Maestro, the music:
This is the Friday Tailgate, a loosely organized compendium of vaguely football-related stuff that sits here while you run out the clock on the work week. It’s sponsored by the Loco Lobo, Glascock County’s premier farm-to-table Costa Rican buffet and juke joint. For when you're hungry like the wolf, but also want to get a little crazy.
There are few things I know with utter certainty. Maintaining this Delphic skepticism is one of the keys to mentally processing college football. Because very little of the whole enterprise makes sense. But two weeks into the season I think there are roughly 54 things I’ve got a decent bead on. Here’s 11 of them.
- Georgia is as deep as it’s ever been. As GlimmerTwinDawg noted on Wednesday, 35 players have logged a defensive tackle so far this season for UGA. Most schools don't have 35 players they'd feel comfortable putting on the field.
- That depth will pay huge dividends as the season rolls along. As Brooks pointed out this morning, depth shows itself after the first frost. Georgia’s starters should have fewer miles on the tires in November than much of the competition. Not being sore and dead-legged late in the year is a huge advantage that the Alabamas and Clemsons of the world have come to rely on in a 15 game season. Now it’s our turn.
- Mustard-based barbecue sauce is okay. Ketchup and vinegar-based are as well. Mayonnaise-based on chicken quarters fresh off the smoker is underrated. Mayonnaise-based on anything else should be punishable by jail time.
- If we have Mecole Hardman in red and black in 2019 we should all be required to thank him personally. That dude is emerging onto a whole new level, and the only thing keeping him from being a first day NFL draft pick would be his mastery of the wide receiving craft. But so far this season he’s running good routes and catches the ball as well as anyone. Get money, son.
- Prather Hudson is going to rush for more yards this season than either Brian Herrien or Elijah Holyfield did in 2017. Holyfield went for 293 last year, Herrien for 265. The Lodestone from Brookstone has 35 on 8 carries so far, but is likely to get significant work against the likes of MTSU and UMASS. That work will be late in the game behind physicially imposing Georgia second and third stringers with Jim Chaney running the dang ball to kill the clock. Georgia’s fifth string walk-on tailback will have 400 yards rushing this season. I find that extremely entertaining.
- Kentucky is better than you think. Unless you watched them break the Wildats’ 31 game losing streak to Florida on Saturday, in which case you already knew. Terry Wilson, the transfer QB from Oregon, introduces enough uncertainty to keep defenses on edge. Sure, he's a threat to turn it over against good defenses. But he could also get hot and turn into a menace. Benny Snell is already a verifiable problem for opponents. And Mark Stoops’ Troops appear to be playing passable defense. I thought it was a bit unfair that some observers treated the Cats’ victory over the Faintin’ Mullens as a fluke. The Bluegrass State squad made a series of big time football plays down the stretch in situations when prior UK teams would have folded. That's new.
- Ordering a Diet Coke with your double cheeseburger doesn't make a difference.
- Colorado State isn't that bad. After a surf waxing by Hawaii, and being stampeded by Colorado, I was worried that Mike Bobo might be in line for an analyst position on Kirby Smart’s 2019 staff. But the Rams’ come from behind win over Arkansas may have shown a renewed spark. Side note: Colorado is 2-0 and a reasonable bet to end the season with ten wins. I’m not sure what that means, but it seems sidenote worthy.
- The man who thinks he knows LSU knows nothing at all (yet). Joe Burrow looks to me like a Big Ten transfer QB. Bayou Bengal fans were unreasonably apoplectic over play calling in a 31-0 win over Southeast Louisiana. They will have to throw the ball to beat a stout Auburn defense this weekend, and that may be the problem. I’m just not sold on Les Tigres yet.
- I’m worried about Auburn again. This one is evergreen. The #7 Plainsmen usually stumble early in the season then put it together in time to kick either Georgia or Alabama in the shins in November. But the Cash Money Malzahns have pulled out a gutsy win over a top ten Washington squad, and LSU is the only thing between them and an October matchup with, and I swear I'm not making this up, what could be an undefeated top ten Mississippi State team. Most peculiar, Mama.
- Georgia will beat MTSU 52-14. Brent Stockstill is a solid, veteran QB with actual playmakers at his disposal. And the two fluky touchdown drives he engineers late are going to piss Kirby Smart off so, so much.
Feel free to drop your own nuggets of certainty in the comments, and have a great Friday night. This is also the Open Comment Thread for this evening’s sports and/or storm watching.