Clanga at Oohga.
there is a conflict between the left side of my brain and the right side over this game, and my heart doesn't want anything to do with it. PSU at Iowa is interesting, but not as much as this one. TCU and oSu tangling is interesting as well. Clear cases of a teams advantage exist in both those games, and it's flat out vacant in the game I chose this week.
In a quick review of our record here, we're 3-0, and they weren't puffs- it was selecting Bama over FSU, OU over tOSU, and last week's Clemson over Louisville. In each of those games (save the first, which was built far more on tendencies of coaches and personalities of teams being the first of the season) there was a decisive statistic present that provided leverage enough to make a clear prediction. I really wish there was one in this game.
Here is what we do have: we have two teams which both like to stick to the ground- maybe not in sets or in threats, but statistically. Both teams have amassed the lions share of their yardage with their feet. UGA's ratio of passing to rushing ttl yds is 463:690. MissSt's production in-ratio is 586:893. Both teams have played two cupcakes and a real team, but the prowess of those 'real teams' is a bit in question being ND and LSU, respectively.
But that^, along with the timing, is the contrasting element in my eyes that provides the solution to this game. Foolhardy, yes. It's beyond ridiculous to call a game three days prior based on such silly expectations and constructed around such a slight differential. But- I'm going to do just that.
Before I break into this, I want to make it clear that this selection is the weakest so far this season and which makes it the weakest on record for the 'cfb51 showcase'. I almost want to beg for some sort of alternate ranking- a caveat notation- but that ain't how the world spins.
There are questions with who will lead the offense for those oohga dawgs. Jake Fromm (state farm) opened against the Irish and surprised. Chubb is back, and he's the monster we recall averaging 6.6 per carry, and a few big breaks (one 34 for 6), but for anyone paying attention- they have FOUR more rushers producing similar numbers. I'm on record saying that USCw has the best backfield in the game right now, but..... UGA is right there with them, and if Fromm(or whoever) steps into the role traditionally placed for Oohga QB's..... damn.... they are far superior to USCw's. That right there is a yuge statement. I'm expecting UGA can offensively stack no less than 14 points on those other dawgs.
Defensively- these boys aim to be heard. They've demonstrated issues here and there from time to time thus far, but a lot of questions about that can be answered by looking at the delta on the scoreboard and then the time remaining. Damn it... there isn't a break to be found for me there... When they've flashed, they look as good as anyone I've watched. My heart might be indecisive, and my brain's quadrants confused on this game, but.... I am of the opinion UGA will be capable of holding MSU to somewhere in the 21~28 range.
MissSt's offense is led by a QB who knows what he's doing... 43 for 70 isn't popping any eyes, but that rating for the season is- it's 156.7, and with a 7:1 td:int ratio, for a total of 543 yards. It's dang hard to determine what's happening here, though, because MissSt didn't churn the stats in their cupcake games as some are apt to do, and they played smart against LSU- making both their offense and LSU's defense hold some mystery still. There is no break, here.
Defensively MissSt appears to be real. They are at least as good as UF's front four, the remainder of that squad plays disciplined insofar as assignments are concerned, and they can tackle in space mano-a-mano as well as swarm. If we were to compare the MSU D to the UGA D, which there is really no need to, I'd have to still side with UGA's- but these guys are only a few steps off that pace. There is nothing to leverage here, either.
Special teams are always a trip.... just when you think you've discovered the attitude and personality of a unit like both these teams field, they do something to make you reconsider. Which is to say, they're a mystery while opposing each other in my jumbled noggin. I expect UGA will force MSU to fall back on splitting the uprights more than a couple drives, yet I expect MSU to force UGA into the same. I wager MSU will have the longer field to combat due to UGA's D, but to push that it should be noted that MSU has the better record on FG's... it's close, but it belongs to MSU. Dammmmmit... I just can't catch a break.
UGA has the home field advantage, and there is something to be said for playing between the hedges. You'd think this enough to push me away from those damn cowbells, but it isn't. UGA traveled half their fanbase to South bend- they have the support and the community has purchased into Smart's conspiracy. Good for them. In my mind (and I reserve the right to come back and alter this all the way up to moments before kickoff) MSU coming out of a battle against LSU where most casual fans totally dismissed them and not only winning but insulting those Bengals, has to have created a mojo with a team that, except for a few face plants, has been knocking for a while. This is a game played by young adults who haven't the experience to separate business from personal- it's all personal, and emotions/belief/arrogance turn into confidence even when there is really no recipe present anyone would think could generate confidence. I'm thinking coming out of the battle against LSU, the MSU Dawgs will roll into Athens and straight up commit larceny- they'll pull a win out of the grip of chance, and never be in question for the 60 minutes they're on the field- not that UGA won't trail them closely the entire exhibition, but that the damage will be certain and be early leaving UGA to rely on either a young arm, or the arm of a veteran that still has cobwebs.