Well, it would appear that we're running short on Tidbits and History and all that today, but I thought I'd give you a few of my thoughts to chew on in the lead-up to this week's game. (Apparently I'm on fire with the food puns today.)
- We'll start off with a "Hate" story I'd like to share with you. As is tradition, this week I changed my Facebook picture to an image of Buzz holding up a sign that says "TO HELL WITH georgia". It's a classic picture that you've probably seen. Well, us saying "TO HELL WITH georgia" apparently really strikes a chord with uga fans everywhere. Oh, and I do mean everywhere. Let me explain. See, the first comment on there was from a friend who is, unbeknownst to me, a uga fan. The conversation went something like this (and I quote):
Dude: Let's play a game called "what does the number 62 stand for?"
Me: Total teeth for the entire uga student body?
Dude: Number of games yall lost against us.
Naturally, I was taken aback by this gentleman's impressive display of wit and lack of regard for facts (not that we'll get into that here). However, I started to notice something. See, I met this individual as he was a member of my fraternity, but at a different chapter up in Tennessee. Also, it would seem that he went to grad school at the University of Texas. Probably worst of all is that in HIS profile picture, he's wearing an Ole Miss sweater, with an Ole Miss logo proudly being displayed.
But, sure, Georgia Tech has lost those games to a team he refers to as "us". That makes sense.
- Let's talk about intangibles. There's something that's going to happen prior to our game this weekend that I think could affect our opponents. Friday, Missouri will host Arkansas to close out their regular seasons and conference play for both. If you weren't aware, the outcome of this game will determine who plays for the SEC Championship in Atlanta -- if Mizzou wins, they'll go, while a loss sends uga. On top of that, uga missing out on the SEC Championship Game means, in my opinion, whatever playoff hopes they had are now gone. I wonder about how that could impact this game. Think about it -- if Missouri wins on Friday, and the whole uga team is made aware that they no longer have a realistic shot at achieving their ultimate goal...does that impact their performance? (Truthfully, probably not. But it was a thought I had.)
- Let's talk chalk for a second. I think there's one aspect to this game that will determine the overall outcome, and it's uga's running game. If Chubb and the rest of their stable of running backs with weird names can run at will on Georgia Tech's defense, the Yellow Jackets won't be winning. If those guys can be contained, and uga can be forced to pass, then I like Georgia Tech's chances. Though they won last year against a similar defensive game plan (and one that saw successful results for much of the game), I would argue that it wasn't because Hutson Mason's passing proved to be too much to overcome. The outcome, I would say, was more a result of Georgia Tech's defensive fatigue in the fourth quarter and OT after playing their starters for most of the game. Long story short, if the defense can contain their running game wire-to-wire, I don't believe Hutson Mason and their passing attack will be enough to win the game.
- Fundamentals need to be discussed here, and in particular tackling. These two teams have a total of 59 plays on the year that have gone for 30+ yards -- 30 for uga, 29 for Georgia Tech. The reason I bring this up is that I think a major key to stopping georgia's running game is to make tackles in space and not let them break one. It seems like powerful guys like Gurley and Chubb are able to break one tackle, and all of a sudden are off for a 25 yard gain. The Georgia Tech secondary will play a major role in this, and luckily have been playing well for the last month-plus.
- The X-Factor in this game, to me, could be Georgia Tech's passing attack. uga is big and talented enough up front to present some problems for Georgia Tech's offensive line, and it's going to be crucial for the Jackets to have another means of gaining yards while keeping the uga secondary honest. At first glance, the georgia defense is an intimidating 7th nationally, giving up 167 yards per game passing. That's good, until you start considering who they've played. When it comes to pure passing yards per game, they've played #22 South Carolina, #44 Clemson (and that was before Watson was playing), #53 Tennessee, #54 Kentucky, #83 Auburn, #95 Arkansas, #100 Troy, #106 Missouri, #107 Florida, #108 Vanderbilt. In other words, their stats are a little inflated by the fact that they've got more opponents in the bottom quarter of the country in passing yards per game than they do in the entire top half of the country. This uga secondary can be beaten with the passing game, and Georgia Tech's offensive success may rely on doing just that at times.
Any thoughts on all of this? Points you agree or disagree with? Obnoxious uga fan stories you've experienced this week?
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy the food, football, and family.