Georgia football will play the Tennessee Volunteers this Saturday at 3:30 on CBS. Before we break down the game, I want to say goodbye to my dear friend Gary Danielson.
You have been a part of my college football Saturdays since 2007. That was the first season that I can recall every Georgia game. You and Verne sure did a lot of important games for the Dawgs that year. Ever since that season, you have brought your wit, your passion, and, of course, your unbridled intelligence. Not only are you one of the most intelligent commentators in college football, but you also let us know how much you know about the game. Frequently, my brain cannot understand what you are saying because of how smart you truly are. Often, you leave me speechless, almost in awe of some of the things you have said. So, I will be listening to you while Georgia plays its last regular season game on CBS. Remember, Gary, everything is about you Saturday!
Sincerely your #1 fan,
Alright, back to business. In this game, I can feel the powers of the beyond. I can feel the hands wringing across the Bulldog Nation. I once again feel Georgia fans “Munson-ing.” I know the Dawgs have not played an actual road game since we played Auburn.
But this team is a different team from week five than it is right now. Carson Beck has found his “sea legs” and completely controls this offense. Georgia is also finally getting healthy. The Dawgs will almost play with a full deck when they go up to Rocky Top.
Media types will try to sell this game to us all because Tennessee wants to play spoiler; they are a better team at home than on the road. The Vols’ losses have only come on the road, and they have a 14-game winning streak in Knoxville. That’s great for Tennessee!
Who was the last team Tennessee lost to at home? Oh, it was Georgia in 2021! Georgia was also a double-digit favorite in that game.
I have been discussing this for the past few games, but this is always the most crucial stat: Third Down. Tennessee’s offense is decent regarding third down. They are ranked 27th in the country in converting third downs.
But the problem is that Georgia is ranked 7th in the nation in stopping third-down conversions, while its offense is the best at converting third downs. Tennessee’s defense is ranked 50th at stopping opponents on third down.
So, for the Vols to win this game, they will have to win third down on both sides, and the numbers say that will not happen.
Oh, another stat that favors Georgia! Tennessee is one of the most penalized teams in FBS football, coming in at 126th. You cannot do that and expect to win football teams against a team ranked 10th in penalties.
Before we move on, here’s one more stat: Tennessee only averages 8 points in the second half against SEC teams. What do Kirby Smart and Georgia do well? They make halftime adjustments and take over the game in the third quarter.
So good luck with the revenge narrative, Vol fans; I would worry about that second half.
Many people have pointed to Tennessee’s strength in running the ball. Simultaneously, people point to Georgia’s weakness in defending the outside run. Which, I think, is a fair observation.
But the Vols do not run the ball on the outside. 70% of their running plays are in between the tackles. Ask Ole Miss how that faired for them against Georgia.
Yes, playing in Neyland can be challenging but not unique. I have heard Neyland at its loudest and Georgia win up there multiple times. I have also seen the Dawgs get off to a hot start and take the crowd out of it.
That is what needs to happen on Saturday for a blowout. But who cares if it is a blowout in the Dawgs’ favor? Just win the game and move on.
Tennessee can pull all the stunts it wants. It can put Dolly Parton out there, and she can sing “Rocky Top” till her heart is content. She can also sing “Amazing Grace” at the end of the game because Tennessee’s football season will be dead and gone.
The Dawgs will win this one, and right after the game, Georgia fans will handwring over the Tech game. I’ll take the Dawgs 42-17.