The Ewing Theory–coined by the great Bill Simmons–states that teams are often better when playing without the person considered to be their greatest player. There are two elements that must be present for the Ewing Theory to exists: 1) The team has a star player who receives a lot of attention but never wins anything, and 2) The star player leaves the team and everybody writes the team off. Todd Gurley is the most electrifying force in college football. He can run, catch, return kickoffs, and even throw the ball–who knew he was left handed? He was the nation’s frontrunner for the Heisman. He gets suspended for potential NCAA violations and everybody and their momma thinks Georgia’s season is over.
With the way the Bulldogs played against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday, I believe this Bulldogs could be a potential case study of the Ewing Theory. The Bulldogs played their most balanced game of the year and didn’t seem to miss a beat without Gurley. Granted, the team was less explosive and less exciting, but they still played very well. Nick Chubb filled Gurley’s void and rushed 38 times for 143 yards and one touchdown. Hutson Mason played his best game as well, finishing with 156 yards and one touchdown on 22-of-28 passing. The defense was great, especially the secondary which has been criticized all year,and looked like the defense we expected them to be when Jeremy Pruitt became the new defensive coordinator. Though Maty Mauk did play awful and basically gave Georgia many of those turnovers, the secondary’s coverage was phenomenal and the Tigers receivers had a tough time getting open.
Before this game I was skeptical of Georgia’s chances to win the national championship. Now, I can confidently say that I think this team can win the national championship. There is no team in the nation that is more put together than this ball club. Sure, we do not have an awesome quarterback, but Hutson Mason is an effective game manager and smart player. Nick Chubb is strong, fearless runner, and even if Gurley doesn’t return, the return of Sony Michel will help lessen the load for Chubb and provide the excitement that the 2012 backfield had. The defense is led by arguably the best front seven in the SEC, and if the secondary continues to play as a cohesive unit, then it will very tough for any team to move the ball against them.
Look, this team is out to prove that don’t need Gurley–there not a one man team. They love Gurley. They support him. But they are still a team without him. It’s not Todd Gurley and the Georgia Bulldogs; It’s the Georgia Bulldogs. I really believe that his absence can motivate them to show the world that this is still one of the best teams in the country even though the don’t have their star player. I believe this could be a great case study of the Ewing Theory and that this team–largely because their weak schedule–has the best chance to win out and go to the national championship game.
Now, maybe I’m going a bit overboard. Maybe, I’ve lost it. Maybe, I don’t know what I’m talking about. Or maybe I’m right. I don’t know. But, I do believe this team is the team that every team should fear in the country. The Bulldogs played with heart, determination, swagger, and purpose on Saturday. And they didn’t Todd Gurley this past weekend, and, if he’s gone for the rest of the season, I think they will be just fine. I hope.