:21.....

I understand the frustration and you should have included some coaches who are not smart either. These blind homers are the ones that are clueless, absurd, ridiculous and yes even A**holish as well.

Anonymous said...

Matt B.-- clearly, you do not.

matt b. said...


Yes, thankfully I’ve been blessed with a markedly higher level of intelligence. It enables me to see things for what they are, rather than what I “hope” for them to be.