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Wednesday
Jun222005

Smurf Turfers devilishly go down to Georgia

We're halfway into the week and Resource already has two lengthy diatribes to its credit.  Time for a third.

If you're a regular reader of this blog you know we have been talking quite a bit about Boise State in general, and their game against Georgia, specifically.  What follows is a more in-depth fleshing out of our thoughts on the game, and teams.  We're not the first blog or writer to call this game for the Broncos.  HeismanPundit called this one back in April and now the Sporting News' Matt Hayes thinks this one's going to the road trippers.

Hayes' argument centers around Boise's ability to punch holes in the Georgia defense and an inherent skepticism that Bulldog senior quarterback DJ Shockley has the skills to pull this one off.  Decent points.

Now, for the Resource take.

Imagine, for a moment, that at the last minute Dan Hawkins' Boise State Broncos opted out of this game and substituted the USC Trojans in their place.  Without a doubt the USC Trojans would be huge favorites to win such a game.  And we all know why---the Trojans have both talent and a sophisticated style of play that trumps anything Georgia can do.  Much like Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, Georgia would be flustered by the Trojans' various formations, substitutions, and use of personnel and play design.

That is because Georgia is a fairly low-tech outfit, but one blessed with outstanding athletic and talented personnel.

Similarly, Boise State is a program that does things much like the Trojans, if not better in many ways.  Their offense is out of this world and flusters its conference peers, of which many such programs are used to witnessing difficult to defend offenses.  Outpost programs sometimes are the breeding grounds of bright young coaches, so what happens out in Boise or Moscow may be reflected nationally a few years later.  That said, Boise State doesn't have the overall talent to match the Trojans, or the Bulldogs---in terms of pure talent.  But Boise is a talented team.  They have a supremely confident and accurate quarterback who has that offense down pat, and he can run a little.  They always have a thousand yard back or a handful of backs who can do just as much damage.  Their linebackers are small but fleet.  They're basically a lite beer version of USC or Tennessee or whoever.

As evidenced in the Orange Bowl and soon to be many games down the road, the high-tech stuff works, and often brilliantly against teams loaded with talent.  Enter Georgia.

In this game, Boise State is more or less going to work Georgia at times, flustering their defense and making them look stupid at times.  But this is football and the game isn't played in a vacuum.  Georgia will make its stops, their coaches are paid well because they are in fact bright coaches and can find ways to make games of ones like this.  But the advantage is all Boise's.

The real questions as to outcome are these---does Georgia have that much more talent than Boise State that it can overwhelm the visiting Broncos?  Along that same vein, is Boise State truly confident it can win this game?  Although we haven't written much about it, the concept of Belief is important for situations like these where brand name teams can sometimes intimidate a superior but lightly regarded foe.  Look at last year's LSU/Oregon State game.  Running a scheme far less sophisticated and also displaying far less confidence, the visiting Beavers let a nice lead slip away to the home Tigers, missing some crucial extra points but also blowing some key plays late in the game.  The Beavers let the crowd take control and their confidence slipped, giving the Tigers the necessary breathing room to escape.

If Boise truly believes it's the better team here, this game will be an annihilation in their favor.

Georgia basically has to follow the LSU model here, and hope that Boise doesn't quite have it all together this early in the season.  That said, compared to Oregon State, the Broncos are a true balanced squad, running and passing the ball with equal effectiveness.

As fans we tend to look at games in a vacuum, using our rudimentary models to explain outcomes.  Team A was more talented than team B, but B was gutty and thus put up a valiant but unfulfilled effort.  Team A's better.  Than kind of linear thinking is what's going to trip up a lot of analysts here.  Every outcome, every game played, has a logical and rational explanation for what happened that becomes all too evident after said game is played, but not so much before it happens.  But the more we know about teams within the less linear models and concepts such as sophistication and style of play, the more these games reveal themselves beforehand.

I'm still relatively new to the above concepts, but I have a firm enough grasp of them to feel fairly confident in what's expressed here.

Here are some other thoughts on the game-

Georgia under coach Mark Richt has never really been exposed to the kind of offense Boise State plays.  Nobody in the SEC plays that kind of ball, not even close.  Florida will sometime towards the end of this season or the beginning of next one, but until then, nope.  The thing about the Boise type, USC type, Utah type offenses is not that they're fancy or high-octane, but that they're effective.  They can do so many things, moving players all over the field, disguising tendencies, and keeping opponents off balance.  It's a hell of a lot to prepare for.

Now, has Boise been adequately been prepared for Georgia's talent?  I'm not sure, but I do know they had a decently talented foe in their last game, a wild 44-40 loss to Louisville.  The Cardinal, one of our Big Six, had two star quarterbacks in Stefan LeFors and Brian Brohm, as well as backs Michael Bush, Eric Shelton and Lionel Gates, plus a fleet group of receivers, and an athletic secondary and group of defensive linemen.  They also crushed Oregon State last year 53-34, a week after they took LSU to the wire.

As for the Georgia offense---despite his acclaim as a quarterback and offensive guru, Mark Richt's only been so-so offensively at Georgia.  His squads have put up decent but unexplosive averages of 27.6PPG, 32.1PPG, 26.5PPG and 27.9PPG.  In four seasons the Bulldogs have cracked the 30 PPG barrier just once!  Yet this outfit is annually regarded as one of the nation's elite offenses.  The talent is there, but the production less so.  But look at Boise State in that same time period; 34.3PPG, 45.6 PPG, 43.0 PPG and 48.9 PPG.  Mind you, many would argue those points came against inferior defensive opposition, but two valid counter-arguments are that their league mates are also more accustomed to facing some kind of sophisticated offense in any given season, thus making them more prepared to face such an offense (yet judging by Boise's totals remaining high, completely incapable of stopping said offense).  The other argument is that regardless of conference, any team that has a truly balanced offense (Hawai'i need not apply) and is putting up those kinds of numbers should reasonably be expected to put up similar totals in any other conference.

That goes back to the style of play argument---what works in one place, can work in another.  Smart offense and smart defenses are exactly that---smart.  They can function reasonably well no matter the opponent or condition.  Norm Chow's offenses still thrived when the BYU Cougars traveled outside the WAC, right?  And they continued to work at NC State and USC.  That's what separates a truly sophisticated offense from a gimmick one, for what it's worth.  Gimmicks are usually too one-dimensional and lack the durability to sustain themselves against sound foes.

One interesting thought came to mind when writing this---Florida's fun n' gun offense was alright on the sophistication scale, but it was also a bit gimmicky.  Yet it worked for well over a decade in the SEC!  So imagine an offense better than that one (such as Boise's), albeit run with a less talented squad.  Boise could very well destroy most of the SEC, if it were a conference member, in theory.

Lastly, there might be something good happening on the other side of the ball for Boise State.  I've been talking this entire time about their offense, but their defense isn't too shabby either.  The last four seasons, the Broncos surrendered 23.3PPG, 18.5 PPG, 17.1 PPG and then 25.7 PPG, all within an offensive conference.  Two years out of four allowing under 20 PPG in the WAC is pretty good if you ask me.  Also, given last year's unusually high total, one can reasonably expect that seasonal output to go down a bit, probably closer to that 20-23 level.  In other words, their defense will have improved upon last year's version.

This is getting lengthy so we'll call it a night for now, hopefully you've enjoyed our take on the sure to be hyped Boise State/Georgia game (Saturday, Sept 3).

***

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    Count me in with Every Day Should Be Saturday: I would take a punch for Dr. Z, whose latest article reinforces my slightly uncomfortable love for him. Z writes about some beautiful wackjob who quit his job to compile the most detailed breakdown of NFL passing games ever published.

Reader Comments (104)

Ok, you want opinion? Georgia by three. That's hanging your ass out there in an unfashionable manner, but there it is: Georgia will win. Don't ask me why-it's just a gut guess.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterOrson Swindle
hey, Georgia by 3 means Boise covers...yahoo!!
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterHeismanpundit
Expect the dawgs and a LOT of East Coast folks to do what many did after the Liberty Bowl: turn their heads with surprise that Boise State is better than they thought.

If UGA is ready for the Broncos it will be a close dawg-fight that could go either way. If not, Boise Shocks the SEC world with a 30 point trouncing!

My prediction, I'll jump in the middle and say Boise State by 18.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterbeef zerkie
Not sure why Boise is getting so much hype. First off, the Liberty Bowl was not all that competitive, despite the final score. Boise scored on a 93 yd INT return for a TD, and had TD drives that started at the 12 yd line (after an INT), and at the 18 yd line (after UL went for it on 4th down--yes, from their own 18). If Louisville hadn't kept making mistakes, the game wouldn't have been anywhere near as close as it was.

Additionally, Boise played one team last year that will be able to run the ball as well as Georgia can this year--Louisville, who ran for 329 yds against them.

Quite frankly, if Boise wins the WAC this year it will be a surprise to me--they are away to both Fresno and Hawaii.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSolon
I'm sorry, but your over-dependece on PPG is tragically misguided. As has been pointed out, the Louisville game was close donly thanks to mistakes made by the Cards' offense.

Mark Richt's offense has never had to put up tons of points because of the performance of our defensive unit, which has been one of the best in the country.

And this notion that SEC teams are unaccustomed to seeing sophisticated offenses is absurd. The picture of a team confused to the point of inneffectiveness is a pipe dream that will come to a an abrupt end not too long after kickoff.

And you need to spend some time considering what the Georgia offense will do to BSU. It seems that teams with any running ability have little trouble racking up yards. If Georgia runs the ball as well as Louisville - which it should considering the OL is deep and experienced - BSU will not have time to put up 30 points. And they'd better score whenever they get the ball if we are running the ball that well, because their time-of-possession will be miniscule.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterDawgspeare
This whole blog makes no sense! In one sentence this mumbling moron says that Boise State has a "Sophisticated " offense. Then further down he says that Boise does nothing fancy. It astounds me that this fruitcake has put this much thought into a football game. Here are the facts. Boise is not on the same level as Georgia! Period! The players are better. The facilities are bettter. The stadium is bigger. The atmosphere is bigger. This is the big show my friend. Analyze this game all you want. But it's as easy as ABC. Georgia is the better team. They should win this game easliy. Go back to work and wory about the thingd you can control, because you suck at writing!
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermichael
The advantage here lies with the home team. I'll take the superior athletes on Georgia's D figuring out Boise's O long before I believe Boise will match up with the monster UGA line and stop the best running attack they've probably ever seen. And there won't be a better athlete on the field from either side than DJ Shockley. I do agree it will be a close game. But, if it turns into a route, Boise will be on the wrong end. Who honestly believes Boise State is going to go into a season opener in Sanford Stadium and embarass Georgia? Get real.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commentersenzabar
You are so far off it's comical. The SEC runs simple offenses? UGA is not used to someone of BSU's caliber? BSU plays in what league? They have won what exactly? I've never seen a poorer analysis in my life. The SEC is the best conference in the country proven year in and year out but a team there would have trouble with BSU's sophisticated offense? Come on, do some real analysis, UGA just played a team with three first round picks on offense, when was the last time that BSU played a quality opponent and what happened. Oh, something to think about, maybe teams from the SEC don't have as high a scoring average because the league actually has good defenses.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterVictor
I'm not a fan of either of the aforementioned. The UGA homers responding to this blog are quite comical. They point to the BSU-Louisville game as proof positive that UGA will roll. However, they need look no further than last years home opener versus that perennial football powerhouse known as the Marshall Thundering Herd.

Word to the wise: Don't use A>B B>C therefore A>C.

You stumbled versus Marshall, you stumbled versus Ga Southern. You've also won a grand total of 1 SEC championship over the last 20 years.

I'd recommend not resting on the laurels of the big, bad, SEC.

Have a great day, Ya'll
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterEarl of CFB
Michael, learn how to spell before accusing others of not knowing how to write, my friend!
June 23, 2005 | Registered CommenterCFR
Didn't your buddies tell you not to drink the bong water?

Please come to Athens we all need a good laugh at our tailgate this year. Tell us the story of how our Dawgs are gonna get rolled in their own stadium. I really liked the one about our dumb coaches and players, you know the one. And please talk about how weak and simplistic our yearly opponents are, c'mon you know the ones that win National championships and are a fixture in the top ten polls. Please come, we all need a good laugh. Afterall the kickoff isn't until 5:30 and it will be just terrible not seeing your expression when the said can of whoopass is unleashed on our WAC visitors.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterWesDawg
The Broncos are going to be high as a kite,and ready to play.The Bronco fans,after a great night in Athens,are going to be pumped for a big time ballgame.The people back home,justifiably proud of their team,will be glued to the TV.
They will all be disappointed....and it won't even be close.
The Dawgs are starting to cop an attitude because they are being left out of the College Football Lovefest this season.Lots of people are choosing Boise for the upset special of the week.By Sept 3...Man those Junkyard Dawgs are going to be pissed.
Sorry guys,but it will be a big time reality check....The Broncos will not get it done in Athens.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterDawgrussell
Hey, CFR, that guy called you a fruitcake. Next thing you know they'll start dragging out "beatnik," "dirty spaniard," and "witch" to describe you. All of which we'd take as great compliments.

We still say UGA by three. They hit people harrrrddder than Boise does. Just a hunch.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterOrson Swindle
This is quite possibly the most ridiculous college football post I have ever seen...especially by someone trying to be taken seriously as a football "expert," and I use the term loosely. Anyway, some of the better snippets are:

"If Boise truly believes it's the better team here, this game will be an annihilation in their favor."

"That is because Georgia is a fairly low-tech outfit, but one blessed with outstanding athletic and talented personnel."

"Similarly, Boise State is a program that does things much like the Trojans, if not better in many ways."

"But the advantage is all Boise's."

"Georgia basically has to follow the LSU model here, and hope that Boise doesn't quite have it all together this early in the season."

"The other argument is that regardless of conference, any team that has a truly balanced offense (Hawai'i need not apply) and is putting up those kinds of numbers should reasonably be expected to put up similar totals in any other conference."

"Boise could very well destroy most of the SEC, if it were a conference member, in theory."

And I have saved the best for last, "This is getting lengthy so we'll call it a night for now"



Anywho, I was about to comment on each of the aforementioned, but the inanity of each was pretty apparent and therefore comment would have been redundant.

Finally, when I finally got my jaw off the ground, I remembered that $9.99 will buy anyone an internet domain these days. As a matter of fact, I just registered www.collegefootballmorons.com and will allow you guys to use it gratis.

June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterCollegeFootballFan
Not to interrupt the insanity with facts, but UGA has only lost 3 times at home since Mark Richt came to Athens and the WORST of those losses was a 7pt defeat to Tennessee in which UGA just came up short of tying the game at the end...

Do you HONESTLY think Boise State can be only the 4th team to beat UGA at home under Richt? And even moreso than that, how in the hell can you think they are going to blow UGA out when the worst loss they've had at home since 2001 is a 7pt defeat!?

What are you on? They may sneak out a win by a FG or something but no one is going to embarass the Dawgs at home like you believe..

Now go back to your bong with Reuben Houston.....
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterFreshAir
Come on. Really? WAC vs. SEC? And you refer to Oregon St. ALMOST beating LSU last year? How about WAC teams: Fresno St. losing to Tennessee in '03, 24-6, the same team UGA beat 41-14? Or Boise St. themselves losing to Arkansas in'02, 41-14, again beat by UGA that year 30-3? You could look to Hawaii's win over Alabama in-'03 by 37-29, a team UGA beat that year also, 37-23. Or La Tech, who lost to Tenn. 42-17, and lost to Auburn 52-7 last year, the 2 teams that beat UGA in '04. Or New Mex. St., who lost to Arky in '03 48-20, and again last year 63-13. How about the San Jose St. Spartans, losing to Florida 65-3 in '03? Or Utah St., losing to Alabama in '04 48-17?
Yeah. WAC vs. SEC. Great.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterdawgfan
Again, only a few of you have yet to even reach any kind of coherent disagreement with the merits of what I've said.

This kind of blustery response is what keeps the pundits caged and lock-step with the SEC is all-superior talking points.

Gentlemen (and ladies)---instead of taking offense, rip apart my arguments if they're really so bad. Name calling and insinuations of stupidity etc. really aren't going to give you much credibility here.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterResource Admin
Orson, whatever your work is, they're not paying you enough. Thanks for keeping things light.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterResource Admin
Yeah...what Michael said. This game is going to be decided on who's facilities are better. He says that Georgia's are, so I guess Boise's got no shot. Bulldogs all the way.

I think earlier in his comment he said that "this blog makes no sense"....hmm interesting...
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
So you claim you want people to tell you WHY they disagree, but if you read the replies, seems to me like they have been doing just that, and I agree with the main one: You simply cannot (at least realistically) compare a stat like PPG between a WAC team known for airing it out, and a Defensive minded SEC team. Well I mean of course you can, and you did... but I wouldn't expect people to take me very seriously either if I was trying to make such points.

And you should probably also expect a little criticism, even name calling after some of the things you posted, especially from a HUGE, proud, rabid group of fans like the DawgNation. But now you're just getting hypocritical:

"Name calling and insinuations of stupidity etc. really aren't going to give you much credibility here."

Oh yeah? Well you first called Georgia a "low-tech" outfit and then went onto say Boise's Offense would often make the Dawgs D look "stupid." But that's OK buddy, I can go ahead and assure you that you already have zero "credibility here" anyway after that illogical PPG comparison.

Hey, I don't blame you one bit though. I mean this is the easiest thing in the world to do, right?! You make some silly "upset special" pick, but you can always just fall back on it with "Oh well, Georgia SHOULD have won anyway, right?! I shouldn't have to go back on the record and admit I was wrong or praise them for beating a team they SHOULD have beat on paper anyway, right?!"

Eh, no, that's not really right, but thanks for allowing me to kill a good 10 or 15 minutes tonight anyway. Cheers!
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterGDawg34

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