Throughout the week, during what few free moments I have had, I have been poring over Georgia's and Florida's respective statistics, both at the conference and the national level, in preparation for the weekly breakdown to which I refer as "Too Much Information."
This regular dive into the minutiae once caused Hamp Tanner to declare, "Kyle is to statistical analysis what Keith Richards was to moderate drug use." That assessment may be a bit generous in a blogosphere that includes such notable numerologists as MGoBlog's Brian Cook and Sunday Morning Quarterback's Matt Hinton, but I appreciate the compliment, nonetheless. Based upon this week's review, however, I have reached a decision.
You know what? I'm not giving you a numerical breakdown this time, because some things aren't about numbers.
You know how good the Gators are, but you also know a few figures about the Bulldogs, as well; viz.:
- In the 43 seasons prior to this one, the Red and Black have posted a 5-1 record against defending national champions, including their 37-17 win over the Saurians in 1997.
- Just as Tennessee's record under Phillip Fulmer following a Volunteer open date proved so distressingly prophetic three weeks ago that I was compelled to write a country song about the loss, the reality that Mark Richt-coached Georgia squads are 9-2 in games immediately after an in-season bye week may prove significant in Jacksonville tomorrow.
- For all the grief we give him, Willie Martinez has acquitted himself admirably by the St. John's River. In 2005, the 'Dawgs surrendered touchdowns on Florida's first two drives and held the Orange and Blue scoreless for the last 51 minutes of the ballgame. In 2006, although the Georgia offense surrendered a touchdown on a nine-yard fumble recovery to start the second half, the Gator offense once again was held to 14 points and did not score in the final 39 minutes of the contest.
- Every year, without fail, Coach Richt takes his team into what is expected to be a close game, or even a likely loss, and scores an eye-opening victory over a team Georgia wasn't supposed to beat badly, or maybe even beat at all. Such unexpected victory margins as 51-7 over Georgia Tech in 2002, 41-14 over Tennessee in 2003, 45-16 over Louisiana State in 2004, 34-14 over Louisiana State in 2005, and 37-15 over Auburn in 2006 serve as reminders that we doubt Coach Richt at our peril.
Right now, forget about the numbers. Those are just details. It's time to get fired up about football instead of bogged down in minutiae.
I posted those words last November 10 . . . in lieu of a statistical breakdown of the following day's Auburn game. Anybody remember how that trip to the Plains worked out for us?
Have faith in the ability of Mark Richt and the 'Dawgs to turn the inconceivable dream into an accomplished fact. Even if 66 wins in six and a half years haven't given you reason to believe, surely it is not so far-fetched to suppose that the No. 22 team can beat the No. 8 team in any season in which Southern California lost to Stanford and Michigan lost to Appalachian State, is it?
If SMQ allows for the possibility of a Georgia win in Jacksonville, shouldn't we? Don't the 'Dawgs have an all-time winning record against the Gators on Duval Street? Watson is right: "It CAN be done."
Maybe I'm talking crazy, but, then, you thought that when I was the only guy in the continental United States who told you Kentucky would beat Louisiana State, didn't you? Besides, I went on record a year ago saying Matthew Stafford would finish his Georgia career with a 3-1 record against Florida, so, hey, in for a penny, in for a pound:
My Prediction: Georgia 35, Florida 14.