Fan talk: A Georgia-Auburn game with a difference

georgia auburn helmetsYou know it’s not your typical Georgia-Auburn game when I get a “Go Dawgs” note from a die-hard War Eagle devotee, saying they want to see Georgia wrap up the SEC East on Saturday!

But two years on from the Tigers’ national championship season with their rent-a-QB Cam Newton, it’s not your typical Auburn football season, and I have a sneaking suspicion the Tigers fan who wants the Bulldogs to win the 116th meeting of the two programs is hoping a loss to Georgia will hasten the rumored departure of Gene Chizik.

You think the Georgia fan base is quick to turn on its coaches? We’ve got nothing on the folks in the Plains.

But that’s what happens when an Auburn team enters its annual game with Georgia winless in the SEC.

Jonathan Wallace is Auburn's third starting quarterback this season. (Associated Press)

Jonathan Wallace is Auburn's third starting quarterback this season. (Associated Press)

The Tigers have been a bad football team this season. They’ve lost their six conference games by an average of 17.3 points, with the nadir being a 63-21 drubbing by Texas A&M.

It took a 475-yard showing against the likes of New Mexico State last week to get them out of last place among Football Bowl Subdivision teams in total offense, and the Tigers will be starting their third quarterback of the season, freshman Jonathan Wallace. With Auburn having allowed 72 tackles for loss so far this season, chances are he’s going to get to know the likes of Jarvis Jones and Garrison Smith pretty well.

Things have only been marginally better for the Auburn defense, which features a pair of former UGA defensive coordinators on staff in Brian VanGorder and Willie Martinez. Opponents are averaging 428.7 yards per game, which puts the Tigers in 85th place nationally. Auburn ranks last in the SEC in rushing defense, ninth in pass defense and 10th in scoring defense. They’re last in the nation in interceptions, with only one.

No wonder Georgia is favored by more than 15 points.

Still, it’s Georgia-Auburn and the Bulldogs can’t afford to come out flat or overconfident. Auburn’s freshman quarterback isn’t much of a passing threat so far, but he can be a dangerous runner, and the Tigers also have a decent pair of tailbacks in Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb. Plus, defensive end Corey Lemonier is highly regarded and could cause problems for Aaron Murray if Georgia’s offensive line gets off to another poor start.

Still, I’ll be surprised if Georgia doesn’t arrive in Auburn ready to take care of business. A trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship awaits if they do, and it’s hard to beat that for motivation.

Now, let’s check some of this week’s Junkyard Mail. …

Paul Barrett writes: I like the way Collin Barber is coming along as the Dawgs’ punter, but I’m still not sure Marshall Morgan isn’t going to turn out to be another Andy Bailey, the scholarship kicker who eventually was beat out by a walk-on. Bill, what do you think are the chances that Georgia signs another placekicker for next year?

Mark Richt was asked a similar question on this week’s edition of “Bulldog Hotline” and he indicated that’s unlikely. But Richt also said that if any of the kickers on the team showed they could do a better job than Morgan he’d give them a chance. He sounded hopeful that Morgan will improve, though he did say that after that ugly hook on a missed field goal last week he “might need to see the kick doctor” for some work on his fundamentals. Kevin Butler thinks Morgan definitely needs to work on his form, but John Lilly, who oversees Georgia’s kickers (he doesn’t really coach them), seemed to think it was more of an aberration. He said this week that he told Morgan he’d never have one that bad again and “you got your worst one out of the way.” Let’s hope he’s right.

UGA supporters need to ask: "Are we fan enough?" (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

UGA supporters need to ask: "Are we fan enough?" (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

James Smith writes: I agree with you 100% on the poor showing by the fans [at the Ole Miss game]. We should be the motivating factor.  When our Dawgs are down, we can pick them up. The opposing offense should not be able to communicate on the field because of the noise we create and this should be the case for the entire game, not just when we think it matters. Sanford Stadium should be a scary place for opposing teams but it really isn’t anymore. Seeing half the stadium empty with almost a full quarter to go was infuriating to me. I could not believe what I was watching. Yes we were up big and the game was pretty much over at that point but the thing that irks me is that we, as fans, get all over the players when they don’t give a full 60 minutes of effort. You lose the right to talk like that when you leave your team hanging. … Enough of asking “Where’s the motivation?” or “Where is the spark?” No more “Are we man enough?” The fans should be asking “Are we fan enough?”

Indeed. Sanford Stadium isn’t going to be an intimidating venue for opposing teams until the Georgia fans start showing up on time, staying for the whole game and getting loud on more than just big third-down plays.

James McKinney writes: Could you make it real clear on what it would take for us to make it to the BCS (besides beating Bama) and what are your thoughts on our chances of Beating Bama once we clutch the east! Go Dawgs!

And along the same lines JV writes: Bill, does a one loss Georgia team who beats Bama in the Dome play for it all in Miami? I bet the national pundits would cry if we upset Bama … and end the SEC streak if we don’t get in?

If Georgia makes it to the Dome and plays Alabama and somehow beats the Crimson Tide (which I believe is a mighty tall order), you’d think that winning the championship of the nation’s best conference and having knocked off both the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in a season would be enough, wouldn’t you? But most college football observers feel the reality is that even if Georgia wins out, the Dawgs’ chances of making it to the BCS title game basically depend on two of the three unbeaten teams currently ahead of them losing. The loss to South Carolina unfortunately looms large. Of course, if Georgia wins the SEC, they at least become an automatic qualifier for the Sugar Bowl spot if they don’t make it to the title game. However, if Georgia loses the SEC championship game, most BCS handicappers think the Sugar will prefer a one-loss Florida, assuming they beat FSU, or possibly even a two-loss LSU.  The Bulldogs, they say, are more likely to wind up in the Capitol One Bowl. Nobody ever said college football was fair.

Ray Drew has been having a hard time getting playing time. (University of Georgia)

Ray Drew has been having a hard time getting playing time. (University of Georgia)

Rob Mercer writes: Hi Bill, Love your articles. Go Dawgs! I, like so many, am a life long Dawg fan, I still remember that day, at my Grandmother’s house at 8 years old and watching UGA beat Notre Dame. I was a fan before then, my being a Dawg was chosen even before birth and proud of it. I do have a question concerning Ray Drew. He’s from my home town, or county down in Thomasville. But, I’m wondering, I have seldom seen him in games, is it because he just hasn’t progressed enough to have more playing time, or is that he’s just behind on the depth chart due to better players in front of him?

Thanks, Rob. Drew, who was a highly-rated recruit, has been playing but in a backup role as a defensive end. Earlier this season, Richt said that Drew is “still working on becoming a great football player” and that the reason he isn’t earning as many game reps is largely due to the players in front of him. Even after Abry Jones went down hurt, Drew has still had to compete with Garrison Smith and Cornelius Washington for playing time. And he hasn’t been as productive as them so far. Against Ole Miss, Drew had one solo tackle and one assist. That compares with Smith, who had three solo tackles, four assists, a sack and a quarterback hurry. For the season to date, Drew has three solo tackles and four assists in eight games. Smith has 14 solo tackles and 21 assists in nine games and Washington has eight solo and 12 assists in nine games. Still, Drew is just a sophomore and Georgia’s coaches expect him to get better with more experience.

I’ll answer more Junkyard Mail next week. Do you have something you want to discuss concerning the current football season or UGA athletics in general? Got a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? If so, send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

90 comments Add your comment

Meh

November 9th, 2012
3:54 pm

Ha!

That’s funny right there!

Ace

November 9th, 2012
4:05 pm

ESPN really isn’t covering the UGA story, they want a NON SEC team to win this year.

UGA is really the best team in the country right now, LSU outplayed Bama, Florida beat LSU, UGA beat Florida handily.

UGA can PASS and RUN. And UGA’s defense is clicking on all cyclinders now.

Ace

November 9th, 2012
4:11 pm

UGA’s 2nd half defense and 4th quarter defense is shutting teams down, ranked top 10 nationally, just like Bama.

UGA’s offense is putting up MORE total yards than Bama, and just as many points per game.

Bama has a tough time with LSU, who got beat soundly by Florida, who got beat soundly by UGA,

I like UGA in the UGA-Bama matchup.

By 3 touchdowns.

tell me again

November 9th, 2012
4:43 pm

Our D (as of lately) is good enough to take on anybody. Our O is the could be / might be part of the equation. When Murray is ON he’s unstoppable. Right now, I’m just going to enjoy the chance to win tbe east. After that, we’ll just see. Alabama is the money team. Week in and week out they have proven they can play at a consistently high level – no bad games. We’ve not done that. GO DAWGS!

Roll Tide with Pride!!!

November 9th, 2012
4:46 pm

Ace – While I agree that UGA is finally peaking – and at the right time. I think your Oline is not good enough to beat Alabama, Kansas State, Oregon, Texas A&M or LSU.

I like how the underachieving defense has picked up the game. Way too much talent on that unit to be ranked where they are nationally. But who cares about rankings – the last two games – very impressive.

You OLine is just not Elite level – it will show against Bama.
The good news is that UGA will be returning every started on the Oline – and it appears UGA is finally building real talent and depth with this unit. So that is promising. UGA needs to get where they are reloading – not always rebuilding the OLINE.

As of today – just do not see it.

augustadog

November 9th, 2012
4:47 pm

I too would love a crazy fired up crowd but when CBS has the TV rights the game lasts forever. Looked at my watch at end of the third quarter and already was 3 hours. No way to sustain interest and enthusiasm when a game takes that long and everytime possession changes or big play the guy in the red hat takes the field and you just sit there for 10 minutes in the stands.

Roll Tide with Pride!!!

November 9th, 2012
4:48 pm

Ace – like your enthusiasm for UGA! By the way – Santa was really your parents!

Ace

November 9th, 2012
4:52 pm

UGA’s OLine is BETTER than Bama’s:

UGA has given up LESS sacks than Bama’s.
UGA’s has averaged MORE yards per game than Bama’s.
UGA has 22 rush td’s, just like Bama.
UGA throws for MORE pass yards per game, than Bama.

Ace

November 9th, 2012
4:55 pm

UGA has 2 RBs averaging OVER 6 yards per carry.

Bama has 1.

UGA has 3 rb’s that average OVER 5.5 yards er carry.

Ace

November 9th, 2012
4:56 pm

UGA throws for 278 yards per game.

Bama, just breaks 215.

Ace

November 9th, 2012
5:00 pm

Jarvis Jones has more sacks and tackles for loss, than any Bama player.

Jones and Swann have forced 7 fumbles, more than the WHOLE ALABAMA DEFENSE COMBINED.

Aaron

November 9th, 2012
5:05 pm

wow Ace is a complete idiot.

Half Century Dawg

November 9th, 2012
5:11 pm

Roll Tide with Pride, I agree with your analysis of our O line and really hope we get the opportunity to play Bama. Ace, you have lost your mind if you really believe our Oline is better than Bama’s.

Old Dawg

November 9th, 2012
5:13 pm

I’m still fuming over a 2-loss LSU team winning a national championship.

If UGA beats Bama then they will have beaten the No. 1 and 2 teams in the country. No one else can make that claim. Yes, UGA has a terrible loss to South Carolina.

Just remember, one of LSU’s losses during that championship year was to Kentucky!

Whiskey Breath

November 9th, 2012
5:14 pm

You can’t expect the fans to stay if every home game is a weak sister.
That is how we do it in Atlanta, sooner or later, blame the fans.
Maybe the fans knew it wasn’t much of a game?

mINDLESSJOE

November 9th, 2012
5:14 pm

EVEN though UGA offenseve line gives up less saks than Ala, has more 6+ yards per carry rushers than Ala. and has more total offenseve yards, even though Ala’s offenseve liune loses in every category, I think they’re better.

Then again, I’m an unemployed fan who didn’t graduate from middle skool.

ReadyDawg

November 9th, 2012
5:15 pm

ACE, very insightful analysis, irrefutable facts.

Whiskey Breath

November 9th, 2012
5:18 pm

Beat Bama, Bring it on dreamers. In your backyard or the Dome, anytime, any place.
Seems to me Ga spends too much time dodging Bama or anybody they perceive as being good.
Don’t give me that crap they have nothing to do with scheduling, they have dodged too many tough
teams too many years. The AD knows how to soften the schedule.
” If we beat Bama”. What damn joke!

Roll Tide with Pride!!!

November 9th, 2012
5:19 pm

Old Dawg – if UGA were to play and win the national title the year LSU won it with 2 losses – then UGA would have won it with 2 lossess. UGA was horrible that year against Tennessee and South Carolina.

So UGA would have gone to the NT game with 2 losses – just like LSU (assuming UGA were to beat LSU in the SEC Title game).

fencedawg

November 9th, 2012
5:21 pm

Whiskey Breath

November 9th, 2012
5:22 pm

I gotta tell you, you are one dumb ace. You can’t ever compare numbers when your schedule is so weak. How you get so damn dumb?

SmartDawg

November 9th, 2012
5:36 pm

ACE, numbers dont lie. Right on jack.

Bama’s only favored by 4 points over Texas A & M, gonna lose this weekend.

Dwagtime Blues

November 9th, 2012
5:36 pm

Your Upset Special of the Week:

Auburn 27
Georgia 24

Be afraid, dwags, be very afraid.

DrunkenFool

November 9th, 2012
5:37 pm

Whiskey is right, so what is the UGA offensive line give sup less sacks than Alama, that measn Alabama’s line is better, because ESPN says so!

Bullfrog

November 9th, 2012
5:42 pm

Bama dodged the 3 best SEC teams this year:
UGA, Florida and SC.

NCDawg

November 9th, 2012
5:53 pm

Who has Bama played other than LSU? Miss St? Ha! Michigan Ha! The only good team Bama played whipped them for 58 minutes and some change. If Chavis hadn’t backed off with the pressure on that last drive, they would never have scored. Bama is beatable. LSU, who can’t pass worth a crap, lit them up for almost 300 yards. UGA has better receivers and a better QB. Sure the O-line is still getting it together but ask UF if that O-line is up to the task. LSU couldn’t crack 50 yards rushing against UF… the Dawgs had 123 yards. Oops.. mighty LSU’s line is so much better than UGA’s. The stats don’t lie. The Dawgs can beat ANYONE. That includes Bama.

NCDawg

November 9th, 2012
5:57 pm

Caveat: The Dawgs can beat anybody when they play with attitude. We will see tomorrow if they can maintain the attitude.

son's who?

November 9th, 2012
6:29 pm

Alabama is the Mike Tyson of college football. Could Texas A&M be Buster Douglas? Could UGA be Evander Holyfield?

Stranger things have happened in the world of sports! (Please, UGA, do NOT be Marvis Frazier. lol)

Mobile Dawg

November 9th, 2012
8:30 pm

Bill, another round of kool aid for the krowd please. Bama takes care of business, and the Dawgs are in for a fight, AU will not roll over under the circumstances.

WestOfAthens

November 9th, 2012
8:41 pm

Kevin Butler for Special Teams Coach!

Think about it…..

Mark Long

November 9th, 2012
9:23 pm

Bill,

Your reference to an Auburn fan in your first graph should read “from a die-hard Tiger devotee”. War Eagle is a battle cry only, the mascot is the Tigers.

NCDawg

November 9th, 2012
9:50 pm

I don’t expect Auburn to come out and lay down. But is their best as good as the Dawgs best? Will all the frustration finally rip them apart? Will they be able to withstand getting smacked in the mouth? They caved last year and they were a better team last year. But again it all depends on how hard we smack them and how hard we keep smacking them. Even a heavyweight will begin to falter if you pound him hard enough. I want to see Turkey Buzzard walking off the field hanging their heads. I want them to have nightmares about how they were humiliated.
Can you tell it is a rival?

DawginNY

November 9th, 2012
10:59 pm

Nobody should be talking about Alabama because beating Auburn is not a given. I remember one of Ray Goff’s worst teams tying an Auburn team that had won 20 in a row. And it’s not like we haven’t looked awful for a quarter as recently as last week or for a whole game as recently as 3 weeks ago. I know that Auburn has a lot more talent than Kentucky. Ask LSU.

Steve

November 9th, 2012
11:25 pm

Before UGa started selling reserve parking in the parking decks I never left a game early. I park in the
North deck. If the game is close at the end, no problem, however if the Dawgs are way ahead, then plan to be stuck for at least an extra hour inhaling gas fumes. A real waste of time for late afternoon or night game starting times. My decision has nothing to do with loyalty as a fan.

53½ arrests in four years

November 10th, 2012
8:01 am

Did Richt bail out Caleb King again?

Mike Franklin

November 10th, 2012
9:32 am

One thing is that the student section is basically general admission and you either get there wayyyyy early and sit for hours or you get to the gate on time and it’s halftime before you finally make it to the stands.

SC Dawg

November 10th, 2012
10:04 am

I really want to see our Dawgs play in the BCS Chapionship Game. However, you don’t get killed on the road in a prime time game and think the voters will cast their vote for you. Hope K-State gets am L this week and Oregon gets one after Oregon State. A rematch of the 1980 championship game vs. ND

Big Dawg

November 10th, 2012
12:48 pm

No 53 arrest,he bailed your Mama out for prostitution.

RunninWithTheDawgs

November 10th, 2012
1:02 pm

Just looking at the scores and schedule for Tex. A&M it looks like they could have something for the Tide today.

TTdyDDovc6g

November 16th, 2012
1:16 am

331748 497905Satisfying posting. It would appear that lots of the stages are depending upon the originality aspect.