The non-conference schedule mercifully draws to a close this weekend for the Troy Trojans. Following a blowout loss to in-state rival UAB, a home loss to Duke where it led by 14 points early only to lose by 17, and an embarrassing 38-35 home loss to FCS Abilene Christian, Troy heads to Georgia. The #13 Bulldogs are mad mad mad after losing to South Carolina last week and looking to take it out on somebody.
Remember, Georgia is paying Troy a cool $900,000 to play this game. That might be the only thing Troy fans want to remember about it, but still.
Here's the basic stuff if you'd like to watch:
Start Time: Noon ET
TV: SEC Network
Betting Odds: Georgia -41 and growing
Troy Outlook: Troy finds itself at the very bottom of the Sun Belt Power Poll in a week when the entire conference lost and would've fit in on one of those Sarah McLaughlin adoption commercials. The wheels are loose and things could get sideways fast.
The line opened with Georgia as a 37.5-point favorite and has only grown from there. At the current 41, it matches exactly the record for largest upset point-spread wise in college football history.
That's right Jim Carrey:
It hasn't been all bad for the Trojans. Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers sports the Sun Belt's fourth-highest quarterback rating at 130.6, has completed exactly two-thirds of his passes, rushed for three touchdowns, passed for one and thrown zero interceptions.
Troy actually claimed 14-point leads over both of its last two opponents, but couldn't finish the drill, as they say. Losing that kind of lead to a pretty good Duke team is one thing, losing to an 0-2 Abilene Christian squad making the transition from Division II to FCS? Yea, not good.
Defensively, it ain't looking good either. The Troy 'D' is giving up more than six yards per play and almost 450 yards of offense a game on average. And in case you haven't noticed, UAB, Duke and Abilene Christian ain't Georgia.
The team that won five straight Sun Belt titles from 2006-2010 now looks like it couldn't beat its way out of a wet paper bag. Some are already wondering if 24th-year head coach Larry Blakeney, the second-longest tenured coach in all of the FBS, has reached his Bobby Bowden moment following the first 0-3 start of his career.
Troy Athletic Director John Hartwell came out and defended his coach this week, but we've got a whole lot of ball left to play. There's plenty of time to whip out the "time to move in another direction" line if things keep going south this season.
You know it's getting bad when this pops up on a message board before the ides of September:
09-14-2014, 03:08 PM
When does basketball start??
And look, there's the paper bag! This might be worse than I thought.
The Opponent: Georgia was flying high after an opening night win over Clemson. The team shot into the top 10 and running back Todd Gurley ran to the top of the Heisman Trophy list. While last week's loss to Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks put quite a damper on the enthusiasm, Georgia isn't out of anything yet.
For one, South Carolina already has an SEC loss of its own. And one of Gurley's top competitors for the Heisman has formed the bad habit of climbing onto tables and shouting indecent language from an internet meme to random passers-by on campus. Didn't we all go through a phase like that when we were 20 years old? Wait, no, we didn't.
Georgia's defense has been passable, if not perfect, under new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, giving up an average of 28 points against two solid opponents. First-year starting quarterback Hutson Mason has a 140.9 quarterback rating and a 71 percent completion percentage, but only 322 yards and two touchdowns over two games.
But then there's Gurley, who already boasts 329 yards and four touchdowns on the year, with an average of 9.4 yards a carry. Not the kind of matchup Troy needs right now.
Prediction: In the only other meeting between these teams, Georgia slid by Troy by the close score of 44-34 in 2007. Don't expect anything like that this time.
It could get ugly fast. If Georgia jumps out to a big lead it could also be a chance to get experience for Troy's younger players and give the starters some rest ahead of the conference slate.
As much as he's done for the university and the team, the rest of this year may boil down to an audition for Blakeney to stay on for year 25.
If the Troy offense can get off to a hot start like they have the last two weeks this game could be close at halftime, but at some point Georgia is going to pull away. Take the points though. A 41-point head start is a ridiculous number to overcome, especially when the opponent (ostensibly) isn't even trying to beat it.