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Which Georgia football game ranked among the best of 2016?

Cy Brown

Welcome to your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Today is a big one folks. Not only is it Cinco De Mayo, it’s also graduation day at UGA. Congrats to all those who will be turning the tassel Friday night at Sanford Stadium. Enjoy that first walk under the Arch.

Track: Hoy | Artist: Bonka | Album: Lo Que Nunca Nos Cantamos

Georgia-Auburn among the best games of 2016, statistically speaking

Every year, Bill Connelly of SB Nation takes the time to rank his 100 favorite college football games of the season. (Georgia had four entries on that list.) But a reader suggested to Connelly that he use his advanced stats wizardry to empirically measure which games were, statistically speaking, the best of 2016. So, he did it. Here’s his methodology:

If we’re truly judging the most high-quality games of the year, then, in my mind, they should be games in which both teams not only played well (per percentiles) but also played almost perfectly even. So, the closer each team’s win expectancy was to 50 percent, the better the game.

So, here are the top 50 games based on what I’m so cleverly calling the Great Game Score — the teams’ combined percentile ratings minus a win expectancy factor. The win expectancy for Clemson-FSU, for instance, was 54-46 in FSU’s favor. 50% – 54% = minus-4%. Meanwhile, if a team’s win expectancy was 100%, that means 50% – 100% = minus-50%. Make sense? Sort of? Good enough. Let’s list.

So, here’s where we get to the Georgia part. Based on Connelly’s Great Game Score, Georgia’s 13-7 win against Auburn ranked as the 38th best game of 2016 with a GGS of 1.209. For comparison, the best game of the season, Clemson-Florida State, scored a 1.689. Interestingly enough, the Georgia-Auburn game was not one of the four UGA games Connelly included on his subjective top 100 list (Kentucky, Missouri, Georgia Tech and Tennessee).

There is no doubt that Auburn game was fantastic, if not the most offensively invigorating affair. For Georgia, it was a win against a top-10 team and it prevented Auburn from having a chance to upset Bama and sneak its way into the College Football Playoff. That’s a pretty good day’s work. The game was certainly the highlight of a generally dismal UGA season and it gave us this wonderful pick-6 from Maurice Smith that was probably the single-best play of the season.

There is a flip side to this coin, though, and it’s the game with Nicholls State, undoubtedly one of the worst games I’ve ever watched. Connelly also ranked the 20 worst games of the season, and UGA-Nicholls wasn’t on there. He even admitted to being surprised that the game didn’t finish in the top 20. But most of the top 20 featured games between the worst teams in the nation, most of which were outside Power 5. When he adjusted the list to include only games that featured at least one Power 5 team, UGA Nicholls finished as the eighth-worst game of the season.

  1. Arizona 31, Grambling 21 (Sept. 10)
  2. Rutgers 52, Howard 14 (Sept. 10)
  3. Boston College 42, Wagner 10 (Sept. 24)
  4. Oregon 53, UC Davis 28 (Sept. 3)
  5. Kentucky 49, Austin Peay 13 (Nov. 19)
  6. Kansas 55, Rhode Island 6 (Sept. 3)
  7. Maryland 52, Howard 13 (Sept. 3)
  8. Georgia 26, Nicholls State 24 (Sept. 10) — there it is
  9. Purdue 24, Nevada 14 (Sept. 24)
  10. Michigan State 28, Furman 13 (Sept. 2)

Hopefully, this is the last time we ever have to talk about that game. Just typing the word “Nicholls” gives me a queasy felling in my stomach.

2017 Season Preview: Samford

Samford is the one game on Georgia’s 2017 schedule the Dawgs are pretty much guaranteed a win (knock on wood), so I decided not to lead with this preview today. Instead, I’ll keep this short and sweet. That way we can move past it and get on to some more important games first thing next week. So, let’s learn a little about the Samford Bulldogs:

What Samford did in 2016

Samford was a middle-of-the-road team in the FCS’s Southern Conference in 2016. The Bulldogs finished 7-5 overall, 5-3 in the the SoCon. The record was enough to get them into the FCS Playoff field, where they promptly lost to Youngstown State, 38-24. That loss was about as “good” a loss as they could ask for in the playoff, as Youngstown State went on to win three more games and finish as national runner-up to James Madison.

Samford’s outlook in 2017

Man, I don’t know. There’s isn’t exactly a lot of reading material on Samford preseason, so I have no idea whether they’ll be good or bad. I will go out on a limb and say these Bulldogs probably won’t be as good as Georgia next season.

Player to watch — QB Devlin Hodges

Samford runs a very pass-happy offense, led by Devlin Hodges under center. As a sophomore, Hodges was one of the best players in the SoCon, winning the conference’s offensive player of the year award. He completed 70.8 percent of his passes while throwing for 4,088 yards, 36 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions. He’s about as good a college QB as you can find in the FCS, and dealing with him will be a bit trickier than dealing with your typical FCS QB. But he shouldn’t trouble Georgia’s defense too much, in theory at least.

Projection vs. Georgia

Uhm, Dawgs win.

It’s Friday … and Cinco De Mayo … and Graduation Day

That’s three good reasons to party, if you ask me.

ICYMI

Good dog

If this doesn’t get your weekend started right, man, I don’t know what will.