SEC East Championship Keys

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SEC East Championship Keys

Richard LeCounte (2)

Han Vance on Georgia football: At Kentucky on 3:30 Saturday is a worse matchup for Georgia than Florida was, because they keep scores low (just 12 average yielded in SEC games) and are a true power running team with a feature back, “Snell Yeah!” is the seasonal cheer.

Glory, Glory. I say: Glory, Glory! Beat the rivals!

But…this next game is actually bigger now. The divisional races are over this week as le bleu who I’ve rightly made fun of in the past are legit, in football, this year, with a 7-1 mark earned. This is a road game not a neutral site party. The regular season goal of repeating as SEC champion at Georgia now runs through the Bluegrass.

I was there the last time (2009) Kentucky beat Georgia, Joe Cox having a late-season off game as a fifth-year senior starter, he would bounce back. It was Between the Hedges. I had a cold, a night game, we sat in an uptight section, and my wife accidentally dumped a full-size Coke on me at the start of the game. It wasn’t my favorite. I literally felt a slight warmth for the few jeering Kentucky fans, if they beat Georgia in Athens let them go ahead and gloat tonight. Dawgs blew the game; they took it.

Ball protection, which usually is, and I should have stressed would be, was the key factor in J-Ville. The Gators coughed it up three times and Georgia played clean. Dawgs had four turnovers and lost at LSU – who had lost to Florida in the Swamp – and then protected the football and won big again.

Fromm was sacked only once. The high, loping successful passes that Wims caught in 2017 will now be going to 6-2 sophomore Jeremiah Holloman, who broke out with a start and two touchdowns. A third time, they had to pass interfere to keep him from scoring another.

LSU has no real stake over UGA anymore, either, with Florida-LSU-Georgia playing a round robin and each going 1-1, only Georgia winning away from home. The LSU-Bama game is Saturday night in Baton Rogue, and two-loss teams are way out this year. If the Bayou Bengals were to win, Georgia gets to meet them for a fourth SEC championship game matchup (LSU 2-1) in Atlanta, the lone win coming in DJ Shockley’s year as a starter before the guys lost the Sugar Bowl to WestVA, in the same building, as the bowl had to relocate due to the storm.

Or it’s the Georgia-Alabama rematch which I have called the biggest collision course in college ball. Georgia and Alabama met once for the SEC championship, an epic game won by Bama by four yards and a fingertip tip of a would-be Malcolm Mitchell side of end zone touchdown. The same play Aaron Murray had drilled in the Cocktail Party win. It was a national championship game play-in. The rematch we speak of of course, though, in Georgia, is of the 2017 season national championship game, won eerily similarly by Bama in overtime. One play.

That first scenario does create a CFP problem for all nationally, as ND is undefeated and not in a conference and everybody says Bama will get in with any one loss, like they do. Four slots needs to be expanded to eight and should have begun that way, as I said at the time our bad system was announced. You can’t succeed systematically with that few slots for that many conference champs, that many teams. Settle it all on the field.

Bama, Clemson, ND, LSU, UGA, OU, Michigan, Ohio State, UCF, Kentucky, my quick top 10. Georgia is in great shape in the CFP, as long as you see Georgia winning out and taking the SEC again. The real rankings are revealed for the first time this Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. I have always feared Georgia ending up 5th or 6th and deserving to get in as much or more than a team that was 4th. Georgia (ranked tied for 5th in the Coaches Poll and 6th by the AP) was ranked #1 in the initial CFP rankings last season, based on being undefeated, crushing East rivals and winning at Notre Dame.

D'Andre Swift (7)

Speaking of tops, D’Andre Swift had his first, finally, career hundred-yard game and put Florida away. Fromm was the clear MVP. Holyfield came in leading the big college rank in yards after contact, but found the sledding tough against a fast, swarming Florida defense, expected to highly-challenge Georgia’s offense, which struggled overall at LSU.

Dear Chaney, if Nauta can catch four balls in a row like that, he could do it all day, all season long, next year, even. Stubbornness and unwillingness to adapt in-game are my least favorite characteristics about the offensive leadership and this coaching staff as a whole. Any plan must be altered, in-game, if it is not going well. It went just fine Saturday, as they are stubborn enough to feel the need to have to prove the doubters wrong, which is the positive side of that staunch emotional stance. Instead of so obviously proving a point with it, which was simply vindication of the loud points of view of the many calling for Nauta to get the ball all along, how about using him effectively, regularly. Wait awhile, I will modify my earlier statement where I said if the OC is getting 40, I won’t complain (…much), to say if the team I love is hitting 35 in SEC games, that is just as good or better. Really good job, Coach Chaney!

Monty Rice racked up 11 tackles and a forced fumble as team leading tackler Richard LeCounte III finally got his hands on a ball in the open field and was swooped by a quarterback; he may be more old school physical and less just raw athlete than we thought in recruiting. Early-departing NFLer Roquan Smith is and will be sorely missed. Florida ran for almost 200 yards after LSU went for 275.

Kentucky runs wild. Benny Snell Jr. reminds me of first-team All-SEC Kerryon Johnson from Auburn 2017, who personally trounced Georgia and Bama and was, fortunately for Georgia, not close to full strength in the SEC championship rematch win. The game would certainly have been closer if he had played. Terry Wilson, a presumed running quarterback, had a bigger passing day than Fromm on Saturday (without 3 TDs), throwing the game-winner at Mizzou. Kentucky was down 14-0 late and won 15-14. Their D denying the explosive Tigers any first downs or points in the 2nd half. An ugly, good road win. Linebacker Josh Allen leads the way for the defense-first team molded in Stoops’s image.

Georgia needs to hammer the ball better and play better run defense to win big this year. I’m seeing the maturation on offense after that performance and a talented football team with a strong will to succeed. Nice, Kirby!

The power-football-Georgia sad, six- or seven-attempt Florida goal line stand depending on how you count the penalty plays, featured two Gator penalties. It was still three points on the board. Rodrigo Blankenship is the man, and Florida couldn’t keep up. The Georgia team was averaging 39 points and scored 36. The defense came in yielding 16 a game and gave Florida 17. Ultimately, they were just another team.

My pregame analysis where I said all-Fromm and picked Georgia 31-21 was pretty accurate, Bulldogs just exploded a little more than I could foresee at the end. Georgia has won 5-of-8 in the owned series.

36-17 Dawgs, with the first both-Top 10 Cocktail Party win by UGA since 1983.

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