Wednesday, September 22
Manic-Depressive Preview: In which we can at least be assured of a Bulldog victory.
Another rough week for both the Manic and Depressive sides of our commentary duo. I don't care how confident and carefree you are, that was a fucking miserable way to lose a football game. Let's see if the team can bounce back this week, and our prognosticators along with them.
Manic Doug: Jeez, dude, what's got you so down? You look like your dog just died.
Depressive Doug: My Dawgs did just die. With under a minute left in the game, because they couldn't protect the quarterback or defend an out pass. How are you not depressed over this?
MD: For one, Arkansas is a good team. I mean, I hate to admit that a filthy, trifling bastard like Bobby Petrino is good at anything, but the dude can coach, OK? Plus we get Caleb King back this week, we're not gonna face an offense nearly as good as what we've seen the last couple weeks . . . come on, it ain't the end of the world. We got this one.
DD: Huh. Well.
MD: Also, I'm kind of drunk right now.
DD: Aaaand there we go. You lucid enough to do the Associated Hottie this week, or you need me to cover you?
MD: Naw, dude, I got this one. Boom: Audrey Puente, daughter of Tito Puente, got her master's degree at Missy State, now the weather girl for WWOR in New York City.
DD: I don't think that's the proper term anymore. I think she's supposed to be called a "meteorologist."
MD: Fascinating. Mind if I call you "dicklick"?
DD: I thought you were doing that already.
MD: Only once in a while. OK, football. Look: I know things look shitty right now for the Bulldogs -- our Bulldogs -- but you gotta be optimistic about a few things. For one thing, Aaron Murray is still the man. If our offensive line can just learn to protect him better --
DD: Yeah, they're only one of the most veteran lines in the country, they've still got a few things to learn.
MD: -- if they can protect him better, which they'll have a chance to do with Caleb King coming back this week, dicklick, he'll continue to do awesome things.
DD: Even if Mississippi State's secondary is one of the best in the country? You know they had a guy in the top 10 nationwide in interceptions last season, right? And he wasn't even the guy who had two pick-sixes against Tim Tebow last year. That was Johnthan Banks, a free safety.
MD: "Johnthan"? You sure you didn't leave out a letter there?
DD: Nope, that's his name.
MD: Brilliant. Of course, coming from the program that brought us Slovakia Griffith and Pig Prather, that's downright normal.
DD: Make fun of his name all you want, man, but the kid's a stud.
MD: Maybe so, but Murray isn't some dumbass. He's only thrown two picks all season long. State's two quarterbacks, meanwhile, threw five in last week's game alone. Murray may not be a superstar just yet, but at least he's competent. I don't think you can say that about anybody on State's offense at this point.
DD: Well, you've got a fair point. The combined QB rating of Chris Relf and Tyler Russell against Memphis was 263; against actual teams, i.e. Auburn and LSU, it was 65.2. Honestly, I think even our defense might be able to put up a good performance against these guys.
MD: See, now you're starting to (hic) think clearly.
DD: But it's not like our offense has been looking that great, either.
MD: Oh, come on. You're not seriously gonna try and convince me they've sunk to Mississippi State's level, are you?
DD: No, but let's get real here: Our offensive line is nowhere near where we thought it would be, our running game has been mediocre, and even when we're able to keep Murray upright, the coaches don't seem to want to give him anything to do. We are a team in desperate need of an offensive identity right now, and I don't know that we're gonna find it in Starkville.
MD: You sure about that? We get Caleb back, which is gonna be a big help in pass protection . . .
DD: Not that big if Shaun Chapas isn't in the game, which I don't think he will be. And State's front seven is no joke. Pernell McPhee had five sacks last year . . .
MD: . . . and none this year. They've only got four sacks total on the season, which is 87th in the country right now. Having Caleb as an extra dimension in the running game will give them something else to think about, and for all the talk about how much we're missing A.J. Green, our receiving corps has held its own. We've gotta get the tight ends more involved, obviously, but Kris Durham and Tavarres King have been straight-up ballers the last couple weeks.
DD: I'd like to get excited about that, but the fact is, until we can put A.J. back out there, nobody's going to be scared enough of our deep passing game to try and double-cover anyone, and that just gives them extra bodies for the pass rush. Getting Caleb King back might be worth, oh, 50 more rushing yards and maybe one sack prevented, but he's not a panacea.
MD: Leaving aside your fondness for big ten-dollar college words for a second, are you really gonna sit there and tell me you think Georgia's gonna lose this game?
DD: Well --
MD: Think about this, dude. Oh and three in the SEC for the first time in I don't know how long? Because of Mississippi State?
DD: OK, you know what? I don't honestly think we're gonna go 0-3 in the SEC. We've got too much talent for that, and everything you've said about State's offense is true: Even as much as our defense has struggled at times this season, their offense isn't good enough to bomb away at us or run it down our throats. It's one thing to face guys like Marcus Lattimore or Ryan Mallett, but I don't see either one on State's roster, or anyone even close.
MD: OK, thank you. I seriously thought you were gonna pick the loss there.
DD: No, I'm going to cautiously, nervously call for a win. But don't think for one minute that it's going to be pretty. Their defense is gonna throw everything they've got at us, and at this point you've gotta be very skeptical that our offensive line can stand up to it all, until they prove otherwise. I think we get a bit of a boost in the running game with King back, but the passing game never quite gets into a rhythm, and we win by, like, 20-16 or something.
MD: Well, I agree with you that State's not gonna score much, but I disagree that their D is as tough as you seem to think it is. I think this is the game where the line shakes off their rust, steps up, and lets Murray take another step forward. I mean, they'll get to him a couple times, but he's gonna sneak a couple big throws behind their secondary and power us to a pretty convincing win. Real Bulldogs beat the Bizarro Bulldogs, 28-10.
DD: Bigger margin of victory than Auburn was able to manage in Starkville, huh?
MD: Don't even get me started on Auburn.
DD: Thanks, I don't think I will. All right, well, our two predictions average out to 24-13. Think you'll be happy with that?
MD: Ehhh, it ain't nearly as much as we could do . . .
DD: Think so? Vegas has us as a one-point 'dog.
MD: A one-point underdog?!?! Are you shitting me?!
DD: Nope. State's favored.
MD: Hold on, I'll be right back.
DD: Oh, man, you're not gonna throw another toaster, are you?
MD: For Christ's sake. No, Tiffany, I'm gonna find my cell phone and put a call into my guy.
DD: Your "guy"?
MD: Five hundred on Georgia in a straight upset. Be the easiest money I've ever made.
DD: Where did you get five hundred bucks from?
MD: I'll let you know when I win.
DD: That means it came from my account, doesn't it? (sighs) That's cool, I'm sure the power company will understand.