October 2, 2017

After Thumping Tennessee, It's Time to Get On the Bulldog Bandwagon

Flag Football

Not even winning FORTY-ONE TO NOTHING could make this man smile.

I told you things are different now, didn't I?

Georgia traveled to Knoxville on Saturday and, hoo boy, it put a whooping on Tennessee. The Dawgs triumphed 41–0 (FORTY-ONE TO NOTHING!) over the Vols in one of the most entertaining games a Georgia fan could ever care to enjoy. It was the second-largest margin of victory against Tennessee in Georgia history, coming in just under the 44–-0 drubbing of 1981. Between how good Georgia has been and how comprehensively butt Tennessee has been this season, I expected a win. But 41–0 (FORTY-ONE TO NOTHING!) at Neyland was outside even my wildest dreams.

After watching how Georgia has played through five games, it's hard not to feel like this is a special year. The defense is good enough to stop any offense in college football. The offense has enough weapons in the backfield to grind out points and wear down defenses. The remaining schedule is a peach. There isn't a game left in which Georgia won't be favored. For the first time in years, the fanbase is galvanized and full of belief. All the stars are aligning for this to be an unexpectedly brilliant season.

With the shutout, the Bulldogs now rank third nationally in total defense and second nationally in scoring defense. These guys are fast, and they love to hit. That's a potent combo on defense—a combo Alabama has used as the backbone of title-winning teams for close to a decade. This is shaping up to be the best defense Georgia has fielded since the Brian VanGorder days of the early aughts, and it's probably better than those units, too.

The defense is the best reason to believe in this team, because it has the ability to keep every game close, even if the offense plays terribly. Over the last two games, Georgia has allowed just three points. Tyrique McGhee pretty much ended the game with an interception on the first play from scrimmage, which led to a field goal. Those three points turned out to be all Georgia needed.

Of course, the game ended 41-0 (FORTY-ONE TO NOTHING!), so those weren't the only points Georgia got. The offense looked shaky in spells, but the running game came through, eating clock and yardage. Georgia rushed for 294 yards, with five tailbacks carrying the ball five or more times. Nick Chubb ran for 109 yards, while Sony Michel scored on a 21-yard dash in the third quarter to end any chance of a Vols comeback. Even Jake Fromm got in on the action with two rushing touchdowns of his own. With so many options at tailback, Georgia can stay fresh for four quarters and grind down defenses. It's not the high-flying spectacle we've come to expect from the modern college football offense, but it's effective.

I jokingly predicted Georgia would go 12–0 in the Flag Football season preview. That prediction isn't such a joke anymore. Georgia has dominated in every game this season, save Notre Dame, but the Irish are proving to be a good team themselves, with four wins by 20 or more points.

Georgia will be looking for revenge again next week against Vanderbilt, which spells bad news for the Commodores. After that is Missouri, the worst team in the SEC. Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech are the only games I still have reservations about—and that's just because I'm a Georgia fan who has seen a lot of miserable stuff in his day.

Objectively speaking, through five games, it's hard to argue Georgia isn't head-and-shoulders better than those teams. Slip ups, of course, happen. But based on what we've witnessed so far (FORTY-ONE TO NOTHING!), for the rest of the season, I expect to see a lights-out defense, a bruising crew of tailbacks imposing their will and a bunch of drunk, obnoxious Georgia fans cheering their asses off for a team they can finally believe in.