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October 27, 2009

A Big "Dog"

The aftermath of a three-touchdown underdog finally defeating the "Evil Genius" in 1997 (The Red & Black).

This week, Georgia finds itself in a position it hasn't been in a long while--that of a substantial underdog.  As of Tuesday morning, the Bulldogs are 16-point underdogs to Florida for this Saturday's game--the biggest underdog Georgia has been since the Florida game eight years ago.  In fact, in 441 games played by the Dogs since 1973, 107 of which they entered as underdogs, only seven times has Georgia been considered a bigger underdog:

35- 1996 vs. Florida (Lost 47-7)
23'- 1995 vs. Florida (Lost 52-17)
21- 1994 at Florida (Lost 52-14)
20'- 1997 vs. Florida (Won 37-17)
19- 1973 at Alabama (Lost 28-14)
19- 2001 vs. Florida (Lost 24-10)
18- 1990 vs. Florida (Lost 38-7)
16- 1990 at Auburn (Lost 33-10)
16- 2009 vs. Florida (???)
Notice a pattern above besides the fact Georgia has won only once when considered an underdog of 16 or more points?  Seven of the top nine games have come against Florida, including six when Steve Spurrier was in Gainesville.  In addition, Georgia has had a difficult time covering the spread when a significant underdog.  Speaking of point spreads...

Mention "point spread" to many folks and their first and only thought is of illegal and unethical gambling.  Everyone certainly has a right to an opinion; however, I consider point spreads in sports to have significant value beyond the gambling aspect.

If a college football team "covers the spread," it out-performed what the spread setters and the betting public perceived as the accurate point spread between the two teams and vice versa.  It can be interpreted that a team who is successful against the spread over a stretch of games is a team who likely overachieved over that particular time period.  On the contrary, a team who usually doesn't cover the spread is usually disappointing and not meeting expectations.

In Georgia's case, over the last 10 seasons, the Bulldogs' best seasons against the spread were in 2002 (10-3) and 2007 (8-4)--Georgia's two most successful seasons of the decade.  On the other hand, let's face it, the Bulldogs have been somewhat disappointing since the start of last season. Although Georgia has a 14-6 overall record since the beginning of 2008, it is only 6-12-1 against the number, including just 4-12 since last year's Alabama game.

The information presented in this post is for entertainment purposes only and this blog and its blogger do not advocate gambling.  Especially, considering the information above, if one was thinking of betting hard-earned money on the Bulldogs this week.

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