Dog vs. Hog: Picking Saturday’s winner

georgia-vs-hogs-300x118With the Razorbacks coming to Athens for a Saturday game that looms large for both programs, I thought I’d check in with a Hogs fan, my friend Doug, for a pig’s eye view of what we can expect.

Are Arkansas fans super confident that Ryan Mallett can sling it all over the place against the Dogs, or are they anxious that Justin Houston might be in his face all day and he might feel the pressure? Is the Hogs running attack likely to be much of a factor? And what about defense? The Arkansas D has been pretty horrendous the past two seasons, and since they’ve had no real competiton so far this year, it’s hard to tell if they’re really improved.

“I feel it’s a game the Razorbacks should win,” Doug said, “but it’s very conceivable that they won’t. Yes, the expectations of the Razorback fan base is sky high right now. Most people expect a 10-win season, with a Western Division championship and a Heisman trophy for Ryan Mallett (despite the lackluster first half he had against Louisiana-Monroe Saturday night). And if everything goes according to plan that could very well happen.

“But the defense (which has been awful the past couple of seasons, especially the secondary) has not been tested, and all of the Heisman trophy talk means that SEC defenses will be focused on Mallett like never before. And if memory serves me correctly, the Razorbacks have never won in Athens.

“So I think this game is just as big for the Hogs as it is for the Dogs. We will have a good idea Saturday if the Razorbacks’ defense will be up to the task against SEC offenses. I do think Mallett will have a good game, since the running game seems to be stronger, thereby taking some of the pressure off of him to create all of the offense by himself. And I think if the Razorbacks are to win this game, they need to be somewhat in control of it by the end of the third quarter. I really fear holding on to a slim lead or being behind in the fourth quarter in Athens. If that happens, the Bulldogs fans will make all the difference.

“But I’m hoping for the best and predict a 27-17 win for the Razorbacks. If the Hogs can win in Athens Saturday, and somehow come up with a win the next week against Alabama, the sky really will be the limit on what they can accomplish this season.”

I thanked Doug for a pretty good analysis of the game and then with a “Whoooo Pig Soieeee!” he headed back into that lovely dream land where Hogs fans actually believe they can oust Alabama from the top of the SEC West.

So here’s my view of Saturday’s game:

Georgia needs a big day from Justin Houston. (Georgiadogs.com)

Georgia needs a big day from Justin Houston. (Georgiadogs.com)

There’s no mystery about what Georgia has to do to beat Arkansas. Houston and company have to get consistent pressure on Mallett and on the other side of the ball the Dogs have to be able to establish a running game and make better use of their tight ends in the short passing game. Simple, but easier said than done, I know.

Mallett is a great passer and is going to get beaucoups yards and completions even on an off day. Mallett says he’s playing on a more even keel this year than last, when he tended to get “too excited and frustrated” in opposing teams’ stadiums, resulting in an 0-for-the-road record. But it probably wouldn’t take more than a sack or two to bring the more emotional player to the surface. He has a quick release, but he’s not terribly mobile.

As for Arkansas trying to run more on Georgia, as everyone is likely to want to do this season after watching tape of the South Carolina game, I don’t see it. They lost one of the better backs in their by-committee system when Dennis Johnson got injured, and their backs already have been fumble-prone this season. Plus, you’ve got to figure the Georgia defense is going to be determined to atone for its lame showing last week.

No, I think Bobby Petrino will stick with the girl he brought to the dance and have Mallett throwing it most of the time.

The big question is whether Georgia’s offense can keep Mallett off the field for extended periods with some sustained drives — assuming the offensive line finally performs up to the level that’s expected of them — and if Mike Bobo’s boys can put it in the end zone rather than having to settle for 3’s. If they can’t do it against Arkansas’ defense, well, I don’t want to think about that. …

So, bottom line, the Dogs have to run, Aaron Murray has to hit his receivers enough keep the Arkansas defense honest, and the Georgia defense has to withstand one of the nation’s best passing attacks.

We don’t know yet how good Georgia’s secondary really is, but I like their attitude, as reflected by Brandon Boykin, who told the Athens Banner-Herald, “I’m excited because I know they’re going to throw the ball this game. That’s their offense. What better challenge for us as a secondary that people are questioning? They’re going to throw the ball and they’ve got good receivers. It’s a home game for us, they’re ranked No. 12, it’s an SEC matchup. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

I think the Dogs win a tight one.

GAME DAY IN ATHENS

The new Reed Plaza is a great addition to Sanford Stadium. (Photo by Bill King)

The new Reed Plaza is a great addition to Sanford Stadium. (Photo by Bill King)

If you’re going Saturday but didn’t make it to the Louisiana-Lafayette game you’ll find a few noteworthy differences in Athens.

Because of the heavy restrictions put in place by the university after last season, there wasn’t much tailgating on historic North Campus, with the area around Myers Hall now seeming to be ground zero for the big spreads.

Merchants in downtown Athens had worried that chasing folks off from North Campus would hurt their game day business, but it turned out just the opposite, with a lot of folks spending the hours before kickoff (and even after the game had started) crowding downtown bars and restaurants.

Because of the more compressed time period for these noon games, a lot of fans apparently didn’t bother with tailgating and so the Tate Center plaza was particularly congested before the home opener and the line for the hot dogs and hamburgers offered outside the book store was quite long,

Meanwhile inside Sanford Stadium there was plenty of room to move around in the new Reed Plaza, which proved a popular addition with fans thanks to the new restrooms and concession stands. Yes, there were still lines outside the ladies’ rooms, but not as long as in the past. And the culinary offerings at the new stands have been expanded by the addition of fryers (forbidden inside the main stadium by the fire marshall), meaning French fries, chicken strips, funnel cakes and the like.

Reed Plaza is also a good place to meet up with friends — just tell them you’ll be on the big black “G.”

See you there. Go Dogs!

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

200 comments Add your comment

THIS IS A.D.MCGARITY & RICHT IM WATCHIN U!

September 17th, 2010
11:08 am

Really?

September 17th, 2010
11:15 am

Dawg House

September 17th, 2010
11:24 am

Dawgs-33 Hogs-21

Mike Bobo feels the heat after last week. Richt has finally proven he will get rid of a coordinator, and this creates Bobo to stop being a conservative wuss.

Grantham has lit a fire under his defense after last week. We were there on every play. We simply didn’t tackle. We will this week.

GO DAWGS!!!!!!

Buckhead Dawg

September 17th, 2010
11:29 am

4th. I am nervous about this game. Watching UGA’s Defense last week was painful. I am a Richt supporter, but he needs to learn it is ok to be critical and place blame where it is needed. Bobo’s playbook better me 10x’s better than last week.

waynester

September 17th, 2010
11:30 am

Mr King
Gotta believe that our Defense is the key to winning this one. We’ve got to (as you noted) make Mallet nervous in the pocket by getting some heavy heat on him early. If we’re unable to do that, watch out. It’d be nice if our young QB could have a performance like Cox’ last season but there’s no counting on that happening 2 years running. Boykin and Co. are going to get a workout in this ‘un…..

Percy Harvin

September 17th, 2010
11:31 am

It’s still good to be me – charges are dropped and I’ll be playing next week. Go Gator.

GMAN

September 17th, 2010
11:34 am

Turn AM loose!!!

September 17th, 2010
11:39 am

If we only score 17 against that ARK. D the whole coaching staff needs to quit!! We score at least 34, if not more.

30-24 Dawgs - We Run This State!

September 17th, 2010
11:39 am

Bobo better stop making such conservative calls and let Murray open it up a little bit. AM needs to hit MB and OC in stride.

CTG’s D should be ready for Meth head’s aerial assualt, hope they’re ready to tackle somebody this week.

GATA

UGA insider

September 17th, 2010
11:42 am

This is going to be the start of an impressive run which will include a victory in Jax. Let’s put last week behind us and get it going!!!!!

DawgFan

September 17th, 2010
11:43 am

Glad to hear the downtown businesses are benefiting from the new tailgating rules. Those poor people downtown have struggled during previous football seasons. I really don’t mind these early kickoffs. Lots of people complain because they don’t get to tailgate much before the game. I say, just tailgate before and after the game. No need to get stuck in traffic after the game. Fire up the grill again and get a cold beverage after the game. There is no rules for tailgating after the game. Go Dawgs!

Fair and Balanced

September 17th, 2010
11:44 am

No way to pick GA to win. If GA wins – it will be either by fluke, or someone we don’t know about will have a break out game.

Jack Dawg

September 17th, 2010
11:48 am

I am asking all Dawg fans to come and fill the stadium early and make a lot of noise Our team really needs all the support they can get this Saturday. Go Dawgs.

Billy Jack could fight

September 17th, 2010
11:50 am

I don’t have a clue on this game…I’m pulling for the dawgs….but we looked really bad last week….we missed AJ..hopefully we get him back for this game..??

Tight Ends Rule

September 17th, 2010
11:50 am

Bill, This is perfect analysis. The objective is very simple and very clear. Without re-hashing what you wrote, assuming Bobo and Grantham are on top of this (and I do beleive that) I personally want to see three things: 1 – Throw the football to the Tight Ends. 2 Unleash everything we have all day long on Mallet. Be relentless in the pursuit of this QB and 3- Offensive line – Man the freak up. Bow the necks…lower the butts and drive people off the line of scrimage. This game is being hyped as Mallet this and that. This game is going to won with our Tight Ends and who is more physical in the trenches. That will set the tone…it all starts there.

Bryan

September 17th, 2010
11:50 am

Without AJ…we sneak by the pigs…but with him..blowout!

SSIgator

September 17th, 2010
11:53 am

First Tony say, “Georgia wins because they GOTTA win” which is like me saying I am going to win the lottery because I need the money. Now Bill King thinks that UGA will win a “tight one” when the reality is that the only thing that will be tight on Saturday will be Richts a-hole watching another UGA disaster and wondering how long he will be able to keep up the charade.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

cpsmith

September 17th, 2010
11:56 am

Just hope the preparation and coaching is better this week. I sound like a broken record. Must be a reason.

Spike

September 17th, 2010
11:58 am

Throw it to Durham!!

Dawg House

September 17th, 2010
11:59 am

Is there a more stupid, and obnoxious rally cry in college football than “Whoooo Pig Soieeee!”????

It may be worse than Tech nerds screaming “To Hell with Georgia” when they are playing the ACC super-powers like Wake Forrest, Duke, Maryland, Boston College, NC State, Virginia or UNC.

Delbert D.

September 17th, 2010
12:00 pm

Chris Hawkins is a bad boy. According to the AP, he is charged with felony trafficking of cocaine. No wonder he can afford all that memorabilia.

Hog Fan

September 17th, 2010
12:03 pm

Arkansas won in Athens in’93. I have no prediction on this game as I don’t yet know how good our o-line is, nor our running backs and our D. However, based on the way UGA played last week, the majority of your fan base seems to have an irrational optimism. Your team frankly looks bad. Maybe that was a one game anomaly. If you lose this game, it will be because Arkansas is better than Georgia this year.

SSIgator

September 17th, 2010
12:10 pm

Dawg House -

Is there a more stupid, and obnoxious rally cry in college football than “Whoooo Pig Soieeee!”????

Yes there is: Woof Woof Woof, but after this weekend it will change to Yelp Yelp Yelp

Dawg House

September 17th, 2010
12:10 pm

Hog Fan…

That is one difference in our Dawgs, and your Hogs. Even when we are going through struggles, we love our team, and are ALWAYS bursting with optimism. Where are you guys the 14 years out of 15 when you just plain suck? You may be the first Hog fan to EVER visit this blog, and it’s no surprise that you are ranked #12 when you did.

And go back and watch UGA vs South Carolina again. South Carolina NEVER atempted to throw the ball further than 10 yards, because our CB and S were in their receiver’s faces. Marcus Lattimore is the a special young man. 127 of his 187 total yards came AFTER CONTACT, meaning we were in his face the whole game, just couldn’t bring him down. The Hogs have NOBODY that compares to him, and will not be so fortunate with yards after contact.

Looking forward to watching you cry as you leave Sanford Stadium. And not just because you lost. But because reality sets in, that you have to go back to your home in Arkansas.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

kevin

September 17th, 2010
12:18 pm

Hog Fan,

Arkansas looked pretty awful last week too. I mean Jesus, they were only up 7 on Lousisana Lafayette midway through the 3rd quarter. And, you turned the ball over 3 times (just like the game before). UGA had some fundamental tackling issues and the o-line underperformed–both likely fixable problems. I am not saying UGA wins the game, but I am saying there is no good reason to think Arkansas is coming into Athens, having played nobody and looked pretty bad doing it, and winning. So far the only thing Arkansas has going for them, sans a stud QB and nice set of WRs, is hype.

Hog vs Dog

September 17th, 2010
12:23 pm

also going on this weekend at the Athens Walmart is the battle of the Big Fat Walmart Scooter Riding Dogs vs Big Fat Walmart Scooter Riding Hogs..both celebrating the hardy big breakfast eaters of 3 dozen donuts, grits smothered in gravy, cheese and butter, bacon, sausage and pancakes all in one sitting. And then proceeding to not lean over and touch their toes in the past 25 years. Thus, the scooters. And both organizations are proud of that fact.

Dawg House

September 17th, 2010
12:24 pm

Before Hog fan has no answer, and tries to correct you, kevin, Arky played Louisiana Monroe last week. Not Layfayette. Anyway…. that was on the road, in a not-even-close-to SEC environment. Mallet gets THUMPED between the HEdges tomorrow.

kevin

September 17th, 2010
12:26 pm

Thanks for the correction, Dawg House!

RxDawg

September 17th, 2010
12:29 pm

“I don’t have a clue on this game…I’m pulling for the dawgs….but we looked really bad last week”

That’s about how I feel too. My confidence was shattered last week, and I’m afraid the team’s might of been too. But, at the same time, I feel we match up against Arkansas much better than we did a strong running attack like USC.

But either way, I know there is a zero chance of an SEC championship now because there is a snowball’s chance in hell that we could beat Bama. If you think USC can run on us, imgaine what Bama would do..

Helmand Dawg

September 17th, 2010
12:30 pm

Danny Ford came in ‘93 or ‘94 and beat a depleted undersized Ray Goff team. There were a large number of empty seats that day and I hope UGA football is never in that position again. Run the ball and stop the run. We have the talent and speed in the secondary to neutralize the passing game. We have the speed on the ends to put pressure on Mallett. If you don’t stop the run you get caught in 2nd and short, 3rd and short situations. Not a winning formula.
GATA

South Ga Dawg

September 17th, 2010
12:31 pm

THE BULLDOG NATION RISES AND BEATS ARKANSAS BY TEN

DawginLex

September 17th, 2010
12:34 pm

We have stupid players other than Murray and Chapas.
We have a stupid OC who won’t let Murray play the way he needs to play.
We have no heart.
We have no confidence.

Hogs by 4

I hope I am proven wrong.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

AUPride

September 17th, 2010
12:35 pm

Dawg House – you will be sad tomorrow.

Sorry about it.

dan

September 17th, 2010
12:37 pm

Wow Bill King predicted a close win for the Dawgs! What an unbiased analysis! I think I’ll put my money on the Razorbacks!

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

One thing for sure

September 17th, 2010
12:39 pm

Just ask Vandy and Kentucky, between the hedges is a beautiful place, but no longer the dominant place it was in the 70’s and 80’s. Just sayin.

Lunney's Revenge

September 17th, 2010
12:39 pm

First: Arkansas won in Athens in 1994. You remember, it was when UGA started 0-4 in the SEC.

Second: It’s “Wooo Pig Sooie” not “Whooo.” “Whoooo” is the first word sung by Roger Daltry in “Who Are You?”

Third: The ULM game was in Little Rock, listed as a road game so that ULM could stay in FCS by averaging the attendance numbers.

Fourth: Obviously, the effects of the HOPE scholarship haven’t shown up here yet.

Scott

September 17th, 2010
12:39 pm

If Georgia loses, the season’s over by game 3. All that off-season hard work for nothing. Losing makes for a really long season. If Georgia loses this one, the season’s shot, and a coach or two will get fired (O-Line, D-Line, RB, Strength & Conditioning, TE’s, all these coaches could be heading down to coach in High School if things don’t get turned around, and turned around fast).

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

ca dawg

September 17th, 2010
12:41 pm

gotta get pressure. i think the D has to set the tone tomorrow, and that will get the offense going. i think we roll.

SSI gator: your lottery analogy is flawed. winning the lottery is a matter of pure chance; winning football games is a matter of preparation, talent, execution, and effort. being desperate to win can and very well may improve a team’s performance. but why am i reasoning with you? it will be “time to die” for your gators soon enough. stay classy.

how2fish

September 17th, 2010
12:43 pm

SSIgator pound it up your pie hole, you would think you’d be worrying more about how CUM’s MED’s were working than taking shots at UGA..between the trial of snapping the ball to the texting trials the poor man has been subjected to he could break any second…but I forgot you a hell of a lot more worried about what is going on at UGA than the Gators..and frankly I don’t blame you….

DAWG on a Stick

September 17th, 2010
12:43 pm

DAWGS 63
HAWGS 9

THEY SUCK ON DEFENSE. AM IS BETTER THAN MALLET.

DAWG on a Stick

September 17th, 2010
12:43 pm

AND OUR DEFENSE WILL SACK MALLET ALL DAY. WILL NOT BE CLOSE.

Mike

September 17th, 2010
12:46 pm

With the rush defense & rush offense weak, and the never ending problems scoring touchdown’s due to ultra-conservative playcalling in the red zone for the offense, I don’t see how Georgia wins this one.

ca dawg

September 17th, 2010
12:47 pm

@lunney’s revenge: fair enough, although you’re mistaken if you think most of these folks have seen the inside of any college classroom, let alone at UGA. looking forward to a good one tomorrow. go dawgs!

ColumbiaDawg

September 17th, 2010
12:49 pm

Arkansas won in Athens in 1993. Georgia finished that year 5-6.

ga gator

September 17th, 2010
12:49 pm

SSI show some class for once. Dogs need this one badly but it won’t end their chances in the East if they lose. Probable scenario. Carolina will get beat by Bama and Auburn for sure. Gators probably lose to Bama unless Bama plays terrible which is not likely under Saban cause he learned his lesson last year against Tenn. If that happens, Aa 2 loss UGA team plays a 1 loss UF team in Jax and if UGA wins, the win the head to head comparison which will then force the Dawgs to root for the Gators against Carolina. UF wins that one and UGA wins the East. As usual though it probably comes down to the Jax game.