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Sunday Morning Hangover: LOL at Tennessee Edition

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NCAA Football: Georgia at Tennessee Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Sunday Morning Hangover, where we cope with the joys and sorrows of yesterday. Here are ten items of note from Georgia’s 41-0 “game” against the Tennessee Volunteers to get you rolling.

Song of the Week:

I hate this song as much as the next guy, but there’s just something ironic and hilarious about listening to it on a Sunday morning after a 41-point win at Neyland Stadium. I’m giggling as I type this. And for the Tennessee fans visiting us today, you’re welcome. I know you’ve been waiting to hear this song.


Was the Offense Offensive?

Georgia asserted its will in every phase of the game, and the offensive side of the ball was no exception. I don’t think I’d pass out quite as high of a grade as last week because the passing game was particularly nonexistent against Tennessee, but it was also unnecessary. A few high points:

  • Seeing Fromm on a few keepers was a welcomed sight. Aaron Murray was a sneaky master of those plays and was generally pretty efficient in that capacity. We haven’t had a Dawg under center that could do that since.
  • Nick Chubb had himself a day. Everyone came into the day talking about Chubb’s injury (which has to get old) and Tennessee star John Kelly. Both Chubb and Kelly ran the ball 16 times. Chubb racked up 109 yards and Kelly just 64. I really wonder where Kelly would fit in on Georgia’s depth chart.
  • In addition to Chubb, Sony Michel, D’Andre Swift, Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien all had great days.


Was the Defense Defensible?

This defense is so fun to watch and so statistically dominant that it’s hard to consolidate my thoughts. So here are random notes:

  • Tennessee played two quarterbacks — neither averaged more than four yards per attempt.
  • Kelly, the SEC’s leading rusher heading into the game, had a long rush of eight yards and averaged just 2.8 yards per carry.
  • The Vols converted just one of 12 third downs.
  • Tennessee managed only 142 total yards of offense.
  • Georgia now ranks third in the nation in yards allowed per game despite playing a difficult schedule through the first five games.
  • Three teams in the country have played five games and allowed 250 yards per game or fewer. Those teams are Alabama, Clemson and Georgia. Notably, Georgia leads that pack.

How Special was Special Teams Play?

Georgia used a backup kicker. Enough said.


Stat of the Game

4.

That’s how many turnovers Georgia forced on the road against a Tennessee team that was just a blown Hail Mary away from being a Top 20 team heading into Saturday.


Something You Really Shouldn’t Read Into

I’m going to do a fuller piece on this later in the week, but I don’t quite buy the commentators’ insistence that Jake Fromm is the starter from here on out. He’s played well and if that’s the direction that Kirby and the staff want to go I completely trust them (haven’t said that about Georgia coaches in a while).

But this team is winning games with a running attack that is deep and talented and with a defense that might be as good as any unit in the country.

Fromm looked good when he tucked the ball and ran, but truthfully those lanes have been open all year. This was not a strong game from a passing standpoint. I guess what I’m saying is I don’t think this is necessarily a done deal.

It’s easy to point to wins/losses and say things like, “Fromm just wins games,” but give true freshman Jacob Eason this offensive line, this running back unit and this defense a year ago, and I think he’d be 5-0 at this juncture too. I’m not an Eason Guy so to speak, i just think he was probably the starter heading into the season for a reason, and I’m not sure that Fromm’s 147 passing yards per game have changed that entirely.

But to reiterate: I’m with whoever the coaches go with. I just wouldn’t be surprised to see Eason ramp up in playing time against Vanderbilt and Missouri and then take back over after the off week.


Something You Really Should Read Into

It’s official: Georgia is a good football team. It took me five weeks to get to where some of y;all have been for months, but I think Georgia is legitimately good.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Tennessee and Mississippi State are mediocre teams (if not worse), but good teams beat mediocre conference opponents soundly. I think 72-3 qualifies. Further, that “road” win against Notre Dame is looking better now that the Fighting Irish are 4-1 with the following margins of victory: 33 points over Temple, 29 points over Boston College, 20 points over Michigan State, 35 points over Miami (Ohio).

Honestly, a quarterback controversy was my personal nightmare heading into the season, but I think either of these guys can win within the confines of what Kirby wants to accomplish. In a way, that controversy dominating headlines is a good thing. Let’s take the attention away from the team’s real strengths as much as possible.


Goal Check-In

Georgia is 5-0 and 2-0 in SEC play. The last time the Bulldogs started that strong was in 2012. In 2012, Georgia won the East and was within a few yards of winning the conference. Given that bit of history and what we’ve seen so far, it’s hard not to believe in an equally high (or higher) ceiling.

  • Can Georgia reach nine wins to improve on last year’s total? Well, assuming the Dawgs go .500 from here on out, yes. I’d say that’s a certainty.
  • Can Georgia win the East? It’s hard to bet against them. Truthfully, Tennessee, Florida, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Kentucky all seem about the same from the outside looking in. Mizzou looks worse. That bodes well. I’m putting this at 95%.
  • Can Georgia win the SEC? I’m inching this thing upwards solely on confidence in the coaching staff. Kirby Smart is building Alabama East. Whether Alabama East can beat Alabama West remains to be seen, but I’m feeling better about it each week (regardless of Bama’s dominance). I’d put the odds of an SEC Championship at 30%.
  • Can Georgia make the Playoff? For the first time, there’s some deviation between the odds of an SEC Championship and the odds of a Playoff appearance. Georgia is on the cusp of moving into the Top 5 in the AP Poll. USC will drop moving Georgia from seventh to sixth (in theory), and jumping Washington may be possible. So imagine a scenario in which Georgia is ranked in the Top 5 for all of October and all of November, runs the table, but comes up just short against Alabama. Along the way, Georgia beats Notre Dame, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Florida and Auburn (teams that were ranked at some point in the year) and convincingly beats the rest of competition in the SEC with noteworthy and sizable wins over App State and Georgia Tech. Might be hard for the committee to keep that 12-1 team out of the playoff. I’m putting this at 35% with the understanding that all of these projections are working on the assumption that Georgia maintains its current trajectory.

What the Other Guys Did this Week

  • Florida pulled away from Vanderbilt.
  • Kentucky edged Eastern Michigan.
  • Auburn destroyed a Mississippi State team that was somehow still ranked.
  • South Carolina fell to Texas A&M.
  • Alabama wrecked Ole Miss.
  • LSU lost to Troy. Not a typo.


Premature Prognostication

At some point, we’re going to get something of a let-down game from Georgia but I don’t think it will be against a Vanderbilt team that somehow beat the Dawgs a year ago.

Georgia 33, Vanderbilt 10.