Tennessee-Georgia Game Preview

A weekly look at our upcoming opponent's recent history, with animated drive charts, links to SB Nation game pages, and statistical comparisons. Caveats.

Sketchy Conclusions

  • Five weeks into the season, Georgia has not had a game without a turnover, and they've had multiple turnovers in multiple games. They're also fumbling the ball quite a bit more often than they're actually losing it.
  • The Bulldogs have a decent, balanced offense featuring both QB Aaron Murray and RB Isaiah Crowell, but a downright scary defense on the level of both Florida and LSU.
  • Factors that shed some skepticism on this entire analysis include the fact that Tennessee has now had two weeks to figure out how to live without Justin Hunter (they were doing it on the fly against Florida) and that linebacker Cornelius Washington won't be playing against the Vols.
  • Georgia's roster is absolutely full of names you'd see on law firm letterhead.

Predictions

  • Georgia 33, Tennessee 31. Tennessee 34, Georgia 33. Um, home field! Yeah.

Schedule and Animated Drive Charts

 

Georgia Logo

Boise St. Broncos 9/3/11 loss 21 - 35 coverage
South Carolina Gamecocks 9/10/11 loss 42 - 45 coverage
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

9/17/11

win 59 - 0 coverage
@ Mississippi Rebels 9/24/11 win 27 - 13 coverage
Mississippi St. Bulldogs 10/1/11 win 24 - 10 coverage

Tennessee Logo

Montana Grizzlies 9/3/11 win 42 - 16 coverage
Cincinnati Bearcats 9/10/11 win 45 - 23 coverage
@ Florida Gators 9/17/11 loss 23 - 33 coverage
Buffalo Bulls 10/1/11 win 41 - 10 coverage

Hmm. Kicking off the season with two losses to Boise and the Gamecocks (band name woo) is nothing to be ashamed of, but neither is following it up with wins over Carolina of the Coastal variety and the Mississippi schools anything to be especially proud of. The maroon Bulldog victory is the best pelt on the resume so far, but what are we to make of that? Of course, you could change the variables and end up with a similar analysis of Tennessee, so there.

Two drive charts for this week, one for the win over Mississippi St. and one for the loss to the Gamecocks:

 

FULL SCREEN VERSION


FULL SCREEN VERSION


We saw the dog fight chart yesterday, noting the favorable field position on the first two TDs, the three interceptions, and the missed field goal. There's a lot to unpack in that South Carolina chart, including red zone difficulties, another missed field goal, and another three turnovers, all three of which appear to have quickly converted into TDs. Probably can't count on that again. Or can we?

National Unit Rankings

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
SEC Leader Actual
Rushing Offense 46 176.20 Georgia Tech 378.20 6 Alabama 229.80
Passing Offense 56 237.60 Houston 451.20 3 Arkansas 351.80
Total Offense T-52 413.80 Houston 610.00 4 Arkansas 471.80
Scoring Offense 35 34.60 Oregon 52.00 5 Arkansas 39.40
Passing Efficiency 26 154.51 Georgia Tech 260.48 2 Tennessee 175.38
Sacks Allowed 94 2.60 Oregon .25 10 LSU .60

Offensive observations. Mmm. Despite the interceptions noted in the drive charts, Georgia has a pretty good passing efficiency. They're also okay in scoring offense, although nothing to get over-excited about. Everything else is sort of blah, and sacks allowed earns them an #opportunityisnowhere award.

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
SEC Leader Actual
Rushing Defense 32 107.00 Alabama 39.60 5 Alabama 39.60
Pass Efficiency Defense 11 99.47 UCF 73.36 5 Alabama 83.34
Total Defense T-7 258.60 Michigan St. 173.40 2 Alabama 191.60
Scoring Defense 32 20.60 Alabama 8.40 6 Alabama 8.40
Pass Defense 4 151.60 UCF 103.50 2 South Carolina 150.80
Sacks T-53 2.00 Texas A&M 4.50 3 South Carolina 2.60
Tackles For Loss 21 7.40 Louisville 9.00 2 LSU 8.80

Defensive observations. But, but, but. Defense is solid, at least according to the numbers alone. I had absolutely no idea that their pass defense was so good, so this could be one of those irrestible force meets immovable object games with Tyler Bray going against the Dawg defense. They're balanced, too, with a rush defense that ranks 32nd and a total defense that is tied for 7th. That puts them hobnobbing with teams like LSU and Florida.

SPECIAL TEAMS AND TURNOVERS RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
SEC Leader Actual
Net Punting 52 37.10 UTEP 44.15 9 Kentucky 41.00
Punt Returns 63 7.80 Ole Miss 31.71 8 Ole Miss 31.71
Kickoff Returns 21 24.53 Nebraska 30.58 3 Alabama 30.00
Turnover Margin T-41 .40 Rutgers 2.75 4 LSU 1.80

Special teams and turnovers observations. They're okay at kickoff returns, but nothing special anywhere else on special teams.

Players to Watch

Category Player National
Rank
Actual
OFFENSE
Rushing Isaiah Crowell 27 103.00
Richard Samuel 30.75
Passing Efficiency (Min. 15 Att./Game) Aaron Murray 29 152.81
Total Offense Aaron Murray 66 213.40
Isaiah Crowell 103.00
Receptions Per Game Malcolm Mitchell 4.40
Orson Charles 3.20
Tavarres King 2.40
Receiving Yards Per Game Malcolm Mitchell 62.40
Orson Charles 51.20
Scoring Blair Walsh T-74 7.80
Orson Charles 4.80

Offensive Observations. The Bulldogs' appear to be sort of a dual-threat, with running back Isaiah Crowell and quarterback Aaron Murray both being Real Deals. Crowell's averaging over 100 yards per game, and Murray's spreading the ball around to multiple targets. Freshman wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell appears to be the go-to guy, getting both more catches and more yards, but junior tight end Orson Charles isn't far behind him. Incidentally, those two could have been the names of the snobby millionaires in Trading Places. Am I right? In fact, I'm going to call them Mortimer and Randolph this week, and I suggest you do the same.

Category Player National
Rank
Actual
DEFENSE
Interceptions Bacarri Rambo T-1 1.00
Branden Smith .20
Sanders Commings .20
Brandon Boykin .20
Shawn Williams .20
Sacks Cornelius Washington T-49 .70
Jarvis Jones T-75 .60
Tackles Jarvis Jones 5.60
Michael Gilliard 5.60
Tackles For Loss Jarvis Jones T-77 1.10
Cornelius Washington .90

Defense. Oh my goodness. Yeah, you can strike Cornelius (what's with these Thurston Howell, III names?) Washington from that list, as he's got other things to do, but the actually-appropriately-named Bacarri Rambo will ruin your day and get the girl, sir. Jarvis Jones also likes to be all up in your backfield, although he's riding solo this week. The secondary appears loaded with Friends of Rambo, any of whom can Do Bad Things if you focus too much on the star back there.

Category Player National
Rank
Actual
SPECIAL TEAMS
Punting (Min. 3.6 Punts/Game) Drew Butler T-8 47.00
Punt Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Branden Smith 36 7.78
Kickoff Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Brandon Boykin 35 24.53
Field Goals Blair Walsh T-43 1.20
All-Purpose Runners Brandon Boykin 87 113.80
Isaiah Crowell 89 113.40

Special teams. The Bulldogs lead the nation in Bs on Special Teams, and I'm telling you, this reads like especially alliterative law firm letterhead. So yeah, Drew Butler can punt. Their return guys are pretty good, and despite missing field goals on the drive charts we've looked at, the field goaler ranks 43rd in the nation, so don't get too carried away.

Head to Head Comparisons

  Tennessee Logo Georgia Logo
Comps
Result Against Comps
Prediction
UT rush v. Georgia rush defense 111
(#98)
107
(#32)
Florida
(90.40)
(#18)
-9 (*!$%) 50
UT pass v. Georgia pass defense 336.50
(#11)
151.60
(#4)
Florida
(168.20)
(#12)
288 280
Georgia rush v. UT rush defense 139.75
(#56)
176.20
(#46)
Buffalo
(148.60)
(#59)
148 170
Georgia pass v. UT pass defense 198.50
(#35)
237.60
(#56)
Florida
(203.60)
(#86)
213 200
UT scoring offense v. Georgia scoring defense 37.75
(#21)
20.60
(#32)
Florida
(14.80)
(#13)
23 31
Georgia scoring offense v. UT scoring defense 20.50
(#31)
34.60
(#35)
Florida
(34.20)
(#38)
33 33

As always, these are informed guesses rather than mathematical calculations, and the general analytical framework is this: We are averaging X in a certain category. The opponent averages Y against that, which is most closely comparable to some identified previous opponent, against whom we did Z. All of that leads to an informed guess labeled as Prediction. The less data you have, the more sketchy the guess, and the guesses range from ALL CAPS SKETCHY WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS at the beginning of the season to merely lower case sketchy for the last game.

This week's example: On average, we're passing for 336.50 yards per game. Georgia is holding opponents to 151.60. The closest comp is Florida, which is holding opponents to 168.20. Against the Gators, Tennessee got 288, significantly more than the Gators were allowing, but still less than the Vols' average. So our informed guess is 280 passing yards for the Vols.

Here's the thing, though. Florida appears to be the best comp on most categories, but the Vols were learning how to play without Justin Hunter on the fly in Gainesville. They're now had two weeks to adjust. How much will it matter? That's the key question, I think. Georgia's pass defense is excellent, but so is Tennessee's passing offense. It may all come down to the running game, and unfortunately, theirs looks better than ours. But how much will the loss of Cornelius Washington factor in to that particular equation? So flip flop on this one all the way through kickoff, folks. It'll be fun!

Sketchy Conclusions

  • Five weeks into the season, Georgia has not had a game without a turnover, and they've had multiple turnovers in multiple games. They're also fumbling the ball quite a bit more often than they're actually losing it.
  • The Bulldogs have a decent, balanced offense featuring both QB Aaron Murray and RB Isaiah Crowell, but a downright scary defense on the level of both Florida and LSU.
  • Factors that shed some skepticism on this entire analysis include the fact that Tennessee has now had two weeks to figure out how to live without Justin Hunter (they were doing it on the fly against Florida) and that linebacker Cornelius Washington won't be playing against the Vols.
  • Georgia's roster is absolutely full of names you'd see on law firm letterhead.

Predictions

  • Georgia 33, Tennessee 31. Tennessee 34, Georgia 33. Um, home field! Yeah.
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