Georgia Alabama Preview
SHOULD GEORGIA BE ON THE COMMITTEE'S MIND? WILL "JOAQUIN" BE THE STAR OF THE GAME?
The huge SEC showdown this Saturday featuring #13 Alabama and #8 Georgia already had many important questions in play. And, now the game might be played in the rains and wind of hurricane Joaquin!
We're preparing this preview before the exact weather conditions will be pinned down. This is a tough one for weather forecasters as it is...making the game even tougher for handicappers to pin down, possibly until right before kickoff when it's obvious whether or not rain and wind is going to be a big issue.
The other questions we referenced regarding this matchup?
*Is Georgia really one of the eight best teams in the country?
*Is Georgia really deserving of being a FAVORITE over Alabama?
*Will we see the Georgia who stumbled through most of the Vanderbilt game?
*Or will we see the Georgia that crushed South Carolina?
*Is Alabama no longer a serious national threat now that Lane Kiffin has mucked everything up?
*Would Alabama already be virtually eliminated in the SEC West with a second early league loss (on the heels of their defeat to Ole Miss)?
So much to resolve in the most important football game of Week Five. Let's see what JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats have to say about the matchup...
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Alabama: 3-1 (beating Wisconsin, Middle Tennessee and La. Monroe...loss to Ole Miss)
Georgia: 4-0 (beating La. Monroe, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Southern)
Alabama impressed in the season opener vs. the Badgers. But, that may have been a case of the Big 10 being in a down year. The loss to Ole Miss brought flashbacks to issues the Crimson Tide had last year vs. virtually every top opponent they faced. Other than a cover vs. Auburn (who wasn't that great in retrospect), Alabama failed to play to the market whenever they took the field as a single digit favorite.
Georgia is undefeated in 2015 against an easy schedule. "Toughest" opponent South Carolina has fallen far from recent standards. So, this is the first real test for this version of the Bulldogs as led by quarterback Greyson Lambert. He's mature...but he's new to this kind of spotlight.
Alabama: 5.8 on offense, 3.9 on defense
Georgia: 8.3 on offense, 4.2 on defense
Great defenses here, obviously. Alabama's big play potential on offense doesn't come anywhere near matching Georgia. But, that kind of thing matter more in blowout scenarios. Against weaklings...Alabama slowly bulldozes while Georgia puts on a highlight show. Can Georgia make those big plays against this stingy Tide defense?
2014 Turnover Differential
This has become an issue for the Tide in recent seasons. At their peak under Saban, they used to take the ball away very aggressively. Think of the Seattle Seahawks of the past few seasons. That's part of why Alabama was so dominant. They scored a lot of cheap points in addition to having offensive talent. It's been a couple years now since this was true. The defense forces punts rather than taking the ball away. Lane Kiffin's offensive style is high risk. Not a great mix! Recent math says Georgia is likely to win this category (or tie). Will weather change the equation? Will Lambert's untestedness become an issue?
2014 Market Performance
Alabama: 1-3 ATS
Georgia: 2-2 ATS
Alabama hasn't covered since the Wisconsin blowout. The market has been overrating them in big games...though that is clearly changing now that the Tide are finally an underdog. Did you know that the top 7 teams in the Preseason rankings are off to a 5-22-1 start against the spread in 2015? Alabama was in a group of powers that was overrated. Georgia is in a hard-charging group that's trying to rise up and replace them at the top of the heap!
Alabama: Jake Coker (68-123-4-786 with 8 TDs)
Georgia: Greyson Lambert (52-68-0-733 with 7 TDs)
We direct you to the interceptions portion of the passing lines above. Coker has thrown four picks in four games...and he didn't even start vs. Ole Miss. Lambert is only allowed to throw short passes...and he was incredibly accurate vs. South Carolina. His receivers can break plays at the drop of a hat. So...again we have the key here being Georgia's need to make big plays against that tough 'Bama defense on one hand...versus the turnover tendencies of the visitor on the other.
Current Line: Georgia by 2, total of 55
Alabama is still seen as the superior team in the market because home field is worth more than two points at this site. That may change after the game. And, you have to assume that weather issues aid the host because they have the lower risk path to production. Georgia will try to move off runs and short passes. Who knows what Kiffin will try in these conditions? He'll want to show everyone he's not afraid! That's the last thing you want in bad weather from an approach that's turnover prone even in the best of times.
JIM HURLEY will only play this game for NETWORK clients if there's a meaningful edge to be found. It's a huge schedule, so there's no reason to force anything. Rest assured that his sources and computer simulators will be studying weather issues up and down the East Coast for hidden advantages!
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Back to the NFL for the next few NOTEBOOK reports, where the storm won't impact the prime time slate...
Sunday: NFL TV Preview...Dallas at New Orleans
Monday: NFL TV Preview...Detroit at Seattle
Midweek: NFL TV Preview...Indianapolis at Houston
Friday-Saturday: College Football TV Preview...to be determined
We don't know yet where it's going to be raining this weekend as this preview article goes up. All that matters to us is that it's going to be RAINING MONEY through the full football weekend thanks to JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!
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