But if you were a Georgia man you would petition for a harder look at the evidence. You would say forget the polls for now. You would argue that the Bulldogs played the toughest schedule of any of the top five teams, and in a tougher league. That they defeated more winning teams (five to USC's four and Michigan's and Maryland's three and Pitt's two), and that the combined record of their opposition was 59-59-3, compared to USC's 58-63-1, Michigan's 54-65-2, Maryland's 52-64-5 and Pitt's 52-66-2.
How much better was the SEC than the Big Ten or the Pac-8? If you were a Georgia man and properly indignant, you would point out that SEC teams won 33 games and lost only 14 outside the league, a .702 average compared with the Big Ten's 14-14-2 (.500) and the Pac-8's 16-16-1 (.500). You would argue that the Big Ten and Pac-8 were two-team races. You would dismiss Maryland on the same grounds, adding that the Terrapins did not even play North Carolina, the second-best team in their own Atlantic Coast Conference.
For sure, Pittsburgh has bitten off a considerably larger piece than it may have thought it had on Nov. 20. The irrepressible Bulldogs of Vince Dooley routed Alabama 21-0 in midseason and then, as Bryant himself predicted, "got better." They are a salty blend of guts and guile, a minor image of Majors' Panthers, well balanced on offense, tenacious and disciplined on defense, not particularly big but very physical, and absolutely impossible to discourage.
The difference between the two teams, says Dooley, is that Pittsburgh has Superman. He means Dorsett. It is not likely that Georgia, being restricted by the rules to playing 11 men at a time, will present this splendid athlete anything he has not seen defensively, although Dorsett's associates on offense may be surprised by the intensity with which the Bulldogs go about their work. Georgia plays what is, basically, an eight-man line: two tackles, two ends and four linebackers, with a rover, Bill Krug, who is exceedingly active and makes more big plays than any defensive player Dooley ever had.
It is likely that Krug's ability—or inability—to get to Dorsett will be a factor, but so will be the eight-man line, which can be a suffocating thing for a runner. Duke held Dorsett to 45 yards in the first half with a similar ploy, but when it looked up. Pitt Quarterback Matt Cavanaugh had thrown five touchdown passes. Penn State had early success with an eight, but Dorsett kept hunting and pecking and. suddenly appearing at fullback in an I formation (Pitt runs the veer 70% of the time), broke the game open in the second half.
The advantage to Georgia is that it plays this defense all the time, believes in it and, against veer-type option attacks, swarms to the run and consistently takes the pass away. Its linebackers play all manner of stunting games, and Georgia's three deep backs are seldom caught out of position.
Unfortunately, stopping Dorsett also depends on Georgia's offense. Dooley is up on his Superman (Georgia has "held" Dorsett to 101 and 104 yards in two previous meetings in 1973 and '75). "Against Dorsett," he says, "you can't afford to leave the defense on the field too long. It will get tired, but Dorsett won't. It's not that he gets stronger, it's that he does not get tired. It's absolutely incredible. He carries 30 times a game, and not only doesn't get hurt but doesn't get tired." To keep his defense fresh, and to win, Dooley says Georgia must control the ball, as it did 70% of the time in victories over Florida and Alabama.
There are other questions. How well will the Bulldogs get to Pitt's smallish linebackers? If All-America Middle Guard Al Romano is neutralized, will Quarterback Ray Goff be able to option off the Pittsburgh ends? And, if he gets strong reaction to the outside, will the counter-dives work? It should be remembered, too, that though Goff is not a bad passer, he has not had to throw much. It would probably be best for Georgia if he continued not to have to.
What would be best for Georgia if it upset Pittsburgh would be to have the Rose Bowl game blacked out (ABC could probably arrange it), because the Rose comes on after the Sugar and Cotton, and pollsters' memories are short. Alabama won a national championship one year by wowing the late viewers in the Orange Bowl after upsets had scrambled the other bowls during the day. It could happen in Pasadena.
In that eventuality, one could build an overwhelming case for USC, because it may overwhelm Michigan. The Trojans have enormous talent (size, speed—the works) and, in John Robinson's first year as head coach, they have given Quarterback Vince Evans things to do besides spoon-feed the ball to Tailback Ricky Bell. What is worse for Michigan, Bell is healthy after some late-season miseries and is perfectly amenable to busting up people from the fullback position whenever Robinson wants him and the freshman prodigy Charles White in the game at the same time.