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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Most important games

My colleague Coley Harvey and I did a combined feature in today's papers, ranking Georgia and Georgia Tech's most important games this season, one through 12.

Here's a link to the Georgia list.

And here's how Coley ranked Georgia Tech's games.

Obviously it's hard to sit here in August and come up with a definitive list. So this is a lot of projection, and assuming things play out as expected. (Which they almost certainly won't.)

I was tempted to rank the South Carolina game first. But the rivalry aspect with Florida and Georgia Tech - and those team's high preseason rankings - trumped the early-season tone-setter of the trip to Columbia.

(But you might also notice that Coley only ranked Georgia as the fourth-most important game for Georgia Tech. Hmmm.)

Tennessee, as less important than the tilts against Kentucky and Mississippi State? Again, that's assuming the Volunteers are as down as they're expected to be. And it downplays the return of Derek Dooley. It's a nice story, but in the long run what's the importance of it?

Auburn as only the sixth-most important, behind Kentucky, is the one that could end up being ranked too low. But I gave the edge to the Kentucky game because its earlier in the season, midway through in fact, when the season is still being fleshed out.

And I could go on, but hey, I won't.


Anonymous said...

Nice piece Seth – even if it is wrong (insert smiley here). The focus of the program should be in order – win the east – win the SEC – win a bowl game. Now if that is the criteria then the GT game is nothing more than a nuisance and all of the SEC games carry added weight with more emphasis on eastern foes. If by some anomaly GT manages to beat us we can still accomplish the goals.

Speaking of GT several things pop out – they have beaten us once in 10 years and they still need to prove they are worthy of any preseason hype. Granted having GT actually fielding a semi competitive team adds a little to the rivalry but inferring the GT program has passed UGA because they won one game in ten years is a giant leap.

Anonymous said...

Seth, you might take note of the fact that Mr. Harvey is an unabashed tech fan. His upbeat writing has endeared him to Ga Tech fans, as it should. It would nice for Georgia to have a beat writer who had a similar outlook toward our program. There are plenty of negative voices out there already. If we want to read everything that someone has said negative, there's no shortage of options, including the AJC.

I know journalism places great emphasis on being objective and that's all well and good. But there is a place in sports writing for men like Lewis Grizzard who make it no secret that they prefer to focus on the positive aspects of the team they cover. We haven't had a Lewis Grizzard covering Georgia for a while now and Georgia fans (at least this one) would love to have a writer who makes an effort to write about all the positive things going on at UGA.

I'd place Ga Tech about 5th on our list of most important games this year, and probably lower than that in terms of difficulty. Winning the SEC is always our nummber one goal. If we make it to the SECCG, beating Ga Tech won't be an issue.

If this comes across as mild criticism, it is. For starters, you and Coley Harvey have it exactly backwards. The Georgia game is and has always been more important to Ga Tech than the Tech game is to Georgia. That hasn't changed and for a Georgia writer to suggest otherwise is sacrificing accuracy for the sake of false objectivity. You venture dangerously close to echoing sentiments we've seen recently from fools like Jeff Schultz, who posit that Tech's program has passed Georgia's by. Not only is that obviously wrong, it's not likely to gain you much traction as a UGA reporter.

Kevin said...

GT isn't of #2 importance.

Anon is correct. Winning the SECE is priority number 1. I would say UF and USCe are the top two games.

Auburn has to be up higher too. Especially if a trip to Atlanta is on the line

Charlestowne Dawg said...

...being a die hard Tech fan was his reasoning for ranking the Georgia game so low.

He's carrying the card and drinking the Kool Aid of the Paul Johnson fan club that states that they "have bigger fish to fry."

I guess that's why they had rings made for all of the players after 1 win in the last 9 games (a 3 point victory that we gave away, mind you)?

Does anyone else get a little irritated when they hear Tech fans talk about the adjustments Paul Johnson made that helped Tech come back in that win? Adjustments!? The dude can fit his playbook on a cocktail napkin!

Anonymous said...

Seth I really like you but as a UGA fan I am not interested in GT or what Coley has to say. If I was interested in his opinion I know where I can go to read his thoughts. Please stop with the promotion of Coley and his GT agenda on a Bulldawg blog.

VAdawg said...

South Carolina is the most important game of the season. That game very likely could set the tone for the entire season. I say "very likely" because there is still a chance that we can put together a good run with a loss there. But I have no doubt that a win in Columbia gives the Dawgs confidence and momentum coming back home to face Arkansas, which is another massive game. If we somehow get past those two, and that is a big IF in my opinion, than Florida becomes the most important game of the season. But its premature to say that Florida is the biggest game right now, because we have to make it through a slew of good teams before we even think about the Gators.

Also, Georgia Tech is always important, but no way its number 2. Furthermore, NO WAY are we 4 on their list. Harvey is out of his gourd if the average GT fan thinks that way. The Techies base so much of their identity on hating Georgia, and it is without a doubt the biggest game of their season every year, no matter what CPJ says. Any Georgia fan who was at last year's game understand that.

Lastly, please never ever post anything written by Harvey on the blog again. He is one of the worst sports journalists in Georgia and with out a doubt the biggest homer I have ever read. How can he possibly think that Tech's defense will somehow be the best in the ACC after they lost their 3 best players? Al Groh is not a miracle man, I can tell you that. By the same token, I don't expect Georgia to have the best defense ever either. Its going to take time for both teams to grow into the new system.

Tech gets whipped by VT in Blacksburg. Take it to the bank.

Anonymous said...

Auburn is WAY too low! It's place late in the season actually makes it more important, because no matter which way the season goes, it's the one that can flip it.

If it's a good year, you likely have to beat Auburn to make it to Atlanta. Big game.

If it's 2007, the above is true (or would have been if UT would miss a FG once in awhile), and it also cements the turnaround as more than a fluke in Jax.

If it's a bad (by Richt standards) year, like '06 or '09, a win over Auburn (followed by a win over Tech) reminds the fanbase that things aren't totally out of control and that next year will be better. Granted, this last one may not have as much impact if we're asked to do it every year, so Auburn may be a little lower this year in this scenario, but still -- 6th? I'm from Macon, not Columbus, but that still seems really low to me.

Anonymous said...

i actually think you have the list pretty accurate. beating GT is important to us because, hell, we don't want to lose to a bunch of pansy engineers. it's also important because they have come to think highly of themselves and i think it's uga's obligation to take them down a few notches when that happens

Anonymous said...

It's all a matter of perspective. If your perspective is that our program is in decline and struggling to hold onto "best team in Georgia", then Tech is our most important game and we will reside in the bottom half of the SEC for a while to come. If you believe that we are in good shape to challenge for the SEC in the near future, then the Tech game is way down the list, because we will continue to dominate the series.

Seth (and his biased colleague at the Macon Telegraph) appears to be leaning closer to the former perspective than the latter. I think he's wrong, because our recruiting is strong and our roster is strong and our coach is a proven winner. Georgia Tech does not and will not have the athletes to change that any time soon. This season they will revert to form and win 7 or 8 regular season games and those who jumped on that bandwagon will be left looking silly.

Anonymous said...

After the last 20 yrs, UF must be number one. After the last 10 yrs Tech has become irrelevant, except to maintain control of in-state recuiting. Win the SEC and all else follows. UF, USC & UA are the top three, TENN, ARK and UK are next then Tech.

Anonymous said...

Here is my list:
1. Florida
2. Sakerlina
3. Arkansas
4. Auburn
5. Tennessee
6. GT
7. Kentucky
8. Miss St.
9. Vandy

Irwin R. Flecther said...

#1- The most important game is always the next one. I appreciate your caveat, but these lists are stoopid and really beneath the kind of news I think is relevant.

It's creating news for news' sake. But newsmen(and women) have been doing that for years. (See: Poll, A.P.)

#2- The idea that a preseason rank somehow puts Tech as a program past Georgia is just not based in reality. So Georgia passed Florida, Ohio State, etc. etc. as a program the year the Dawgs were the preseason #1? That is just dumb. Last I checked, last year was arguably the best Tech team in 20 years, and Georgia beat them. The two 'best' teams in the ACC got clobbered by Georgia and South Carolina in the final week of the season. Passed as a program? Come on.

Here is something to chew on:


The top number is Georgia's record against Tech in the past 46 years.

The bottom number is Tech's record against Duke.

So roughly in the period since Tech ran scared from the SEC, Duke has won more games against Tech than Tech has won against Georgia.

Maybe we should observe the great mastermind, Paul Johnson, for a few more years before saying Tech has passed Georgia as a program, shall we?

meansonny said...

In defense of placing the GT high on the list...

1) Ask Jim Donnan how important the GT game is to the Head Coaches career

2) GT has momentum. UGA has 3 new coaches and a pail full of hope. What Bulldawg doesn't lavish in stomping on their momentum?

3) Mark Richt has 3 jobs in this order... SEC Championships, BCS Bowl Wins, Beat GT.

Despite being the last of importance in that pecking order... it's 1/3 of the importance all rolled up into 1 game of the season (SEC Championships need 6+ wins, BCS Bowl games need 10+ wins, beating GT is 1 game and 1 game only).

Anonymous said...

Wow Seth bet you didn't see this one coming - your newness is an acceptable excuse. We will - given enough time - get you on the right page.

Your GT buddy (harvey)is delusional if he really thinks the VT / GT game will have a national audience foaming at the mouth.

Anonymous said...

Dude if you want to keep your job as the Georgia beat writer, I suggest that you get advice from David Hale instead of that loser Coley Harvey and gnat fanboy.

Anonymous said...

I agree EXACTLY with the Anonymous post at 1:29PM about the order of importance. That's good stuff.