Two-Faced Teams Tangle
For two teams playing for the lead in any division, much less half the SEC, both Tennessee and Georgia have been mighty inconsistent.
I was catching a survival strategy break under a shade bush, see. From the merciless direct-sun-heat and the even worse beating, at Mississippi on the Ole campus (Ol’ Georgia is about 50 years older for the record). Had to keep a couple of my wits about me since I was sad and mad and on assignment for Bulldawg Illustrated, covering the tailgate and culture of Oxford.
Heres’s a link to that fun travel piece (with photo credit by Brett Byrnes):
It wasn’t until a few days later that I watched that totally sloppy first half of Tennessee’s first win over Florida in over a decade, in condensed plays-only format. I texted that we could beat that team. Then a day later, I watched two insider UT football geek shows which focused mainly on their glorious second half, and I wondered.
Here’s #GEORGIA, who played the Vols dead even over the history of the rivalry until UT went up one win late last year at Rocky Top. Although the rivalry didn’t go every year until the divisional split, Tennessee once owned us, winning nine straight over eleven years. We played it all the way to even, like I said, because Mark Richt fared well against them and recently coached Georgia to five straight wins, many of them real nailbiters. We trail 21-22-2 and could push it to all 2s.
They crowed loudly about winning nine last year, while we fired our coach after having ten win teams (9 before the last bowl win) in back-to-back years and averaging ten wins over five years and almost ten wins over fifteen full years, including another near national title. If you are into the Richt teams’ stuff, and you probably are if you are reading this, I have a book called “Richt Era” debuting at Avid Bookshop in Athens (6:30-7:30p reading + signing) on 11/11, the Friday before Georgia-Auburn (Dawgs lead that old series 56-55-8, by the way).
This is Tennessee’s Year – the bumper stickers say, but they have struggled against App State and Ohio while tale of two halves-ing it (bad 1st, great 2nd) versus both VaTech (at Bristol) and the defending SEC East champion Florida Gators. They have not played any road games yet. And this better be a hostile environment, folks!
Meanwhile, Kirby got nothing to speak of at home until the fifth game of the year – the biggest game of the year. UGA took care of UNC (now 3-1) behind a dominant rushing attack in Atlanta, but Georgia hadn’t exactly realized our run blocking wasn’t quite there yet and Carolina was still in a funk from having such a bad run defense last year. And their QB was getting his debut as a starter. It was: Win One for Chubb, and he did much of the work (222 yards). He’s been quiet since.
Is he all the way better, was he, I mean, because he checked out at Ole Miss before I did, on pace to break 100 and averaging over five yards per carry, he was done in the 2nd. That was a bad offensive game plan and we had six drops, poor pass protection, my middle school team had a better kicking game than UGA…but we are getting only three and a hook facing a 4-0 team. This series is that close, and UT that not all the way there yet. They shook the Florida monkey. We are squarely in their way. Something has got to give, and I hope it isn’t The G.
You know what happened: We escaped a glorified Sanford scrimmage against Nicholls State, Joystick went nuts in a last second close win at Mizzou (who actually look pretty decent this year). Then, we came out unprepared at Oxford, and it so showed. They are a first half team and all, but it was all the way over before the break and got worse.
Tennessee is a total second half team, at least that’s how they have played this year and that’s what has happened recently in the series. So, if we somehow get a big lead they won’t flinch. They’ll just turn it on, and at 3-2 UGA probably “ain’t winning no ten games, y’all” … But if we can find a way to win this game, perhaps with Sony Michel as MVP, then the light will suddenly come on in the program.
We are having a party, y’all _ be at The Max Canada at noon. See my post before this post here at BIG HAIRY BLAWG dot com for details.