Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why All The Optimism?

The prevailing attitude among the majority of UGA fans that I can tell is that we are clearly the better team going into the game with the Gators, and if we play to our potential and get past the mental roadblocks, we win easily.  Not to be a negative Nellie here, but I'm wondering why most of you feel that we are clearly the better team?  Now if Brantley can't play, or is only able to play minimally, then that changes the discussion, but I'm thinking that if Brantley has the ability to stand upright, he's going to be on the field.  And when Brantley has played, it's hard for me to see that UGA has been that much better than Florida.

You can't really compare any sort of statistics between the two teams, due to the difference in schedule.  I don't think anyone would argue the fact that our statistics would be worse right now if we had played Bama, LSU, and Auburn our last 3 games instead of MSU, UT, and Vandy.  So the best comparisons I can make is performances against the same or similar opponents, which boils down to 3 games.

The first comparison is obviously Tennessee, as we have both played the Vols.  We beat the Vols by 8, Florida beat them by 10, and in both games it was clear that the winning margin could have been greater than the final result.  Overall, I'd say the comparison between us and the Gators here is pretty even.

The second comparison I would do is their performance on the road against Kentucky, and our performance on the road against Ole Miss..........it's pretty widely accepted that those two are in a neck-and-neck race for the bottom of the conference, although Ole Miss did show some fight last week.  But the way Florida dispatched KY early vs the way we let Ole Miss hang around the whole game was a stark contrast in my mind.   Advantage in this comparison goes to the Gators.

The final comparison I would do is our game against South Carolina and their game against Auburn.  Given that Auburn and South Carolina played a pretty tight game, and South Carolina had not had all their attrition in either game yet, I think they're a pretty good comparison.  The wildcard here is that we played our game against SC with our starting QB, whereas Florida did not against AU.  Regardless though, Florida laid an egg against Auburn, and we showed a lot of fight in our loss to the 'Cocks.  Edge to UGA on this one, though again the QB situation can't completely be ignored.

So of the three games that can be considered pretty close apples-to-apples comparisons, I give UF the edge in one, us the edge in one, and score us about even in the other.  What I deduce from that is that UF is a similarly talented team as us.  Again, if they're playing true freshmen at QB all game then that changes the argument, but I'm operating under the assumption that Brantley is going to take the majority of the snaps in the game.  And when Brantley has played, I haven't seen anything that says we are clearly the better team.  I think people's perceptions of Florida are based on their recent schedule.........put another way, if the schedules were reversed and we were coming off of playing Bama, LSU, and Auburn, most likely losing at least 2 of those 3 (and probably losing just as badly as everyone else has to Bama and LSU) whereas FL was coming off of MSU, UT, and Vandy, what do you think the discussion would look like going into this game?  Do you think even most UGA fans would consider us clearly the better team?

I'm not being all gloom and doom here, I do believe we can win on Saturday.  I just don't see the optimism that we are clearly the better team on paper.  I feel like even if we play well, it's going to be a game that comes down to the wire, and again we're going to have to overcome our mental blocks that have prevented us from success down there (or as Reeder 3:16 calls it, our "Wet the bed syndrome").

For those of you who DO feel we are clearly the better team, what are the reasons you feel that way?  Does it boil down to the QB situation, and you don't think Brantley will be able to perform?  (and again, if Brantley is a no-go, I do agree that at that point we become the better team on paper).  Am I just too jaded from the past 20 years?  Let me know in the comments below.

-Rev.

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