It’s funny saying that, being as the next game for Georgia is against Vanderbilt (1-2). There was a time – and not so very long ago – that SEC teams scheduled Vanderbilt as one of their warm-up games, or for their homecoming.
Now Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin has the rest of the conference fearing…ok, maybe fearing is a strong word…concerned about playing his Commodores.
That’s not to say Georgia couldn’t steamroll Vandy, and they probably will. But it’s not a game that head coach Mark Richt and the Bulldogs can take lightly anymore. The Commodores have exited their traditional perch at the bottom of the SEC East, and now enjoy the role of playing spoiler to the contenders.
The Commodores opened this season with a hard fought 17-13 loss at home to South Carolina, then lost 23-13 at Northwestern. Their first victory of the season came last Saturday, with a 58-0 annihilation of FCS opponent Presbyterian.
The one real weapon that was supposed to carry Vanderbilt this season – quarterback Jordan Rodgers – has been benched. With the exception of last week’s drubbing of an FCS cream-puff, the Vandy offense has looked absolutely anemic.
Georgia has looked impressive on offense in all three victories this season, and QB Aaron Murray should have no problem moving his team up and down the field against Vandy’s token resistance. But the Bulldogs will still be without defensive starters Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo, who are both serving the final game of four-game suspensions.
After allowing Florida Atlantic – the lowest rated offense in all the FBS – to score 20 points last week, UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will probably have his troops doubly prepared and fired up for the Bulldogs’ SEC home opener.
Georgia has won 16 of the last 17 games in the series with the Commodores, including last season’s game, which ended with Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin going nose-to-nose with Grantham after the game in a much ballyhooed confrontation.
The smart money is on Georgia to cover whatever spread is put up against Vandy this year, and to take Grantham in a TKO before the second round ends.