Georgia vs UMass : This is another chance for Georgia to take a step in fixing its troubling trend of being unable to punch in touchdowns inside the 10-yard line. Keep your seats everyone, theeeee Redcoats are coming! And this week, the Redcoats can finally take on their longest-standing rival, the Minutemen.
Ordinarily, we Americans would be rooting for UMass in this particular matchup, looking to gain independence from the Brits, but today, we hold these truths to be self-evident: King George III would also be a 44-point underdog if the Revolutionary War was played today.
UMass is coming to town for a shellacking and a paycheck in Athens. Yawn. Whatever. Here’s some stats. Although they did meet in basketball last year in one of several games that ultimately cost Mark Fox his job. Speaking of basketball, did you know Kentucky assistant men’s basketball coach Tony Barbee went to UMass?
Know someone else who did? The late Hugh Loebner, a prominent activist for the decriminalization of prostitution. (Minutemen, am I right?)
The last team to beat the Bulldogs outside the SEC was Georgia Tech, all the way back at the end of 2016, Kirby Smart’s inaugural season in Athens.
Since then, Smart has put in a plan that sources say is a good idea: Don’t lose to those teams.
Those with knowledge of the situation say plans are potentially in the works to institute a similar policy with the SEC West, but it could be December before it gets implemented.
The poor Minutemen are 4-7 on the year, and their end-of-season reward is playing Georgia on the road.
One if by land, two if by Holyfield right hook.
Nevertheless, a win Saturday would be UMass’s first over a Power 5 foe since … well it depends on how you look at it.
If you consider BYU a “Power 5” opponent, even though the Cougars, like the Minutemen, are idependent, then we need to jump back to 2017, when UMass beat BYU 16-10.
Otherwise, we need to dive back to 1978, when the Minutemen knocked off Boston College, 27-0.
Since then, UMass is 0-(a lot) against Power 5 foes.
I choose this number because, well, that’s the where line opened to start the week, with the Dawgs a 44-point favorite.
Georgia already owns one win that would’ve covered such a spread (45-0 over Austin Peay) and another that was close (49-7 over Middle Tennessee).
Still, two 44-pointers haven’t happened since
the most inexplicably mediocre year ever 2014, when the Bulldogs knocked off Troy 66-0 and Charleston Southern 55-9.
That team had Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, and managed to finish 9-3. Ugh.
The Minutemen have actually graced the Peach State already this year, losing to Georgia Southern in front of
an average Georgia Tech crowd of 15,071 fans.
That was back in Week 2, and the Eagles won 34-13.
General Washington was most displeased.
Yes, we are reaching very far into the bag for this week’s stats. Sometimes, we need a gimmick. (Speaking of, isn’t Tech next week?) The Minutemen have provided us with such a gimmick.
It’s been nearly two decades since a Team Without An S knocked off Georgia.
In the 1989 Peach Bowl, Syracuse, then known as the Orangemen but now known as the Orange, both of which work, knocked off Ray Goff’s first batch of Bulldogs 19-18.
Since then, Georgia is undefeated against the Marshall Thundering Herd (2004), North Texas Mean Green (2013) and Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2017).
Thus far in 2018, the Minutemen have been able to stop exactly two teams: Duquesne and UConn.
One of those is a school you probably weren’t even aware had a football team to begin with, and the other is Dueqesne.
Other than those two, UMass has given up at least 31 points in all but one of its regular season games, not to mention giving up half-a-hundred to Boston College, Florida International, Ohio, South Florida and Liberty.
Giving up 50 to Georgia would give the Minutemen a dubious honor they haven’t earned since
Benedict Arnold … well, ever. The most 50’s they’ve ever given up is three, until this year.
But maybe we should say it would be the first time since 1896, when UMass lost to the Northampton YMCA, which has got to be worse than giving up 50 points six times, right? (And no, I’m not making that up.)
Yes, just what you all came here for: Politics!
If you’re like Nick Saban, who said this week that he has no internet and doesn’t read the newspaper and therefore was unaware that his team clinched the SEC West, then here’s a quick explanation of what a Midterm Election is.
(By the way, if you believe that, I’ve got an ocean-front condo in Kansas I’d love to sell you. Mark Mangino owned it once, and only ate half of it.)
Midterms fall every four years, two years before and after a presidential election year. We had a presedential election in 2016, which was two years ago if my limited math skills are accurate.
And to find an undefeated November in Midterm Year requires we go back to the Herschel era. In 1982, the Bulldogs went 3-0 in November, two years after Ronald Reagan won his first term in office.
Since then, Georgia has never gone undefeated in such a year, though it did finish 1-0-1 in the 1994 midterms.
Here’s another fun fact about the Minutemen: Their school was referenced in an early episode of Family Guy when Meg and Lois go on a spring break trip. Here’s the dialogue, as captured in the official Family Guy wiki page:
Spring Break Guy 1: Hey did you hear what happened to the dude from UMass? He got so drunk, he fell off his hotel balcony! He’s in a coma!
Spring Break Guy 2: Oh, man! I want to party with him!
As best as I can tell with my embarrasingly encyclopaedic knowledge of Family Guy the only other colleges referenced who’ve played football against Georgia in football are Harvard, Florida and Yale.
The 2016 Cocktail Party would, of course, be the most recent loss to any of those three. (Full disclosure: I haven’t watched the most recent episode of Family Guy which almost assuredly now contains a reference to Alabama, Auburn or LSU.)
If you’re unfamiliar the Mason-Dixon Line is, it was put in place in the 1760s to settle a border dispute between Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania, and would later be extended to include the southern borders of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, with slave-holding states sitting to the south and free states in the north.
The last school from north of that line to beat the Bulldogs was Boise State back in 2011.
Todd Grantham did his thing by providing absolutely no resistance to Kellen Moore and the Broncos offense, losing 35-21 in the Georgia Dome.
I had mono that day. It was happiness all around.
At last check, Georgia was a 43.5-point favorite.
It’s rare that the Bulldogs cover spreads that large, simply because they tend to get ahead in the second half and coast with the backups. I suspect the same will happen against the Minutemen.