Thursday, October 25, 2007

Georgia Florida Highlights Action

A great weekend of college football all around the country. Georgia-Florida in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (sorry SEC), Spurrier vs Fulmer congers memories of the 90s, and Clemson is "guaranteed" a victory over the Terps. Not to mention Ohio State Penn State and USC Oregon, but I digress.

Georgia vs Florida 3:30 CBS

Line: Fla -7.5, 55

Both teams are still in the SEC East like the 3 other two loss teams. Florida has dominated this series as of late winning 15 out of 17. The last time Georgia beat Florida (2004) was the week after Ron Zook was fired. The line opened at -9, but has moved to 7.5 in the days leading up to Saturday.

Florida Season Recap:
Florida was concerned about the loss of starters off last year's National Championship team, but it didn't seem to be much of a concern after the drilling of Tennessee. A struggling Auburn team came into the Swamp and stunned the Gators. A week later, Florida held a ten point lead at LSU but could not hold on against the Tigers. Last week, Urban Meyer's club bounced back with a win at Kentucky to get back in the SEC race.

Georgia Season Recap:
The Bulldogs hit a bump in week two with a home loss to South Carolina. They rebounded nicely until suffering a blowout loss to Tennessee. Their last game, they needed a last second FG to escape at Vanderbilt. The Dawgs are still in the SEC East race, but need some help from Tennessee and South Carolina.

Florida Stats:
4-2 ATS 4-2 O/U
23rd in total offense (446.3); 24th in rush offense (198.3); 9th in points scored (40.4)
45th in total defense (351); 15th in rush defense (94.4); 46th in points allowed (23.3)

Georgia Stats:
3-3 ATS 2-4 O/U
81st in total offense (362.7); 52nd in rush offense (161); 56th in points scored (28.1)
27th in total offense (319.6); 13th in pass defense (181.9); 26th in points allowed (19.7)

Florida fans felt pretty good about their chances in this game until Tim Tebow came up a little gimpy with a bruised non-throwing shoulder against Kentucky. The sophomore is the Gator's leading rusher in yards and attempts and is in on 75% of their plays from scrimmage this year. Count on Georgia to hit Tebow every chance they get.

Matt Stafford came in just as heralded as Tim Tebow (more so by some "recruitniks"), but has struggled at times this year. The Bulldogs are down two tailbacks and will start redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno who has been splitting time with starter Thomas Brown. Drops has continued to plague the wide outs and Stafford is still looking for a go to target. But enough about an average offense - the Georgia defense has been very good for the most part this year. The defense does not have the star names of past defenses, but is allowing under 20 points per game and ranks 13th in pass defense.

Prediction:
Most things seem the same this year as in the past - Florida has played better than Georgia and has the same or more talent than the Dawgs. One thing that is different is that Florida had to play last week and expended a lot of energy in beating Kentucky. Meanwhile, Georgia was off last week and they are 22-8-1 after a week since 1992. Florida has been idle 13 of the past 14 seasons before Georgia while the Dawgs have played each week until this year. Mark Richt is 9-2 following bye weeks at Georgia. Is this enough to make a 7.5 point difference?
Florida Wins, Georgia Covers, Under

Tennessee vs South Carolina 7:45 ESPN
Line: Tenn -3, 53.5

This game opened as pick'em and had moved to the Vols favor during the week. Both teams are coming off of losses. South Carolina of the upset kind at home and Tennessee off of the blowout to a rival kind and your coach is on the "Hot Seat".

Odds Numbers:
So. Car 4-3 ATS 2-5 O/U
Tenn 4-3 ATS 6-1 O/U
Road team is 9-0-1 ATS in last 10

Football Stats:
Tennessee is avg 416.3 ypg and 31.9 points.
South Carolina is giving up just 16.6 points per game
South Carolina is averaging just 17.7 ppg on the road and just 285.7 ypg
Tennessee is avg 40.7 ppg at home and 467.7 ypg
Tennessee giving up 20.9 ppg at home vs 32.3 on the season.

A year unlike any other has not escaped South Carolina and Tennessee. Steve Spurrier is winning with defense at South Carolina and Tennessee is struggling on defense. The Gamecocks have some issues at QB - do we start Chris Smelley or Blake Mitchell. Neither has done enough to please Spurrier and rightfully so. I really thought South Carolina would be able to rush the ball better than they have. The Vols may be able to cure those ills as they are allowing over 150 ypg on the ground.

Tennessee has not been hurting for offense and Erik Ainge has had a pretty good on offense. The problem is they have not been able to stop anyone outside of the 1st half against Georgia. The secondary is especially of concern as their best player is a true freshman (Eric Berry). Spurrier is a master of the mismatch especially in the passing game, but does he have the horses to maximize this?

Prediction:
This could be a last stand for Phil Fulmer. The team responded well for the Georgia game and need to get it up again for this one after a 24 point loss to Alabama. Don't think that Spurrier is not aware of the heat on his old punch line in Knoxville. Where South Carolina can lose this game easily is getting behind big early or having sub par play from their QBs.
South Carolina Wins, Over

Maryland vs Clemson 3:30 ABC

Line: Clem -3.5, 48

James Davis guaranteed a Clemson victory over Maryland and it looks like the odds makers agree with the junior running back. Maryland let a 14-3 lead slip away against Virginia last week while Clemson racked up 70 points and over 600 yards of offense against Central Michigan.

ATS: Clemson 3-3 Maryland 2-4
O/U: Clemson 4-2 Maryland 3-3
Off YPG: Clem 436.4 Mary 330.9
Def YPG: Clem 292.9 Mary 358.6

Common Opponents
Georgia Tech - Clemson aL 3-13 Maryland hW 28-26

Clemson has made a lot of yards and points off of inferior teams with weak defenses this year. Cullen Harper has been a pleasant surprise at QB throwing 18TD to just 4 INT with a 63.8 completion percentage. The running game has not been nearly as explosive this year as the O-line is very young and suffering through injuries. If the Tigers can get their blocking going, they have two outstanding tailbacks in James Davis and CJ Spiller. Their defense has been pretty solid for the most part, but has not really been called upon in a big time spot as almost all of their games have been blowouts one way or another.

Maryland is having serious injury problems on the O-line is down to 3 walk ons and 2 true freshman as backups. Chris Turner is still playing for the injured Jordan Steffy and while he has not been spectacular, he has been able to manage games well. The Terps rely on Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball to carry the load from the backfield. The Clemson defense has been giving up some yards on the ground at 147 ypg. The Terps defense is not great statistically and has been relying a lot on turnover to give their offense good field position.

Prediction:
Clemson has the talent edge in this game, but I am still a little surprised by the 3 point line on the road. I don't put a whole lot of stock in Davis' guarantee, but it is about time for him and Spiller to step it up. Hopefully, Maryland has forgotten about the game last week and realizes what they still have to play for. I think the Terps have to be able to run the ball well and create turnovers to have a good chance.
Clemson Wins, Covers, Over

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