One of the great things about college football is its ability to totally defy prediction. Sure, we may have the general contours down (Alabama is pretty good, USC isn't, and if Auburn's winning, they're probably getting support from the guy who ran the Silk Road). But every so often watching college football is the equivalent of having your dog jump up and swat you on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. That's what makes it so darn fun.
Such was the case last week when I watched the Georgia Bulldogs hold LSU's vaunted running back corps under 100 yards, a feat which I never expected. Sure, if you'd told me the Bulldogs were going to hold up okay I'd have believed that. But if you'd told me LSU would average 2.1 yards per attempt I would have been shocked.
Almost as shocked as I was to learn that Tennessee has the 34th ranked rushing offense in the nation, averaging just north of 215 yards per game. Sure, it's been an uneven area for them (the Vols rushed for a respectable 175 yards on the road at Oregon, but were stymied to a mere 66 against Florida). But as Ludakit and I discussed on the Dawg Gone Podcast, the Vols have a couple of very talented tailbacks running behind a veteran offensive line (4 seniors and 1 junior) most of whom were actually heavily recruited by the 'Dawgs, and some of whom will likely be playing on Sundays.
While the Vols do not have the across the board talent they'll need to compete in the SEC East just yet, they have one of the most solid offensive lines the Bulldog defense will see all year. That's why you shouldn't be surprised to see the Vols move the ball on Saturday. It may feel like your Golden Retriever is giving you obedience pointers, but it is very, very real.
That being said, I don't know that the Creamsicle Brigade can do it consistently. Especially if the Bulldog front seven come out motivated to play and executing crisply.
Speaking of crispness, there's been a little bit of it in the air these past few days. So what should you drink while looking forward to crisp fall days and crisp execution by a Bulldog defensive unit that really needs to step up to put this one away early? I'd recommend any of the crisp hard apple ciders from Foggy Ridge, an apple farm and cider producer high up in the mountains near Dugspur, Virginia. For much of America's history, apple cider was a more popular alcoholic beverage than beer.
At one time it is estimated that over 1600 varieties of apples were grown in the South, many with the express purpose of cider making. Thomas Jefferson was a well known cider fanatic, growing dozens of varieties at Monticello. And the folks at Foggy Ridge maintain that tradition, growing 30 or so heirloom apples which go into a line of hard ciders that range from tart, to sweet, acidic to mellow. While their ciders are hard to find in Georgia, you can find them in surrounding states (I understand that Foggy Ridge is now available all over North and South Carolina, for example). Your efforts will be rewarded with a taste of American history. Let's hope the Dawgs' efforts on Saturday are similarly rewarded with a W. Until later . . .
P.S.: As always, feel free to use this as your open comment thread for tonight's college action, including Texas at Iowa State, which may make you want to swat Mack Brown across the nose with a rolled up magazine. Carry on.