Gurley’s gone again, but UGA is different

Todd Gurley’s comeback was also his farewell. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

Todd Gurley's comeback was also his farewell. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

Todd Gurley’s comeback was also his farewell. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

A bit of perspective. When Todd Gurley was lost to suspension on Oct. 9, we wondered if Georgia would win another game. (Actually, we assumed the Bulldogs would beat Charleston Southern, but nothing else seemed a given.) The same Todd Gurley having been lost to a torn ACL, we wonder what it will take to propel those same Bulldogs — the same but different — into the College Football Playoff.

In the four games Gurley missed due to suspension, Georgia proved it wasn’t just a one-man team but a very good team. (OK, so Florida was the exception. But let’s call it the exception that proves the new rule.) Nick Chubb established himself as the nation’s best No. 2 back and among the finest No. 1s, and the rest of the team grew up with him. On Saturday, the night of Gurley’s ballyhooed return, the effect was spectacular. Georgia scored 34 points without strain. Auburn, which usually scores a lot of points, managed seven.

It’s hard to imagine a team profiting from the loss of the nation’s best player, but Georgia did. The two games prior to Gurley’s suspension — Tennessee and Vandy — were essentially bravura solo turns. Everything since has been a function of the collective. Even when Georgia collapsed in Jacksonville, it was an across-the-board failure. (Chubb lost a fumble, and his coaches forgot about him after the first quarter.)

We’ll wonder forever if going five weeks without playing a real game had an effect on Gurley getting hurt in the fourth quarter against Auburn, but that’s a forever-unknowable. He’d been practicing all along, and the early kickoff return (undone by penalty) indicated he was primed for his return. This is football. Guys get hurt.

It was his 29th carry of the night, the most of 2014 and the second-most of his collegiate career, but Chubb had 38 totes against Missouri and 30 against Arkansas and appears robust. We can quibble about Gurley being in the game with Georgia leading by 20 points with 5:21 remaining, but that’s the merest of quibbles. Somebody had to carry the ball there. (Lest we forget, Georgia had overcome a 20-point deficit at Auburn last season, though not with so little time remaining.)

Would Chubb have gotten hurt if he’d been handed the ball instead? (He was on the next play and scored a touchdown.) Would losing Chubb have been preferable to losing Gurley? We say again: This is football; guys get hurt. Teams and seasons move on.

For this team and this season, there remains one Gurley-related question: Will the playoff committee think less of the Bulldogs without the nation’s best player? We’ve seen such a thing happen in basketball. Kenyon Martin, the nation’s best player, broke his ankle against St. Louis in the 2000 Conference USA tournament, and Cincinnati, which figured to be the No. 1 overall seed, was dropped to a No. 2. (It lost in Round 2 to Tulsa.)

There are only four seeds in the football playoff. This being the inaugural edition, the committee has no history regarding major injuries. We can’t know whether Georgia — assuming Missouri loses and the Bulldogs win the East and then the SEC championship — will be relegated No. 5 or lower in the final rankings because Gurley is unavailable. But when Gurley was lost in October, we had no reason to believe Georgia could remain part of such a discussion. There’s reason now.

Reader Comments 0

281 comments
kreedham
kreedham

Don't know Michel's or Marshall's status but imagine they'll be kept out of Chas Southern game, even if ready.  Ga needs them more for Tech and hopefully SEC championship.  If they play and win SEC championship by a few, they may still be out but if they could win by 10 or more they should be in.  Of course, if would help if Auburn could beat Bama and Ole Miss could beat MS State.  However, the absence of Gurley shouldn't keep them back.


AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

It's Charleston Southern Week in Athens.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Im back baby!!!  UGA will win out and stomp tech!!! we beat the life out of auburn!! hahahaaaah 

SinceVince
SinceVince

So we fired our Soccer coach...Where are the "True" Dawg fans?  Where is the support for this young man? Hey Howdy Doody our soccer team was "In the hunt" like you required!  Maybe Mark Richt will be next along with Mark Fox! 

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@SinceVince Teaching those corner kicks is hard work!........that and a good header.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@SinceVince Did he coach a girl sport?..........they are expected to win NC's.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

Boo-Hoo Dew...........".the tekkies are ruining our back-patting blog"...........be glad i took the night off. OK, i will get you started again......when Mizzou loses to TN. and we run the..........".Some where over the Rainbow"

WDE
WDE

@gtcaryd sorta like Bug U beating UGA in football hmmm ?? I it could happen...no no really it could.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@WDE @gtcaryd 2008 Baby!!!!..........I would say we are due one, between the hedges again too!

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

another UGA story soiled by two tekkies...talking about obsessed Bob ??...that being said, lotta football left to be played...we'll see how it shakes out...go dogs

BlueRaven2110
BlueRaven2110

I am praying for you my brother Todd Gurley ll. Thank you for all you for all the excitement you brought to Dawgnation.

Get well and get your degree.

Todd Anglin : Life long Georgia fan, from Lawrenceville

OH-IO
OH-IO

GurlME is old news. 

JesseWhite
JesseWhite

@OH-IO You misspelled Gurley...and Ohio doesn't have a dash in it.

50Concept
50Concept

Gurley should have taken the season off and gotten ready for the combine after getting hosed by the ncaa and uga.!  He may sue!

LuxLucisofVerum
LuxLucisofVerum

@Lodicris So, he's going to sue Georgia for taking out and paying for a 10 million dollar insurance policy on him? You're a complete dolt. Go back to your X box.

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

@Lodicris The reason Gurley came back was because he is a team player and he has integrity. What does that tell you about yourself.

OH-IO
OH-IO

2013:  Boxscore sets records. No Championship


2014: GurlMEGate, 419 and No Championship


2015: NATIONAL CHAMPS

dawg fan
dawg fan

@OH-IO 


2009:  Top 10 Techies choke on national television against Georgia after most of their big mouthed fans predicted a blowout victory.


2010:  6-7 Georgia team with freshmen QB runs all over the Joke by Coke.


2011:  A bored Georgia team with bigger fish to fry makes mince meat of Paul "Punch Em in the Mouth" Johnson and his high school offense.


2012:  Georgia just scored again!!


2013:  We were looking for new ways to crush the soul and spirit of the Techies.  An overtime win did the trick. 

OH-IO
OH-IO

@dawg fan


Get in your thick skull, I will root for Tech when they play the dogs but I am not a Techie. Your post means nothing to me and calls no memories, 


I do think the "Joke by Coke" is a typically juvenile dog insult. 

GTBob
GTBob

@dawg fan You really are obsessed with GT aren't you? It's ok. I like us too.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OH-IO

Bucky I have finally figured out something. Your big rival in the B1G (Michigan)has fallen completely off the football grid, So you are transferring you vitriol to UGA. To bad Buckeyes could use another win against a ranked team for their resume. Just hope Wisconsin can survive against Iowa this week.Would hate for the B1G CG to be even more meaningless than it already is.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OH-IO @dawg fan

Sorry Bucky ,that entrance exam at Tech is pretty rough .They do have higher standards than most State Colleges.(Like the one in OH-IO)

OH-IO
OH-IO

@Buschleaguer


Don't know about that. I hate Michigan one day a year. Otherwise I am a fan. 


What I do know is Michigan has been down for a while now. No OL #1 draft picks for a while now. 


The fan base is restless. 


They will be back. 


Terry1961
Terry1961

@GTBob, says the nerd posting on a blog, about a UGA player. 

dawg fan
dawg fan

Good grief we get it Tech fans.  The AJC only talks about us and won't talk about your little ACC Coastal race with Duke.  Nobody cares.  Get over it.


Please quit embarrassing our state.

OH-IO
OH-IO

@dawg fan


You're playing Charleston Southern next week speaking of embarrassing the state! 

GTBob
GTBob

@dawg fan Nobody said anything about who the AJC talks about. Quit getting your panties in a bunch. Sorry, but in a college football blog there may be some comments from opposing fans. It's not the end of the world.

I swear I have never seen a fan base cry nearly as much as UGA fans do on their own blogs.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@GTBob @dawg fan  I swear I have never seen a fan base so utterly owned by a rival school as Tech fans are by Georgia.


Its really embarrassing for you.

GTBob
GTBob

@dawg fan You guys own us, congratulations. You always have and always will. There will still be opposing fans talking about your team on the internet no matter how many times you beat us. Try to live with it.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OH-IO @dawg fan

Kent State was not available.Neither was Ball State Youngstown State, Illinois State or even Illinois for what difference they would be .Charleston Southern would be favored over the Illini.

ShootinTheHooch
ShootinTheHooch

@dawg fan When you said "nobody cares" you hit the nail on the head. I caught some of the first quarter and Dodd Stadium was a morgue. They couldn't even sell the place out with discounted tickets.

Reaganite
Reaganite

GT gets one of their best wins in years against Clemson and all we read about is UGA play-off possibilities, updates on Gurley, who UGA plays next week etc. 


It's great to be a Georgia Bulldog!!!!! 


5-IN-A-ROW ladies,  after 11/19/2014 it'll be 6-IN-A--ROW.

GTBob
GTBob

@Reaganite This blog got bumped for a meaningless baseball blog. Sorry, but you aren't that important.

Reaganite
Reaganite

It's great to a Dawg fan cause we hang-out on the Dawg blogs.


Conversely, it shucks to be a techie, cause you hang out on the Dawg blogs. (they call that The Stockholm Syndrome.)


5-IN-A-ROW 5-IN-A-ROW.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

Hey Mark,

We also can't know whether Georgia Tech --- 

assuming Duke loses and the Yellow Jackets win the Coastal and then the ACC Championship --- will be regulated number 5 or lower in the final rankings because GT defeats Number 1 Florida State.

Reaganite
Reaganite

@AlwaysReady  Come November 29, 2014 it will 6-IN-A-ROW against the Dawgs.


As bad as FSU is, they'll still dirt stomp the D2 football team from midtown.

GTBob
GTBob

@Reaganite Lets say we play FSU and beating them means that UGA would make the playoffs. Who do you root for?

ShootinTheHooch
ShootinTheHooch

@AlwaysReady If GT wins the Coastal, there will be fewer people at the All Cupcake Conference championship game than there was at the Dodd for the Clemson game. If GT fans don't care about their team, why should anyone else?

JackClemens
JackClemens

I think UGA could win three games and there's no way they'd make the playoff.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@JackClemens

Exactly.

Just like if Georgia Tech beat UGA and FSU to win the ACC Championship, we still would not make it.

And at least 1 of our 2 losses would be to a ranked team, unlike UGA that lost to 2 terrible teams.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@Birmingham__Jacket @JackClemens

Duke will not be in top 25 if they lose to UNC or Wake. And Jackets will be at home on ACC CG Day if Duke stays in top 25.At least if Tech loses to UGA ,it would be a loss to a top 10 rated team.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@JackClemens

Jack 

What happened to the Eagles at Navy on Saturday? Have they just run out of gas,a lot of long road trips this year. hope they finish strong Saturday at home against LA Monroe.