Friday, August 14, 2009

When the Only Way to Go is Up.

We've been hearing all about Oklahoma State's offense. How Dez Bryant is Percy Harvin, sans the munchies. How Zac Robinson is TGCPE, but without any medical skills, a Heisman, or a championship. Kendall Hunter is, well Kendall Hunter, but that got him over 1500 yards on 241 touches last season. No doubt they will be a pretty good offensive team.

As PWD pointed out this week in a great post on the six point spread in this game, Oklahoma State didn't exactly put up big numbers against quality opposition last season. Their highest point total of the season against a ranked opponent came against Oklahoma, when they scored 41. As you can see, they got plenty of possessions (13), since Oklahoma scored more than Rick Pitino in a Johnny Carino's (what, too soon?). The Sooners put 61 on the Cowboys.

I only bring that up to make the point that in order to be significantly better, the Cowboys have to be better on defense. If their offense hits rough patches again, as they did against Texas, Texas Tech and Oregon, all losses, their D has to keep them in the game. Will that happen?

The Cowboys are now focused on creating opportunities for their offense, by creating turnovers. Perhaps in this situation, a good defense is a good offense, as the D can let up if they know the offense can get in the end zone. However, if last year is any guide, that isn't a given against quality opponents.

Look, I thought Oklahoma State was going to be the surprise team in the Big 12 last year. I gave them way more credit than they deserved for a couple of early big wins. By big, I mean pouring on points against much lesser opponents, plus I over rated Missouri and thought the Tigers were better than they turned out to be. I discounted very poor defensive showings, especially against opponents that had no business scoring points at such a prodigious rate against them. Hell, all of the teams they played except for Missouri, Baylor and Texas scored above their season average against them. It is tough to win ballgames with that happening, and I was still overrating them at the end of the season.

One final thing. It is silly, despite my points in this post, to think Oklahoma State will be as bad as they were last year on defense. My point is one that the Senator made yesterday, while Georgia's defense has areas that needed improvement, there really is only one way for the Cowboy's defense to go and they have a lot further to go just to get to Georgia's (or Hawaii's, for that matter) level last year.

In the end, Georgia could lose this game. If they do, I don't think it will be a result of Oklahoma State piling up the points, it'll be because Oklahoma State's defense is much, much improved.

We know Georgia won't have this guy,
but will Oklahoma State still have those guys?


  1. scored more than Pitino... nice! I hear his PPG avg has gone way down since the wife had the DR dial down the little blue pill prescript.

    Cox AND Gray throw for more than 100, Samuel AND King run for more than a 100...and Coach Willie is eyeing the Visor by the end of the 3rd quarter.

    Go Dawgs!

  2. I agree, defensive improvement is their key. Their offense with Bryant, Hunter (both stars), Robinson, Okung, etc, is going to pile up points on everyone. But it's so hard to be a 10+ win team outscoring everyone. My lasting Okie State memory is Oregon not only running for 300+ yards, but shredding them through the air too, not really Masoli's strength. They made him look like Dennis Dixon that night.

    Georgia's O Line should be able to control the game, and I think that's where their shot of winning comes. I think UGA's offense may be a bit underrated headed into the season simply b/c of the big names that are gone, but I still don't think they want to get in a shootout. In any event, definitely the game I'm looking forward to the most opening weekend (after Barkley's likely debut of course).

    Is it just me or are there an abnormally high amount of intriguing games for opening weekend?

    1. UGA v. Okie State
    2. Boise State v. Oregon
    3. Bama v. Va Tech
    4. Missouri v. Illinois
    5. LSU at Washington
    6. Nevada at ND
    7. Maryland at Cal
    8. Cinci at Rutgers
    9. Miami at FSU (I guess this still counts)
    10. BYU at Chokelahoma

  3. The opening weekend is pretty good. At least there is more than one decent game.

    Any trap games come to mind?

  4. I could see Nevada giving ND a bit of trouble. To the extent Auburn's offense will still suck and they can't pick a QB - maybe La Tech can give them a bit of trouble, but I doubt it.

  5. I'd really like to see the Dawgs hammer Okie State, I want the frauds in that conference exposed early this year, not in late Dec / early Jan.