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September 27, 2010

GOFF-IAN

1990 and 1993 - Georgia football seasons you may have already heard or soon will be repeatedly informed were the last time (until now) the Bulldogs lost three consecutive games and started 0-3 in the SEC, respectively. 

What do these two seasons have in common besides featuring a losing Bulldog football squad?  They were both under the guidance of Georgia's 23rd head coach - Ray Goff.  

At the Junkyard Blawg, Bill King wrote that the Richt regime has "sunk to new Goff-ian depths"... and I cannot agree more.

Following the disturbing loss in Starkville, my thoughts are exactly as they were after the setback to Arkansas, only tremendously intensified: I feel like I've gone back in time to the Ray Goff era...

I'm well accustomed to this time of UGA football, considering Goff was the Bulldogs' coach for most of my 5+ years in college.  I remember walking to Sanford Stadium for many a game (often well after kickoff) thinking, "hopefully, we can beat [fill in bottom-tier SEC team here] today."  In those days, defeating a Vanderbilt, Kentucky, or the like, was far from expected as it would become later. 

History is repeating itself and this year's Bulldogs shouldn't be expected to beat, well, just about anyone.

As is the case with many Bulldog backers, the biggest mystery to me is the ineptness of the offensive line.  This is a unit that was dominating in the last few games of 2009, returned all five starters from a year ago, had returning players who started 155 career games - the most of the 120 teams in the FBS, and, above all, was considered arguably the best offensive line in college football entering this season.

Through the first four games of this season, Georgia's offensive line has paved the way for the Bulldogs to average 3.60 yards per rush - by far, the worst in the conference.  And please don't tell me that, well, Georgia has faced some pretty good run defenses thus far...  In the Bulldogs' four opponents' other games against 11 teams, they are yielding a higher 3.86 yards per rush to their opposition.

Remember the preseason talk that Washaun Ealey and Caleb King could accomplish the rare feat of each rushing for 1,000 yards? The two are on pace to rush for just over 800 yards combined.

The last time Georgia's running game consistently averaged that few number of yards per rush?  You guessed it, during the Goff era and our two distinguishable seasons: the '90 team averaged 3.60 yards, the '93 Bulldogs gained 3.43.  

How can it be explained this year's edition, particularly its offensive line, has been so disappointing, reverting back to a time when going to a bowl was a lofty goal?

Whether it's the coaching, lack of discipline, heart, the Bulldogs are just plain inferior, a little bit of all, or none of the aforementioned, something is wrong with the Georgia football program.  What I envisioned to be a 9-3 or 10-2 team will be very, very fortunate to finish at .500 and for the third straight season, will not approach preseason expectations.

Back to Coach Goff...  Don't get me wrong regarding Big Ray; he was a tremendous quarterback - one of just two Bulldog signal callers ever to finish in the Heisman Trophy voting, a good running backs coach, and a helluva recruiter.  However, I think even Goff would admit he was way in over his head as the head man of Georgia football.

Within Goff's first couple of seasons, it was abundantly clear the UGA football program had taken a significant step down from the final years of the Coach Dooley regime.  While a year or so after Goff's firing, the Bulldogs rebounded, reclaiming their spot as a reputable and acceptable team. 

Currently, there is no question that same program is nearing, if not back to Goff-like circumstances, having taken a huge step down the last two-plus seasons. 

The question is when will the Bulldogs bounce back from the depths of collapsing and if Coach Richt and his staff are the bunch to lead the recovery.  

September 24, 2010

Starkpatch's 'Gimme A Break' of '82

Get the picture now...In front of a soldout Scott Field packed with 33,158 spectators (yes, I said "soldout" and "33,158" in the same breath), Georgia leads Mississippi State 29-22 in 1982 with just over three minutes remaining in the game. 

The Bulldogs from Athens had the ball around midfield before quarterback John Lastinger lost a fumble recovered by Starkville's Bulldogs.  Now, Miss. State's wishbone offense is on the move and knocking on the door.

We're needing a play of some kind, a break of some kind...

After decades of annually being at or towards the bottom of the SEC, Miss. State football finally became relevant with the start of the 1980s.

Head coach Emory Bellard arrived in Starkville in 1979 and instantly installed the wishbone offense, which he invented in 1968 for his first year as offensive coordinator at Texas (interestingly, after being the Longhorns' linebackers coach the season before). 

It took Bellard's Bulldogs only one year to be a major player in the conference.  In 1980 and 1981, Miss. State won more combined games (17) than it had since 1939-1940 while making consecutive bowl trips for the first time ever.  In 1982, MSU was at it again, ranked 18th in the UPI Poll with a 3-1 record entering its game with the SEC's other Bulldogs.  

The highly-anticipated Bulldawgs-Bulldogs matchup of '82 was, among other things, a game of firsts (or firsts in a long while). 

Georgia was playing in Starkville for only the second time in history.  For years most of Miss. State's "big" home games were held in Jackson, MS.  Georgia had played MSU in Jackson on three occasions - 1966, 1970, 1974 - since its lone appearance in Starkville in 1951.

In addition, the '82 contest was televised by CBS, making it the first televised football game, nationally or regionally, EVER in Starkville. 

It was also thought to be the first time in SEC history high school teammates faced off as opposing quarterbacks in a conference game.  Junior quarterbacks John Lastinger of Georgia and MSU's John Bond had both gone to Valdosta High School and played on the Wildcats' Georgia state championship team of 1978; Lastinger was the starting signal caller, Bond his backup.

At Georgia, Lastinger played on the JV team as a freshman in 1979, was redshirted the next season, and backed up another Valdosta native at quarterback - Buck Belue - in 1981.  Finally in 1982, it was the Bulldogs' offense for Lastinger to run. 

Bond, whose father John Sr., had been a standout halfback at Georgia during the mid-1930s, had chosen to go to Miss. State in 1980 because he wanted to immediately see significant playing time. And play Bond did, starting at quarterback for MSU all four of his years (1980-1983) while running the wishbone.

Bellard's wishbone was fairly foreign to Georgia.  When the Bulldogs hosted Auburn in 1981, it marked the first time since playing Alabama in the mid-1970s Georgia had faced the unconventional offensive formation.  The Bulldogs allowed Auburn's running attack to ground out nearly 300 yards; nevertheless, Georgia won the ballgame 24-13 in clinching Coach Dooley's fifth SEC title.

Against MSU a season later, the sixth-ranked and 3-0 Bulldogs once again were victims of the wishbone, yielding 260 yards on the ground.  However, Georgia had a potent rushing attack itself in the form of Herschel Walker.  On 39 carries, Walker rushed for 215 yards - his first 200-yard rushing performance of the four-game season and seventh of Herschel's collegiate career.  

As he had so many times before, Walker carried the Georgia offense, but it was the Bulldogs' opportune, bend-but-don't-break defense which allowed Georgia to escape from Starkville with the seven-point victory.

Anyone remember many of those Erk Russell and early Bill Lewis defenses at Georgia?

The opponent would seemingly go up and down the field between the 20-yard lines all afternoon.  Regardless, once it came knocking at the door, the Bulldogs would often rise up and make a play, keeping the opponent out of the end zone.

John Bond found this out on his game-deciding miscue.  Occurring after a mix up on a handoff, the quarterback's unforced bobble popped up in the air, hit Georgia safety Jeff Sanchez in the shoulder pad, bounced off linebacker Tommy Thurson's facemask, then out of Thurson's grasp, and finally into the hands of defensive guard Kevin "Catfish" Jackson for the critical fumble recovery.

Talk about Georgia getting, as the legendary Larry Munson would say, "a break of some kind"...something recent Bulldog football teams have had a difficult time catching, or forcing.

September 20, 2010

Relapse vs. the Ranked

I instantly became a big fan and supporter of Mark Richt when he first arrived in Athens 10 years ago, primarily because I knew he was a better alternative than the guy that was before him.

Nevertheless, as we are all fully aware, under Richt's guidance, the Bulldogs' on-field performance has significantly slipped the past two-plus seasons, beginning in 2008.

The continuing fall from grace became even more evident to me with Georgia's 31-24 loss to Arkansas on Saturday - the Bulldogs' second defeat to a ranked opponent in as many games.

Now, I'm nowhere near siding with the collection of grown (and I use that term loosely) men I witnessed Saturday, chanting "Fire Mark Richt!" outside the stadium following the setback.  Notwithstanding, whether it's coaching, a deficiency in talent/recruiting, lack of team discipline, or some of each, Richt's Bulldogs, unlike before, simply have had a difficult time since 2008 defeating reputable, "good" teams, like in the case of Arkansas. 

What was once commonplace has become seemingly a rarity.

In Richt's first seven seasons, Georgia recorded an impressive 24-13 mark against teams ranked (entering the game) in the AP Poll, including a perfect 5-0 in BOTH 2002 and 2007.

I'd be willing to bet that was one of the best - probably top five or so - records against the ranked in all of college football during the same time period.  Of all SEC teams, it was in fact second best, only behind LSU:

LSU, 26-13
2) Georgia, 24-13
Auburn, 19-11
Florida, 22-18
Tennessee, 15-19
Alabama, 10-22
South Carolina, 9-22
Arkansas, 9-24
Ole Miss, 5-20
Miss. State, 3-24
Kentucky, 3-26
Vanderbilt, 2-24

However, since the start of the 2008 season, the Bulldogs are only 4-8 versus ranked teams.  To make matters slightly worse, four of the eight losses came at home AND facing an underdog, while only one of Georgia's four victories could be considered an "upset" (Georgia Tech, 2009).

The SEC vs. AP-ranked teams from 2008 through last Saturday:

Florida, 8-1
Alabama, 10-2
Ole Miss, 5-3
LSU, 4-6
T-5) Georgia, 4-8
T-5) South Carolina, 3-6
Arkansas, 3-7
Vanderbilt, 2-8
Miss. State, 2-10
Auburn, 1-6
Tennessee, 1-9
Kentucky, 0-6

I believe a team's record against ranked opponents over an extended period of time can be an adequate indicator of success, or lack thereof, especially when compared to a previous or succeeding era or regime.

We've all heard of those who somewhat degrade the Vince Dooley era, declaring that if Herschel Walker and the early 1980s are omitted, the coach's career at Georgia is merely average.  Such critics seem to forget, aren't aware of, and/or weren't around during the decade and a half leading up to Dooley's arrival. 

After tying 11th-ranked North Carolina in 1950, under Coach Wally Butts and later Johnny Griffith, the Bulldogs were a dismal 2-25-1 against AP-ranked teams through 1963.  Only a year later under Dooley, Georgia upset No. 9 Florida and for the next 10 games versus ranked opponents,  remarkably went undefeated (8-0-2) through the 1968 regular season.

Talk about improving a football program...  The Bulldogs' prompt advancement was especially extraordinary considering it came under the direction of an unproven coach in his 30s, who turned around a program that had been steadily deteriorating since the late 1940s.

In 25 seasons at Georgia, Dooley was a respectable 33-32-4 against ranked teams.  Ray Goff followed that up with a Miss. State, Kentucky, or Vanderbilt-like 4-21-1 versus the ranked.  The Jim Donnan era was certainly a step up from Goff; however, Donnan's inability to defeat reputable opponents was one of the main reasons for his firing. 

Against ranked opposition, Donnan was 7-13, an even better record than Richt's recent 4-8 under the same circumstances

Of late, it seems like football at Georgia has gone back 10-to-15 years ago, reverting to a time when defeating a good team was a treat instead of the norm.

Will Richt get things turned back around at Georgia?  Maybe...hopefully.

Until then, they're right back where they started from in 2001, when Donnan's Dogs seemed to annually settle as the third- or fourth-best squad in the SEC East instead of the former Richt teams, who, not long ago, defended their position as a top, if not the best, team in the entire conference.   

September 17, 2010

Hog-Related Humor

Tomorrow marking just the 13th time the two teams have met all time, the Georgia-Arkansas football series is certainly an abbreviated one.  Nevertheless, two of my most favorite Bulldog football stories - though one was in a losing cause - regards the Hogs. 

Back in June 2009, I recounted the more recent story with a piece on the late, great Bill Hartman.

In short, Uga V was set to be the first live mascot ever to appear at Arkansas' Razorback Stadium until Hartman stumbled the week before, nearly harming Georgia's beloved bulldog.

The mascot would have an enjoyable weekend but instead of in Fayetteville, Uga flourished in the Georgia town of Moultrie.

Nearly a quarter-century before, the Bulldogs capped their 1968 undefeated regular season with a trip to the Sugar Bowl to face the Razorbacks for the first time in history.  With a win - a victory that seemed certain - Georgia had an outside chance to claim the national championship.

Arkansas had achieved a 9-1 record during the season and a tie for the Southwest Conference title.  However, in doing so, the Razorbacks had been somewhat unimpressive, losing their only game against a ranked opponent.

Georgia, on the other hand, featured Outland Trophy-winner Bill Stanfill and safety Jake Scott - arguably, the two greatest defenders in UGA football history - and a Bulldog offense that was absolutely explosive, averaging nearly 30 points, 200 rushing yards, and 200 passing yards per game. 

Georgia was assumed to especially expose the Razorbacks' mediocre defense.  Against their 10 regular-season opponents, the Hogs had allowed all but three to score 15 points or more, including five foes to tally three or more touchdowns.  The Bulldogs were a substantial, 7-point favorite entering the bowl game.

Regardless, somehow Arkansas pulled off the upset of all upsets, prevailing 16-to-2 on a chilly day in New OrleansHow was it possible?

First off, how could Georgia allow the game's MVP flanker Chuck Dicus to find holes in the Bulldogs' renowned secondary?  Dicus caught 12 passes for 169 yards and scored the bowl's lone touchdown.

And just two points scored?!?  What happened to Georgia's celebrated offense? 

The fact the Bulldogs committed a whopping eight turnovers - 5 fumbles, 3 interceptions - certainly didn't help. 

Perhaps the answer lies not with what the Dogs didn't do on the field, but what they did in the French Quarter the night before.

Decades later, regarding a rumor that he, Scott, and fullback Brad Johnson had been on Bourbon Street the night before the game until 4:00 AM, Georgia's starting quarterback that season, Mike Cavan, said, "Let's get the record straight...I can't speak for Brad or Jake, but I was in my room..." 

Cavan, who had been recognized as the SEC's Sophomore of the Year, turned the ball over four times himself (photo) in the game's first eight minutes alone.

Cavan might have been off by a couple hours or so.  According to newspaper writer Jesse Outlar, a New Orleans taxi driver picked up a group of saddened Georgia fans following the devastating loss.

“I don’t understand what happened to that Georgia team," said the straight-faced taxi driver.  "When I brought several of [the players] to the hotel at 2 AM this morning, they told me there was no way they could lose to Arkansas.”

September 13, 2010

Tell-Tale Numbers

I was checking out the final statistics of the 17-6 loss to South Carolina, and four figures, in particular, really caught my attention. Show me a team that could win a game when being held to/allowing similar numbers and I'll show you a Bulldog defender that was able to stop Marcus Lattimore.

Following the victory over UL-Lafayette, I posted some statistical accomplishments attained by Georgia's defense for the first time in a long while. Against the Gamecocks, the Bulldogs reached a couple more "milestones" for both sides of the ball, but these were ones a team would want to avoid...

Speaking of Lattimore, the 'Cock rushed for 182 yards, but even more impressively, on 37 rushes, one short of USC's school record. I searched and scoured my seemingly endless, geeky files of UGA football statistics and found only 10 or so other times in history where one individual on an opposing team carried the ball 37+ times in a single game against the Bulldogs, the last by Auburn's Carnell Williams in 2001 - a 24-17 Georgia loss.

Of those games when an opposing player had a Herschel-like amount of rushes, only twice did Georgia come away with the win.

South Carolina converted 9 of 14 third downs. That's a 64.3 percent conversion rate, and that's mighty impressive. So impressive, you have to go back 162 games and nearly 13 years to the Tennessee game of 1997 when Georgia yielded a greater third-down rate.

In that game, Peyton Manning and the Volunteer offense converted 7 of 9 third downs in gaining 628 total yards and drubbed the defenseless Bulldogs, 38-13.

An offense converting nearly two-thirds of its third downs combined with its capability to hand the ball to one individual nearly 40 times will usually equate to an opposing offense rarely seeing the field, and sure enough, that's what occurred on Saturday.

Georgia ran only 47 total plays. Forty-seven plays... that's unheard of in modern-day college football and the Bulldogs' lowest amount since 1997 (again) when Georgia hosted Kentucky on Homecoming.

In an unusual game, the Wildcats' Tim Couch played keep-away from the Bulldogs, as did Mark Schlabaugh's dog (which ran out onto the field). Still, thanks to Robert Edwards' 189 rushing yards and two touchdowns, Georgia somehow prevailed over Kentucky 23-13 despite running just 45 plays.

Against South Carolina, when the Bulldogs did have the ball, they weren't able to do a whole lot with it as Georgia tallied only 11 first downs...yet another rare and dubious distinction achieved by the Dogs over the weekend.

Georgia hasn't gained fewer than that many first downs in a regular-season game since the Bulldogs had only 9 against the Gamecocks in the very same stadium, with a very similar result (21-10 loss), 10 years ago.

So there you have it: Whether a team allows an opposing back a boat load of carries, a tremendously high third-down conversion rate, runs very few offensive plays, or gains first downs rather infrequently...although, like in Georgia's case, one of these misfortunes may happen only once every decade, said team will most likely lose.

If all four happen to transpire, like in Georgia's case on Saturday, said team is doomed.

September 10, 2010

In '80, It was simply Herschel vs. George

I'll go ahead and warn you, the two videos below are rather awful in quality; however, I couldn't pass up showing footage of an interview with freshman Herschel Walker, George Rogers' memorable fumble, and, perhaps most of all, Keith Jackson with a beard.

The first clip is a piece ABC-TV put together on Herschel and shown just prior to the start of the Georgia-South Carolina game from 30 years ago.  It is apparent people believed the Bulldogs definitely had a freshman phenom on their hands but in actuality, they hadn't seen nothing yet...  Including his game against Carolina, Walker's best performances of 1980 were still ahead of him.

By the way, I can see why Coach Dooley labelled assistant Mike Cavan “Vice President in Charge of Herschel."  Again, please bear with the poor quality: 



There was a big buildup going into the 1980 Georgia-South Carolina game; a hype that Gamecocks football was certainly unaccustomed to.

Fourteenth-ranked South Carolina was at its highest position in the AP Poll since during the 1959 season, while its 6-1 record was the team's best in 56 years.  The Bulldogs, on the other hand, were undefeated and ranked fourth in the country. 

The ABC-TV broadcast was only the third nationally televised game in the history of Sanford Stadium.  It was a telecast only made possible because of a couple of particular running backs.

Carolina's George Rogers, a Georgia native, had led the Gamecocks to wins over the Bulldogs in both 1978 and 1979, rushing for a combined 280 yards on 57 carries in the victories.

The week of the game, George Rogers' father - George Rogers, Sr. - was in the news nearly as much as his celebrated son.  Nearly eight years prior, the elder Rogers was imprisoned for unpremeditated murder and he had been paroled and released only 10 days prior to the game, just in time to see his son play the Bulldogs in person.

Rogers and Georgia's star running back, Herschel "Hercules" Walker, put on quite a show, undoubtedly not disappointing the 60,000 in Sanford Stadium and the millions of television viewers.  Walker rushed for 219 yards on 43 carries while Rogers tallied 168 yards on 35 rushes; each accumulating nearly 60 percent of their team's total yardage.

However, Rogers' performance was marred by a critical fumble with just over five minutes remaining in the game and with the Gamecocks trailing 13-10.  Rogers' fumble would turn out to cost South Carolina the game and be the eventual Heisman winner's final carry ever against the Bulldogs.



How intriguing is it that Rogers fumbles after getting injured, sitting out one play, and then being reinserted back into the game?  On the play, he probably should have been still standing on the sideline with Ray Goff recuperating instead of carrying the football.  

And how fortunate were the Bulldogs to recover the fumble?  The ball first flies into the arms of a teammate of Rogers before popping out of his grasp, before being recovered by Georgia's Tim Parks.  

Of course, the ball seemed to always bounce and breaks consistently go Georgia's way in 1980 en route to a national championship.

Three decades later, the Bulldogs could certainly use some of those bounces and breaks again, starting tomorrow in Columbia.

September 6, 2010

We Forced 3 Turnovers?!?

I wanted to give my thoughts on the 55-7 blowout of Louisiana-Lafayette and acknowledge the historic, in a way, victory it was for the Bulldogs, both offensively and defensively.

First and foremost, I want to thank the handful of this blog's readers that stopped by my signing at the UGA Bookstore prior to the game.  I really appreciated you guys (and gal) coming by to say "hi" and mentioning the blog.  It's events like that which show me that any work/research that goes into writing and upkeeping About Them Dawgs! is well worth my time and efforts.  Thank you.

Defensively, you have to be optimistic after what you witnessed on Saturday from Grantham's defenders.  Granted, the performance was against the Rajin' Cajuns; nevertheless, they are a program that defeated Kansas State last season and against South Carolina in 2007 and Illinois and K-State a year later, lost by an average of just over eight points to the three BCS teams.

I, like many other Bulldog backers, have been screaming and begging for turnovers for two years and we got them in the form of three interceptions.  Georgia's three forced turnovers were the most for the team in 19 games since gaining three against LSU in 2008, while it has been 27 games (2008 Sugar Bowl vs. Hawaii) since the Bulldogs forced more than that amount. 

Georgia yielded only 5 first downs and 128 total offensive yards.  I did some quick, unscientific research and found that against Division I-A/FBS teams (in other words, excluding Tennessee Tech from last year when the Bulldogs allowed only 55 total yards), the 128 yards given up were the Bulldogs' lowest since allowing only 99 to TCU during the national championship season of 1980.  That was 30 years ago, folks.

I got another that's even better: The five first downs allowed were the Dogs' lowest against any team since yielding the same amount to Auburn way back in 1968.  To show you how long ago that was... That's (the photo) what Georgia's team, the Seilers, and Uga looked like back in 1968 when we beat Auburn. 

On Saturday, I wasn't quite as thrilled with the offense.  I'm afraid some of the things that worked against the Cajuns won't at all against the 'Cocks.  As far as what did work offensively, let's remember, ULL is a program that lost to LSU and Nebraska last year by a combined 81-3 score.

Once again, the offensive line did not surrender a sack.  Going back to last season, the Bulldogs have allowed just one sack in 113 passing attempts and more than four games.  That's rather amazing.

Apparently against Louisiana-Lafayette, backup quarterback Hutson Mason joined an exclusive club in FBS history.  I discovered another select group the freshman is now a part of in Bulldog history.

Since 1972, when the NCAA allowed freshmen eligibility in college football, the Bulldogs have had only five true freshmen quarterbacks (by my count), including Mason, to see action in a season-opening game.  

Recognizing Quincy Carter as a true freshman in 1998 is a bit of a stretch, so we'll say Mason is now one of only four Bulldog signal callers since '72, who were playing high school football the year before, to see playing time in the first game of a true freshman season.  He joins some pretty good company:

1978: Buck Belue (Baylor): Belue was inserted early in the third quarter against the Bears and, on his first pass attempt in college, was intercepted. 1991: Eric Zeier (Western Carolina): 15 of 22 passing for 172 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions
2006: Matthew Stafford (Western Kentucky): 59 total offensive yards on 6 plays and a passing touchdown
2010: Hutson Mason (Louisiana-Lafayette): 2 of 5 passing for 33 yards and a touchdown

As far as the A.J. Green thing goes, let's just hope the NCAA can hurry up already and make a decision.  If he's gone, suspended, not allowed to play in a game or so, or whatever, that certainly stinks, but I'm sure the team can move forward. 

But if he can play...wonderful!  I'm pretty certain we could use him this Saturday in Columbia. 

September 3, 2010

Previewing Tomorrow

I'm now a contributing writer for Sports Direct Inc., covering the SEC during football season.  My first assignment was to preview Georgia's game with Louisiana-Lafayette.  You can find my preview HERE; it's short and (somewhat) sweet.

Book Signing

I wanted to let y'all know that I'll be at the UGA Bookstore tomorrow morning prior to the game from 9:30-11:30, signing my newest book

For past signings, I've usually been seated with a UGA football dignitary or two, but I'm pretty sure I'll be all by my lonesome tomorrow.  In other words, if you come by, there won't be a line and you and I should have plenty of time to chat.  Stop by if you can, so I'll have someone to talk football with... Go Dawgs! 

September 2, 2010

Cheat Sheet

The Bulldogs could very likely cover the 28-point or so spread against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday, but will Coach let them?

Over the years, Mark Richt has earned the reputation as being tender hearted to those that are less fortunate, and that includes to non-BCS and FCS football teams.  There are several examples since 2001 when the Bulldogs could have defeated a lesser opponent (and covered the spread) handily - Western Carolina, Georgia Southern, and Tennessee Tech, just from the last three seasons - but Richt called off his Dogs later in the games, so not to run up the score. 

Someone asked me yesterday if I thought Georgia would cover the 28-point spread on Saturday.  For several reasons, I definitely think the Dogs would do so when looking at the two teams on paper.  However, when the "Richt Factor" is figured in, I could only give this answer: Never take Georgia when you're laying more than 21 points.

I was asked by Covers to do a weekly "cheat sheet" for the college football games involving top-25 teams.  For these games, I give a reason why each team will cover the spread and a tip for every game's total.  Coming up with why Louisiana-Lafayette might cover was easy... You can view this week's games HERE.