Game day is only three days away! I can honestly say that I am just as excited this year as I was last year.
Strange? Maybe so.
The Dawgs enter this season as the preseason No. 13 pick, just slightly below last year's ranking (humor intended). There is a different kind of excitement in the air as this season approaches. Some of that could be contributed to a new quarterback leading the offense onto the field. Maybe it's the new group of running backs ready to carry the load. A little of both I would suspect.
But it also comes from a great season opening match-up.
No Charleston Southern here. No Troy nor Georgia Southern. This year the Dawgs take to the road to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
The Cowboys are ready for this rematch with the Dawgs. If you read the comments from the Oklahoma State fans on B/R or any other vent across the nation, you may very well wonder why the Dawgs are even going to board the plane.
This group of fans seems to know little about Mark Richt and his Georgia Bulldogs. All they seem to know is this...Matt Stafford is gone, and oh yes, one more thing, Knowshon Moreno is gone as well. Game over—OSU wins.
I have read statements implying that no one in the nation respects Georgia because they are "not a big time program." Georgia has no tradition, and outside of the SEC, Georgia is not a factor in the college football world.
Now, I do understand that most of this is coming from OSU fans who know little of Georgia football or tradition. I know Michigan State respects the Dawgs. So does Boise State, Hawaii, Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, etc.
Nevertheless, the misconceptions abound.
So I have decided to set the record straight. In the process of doing so I will predict the outcome of Saturday's contest. I will try to enlighten our friends from the West, and when the game ends, hopefully we can all shake hands and enjoy the rest of the season.
But I am still debating on whether or not we can shake hands...I wouldn't want a brawl to ensue.
So here are my Five Misconceptions about the Georgia Bulldogs heading into this Saturday's game against the Cowboys.
1) Without Matthew Stafford, Georgia has no quarterback.
Just a few short years ago Georgia recruited a QB and WR combination out of Charlotte, NC. Mohammed Massaquoi, of course, was that receiver, and he has now come and gone.
That highly touted QB was 6'1" Joe Cox. As a starter in high school, Joe Cox was an amazing 31-0. Joe has sat and watched for the past three years as Matthew Stafford led the Dawgs, but now he waits no more.
Most Dawg fans remember well what happened in the Colorado game in 2006. Cox would come off the bench and lead Georgia to a win in the second half. That game is a good indication of what Dawg fans should expect this season.
Cox is viewed as a leader by everyone on the team. He will command their attention, and he will lead by example. While he certainly does not possess the arm that Stafford has, most think he will be more accurate. Having AJ Green to throw to will also make life easier.
When all is said and done on Saturday, I think many fans outside of those in the Dawg Nation will realize that Georgia will be just fine with Joe Cox at the helm.
2) Georgia will have no running game now that Knowshon has left.
This one is almost comical. Yes, Knowshon was one of the best UGA ever had. He ranks No. 4 on the all-time rushing list behind Herschel, Garrison Hearst, and Lars Tate. But Georgia has always recruited top running backs, and some things never change.
Richard Samuel, Carlton Thomas, and hopefully Caleb King are all more than capable of taking up the banner and running with it. Samuel and King boast numbers from their high school careers that would make any coach take note.
Samuel is big, strong, and fast. He can run over you or run past you. Thomas is a great change-of-pace back that is shifty and quick. While King continues to struggle with injuries, Georgia will rely heavily on these two to carry the load.
I look for Samuel to start the season off right with a 100-yard rushing performance in Stillwater. Thomas will contribute as well. Knowshon is gone..no problem.
So there you go Cowboy fans...don't say I didn't warn you.
3) Georgia has no idea what awaits them in Stillwater.
So as I'm driving home on Tuesday, I hear a national sports talk host make this comment: "Georgia has no idea what awaits them in Stillwater."
Are you serious?
The last time I checked, T Bone Picklers ball field in Stillwater held just over 60,000 screaming fans. Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure they are very loud.
Just a reminder...Georgia plays in the SEC.
So, Mr. National Sports Guy...have you been to LSU at night and sat with 100,000 screaming Tigers fans? Have you been to Knoxville and listened to Rocky Top with 100,000 orange clad fanatics? Do you realize that Georgia has won in both stadiums?
Georgia routinely plays before crowds in the 90,000 range. Big crowds are not something these Dawgs will fear.
So congratulations on your nice, newly renovated T Bone Pickler stadium. When you add about 30,000 more seats let us know.
4) Georgia can't handle the high powered OSU offense.
Georgia's defense had some rough games last year. No question about it. The first half of the Alabama game and the second half of the Georgia Tech game are enough to give most Dawgs a serious upset stomach. Florida put a whupping on the Dawgs as well...
Thankfully, that was last year.
What most Cowboy fans are not expecting to see is their beloved quarterback Zac Robinson hitting the turf. But with the addition of Jeff Owens in the middle of the line, and the pass rush added by Roderick Battle, that is exactly what they will see.
Georgia also has a history of shutting down big play receivers. Just ask Calvin Johnson.
Georgia's defense will show up, and they will show up big time.
5) Georgia can't win in Stillwater on Saturday.
Many expect Georgia to lose this Saturday. If you don't believe me, check out "Baby Tate's losers for week one." Even BT, himself, doubts the Dawgs. What is wrong with this world?
Most likely you have noticed all the badmouthing, all the trash talk, and all the logic that tells us the Dawgs can't win. "The Dawgs can't play outside their own timezone"... ask Arizona State about that. While they are no OSU, they were picked by many last year for the same reasons.
The last time I looked, the Sugar Bowl was in Louisiana (Central Time Zone I believe). The Dawgs have fared well in New Orleans in the past. Why did you know, the Dawgs even beat LSU last season in Baton Rouge!
The Dawgs have been here before. I'm not sure Coach Gunday has.
We can handle the time zone phenomenon. And yes, we can win on the road.
This stat cannot be printed enough. Mark Richt's coached teams are 30-4 in opponents' home stadiums.
But this is the good part...of those 30 wins, 10 came against ranked foes.
So, can the Dawgs win in Stillwater on Saturday? You bet they can.
Will the Dawgs win in Stillwater on Saturday? Yes, I believe they will.
Final score: Georgia 31 Oklahoma State 21
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