On the big day for 2011 college football, the day where most teams open their season, one game stands out as a possible upset alert. That game is Boise State vs Georgia.
In the (completely irrelevant preseason polls) Boise State is 5th in the AP and about that spot in most other polls. Georgia is 19th in the AP and around that in most others. Georgia is under enormous pressure as is their head coach Mark Richt coming off their first losing season in 2010 since 1996. Boise State is without 3 of their players including one of QB Kellen Moore’s favorite targets while the NCAA reviews their eligibility (all three are from the Netherlands). Georgia has a lot to prove as does their QB Aaron Murray, who despite a great redshirt freshman year last year, was overshadowed by the Bulldogs losing record.
Boise State is 0-4 against SEC teams. They have never beaten one. There are those on the Boise State side of the bracket who have accused Georgia of getting their players benched by the NCAA. Seems a bit petty. There are those on the Georgia side of the bracket who say that Boise State continues to be over rated. That may be true but only to a minimal extent. There are those from the outside who just hope for a great game. I think that is a guaranteed certainty.
The Bulldogs are looking to bounce back from a season that put them and their head coach in the hot seat. A losing season for the first time in 14 years is something that would make any SEC fan jumpy. There were those who were calling for head coach Richt’s dismissal as early as mid season last year. There are those who are surprised that he is still there to start this season. Everyone knows in the Bulldogs organization that this season means more than just wins and losses, it means Mark Richt’s job for certain. Another losing year and Richt is done, no doubt about it.
For Boise State, they are on a mission to prove they can play and win against the faster SEC teams. They have tried 4 times now and failed. It is one of the main arguing points against their high rankings. The knock on Boise State is that they cannot compete in the SEC world of college football. That they cannot run with these teams. That they cannot win with these teams and up to now that has remained true. They want to win this game badly, really, really badly.
It will come down to who wants to win it most and who executes the cleanest game to get to the win. Mistakes are win killers. If Georgia is too focused on a must win for the season and for coach Richt they may not be as focused on the game between the lines. If Boise State is more focused on their past losses to SEC teams and their need to “prove” they can compete with them, they may not have their heads in the game between the lines.
In the end though, I think that Georgia will once again come out on top. Boise State has not shown any indication that they can keep up with an SEC team. I don’t think they have made any significant changes to cause that not to be true once again. They are also down a main receiver and 2 defensive players, which is always difficult to compensate for. Kellen Moore will most certainly give it all he’s got but the Bulldogs will be just a bit better and another upset will be recorded in the 2011 college football season.