Tuesday, January 1, 2008

sUGAr Bowl Preview

Georgia vs Hawaii 8:30 ET

New Orleans, LA
Line: UGA -7.5, 68.5

Georgia Bulldogs (10-2, 6-2)
The Bulldogs started off the season thinking SEC Title, then by Oct 7 were hoping for good bowl bid, then by November were thinking SEC Title again and late on Dec 1 the BCS Championship Game. Georgia started off 4-2, but closed with 6 straight wins in impressive fashion. Mark Richt did the best coaching job in the country in the second half of the season.

Best Win: vs Florida 42-30
Worst Loss: @ Tenn 14-35
Record vs Bowl Teams: 6-1
Record vs BCS Top 25: 1-1

Schedule Strength: 11th
HC Richt Record in Bowl Games: 4-2

Hawaii Warriors (12-0, 8-0)

Hawaii stands alone as the only undefeated team left in FBS. They got there with the arm of QB Colt Brennan who finished 3rd in the Heisman voting. The Warriors played two non FBS teams and a schedule that rated 114th toughest in the nation. Their drive for a perfect season has 3 near escapes including the finale against Washington which clinched the BCS bowl bid.
Best Win: vs Boise St 39-27
Record vs Bowl Teams:
Record vs BCS Top 25:
Schedule Strength: 114th

HC Jones Record in Bowl Games: 4-1

Georgia Offensive Game Plan:
1. Run the ball. Use your advantage of the o-line and speed in the backfield to keep the ball out of Hawaii's hands and to wear down the undersized Hawaii defense.
2. Pass only when necessary. Matt Stafford should invoke memories of Buck Belue in the 1980 Sugar Bowl where Belue completed just 1 pass.
3. Run some more

Hawaii Offensive Game Plan:
1. Get the ball out of Brennan's hands. Georgia's d-line should be able to get pressure on Brennan.
2. Mix in the run to slow that pass rush. Georgia's Marcus Howard said playing a team like Hawaii is a d-lineman's dream because of the pass rush. Make Georgia stay honest.
3. No turnovers. When are the less talented team you cannot give the other team easy points.

Hawaii Defensive Game Plan:
1. Create turnovers. Hawaii needs to keep their defense fresh and in their offense's hands
2. Force the pass. Georgia is better running than passing. Try to make them play with their left
3. Watch the UGA TE. The TE is a foreign concept to Hawaii and they don't see a whole lot in practice or in the WAC.

Georgia Defensive Game Plan:
1. Rattle Brennan. The Heisman finalist is playing in the biggest game in state history and will have the weight the islands hopes on his shoulders.
2. Tackle sideline to sideline. Hawaii throws it all over the field and will spread it out to one of their three 1,000 yard receivers.
3. Stomp the dream early. In other words, don't allow Hawaii to do what West Virginia did two years ago. The longer this game is close, the more confident Hawaii gets.

Mark Richt was the most visibly upset at the BCS controversy this year but quickly changed his tune. First reactions are usually correct though. Georgia has to look at this as the start of 2008 and a national title run. Hawaii is carrying the weight of the entire state whose culture is so different from the rest of the US.

Hawaii will come out with a lot of emotion and will have success early passing the ball. But once Georgia starts to run the ball they will eventually wear down this Hawaii team. The Warriors make it a game for about 2 1/2 quarters, but the Bulldogs pull away in the 4th and start to dream of a BCS Championship in 2008.
Georgia 35 Hawaii 21
Georgia Wins, Covers, Under

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