Posted: 8:22 am Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Fremeau: UGA 2nd in East; Tech 5th in Coastal 

By Mark Bradley

"See that guy? He's picking us second?" (Jason Getz/AJC)

“See that guy? He’s picking us second.” (Jason Getz/AJC)

Nobody enjoys preseason projections more than I do, and I especially enjoy the ones that apply advanced analytics. Regarding college football, the leading analytic light is Brian Fremeau, who writes for ESPN Insider and Football Outsiders. (And yes, I still get a kick out of the Insider/Outsiders dichotomy. I’m easily amused.)

For ESPN, Fremeau has offered his conference projections for 2014. He slots Georgia second behind South Carolina in the SEC East and Georgia Tech fifth — fifth of seven, I remind you — in the ACC Coastal.

From his Georgia forecast:

Georgia may be one of the best candidates across the country to bounce back in 2014 after a very difficult season. Four of the Bulldogs’ five losses last year came by five points or fewer, and turnovers played a part in all of those games. The other major factor was a defense that just couldn’t get stops, allowing 42 percent of opponent drives to cross the Georgia 30-yard line (89th nationally).

Fremeau’s numbers suggest that the Bulldogs will finish 9-3 overall and 5-3 in league play, which doesn’t sound like a huge bounce after 8-5 and 5-3. He assigns them an eight percent chance of winning the SEC and an 11 percent chance of going 11-1 or better. He also writes that his model gives Georgia a 79 percent chance of at least splitting its first two games against Clemson and South Carolina.

More SEC: Alabama — big shock — is tabbed to finish first in the West and is assigned a 59 percent chance of winning the SEC. Auburn, which just played for the BCS title, is projected third in its division, behind LSU but ahead of Ole Miss. Florida is picked fourth in the East, which would surely leave the Gators in search of a new coach. Missouri, the defending East champ, is picked third in the division.

As for the ACC: Fremeau has Tech going 7-5 again and finishing fifth behind Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Duke. (But ahead of Miami, which has beaten Tech five years running.) From his Tech capsule:

The Yellow Jackets aren’t given much of a chance in our projections to contend for an ACC title, mostly because the division schedule is unkind with road trips to Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Pittsburgh. To stay in contention with that crowd, the Yellow Jackets need to get opponents off the field more regularly. Georgia Tech forced three-and-outs on only 29 percent of opponent drives (90th nationally) in 2013.

(You’ll recall that, two months ago, Fremeau identified Tech as among the nation’s most stable programs. He notes that 7-5 would “be right in that wheelhouse.”)

The Jackets are given a two percent shot at winning the ACC and a one percent chance of going 11-1 or better. Florida State, which will begin the season ranked No. 1 in the polls, is assigned a 69 percent chance of winning the conference and 65 percent chance of going 11-1 or better. (No word on whether crab legs were factored into this model.) ACC newbie Louisville is picked second in the Atlantic Division, ahead of Clemson.

275 comments
1980-was-so-long-ago
1980-was-so-long-ago

Brian Fremeau - This guy had Missouri 4th and Auburn 5th in his 2013 forecast - who the heck is he?? 

bulldawg14
bulldawg14

Taking a glance at the schedule, I really don't see any reason for the Dawgs to lose more than 2 games at the most this season, and that's not being overly optimistic, that's taking into consideration what the rest of our conference has lost from this past year. We will be returning basically our entire defense, which I know doesn't appear to say much given how bad they were last year, but they were very young, and with the addition of Pruitt, I think our defense will be very much improved next year.


Then you take a look at our offense... we lost Murray of course, but I believe we have one of the best stables of RB's in the country and with Mitchell, Bennett, and Scott-Wesley joining back up with Conley and the rest of our receiving corps (and Rome), I believe there will be more than enough talent catching the ball.... making any further growing pains for Mason a lot less noticeable. 


Combine all this with the fact that most of  the conference opponents we play on the schedule have even more holes to fill than we do, and I say UGA is going to surprise a lot of people this year.


Here's the schedule:


Clemson - lost Taj Boyd and Sammy Watkins plus quite a few others will be sitting out the opener due to suspension. Dawgs play Clemson at home this year which gives UGA an obvious advantage, not so much from playing between the hedges but not having to play at Death Valley. It will be a much improved UGA team vs. a rebuilding Clemson squad. UGA pulls away late in this one.


South Carolina - losing shaw hurts but you still have thompson. not near as good as shaw, but the dropoff wont be excruciating. As much as I despise Clowney, he was a game changer and will obviously be missed off of their defense. They will probably start off the first few games relying fairly heavily on the running game as they return both Davis and Wilds (both of whom are highly underrated) and Thompson will need to get broken in a little more. He's got some experience, but not enough to be completely comfortable early on. I believe being forced to be 1-dimensional on offense will play right into UGA's strengths as we generally stop the run better than the pass. We play at South Carolina, so this one will end up being close, but I think the key will be which new face at QB gets comfortable the quickest as each defense will be stacking badly to stop the run. I think all the weapons Mason will have at his disposal will be the difference and will give us a slight edge. UGA in a close one.


Troy - moving on...


Tennessee - a team that returns a lot of folks off a squad that should have beat us last year, this will be a dangerous game in 2014 as well. Tennessee did benefit quite a bit from quite a few of our starters/major contributors going down in this game last year. UGA fans recall this was the game that initiated that mid-season skid mark after 3 key offensive contributors went down with severe injuries (Marshall, Bennett, Scott-Wesley) last year. Having said that, I would say this game would be a battle to the finish if it were played in Neyland. Fortunately for UGA, it's at home, so I give the edge to the Dawgs this year.


Vandy - I have learned to try my best to never assume anything with any vanderbilt football team, but as far as last year goes, this was another team that benefited greatly from an anemic offensive performance by UGA caused directly by UGA's ridiculous slew of injuries. Gurley missed this one too so it almost felt like a G-day game on offense the entire day. This one will be played in Athens this year and I expect the Dawgs to be seething after last year's embarrassment. It will also help that Vandy underwent a coaching staff overhaul with the departure of James Franklin. Don't know much about the new guy other than that his name is Derek Mason and he comes from Northern Arizona, but I do know that more times than not, with a new head coach comes growing pains. I think ultimately, this game will depend largely on UGA's ability to defend WR Jordan Matthews. If he has his way early (and he very well could against a still young and unproven UGA secondary), vandy will hang around and might even be in a position to win it. If he never gets going, I say UGA wins comfortably.


Mizzou - They lost longtime QB franklin but I don't expect too dramatic of a dropoff from him to Maty Mauk. The biggest losses will be Jossey at RB and Dorial Green-Beckham who got suspended. We play them at Missouri this year so I believe this will be a close game as well, but as long as we are healthy, we should be the better team and come out with a win.


Arkansas - Simply put, they were pretty bad a year ago, and I don't expect them to be improved enough to hang with us this year.


Florida - It's always a battle no matter what's going on with either team. They had a rough year last year, but I expect them to bounce back this year with driskell coming back from injury. Wouldn't be surprised if this ended up being one of the 2 losses I predicted. Lord knows they're due to make their way back into the win column. 


Kentucky - Just like Arkansas, didn't do a whole lot last year, and there's no reason why we shouldn't beat them handily again next year. 


Auburn - They lost mason and a few playmakers off the defense which hurts but they'll have marshall back and most of their offensive personnel. This year's game will be in athens so that helps. Last year, their defense was statistically even worse against the pass than ours was, but just like us, they will return most of their defensive backfield so I expect that unit to be improved as well. UGA will be out for blood after what happened last year, but if auburn finds somebody to fill the void left by tre mason, we could be in trouble. Could also be one of those 2 losses.


Charleson Southern - moving on...


Tech - moving on....



SEC Championship - I'm going to go out on a limb and say Bama will be representing the west and if UGA can get through their conference schedule with just one loss, they'll probably be here as well. Unfortunately, I don't think they will have what it takes to take on Bama, with or without mccarron. If you watched the auburn-bama game last year though, you already know that crazier things have happened.

DHJohnson
DHJohnson

unproven qb, no secondary, new DC and staff...2nd is too high

Dawg350
Dawg350

Great day to be a bulldog! What's up slackers? Let's go dawgs!

Redfin
Redfin

Tech is right about where they should be......middle of the road at best.  J Thomas will be the starting QB if for no other reason  than being PJs' pet by now............not a prescription for success.   UGA,  just like always suffers from delusions of grandeur.  They somehow haven't learned that championships aren't granted because of rated talent levels but by play on the field.   They (UGA) will once again slip up and lose 2 or 3 games they should have won.

CaliDawg
CaliDawg

It's downright comical how the Techies don't address their own team in the article, but address UGA's...24/7/365. What a miserable way to go through life...every...day. But I love it that you keep showing up on our boards. UGA in YOUR head EVERY day! 24/7/365! 

POAD2014
POAD2014

My Vent is Rocking....LOL


It must be Spring in Georgia because the Delusional Dawg fans are talking about winning a National Championship.

DawgNole
DawgNole

GTBee

2 days ago

. . . UGA will always be 2nd as long as Spurrier is at the helm at USC.

_________________________

Pretty ignorant post considering Richt/UGA have a winning record against spurrier at USCe.

Dawg350
Dawg350

We have the best team in the nation! Go dawgs! Best looking women in Athens!

Dawg350
Dawg350

We have the best colors! Best food! Best looking women right here in Athens!

SinceVince
SinceVince

8-4 season with another lackluster performance in a lackluster bowl...Bank on it!

Dawg350
Dawg350

15-0 and baby! I can't wait! UGA is a sleeping giant that will finally awake in 2014! Go dawgs!

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

Georgia SHOULD win the East and Tech will finish no lower than 3rd in the Coastal.

DIT
DIT

Reading some of the points most people are talking about offenses. Both tech and Dawgs will score points. It's the defenses on both teams that need to step up. Don't know what tech has, but for the Dawgs, as much as I hate to put so much on the 1st two games, Those two games will be the stepping stone on what the defense will be like.

Personally I think it will be a miracle if Pruitt can turn them around by the beginning of the season. Usually they need a couple f games to get in the grove and become some-what consistant. I think the Dawgs split those two. More than likely beating Clemson and losing to SC.

Years end, Dawgs lose 3, tech loses 5.

JaySly
JaySly

ga and sc are the two best teams in the east---ga should be able to beat them again and win the division.  in the west, alabama beats auburn and lsu to win that --- the dogs can beat alabama this year with lane kiffin running things

BigTimeTECHFan
BigTimeTECHFan

1. SEC East - UGA, USC, Florida, Missu may all be tied, going to come down to chemistry and who gets on a roll during the season

2. ACC Coastal -  Georgia Tech all the way, may come down to tie breaker with UNC, Va Tech, Miami, Duke, Pitt, uVA. ACC coastal is loaded.


gtcaryd
gtcaryd

I agree that Bama will have a better Rushing numbers, they will have equal talent RB but a better line.

acgypsy
acgypsy

I hate to say is since I have two brothers that are Missouri alumni but watch out for the Tigers.

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

The more pressure you put on Thompson the worse he gets. He has a tendency to take off and run which will only get him hurt . Then, South Carolina won't have anyone to come in and run the Offense.  

Princess_Leia
Princess_Leia

Dwags will likely go 7-5 or 8-4, then lose again in a meaningless lower tier bowl.

Wrecker
Wrecker

Hard to guess how good Florida and South Carolina will be this year.  If UGa beats them both, they should be no less than 2nd and more likely 1st in the East.  Everything at UGa will depend on how quickly Pruitt can put the talent in a position to make plays and get off the field.  UGa's offense will be good bordering on great most of the year.


Tech has not finished 5th in CPJ's tenure and it will not happen this year.  Fourth is a possibility, but third is most likely.

SlawDawg
SlawDawg

Ahhhh springtime in Georgia.....the birds are chirping, the grass is growing....the fat pot-belly redneck Bulldog fans are swilling Natty Light and proclaiming the Dogs as National Champs. Then the season starts and reality sets in....UGA is run-of-the-mill and maybe gets to 7-5 with a trip to Shreveport. LMAO!!!!

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

The beatings will continue for Duke, Pitt and UNC.

HotDawg
HotDawg

It will be interesting to see this column after season.

Delusionaldog
Delusionaldog

nc dog,


I see paragraphs and I take a pass.


#notthatinteresting

GloryBetweenTheHedges
GloryBetweenTheHedges

Fremeau needs to put the crackpipe down if he projecting that crap. He must starve for attention.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

ESPN Travis Haney says Bama has the best RB crew....the article was for insiders which I am not but the 1st part is below. I have no clue (insert joke) who is ranked or where. UGA should be in good shape.

1. Alabama running backs

The Sugar Bowl was widely forgettable in the Crimson Tide’s recent run of success, but the prideful legion of fans could at least take away that the already strong running back position got even stronger with freshman Derrick Henry’s nine-touch, 161-yard, two-touchdown performance.

Put Henry’s size and speed with similarly gifted runners T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake and you have the No. 1 position group in college football.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

Bama will be very good as you say, it is high time the Dawgs beat OBS in the Chicken Coop. Who knows about UF, but I think UGA beats Auburn in Athens with a much more complete team that nearly won in 2013.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Good post bulldog 14. But I think we will go undefeated.....maybe 1 loss but I have no idea who that will be too.

Dawg350
Dawg350

You're too high! Lol.

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

What's even more comical, CaliDawg, is that you think this is a UGA board.

#read-the-headline-again

Dawg350
Dawg350

Fo sho.

Great post! I think UGA will beat Bama In the seccg! Go Dawgs!

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

At this time Bama just might have the worst kicking game in the SOUTH. You must have a PK that can make those 42-45 FG's when you stall on offense.

Nick's comments in a recent stop in Ohio......

"I hate to say this, but sometimes a group needs to lose, they need to lose," Saban said. "They lose their respect for winning. And I love our team, I loved our team last year. It's not like we had a bad team, but compared to the championship teams, there was a little bit of complacency in terms of buying in. This year's team has a lot better chemistry. Whether we have the same talent or the talent at the right positions to be capable of that, I don't know.

"But losing the games helped everybody gain a perspective for winning and not taking things for granted and the importance of paying attention to detail. And maybe that's the only way you can learn."



 

Indydawg
Indydawg

I find your lack of faith in the Dawgs disturbing...

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

@Wrecker

"Tech has not finished 5th in CPJ's tenure and it will not happen this year.  Fourth is a possibility, but third is most likely."


Spot-on, Wrecker. Something it appears Fremeau doesn't think about.  Looks like Roof is PJ's best DC, and has the D improving.  2010-12 were horrendous Ds for GT, and they didn't finish 5th.  Don't think it's going to happen in 2014 either.

Indydawg
Indydawg

The only thing run of the mill around here is you....

Buzz-Off
Buzz-Off

Gurley, Marshall, Chubb and Sony will rival Bama's backs.....count on it.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Whoever liked flat tires post...then you're an idiot! I love UGA and I think we will go undefeated baby!

DawginLex
DawginLex

@Delusionaldog @Princess_Leia Of course you do. You are a worthless TROLL just like Bubba

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Just for the record.....Bama had 100 more yards offense than the cow college! If Bama had a FG kicker that could make 1 of 3 from 40 yards then nobody is speaking about the crop facility and Bama just might be 3 for 3. That is a lot of if's. What we do know is Georgia Southern kick your azz. That is documented. Calls us when you have a winning season Sport.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Dawg gone it

Yeah my I-pad doesn't show who likes these post. I'm excited about the season and why not ya know? Any true bulldog would be excited about it. That's why bubba is not a fan...only wants to live in the past. Dawg gone it, keep up the good work man...kudos to you my friend!

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@Dawg350  Lol you must be on your phone. It was bubbatavious. As usual spewing his hatred. UGA could win a national title and he'd still gripe. 

POAD2014
POAD2014

@Dewnsav  she is she just does the TUCK & TAPE

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie  willy, if we spike the ball, you might be 1 for 3...and if my sister had a Richard, she'd be my brother :) ...go dogs