WILTW: Week 4

  1. Georgia: Still Man Enough -- Games have undercurrents. You can just sense it while watching the game. One team is clearly more talented, playing better, executing better... something. But, you can feel it, regardless of what the scoreboard says. That was how I felt during the game Saturday night. Georgia was just better. Not head and shoulders better, and not that Alabama is not a good football team. Just that Georgia is better. You could just feel it. The fact that Georgia won the game was almost an inevitability.

    Notwithstanding intangible things, Georgia-Alabama lived up to the billing. It was a terrific game. The two teams were statistically even. The Tide out-rushed the Dawgs 164-153, but UGA out-passed Alabama 224-185. Georgia was -1 in turnovers. Georgia had 5 penalties and 32 penalty yards more than the Thundering Elephants. So, what was the difference?

    Georgia was 9 of 19 on third down conversions. Bama was 3 of 15. Georgia sustained drives when Alabama couldn't. Georgia won the time of possession battle. UGA forced 8 punts, all on drives of 5 plays or less (one came after a UGA INT). Alabama totaled 86 yards on 30 plays on those drives (21 came on their first offensive play). UGA was forced to punt 5 times, only 4 of those were on functional 3 & outs.

    One final thought... Credit Alabama with the determination and will to come back again and again when Georgia had them against the ropes. (The team is not there yet, but they aren't too far off either.) The defense played really well, stopping the Tide offense in its tracks on several occasions as noted above. But how many times in the past 2+ years has Georgia had a late lead with the game seemingly in hand, only to allow the opposing team to march down the field and score? I'm not going to assign blame, or throw anyone under the bus. As I said, I think the gameplan and execution were much better in this game than in other games recently. But at what point does this go from being a nuance of the game to a legitimate concern? And, for one final bit of snipping, it hurt me physically as well as emotionally to watch the defense give up 42 yards rushing on 7 attempts on that final drive.

  2. Spurrier got Spurriered -- The fake field goal was the proverbial nail that fully fastened that pine box. That play was nice, but the play that really wowed me was the misdirection run by diminutive Trindon Holliday. He ran by players like he was a Maserati on the interstate with VW buses. It put Steve Slaton and Pat White to shame... which is quite something. Additionally, Florida's close call does little to deter my thoughts that they and LSU top the class in the SEC. If anything, it only makes me nervous for this weekend.

  3. Ohio State is coming along nicely -- Though a 58-7 thumping of the team that just lost to Duke at home isn't all that impressive. Just the same, they are as much a sleeper as a top ten team can be. As average-to-slightly-above-average as most teams in the Big 10 are right now, Ohio State could run the table and end up a player in the BCSNTG talk, or stumble a couple of times along the way and be relegated to the Alamo Bowl. Illinois looks like a team that could steal a victory here or there. Ditto Purdue and Michigan State. Plus you have Penn State, Wisconsin, and the reborn Michigan who will be 8-2 before you know it. It's a fairly deep, if only average conference.

  4. Football is rockin' in the Bluegrass state -- But, not in Louisville. Kentucky, led by future 1st round pick Andre Woodson, overcame some really sloppy play to pull out a win in Fayettenam. A poorly-timed roughing the kicker penalty (are they ever well-timed?) started a 21-point fourth quarter onslaught from The Woodson that gave Kentucky a big SEC win to open the conference slate. Don't get too high on the Wildcats, though. Some call it livin' on the margins, but eventually, getting out-gained (-7 yards vs. LOU, -60 vs. ARK)and having to score a lot late (14 in 4th vs. LOU, 21 in 4th vs. ARK) will bite you in the rear end. While they show character and a never-say-die attitude, they aren't exactly harbingers of future success. They'll get a win next week (Florida Atlantic), but then they play at South Carolina on Thurs. night before welcoming LSU and Florida on back-to-back weekends. Depending on how they fare during that stretch, they could make noise in November, as they could/should/might/maybe win three of their last four. Is 9-3 possible for Kentucky? You betcha. But, so is 7-5.

  5. Defense wins championships. -- (I already knew this, but still) Ball State racked up 610 yards of offense, out-gaining Nebraska by 58 yards, and lost by one point. Louisville totals 628 yards, out-gains lowly (and by lowly, I'm talking Notre Dame bad) Syracuse by 163 yards and loses by 3. By the way, Louisville never held a lead in that game. Texas Tech manages 718 yards and out-gains Oklahoma State by 108 yards, and loses by 4. The defensive coordinator subsequently quits. Conversely, Virginia Tech tallies a paltry 287 yards of offense against 1-AA William & Mary, and wins by 41.

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