Friday, October 27, 2006

For the record...

Here's what I honestly think about the Georgia-Florida game tomorrow.

Short version: this is the single worst matchup I've seen for Georgia in perhaps a decade. Sell the house, pawn everything you own, sell your car, sell your mouth on the street for a while, and pool it all and put it on the Gators.

Here's the longer version:

I wish I was trying to prepare myself for a loss by overthinking negatively. I'd love to think we have a chance, but I've looked at this game a hundred ways, and every single one is bad news.

Their strengths on O perfectly line up against our weaknesses on D, our strengths on O match up against their strengths on D (only not as strong). Their weaknesses (the secondary) don't matter too much because (a) we have a freshman QB that makes freshman mistakes, (b) our receivers can't catch the ball, and (c) forcing us to throw means even if we are playing well, we aren't controlling the clock - which is the only way other teams have hung with Florida.

The only way our D can stop their O is if we get pressure on the QB before they get rid of the ball - only Florida runs a quick passing game unless they're behind, and Leak is extremely accurate. Auburn put pressure on Leak coming around the ends with fast LBs - coming at Leak from the side while standing in the way of the quick passes to the sidelines. Our LBs haven't rushed the pass well at all this year, let alone that our LBs can't cover anyone in the flat because they're too slow. Florida's offense has a scheme to make a safety or an OLB on a wide receiver on just about every play. Percy Harvin and Dallas Baker are embarrassingly fast. Tra Battle and our scrub LBs got worked over by Vanderbilt's Tight Ends.

Preseason, the strongest points about Georgia were the running backs and kickers. Now, our starting RB is out for the year, along with the All-SEC kicker. Our current kicker missed a 35 yarder that would've sealed the Vandy game, and a freaking extra point that could've cost the MSU game.

Our two best kick returners are out for the year with injuries - and if you've seen the last 5 games, more than half the time our kick returns result in a block in the back, half the distance penalty that makes our drives start on the 7 or 8 yard line (and yes, that means our returns were only getting to the 15).

We're as bad as I've ever seen on defense on third downs. It can be 3rd and 15, and the pass will go 16, guaranteed.

Georgia is terrible at sustaining long drives because of (a) stupid penalties - mainly from the offensive line, (b) aforementioned inability to catch by receivers, (c) no commitment to running the ball, and (d) predictable playcalling - namely, if it's third and more than 2, expect a screen pass to the fullback on the wide side of the field. Works never-y time.

So basically, the things you need to do against Florida (if the Auburn, Tennessee game, and the first 3 quarters of the Alabama game are the guide) are control the clock, win the field possession game, have great special teams, put pressure on the QB from the LB positions, and make no mistakes. Georgia does exactly none of those things well.

They've had two weeks to prepare, and to be angry after their loss to Auburn (which was a lot closer than the score looked, if you didn't see it - Auburn scored a TD after a fumble on a rugby style pitch on the last play of the game). Meanwhile, we're playing our 5th straight SEC opponent. And another thing, the SEC sets conference schedules - and Georgia is the only school that plays 7 straight SEC games without a bye or OOC opponent mixed in. UT plays 6 in a row to end the year; Florida and Ole Miss play 5 in a row. Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky and Vandy play 3 in a row, and the rest 4. That seem fair?

Everything I look at with this game makes me think Florida whips us bad. Before the last month, I never thought any team would just run all over us. I used to think that our D would keep us in every game and we'd just need our offense to make some plays. Now, I can't think that way. Our D plays too soft a zone, gives up way too many yards and stays out on the field way too long. Teams can take risks on us, because they don't have to play the typical conservative defense and field position SEC game.

I'm not dancing around this or setting the bar low for my own mind. We're definitely going to get whipped.

So that's it. I do not see a way that Georgia can win the game tomorrow. But I will be drunk regardless.