Friday, November 13, 2009

HDD Prediction and Predilection: Auburn Edition

What does Vegas know that I don't know? Or, better yet, what do the nation's bettors know that I don't know. Throughout the week Georgia has been held as a 4 or 5 point favorite. As we speak, the Dawgs are giving 4.5 points.

Do they know that Georgia hasn't beaten a team with a pulse since harvest began? Do they know that we have beaten Auburn only three times in Athens since Herschel toted the pigskin? Do they know that we aren't silly enough to try another "Blackout"?

On the other hand...

Maybe they know that Coach Richt has never lost to Tennessee, Florida and Auburn in the same season. Maybe they know that Joe Cox, the Ginger Ninja, is lethal at night. Maybe they are looking at our three common opponents (Tennessee, Arkansas and LSU) and concluding that the Dawgs have done a little better. We beat Arkansas by 11, Auburn lost by 19; Auburn beat Tennessee by 4, we lost by 26; We lost to LSU by 7, Auburn lost by 21. Our net in these three games was -22 while Auburn's net was -36. Could that equate to a Dawg victory tomorrow? It could if we block, run, throw, catch, tackle, cover and kick well. I don't think anyone could possibly know what we will see tomorrow. But, I will tell you what I hope to see.

1. Lots and lots of AJ Green. Please throw it to him at least 10 times and start doing it early. If AJ gets going early, the matchups everywhere else on the field will quickly begin to favor the Dawgs whether we are running or passing. Auburn can't ignore AJ unless we do first. Seems obvious, but in 3 of our 4 losses, AJ saw the ball 5 times or less: (OSU = 4; LSU = 5; UF = 3.) He did have 8 receptions against Tennessee, but so many other things were going wrong in Knoxville that 25 receptions may not have been enough.

2. A solid game from Washaun Ealey or Caleb King or both. I favor having one guy shoulder the load. But in the end, what I want to see is a combined 30 carries for at least 140 yards. If we get that, we should have opportunities in our passing game that would otherwise shut down like screens, an open Orson Charles and less safety help against AJ..

3. Defensive end play! I know it was Tenn. Tech, but I would like to see a continuation of that speed rush that we saw from our ends last week, especially since Justin Houston will be back. A healthy dose of pressure from Houston, Washington, Robinson, Dobbs, et al will go a long way to making it a tough night for Chris Todd. He has a QB rating of 146.55 and has thrown 17 TDs, only 3 INTS and has been sacked only 12 times. By comparison, Cox's number are 136.99, 17 TDs, 12 INTs, 8 sacks. Tomorrow night, we need our Ginger Ninja to have a better night than Todd and our DEs are the key to making that happen.

4. First Blood! In more ways than one. I would like to see us score first, of course. But I also want to see lots and lots of Rambo. You know what I mean.

5. Finally, when this game is done, I want Rex Robinson and Kevin Butler to be thrilled... because that will mean that Blair Walsh and Drew Butler again had stellar performances. Frankly, with Drew, less will be more. But I would like to see lots of Walsh kickoffs and PATs and in the event that he is needed, perfection on field goals!

I will be heading out in one hour for the 6 hour drive. I will be running around Athens tonight in a monkey suit and will look forward to cranking up the tailgate early tomorrow. I haven't decided on my game day drink since, like our coordinators, no combination has been consistently successful.

HDD prediction: Dawgs 30 - Auburn 27.


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