Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Georgia, Georgia Tech Season Previews

9-4, 4-4

Returning Starters: 10, 7 Off, 3 Def
Letterman Returning: 45 (19 Off, 23 Def, 3 ST)
Letterman Lost: 26 (13 Off, 10 Def, 1 ST)

2006 ATS:
4-6-1 ATS
2-5-1 Fav
2-1 Dog
3-3-1 Off SU Win
1-3 Off SU Loss
1-3-1 Home Fav

Last 7 Years ATS:
31-29-1 Fav
9-8-1 Dog
29-27-2 Off SU Win
9-8 Off SU Loss
17-19-1 Home Fav
12-6 Away Fav

Many are saying Georgia could snatch the SEC East away from Florida and Tennessee despite just 10 starters returning from a team that needs a flurry of a finish to get to 9 wins for the year. Matt Stafford is back and should be much improved over his freshman campaign. The sophomore from Texas should have plenty of options to throw the ball to this year, but the wide receiving corps suffered from the drops big time last year. The Bulldogs have really struggled to establish a consistent ground game in recent years due to lack of cohesion on the offensive line. The biggest acquisition was coach Stacy Searels from LSU. The defense should be stout again led by SS Kelin Johnson and DT Jeff Owens. The big question will be at LB where two starters are being replaced and the new faces have had inconsistent or inexperienced careers thus far. Losing Paul Oliver at CB was a big blow to the secondary. Oliver was a shut down type corner, but was lost to academics and subsequently entered the NFL Supplemental Draft. Brandon Coutu is back at PK and kickoff. Coutu was first team All SEC despite missing significant time with a hamstring injury. The senior has accurate range out to 50 yards.

Sep 1 vs Okla St – could this be Boise St part two? The Cowboys have a very powerful offense, but can’t stop anyone; should be good practice for Stafford and the offensive
Sep 8 vs So Car – always a tough game that could break Georgia’s season if they lose the SEC home opener
Sep 22 @Alab – the Tide’s first big time opponent at home; Georgia has not had much success in Tuscaloosa (1-7), but won their in 2002
Oct 6 @ Tenn – Georgia’s biggest hurdle IMO to an SEC title is a trip to Knoxville; Bulldogs are 3-0 in Neyland Stadium under Richt
Oct 27 Fla (Jax) – This time it is Georgia who has the bye week beforehand. I think the Dawgs break the streak this year
Nov 10 v Auburn – It seems the road team always wins this game; Georgia dominated the Tigers last year on the Plains
Nov 24 @ Ga Tech – Georgia has won 6 in a row in this series, but the last 3 decided by a total of 16 points; Reggie Ball is no longer play for Georgia or Georgia Tech

Best Case: 11-1
Worst Case: 7-5

Georgia Tech
9-5, 7-1

Returning Starters: 15, 7 Off, 8 Def
Letterman Returning: 49 (20 Off, 24 Def, 5 ST)
Letterman Lost: 12 (8 Off, 4 Def, 0 ST)

2006 ATS:
6-5-1 ATS
4-4 Fav
2-1-1 Dog
4-4-1 Off SU Win
1-1 Off SU Loss

Last 7 Years ATS:
21-24-1 Fav
17-15-1 Dog
23-25-1 Off SU Win
12-11-1 Off SU Loss
12-9-1 Away Dog

You lost arguably the best player in College football, but you think are going to be better this year without him? That is the talk down in Atlanta where Georgia Tech has high hopes for this season ending with an ACC Title. Taylor Bennett takes over the oft-maligned Reggie Ball at QB. The junior signal caller looked very impressive in the Gator Bowl and gives the Yellow Jackets a more complete passing game. However, most of those yards were to Calvin Johnson who is no longer there. Trivia question – who led the ACC in rushing last year? Branden Ore, James Davis?? Nope, Tashard Choice who is looking for even bigger things in new OC John Bonds’s offense. At wideout, Georgia Tech will look to Demaryius Thomas and Greg Smith along with returning starter James Johnson to fill Calvin’s shoes. The o-line returns four starters as including All-ACC candidate Andrew Gardner. One thing you know you are getting with Jon Tenuta’s defense is a lot of blitzing. The d-line is one of the best in the South with three starters and a deep rotation returning. Roaming the middle will be All-American candidate Phillip Wheeler. The secondary is the big question, especially at CB. Avery Roberson and Jahi Word Daniels will be the starters, but the backups are not very experienced. Tenuta is hoping the talent and experience at safety can mask issues on the outside. First team All ACC safety Jamal Lewis and Djay Jones return combining for seven picks last year. Durant Brooks is a game changer at the punter position earning 2nd Team All American honors last year.

Sep 1 @Notre Dame – the season gets off to fast start in South Bend; the Irish are rebuilding and barely beat the Jackets last year
Sep 22 @ Virginia – an important road game for a team who has not won in Charlottesville since 1990
Sep 29 vs Clemson – usually a very close game between these two “friendly” rivals; 9 of the past 11 decided by 5 pts or less
Oct 13 @ Miami – Tech goes for three straight against the Canes, who would have thought that when Miami joined the league
Nov 1 vs VT (Thur) – after a bye week, the Hokies come into Atlanta; GT is 8-13 on Thurs night games
Nov 24 vs Georgia – lost 6 in a row to the Dawgs; Gailey needs this one bad to keep the critics at bay

Best Case: 10-2
Worst Case: 7-5

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