Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
The Dawgs have used their offense to power them through the schedule so far. It might be just the formula to get them to Atlanta -- and beyond
A look at the road ahead for the SEC's loss-less teams
For years, Georgia partisans have wanted to move the South Carolina game out of its traditional early-season spot, convinced that it somehow disadvantaged the Dawgs and gave the Gamecocks an edge to have the early September meeting. It provided a boost to South Carolina in the odd years when they won, but also explained the thin margins when Georgia struggled to emphatically beat a mediocre Gamecocks team. This year, Georgia fans got their wish -- and so far, so good.
In fact, if Georgia can dispatch Tennessee in Athens this weekend, it will mark the first time the Dawgs have made it through September undefeated since 2006. (They defeated South Carolina in 2009, but only after a loss at Oklahoma State to start the season, and in 2008, but lost to Alabama the close the month; Georgia had multiple losses in the first month the last two years.) That would set them up nicely for the match-up that begins October -- at South Carolina, of course.
Victims: Buffalo, at Missouri, Florida Atlantic, Vanderbilt
Remaining schedule: Tennessee, at South Carolina, at Kentucky, vs. Florida (Jacksonville), Ole Miss, at Auburn, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech
What's gone right: The schedule, according to meme. Helping out more is the most prolific offense, at least statistically, in the SEC. Aaron Murray and company have churned out 530 yards a game and scored 190 in the first four games, cracking 40 each week. Murray's rating sits at 184.23, good enough for eighth in the country. Todd Gurley is averaging 101.5 rushing yards a game, and three Georgia receivers are in the Top 10 in the SEC in terms of per-game yardage.
Potential pitfalls: The defense has been -- uneven. Despite their big leads in every game, Georgia ranks eighth in the SEC in rushing defense. Not that the passing defense has been anything to write home about -- it's ninth in the conference in terms of efficiency and sixth in terms of yardage. (The latter of those can likely be explained by the Dawgs' margins.) In fact, passing yardage defense and tackles for loss are the only major defensive categories where Georgia ranks higher than seventh in the league. Add in a stretch that features four conference games outside of Athens, and it's clear that the Dawgs can't coast to Atlanta.
Prognosis: The defensive rankings could be statistical noise for right now -- the numbers aren't all that bad themselves, with Georgia allowing 343.25 yards and 16.5 points per game. If they can keep up that sort of pace through the rest of the year, there's no reason to think that Murray and the rest of the offense can't take things from there. The game in Columbia (SC) remains the biggest challenge on the slate, though the trip to Jacksonville is also looking tricky. But if Georgia can get through October without a loss, they almost certainly will end the regular season that way and head to Atlanta with a berth in the BCS National Championship Game on the line.