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Mailbag 10/17

The late one

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Ed. Note: Just in case you missed it, this was supposed to be posted yesterday, but I (Ben) am in the middle of preparing to open for the show I’m working, so this completely fell off my radar, but don’t worry, it’s here now!

How much improvement on the O and D-lines can we reasonably expect for next year?

Ben: I think it’s tougher to project improvement on the defensive line, because the biggest need right now is defensive tackles. One thing that will help improve both lines is another year of development in the system. Obviously, you also want more than just that, but for guys like Sylvain Yondjouen and Chico Bennett, that experience is vital. Another positive on the defensive line is the addition of Florida transfer Antonneous Clayton, who could very well start at base end next season.

On the offensive line, I think we could easily have two or three true freshmen start next season, so I think the play there has a chance to improve, but it might take a few games to really tell.

Nishant: I think it’ll be a couple years before the offensive line really turns the corner. As Ben said, it’s likely that multiple true freshmen will be starting (or at least playing) next year; they’ll need time to become effective players, so unless multiple current players take big steps forward in the offseason, it’s hard to project too much improvement in 2020. On the defensive side, the most effective players on the line—Chico Bennett, T.K. Chimedza, and Kelton Dawson—are all underclassmen, as are several other key rotation players, so I expect some progress next year. Actual success will hinge on whether Andrew Thacker and Larry Knight can find one or two good run-stuffers at defensive tackle.

How many seasons does Kirby “Smart” have left before he gets fired for not winning a natty?

Ben: If he doesn’t have one by Year 5, I think those talks start happening very seriously. I know he won’t get as many years as Richt got there.

Chris: This kind of question is what makes UGA football so absurd. At the end of Year 4 (this season), he’s going to have 40+ wins, at least one SEC title, a National Championship berth, and at least 2 bowl wins. Even after all that, if they don’t make the Playoff this year I think there will be a serious faction within the fanbase that will call for his firing. I think it would take a natty-less Year 5 and a couple bad rivalry losses to turn that faction into a serious issue. It’s the exact same thing they did with Richt - perpetual 10+ win seasons and divisional dominance aren’t enough for a program that really believes they are top echelon blue bloods.

Jake: Two wins in a row by Tech sinks him. Conveniently, that also means we end the Bobby Dodd losing streak. And they don’t have a natty. I subscribe.

Carter: So, normally I feel the “ha ha, Kirby Dumb” stuff is some of the lowest level of trash talk, but.... dude, your kicker is generally considered to be one of the better ones in college football right now. You’re not even going to attempt a long, but makeable field goal to avoid OT and further embarrassment? You out-dumbed Will Muschamp, and I didn’t think that was possible.

Anyway, the masses are already getting restless after a single loss, so hopefully it’s soon, so they can hire Lane Kiffin.

What’s worse, getting beat by Citadel in a rebuilding year, or losing your NC shot losing at home to a 24 point underdog?

Ben: I’ll say The Citadel loss because at least if you’re losing a shot at the NC, you’re already built up enough to be contending for the NC. A loss to an FCS team can also be used heavily in negative recruiting for years.

Chris: The Citadel and it isn’t even remotely close. I loathe the people chirping UGA fans on Twitter and stuff about this. Yes that loss was bad and deserves jokes, but at the end of the day we lost to a team that I think UGA would probably beat 100-0 if they tried. I’ll also add that the SC loss didn’t for sure kill their Playoff chances - they pretty much still control their own destiny and are in if they win out.

Nishant: There’s no excuse for a Power 5 conference team to lose to an FCS team under any circumstances. This isn’t remotely close. Plus everything Chris said is true. One-loss SEC champ UGA is in the playoff, full stop.

Jake: South Carolina is probably the second best team in the state of South Carolina. The Citadel, well, is much further down than that. Anyone suggesting that The Citadel is a better loss needs to take off the irrational-hate-tinted glasses.

Carter: See, the thing about losing to South Carolina is that you just have to endure the talk about “y’all just can’t handle that ESSS EEEEE SEEEE speed!”, so, same as normal. You lose to the Citadel? You’ll never stop hearing about it.

How many more coaches do the dwags have to fire before they become Tennessee?

Ben: I don’t think they’ve had a coach comparable to Phil Fulmer. You could make the argument for Richt, but I think Fulmer had a much larger impact on Tennessee than Richt did on UGA.

Chris: Man we’re UGA heavy today.

Jake: @Chris I was reading your line and I realized I’ve written for this site for two and a half years and never referred to them by their actual name or nickname. I think that’s rather impressive. I would also like to add I prefer questions about us, and not the School in Athens. If y’all have any non-revenue things, well, I can be of assistance about that!

Can you predict top 4 for CFP based on remaining schedule?

Ben: Clemson, as long as they don’t lose at all, which they shouldn’t, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and whoever wins the SEC.

Chris: Same as Ben. Clemson just has to not blink. Ohio State also seems like an inevitability with Michigan not living up to exceptions (I’m actually rooting for them - Justin Fields as a National Champion would just be **chef’s kiss** amazing). Oklahoma is getting scary good with a real defense and has no one big left on their schedule. And that just leaves the SEC champion, which will almost certainly be one of Alabama/LSU/Georgia. My money is on Alabama because I will never bet against Alabama.

Jake: I’m here for the two Big Ten team life but I know in my heart that they’ll never get the same rope the committee gives to the SEC. It just means more, I guess.

Carter: As long as Clemson keeps rolling everyone on their schedule, they’re in. The LSU/Bama winner is in, and I watch this game every year thinking this will be the year the Tigers finally win it again, but this time I really mean it. Ohio State is terrifying, and as fun as it would be to see Wisconsin claim the B1G Championship, they’d probably have to beat the Buckeyes twice, and I don’t see it. OU has the Big XII on lock until further notice.

There are twelve undefeated teams in the top 25 of the FBS (Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Penn State, Boise State, Baylor, SMU, Minnesota, and Appalachian State). Is this unusual after six games? How many do you think will finish with perfect records?

Ben: I don’t know this for sure, but I think it’s very unusual to see this many undefeated teams at this point in the season. Of the teams remaining, only one of Alabama and LSU can remain undefeated, only one of Wisconsin, Penn State and Ohio State can, one of Oklahoma and Baylor can. I think SMU has a decent chance; their only real challenge would be UCF. I’ll put the O/U at 4.5, and I think I’ll take the under.

Chris: Jason Kirk did a write up about this recently. Basically we’re right on schedule and we can probably expect four of those teams to lose in the next few weeks. On average we usually end up with just one P5 and 1 G5 undefeated after Conference Championship week. If we just talk regular season 12 games, my guess would be: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma (rolls eyes in disgust at how chalky that is...).

Jake: Tell your kids about undefeated Minnesota vs. undefeated Wisconsin for the Axe in 2019. This is a legitimate timeline we live in.

Who is the most perennially overrated team of all time? And why is it georgie?

Ben: I think Georgia is definitely up there, and I’m having a really hard time trying to think of another team. I would put Clemson in this group, but they always prove their worth by the end of the season due to a very low strength of schedule (i.e. the rest of the ACC).

Chris: Georgia has a strong case, but I’d probably go with Michigan, especially in recent history. They just love to be the pre-season Playoff favorites that end up well short. I’d probably also throw Notre Dame in the upper tier.

Nishant: Georgia at least sometimes wins something before letting everyone down. Michigan hasn’t won the Big Ten since 2004. And don’t even get me started on the real answer to this question: USC.

Jake: Notre Dame.

Carter: Is Miami back this year or nah?

Is it just me or is anyone else having “uh-oh” moments when thinking about the GC hire?

Ben: I mean, the other talked-about option was Ken Whisenhunt, so I’m sure glad we got Geoff Collins. Sure, this season hasn’t been great, but let me let you in on a little secret. This season was never going to be great. Collins is doing a great job of building framework for the next few years. In all honesty, it’s probably going to take a couple years for us to get back in a bowl game. Do I think CPJ would get us bowl eligible this year? Quite frankly, I don’t care. I was a big CPJ fan, and I love his offense, but he was not recruiting well enough to stay competitive and was too keen on keeping coaches he probably shouldn’t have. I’m very appreciative of everything CPJ did on the Flats, but I think it was time to move on, and I have no reason to start doubting the Collins hire yet. The man has coached six games; give him a chance.

Chris: I’m not at all worried about CGC or how he operates as a coach. Year 0 doesn’t count; I’ll start judging him in Year 1.

What would be your go-to brunch place in Atlanta if Waffle House weren’t around?

Ben: I live over in Athens, so I’m gonna talk about a couple places here that I’ve tried lately. The first one of those is a place called Big City Bread Cafe, which is located right outside of downtown. They bake all their bread in house and despite having to wait in line for a LONG TIME to get food, it’s really good. They also have two different coffees from local shops that are both really good.

Another place I like is called George’s Lowcountry Table; they offer a normal menu and a weekend brunch menu. Cocktails there are great, I got the crawfish etouffee and it was exquisite. For a place nowhere close to the the ocean, they also have really good oysters.

Chris: I love Flying Biscuit. There’s a little place in Candler Park called Gato that is phenomenal, but I’d label it “breakfast”, not really “brunch”. Still, you should absolutely go there. Atlanta Breakfast Club is great and close to campus. Folk Art is also fantastic. Aaaaaand now its’ 11:00pm in Boston and I’m starving for any of these places. Great.

Jake: Silver Skillet. Thumbs Up. Holler and Dash. J. Christopher’s. All great options walking distance from campus. (West Egg, you are far too expensive).

Carter: People brunch at Waffle House?

With Miami’s offense and o-line also being practically unwatchable, will this be the ugliest offensive game this year in D1 College football?

Ben: I’m going to echo the guy that said Iowa-Michigan already happened. Unless we get a 3-2 game, I don’t think it’ll be worse than that game.

Chris: Rutgers still has to play Illinois.

Nishant: The Techmo Bowl is on November 16. Just sayin’.

Jake: Echoing Chris, Rutgers has already played Indiana.

Carter: Nishant said exactly what I was going to say. Like, to the letter. Get out of my head, dude.

How many chickens do I need to sacrifice to win a dadgum ballgame?

Ben: How many do you have?

Chris: It’s not about the quantity of chickens, it’s about the quality and method of sacrifice. If you do anything Melisandre did I bet we win out. There’s power in chicken’s blood.

Nishant: Ever seen Major League? Try offering up a bucket of KFC instead.

Jake: I’d at least seven, maybe eight?

Carter: You’ve already identified the problem, which is that you’re sacrificing chickens. Think bigger.