Hello. And now the college football season really starts.
I’ve taken some heat from the Georgia faithful for picking Boise State to win this game tonight. Just to reiterate something I’ve said and written before: Making a prediction doesn’t mean I have a vested interest, unless I’ve got money on the game, which of course would never happen. (Pause for effect.).
I just look at the two teams and believe that, yes, even with Boise State holding out three players for eligibility concerns — including starting strong safety Cedric Febis — the Broncos are a better team. At the very least, they’re a more proven team.
The biggest reason I like Boise State: the quarterback. Georgia’s Aaron Murray is very good, probably the best quarterback in the SEC. But Kellen Moore is a senior, a fourth-year starter, a Heisman Trophy candidate and really smart. He had 35 touchdown passes and only six interceptions with a 71.3 percent completion rate last season. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. My confidence level in the Georgia defense and Todd Grantham is not yet at the point that I see the Dogs stopping Moore.
Could it happen? Sure. But if Georgia wins this game, it’s not going to be because of a relative home field advantage in the Georgia Dome (Boise has played on this stage before) or because the game is “bigger” for the Dogs (if anything, it’s bigger for the Broncos because if they go on a run the rest of the schedule, they’re potentially in the BCS title game). The Dogs simply have to prove they can play smart, tough and with some resiliency, particularly against a ranked opponent. That’s something we haven’t seen much of lately.
Just a few things before I turn it over to you:
• Note to Utah State: Auburn is going to onside kick. (Still can’t believe the Tigers came back to win that game today. But that should supply sufficient evidence that a school from that part of the country can play with an SEC team.)
• Still no confirmation that safety Bacarri Rambo is playing. Or not playing. There has been speculation in the media that Rambo has been suspended but coach Mark Richt all week has issued the standard none denial/denials: “There’s nothing to report right now.” Rambo is listed second on the depth chart at free safety behind Sanders Cummings. If and when there’s an update, I’ll try to post it here.
• Whether freshman Isaiah Crowell gets the first carry or not for Georgia, his importance and that of the running game can’t be overstated. But the onus is largely on the offensive line, which has been an underachieving unit the last two years. The Dogs must be physical up front to win this game and handle a very good Boise State front seven.
• Not that the guys in Las Vegas necessarily know more than we do. But despite Boise State holding out three players, the point spread hasn’t budged. The Dogs are three-point underdogs.
• Watch Malcolm Mitchell. Murray has two great targets in Tavarres King and tight end Orson Charles, but I’m very interested to say what the freshman wide receiver can bring to the team this season. The Dogs will need a playmaker to step up with A.J. Green gone.
That’s it for now. Going outside to get a look at the scene.
Kickoff is 8 p.m. What’s your level of confidence as we get closer to the game?
By Jeff Schultz