ATHENS – So is this affirmation week or trap week?
Georgia plays Tennessee today. Honestly, I was a little surprised when the Glantz-Culver line (adopted by the AJC and Weekend Predictions, Inc. as the official point spread ) opened with the Bulldogs as a 15-point favorite and it immediately dropped to 13½ (though it has inched back up to 14).
The Dogs are ranked No. 5, and look like legitimate
title contenders. Other than some first-half hiccups in the SEC opener at Missouri, they have looked strong defensively and leveled Vanderbilt 48-3 last week. Tennessee isn’t as bad as some people think – Derek Dooley inherited a mess and really isn’t doing a bad job – but for the Volunteers’ defense to give up 555 yards at home in a 37-20 loss to Florida speaks to where the program is.
The “trap” concerns come from the fact Georgia plays at No. 6 South Carolina next week, in a game that conceivably could decide the SEC East. And, fact is, Georgia has laid some eggs against Tennessee in the past: a 45-19 loss at Knoxville in 2009, 35-14 loss at Knoxville in 2007, 51-33 loss in Athens in 2006, 19-14 loss in Athens in 2004.
But I think it’s more about this: People are waiting for something to go wrong. Georgia is 4-0, including 2-0 in the conference. It hasn’t started this strong since 2008, when it was 4-0 going into the infamous “blackout” game against Alabama, only to be body-slammed 41-30 at home.
In fact, the Dogs have not won their first three conference games in a season since 2005, when they started 5-0 (7-0 overall). Quarterback D.J. Shockley was injured and they lost the next game to Florida 14-10, as well as Auburn the following week. But they still won the SEC title that season.
The biggest news going into today’s game is the expected return of both safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree. Coach Mark Richt has played coy on the subject all week but it has been widely reported that both players had been suspended for four games.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Time to open the cyber-venting lines. I’ll be back to chat shortly.
What are you thoughts about today’s game?
By Jeff Schultz
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