ATHENS - We're going to hear a lot about numbers and stats over the next 24 hours, what with that Presidential election and all. (Is it over yet? Please, please, please?)
But going through the numbers in the college football landscape, and without the benefit of Nate Silver's computer model, (he won't return my calls), here's what stands out to me about the Georgia football team as it enters the home stretch:
- Georgia has a good offense and is balanced, the way Mark Richt and Mike Bobo want it: The Bulldogs rank 23rd nationally in offensive yards (third in the SEC), and are 33rd in passing and 37th in rushing.
- Georgia is improving defensively in the rankings: The Bulldogs rank 33rd nationally in total defense, after ranking 47th two weeks ago. (What we will now call the pre-Shawn Williams rant era.)
- The special teams are still ... bleh. The Bulldogs rank 101th in net punting (which, as we will show later, isn't necessarily on Collin Barber), and are 79th in punt return yardage, 55th in kickoff returns, and 44th in kickoff coverage.
- When it comes to winning the turnover battle, the Bulldogs have been okay. They are plus-four: 11 fumbles recovered and seven lost fumbles, and an even split on interceptions. Take away the Florida game, and Georgia is just plus-one ... but that plus-three against Florida may be the difference in the fortunes of this 2012 Georgia team.
- The best team stat for Georgia is pass efficiency rating: The Bulldogs rank seventh, and second in the SEC to Alabama. The best defensive stat for Georgia is also the passing game: The Bulldogs rank 24th in pass defense, although that's only sixth in the SEC.
- Now to individual stats, and the best one for a Georgia player is, not surprisingly, Jarvis Jones. He leads the nation in tackles-for-loss per game. (The NCAA measures it that way, rather than overall.) Jones is averaging 2.14 TFLs per game.
- Jones also leads the SEC, and is tied for the national lead, in forced fumbles. Jones has forced five fumbles, tied for the most with Rutgers' Khaseem Greene, who has played one more game than Jones. So Jones actually leads in forced fumbles-per-game.
- Jones also ranks fifth nationally in sacks per game. Jones has 8.5 sacks, which is tied for 10th nationally and is tied for second in the SEC. (Texas A&M's Damontre Moore has 11.5.)
- Aaron Murray also ranks sixth nationally in pass efficiency, and is second in the SEC behind Alabama's A.J. McCarron. Kansas State's Collin Klein is the national leader.
- Todd Gurley ranks second in the SEC in rushing yards (both total and per game), but is first among all tailbacks. The SEC leader is Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, with 922 rushing yards. Gurley is next with 857, and his 10 touchdowns rank behind only South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore among tailbacks. This points to Gurley having a real chance to be a first-team all-SEC pick as a freshman.
- Back to Barber: His punting average of 40.4 only ranks 14th in the SEC. But if you look closer in those stats they're not that bad: Barber has punted 42 times, and 18 have been fair caught, and 11 have been downed inside the 20. Only three have been touchbacks. And just going off pure memory, Barber has had very few shanked punts.
- Interesting stat on kickoffs: Senior walk-on Jamie Lindley and Marshall Morgan, who have basically been alternating, have not been much different. Morgan is averaging 62.9 yards per kick, with 10 touchbacks out of 26 attempts. Lindley is averaging 62.1 yard with 11 touchbacks out of 32 attempts.
- Morgan is doing all of the place-kicking, and that's a mixed bag. His four missed extra-points are tied for the most in the SEC, along with Texas A&M's Taylor Bertolet. But Bertolet has attempted 10 more PATs than Morgan. As for field goals, Georgia just isn't trying very many: Nine, with only Alabama having attempted less.
- Defensively, Georgia doesn't have anybody other than Jones ranked very high. But Alec Ogletree would be if he played all season: The junior linebacker has 50 tackles in five games, and his 10-per-game average would rank third in the SEC. (I'm not sure the minimum games the SEC requires at this point, but Ogletree will probably get there if he doesn't get hurt.)