Sunday, October 19, 2014

Georgia 45 Arkansas 32 Recap #dontfreegurley?

When I looked at the preseason schedule those that back to back trip to Mizzou and Arky looked like that lull / trip-up we needed to avoid. If you told me we'd be without Gurley or Marshall before the year I would have felt even worse. I don't think we could've imagined the results from these two games.

Here's the deal. Don't complain about the second half at all. If I told you UGA would win the game 9-6 on Friday you would have been fine. The score doesn't tell the dominance of the game. Despite the comeback UGA still covered the spread so even the degenerates can't be unhappy about that one.

After Arkansas' opening drive it looked as if the score and pace of the game would be a lot different. Arkansas controlled the ball for nearly eight minutes, churning up yardage, converting third downs, and knowingly running it down our throats. After they scored the missed PAT must have brought back fond memories of the Bama mishap.

What we didn't see coming was the offense to come out blazing in a counter attack behind Mason's arm. Kudos to Bobo on a great day of mixing the run and pass. We came out quickly with the 48 yard bomb to Conley and quickly followed with a strike over the middle to Bennett. What took Arkansas eight minutes to do took UGA about a minute and a half. My fun fact after that big pass to Conley was poor Hutson was still two yards shy of having the longest pass of the season.

The ensuing onside kick seemed a little baffling. I guess Richt figured if you can't stop the run from the 20 you can't stop the run from the 50. The fortunate thing after not recovering was the pressure the defensive line quickly showed. After two plays Arkansas was facing a 3rd and 33. This quick stop allowed UGA to capture the momentum and begin the first half onslaught.

I'm not sure what happened those last 10 minutes of the second quarter, but for the second week in a row we had the game in hand by halftime. One key turning point we may look over was the unsportsmanlike penalty against Arkansas that gave UGA new life. Bennett had a drop right after (didn't know that was possible) and Chubb bounced right back with his big TD run. This was the big score that set the tone.

Let's give Hutson Mason credit where credit is due. Some folks may need to eat a little crow. I said last week we need to get used to being satisfied with the Mason stat line of 150 / 1 TD / 0 Ints. He decided to get a little greedy this week and go for 179 / 2 / 0. Admittedly he's not the arm of Stafford or Murray, but what if I told you he's getting better? Things like throwing it away, or scrambling back to the line for minimal loss instead of throwing it into the feet of defenders. Things like overthrowing Reggie Davis (did you even think it was possible?) and coming right back to hit 3rd and 11 to Conley. Not panicking in the 4th quarter and getting what ended up being a crucial TD to Conley in the 4th. We're half way through the season and hopefully know we have a better perspective of what positives we can get out of Hutson. He still hasn't had to really "win" a game for us, but we should start to feel a little more confident he can when the time comes.

The defense had their second nice day in a row. Turnover were very abundant once again. Some of these were forced by our pressure, some by the offense, but at the end of the day we capitalized on opportunities when they were presented. When you go into two tough road games and win the turnover margin 9-0 it has to be pretty refreshing.

Early in the season we tore into the secondary. One thing I tried to note that was a positive compared to last year was the fact the players were at least "in position". They were lost last year. Now they just needed to come up and make plays in those positions. It seems as they are becoming more comfortable with the scheme these plays are happening. Plays like Swann's pick in the end zone, the batted pass to Mauger, etc.

The thing that really allowed Arkansas to score late was the annoying penalties on our defense. Some warranted, some not. I didn't really care... we were playing hard until the end of the game. It had to be frustrating for the defense to have ticky tack penalties while trying to shut down an opponent.

Mackenzie had a decent day on kick returns showing better judgement this week and averaging over 30 yards per return.

Chris Conley is emerging as the deep threat and had his breakout day. Bennett is working back into the role where he eats up yardage over the middle. As Mason becomes more in tune with a full receiving corps let's hope it gives other folks more opportunities.

We now have a bye week before the Cocktail Party. There will be only one item of news people will be waiting on, and let's hope it comes to fruition. It's hard to imagine how fun a coming out party would be against the Gators with #3 back in the fold.

We've survived the first half of the season with everything still out there to play for. I don't think we could imagine it looking like this, but let's just enjoy the ride however it may come to pass.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Potential Reasons for Gurley Optimism (if there are any...)

In the public's opinion, it may be in the NCAA's best interest to see Todd suit up again (c/o owner)
Let me preface with a few things:

1) This was not a post header to bait people
2) There is way too much unknown out there to feel a certain way right now

These are merely just subjective assumptions based on the stories we've seen and having to talk through this subject around the ole water cooler on a Monday.

One of the first items that seemed strange to me was why the number $400 was floating around. It seemed an awful random number for someone who had reportedly done numerous autograph signings. Well now we know, because the number $401 carries a good deal more significance... the difference between potentially one game and multiple games.

The conversation we'll never know and probably won't even when a ruling is determined is what Todd told the university when they were first made aware of the situation. Did UGA ask Todd if rumors were true, get acknowledgement, and keep him mum from there? It doesn't seem like our cowardly story provider Mr. Allen would have the acumen to concoct the $400 figure on his own. Meanwhile we don't know what proof is out there, but it doesn't seem someone who is openly (now) trying to hurt Todd would do him the favor of providing that oh so significant helpful number.

It seems that once the situation arose UGA did possibly stay out in front of it. Some will argue that the administration took a while to get going defending our star player, but I would also state that it's been the most I've ever seen this administration potentially go to bat for a player involved in a disciplinary situation. Their hands are tied if the evidence is out there as we've seen the university play by the book in these scenarios when other schools tread lightly. It seems the suspension was made with good reason (being something was obviously there), but every effort is being made to come to favorable if possible expedient decision.

Aside from the number, the next helpful item may be the national perspective of this situation. I cautioned in the beginning that the subjectivity surrounding the overarching "pay for play" argument bore no merit in the argument of whether Todd broke a rule or not. If there's evidence that's there not a whole lot that can be done. However if the evidence doesn't exist above and beyond measures already taken the onus is on the NCAA to act in a swift and favorable measure towards Todd.

The NCAA is facing a cloud of criticism surrounding this issue. With recent developments in cases like that of Ed O'Bannon's it seems the public opnion needle is swinging towards players being able to not be exploited by their universities. I don't think Todd will be the sacrificial lamb or the NCAA will make him out to be.

The NCAA also finds itself with a figure viewed in a very different light than previous players who have gone through this scenario. Cam, Johnny, and Jameis all acted in a way that led some of the arguers to view them in a negative fashion. Whether it was the sum of the money for Cam, the antics of Johnny, or the severity of the allegation for Winston, those topics were viewed in a much harsher light than that of Gurley. Would it really benefit the NCAA to have those three Heisman winners able to play and not miss significant playing time while a player the nation is behind is forced to watch from the sidelines. Todd's violation is also at the center of the debate that is at the forefront of the NCAA's criticism. Can the NCAA let a player who is favored in public opinion be punished while their reigning Heisman winner continues to play amidst a re-opened sexual assault case...

Furthermore the way in which Todd's transgressions came to bear creates an enemy against him and the nation to rally by his side. It's pretty simple to say (and even our rivals tend to agree) that it would be an unpopular opinion to never see #3 take the field again in red and black. Is the coward who hid behind emails shopping his story around to potentially ruin a kid's career going to be rewarded by never seeing him play again? Public opinion would lead to seeing Mr. Allen's story ruining Todd's career and UGA's season as giving validity to his efforts.

Look, if Todd did the deed to the degree that can be substantially proven we have no choice but to be at the mercy of the decision. Until it's rewritten, a violation of a set rule leads to acceptance of its current consequence. The hope is that whatever decision is made it be made swiftly. The longer it goes without substantiated findings the more the needle of the public swings towards Todd and puts more pressure on the NCAA.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Recap: Georgia 34 Missouri 0, Welcome Back Defense

Let's be honest, headed on the road with all the week's turmoil you never would have imagined a result like that. I would have taken any sort of ugly win that merely got the job done. If there was a team that was going to be shutout and have five turnovers it wouldn't have been hard to see it as Georgia. Somehow the team rallied to produce in my opinion one of the more impressive wins given the circumstances in Mark Richt's career. When the game opened with a ticky tack personal foul against Floyd, a bunch of fumbles that we luckily recovered, and some settled for field goals I was worried things would swing the other way.

The star of the day on a large scale had to be the defense. While Mizzou's offense didn't look great in hindsight, it was a complex scheme that Georgia isn't used to seeing. They handled it very well. The secondary which had been in position for most of the season but unable to make plays finally had those plays with four interceptions. The D-Line was able to get to a mobile quarterback to force many of those turnovers and had one of their own on the fumble. They also covered very well in the flats where the screen game is a big part of Missouri's offense.

The secondary had their best day yet. I think most people including myself had no clue who the player was when you saw #33 on the field make a play. Welcome back Mr. Langley. Hopefully with a less complex scheme this year he'll be able to have more of an impact. Dominick Sanders and Quincy Mauger are proving the same, now making plays where a guy like Mauger seemed more than lost last year.

People are going to point to this as a great game for Hutson Mason. There were a few plays that made me think otherwise (as in can somebody please explain intentional grounding to him), but all in all it was a mistake free day. We need to get used to this statline of 150 yds / 1 TD / 0 Ints as a the sign of a good day. If we're pressed to throw for more than that, or that last number comes into play it could signal a bad day. He even tucked in a fake pulled hamstring juke out TD run.

Nick Chubb had a great day, but it was certainly a strange one. If you look back at the game he really didn't have any "big" runs. A couple 15 yarders and the TD. He did tote the rock 38 times though. So being able to churn up small chunks of yardage consistently while not making any mistakes turned out to be a great thing. A ton of pressure was put on that guy and he delivered.

Brendan Douglas had the most memorable run of the day flying through the air. He proved as we all knew he'd be able to run the ball hard and answer when called on.

Prior to the game, the player in my mind who had been most absent this season was Michael Bennett. It seemed he'd be a very reliable target for Mason as he got his feet wet. Finally we got to see him come through with a nice TD and some good yardage over the middle.

Malcolm Mitchell got some great looks. He didn't really have any notable receptions, but getting six catches proves he is back to full strength. Let's hope his legs hold up.

Justin Scott-Wesley didn't have any receptions, but I did see his jersey on the field during action which leads to a hopeful positive.

IMac has incredible talent and burst. I'm sure he'll break another one before this year is over. However, he's certainly still getting his feet wet in the "decision" game. He luckily had his team recover the fumble that was stripped away from him. He also neglected to fair catch a ball with a defender barreling down on him. I'm sure he'll improve in this area as he becomes more experienced.

Missouri certainly didn't help themselves and if we're honest UGA got a couple breaks (the fumbles). However it was the first time in a long time I felt like we were on the right side of luck. This was a game we'd go out and disappoint traditionally. I'm hoping that isn't the case next week either. UGA rose to the occasion when needed, and now controls their own destiny in the east. Who knows what that team will look like going forward, but it is nice to still have it all to play for.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Week 7 ATS Picks

10-8 ATS For the year, 2-4 in the last two weeks so it's time to bounce back.

West Virginia at Texas Tech Under 77.5

Georgia Tech -3 vs. Duke

Oklahoma State at Kanas Over 48

Friday, October 10, 2014

Quick Thoughts: Todd Gurley

These are going to be all over the place. Here's some of my overarching opinions on the situation, knowing that we still have unknowns out there.

1) The SB Nation article was the clearest picture we had into the whole fiasco when it came out last night. It sheds light on the course of events that led to this, even if we don't know the full scope, amount, etc. By the way that site should be commended for the way they avoided / handled the situation. It would have provided the most hits on an article for an up and coming site.

2) There is some blame to be put on Todd. If you get into a car with someone knowing what they are doing with an uneasy feeling, it's not time to proceed.

3) That being said we don't what what coaxed TG3 into this situation. Financial need seems strange because he knows he's getting paid in 12 weeks. Screwing over the NCAA seems odd because Todd doesn't seem like that type of guy. We'll probably never know, but the "why" is the most desired unknown from this.

4) Take the "should athletes get paid" argument off the shelf when it comes to this situation. That's a separate issue and we're looking at a rule violation here.

5) If Todd indeed broke said rule and it's known, than we need to abide by the 2-game suspension. That 2 game number is based off the $400 number, which has not been properly vetted yet. Due to the "why" aspect of $400, it will be interesting to see what is finite from that.

6) When asked if anything was there by the UGA staff if Todd said no - fight tooth and nail for reinstatement, if yes - you only have one plausible course of action. A rule is a rule and you can't put the program at risk. Due to the current course of action it leads me to think yes.

7) While Todd is to blame, the guy who exploited him is going to get his. I don't know what story he sold to Todd on the front end, but I sure know how this coward acted on the back end. They already have a name, email, and number at some media outlets. He's going to be done for life. What a new kind of scum that exploits a kid, hides behind a curtain like a weakling all the while vilifying a kid publicly. You'll get yours.

8) The thing that bothers me most about this situation is not necessarily the W/L implications. If I'm honest with myself even if we got to the Dome we probably weren't going to win. My heart aches because the best individual player season I may ever see and potential New York trip are now off the table if this holds.

9) Todd is a good kid who made a mistake. His problem is it was the wrong mistake if true. Seems hard especially when you have the Winston and Johnny Football fiasco to compare to where they get off easier. Smaller transgression, bigger penalty.

10) Someone who doesn't have a lot going on for a Friday please find this rat who exploited Todd.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Recap: Georgia 44 Vandy 17

Let's be honest. If you weren't in Sanford Stadium you probably saw about 60% of this game based on what was ensuing on other channels. We were a very quiet piece in a noisy Saturday in college football, and honestly that's just fine. People will see the scoreline flash across the bottom of their screen on ESPN and think well that was a pretty standard win. They won't see some of the items that will be argued about on various UGA message boards which always seem to be apparent no matter what the outcome.

First, Todd Gurley continued doing his thing. I wish he had gotten in there for that 3rd touchdown to pad the stat line a little more. 237 all purpose yards including the much noted pass (which quickly people noted as UGA's longest of the season). He also ran some plays out of the wildcat so it looks like that formation isn't just limited to Michel whenever he returns.

It seemed Bobo was tinkering with his pieces throughout out the game. We saw a bunch of different formations such as Mason splitting out, trying to utilize IMac in the right facets, get Mitchell back in, etc. Not sure what the theory of getting Ramsey in early in the game was, but some folks on the Dawgvent have no reason to complain anymore.

Great to see Mitchell on the field, and hoping he can contribute a memory at some point this season.

People who payed attention I'm sure are going to harp on Mason's pick and also the near pick in the first quarter which should have been six the other way. Those were pretty bad. He also had some good tosses on the day. I will note that the deep ball to Conley is a far cry from the ropes we've seen in the past but in the end it got the result. It's a different offense this year. Maybe some holes open up as the season progresses with a full compliment of receivers. He has shown the ability to hit open guys. It was nice to see receivers work more open against Vandy than the previous week versus the Vols.

The defense pretty much did their job versus a struggling offense like Vandy. I'm sure folks wanted a zero on their side of the scoreboard but I think that's usually a lofty goal with this unit. We saw a lot of folks get their cracks and no one really go down hurt which is the goal.

We are still getting burned on straight vertical routes over the middle and in the screen game. Their tight end had a few large yardage chunks that looked very similar to the Tennessee big gainers.

Devin Bowman was beaten earlier in the day leading to a score. He did however provide the unconventional TD you look for in these games by stepping into the route (which was the worst play call ever Vandy) and taking the pass to the house.

This is just complaining to fill space, but the punting game was kind of fickle in the first half. I guess we were dealing with wind issues, but the rotation between Erickson and Barber seemed different than normal.

IMac will probably have another talking to about trying to go Madden 2013 on punt returns switching the field around in your own territory.

The next two games will be huge tests. Survive and advance no matter what the score. We're starting to turn the corner for the stretch we've been resting Todd, getting WRs back, etc. for. Wins like this over Vandy need to just have the score appreciated.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Week 6 ATS Picks

9-6 ATS on the year.

Texas A&M at Miss St. Under 74.5

Counting on the 12 o'clock start and the subsequent offensive lull here. They certainly are two high powered offenses, but I always say when something is supposed to happen it usually doesn't in the gambling world.

Baylor at Texas Over 58

Baylor doesn't stop scoring and usually doesn't let off the gas. 

Auburn -7.5 at home vs. LSU

It seems people haven't been talking about Auburn much since the game versus Kansas State. I still consider them the best overall team in the SEC. They score at will. Night game in JHS leads me towards the orange and blue Tigers.