Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Looks Like UGA May Be the "Sexy" Pick in 2011

Ohhhhh crap... there is one thing I do not like to hear when analysts, coaches, and/or fans (or anyone else for that matter) gives their preseason predictions for a given season: "The Dawgs are a SERIOUS darkhorse to win the SEC". Actually, if it's a generic talking head on ESPN, it will probably sound more like this:

"Guys, I'm going to go out on a limb and make a bold prediction here...I'm not so sure Georgia isn't a SERIOUS darkhorse to make a run in the SEC East. I know. I know. I just really think that Aaron Murray is a special, special, player for Mark Richt and company. If you take a look at their schedule, they only play four true road games all year. They still have some tough games on the schedule, but hey...an SEC team has won the last five BCS Championships, so why not?" (as he laughs for no reason)

I, for one, consider it the "kiss of death" when a team is given too many preseason props. Last year, everybody was picking Arkansas to be that team. Although they did have a very nice year, they were not making the trip to Atlanta at the end of the season. And in the case of UGA, there have been a few different media outlets putting forth some disconcerting material:

  • Athlon has been releasing their "Top 25" one team at a time this month. There have been heavy rumors that they have picked UGA to win the East in '11. They have already pegged South Carolina as the #21 team in the country, with Florida coming in at #18. The last team they named was TCU at #15. This most likely means that they have UGA in their top 15 for this upcoming season (that sounds like a good LSAT question).
  • ESPN Insider did an article yesterday on the Dawgs (which I cannot post because it's a subscription article) that basically drooled over Aaron Murray (for good reason imo) and used phrases like "Murray should have a ton of weapons at his disposal". There are also points made like, "In all seven of the team's losses (in 2010), the Bulldogs were leading or within one possession during the fourth quarter."
  • Football Outsiders, which is a statistically driven website (and worth a look for stat gurus), has stated that the Dawgs -- along with SIX other SEC teams -- are in their top 15 in 2011. They also stated some prediction metric based on past performance (called "PEFI") that has UGA ranked 12th in the country.
I'm sure there will be more magazines, websites, and other assorted media outlets that like the Dawgs' chances in 2011, especially when you consider the Stephen Garcia situation as S.C. and the fact that UF is breaking in an entirely new coaching staff. But like I said earlier -- I want to be under the radar, not in it.

5 comments:

  1. Meh. A lot of pundits picked South Carolina to win the East last year...and they did. I'm kinda over this whole "preseason hype is the kiss of death" meme. Better players, better coaching = wins. It's really that simple. The media can say whatever they want, but you can be sure all the players are thinking about one thing: 6-7.

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  2. I think we're being a little paranoid about hype because of 08(which frankly I blame more on injuries than hype, but hype still didn't help).

    It was "you're #1 even though half your team is injured" in 08, while now its, "I'm reluctantly picking you to win the SEC East because the rest of the division is down and you don't play LSU, Bama, or Arkansas in the regular season, one of whom will steamroll you in the SEC championship game".

    Big difference there. This isn't hype, its just a little bit of respect which seems more like hype because UGA lost 7 games last year.

    Plus the talent adds up on paper for UGA, and it doesn't really for the rest of the division.

    UGA has a great QB, and at least one stud at each level on defense which is pretty much all it takes to have a chance to be great if the rest of the team can just be adequate(Jenkins and/or Geathers on the line, Ogletree and maybe Jones at linebacker, and Boykin at corner).

    They don't "deserve" anything after going 6-7, but a little preseason respect is to be expected when there are so few glaring issues, and they should be able to handle that.

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  3. This is what gets me:

    "...basically drooled over Aaron Murray (for good reason imo) and used phrases like "Murray should have a ton of weapons at his disposal". There are also points made like, "In all seven of the team's losses (in 2010), the Bulldogs were leading or within one possession during the fourth quarter.""

    I'm not worried because thats all pretty much true. Murray IS a bad ass. About the weapons, not there's not enough weapons for a mediocre quarterback to do anything with, but there's plenty for someone like Murray to do something with. They didn't get blown out last year. Even Auburn; that final score doesn't tell the whole story. We were a score, a stop, and a score away from winning that game well into the fourth quarter. Thats why 6-7 felt better than 10-3 did in 08. That year we didn't deserve half the wins and got creamed in all three losses.

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  4. Anon 2:10,

    It's "pick your poison" when comparing '08 to '10. Although we did have close losses last season, there were also some lesser quality teams that beat us -- Miss St. (a team on the rise, but still), Colorado, UCF, and UF, who was down last year.

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  5. Garcia has been suspended what,5 times without missing a minute of playing time. Surely no one thinks he won't be on the field for South Carolina's first game do they ?

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