Friday, September 26, 2008
I am more worried about this game than any game thus far. Though history says I should always worry about the SCar game - I just didn't
anyway. But this game worries me because we still aren't quite firing on all cylinders on offense because of the young and reshuffled o-line and the absence of Southerland. Alabama is extremely confident and they have more than enough talent to take this game. But, we are playing the "Blackout" card and that means we, the fans, will be in a crazed mood by gametime and that will be enough to see our Dawgs to victory. Assuming, of course, that we outscore Alabama. That is what has made our previous two Blackouts so successful... we outscored Auburn and Hawaii. So, how do we outscore Alabama?
Against Bama, the yards on the ground will come with much more difficulty but we will be able to compensate by passing for chunks. Moreno will not reach 100 yards and we will rush for less than 140 yards. But, Stafford and our fleet of receivers will pick up the slack. Stafford will throw for just under 300 yards - say 288ish. MoMass will be around 100 and AJ Greene will be around 100. Moreno will also be around 50. Fly routes, out routes, screens and a possible halfback option pass (or flea flicker from Moreno back to Stafford) will be on the menu.
On defense, we will gear up to stop their potent running attack and force John Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Parker Wilson to try and beat us. To that end, he will have a decent day with underneath dink and dunk stuff courtesy of a frustrating, but ultimately successful bend but don't break philosophy. Bama will run for about 140 yards and throw for around 225. But, we will keep them out of the end zone and force field goal tries just enough to slip past them. The more pressure we put on JPW, the larger will be our margin of victory.
Despite our woes on kickoff coverage, look for our kick return team to do something special in this game.
HDD PREDICTION: DAWGS 27 - Alabama 19.
By the way... if the Dawgs happen to go off like a powder keg and light up Bama like a Chinese holiday, then ESPN and all the other wankers will shift the football fellate fest to our beloved team now that the USC Trojans have fallen. Be prepared, because it is coming. Pun intended.
TO catch up briefly with the goings on... Leslie and I had a great trip to Annapolis for my 20th Reunion and the Middies beat Rutgers to make it even better. The tailgate set-up inside the stadium was fantastic and I highly recommend it for all future football tailgates... whenever practicable. After the game I found a bar to watch most of the Georgia game, but did not see all of it. I saw the replay Monday night and then was on the road again Tuesday for Seattle and Vancouver. Cold and rainy! Got back last night at 1:00 am and was shocked to discover that USC had tubed it against Oregon State. While that gives a few other teams some room for error, the Trojans can still wind up in the title game if they don't lose again. I had previously thought that they had the best chance to finsih undefeated. Now, out of all of the BCS teams, maybe Oklahoma has the best chance but I now think that none will be undefeated. BYU might stay undefeated but so what? I now expect the MNC game to feature two conference champs with one loss apiece. I think this development helps Georgia - assuming of course, that we win. Speaking of winning, my UGA-Bama prediction is next.
Southern Cal 25 OREGON STATE NOPE
WAKE FOREST 15.5 Navy
DUKE 7 Virginia
MIAMI 7.5 North Carolina
FLORIDA 23 Ole Miss
NEBRASKA 7 Virginia Tech
GEORGIA 7 Alabama
AUBURN 6.5 Tennessee
Wisconsin 6 MICHIGAN
CLEMSON 11 Maryland
OKLAHOMA 17.5 Tcu
FLORIDA STATE 6 Colorado
PENN STATE 14 Illinois
LSU 24 Miss. State
Last week 6-7 (improving trend) and 21-29 for the year. No where to go but up.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
My picks in BOLD and GOLD…
West Virginia 3 COLORADO (Home dog covers)
OLE MISS 6.5 Vanderbilt (I would love to see Vandy win)
GEORGIA TECH 8.5 Miss State (This should be low scoring)
Lsu 2.5 AUBURN (I don’t know why – just a feeling – the same kind that keeps me picking only 5 right each week)
Alabama 9.5 ARKANSAS (This line seems too large, but never underestimate the futility of Casey Dick)
Rutgers 5 NAVY (Please make me wrong Navy – but only by winning outright)
UNC 2 Virginia Tech (UNC over Rutgers was a misdirection – they aren’t that good.)
FLORIDA STATE 4 Wake Forest (Who knows?)
MICHIGAN STATE 8.5 Notre Dame (Irish cover but may lose)
Miami (FL) 4 TEXAS A&M (I think the Canes bounce back)
East Carolina 7.5 NC STATE (Can the Pirates win on the road?)
Florida 7 TENNESSEE (Clawfense will struggle again)
Georgia 7 ARIZONA STATE (Dawgs will win by 17)
On the year 15-22-1. Consistently picking 5 right every week. But which 5?
I expect our offense to move the ball well and score over 30 points. I think we will see 40 or more rushes and about 25-30 passes. The second half should be where the running game really grinds out the yardage and puts the game away. If we catch the damn football, we will have good opportunities off of play action. We will rush for 200 yards and pass for 225 yards.
Rudy Carpenter will get his 250 yards passing. They will not be able to run the ball, so passing will be their only option. We will bring more blitzes from different angles to make him get rid of the ball more quickly than we did last week. I know Coach Richt said blitzing Rudy can lead to improvement in his performance. That is a smokescreen. We will blitz him hard early and often, a la Colt Brennan. In the ASU-USC game last year, Rudy had a great 1st quarter. But USC adjusted and started blitzing lights out the next three quarters resulting in 6 sacks. Carpenter was sacked 54 times last year. His o-line has protected him better thus far this year. We must get a rush on him and it may take blitzing linebackers to make it happen. If we get to him early on, he will rattle and then we could be in for a great ride. If he has time to throw, they will score some TDs. I think we will get to him some but not as much as we want to.
I hope all of our traveling fan contingent has a great time in Tempe and convince the ASU fans to come to Athens for the return game.
HDD Prediction: DAWGS 38 - ASU 21
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
When I learned that UGA was going to play in Tempe, I could not wait to make the trip. But, as it turns out, my 20 Year Reunion at the Naval Academy is the same weekend. So my wife and I are headed to Annapolis for a nice get away and to see some old friends that I haven't seen in 5, 10, 15 or more years. Navy is playing Rutgers and will probably have trouble finding a way to win. But, needless to say, my true football passion will be a few thousand miles to the west. However, I will have a serious leg up on all you Dawgs going out and attempting to tailgate in Tempe for the 3 hour maximum allowed by law. Your temperatures will be soaring near 100 degress. And, if I am not mistaken, liquor is verboten on University property. In extreme contrast to that program, check out our reunion tailgate set-up:
See the gold rectangle to the far right that says '53 Pavillion? That is our reserved tailgate area which also happens to be located INSIDE the stadium. It sits on top of a hill and overlooks the endzone. It is covered, has restrooms and plenty of space to set up tables of food. Seating is located just below the Pavillion on the hill. In the picture below, you can see the Pavillion at the bottom of the image where the blue scoreboard is seen.
From our Class President, Tucker Hite:
"Join us INSIDE the stadium next to the '53 pavillion in the area called the Northeast Ring. The tailgate is being catered by Bo Brooks. Just a hint of what you can look forward to includes Hot Pit Beef, Grilled Chicken, Maryland Crab Soup, and best of all the Eastern Shore Raw Bar with Maryland oysters and clams (shucked to order) and tender steamed shrimp. And if that wasn't enough, to top it all off you can indulge in Bo Brooks Famous Nutty Buddies. Of course if there's any time left you can watch the game in our reserved 1988 section right in front of the pavillion. Beer and Wine included." The tailgate opens at 12:30 and ends shortly after the game - which should be about 7:30... just in time for me to find a TV tuned into ABC.
Oh, and the best part may be this... the temperature is not supposed to be higher than 72 degrees. So, while my thoughts will certainly be on what is happening in Tempe starting at 8:00 pm EST, I am feeling pretty good about how we will spend the 8 hours leading up to kick off at Sun Devil Stadium.
GO DAWGS and GO NAVY!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Evidently, ASU was too busy "Bringing on Georgia" to find a way to beat UNLV, losing in overtime by a field goal. Fortunately, however, most coaches file their ballots before the games are actually finished so we can still say we are playing 24th ranked ASU. So there's that.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
THEY WEREN'T SOME POWERFUL TEAM - HAVING LOST 6 STRAIGHT SEC GAMES.
No, it wasn't pretty. But it was a win and it illuminated many areas where we need to improve. I hope we see that improvement in Tempe. We just have to keep winning. But to do that, we will need to improve from where we are right now.
Brian Mimbs' leg was a howitzer. Mimbs had 5 punts for 261 yards with a 52.2 yard average. He stopped two inside the 20 yard line and had two for more than 50 yards. But, the play of the day for the offense came in the 4th quarter when he punted from inside the 5 yard line. The ball went into orbit before coming back to earth and coming to rest at the USC 12 yard line. This was a 77 yard punt which flipped the field at a critical part of the game. This quote from Asher Allen sums it up: ""Whew, I thought that came out of a JUGS Machine. It looked like somebody hit it with two legs. I did not know what was going on. Obviously he was making plays when we needed to."
Rennie Curran. He only registered 6 official tackles, but his sack in the third quarter ended a scoring opportunity for the Cocks. Rennie was also responsible for the defensive play of the game when USC tailback Mike Davis attempted to dive over the top at the goal line. Rennie flew over to make a hard hit at the goal line. His helmet hit right on the football causing it to come out and bounce into the end zone into the waiting arms of an alert Asher Allen. Again, another quote from Asher sums it up, ""It was about as big as a beach ball. "I ain't going to lie. It was a gold beach ball with diamonds encrusted in it. It was the prettiest thing ever."
Reshad Jones intercepted a Smelley pass at the 3 yard line to snuff out USC's final scoring threat. My favorite part of the play was his mature decision to immediately take a knee, knowing that with only 13 seconds remaining the Dawgs could snap it once and the game would be over. I have seen many other kids in that situation take off running - probably spurred on by the raw adrenaline of making the big play. But despite the fact that there was plenty of green grass in front of him, Reshad didn't hesitate to go straight to his knee. Smart. Mature. Thanks #9.
One Great Play Call and Execution. The two-point conversion ended up being a brilliant call because points were, as usual, difficult to come by against USC. Gary Danielson disagreed with the call - but not vehemently - and he was flat wrong. The actual play we ran was a beauty and the most magnificent part of the play was Moreno's block that upended the end and opened the passing lane for Stafford to hit an open Kris Durham. It was just pitchin' and catchin.'
Offensive Line. I am willing to concede that USC has a stout defense. But our O-Line underperformed anyway. Stafford was under tremendous pressure most of the day. The run blocking was mediocre. Overall, I think that the USC defensive line won this battle. We need to improve here - and I think we will. Although he is not a lineman, it will be a bonus to get Southerland back.
Pass Rush. We got absolutely zero pressure on Smelley with our front four. The only way weever hurried him was through blitzing linebackers. This will not be good enough to beat many of the teams that remain on our schedule. This is an area that showed some weakness in the first two games. So getting a pass rush from our defensive ends needs to receive utmost attention and show marked improvement. I am not as confident that this area will improve much. I hope I am wrong.
Picking Up the Blitz. Captain Munnerlyn was able to record two sacks on corner blitzes when he was standing on the line of scrimmage just outside the end each time. It was obvious he was coming and we neither stopped him nor burned him with a quick pass. I think Stafford missed this twice - but maybe the assignment was missed by someone else.
Dropped Passes. I saw at least three that definitely should have been caught. I will not treat this is an affliction because we always drop passes against USC. We have been catching the ball well all season until a few chances in this game. It is part and parcel of our annual worst game against South Carolina.
The Areas Most in Need of Improvement
As I stated earlier, I feel good about our offensive line getting better throughout the season. But, I am not so sure we will see any sort of dominance from our defensive end postion at any point this season. They are not getting off of blocks at all.
Let's go Dawgs. Get ready for the Duel in the Desert.
1. At least 40 rushes and no less than a 5 yard average. 35 rushes and 3.0 ypc. Knowshon should get between 20 and 25 carries. 20 carries.
2. Stafford completes at least 60% of his throws. Exactly 60%.
3. We score touchdowns at least 75 % of the time inside the red zone. 50% but should have been 2 for 2.
1. Hold them under 100 yards rushing (like Vandy did.) 18 yards! Well done.
2. At least 5 QB sacks and 5 QB hurries. 2 sacks and 16? hurries - not sure how they count hurries.
3. No plays greater than 25 yards. 4 plays greater than 25 yards: 34, 25, 34,30 - all passes.
1. Make all field goal attempts inside 50 yards. 2 for 2.
2. Average 40 net yards per punt. Netted 44.5.
3. Allow no more than 15 yards per kickoff return - on average. 19.7 yards per return.
1. Plus 2 in turnover margin. Exactly +2 - biggest statistic of the day.
Friday, September 12, 2008
CMR Pep Talk
If I was Coach Richt, after Thursday's practice I would have said something like this (without trying to sound at all like crazy Lou Holtzth):
Men, you have worked hard. In two games, you have shown that you understand what we want to accomplish as an offense and defense. On offense, you have shown that we have the players to strike quickly. On defense, you have shown that you can shut down the other offense. Now, it is time to take this preparation on the road to open our SEC season. There are high expectations for what you guys can and should do this season. It all starts in earnest this Saturday against a team that beat you last year and kept you out of the SEC Championship Game and the National Championship Game. But, this is a new year. This is our year. And I promise you this... If you go into this game absolutely determined to execute on every down... absolutely determined to whip the other guy on every play... if you will do that... I will let you score 50 points if you can. If you guys want to go over there and hang 50 on South Carolina... I will not call off the Dawgs if you are giving this kind of effort on every play. Gentlemen, it is up to you. Do you want to go over there and just win this game? Or do you want to make a statement that WE are the best football team in the land? 50 points men. It is up to you. Now let's get after their asses!
What do I expect to happen? I think we will run the ball 40 times and pass it about 25 times. The result will be around 200 yards rushing and 250 yards passing. We will score over 30 points. Our defense will shut down their running game and force them to pass. They will have some success passing underneath to their tight end and running back out of the backfield, but they will have trouble sustaining drives and will struggle in the red zone. They will score no more than 17 points.
Final score: Dawgs 34 - Gamecocks 13
My highly unreliable picks are in Bold and Gold…
SOUTH FLORIDA 4 Kansas YEP - barely
DUKE 1.5 Navy (C’mon Middies – make me pay) YEP, unfortunately
VANDERBILT 7.5 Rice YEP
Auburn 10.5 MISS STATE (Will Auburn get Croomed again?) NOPE
Georgia 7 SOUTH CAROLINA (Dawgs win B-I-G) PUSH - though I was wrong anyway
Wisconsin 1 FRESNO STATE (The other Dawgs get it done as well) NOPE - sadly
Michigan 1.5 NOTRE DAME (You can’t win with Jimmy Clausen) NOPE, Holy Crap Blue, you really suck.
VIRGINIA TECH 7.5 Georgia Tech (Toughest pick of the week) NOPE, VT wins without the cover.
CLEMSON 18.5 NC State (Rebound game – sorry Wolfpack) NOPE, missed by 1/2 a point.
California 14 MARYLAND (Am I missing something on this line?) NOPE, yeah I missed several memos on this one!
UCONN 10.5 Virginia (UVA loses but covers) NOPE you cannot even imagine how terrible UVA is.
Oklahoma 20 WASHINGTON (Locker still reeling about celebration) YEP, this one seemed too easy.
SOUTHERN CAL 10 Ohio State (Ho hum, another beat down for tOSU) YEP and not surprised
Last week was an unimpressive 5-7. On the year: 10-15. This week 5-7-1. Consistently averaging 5 correct picks per week!
It is a classic which relates to UGA vs. South Carolina.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
1. Pull for UCLA to beat BYU. If that happens, then UGA will have the current longest winning streak in Division One. Which is a nice thing to have mentioned or written for as long as it lasts.
2. Pull for tOSU to lose to USC. This is going to happen whether you pull for USC or not. The point is we need tOSU to lose now because they have a very MACish schedule remaining and could run the table even without Beanie Wells. Yeah, they have Wisconsin and Penn State left, but this is a game we need for them to lose. USC has a few legitimate obstacles remaining in their Pac 10 schedule.
3. Pull for Notre Dame to lose to Michigan. Why? Because Jimmy Clausen ain't nothing but a pussy. Right Pulpwood? Actually it doesn't matter to us either way, but it is always fun to watch a Clausen get beat.
4. Give thanks for Verne Lundquist.
Go DAWGS. GATA!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
You know you have been waiting and now here is your reward. Pulpwood Smith weighs in on the Dawgs' first true test against South Carolina and their quarterbacks that ain't nothin but pu__ys.
May not be safe for work or around your pastor.
Monday, September 08, 2008
USC held UVA to only 187 total yards. 155 passing and 32 rushing. 56 plays and 3.34 yards per play.
USC held UVA to only 7 points.
USC forced 4 turnovers.
Impressive? Maybe. Have you wondered how bad the Virginia offense might be? Yeah, me too. So let's see how Richmond's defense fared against UVA.
Richmond held UVA to only 295 total yards. 204 passing and 91 rushing. 77 plays and 3.83 yards per play.
Richmond held the UVA offense to only 10 points.
Richmond forced 2 turnovers.
I know what you might be saying... "USC had such a huge lead that they unloaded the bench in the 4th quarter and gave up some garbage yardage." So let's throw out the 4th quarter of each game and take another look.
Through 3 quarters:
USC held UVA to 158 total yards on 47 plays for 3.36 yards per play.
Richmond held UVA to 242 yards on 62 plays for 3.90 yards per play.
USC held UVA to 7 points.
Richmond held UVA to 3 points.
USC forced 1 turnover.
Richmond forced 2 turnovers.
So, through 3 quarters Richmond surrendered 4 fewer points and only 19 inches more per play than the #1 team in America. (As it turns out, if you look at all 4 quarters, the difference in yards per play is 0.49 yards per play - or 17.6 inches.) You do know that Richmond is a 1-AA football team, right? Now I am not saying that USC isn't a great football team. They are. But, I am saying that the Virginia offense is terrible and that perhaps the poll voters jizzed a little prematurely in moving them to #1. Nevertheless, after USC pummels Ohio State - who also has a terrible offense - it will be a moot point.
What do you say?
Thanks to Bulldawg Blawg for creating this excellent video.
I suppose the "Notre Dame gets a win over SDSU" narrative was too compelling. Whatever...
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Let's start with Michigan... After losing a close game to Utah last week, Big Blue struggled to beat the MAC's Miami of Ohio 16-6. This is the same Miami team that Vanderbilt smoked 34-13 last week on the Redhawks own field.
The Ohio State University struggled to put away a pesky The Ohio University 26-14, needing a late punt return for a TD to ice the game after trailing 14-12 in the fourth quarter. Another MAC school. Sure tOSU was without Beanie Wells, but shouldn't they have more than one running back who can compete against a middle of the pack MAC team? tOSU is in for an embarrassment next weekend at USC.
The funny thing is, neither Miami or Ohio had a winning record last season. But, you know who did win the MAC the past two years? Central Michigan, who Georgia throttled 56-17 today.
Maybe Penn State and Wisconsin are the class of that conference this season. Illinois has a lot of offense with Juice Williams, but zero defense - which is odd for a Zook team.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Stafford gets his first 300 yard game. 213 but was most effective with most throws.
Moreno goes over 100 yards. 168 yards, 3 TD's and a highlight for the ages.
Offense goes over 575 yards. 552 yards - missed it by "that much."
65% or better on 3rd down conversions. 9 out of 12, 75% - Sweet.
No turnovers. Late fumble by Joe Cox on mishandled snap.
Hold CMU under 225 yards passing. 250 yards - LeFevour was a competitor.
Hold CMU under 125 yards rushing. 59 yards. Nice.
Hold CMU under 35% on 3rd down conversions. 6 out of 15. 40%.
Force turnovers: 2 interceptions, 1 fumble. 1 interception.
Hold CMU to 10 points or less before garbage time is in effect. 17 points, all before garbage time.
Walsh perfect on FG attempts. Missed a 50+ yarder.
CMU average starting field position after kickoffs inside 27 yard line. We were WAY OFF on this one.
UGA average over 10 yards per punt return. 12.7.
Our passing attack could dominate the game, but I expect Coach Bobo to mix in plenty of runs to get our running game in sync for next week. Still, Stafford will go over 300 yards with 3 TD's - two of them greater than 50 yards. I think it will be so tempting to throw deep ball after deep ball in this one and we will see a number of them. But we also need to sharpen our execution on the short game and screens that will be needed to neutralize the type of pressure we will face in our next several ball games. For this reason, and this reason alone, Stafford will not get the chance to post insane numbers on this porous pass defense.
Knowshon will break 100 yards on about 14 carries with 2 TDs. King and Samuel will both get their share of work again and King may also eclipse 100 yards. I believe we will push 600 yards of offense in this game.
We will see a steady rotation of players coming in to keep fresh legs on the field to stop CMUs spread offense. While it would be nice to see a ton of blitzing to disrupt their passing attack, I think CWM will play it fairly straight with a few situational blitzes. I still expect to see tremendous pressure on LeFevour but he is fairly elusive and may prove difficult to sack. Look for no more than 4 sacks, but lots of hurries. I think this offense will put together a few drives between the 20s but we will not surrender more than one touchdown before garbage time.
While I love to score TDs, I would like to see Walsh boot another long FG or two. Also hope to see much improvement in the placement and coverage on kickoffs.
HDD Prediction: UGA 55 - CMU 17.
Go DAWGS! GATA!
ESPN's Thomas Nuemann reports on a study of BCS teams out-of-conference scheduling and the thing shows that UGA ranked 24 out of 60 in percentage of OOC games against BCS schools.
Here is the line for UGA...
|Team||Nonconf. games||Nonconf. BCS||Rec. vs. I-A non-BCS||Rec. vs. I-AA||Pct. of gms. vs. BCS|
|24. Georgia||34||11-3 (.786)||15-0 (1.000)||5-0 (1.000)||.412|
Note that we are 31-3 OOC during this 10 year stretch. The study did not count Bowl games because the teams do not pick their opponents. UGA is 8-2 in bowl games during that stretch.
There is some interesting information in the series of reports from the study if you care to look at who plays the most cupcakes, who has the biggest balls and who you should not play unless your big balls can be backed up by a good team.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Last weekend, while the kids and I headed to Athens for the season opener, Leslie prepared for her first adventure race that took place in Jacksonville on Sunday. The BEAR was a 10 hour race that included trekking, kayaking, swimming, biking, climbing and other challenges. She and her teammate Carlin were the first all-female team to cross the finish line. According to Leslie, the hardest part was rowing an ocean kayak 12 miles in rough water. But the worst part was wading and swimming through the tea-colored water of the St. Johns River and surrounding marshes. This took a lot of courage for someone deathly afraid of snakes and every time the stems of lily pads wrapped around her leg he she had to reassure herself that it is was not a cluster of water mocassins. Eewwww!
Way to go Leslie and Carlin!
Here is a post on the Crossfit Amelia Island Blog with more details about the race.
Leslie and Carlin at the end of the swim.
My picks in BOLD and GOLD
South Carolina 10 VANDERBILT Yep
BOSTON COLLEGE 7 Georgia Tech NOPE
West Virginia 8 EAST CAROLINA NOPE
AUBURN 17.5 Southern Miss NOPE
OKLAHOMA 21.5 Cincinnati YEP
FLORIDA 21.5 Miami (Florida) NOPE - nice late field goal Urban - you suck!
GEORGIA 24 Central Michigan YEP
PENN STATE 16.5 Oregon State YEP
WAKE FOREST 8.5 Ole Miss YEP
South Florida 14 CENTRAL FLORIDA NOPE
LSU 24 Troy (If they played Sat)
MICHIGAN 14.5 Miami (Ohio) NOPE
*VIRGINIA 24 Richmond NOPE
I must be NUTTs picking Ole Miss.
Last week was an abysmal 5-8. But, I can be worse. Just wait and see.