GEORGIA WILL BEAT OSU
Enough has been said all over the Dawg Blogosphere about our green offensive line, small defensive ends and inexperienced linebackers and defensive backs. An equal amount of virtual ink has also been spilled about the juggernaut that is the Oklahoma State offense with weapons all over, great running game, great passing game and Boone Pickens shitting money all over the athletic program. Like 2005, Georgia has become the media favorite to get upset in a home opener by an offensive buzzsaw looking to gain national recognition in a "statement" game.
I will admit that there is a compelling case to let these reports worry you if you follow the bouncing ball of the marginally knowledgeable pundits. However, if you will stop staring at the spinning wheel and tune out the metronome you will easily recognize that the scenario that has Georgia losing to the Cowpokes always neglects the inescapable reality that for a large part of the game, the OSU defense will have to take the field and try to stop a Georgia offense that has an arsenal of weapons equally as impressive as OSU, if not more. Even with an inexperienced offensive line, the Georgia offense will score many points on OSU. Coach Mike Bobo will have a gameplan that works to the Dawgs' strengths and minimizes the impact of having such a green offensive line.
OSU couldn't stop anybody last year, so all of their games became track meets. The Georgia defense will make enough plays to keep this from becoming a track meet. I believe that OSU will score about 24 points, at most. Georgia will score over 30. The line is 6.5, which seems about right in my view. However, in the end, Georgia will prevail by about 10 points. My prediction is 34-24.
Key players for Georgia... I am expecting the three headed tailback of Thomas Brown, Kregg Lumpkin and Knowshon Moreno to combine for a big day on the ground. Also, we will get the standard outstanding play from our fullback Brannan Southerland. Green o-line or not, we will run effectively on Saturday and that will make it easier for Stafford to make some plays throwing the ball. Mike Bobo will likely call a game with nearly equal plays running and passing. But, when it is in the books, it will be the ground game that impressed the most in this game.
On defense, I am looking for surprisingly good games from both ends who have been ignored after the loss of Quentin Moses and Charles Johnson to the NFL. The speed of Rod Battle and Marcus Howard should help contain OSU QB Bobby Reid while our beef inside will get a great push upfield all night. There is no way that OSU will run inside against Owens, Weston and Atkins. I am sure that OSU receiver Adarius Bowman will expose our small corners a time or two. But, I also expect Asher Allen will come up with an interception at some point as well - possibly in the end zone to kill a threat.
Finally, with Mikey Henderson returning punts, it is not a question of "if" it is a matter of "when." He is always a threat to go the distance and I will not be surprised to see him do that early on Saturday.
My pick for surprising performance of the day is Marcus Howard. He will chase Bobby Reid and OSU running back Dantrell Savage behind the line of scrimmage all evening and he has the speed to catch them. He will be fun to watch with his sub 4.5 speed coming off the edge.
GEORGIA 34 - OSU 24.