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LSU Should Have Little Concern for Georgia
UGA QB Aaron Murray
UGA QB Aaron Murray
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 1, 2011


Arkansas is better than Georgia in perhaps every aspect on the offensive side of the ball, and the Hogs still could do almost nothing offensively against the Tigers last week. What makes you think it'll be anything less for the Dawgs?


The idea that LSU needed “style” points over Arkansas last Friday as some sort of “insurance” in case they lost to Georgia is laughable. Not because style points don’t matter, they do.

It’s laughable because the thought that Miles & Co. would have been in any way worried about losing to Georgia is comical.

LSU wanted to beat Arkansas and the Hogs obliged. There is nothing wrong with that, and LSU accomplished its goal with gusto.

Who knows…Arkansas may in fact be the best of the rest in college football. Typically pundits don’t put “the rest” in finite terms, but I can for you: 24. That’s the margin of victory over Arkansas by both LSU and Alabama. Compared to everyone else in college football, Arkansas is deep, talented, explosive, and well coached. To LSU and Alabama, Arkansas is just another week they have to wait to play one another again.

The question is, why would anyone think Georgia is any different?

They aren’t. Compare Arkansas and Georgia for a moment. Arkansas has staggering depth at wide receiver. This season, the Hogs boasted the best receiving corps in the nation. Arkansas had so many elite receivers this season it couldn’t fit them all on the field at once.

Now, think about who Aaron Murray is throwing to. His two leading receivers are a tight end and a freshman wide receiver. He may be very talented, but Orson Charles only has 40 receptions on the season, and Malcolm Mitchell, who is promising, is nowhere near an elite SEC receiver; not yet. The freshman’s only 6-1, 184 pounds…against LSU, Arkansas’ two talented but undersized wide receivers were essentially rendered moot. Instead, Arkansas had to rely on more sizable targets like Cobi Hamilton, Chris Gragg and Greg Childs.

While Arkansas had some concerns running the ball in 2011, late in the season the Hogs experienced some success. The trio of Dennis Johnson, Ronnie Wingo and Broderick Green all saw touches and produced in the second half. Right up until Red Stick. Against the Tigers, Arkansas’ run game was a non-factor after the first quarter. 41 of Arkansas’ 47 rushing yards came in the first quarter and Arkansas only ran the football five times in the second half while trying to dig itself out of the hole.

Compared to Arkansas, Georgia is a running back wasteland. Isaiah Crowell is Georgia’s best running back by a mile, when he can play, of course. He has only five touchdowns on 172 carries; that’s one touchdown for every 34 carries. A good running back wants that ratio to be in the teens. Crowell doesn’t even lead the SEC in freshman TDs…that honor goes to, you guessed it, a Tiger: Kenny Hilliard, who has less than a third of Crowell's carries. And after Crowell, Georgia may as well just pass.

Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson passed for the most yards in the SEC this season (2,090), however Murray holds the edge on touchdown passes in conference with 18. Wilson passed against three of the nation’s top five defenses, to Murray’s one. That one team? South Carolina…a defense Arkansas beat and to which Georgia fell. To be fair, Georgia is a different team now, as is South Carolina. But the biggest difference is that Georgia would likely be 8-4 had they played Arkansas’s SEC schedule.

As for Defense, Georgia's is highly ranked...but it's only played three offenses ranked inside the top 75. Georgia played six games against teams with offenses ranked below 95th in the nation. That bears repeating: Georgia playing half of its schedule against offenses ranked in the cellar of the 120 team FBS.

Heading into its match-up with the Bayou Bengals, Arkansas was ranked second in the conference in sacks allowed - behind only (you guessed it) LSU. When the weekend dust had settled, the Hogs had fallen to sixth. After just one game at the end of the season. Let’s put it another way…after playing LSU, the number of sacks Arkansas allowed in conference doubled. Georgia, which Arkansas is now tied with in sacks allowed, won’t have an easier time than the Hogs stopping that Tiger pass rush, and may very likely find it even tougher.

The small glimmer of hope for Georgia is that the Dawgs are eighth nationally in time of possession. Arkansas is a quick strike offense and averages some of the shortest touchdown drives in the nation. LSU is a ball control offense and are also highly ranked in time of possession. The biggest difference here is that LSU is 11th nationally in third down conversion while Georgia is 35th. If Georgia faces a lot of third downs early, especially third and long because it cannot run the ball consistently on first and second, this game will be over by halftime.

Running back and wide receiver depth, protecting the quarterback and passing yards against good defenses…these were all things that Arkansas was good at until playing LSU and Alabama. And Arkansas looks like a juggernaut compared to the rest of the SEC, including Georgia.

Georgia may come into this weekend with spirit, heart, hope, a song and a prayer. It will leave with a destroyed stat line and plenty of bruises – both from the game and their crash back to earth.

Yes, Arkansas is that much better than Georgia. Yes, LSU and Alabama are that much better than Arkansas. This might be a week Georgia fans will fantasize about an upset special. It’s just another week waiting for the National title to arrive for LSU.


TJ Carpenter is host of The TJ Carpenter Show on The Hog Sports Radio Network from 1-4PM CST - listen live at Hog Sports Radio. Follow TJ on Twitter @tjcarpentershow