It’s that time of year again. Georgia and Georgia Tech are set to square off in their 104th meeting. One team comes into this game 10-1, with a date in the conference championship game next week. The other sits at 6-5 and is looking for a win to salvage some sort of meaning out of a lost season. The roles are reversed this year as the #7 Yellow Jackets find themselves favored over a listless Bulldogs squad. The Dawgs have won 4 straight in Bobby Dodd stadium, but not many people are giving them much chance to extend that streak to 5. I know that many of you will get a head start on drowning your sorrows before the 8pm kickoff, but don’t plan your night of mourning just yet. Despite the terrible things I’ve said about this Georgia team this year… and this team is truly terrible… I think the Dawgs will be marching out of Atlanta with a win. To do so, they’ll need to do three simple things, a tall task for a team that has failed at doing the simple things all season long.
Throw the ball, a lot
While most of the Bulldog Nation holds its breath when Joe Cox drops back to pass, the red-headed warrior might be Georgia’s best chance of winning in Atlanta. The Tech defense ranks 10th in the ACC in pass defense. The Jackets are surrendering nearly 230 yards through the air. Additionally, Georgia Tech only has 9 interceptions on the year, only two more than the Bulldogs (who have become notorious for their inability to force a turnover). Believe it or not, Joe Cox is third in the SEC with 213 YPG. Yes, he does have 14 interceptions to 21 touchdowns, but those 21 TDs are also third in the conference. Even without AJ Green, Georgia still has a cadre of tall, talented recievers, capable of stretching the feild against the Jackets. Cox proved in Fayetteville earlier this year that he can go toe-to-toe in a shootout on the road.
Remember how to tackle
It’s sad that a program like Georgia is incapable of teaching a skill so basic as tackling, but Georgia has stunk when it comes to wrapping up and making plays on defense. If you need an example, I invite you to watch Charles Scott’s game winning touchdown for LSU from earlier this season. Georgia has the speed on the defensive side of the ball to run with Georgia Tech, but if they can’t wrap up backs like Johnathan Dwyer or Roddy Jones, its going to be shades of last season.
No stupid mistakes
Counting the last three quarters of the Auburn game and the first half of the Kentucky catastrophe, Georgia played their best football of the season. In those five quarters, the Bulldogs limited penalties, kept turnovers down, and played like the team we expected to see all season. I think the Dawgs might have been looking ahead to Tech as they came out of the tunnel for the second half on Saturday night. The four turnovers in the second half can’t happen again if Georgia wants to make the scoreboard look close to respectable in Atlanta. The responsibility for these mistakes falls sqarely on the head coach. I don’t know if Mark Richt has what it takes to talk some sense into his players, but another meltdown like last weekend and we could see Mark Richt and his Orange-glo tan patrolling someone else’s sidelines.
Act like you care.
Georgia Tech fans have been celebrating the world’s first three-point blowout for a year now. Georgia, meanwhile, was whitewashed by rival Tennessee and run out of Jacksonville by the team they’ve come to despise most, Florida. While Georgia did gather their pride for a win over Auburn, the wind went right back out of Georgia’s sails in the second half against Kentucky. In my opinion, the biggest problem with this defense in the past couple of years has been a lack of energy and passion. Tech is typically hyped for a game against the Bulldogs, lets hope that Georgia brings the same sense of urgency and, maybe, a little swagger (note: swagger does not mean new uniforms). Richt is 16-1 against Tech as both an OC at Florida State and as the HC at Georgia. Its safe to say last season’s loss to Tech rattled him a little bit. According to my inside sources, the Dawgs have circled and prepped for the Tech game from Day 1 of Spring Practice. That really says something about how much Georgia really does care about this game, to prioritize it above a game like Florida. Lets hope the Bulldogs show how much they care when the run out on the field Saturday night.
My prediction: Georgia 45, Georgia Tech 42
And since Thanksgiving is a time for leftovers, here’s a sampling of some other picks that you shouldn’t contact your bookie with.
#2 Alabama 17- Auburn 12
West Virginia 31 – #9 Pittsburgh 27
#6 Boise State 30 – Nevada 28
#18 Clemson 35 – South Carolina 13
Oklahoma 28 – #12 Oklahoma State 21
Arkansas 42 – #15 LSU 31
#1 Florida 49 – Florida State 17
Mississippi State 17 – #25 Ole Miss 14
#21 Utah 35 – #19 BYU 30
Kentucky 28 – Tennessee 21