After dipping their toes in SEC play last week, the Bulldogs get one more breather against the Owls of Florida Atlantic this weekend before entering a run of SEC opponents that will take them right into the end of November. Our Manic-Depressive Previewers have resisted the temptation to blow this game off — one of them grudgingly, but still — in the hopes that the Dawgs will show similar willpower on Saturday.
Depressive Doug: So I'm going to cross my fingers and assume you don't need me to tell you what happened in last week's game.
Manic Doug: Oh, man, it was awesome! Did you see any of it?!
DD: Well, of course, I —
MD: At first we were like, "Whoa!" But then Jarvis Jones was like, BAMM! And then even when Mizzou's offense was like whoooaaaaa fake punt, Richard Samuel was all "UH-UH!" and stopped them, and then Jarvis was all "INTERCEPTION BITCHES!" and we won the . . .
DD: No, please, go on. This is kind of cute. You're reminding me of the son from "The Incredibles."
MD: Hey, that's a great flick. Now I kind of want to watch it again.
DD: Tell you what, you pitch in on the Florida Atlantic preview and you can go right ahead and do that.
MD: Georgia 59, Florida Atlantic 0. We done here?
DD: I should've known this would be the attitude you'd take. Can you even name FAU's mascot?
MD: I'm going to assume it's some kind of carnivorous wildcat or predatory bird. Can you name the capital of Kyrgyzstan? 'Cause that's about as relevant to this disc —
DD: It's Bishkek, and whether you think this is serious or not, we do have a game this weekend. One that we can't just expect to win a billion to nothing, in spite of what you think we should be capable of.
MD: I'll break this down for you as succinctly as I can, bro — Florida Atlantic won one game all of last year. One. They squeaked out a three-point win over an equally bad UAB team in the second-to-last game of the season, and that was it. Now they have a new coach, and you want to know how well he's doing? In their first game of the season, they scored seven points against Wagner. Wagner, a D-IAA school I didn't even know had a football team until a couple weeks ago. Then they went to Middle Tennessee State, a team that had just gotten beat by a D-IAA team the week before, and lost to them by two touchdowns. Despite having played two bad opponents, they're still 85th in the nation in total offense, 111th in the nation in scoring. So you tell me if this is a game we should take seriously.
DD: You make quite a compelling case for FAU being a lousy team. Honestly, you're preaching to the choir on that one. But we're banged up right now. Jarvis Jones played the entire game last week with a groin strain —
MD: And still annihilated the Missouri offense almost singlehandedly. Not worried about him.
DD: Cornelius Washington has sat out some practices this week with a hamstring strain —
MD: Should be back this week, and if not we're still OK at defensive end.
DD: Watts Dantzler's ankle is still tweaked, and Malcolm Mitchell's ankle and shoulder are —
MD: So we rest them four quarters instead of two. Dude, nothing you're telling me puts any doubt in my mind that we're absolutely going to wreck the Owls this weekend, or that we're going to pitch a shutout. They were dead last in total offense last season and don't appear to be getting much better.
DD: But you were saying similar stuff about Buffalo, and their offense looked pretty good against us, for a half at least. Think about it: We're in one of those "sandwich games" coming right after a big win and coming right before a major grudge match with Vandy that a lot of our guys probably circled on the calendar nearly a year ago. We've got a lot of guys nursing injuries, particularly on defense. I think our first string will do OK, but Richt will sub them out as soon as he possibly can to keep from getting anyone hurt — and when we start putting in the bench players, that's when we let a touchdown or two get past us.
MD: Still think you're wrong. I've looked over their roster, and I doubt they have a single player on either side of the ball who could crack our two-deep. I'm sticking by my prediction of a 59-0 shutout. If you think differently, have at it.
DD: Well, as I've said, I think we'll have bench players on the field long enough for FAU to pull off a score or two. I also think we'll pull our offensive starters pretty quickly to keep them from getting hurt, too — and no matter who's on the field, our game plan is going to be 100 percent plain vanilla. Actually, vanilla might be a wild, exotic flavor compared to what we show out there. I'd be surprised if we have more than 24 points on the board at halftime, and I think we put it on autopilot from there on out — final score, something like Georgia 41, FAU 14.
MD: Ugh. That sounds incredibly boring.
DD: Well, no one puts games like this on the schedule because they're exciting, that's for sure.
MD: Looks like our predictions average out to Georgia 50, FAU 7 — is that enough to cover the spread?
DD: You're the degenerate gambler here, not me. But last I saw, the spread was 43 and a half, so no, it'd be half a point short.
MD: Oh, well. Probably throw a hundred or so on the Dawgs to cover anyway, just as a show of support.
DD: Yes, I'm sure they'll play that much harder, knowing how much money you're willing to lose on their behalf. You should tweet each one of them individually about it.
MD: Shut up. (pause) Is Beefsteak really the capital of Kyrgyzstan?
DD: (sighs) Yes. Yes, it is.