Forget about Oklahoma and Texas. Pac-12, will you please, PLEASE, take Boise State already.
Here’s the problem; we know Boise State can beat anyone in the country in a one shot deal, but can it handle the week-in-and-week-out schedule of a nasty conference? It doesn’t matter if Georgia goes on to run the table and win the SEC title – which it won’t – because last year, Virginia Tech ended up going on a tremendous run to win the ACC championship and no one gave Boise State any credit for the opening day victory over the Hokies. Two years ago, Boise State stomped all over Oregon, who went on to win the Pac 10 title and went to the Rose Bowl, and it didn’t matter.
Boise State does it every year, and it proves itself time and time and time and time again, and nobody seems to care.
And no one will care this year, either.
Boise State will beat Toledo next week. It’ll beat Tulsa, Nevada, Air Force, Wyoming and New Mexico, and it’ll win at Fresno State, Colorado State, and San Diego State. We know this. The home game against TCU is another story, but after the Horned Frogs lost to Baylor, even that game doesn’t really matter anymore. The Broncos won’t get any credit because of their schedule, America will cry about how they don’t deserve to play for the national title, and we’ll have to go through all the same arguments we went through last season.
You can debate all you want about whether or not they deserve to play in the BCS Championship, but you can’t deny that they absolutely destroyed a good SEC team in front of its home fans.
Brandon Boykin tore off an 80-yard run, Aaron Murray connected on two big passes after the score started to get out of hand, and that was it.
Georgia ran for 57 yards outside of the Boykin dash. 57, mostly because the Boise State defensive line destroyed the Dawg offensive front. On the other side, Kellen Moore overcame a mediocre start and a bad pick to finish with a brilliant 261 yards and three touchdowns, spreading the ball around to nine different receivers.
This was a butt kicking. This game was over midway through the third quarter when it became obvious that Georgia had nothing in the bag to overcome the air-tight Broncos, even with two great scoring throws from Murray. But until Boise State get into a better conference, which it thought it was doing when it joined the Mountain West, none of these games will matter.
It might be time to start talking about Mark Richt’s tenure in Athens in the past tense.
I like Richt. Always have. He does things right, the way a parent wants to see his child mentored for four or five years. However, unless you’re at Vanderbilt, the primary objective of a head coach in the SEC is to win ball games and compete for league titles. It’s been far too long since Richt has done the latter as the leader of the Bulldogs, which is why next week’s trip to South Carolina could dictate whether or not he has a prayer of returning in 2012. After Brandon Boykin’s 80-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, his Dawgs lacked bite and were generally outmuscled by Boise State. The Broncos scored the next four touchdowns to basically salt the game away. Can Georgia bounce back and defeat the Gamecocks between the hedges next weekend? Of course, but the added pressure on the young players to bolster their coach’s job security is going to be intense.
As far as Boise State is concerned, are you convinced yet that this team deserves to be in the national championship debate? I am. The Broncos put on a clinic in what was basically a road game at the Georgia Dome. They’ve got one of the nation’s best coach-quarterback combos and a defense that doesn’t get nearly enough credit. Strength of schedule will once again be an issue, especially after TCU was dumped by Baylor on Friday. Still, disposing of the Bulldogs so efficiently was the kind of effort that should leave a lasting impression in the minds of voters.
By Matt Zemek
Yes, Georgia's the sixth- or seventh-best team in the SEC, nowhere near the top. Boise State didn't beat an elite opponent on Saturday night. The Broncos won't be playing at LSU next week. They won't be playing a full SEC schedule. There's no need to deny any of those statements. They're all true.
Now, with all those realities out of the way, can we calmly move on and matter-of-factly acknowledge that Boise State has more scheduling cojones than most programs in the FBS? Can we face up to the fact that Boise State has been willing to play spotlight road games (technically neutral but essentially hostile) to open each of the last two seasons? Can we admit that Boise has delivered the goods each time? Can we absorb the fact that the Broncos have won the two BCS bowls they've played over the past five years? That they've consistently shown that they can handle the prime-time national television spotlight?
You don't have to think Boise State should play for the national title if it goes unbeaten. That argument is such a distraction, especially this early in the season. What the college football community should do is appreciate how well Chris Petersen prepares his team; how well Kellen Moore carves up a defense; how well Doug Martin pounds a linebacker; how well BSU's defensive line competes for 60 minutes. This is one of the sport's best stories over the past five years. It just exorcised the demons of its 2005 trip to Athens, when Jared Zabransky could barely function Between the Hedges.
Forget national championships and BCS talk. That's stale and unproductive on Labor Day weekend. What matters is that Boise State, a program that plays in a tiny stadium in Idaho and was not a member of the FBS (Division I-A) two decades ago, has gained its moment of catharsis and revenge against Georgia. Tip the cap, one and all, to a team that manages to live up to offseason hype (and scrutiny). Many teams can't handle the heat; Boise State can.
As for Georgia...
First, don't bury Mark Richt yet. Is anyone going to pick Georgia to beat South Carolina after this clunker? Of course not. However, let's at least see if the Dawgs can bounce back against the Gamecocks. If Georgia wins next week, the SEC East championship should return to Athens.
It's not asking a lot (or at least, it shouldn't be) to wait until the night of September 10 to proclaim the end of the Richt era. If Georgia treats Boise State with respect, it will learn from this beatdown suffered at the hands of the Broncos. A wiser Bulldog team could ruffle Stephen Garcia's feathers; a mentally frail team will sulk after this loss and pout next weekend against Cocky.
The second thing that needs to be said about Georgia is that the Bulldogs' receivers continued to drop several passes. It's one thing to get beaten by a plainly superior opponent; it's quite another matter to commit reams of typical unforced errors and display the lack of concentration associated with a listless, sagging program. The instructive point here is that Georgia is capable of better things. The Bulldogs can fix a lot of their problems, if they will simply allow themselves to get back to work.
Boise State defeated Virginia Tech twice (against James Madison) last season. Georgia has to make sure it loses only once against the Broncos.
By Russ Mitchell
Follow me on Twitter @russmitchellcfb
You just knew it was going to be a long night when on the opening series Georgia went three and out, with two false starts and a delay of game penalty.
First, this is by no means an embarrassment for Georgia. We’ve seen several supposed “experts” write about the shock of it all, which does a disservice to both teams. BSU had more talent, and more experienced talent at that.
Second, the Broncos traveled well – sure, there were more UGA fans, but it wasn’t like the Cowboys Classic, where LSU fans drowned out Duck supporters.
I expected BSU to win this game for these and other reasons already outlined (not the least of which was BSU’s coaches spending part of the summer down in Tuscaloosa with Saban’s boys), and the game played out as expected. The Broncos drove virtually at will, minus a few first half stops by an outmatched UGA D.
In fact, BSU only had four three-and-out series, spaced out one per quarter – with the last one coming in garbage time late in the fourth.
The game never really felt in doubt after BSU emerged from halftime and took a 14 point lead on an 11 play, 76 yard drive that ate up four minutes and a Georgia timeout. It appeared BSU had full command of the game after that, and Georgia never got closer than 14 points.
There were some bright spots for the Dawgs. True freshman Isaiah Crowell averaged 4 yard per carry on 15 runs, and he didn’t look as lost as many expected, including this writer. Orson Charles had 6 catches for 109 yards (18.2 per), and a touchdown. Charles is magnificent. Finally, if not for playing across from the brilliant Kellen Moore, quarterback Aaron Murray’s numbers (16/29 for 236 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) would have looked even better.
But the bottom line is Georgia’s defense had a hard time getting off the field. Again, nothing to be embarrassed about against this Boise State team, but it’s glaringly obvious that Georgia’s first string needs to step up its play at nearly every position besides TE/QB.
And that includes coaching.
UGA will lose at home next week to USC – as long as Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier parks his ego and stops playing around with Connor Shaw, who has no business starting in front of Stephen Garcia right now.
Don’t think that East Carolina’s point total is an accurate representation of SC’s defense, Georgia fan; it was on the field much of the first 20 minutes, as Shaw struggled to get anything going, and SC fumbled the ball three times. The Pirates jumped off to a 17-0 lead before Garcia came in and settled the ship, and USC ran off 56 points.
UGA will go 0-2 to start the season before feasting on two sub-par opponents. Then they’ll drop under .500 again with a loss at home to a good, experienced MSU squad. After that, the schedule gets (relatively) easy. But UGA fan would be best served to measure his expectations.
Georgia hasn’t had a signature SEC win since 2007 – don’t expect that to change in 2011.
By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee
If radio meltdowns are your thing, tune into 680 The Fan or 790 The Zone in Atlanta this week. The one that will take place as a result of Georgia’s listless performance against Boise State is going to be EPIC.
Georgia was predictable, stagnant and showed no sense of urgency, just like it did throughout most of last season’s 6-7 debacle. Caleb King and Washaun Ealey were by no means world beaters at running back, but their absence in the lineup had a major impact in Bulldog offense. Richard Samuel moved back to running back this summer and Isaiah Crowell played his first collegiate football game Saturday night. Neither of them are capable of being feature running backs right now, and it showed.
This goes back to coaching. Not just Mark Richt (although he deserves a lot of criticism), but the Georgia offense has not been great since Mike Bobo took over play-calling duties after the 2006 season. The Bulldogs wasted a lot of talent with Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno in 2007 and 2008, and has been painfully predictable ever since.
Brandon Boykin is arguably Georgia’s most exciting player. In his first career touch on offense, he took it 80 yards for a touchdown against Boise State. He didn’t touch it again.
If Mark Richt isn’t desperate now, he should be. One indicator is whether or not he takes over play-calling duties. He should, because things aren’t working with the current setup.
Georgia has South Carolina coming between the hedges next weekend. Suddenly, that game has become the biggest game of Mark Richt’s career. If the Bulldogs lose that one, the hole may be too deep for Richt to dig himself and his team out of.