Good day, UGA. Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Today, I explain why Georgia fans are looking at bowl games the wrong way and take a look at Kentucky’s dangerous tailback tandem.
Talkin’ ’bout practice
With a 4-4 record and a fairly tough final slate of games, Georgia’s chances of making a bowl this year look mighty slim. And lately, in a lot of UGA communities I frequent, I’ve seen fans express little interest in the Bulldogs making a bowl game at all this season. No one cares about the Hardee’s Hotdog-Burger Bowl in Shreveport against some Big Ten team such as Michigan State, whose fans you don’t hate. (Rather, you empathize with them because you both had such high hopes for your season but ended up in this terrible bowl in this terrible place.) The utter irrelevance of most bowl games is only crystallized by the College Football Playoff, which makes it clear that only four teams are actually playing in anything other than a glorified exhibition at the end of the year. So, who cares?
A common sentiment I’ve seen is a desire to say screw the wins and losses and stop playing the upperclassmen. If this season is already a wash, just play the guys who have the best chance to help in the future, i.e. sit the upperclassmen and let the young guys get a trial by fire — BOWL GAME BE DAMNED! This is a bad thought.
Yes, for fans, a majority of the bowl games that Georgia has a chance to play in this year are bad. And the more the young guys on the team see the field, the better it is for the future. But the reason coaches try so hard to direct their teams to a bowl, even in hopeless, throwaway seasons like this one, isn’t a game, it’s practice.
If Georgia’s season ends without an invitation to a bowl, that’s that. But if Georgia makes a bowl, the team gets to practice throughout the month of December. There’s no NCAA rule regulating how many bowl practices a team can have, but it tends to be about 15. That’s 30 more hours of instruction for the players, 30 more hours to learn this system. And it’s 30 hours when the coaches, who understand the bowl is really just a scrimmage, will be focusing on the future and grooming the guys who haven’t received many reps this year but could contribute next year. It’s like a second spring practice.
Game time for some of the younger guys on the roster would certainly be valuable. However, it wouldn’t be as valuable as an extra month of Jacob Eason getting the timing down with his receivers before the offseason begins. It wouldn’t be as valuable as the extra time the team is spending together and building chemistry. So, if you’re interested in the team improving, you should care about making a bowl game, even if it’s a bad one that you don’t want to watch. The journey is more important than the destination.
Today in Kentucky music
Building up to the Kentucky game, we continue this tour through the music of the Bluegrass State with one of the state’s best modern artists, Sturgill Simpson, duetting with the legendary John Prine on a song the latter wrote about his father’s home, Paradise, Ky.
- Georgia’s on the verge of some very unwanted numbers (Seth Emerson, Dawg Nation)
- To redshirt or not a big question for UGA’s Solomon Kindley (Chip Towers, Dawg Nation)
- Ex-Georgia assistant offers reason to root for LSU (Chip Towers, Dawg Nation)
- Practice report: Georgia hitting hard in prep for Kentucky (Chip Towers, Dawg Nation)
- Examining how UGA’s recent recruiting classes factor into the on-field showing this season (Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald)
- It’s all about the line of scrimmage (Bill Shanks, Macon Telegraph)
- Georgia attempts to overcome third-quarter woes against Kentucky (Jordan D.Hill, Macon Telegraph)
- Dawgs keep it positive amidst tough stretch (Jake Rowe, Dawgs 247)
- Kirby Smart’s sideline stabilizer (John Durham, Red & Black)
- An unforgettable story defines the character of a major UGA recruiting target (Jeff Sentell, Dawg Nation)
The week is all downhill from here.
You know that the SEC East is bad, but thanks to the work of SB Nation’s Alex Kirshner, now you know it’s the worst division in the Power 5 … again.
Kirshner averaged the S&P+ ranking of every team in each division of each conference in college football. What he found was that, for the second year in a row, the SEC East sucks. The East’s average ranking is 58.7, just a few points ahead of the conference behind it, the Mountain West, with an average of 64. By comparison, the SEC West is the strongest division in college football with an average ranking of 25.4.
As you can see below, Georgia is doing nothing to help the East’s case. It’s ranked around college football powers such as Navy, Maryland, Wyoming and Duke and has dropped 38 spots from where it finished last season.
We’re all gonna look back on this time in the SEC East and wonder how the Dawgs didn’t win the division every season.
We expected Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to be the most-dangerous tailback combo in the SEC East, but as the season has borne out, it’s the Kentucky tandem that’s dominating defenses in the SEC.
There are two Wildcats in particular to be wary of this weekend: the tailback duo of Stanley “Boom” Williams and Benjamin Snell Jr. We expected Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to be the most-dangerous tailback combo in the SEC East, but as the season has borne out, it’s the Kentucky tandem that’s dominating defenses in the SEC.
The Wildcats are averaging 219.5 yards rushing per game, good enough for fourth in the SEC and 30th in the country, on the strength of Williams and Snell, the third- and eighth-best rushers in the conference, respectively. Snell has the advantage in touches and touchdowns — 118 carries for 661 yards and 8 touchdowns — but Williams is the big-play man, leading the way in terms of yards per carry and total yardage — 831 yards and 3 touchdowns on a seventh-best nationally 7.5 YPC.
Look no further than Kentucky’s 35-21 win over Missouri last week to see how good these two can be. Snell carried the load, toting the rock 38 times for 192 yards and 2 touchdowns, but Williams was ruthlessly efficient, with 182 yards and a touchdown on just 19 carries. Check out the full highlights from that game to see for yourself what the Georgia defense will be tasked with containing this weekend.
This good dog just wants its candy. You’re a human, go get your own!
My dog refuses to share his Halloween candy! pic.twitter.com/QrlVt3pJNS
— Patrick Barnes (@peebasaur) October 31, 2016