On a perfect football Saturday in so many ways, Georgia made the necessary adjustments to pull away from Georgia Southern. What follows isn't anything ground shaking, earth-shattering or mind-blowing. It's just the observations of a fan with a voice, a keyboard, and a dream.
1. As long as Georgia schedules Georgia Southern, expect the boys from Statesboro to show up and play tough. They've got a point to prove and, for a half, really impressed especially on offense. I have to ask: Should we schedule this game at all? In the beginning, it was done largely out of respect for Erk Russell. But this game is just begging for trouble, especially the potential of injury. Starting fullback Merritt Hall re-injured his ankle, but we otherwise survived with only a few dings and bruises. If we're gonna schedule an FCS school late in the year, schedule someone else. Triple option teams do you no favors...
2. ...unless you are tuning up for one of the few FBS schools that exclusively run this offense. Georgia Tech might have bigger lineman than Southern, but I don't think they have anywhere near the speed that the Eagles displayed on Saturday. After all, Paul Johnson is one of the architects of what current Georgia Southern head coach Jeff Monken runs down in Statesboro. Want to read a good prophecy? Check out 'hailtogeorgia's' take. Dead. On.
3. If you are old enough, do you remember when all games started at 1:30? Prior to ESPN's influence and ascension, any Division I team was only allowed to be on national TV twice a year. In 1980, for example, Georgia's first nationally televised game was against South Carolina, followed by Florida the following week. That was it. Point is, 1:30 was the norm for kickoffs back in the day. Now, it still seems incredibly early. It did allow for everyone to settle in nicely for the late games. More on that in just a bit...
5. Georgia Southern pressured Aaron Murray early, with a couple of first-half sacks. However, he was deadly-efficient once again completing 18 of 28 for 330 yards and four touchdowns.
6. Georgia's 6-play, 78 yard drive with just over a minute before the half was a thing of beauty, culminating with a 24-yard pass to Malcolm Mitchell in the corner. At that moment, I ceased to worry about the outcome.
8. Marshall Morgan's extra-point attempts seem to be fixed. His long field-goal attempt in the first quarter was probably hindered by a high-snap. Georgia Southern's receiver (who probably stepped on the end-line) made a hustle play and returned the ball past mid-field. Let this be a lesson to the kicking team. I don't think anyone anticipated a return, and it almost went to the house.
9. Parker Welch made a nice throw to Justin Scott-Wesley to finish Georgia's scoring. It was a nice throw and a better catch, as the defender was shielding the ball. Good to see this. Scott-Wesley has tremendous speed and could really be quite the weapon going forward.
11. Georgia's defense has all the advantage now as Tech comes to town next week. I would not be surprised to see Tech try and pass the ball more in an attempt to keep the Dawgs honest. And I'll reiterate my earlier thought: Tech is slower than Georgia Southern. If those two teams played against each other, it would be a close game.
11a. BTW, this will be Year 5 of facing Paul Johnson's Triple Option. One of the reasons we lost in 2008 was because we had not faced the Triple Option. That, and Willie Martinez "bump and hope" defense. A whole generation of Bulldogs have now dealt with Tech's Miracle (leg) Whip. Big advantage.
12. How much pressure is on the Tennessee administration right now? The Vols are going to need more than a little bit of good fortune when they make their choice for the post-Dooley rebuilding project. It will be a tall task when there just aren't that many names out there right now; certainly not many with a ton of baggage. Our colleagues over at Rockytoptalk know what's at stake. Tennessee's problems are way bigger than replacing a football coach. There are several dumpster fires burning out of control in the SEC at the present time. It's hard to decide who's flames are highest, but Tennessee would get my vote. The Vols expect great things, and at the present time any return to relevance is many years future distant. They will probably lose most of their offensive firepower next season.
12a. Why did Derek Dooley bench Tyler Bray for much of the first half? It couldn't be because Bray was a bit off target, could it? I really wonder about that.
13. I wonder if Oregon's offense is just tired from all that running around Late in the game, The Ducks couldn't do a thing. In overtime, they were all looked as if they just navigated the Atlantic Flyway and needed to just squat on a pond. Stanford's defense deserves a ton of credit. Support Arbor Day.
14. With a #1 ranking comes great pressure (see: Georgia, 2008). Baylor moved the ball at will all night long. Kansas State was discombobulated on both sides of the ball. Baylor's Lache Seastrunk ran wild, and his 80-yard burst up the middle was impressive. The kid probably made himself some NFL money last night.
15. Notre Dame now faces a toothless Southern Cal team who will probably be without starting QB Matt Barkley, who has a significant shoulder injury. If Notre Dame beats USC next week, could they get jumped in the penultimate BCS ranking because they don't play an extra game? I suppose it doesn't matter. The SEC Championship will determine who plays whom for all the marbles.
- Ohio State is still undefeated and still on probation. Just a reminder.
- Maryland and Rutgers to the Big 12? Talk about a diluted gene pool...
- Florida's offense is still offensive.
- If you haven't seen this clip of Les Miles (a National Treasure IMO), do yourself a favor. Mash it!
I'm not going to get into all the BCS stuff. We have to beat Tech this week and that's all that matter right now. Yes, we're in the conversation and control our own destiny...you know, trivial stuff blah blah blah. The last time we were in the discussion was in '07 but certainly had no control. Prior to that? Try 1982. The same year Vandy beat Tennessee at home in Nashville. I will allow myself to smile a bit this morning...
...one game at a time, Dawgs. One game at a time.