If you've called it a work week, digested Too Much Information, and procured everything you need to make a batch of Barner Burners, then it's clearly time to consider the Five Things you'll see when the Georgia Bulldogs take on the Auburn Tigers on Saturday.
When this game kicks off before 1 p.m. on Raycom Sports with the Daves, you can safely assume that events leading up to the game did not go as one or both of the participants anticipated. This has been one of those years, especially for the Auburn Tigers, who need to beat either the #10 ranked Bulldogs or #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide just to get bowl eligible (and postpone Tommy Tuberville's Clemson interview just a little longer). In a year such as this, where one team is up against the wall and desperate, there's no telling wat you'll see in The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. But that kind of uncertainty has never stopped me before, and it won't stop me now. In no particular order, I'm fairly confident you'll see:
The screen game. I think it's one way we'll try to get around Auburn's strength on the front four. I also note that Auburn's suffered some significant losses in the linebacking corps. Merrill Johnson won't be starting at 'backer because of a broken hand. He had been platooning with Chris Evans, a physical senior who might be starting but for the fact that he's nursing a fractured toe. And Tra Blackmon is out for the season. This time however it doesn't involve drinking, fighting or undisclosed injuries of the personal discipline variety.Which is a welcome change, I suppose. Is it wrong to say I'm glad that's one instate recruit we missed on?
A Kodi Burns fumble. You could substitute Randall Cobb's name in here and you'd be looking at one of the five things which I didn't manage to get posted last week. First year starting quarterbacks bolting from the pocket to save themselves never seem to think that anyone could run them down from behind and knock the ball out. Ask Matt Stafford. During 2006, losing fumbles while scrambling was his signature move. Burns will put it on the ground at least once in this fashion.
An Asher Allen interception. I've watched them against Tennessee, Missy State, Ole Miss and LSU, and I have to say, I'm just not impressed with Auburn's current crop of wide receivers. I'd much rather face them that Devin Whatchamacallit and Ben OhSayCanYouSee or whatever their names were.* One thing that I've noticed is that they don't seem to be the most physical receivers out there. Especially Chris Slaughter, who doesn't look any bigger now than he did when I watched him in high school at Peach County. Allen is a physical corner playing against a young quarterback who'll throw at least one that, while not to the wrong receiver, is put in the wrong location. An Asher Allen pick will result.
A big play in the kicking game. We've had well chronicled difficulties on special teams this season. Auburn has one of the top kick returners in the country and they've made special teams a point of emphasis this week. I just have a feeling that one team or the other is going to gain momentum because of the kicking game. Unfortunately, the way things have been working in that phase later, I suspect that may be the WarPlainsTigerSociologists.
Georgia 34, Alabama School of Remedial Tractor Repair 24. I think the Tigers' offense is coming together, but it's still not fully formed. While they'll get some things going, the Auburn offense is also going to break down. While in the past the defense could pull them through, this year's unit has been beat up over the course of 10 games in which the offense has done them zero favors. The Aubies will get a big play on special teams and keep it close into the second half. But the Georgia offense just has too much firepower.
Untl the postgame . . .
*Yes, I know. Obomanu and Aromashadu. But it's taken me four years to spell MoMass's given name "Mohamed" and not "Muhammed", and I write about him almost every week.