Kevin Liles-US PRESSWIRE
Dawg Sports identifies this week's least compelling contest.
We're counting down the last few days of Hate Week. If you haven't had the opportunity to peruse vineyarddawg's Biblical perspectives, you owe it to yourself to check them out here, here, and here. MaconDawg has also let us know what's at stake on the recruiting trail this weekend. I can't even begin to heap enough praise on all of the readers' excellent fan posts this week. Having picked all of the conference contests and national games of interest against the spread, the only thing left for me to do is to identify the National Game of Disinterest. This is the game about which only those who attend(ed) the school, work(ed) for the institution, or know someone on the team will care, and this week that game is the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
Let's face it: we're going to lose tomorrow. You know it. I know it. The American people know it. We are 4-18 against the Gators since Steve Spurrier revolutionized offense in the SEC in 1990. Since Mark Richt took the helm, we are just 3-8. We have not won back-to-back games against Florida since Bad English's "When I see You Smile" was the number 1 song in the country. Sure, Will Muschamp is 0-1 against his alma mater as a head coach so far, but Coach Richt has never beaten a Florida head man more than once during his time in Athens. Even Ron Zook somehow managed to go 2-1 against us. Moreover, the last Florida head coach to lose his first two games to Georgia was Charley Pell in 1979 and 1980. The Gators did not win a single game in 1979, and, even with the greatest runningback of all time on the team, we needed a miraculous, last-minute touchdown pass to win in 1980. The 2012 Dawgs are not the 1980 Dawgs.
In the SEC, Florida's scoring defense is second only to mighty Alabama's. The Gators allow just 12.1 points per game. They held a Volunteer squad that dropped 44 points on us in Sanford to just 20 points in Neyland. They held a Kentucky team that put up 24 points on us scoreless. Against the Gamecocks who thoroughly demolished us 35-7 at the beginning of the month, the Gators forced 4 turnovers and allowed just 191 yards and 11 points last week. Remember what South Carolina did to our young offensive line? Do we really think that line will look any better against Florida's talented and experienced front seven?
Using standard statistics, Florida's offense appears to be pedestrian. However, using more advanced metrics, the Gators are 17th in the country in offensive F/+. But no matter how you measure it, Florida's offense is strongest where we our defense is weakest. Georgia allows more than 4 yards per rush and 167 yards per game on the ground, which is 57th nationally and in the bottom quartile of our conference. Florida RB Mike Gillislee is averaging 4.7 yards per rush and had a 146-yard day against LSU! Even more troubling is the fact that QB Jeff Driskel rushed 8 times for 81 yards against Tennessee and 11 times for 177 yards and 3 TDs against Vanderbilt (in addition to boasting a 147.6 passer rating on the season). Sure, that's just Tennessee and Vanderbilt, but have you ever seen us stop a running quarterback? Spoiler alert: with our best defensive end out for the season, you won't see it this weekend.
Look: I love Georgia, and I hate Florida. I will be watching every minute of this game just like all of you, but that doesn't mean it's not the National Game of Disinterest. The very definition of a National Game of Disinterest is the one game each week about which only people who have some personal connection to one of the teams will care. The only people who will be watching Saturday's showdown are people who will be decked out in red-and-black or orange-and-blue. Everyone else knows that we're going to lose. I wish I were wrong on this one, but Don't Bet On It!