August 16, 2009

Adam Krohn: Someone has to win the UGA-OSU game

It’s mid-August and the Georgia Bulldogs are getting ready for a road trip to beautiful Stillwater, Okla., known to some as “the friendliest city” in the state. Stillwater is home to Boomer Lake, Eskimo Joe’s bar and Boone Pickens Stadium, home of the not-so-vaunted Cowboys of Oklahoma State.

Come Sept. 5, the Bulldogs and Cowboys will lock up on national television in a Southeastern Conference-Big 12 showdown for a rematch from the 2007 season opener, when Georgia beat OSU 35-14.

Because Joe Cox is now the starting quarterback, and Knowshon Moreno isn’t the starting running back, along with Georgia’s losses last year to Georgia Tech, Florida and Alabama, the Bulldogs enter 2009 with a No. 13 preseason ranking in the USA Today’s coaches poll — a far cry from last year ranking, when they were the preseason No. 1 team. The Cowboys, on the other hand, won nine games in 2008 for just the second time in 21 years, which catapulted them to a No. 11 preseason ranking after entering last season unranked.

If you believe the preseason blather, this is a matchup of two of the better teams in the country.

It isn’t.

Neither team deserves a Top 15 ranking. The Bulldogs are now without Matthew Stafford, Moreno and Mohamed Massaquoi — the holy trinity of offense that made up for a lot of Georgia’s lousy defense. And speaking of defense, or the lack of it, Oklahoma State’s failures on that side of the ball made Bulldog defenders and coordinator Willie Martinez look like the Steel Curtain and Dick LeBeau.

The Cowboys ranked 93rd in the nation in total defense in 2008. Georgia ranked 22nd in total defense, but in big games against better teams, the Bulldogs defense gave up points at a startling rate.

By default, someone has to win this game. Who’s it gonna be?

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