If it’s Friday evening, that means the bar is open and it’s time for Too Much Information here at Dawg Sports . . . except that, well, the Georgia Bulldogs are playing the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles. Granted, tomorrow’s visiting team boasts better records than the host squad, both overall (5-3 to the Bulldogs’ 4-4) and in league action (4-2 to Georgia’s 3-3), but the Golden Eagles tee it up in the Division I-AA Ohio Valley Conference.
Accordingly, there’s not a whole lot to say that hasn’t been said already, either by Doug or by Lindsey. Nevertheless, I will do my best to bring you not a pinch of perspective or a dash of data, but, rather, to load you up with . . . Too Much Information:
Andy Landers, the head basketball coach of the Lady Bulldogs, is a Tennessee Tech alum. Watson Brown, the head football coach of the Golden Eagles, played for the Vanderbilt Commodores (1969-1972) and was the head coach both at his alma mater (1986-1990) and at UAB (1995-2006). During those 21 seasons, Coach Brown was 0-11 against the Red and Black.
The Golden Eagles have been outscored 52-19 in the third quarter this season. The Bulldogs have been outscored 74-42 in the third quarter this season, making the first 15 minutes following the break the Classic City Canines’ worst quarter, both offensively and defensively.
This will be the second series meeting between Georgia and Tennessee Tech. The first came in 1943, a year in which the ‘Dawgs were coming off of back-to-back New Year’s Day bowl wins yet stumbled to a six-win season featuring a close loss to the LSU Tigers and a lopsided defeat suffered at the hands of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in Atlanta. Sound familiar? (All right, I’m projecting ahead a little bit on the six-win season and the lopsided loss to the Engineers at Grant Field, but, come on, does anyone doubt the inevitability of both of those outcomes this year?) Gridiron historians have blamed the Bulldogs’ 1943 stumble on the fact that World War II cost the Classic City Canines all of their 1942 starters and forced the Red and Black to field a club made up of freshmen too young for the draft and players who were ineligible to serve in the armed forces because they were declared 4-F, but it’s starting to look more likely that scheduling Tennessee Tech is just plain bad luck. (Along similar lines, any season in which Georgia plays Georgia Southern while expecting to contend for a national championship will end in horrible disappointment for the ‘Dawgs!)
How weak is Georgia’s rushing attack? Fullback Fred Munzenmaier has the same number of rushing touchdowns as leading rusher Richard Samuel. In fact, Munzenmaier has as many rushing touchdowns as Washaun Ealey, Caleb King, and Branden Smith combined. On the plus side, the Bulldogs give what they get where the ground game is concerned: Georgia averages 3.6 yards per carry and has scored six rushing touchdowns, but the Red and Black allow 3.8 yards per carry and have surrendered seven rushing touchdowns.
The last time Tennessee Tech took on an SEC squad, the Eagles lost at Auburn by a 35-3 margin in 2007. The last time Tennessee Tech took on a Division I-A opponent, the Eagles lost at Kansas State by a 49-7 margin on September 26.
A 1998 episode of "Sports Night" was entitled "The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee Tech." This installment of the show was about a fictitious football team in the Volunteer State, and, despite the episode’s title, the make-believe school referred to by the characters was "Tennessee Western University," which supposedly was located in Chattanooga, which is in the southeastern portion of the state, near the northern border of Georgia. When the tenth anniversary DVD box set was released, the episode title had been changed to "The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee," but, if you own the original DVD release (as I do), you know the original title. Presumably, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (a brilliant playwright and scriptwriter, but also a man whose laughable ignorance concerning the South causes his characters from below the Mason-Dixon line to be caricatures more often than characters, the delightful Ainsley Hayes notably excepted) originally wrote the episode thinking Tennessee Tech was his fictional creation and changed it after someone pointed out to him that such a school actually exists.
Where, you may ask, is the Feel Good Stat of the Week? There is no Feel Good Stat of the Week. I’m trying something new. Call it the power of negative thinking.
Positive thinking has gotten us nowhere lately. I was upbeat heading into last season, and look at what a disaster that turned out to be. I let all of you talk me into letting Manic Kyle out of the box before previewing the season opener against the Oklahoma St. Cowboys, and that didn’t work out for us. I went against my better judgment and put a positive spin on the stats before the Bulldogs took on the Tennessee Volunteers, and that game was a total train wreck. Finally, I believed a win in Jacksonville was inevitable, only to have the Florida Gators deal the ‘Dawgs a soul-crushing, program-altering beatdown.
No more. The era of good feelings is at an end. It is time to be dour, dejected, depressed, and dispirited. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here as you note well the Feel Bad Stat of the Week:
2009 represents the twelfth season in Georgia history in which the Bulldogs have posted a 4-4 record through eight games. The previous eleven such occasions were in 1925, 1928, 1929, 1936, 1939, 1951, 1955, 1970, 1979, 1990, and 1993. In the ninth contests of those respective seasons, the Red and Black went 4-6-1.
When you expect the worst, your only options are to be proven correct or pleasantly surprised.
You know, I know, and the American people know exactly how this game is going to go. The ‘Dawgs are going to play sloppy, lackluster, disinterested football while building up a solid but not overwhelming lead on big plays made by virtue of superior talent rather than sharp execution. The Golden Eagles will give the Bulldogs a few nervous moments in the third quarter, when the home team gets lazy, the home crowd goes quiet, and the visitors make a special teams gambit pay off with a fake punt, blocked punt, fake field goal, surprise onside kick, or big return using a freaky formation.
How do I know this? Because I’ve seen this game every single time a Sun Belt squad or Division I-AA opponent has played between the hedges for the last decade or so. We’ve seen this movie before, and we know how it ends.
My Prediction: Georgia 38, Tennessee Tech 17.