Saturday, September 25, 2010

Georgia - Mississippi State Preview: Salvaging Seasons For Two Different Programs

Miss State (-1) vs Georgia

UGA and Miss State both need wins on Saturday to salvage their young seasons. Georgia needs a win to prevent a 1-3 start and the first time in Mark Richt's career he has lost three games in a row. It would also be a clear signal that their talent is not living up to expectations.

Miss State needs a win to keep the momentum moving forward early in the Dan Mullen era. Last year was a good step forward keeping teams close. Now, Mullen's club must learn how to win those close games.

I think this game boils down to key four areas: Talent, Coaching, Emotion, and Matchups

Talent
I already discussed how much better UGA's recruiting rankings have been than Miss State's, but Georgia lost to an Arkansas team with similar rankings last week at home.

Eventually, UGA has to play up to their talent level if their coaching is worth their salt.

Edge: UGA

Coaching
I like Dan Mullen alot. I think he has brought excitement and optimism to Starkville. But he needs to begin to win games if he is going to keep the program going the right direction. He said to compete in the SEC you have to win your home games and right now they are 0-1.

Mark Richt made changes on the defensive staff after last season, but so far the results have been much the same. With a young QB, the offense looks stagnant at times and the running game has been disappointing with such an experienced line. Still, Richt has 91 games in now his 11th season.

Edge: Even

Emotion
What Starkville lacks in number of fans, they make up for in noise with the cowbells. The home Bulldog crowd smells blood with a program formerly considered part of the SEC elite fallen on tough times

UGA's backs are against the wall with a 1-2 start. These players are used to playing with the best of the best and if they have any pride they come out and play like mad men.

Edge: Even

Matchups
UGA Offense vs Miss State Defense
Like I mentioned before, the most perplexing part of UGA's offense is their lack of a running game. Caleb King should be back at running back this week giving Richt's club another solid option. Aaron Murray has grown up a lot in just two games at QB.

Miss State's defense has been aggressive under new coordinator Manny Diaz in a bend, not break society. They held Auburn to just 17 and forced five field goals from LSU last week

Miss State Offense vs Georgia Defense
After much preseason hype, Mullen is still searching for a QB to run his offense. Miss State doesn't have much of an identity on offense and they really struggle to pass the ball.

UGA's defense has been up and down so far giving up the run too easily against South Carolina and then the pass last week versus Arkansas. This offense they will face in Starkville is not as good as those two.

Prediction
Before the season I thought this would be a trap game for Georgia coming off two hard fought games against South Carolina and Arkansas. But I also thought UGA would win both of those games.

Eventually, UGA's talent has to play close to its potential.

Georgia 20 Miss State 17
Georgia Covers +1

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