Let’s get this out of the way up front.
There is functionally no way you’ll be paying much attention to anything other than college football this week. It’s not your fault. The biggest game in years is coming to Athens in Saturday, and between now and then there will be tons of news and analysis of the matchup between #3 Georgia and #7 Notre Dame. So let’s get cracking on the first of several jam-packed days worth of Bulldog news.
We’re going to be talking in greater depth this week about what advanced stats can tell us about Georgia’s season so far and the Athenians’ prospects against the Fighting Irish. But as an appetizer take a look at this statistic that, while not so advanced, is nonetheless eye-popping.
Yards Per Game Differential— Pick Six Previews (@PickSixPreviews) September 15, 2019
• through Week 3
+246 Ohio State
Georgia hasn’t exactly played a murderer’s row of defenses, but still, the Bulldog offense is humming.
Georgia has moved from an 11.5 point favorite to a 13 point favorite this weekend against the visitors from South Bend. It’s pretty rare to see a nearly two touchdown favorite in a battle of top ten teams, and I expect the guys in Vegas are awarding a little extra credit to the home team for what should be a massive home field advantage.
It’s also worth noting that even when Mark Richt’s teams were favorites in big home games (as they were in 2015 when Alabama visited), it was rarely by a wide margin. Kirby Smart’s team hasn’t lost a home game since November 2016, and they didn’t do anything last week at home to make the bookies like them less.
Even after a big day against the Red Wolves Connor Riley of DawgNation reminds us that Dominick Blaylock and George Pickens are still only freshmen. It’s an important point, especially if you caught in Smart’s postgame remarks the tone of low-key frustration over the Pickens buzz. Both players have a long way to go on the intangibles, and they’re about to get a much tougher test from a seasoned, athletic Notre Dame secondary.
With Saturday’s shut out the UGA defense appears to be playing with a lot of confidence, and is playing a lot of guys.
For comparison standards, Notre Dame shellacked New Mexico over the weekend 66-14, but didn’t actually score until near the end of the first quarter. But that’s when the Irish reeled off three quick scoring strikes of 50+ yards. Limiting those big plays could be the key to sending the visitors back to Indiana with an L.
Finally, if you missed it over the weekend, this is my brand of schadenfreude. It’s sort of amazing that dancing in the weight room and making hype videos at Waffle House doesn’t get you closer to winning the Southern Conference. The Jackets are lucky they didn’t schedule Mercer or this thing might have gotten embarrassing. Until later...