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Too Much Information: Georgia Bulldogs v. Kentucky Wildcats

Between the update on Chance Veazey’s condition and the passing of Uga VII, it’s been an emotionally draining week here in Bulldog Nation. In addition, it has been a busy week for me personally, and I am seriously under the weather this evening. The bright spot in all this is that is puts me in an appropriately negative frame of mind to bring you . . . Too Much Information! (For those of you Debbie Doubters who maintain that the sky is not falling, wake up and smell the science!)

Odds and Ends

As always, Doug Gillett and Senator Blutarsky have given the Kentucky Wildcats a thorough examination, but a few nuggets on the Bluegrass State Felines are in order, starting with the things at which they stink: Kentucky has allowed the opposition to convert third downs at a conference-worst 39.9 per cent clip, has registered the fewest sacks in the league with fifteen, has failed to connect on one out of every three field goal attempts to rank eleventh in the SEC in three-pointers, and is separated from the Southeastern Conference cellar in both passing offense and rushing defense only by Vanderbilt.

A win tomorrow would give the Bulldogs their 50th series triumph over the Wildcats. Kentucky would join the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (59), Auburn Tigers (52), and Vanderbilt Commodores (50) among the teams the Red and Black have beaten 50 or more times.

Georgia holds a commanding 24-3-2 lead on Kentucky in series games played in Sanford Stadium. The ‘Cats haven’t beaten the ‘Dawgs between the hedges since 1977, when Prince Charles was present for the game. Needless to say, we haven’t invited any British royalty back to Athens since. Curse those inbred hemophiliac figureheads! If we were going to let them wreck our football, why did we bother declaring our independence in the first place?

Offensively, Georgia and Kentucky are comparable. The Bulldogs rank one spot ahead of the Wildcats in scoring offense, averaging 27.5 points per game to the visitors’ 26.8. The Wildcats rank one spot ahead of the Bulldogs in total offense, averaging 351.2 yards per game to the home team’s 344.0. However, the Blue and White have tallied just 20.3 points per game against conference competition and have scored between 20 and 26 points in five of six SEC outings thus far this season, whereas the Red and Black have tallied 29.6 points per game in league showdowns and have put 31 or more ticks on the scoreboard in four of seven Southeastern Conference contests.

For just the seventh time in series history, Georgia and Kentucky will meet on the gridiron in the month of November. The Classic City Canines have compiled an all-time 5-1 ledger against the Bluegrass State Felines in November encounters and the Bulldogs have never lost to the Wildcats at home during the last full calendar month of football season.

The largest crowd before which Kentucky has won a football game this season numbered 86,217. Five of the Wildcats’ six victories were in front of 70,988 or fewer fans.

If it winds up being a four-quarter game, which team is apt to hold up the best? Seven of Kentucky’s ten games this autumn have lasted no longer than three hours and eighteen minutes, including each of the Wildcats’ last four outings. The Bulldogs, by contrast, have played just two games that were shorter than three hours and 20 minutes, with half of their ten previous clashes having gone over the 3:26 mark.

The Feel Good Bad Stat of the Week

That last stat I trotted out for you? Forget I mentioned it. It has no bearing whatsoever. Kentucky has outscored its opponents 70-34 in the fourth quarter, making the final stanza by far the Wildcats’ best defensive quarter, as well as their second-best offensive quarter. Georgia holds a narrow 60-57 scoring edge in the fourth period, making the last fifteen minutes the Bulldogs’ second-best defensive quarter but their second-worst (and very nearly worst) offensive quarter.

Interestingly enough, Kentucky’s best quarters, both offensively and defensively, are the second and fourth, which suggests that the Wildcats are getting by on raw athleticism more so than on good coaching. I would have figured just the opposite, but you may not want to leave this one early.

The Bottom Line

Mark Richt is 7-1 against the ‘Cats, which is better than you think it is. Wally Butts, Johnny Griffith, Vince Dooley, Ray Goff, and Jim Donnan all failed to begin their respective Georgia head coaching careers by going 2-0 against Kentucky, while Coach Richt won his first five against the Blue and White. However, the Bulldogs haven’t beaten UK by more than eleven points since 2005 and easily could have lost two of the last three series meetings.

Ordinarily, I’d think the Red and Black had a solid chance to beat the injury-riddled ‘Cats by a respectable margin, but we have some personnel losses of our own that will have a big, and could have a decisive, impact.

While I am given some sliver of hope by the fact that Kentucky has scored more than 24 points on Georgia just once in the last seven series showdowns, I am struggling mightily to refrain from anything that might be misconstrued as a show of faith in the future of our football program. Here, let me take a swig of this cough suppressant depressant . . . there we go. Now I’m ready to do what needs to be done.

When you expect the worst, your only options are to be proven correct or pleasantly surprised.

My Prediction: Kentucky 24, Georgia 10.

Go ‘Dawgs!