Welcome to SB Nation United! I know the changes, which vineyarddawg previewed here, are a bit jarring at first, but don’t panic; everything you love about Dawg Sports is still here, even if it may take a little while for you to figure out where it all is. We thank you for bearing with us as we learn our way around our new home (as you did during SB Nation’s earlier network-wide upgrade), and, in the meantime, we are going to keep doing what we do.
Toward that end, I’m going to share a random hodgepodge of observations, for whatever they might be worth. With apologies to DavetheDawg and his 15 Thoughts, here are a few minutiae rattling around in my head after a Saturday on which I offered neither the Mark Richt Victory Watch nor the postgame wrapup:
Like chuckdawg, I have grown so weary of the way Mark Richt’s and the University of Georgia’s insistence upon holding Georgia athletes to a higher standard than many other Southeastern Conference coaches and schools has become a point of derision when it ought to be a point of pride that I hoped the administration would relent and allow the Bulldogs’ suspended starters to come back early. Now that all of the sidelined stars have served out their sentences without being shown preferential treatment, I am proud of our program for not listening to panicky fans like me. Whatever this season holds for the Red and Black, we will know our successes were won the right way.
The Missouri Tigers held the ‘Dawgs to 41 points. That appears to be something of an achievement, as that was Georgia’s lowest output of the season so far. Thrice in the Mark Richt era, the Bulldogs have run off three straight games of scoring in the forties (Florida, Troy, and Auburn in 2007; Hawaii, Georgia Southern, and Central Michigan in the 2008 Sugar Bowl and the first two games of the following season; and Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky in the otherwise utterly forgettable 2010 campaign), but never before have the Classic City Canines notched 40 or more points in four straight games.
That said, I know it’s gauche to gripe about a 48-3 win over a conference opponent, but a beatdown that was epic barely missed being historic. As I have noted before (more than once), the 45-point margin of victory tied that of the Georgia Bulldogs’ largest previous win over the Vanderbilt Commodores in series history (45-0 in 1976); but for a muffed extra point, Saturday’s housing would have set a new standard. Even with the continued struggles in the kicking game, the 48 points put the Red and Black within a fourth-quarter field goal (which the ‘Dawgs easily could have managed, had the coaches been so inclined) of hanging half a hundred on the Commies for the first time in 25 years. Had such a late scoring drive been allowed, a field goal would have made it 51-3 and given Georgia a 48-point margin of victory that eclipsed the largest for either team in series history (Vandy’s 47-0 thumping of the Athenians in Nashville in 1901).
I hope we have heard the last of the “soft schedule” meme from our friends in the Palmetto State. The South Carolina Gamecocks no longer appear to have pulled the tougher draw from the Western Division. The Arkansas Razorbacks hardly look like a tougher out than the Mississippi Rebels, and we now know the gap separating the LSU Tigers from the Auburn Tigers is a scant two points. If South Carolina loses to Louisiana State by one, and Georgia beats Auburn by one, the Gamecocks will have room to grumble; otherwise, the notion that South Carolina plays a tougher slate than the Bulldogs officially is as silly as we always knew it to be.
So far this season, Aaron Murray has completed 66.3 per cent of his passes, which is second only to
CONTROL’s the Kentucky Wildcats’ Maxwell Smith among the league’s top five gunslingers; his 10.5 yards per attempt trail only the 11.4 put up by the Hogs’ Tyler Wilson on the list of the conference’s top 18 passers; his ten touchdown tosses tie him for second (with the Alabama Crimson Tide’s A.J. McCarron) among all SEC players who have put the pigskin in the air this autumn; he is the only quarterback in the conference who has thrown fewer than three interceptions while averaging at least 220 aerial yards per outing; and he has done all of this while averaging exactly 26 attempts per game, fewer than Tyler Bray, Tyler Russell, Tyler Wilson, Tyler Perry, Johnny Manziel, or Jordan Rodgers. I believe Murray’s sophomore slump (such as it was) officially is in the past.
I don’t know whether you noticed, but the Bulldogs have won 14 straight regular-season games. A win over the Tennessee Volunteers this Saturday would move the current regular-season unbeaten streak into a three-way tie for the second-best such skein in school history, matching a 13-0-2 run from November 1967 to October 1969 and a 15-0 stretch from November 1945 to September 1947. The school record of 28 straight regular-season games without a loss from September 1981 to November 1983 is not in jeopardy . . . yet.