The Geek’s Guide to UGA Football: Part II

Part two of this very nerdy guide to the Georgia Bulldogs’ football season starts here. So far, we’ve covered the Louisiana, South Carolina, and Arkansas games, all of which I see Georgia winning. At worst, I can imagine Georgia splitting the latter two games, but I think the defense will be thrust in the fire and come out tempered and strong.

On deck for the 3-0 Bulldogs will be Mississippi State, Colorado, and the orange horror that is the University of Tennessee.


at Mississippi StateX Men: The Last Stand

If UGA wins both of their previous SEC games, expectations will be climbing. MSU will likely be 1-2, fresh off a heartbreaking defeat against LSU that will see the Bulldogs struggle mightily against the roaring whirlwind of whiskey, hot grease and blood that even holy men unironically call Death Valley.

Now, here’s the key: don’t compare the STORY of X3 to my game prediction. Let’s get meta with this thing.

Remember the first X Men movie? Pretty good, right? There were some weak points, but it was entertaining and, for the most part, the movie captured the X Men faithfully. That’s the South Carolina game.

Did you see X2? Great, wasn’t it? There was all kinds of crazy action, the film’s universe expanded and we got a little more familiar with the characters. Sounds like the Arkansas game.

So, after those two blockbusters, when people heard that X Men 3 was going to happen, they got excited. But then they found out Bryan Singer wasn’t directing X3; Brett Ratner was. Brett Ratner who had made a good movie or two in the past, but didn’t have a great track record at the time.

Georgia is 16-5 all-time against MSU, but the last time they played, UGA was favored by 17… and won by 3. Starting to get it?

And did you see X Men: The Last Stand? It was terrible: contrived narrative band-aids to cover for departed actors, a tangled mess of a storyline, sophomoric nods to Internet-video-of-the-week humor. You came into it hopeful that Ratner might have one of his flashes of not-so-badness and it turned out to be exactly what you feared.

Oh, Vinnie...

And so too will the Mississippi State game be exactly what we fear: a cripple fight that carries on the grand Georgia tradition of shaking newly-minted confidence.

Both teams will play ugly, make a lot of mistakes, and the other Bulldogs may even take the lead in the 3rd quarter. UGA will pull together for a 10 point win, seven of which will come from the D, and a final field goal will make the Dawgs victory look more decisive than it will have been.

at ColoradoPredator

The Buffaloes have had this game circled for months. It’s not their home opener, but it might as well be. They play Hawaii in Boulder, then get a week off and play Georgia. They will be ready.

From all appearances, though, UGA’s got Colorado beat on almost all fronts. Talent-wise, in unit match-ups, Georgia’s walking into Boulder like Dutch and his men, toting high-caliber weaponry and chopping down trees with bullets.

The timing, however, is not on UGA’s side. With Colorado’s week off prior to the game and UGA as the favorite in a sure-to-be-hyped game (know how many times UGA has played outside of the Southeast? You will), Colorado could come into the game cloaked and ready to skin bitches.

Even beyond Colorado’s bye week, several things will keep this game from being the easy win it might seem to be: it comes after three consecutive SEC contests, two of which should receive 100% of the Bulldogs’ focus and effort; Georgia will likely be the favorite and feeling confident after a 4-0 start, which means they could melt in the spotlight like so many Richt teams.

But even if Colorado controls the first half, I can’t see their D keeping Aaron Murray and the rest from scoring. Their offense is good enough to get ahead, but they won’t run away with it.

Interestingly enough, this is precisely how one must approach Dan Hawkins. Make eye contact only AFTER you have done this.

What happens after the half is our Dutch-gets-covered-in-mud moment. Todd Grantham will make some defensive adjustments and they will work. No matter how minor or accidental, they’ll work and fans will point and say, “See? Willie wouldn’t have done that.”

The third quarter will be our trapmaking montage: Justin Houston laying tripwire, Cornelius Washington sharpening spearheads, Bacarri Rambo making gunpowder-tipped arrows. Even if the Buffaloes get wise to some of the tweaks late in the game—sidestep a trap or two—the talent disparity will show up as the teams have to look to the subs, and we’ll drop the counterweight on them.

I’m getting way too deep into the metaphor. Basically: the defense will slam the door, AJ will make at least one sick catch, and Walsh will ring up a 50-yarder in the thin Colorado air. Bulldogs win convincingly in the second half.

TennesseeRoboCop

Revenge!

Last year, Tennessee blew the doors off a Georgia team that had not developed a running game and was suffering an acute case of what physicians now refer to as Martinez Syndrome.

UGA couldn’t run, so Joe Cox couldn’t throw, and the defense bit on play-action bootleg after play-action bootleg. It was, in a word, sadistic. The entire 2009 Bulldog team got cornered in a steel mill and shotgun-mutilated by Kurtwood Smith.

But the core of that team was salvaged and improved. Now, UGA has a defensive coordinator who doesn’t base his playcalling on the law of averages (“Well, it didn’t work the last five times… so it’s GOT to work now!”). Now, UGA has two running backs to carry the ball, instead of a linebacker.

Georgia fans are going to have to deal with their own Fourth Directive in this game—how do you root against a Dooley?—but I think we’ll manage. Tennessee’s most dangerous weapon, their ED-209 if you will, has got to be their receiving corps, but just like the big ‘bot needed level ground to function, the WRs are going to need pass blocking. With UT’s O-line having a combined THREE career starts, I see the receivers tumbling down the stairs and squealing like mechanized babies. Which, by the way, confuses and terrifies me to this day.

Call it homerism, call it rival bloodlust, call it whatever you want, but the Vols have an offensive line made of balsa wood, a defense without God’s Own Hitman, Eric Berry, at the helm, and a whole new set of untested quarterbacks. I’m calling for a beatdown. Mudhole stomping. Cobra Assault Cannon.

There's no reason to put this here, but there's no reason to NOT put this here.

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