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September 17, 2008

Going West

In American history, heading West is a action of hope.  Those settlers who could not carve out a prosperous spot for themselves or their families could simply pick up and move west for more open land, for hope of a better life, for Manifest Destiny.  The West became an idealized place of opportunity that offered the chance to begin anew, despite past failures and shortcomings.

For SEC teams, however, the West should have a different connotation.  It has been a place of ambush and scalping.  Since the conference went to twelve teams in 1992, the SEC has a record of 3-7 in Pac-10 stadiums.  Here are the numbers:
  • 1994 - Tennessee loses at UCLA
  • 1997 - Tennessee wins at UCLA
  • 2000 - Alabama loses at UCLA
  • 2002 - Auburn loses at (5) Southern Cal, Mississippi State loses at Oregon
  • 2003 - LSU wins at Arizona
  • 2005 - LSU wins at (15) Arizona State, Arkansas loses at (1) Southern Cal
  • 2007 - Tennessee loses at (12) California
  • 2008 - Tennessee loses at UCLA
I just bring this up to show that our brethern's wagon trains have been ambushed by natives in the past.  In some of those games, the Southern boys were just clearly outmatched, like Arkansas getting smashed to a fine powder and blown into the Santa Ana winds by Southern Cal.  But, you can't tell me that Alabama and Tennessee had any business losing some of those games to UCLA.  I also note that in 2005 an LSU team bursting at the seams with NFL talent, needed a last second heave and controversial catch to hold off an Arizona State team that finished 7-5.

There all all sorts of possible explanations, but the one that's often brought up is the time change.  Coach Richt doesn't think there's anything to this.  The Dawgs are leaving on Friday instead of flying out Thursday for a brief acclimation period.  Ron Courson agrees after talking to teams that headed into the desert. To us, it should feel like a night game, playing at eight eastern.

Time change or not, I think we have too many rifles and smallpox infested blankets for the natives to survive.  Plus, Richt still has that freakish record at opponent's home stadiums.  After last week, he's 26-4 on the road.



Mike said...

Bright lights, big city. Southern kids out of the sticks in faster-paced foreign lands for the first time in their lives. Surely the first plane flight for many. Etc.

Not able to adjust after just 1-2 days. Wide-eyed and quickly run over come gametime.

Fortunately our team's 2 most important players aren't from the sticks. They've traveled a bunch already, are familiar with big cities outside the South, etc.

Anonymous said...

3 time zones will not induce jet lag. However, there are travel issues that are fatiguing including hydration and just being stuck on a plane for a 4 hour flight (assuming no delays or brutal headwinds).

Also going a day early will do nothing for acclimating to the heat. Looking at, the comfortable level in Athens looks to be worse than Tempe when you click on the Fitness and Exercise conditions.

Since the players are on a chartered 757 it looks like they should have plenty of room and be able to move around a lot. Sitting in a plane seat for 4 hours will wreck one for exercise (having done this many times).

Moreno takes a train from NJ to ATL, he does not exactly sound like a world traveler.

Unknown said...

I think the lesson here is not to play UCLA at home

Anonymous said...

What’s all this talk about never flying before?

Are you saying that the team takes buses to Fayetteville, Arkansas?

I’d rather take a chartered plane to Australia than a bus to Arkansas?

Anonymous said...

Bright lights, big city, huh bcs-sucks? When you get in the actual stadium, there are no more intimidating environments than the SEC. The travel aspect is different and that's the only thing that factors in. Look at Cal vs Maryland....Cal came across country for what was a 9AM PST kickoff and look what happened. Most would say Cal is a more talented team than Maryland yet they didn't do anything until late in the game. With the kickoff later in the day on Saturday, our guys can sleep in and still have plenty of time to get ready for the game.

Anonymous said...

The "Bright Lights, Big City" won't be a factor at all. It's not like the team will be out on sight seeing tours or anything like that.

As previously stated, it's all about overcoming the time zone change & hydration challegnes.

Anonymous said...

Of course 3 time zones can create jet lag -- that's ridiculous to state otherwise.

It's a terrible idea to go out on Friday. Terrible idea.

Sports Dawg said...

The biggest concern might turn out to be not when we leave but when we arrive back in Athens. My understanding is that it will be the late A.M. hours of Sunday. Then a travel weary group of coaches and players have to begin preparations for a tough 'Bama squad. Next week will be a long one for the Dawgs. It's "gut-check" time in the classic city!

Anonymous said...

Don't know about you guys, but I'm much more concerned about the pass rush and kickoffs than the airplane or the dry heat. Failure to execute is what loses ballgames. We won't lose b/c of the plane ride.

Anonymous said...

Just noticed all 7 losses were the first game of the year for the SEC teams.

You may have said that...but Its good for us to have a couple game under our belt.

Anonymous said...


The scientific literature (which I have studied as part of my current job) is clear that 3 time zones does not create jet lag. The military has looked at this extensively. Most of the effects people think are jet lag can be attributed to the hassle of travel.

If you wish to share scientific papers that refute the body of literature, please send over the references.

Anonymous said...

For an old Air Force trooper who's made a few long flights, you'll find an east to west flight produces hardly any jet lag while the west to east flights really hit you more. Their (ASU) defensive ends and backs worry me more than climatic or time issues. However, the Dawgs triumph..go Dawgs!!

hoodawg said...

Barnhart in today's column: Understand how important this game is to Arizona State and Dennis Erickson’s desire to put the Sun Devils back on the national stage. Their fans have been talking about this week’s game with Georgia for a long time. The game is one of the hardest sellouts the school has ever had. I talked folks in Phoenix last week who have been there for huge games with Southern Cal, Notre Dame, and Nebraska but have never experienced the buzz that exists for this visit from the Georgia Bulldogs.

Really, though? Dawgs fans have had zero problem getting tickets to this game, long before the UNLV loss. Is it true that "really excited" is something short of "sellout" in the desert?

Anonymous said...


One word, chief: NERD.

Anonymous said...

Skidawg --

"The condition is not linked to the length of flight, but to the transmeridian (i.e., east-west) distance traveled. Hence, a ten-hour flight between Frankfurt and Johannesburg, staying roughly on the same meridian, does not cause jet lag, while a five-hour flight between New York and Los Angeles may."


"Travelers flying west "gain" time and usually have an easier time adjusting than eastward travelers. However, they too experience symptoms of jet lag after landing because they still must adjust to a different schedule."


Yeah, you're right, there's no jet lag...

Care to revise your bullshit statement?

Will said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Will someone just show up and start tailgating 5 hours before the game and binge drink some bourbon in the parking lot while playing quarters. Also, make it a company event with no permit.
Wish I could go. Wife having baby soon. Go Dawgs!

ugagirl24 said...

Thank you wfdawg. Glad someone around here is making sense. A three hour plane ride will NOT, NOT cause jet lag. Please!

By the way, our players are allowed to drink water on the plane ride. I'm sure our coaches and trainers have thought of that. We fly to a lot of games (LSU, UT, etc.) If we lose this game because we took a four hour plane ride on Friday, then we've got a major problem on our hands!

Anonymous said...

Guys - I go from Charlotte to Tempe on business once a month & can assure that I never, repeat - NEVER, have experienced jet lag going out. Theses are 20 year old kids, not a 40 year old like me - so they should be fine. Coming back is a different story, but only if I have to catch a late return flight.

The boys may be a little tired on Sunday, but should be sufficiently rested and back in the saddle on Monday. The coaches are going to get the worst of this deal by a long shot.

Anonymous said...

Jet lag, dry heat, ...I don't want to hear it. This is a pass happy Pac 10 team, and if the boys just stuff the ball down their throat, they'll be just fine. Not to mention ASU can't play from behind. I watch this team a lot, I actually live in AZ. Displaced UGA fan going to my first game ever with my 5 year old. We even bought crappy seats purposely to sit with fello dawg fans. Cant wait to see ya'll

Anonymous said...

The time diffence will definitely have an impact on the players. I flew in yesterday to attend the game. I was up at 3:40am PST this morning (6:40 EST). Knowing the players typically wake up early for workouts, etc., their natural sleeping pattern will have them waking up tomorrow by 3am. Make sure their is caffeine in the gatorade!

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