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Wednesday
Aug312005

Georgia's path to victory

Reader Jack Murak GETS IT in a post on our comments forum.

He echoes many of the structural elements of arguments I've made, and explains why Georgia will win (if it wins).

The argument---"Familiarity" matters.  Look at USC.  Pac-10 foes have consistently given them more trouble the last three years than big-name out of conference opponents have.  The Pac-10 is much more familiar with what USC does and can adjust accordingly.

Georgia will have an incredibly difficult time catching up to what Boise is doing on the field.  Its not that what Boise is doing is complicated, but that its unfamiliar and highly successful.  Boise is going to score a bunch of points this game, you can almost count on it.

Thing is, there are only a few factors in Georgia's favor: talent and homefield advantage.

As I said over and over again long ago on here, the talent gap between these teams will determine the outcome.  Georgia fans basically have to hope their team is so far out ahead of Boise that they can overcome Boise's impressive scheme to win this game.  Playing at home, with the fans and the weather will also be contributing factors.

That said, I still strongly believe Boise State wins this game (Jack says Georgia).  We already know WHY.

But if they don't, you'll also have known well ahead of time WHY.

At least some of us grasp the fundamental principles behind the arguments made, though, and aren't just spouting blather with little significance to the game. 

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Reader Comments (17)

RA, I think you have hit the nail on the head. Clearly Boise has a schematic advantage against just about everyone they play, and in certain games (e.g., OOC games against BCS opponents) they have a talent deficit. The question is, can Boise's schematic advantage overcome the talent deficit? You think yes, I think no. We will see rather soon, and full marks to you if you are right (if UGA wins, there'll be no gloating on my part--I mean, let's face it, they are a 7-point favorite, so I am not really going out on a limb).

That said, I have to disagree with the claim that conference opponents have given USC more trouble over the last three seasons than non-conference opponents. This was certainly the case last year (although VT did play them tough), but not the two years prior.

In 2003, USC's toughest game was against Cal (obviously). After this, the toughest game they had was (amazingly) against BYU--where it was 21-18 or something similar with 5 minutes left. The only other game on the schedule that was competitive at all was the game against Michigan --not that this was all that close, but it was a tougher matchup than any of the Pac 10 games, except for Cal.

In 2002, USC lost to K State, and played a difficult game against Auburn. In Pac-10 play they lost to WSU in OT, and had a sort-of tough game against Cal. Other than an 11-point win against Oregon (which was not that close, really), no one else in the Pac 10 played them within 20 points.

The upshod of which is if you simplify things to the point where you discern whether a game was 'competitive' or not, over the last 3 seasons, non-conference opponents have been 'competitive' with USC in 4 of 15 games (I'm not counting Michigan 2004/2005 here) and Pac 10 teams have been competitive in 7 of 24 games (I'm not counting Oregon 2003 here). Not too much difference, really.

It's also worth noting that BYU played USC tough in 2003 on the road, but when presumably more familiar and at home in 2004, were not competitive.
August 31, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSolon
Solid analysis and response. I would add though, that I don't consider USC pre mid-2002 to be the USC that we've seen the last 2.5 years. That is, there was something transformative happening to that team a little past midway in its season and since then things have been on the major upswing.

Given that, the Kansas State games didn't really fall into that bubble. but I get what you're arguing and otherwise its true.

Additionally, I'm sure you've noticed that USC is fairly vulnerable early on, and the Cal 2003, BYU 2003 (great example) VT 2004, KSU 2001, Auburn 2002, KSU 2002, WSU 2002 contest all attest to that. For whatever reason starting slow and then absolutely rolling is USC's pattern of late.

It was broken (somewhat) last year with tough contests against Oregon State and UCLA, but I think that plays heavily into the conference familiarity point.

I don't think the Michigan game was in any way competitive, FWIW.

What other games you tuning into Saturday?

September 1, 2005 | Registered CommenterCFR
I'm a bit of a junkie, so I watch them all. Truth is, I'm going to be holed up for most of the weekend, sadly enough.

I think the two big ones are the ACC interdivisional games. In particular, I am looking forward to VT-NC State--where a legitimate MNC/BCS conference title contender goes on the road and plays a game that they could lose (Miami does this too, of course). Can Vick do well against a top-flight defense? Win and they solidify their national title credentials. If NC State's QB play can improve and they win this game, they have a chance to be this year's VT--with the only game left on the schedule in which they will definitely be an underdog being the game at Florida State. Should be some good stuff.

September 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSolon
I have very little faith in NC State's QBs.

Not much faith in Vick either, hehe, but I like his defense more than NC State's.

VT has long been a scrappy team, they tend to find ways to manufacture points, on special teams, offense, defense, just somehow get it done. Something's not right with NC State, though, perhaps they've been figured out.
September 1, 2005 | Registered CommenterCFR
NC State's QBs are pretty bad, but they were somehow able to hold it together last year against VT. Just blind luck? Maybe.

I'm a lot more interested in watching Vick against the NC State D. What a bitch to have to face NC State's DL for his first game back. Should be a low-scoring defensive struggle --other than the halftime interview with Amato, it should be fun to watch.
September 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSolon
LOL re: Amato.

That and all the sideline shots of his cool guy shades.
September 1, 2005 | Registered CommenterCFR
To get back to the subject of this thread, how are we so easily discounting the talent gap? Would you still be saying this if Boise was playing the Bengals? Let's not kid ourselves: the talent gap is pretty big. Depth-wise, it is almost as bad as a college team against an NFL team. I realize that Boise has talent, and may in fact be more talented at a position or two (perhaps special teams and I'm sure some would say QB). Overall, however, there really is no comparison. You said yourself that what Boise is doing isn't that complicated, but then go on to say that Georgia won't figure it out. Excuse me? Are we playing the "dumb redneck" card or something? I've said this before either here or at HP, but Boise's staff is in Idaho because they aren't top-tier coaches. Look at June Jones's production offensively at Hawaii...are we supposed to say that he is an elite coach? My point in bringing this up is that UGA's coaches are elite. Thinking that, given the months of prep time and mounds of video to be studied, Mark Richt and Willie Martinez couldn't figure this thing out is simply asinine. The more film that I look at and the more that I think about this, the more convinced I become that this won't really as close as even I previously thought. The speed on UGA's defense will overcome the scheme. I know you disagree, but they play the game in 2 days. So my question is this: What point total does Georgia have to limit Boise to for you to admit you are wrong? For me, if Boise gets to 30, you will get an apology.
September 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterCody
I'll know having watched the game. An arbitrary # is an arbitrary #.

And no, I'm not playing the dumb redneck card, although you're acting dumb. Its familarity. Georgia simply never goes up against advanced offensive schemes. Its not brain surgery what these offenses do, but it is DIFFICULT to get a handle on in live action, with little prep.

Its so wildly different from what UGA's defense is used to facing, that Boise is going to create all kinds of problems in this game.

As far as depth issues---we shall see. As I've said I think Boise has some talent in spots and the way they play basically overcomes man vs. man talent disadvantages. The most important position on the field, Boise has a HUGE edge in. Another critical position, OT, Boise has a great player at. Their secondary has an advantage not in talent but in awareness. There's very little Georgia will do that they won't understand and react quickly to. Whether they make the play or not, that's the talent question. Meanwhile, UGA's safeties are going to be busy figuring out where they need to go, and its going to take away some of the instinctual, intuitive play that is part of their talent.

I don't understand why everyone is up in arms over this before the game is played. I've laid out the conditions before, I'll watch the game and evaluate after. There's probably some things I said that were DEAD on, and others that missed the mark. Its called learning. But I think I'm MUCH closer to the truth than many of you guys ("execution is what counts", "Georgia's speed is too much", "Georgia is too talented", "Boise doesn't belong in the same state" etc.).
September 1, 2005 | Registered CommenterCFR
Three things:
1) The reason that people are wanting to argue about this so much on your website is that this is exactly what you preach. I want to hear you defend the Big 6. Once the game is over, all there will be is gloating and excuses, or at least I expect as much. YOU made it the "Hot Topic" so you really can't complain. It's a clash of two pretty different worlds, and that is going to create a lot of interest.
2)As I said before, there is no point in arguing the point further when the game is so close. That said, you show how little you really know about a team like Georgia when you say that the Broncos have a "HUGE" advantage at the most important position on the field. Unless we are talking placekicker, you are way of the mark. Zabransky over Shockley is a side that many would argue, but saying that the disparity is large is a joke. I watch the kid practice, as I have for the last 3 years. I won't say that he is capable of some spectacular things, because we all know that. The thing that will set him apart is this: he's consistent. He makes the throws, he's smart, and he's confident. I know you will throw Georgia Tech at me (if you even know enough to do so), but this guy will blow some minds by the end of this season. The Charlie Ward comparisons are more accurate than you might think, but that is yet another thing that you will find out soon enough. All I ask is, don't go spouting off and making these exaggerations about which you know nothing.
3)If Georgia is supposed to be so befuddled by the unfamiliar system, will Boise not be overwhelmed by the unfamiliar speed/size/strength?
September 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterCody
And just a little problem I have that I would like to hear an excuse for: Why is Boise allowed to come out in camo at home? Does anyone else think that it's an unfair advantage, or at the very least a little bit bush league?
September 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterCody
How about Florida a few years ago for Shockley. That's a history of chumping up games.

You may be right about UGA's talent being so unfamiliar to Boise. But that's ALSO what I'm talking about---familiarity.

I have strong faith in certain schools' schemes. I'm not some pure "spread" offense fan or whatever, just winning schemes.

Zabransky is an efficient quarterback, and he's a proven efficient quarterback. He throws the ball very well, he moves well. He's got a nice edge over Shockley and hasn't booted games like Shockley has.

If Boise wins, I don't anticipate gloating. There's a whole season to go, but I will pay some extra attention to this, no doubt.

And yes, you're right, the CAMO is bush league and I'm not necessarily all that cheerful about it.

September 1, 2005 | Registered CommenterCFR
Good point. That one throw will be etched in my memory forever, as it cost Georgia a shot at a national title. It WAS, however, 2002 when that happened, and a lot is different now. I was more agreeing with you about the familiarity concept, but pointing out that it goes both ways. Living in Athens, I have to hear a lot about how "black quarterbacks aren't capable of efficiency and consistency," so I am used to standing up for DJ. He's a great kid, and he's going to be a great quarterback this year. All I can say is wait and see. But you have to admit, with that name, he'd make a great superstar. SHOCKLEY. It wouldn't look bad underneath John Heisman's name. And no, I don't feel like I'm crazy saying that if you can put Brandon Cox in that category. Under 2 days now....
September 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterCody
Well RA like most of the time, you really hit the nail on the head. Georgia's defense was sooooo confused. That offensive scheme was just tooooo much for a neanderthalic Georgia team.

Georgia even put in the walk-ons but, there was no stopping that complicated scheme.

You idiot!
September 4, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterDAWGY1
Yes, Dawgy, it is certainly very interesting when someone who has obviously never played football decides to promote himself as an expert on it. You are likely to see many humorously misguided arguments, e.g. "sophistication" = quality. In his defense, RA did predict that Georgia could keep up with Boise iff Boise didn't truly BELIEVE, and I, for one, must conclude that Boise did not believe. That was their tragic flaw, but expect much better from them for, as we all know, they are a first-rate progam that does MANY things better even than USC.
September 5, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterdre
Oh, and Dawgy, it must have been a great relief to discover that Shockley--with his history for "chumping up games"--was an efficient, effective quarterback on Saturday (much unlike his counter-part, I might add...).
September 5, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterdre
"I think I'm MUCH closer to the truth than many of you guys ("execution is what counts", "Georgia's speed is too much", "Georgia is too talented", "Boise doesn't belong in the same state" etc.)."

Sorry, RA, I have to disagree. I believe that each of these 4 points was adequately proven on Saturday. Please remind me if any of yours came true.
September 5, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterdre
Shockley's history of "chumping up games"? David Greene was the winningest qb in college football history. Shockley never lost a game for UGA during that time and, with only a few exceptions, he played two or three series per game. Even a "chump" like you might agree that it's hard to consistently play up to your abilities in that scenario.

You obviously don't know much about college football and you know even less about the Georgia program.
September 6, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

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