Georgia-Auburn is always a big game. It's the only game I'm aware of that's ever been played between the hoses and it is the South's oldest rivalry. So it's usually more than conference championships that hang in the balance when these two teams play amongst the fallen leaves.
Here are some reasons I'm feeling good about this game, which of course will be balanced by a post tomorrow outlining reasons why I'm nervous as hell:
- Bobo's offense. Our offensive coordinator has had a string of three very impressive games. Although I've had some frustrations with some calls this season, you could make an argument that this is his best season. If you're not interested in that debate, you have to admit that the offense has gotten steadily better since the nightmare in the GA Dome. Despite a patchwork offensive line and some inconsistency with Murray and his receivers, Bobo's squad is now averaging nearly 35 points a game. This offense is rolling strong.
- Almost as strong as the defense. We've evolved from an attacking defense to an attacking defense that is also disciplined. Grantham sees what is going well and snuffs it out. That tells you he can adjust not only in his mind to what is going on, but also can communicate it to his coaches and players. And decided schematic advantage aside, this might be Grantham's toughest matchup in terms of mindpower. Malzahn is making good use of his inexperience at QB and the SEC's best running back not named Richardson. But is only averaging 26.1 points a game, whereas we're giving up a shade under 20.
- It's not lost on me that the offense has enjoyed much success the last three games just as the offensive line has started to really exert their massive presence on opponents. Holes are bigger and most notably the pocket is walled off for Murray to find downfield targets. It's been a challenge for sure, mixing in some youthful inexperience with what veterans we have that are healthy. But Coach Friend is getting it done.
- And as the Senator points out, that no huddle I was skeptical of early on is working...really well. We're averaging 72 plays a game. Not even a month ago I thought out loud that we might average that many by season's end. Thanks to another whopping 83 plays against Florida, we're there already.
- Full tank on the Energy Bus. This team hasn't quit. Not when they were 0-2, not when they were down early in the WLOCP and not when they've missed
some key playersan entire backfield. In past seasons, this is the type of game that would make you wonder if everyone is on the same page enough to finish the season strong. But after overcoming all those obstacles post Liberty Bowl as well as during the season, the motivation wild card is no longer stacking the deck against us.