No, I don’t know if Isaiah Crowell is going to play. (Figured that question might come up.)
Welcome to the SEC championship, or, as we like to call it: “The Game That Nobody Three Months Ago Figured Would Include Georgia.”
As coach Mark Richt said at his news conference earlier this week, “Well, I guess we could be out recruiting today.” This being the better alternative.
There’s not much left to write. You can go to AJC.com/Sports/UGA to catch up on some of the terrific blogs written this week by Chip Towers and Tim Tucker, and I’ve listed the links to some of my columns down below.
But here are a few bullet points going into the game (4 p.m. kickoff).
• The Georgia offense: If the Bulldogs (13½-point underdogs) can’t run the ball against LSU, their chances to pull an upset significantly decrease. No running game means no effective play-action and little chance of keeping the Tigers’ defense off-balance. That said, Aaron Murray has been strong of late and will need to continue to spread the ball around to all his receivers.
• Crowell: We’re probably not going to know until kickoff whether he is playing. Yes, rumors have swirled most of the week on Twtter and message boards about the strength of his health, his head, an altercation that may or may not have taken place in practice, a suspension, etc. All I can tell you for sure is that nothing has been substantiated. Coach Mark Richt has remained mum on the status of all of his running backs since Wednesday. Crowell was at Friday’s walk-thru at the Georgia Dome and is on the Dogs’ dress-0ut list. Athletic director Greg McGarity said Friday he knew nothing of a suspension and told Chip and I, “I’d know, wouldn’t I?”
• Barring turnovers, I think Georgia keeps this game close for at least three quarters. The Dogs’ defense has been strong against the run (which is LSU’s strength). The question is what happens in the fourth quarter. The Tigers’ depth on the line and at running back enables them to rotate players and wear down opponents. LSU has outscored teams 115-28 in the fourth quarter and 229-61 in the second half.
Finally, I know a lot has been made of the fact that LSU probably will be in the BCS title game, win or lose (barring an unlikely blowout win by the Bulldogs, which could make voters think twice about putting the Tiers in). I doubt that will have any impact on the Tigers’ play. They’re undefeated and they have a chance to win an SEC championship. Those two things alone will keep them motivated.
Yes, Georgia has a legitimate chance to win this game. But it will take an almost error-free performance, and even then maybe a couple of turnovers.
That’s it for now. If and when we learn something more about Crowell, I’ll post it here.
Georgia blogs from this week:
By Jeff Schultz