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November 30, 2008

The Defense is Broken

There are talent gaps on this team. Some of those talent gaps were caused by injury, and others were caused by recruiting mistakes. Regardless of the cause, you have to accept that there are talent gaps.

If you're being honest, you also have to accept that the roster that was ranked #1 preseason never really materialized due to injuries.

It isn't easy to scheme around some of Georgia’s defensive talent/injury problems. The lack of play makers at defensive end is particularly problematic. When you can't get to the QB with a four man rush, it puts stress on your linebackers and defensive backs. The result is a cascading problem. Sort of like a rolling blackout where breakdowns in coverage and scheme happen in different spots.

All of that said. UGA did NOT lose to Georgia Tech on Saturday because of talent problems on the defense. UGA lost because:
  • You have to wrap up when you tackle.
  • You have to approach the ball carrier with bad intentions.
  • You can't shoulder nudge your way to victory.
  • You have to play assignment football against the option.
  • You can’t take a record number of bad angles in pursuit of the runner.
And UGA lost because of special teams and penalties…which we will cover in a separate post. Georgia lost because the Bulldogs did the same things that they've done all year.

You want to know why I haven't blogged much the past few weeks? What's to say? From mid 2005-2008, the song has remained mostly the same. We got a 6 game reprieve from our problems in late 2007, but it's been the same problems for most of that period. It gets redundant saying the same things over and over. “If we tackle well, don’t get lots of penalties and score points in the redzone, blah, blah, blah.” It gets old talking about that every week.

Bad tackling, bad angles and a lack of violence have been eroding the play of the defense. I've bent over backwards to excuse the problems away to talent and injuries. But that wasn't the problem on Saturday.

It's one thing to get your ass handed to you by the #1 and #2 teams in America. It sucks, but it's part of football. The Gators and Tide are most certainly more talented than Georgia. Georgia Tech most certainly is not more talented. Our players should not be giving up 45 points to a program with Tech's personnel. Ever.

In my opinion, the underlying problem appears to be that the Georgia Bulldog coaching staff is clearly settling for this level of play. That starts with Mark Richt.

He has settled for the penalty situation. He has settled for our keystone cops kickoff coverage. He has settled for the off field discipline issues. He has settled for the erosion of quality in the defense. He had settled for half-assed offensive line recruiting until UAB mercifully took our problem in that area out of town.

You get what you settle for in life. And Richt’s problem with apparently settling for this level of play is bigger than Brian Van Gorder versus Willie Martinez. Why? Because it’s a problem across the board.

The defense is broken. I have no idea how to fix it, but I’m not paid $2-3 million a year to figure that out. If it were as simple as firing Willie Martinez, I’d say “do that.” But the bigger issue is Mark Richt needs to decide that playing this style of football is as much fun, personally rewarding, or successful as playing the style of football that he initial brought to Athens. The style of football we all fell in love with.

In early 2006, I posted a note about Why I Believe in Mark Richt Football (link fixed). Unfortunately, Georgia didn’t play with the violence, mental toughness or aggression in 2008 that I described back then.

The problem is bigger than just the defense. Heaven knows the special teams are a wreck and penalties are killing us. But it’s the defense where our problems showcase every wart of the program.

It’s up to Richt. Is he going to settle for this? Because this isn’t about Wins and Losses. This is about an erosion of a style of play that will be his undoing over time if he doesn’t reel it in now.

This off season will be interesting to watch.

See Also:
-- Georgia's Loss Falls on Coaching - Mark Bradley
-- Recipe for a lost off season - Get the Picture
-- Bulldog post-game notes - David Hale
-- Post-game thoughts - DawgSports


About that season opener in Stillwater next year

Image by Jim Hipple

Not sure if you saw the Big 12 South game tonight or not, but Oklahoma State's offense is ridiculously good. They put up 41 points and 452 yards of offense against a strong Oklahoma Sooner squad. Granted, the Cowboy defense couldn't stop a red rover game, but their O is amazing.

According to the O-State Illustrated Depth Chart, the Cowboys return 8 starters on offense for 2009 including all the critical skill positions. They only lose their tight end and two interior offensive linemen. Defensively, they lose most of their secondary and both starting defensive tackles.

In other words, Mark Richt has to get our defensive woes figured out at a DNA-level pretty quickly because things don't get easier next year.

The 2008 Schedule never actually ended up being as tough top to bottom as people thought it would. Yes, UF and Bama are world beaters, and we just got beat by Tech. But we only played three teams that will finish the season ranked. Plus, we faced the worst LSU, Auburn, Tennessee and Arizona State teams in a decade or more each. It could've been much worse.

Lastly, one positive note about opening the season against Ok State. Our overachiever seasons under Richt have come in years where the team has started with a strong or heavily hyped opener. Our underachiever teams have started with cupcakes.
    Year: Opening Team = Record
    2001: vs. Ark State = 8-4 season (underachieved)
    2002: vs. Clemson = 13-1 season
    2003: at Clemson = 11-3 season
    2004: vs. GSU = 10-2 (underachieved)
    2005: vs. Boise (hyped) = 10-3
    2006: vs. Western Kentucky = 9-4 (underachieved)
    2007: vs. Oklahoma State = 11-2
    2008: vs. GSU = 9-3 (underachieved)
Maybe starting with a strong team next year will be one more reason for Richt to take a long hard look at everything.


November 29, 2008

as always a moment to pause

Comments stopped for a day or two. We're all pissed. If you want to vent find a message board or a bar. Damn. Just damn. Personally....I've found a bar.

Thank You, Seniors

When you score 42, you should win. 

Mohamed Massaquoi and the rest of the seniors, you deserved better. More to come.


November 28, 2008

Kiffin to Rocky Top

No kidding, Tony Barnhart, it looks like Lane Kiffin will be the next head coach for Tennessee's football program. Kiffin has no previous ties to Knoxville or the South, other than a brief stint as an NFL underling for the Jaguars. He's been known as a solid offensive coordinator at USC, a good recruiter, and the son of Monte Kiffin, NFL defensive wizard. Kiffin is better known nationally as the boy that Al Davis hired to coach the Raiders in 2007. Davis fired him four games into the 2008 season after 20 games. Kiffin will be the youngest head coach in the FBS. (Image: USC)
Most of the reports I've seen don't necessarily hype up Kiffin, but instead hype up the staff he could build. The first name mentioned is dear old dad, Monte. Kiffin the Elder is now the defensive coordinator at Tampa Bay, where he invented the Tampa 2 defense and rode it to a Super Bowl win. He is considered by many as one of the best defensive coordiantors in football. He'd be a very formidable presence in the SEC.
The other name consistently mentioned is Ed Orgeron, former Ole Miss head coach and current Saints assistant. The two coached together at USC and Kiffin took over the recruiting coordinator slot on that staff when Orgeron left for Oxford. Coach O might be a goofball and the punchline to a lot of jokes, but he can recruit. Just watch Ole Miss.
This is a a potential home run for UT and way better than the end I had foreseen. They just seemed destined for disappointment. Give some credit to Mike Hamilton for coming through with a hot name before the season is even over. If, and it's a big if, Monte and Coach O join the staff, Kiffin will have a powerful recruiter and a defensive X's and O's alchemist. Tennessee is the only traditional SEC power without a natural, native talent base to pull athletes from. Thus, UT has to recruit nationally. Kiffin has reeled in kids from all over the country at USC, so he's can attract elite athletes. Orgeron has proven he can sell Ole Miss to big recruits. Selling the Big Orange should be easier.
On the other hand, staffs are hardly ever composed of the first names floated. Kiffin's been a great recruiting coordinator, but it's easy to recruit to USC, where a kid can compete for a national title every year, hang out with Will Ferrell and Snoop Dog, and date a song girl. Is UT just as much of a national draw? Plus, the guy is ridiculously young. Is he ready for the intensity of SEC media, fanbases, and the other coaches in this league?
We'll find out what kind of recruiter Kiffin is quickly. Marlon Brown, the Memphis wideout, is down to us and UT by most accounts. The Vols were leading before Phillip got the ax. Brown was waiting to see who the new guy would be in Knoxville. I'd suppose Mr. Brown can expect some callers when the contact period begins tomorrow.

Weather Tomorrow = Epic Suck calls for 90% chance of rain and temperatures around 47 degrees at kickoff tomorrow. The winds will be around 10 mph with a mixture of steady rain and thunder showers. So we've got that going for us.

Now, the debate rages on. Who benefits the most from the rain?

The triple option is a precision system dependent upon well timed inside hand offs and outside pitches. For all of its strengths (unpredictability and the pressure it puts on defenses), it's weakness is fumbles. Even the old Nebraska teams struggled with fumbles.

Can Tech protect the football tomorrow?

BTW -- If the weather forecast bums you out, just'll be colder, more windy and awful in the 600 level. Suck on that Tech fans.

See Also:
-- Thoughts on the Game - Blutarsky
-- Over analyzing the Weather - DawgsOnline
-- GT game preview - HeyJennySlater


November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last night I was in Athens for the UGA Women's Game vs. North Carolina Central University. When the Dawgs were up 69-8 mid-second half, my dad and I tried to split...but the driver (mom) would have no part of it.

Anyway, we saw it through to the bitter, glorious end. UGA won so big that Andy Landers played the walk-ons, trainers, score keepers and a couple of injured alumni just to keep the score to a more presentable 85-31. It's rare that you see a scoreboard show 69-8 and think, "It's really not that close."

After leading 4-2, the Lady Bulldogs embarked on 11-0, 20-0 and 14-0 runs before entering the locker room [at the half]. At the break, five different Georgia players had as many points individually as N.C. Central had as a team.
So today, I am thankful that I'm not a women's basketball game.

Happy Turkey Day to All.



November 26, 2008

Why does Chris Fowler hate America?

Jason Whitlock of FoxSports rips ESPN to shreds in this column (ht - Scott Kennedy). It's an interesting read regardless of whether or not you agree with him.

I personally don't hate ESPN. I do recognize that ESPN College Gameday and SportsCenter are simply cross promotional vehicles for Disney/ABC/ESPN, and that they threw non-partisan coverage out the window years ago. I also recognize that their power is too great.

But I am hopefully that ESPN's self-interests are now aligned with my own. Consider:
  • ESPN will invest $2.25 billion over the next 15 years in the Southeastern Conference. It just so happens that I love the SEC.

  • ESPN also invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the BCS which will prevent us from having any sort of a playoff discussion until after 2014. It just so happens that I'm anti-playoff.

  • ESPN now owns six crappy small bowls. It just so happens that I like televised crappy small bowls.

  • ESPN employs a myriad of sideline reporters not named Holly who have nice ta-tas It just so happens that I like nice ta-tas
So pardon me if I don't join the ESPN Hate Wagon. Should I hate them simply because Herbie loves Ohio State more than UGA and pushed UGA out of the national title discussion last year in favor of Ohio State? No. That just means I hate Herbie.

Even if I do agree with much of what Whitlock says, I've waited 10-15 years for the World Wide Leader's interests to finally align with my own. Why hate now?

Separately, am I the only one that thinks Jessie Palmer, in spite of being a douche Gator QB and reality TV tool box, is actually exceptionally good at both in-game color commentary and in studio work? Does that make me less of a Dawg?


GT: "What opponent has scored the most in Sanford"

Well...I guess we know for sure now that the Miami beat down issued by Tech has most certainly thrown all sense of reality out the window. Tech fans on The Hive and on Stingtalk are discussing what's the most points ever scored in Sanford ... so Paul Johnson can know what to shoot for.

You have got to be kidding.

It amazes me that there's so much discussion of our defense vs. their offense and so very little discussion of how on earth their defense is going to stop our offense. (Image: The Hive at Work. From

See Also:
-- Tickets: UGA vs. GT - Stubhub


Hoop Dawgs throw Mississippi Valley State a Beating

Last night, I was in Athens to catch the basketball game between the Georgia Bulldogs and Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils. It was the fourth and final game of the Preseason NIT.

I was beyond pleasantly surprised by the 98-57 victory. Yes. It was an HBCU bottom feeder that had around nine new players from last year's squad. Yes. Their center was under 6'5". And yes. They are terrible.

But Georgia looked good. They looked the kind of good that Georgia Basketball generally hasn't looked when shooting in an empty gym...much less against live tissue. Out rebounding the other guy 50-21, and shooting 72% from the field in the second half has a way of leaving you a little warmer and fuzzier than normal.

Here are some observations regarding the freshmen:
  • Trey Thompkins - Felton's best recruit most certainly lives up to the 5 star billing. We haven't had a 6'9" player with the hands, body control, foot work and basketball instincts like this in a long, long time. For fans my age, imagine a black Alec Kessler that was blessed with broader shoulders and much more natural athletic ability right out of high school. His stat line from the night was 21 minutes, 23 points, 8-9 shooting, 6-7 on free throws, 7 rebounds and one turnover. He showed nice touch from outside and around the hoop. He is still not 100% healthy, and he's most certainly not in shape yet (recovering from dual ankle injuries makes conditioning dicey). If he can work himself into shape, he'll be a legitimate candidate for SEC Rookie of the Year and 2nd Team All-SEC Honors. He's a 4 for us, and he'll be starting soon.

  • Drazen Zlorvaric - The Serbian Diversion* looked unexpectedly impressive. He shot 7-8 from the field including 2 of 3 from beyond the three point line. He actually had four more threes that were taken from the "women's line." They moved the NCAA line back 12", and his first 4 makes were between the two stripes. He also had a nice finish inside, and he plays with great passion on offense. Drazen's game also includes a pretty solid handle for a 6'9" guy. My smart ass comment about his ball skills during the game, "He has the ball handling ability that Terrence Woodbury thinks that Woodbury has." He's not a 2 guard because he lacks that type of quickness, and he's still extremely raw defensively. But the kid has upside. He's the kind of kid that will look great one night, and awful the next until he figures things out. He's not Dirk Nowitzki or Tony Kukoc, but he does have the classic Euro big man game. Long, lean, good offensive fundamentals and soft. He's going to play the 3 for us.

  • Travis Leslie - He has all the physical tools you want in a small wing player. For comparison sake, he's a thicker and more complete version of Mike Mercer without the baggage. He also has a much more polished shot than the train wreck jumper that Mercer brought to Athens. However, Leslie doesn't yet play with the defensive intensity that Mercer played with. He can do things around the rim and in transition that guys like Mercer and Shandon Anderson might have done in Athens. Offensively, he's raw and defensively the consistency isn't there yet. Big upside.

  • Dustin Ware - Ware is probably closer to 5'8" than 5'11", but he's cat quick. His stat line was 16 minutes, 6 assists, 4 points and only 2 turnovers. Depending on how his offense evolves, I think he'll probably push Zac Swansey out of the point guard position next year. I imagine this year will be a huge learning experience for him.
All four of these kids have solid upside potential with Thompkins having elite All-SEC potential once he gets in shape and develops his body. Speaking of developing bodies...the UGA Strength Coach for Hoops really doesn't get enough credit. The work he's done with Albert Jackson, Corey Butler, Jeremy Price, etc is impressive. Jackson has the body of a grown ass intimidator. Unfortunately, he hasn't totally figured out how to use it or what his thumbs are for, but he's got the body that suggests Trey Thompkins' physical future is in great shape.

The problem with this roster and the future rosters is the complete lack of a shooting guard. In six seasons, Felton has signed only two SEC caliber "makers" at the two guard spot who could also play SEC caliber defense -- Billy Humphrey and Levi Stukes. The recruiting at that spot has got to improve. For the past 6 seasons, many long time hoops fans like me have said..."We need a Katu Davis type juco shooting guard to transform this lineup." I still feel that way. I'll probably feel that way next year to based on how recruiting is going for 2009 enrollments.

As for last night, we beat Mississippi Valley State. It's not exactly the Invasion of Normandy in terms of great all-time conquests. But, we looked promising, and the hoops fan base needed some kind of hope. I still have pretty low expectations for the season, but it's nice to know that there's raw material to work with from this recruiting class.

The next three games are:
    at Western Kentucky 12/2
    at Illinois (Chicago Neutral Court) 12/6
    vs Virginia Tech (home) - 12/9
We'll know more about what we have after those three games. Win two of those, and we can write off much of what happened vs. Loyola-Chicago to Trey Thompkins not playing. Go winless, and we'll have some visibility into the length of the season.

See Also:
-- Dawgs hammer Delta Devils - ABH
-- Good, better, excellent - Daugman


*I'm working on nicknames. Feel free to suggest them.

Get Your College Pick 'em Selections In

Get your selections in for the Pick 'em. Thanks.

November 25, 2008

Charlie Weis' hot seat to benefit Urban Meyer?

Image: Victors Valiant

The pressure on Notre Dame's Charlie Weis is now at diamond creation levels in the wake of their loss to Syracuse, and the Midwest media is beginning to line up and pile on in hopes of pushing the Irish to make a coaching change.

Here's some of the best hot seat articles:In the midst of the shouting, the call seems to be "Call Urban Meyer and offer him The Universe!!!11!" Even the Florida press is suggesting that it simply makes sense that Meyer would consider the Irish.I personally think that Weis will be given one more year at Notre Dame. It'll be a close shave decision, but ND should be at a bowl low enough on the totem pole that the bowl losing streak will be broken. That may be enough to buy a small window of grace.

They would also still owe as much as $24 million to Weis if he left this season. Next year, that total should drop by another $3.5-4 million, and he would've been given every imaginable opportunity to succeed.

Yes. Meyer would make an excellent fit at Notre Dame. In his new book "Urban's Way" he still refers to the Fighting Irish job as his dream gig. And if the Gators win the SEC this year and play for the national title, what's left to prove in Gainesville?

The biggest things working against ND if they were to pursue Meyer are:
  • The Gators know Meyer is a target. They can preemptively work to keep him financially.
  • It is easier to recruit at Florida than at Notre Dame. I'm talking logistics. Proximity to talent.
  • Jeremy Foley is a better AD than just about anyone.
The biggest things working for ND are the total size of their wallet, and the fact that they are Notre Dame. My prediction: Meyer will be the highest paid coach in football starting next year, and the beneficiary of the ND rumor mill. And still a Gator.

At best, we can hope for disruptive rumors.

See Also:
-- Fake Notre Dame Fan on the ND Job - EDSBS


*Yes. That's hardly a non-partisan source given the topic.
**Obviously not mid-western media. But who cares really.

Georgia's Bowl Situation and other Projections

It is not a total lock that Georgia would go to the Capital One Bowl if we lost to Georgia Tech. If South Carolina and Ole Miss close their seasons at 8-4 with a win over a heated rival, that might make them as attractive as a Georgia fan base coming off a loss to the Jackets. However, it does look like a high probability either way that we'll end up in Orlando.

Saturday is a bigger game for Tech's bowl opportunities. A Tech win puts them squarely into Peach or Gator with the obvious shot at the Orange Bowl if they back door the ACC Title game. A Tech loss would devastate their bowl opportunities. Tech will never win an ACC Title game coming off a loss to UGA. Plus, their fans are notoriously weak travelers following a loss to the Dawgs. They could fall to the Champ Sports or Music City Bowl with a loss.

Other Bowl News:
  • BCS Bowls: No SEC Championship game loser has ever made a BCS Bowl before. That will change this year unless Florida were to lose to both FSU and Alabama. In that scenario, it is possible that Georgia (if we beat Tech) would make the Sugar Bowl (likely against Utah) over the Gators who would have 3 losses. Most pundits predict Florida in the title game and Bama in the Sugar. The Tide hasn't been to the Sugar Bowl since Jan. 1, 1993.

  • Capital One Bowl - Georgia is most likely destined for Orlando. Oddly, the game to watch for UGA fans is the Oregon State vs. Oregon game. If the Beavers beat the Ducks, Ohio State will likely be bumped from a BCS at-large birth. The Buckeyes would be ranked 9th or 10th and Georgia would likely be ranked 11th or 12th heading into that game. If the Beavers lose, Georgia will likely face Michigan State. One local Spartan newspaper thinks a date with UGA would be bad news for MSU.

  • Outback Bowl - The State in Columbia says that the Gamecocks may be headed to Tampa regardless of the outcome of their date with Clemson. Michigan State and Iowa seem to be front runners for the Big 10 spot. (See Also - Mandel on the Big 10 Bowls)

  • Cotton - the Dallas Morning News would love to see UGA vs. Texas Tech. It ain't gonna happen. They say it's more likely to be Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss in a gross mismatch, but good for the Rebels. If they get Croomed by Mississippi State on Friday, then LSU will slide into this slot.

  • Chick-Fil-A Bowl - If the Atlanta Sports Council finds LSU vs. Florida State under their Christmas Tree, it would be the luckiest break their bowl has caught in a while. Any combo of LSU vs. FSU or Georgia Tech would draw well. Boston College vs anyone would be a ticket fiasco.

  • Music City - The Music City Bowl has stated that it isn't opposed to selecting Vanderbilt. After back to back trips to Nashville by Kentucky, it would seem that Vandy staying local wouldn't be a bad idea. The Music City and Liberty Bowls actually pick at the same time. They both make a list of the teams they want in order 1-3, and the SEC works with those lists (plus the desires of the teams affected) to place the teams. Vandy or UK will end up here barring a combo of UK beating UT and LSU falling to Arkansas. The ACC is too complex to know where anyone will land this far down their pecking order.

  • Liberty - See the comments above. Vanderbilt vs. the Conference USA Champ is my prediction, but UK could end up here as well.

  • Independence - The fellas in Shreveport need Auburn to beat Alabama, Notre Dame to beat Southern Cal (and the Cotton to take ND instead of Ole Miss) or some other calamity in order for the SEC to have enough bowl eligible teams for the Independence Bowl. The Bowl also needs Colorado to beat Nebraska in Lincoln in order to have a Big 12 team for the other slot. A match-up of UL-L vs. Northern Illinois isn't out of the question.

  • - There's no SEC team for this bowl. Their best hope is to squeeze Troy into their game vs. a Big East also-ran.
See Also:
-- ESPN's Bowl Projections
-- Bowl Projections
-- Bowl Tickets to Any Game - Stubhub


It's True, It's True

I feel fairly confident that the Georgia offense can score enough points to win Saturday.  On defense, though, there are a host of concerns that have been well documented by Paul and myself all year long.  What we need this week, however, is a little lesson from Olympic champion and pro rassler, Kurt Angle.  Kurt has numerous fake accomplishments to go along with some very real ones.  How did Kurt do it (other than following the script)?  The three I's: intelligence, intensity, and integrity.  These three I's are exactly what the Dawgs defense needs Saturday.
1. Intelligence:  Defending the triple option is all about assignment football.  The Dawgs need to stay focused on their keys and maintain discipline on their assignments.  A missed assignment can turn into a big play.  Don't be stupid trying to make a big hit by coming off your assignment.  You'll get burned.
2. Intensity: Not only does the defense need to focus on their assignments and keep with them, they also need to finish their assignments by wrapping the Techsters up and bringing them down.  We've struggled tackling this year.  Everybody knows it.  If you miss tackles against the triple option, this is what it looks like:
(Not that Josh Nesbitt is Tommie Frazier, but you get the point.)  We must wrap up and bring the ballcarrier down. No nudging, Rashad Reshad.
3. Integrity:  Do the right thing, boys.  Keep your hands off the quarterback's facemask.  Don't hit them out of bounds.  Every extra snap is an extra chance for someone to miss an assignment.  Play clean.  
None of these points have been particularly evident this year.  The frequency of defensive penalties, particularly 15 yarders, have been laughable at times.  Tackling has been inconsistent.  Despite the heat he takes, Willie Martinez will have the guys in position to execute, but they have to do when they get there.  
One thing I really like about the match up is that one of our big weaknesses, pass rush, is largely irrelevant this weekend.  Josh Nesbitt isn't going to drop back and light up our secondary.   The defense has had some excellent games against the run, including three where they've held the opponent to less than twenty yards rushing.  We're not going to hold Tech to less than twenty, but they shouldn't be running up 472 like they did Thursday night.  We just need to play smart.

I don't think I'm asking for a complete reversal of our defensive efforts this year.  We have had some good defensive games, but they haven't come lately.  The week off should help clean up the tackling issues.  Guys that are healthy are more likely to tackle better than guys who are banged up and tired.  Plus, the extra week  gives everybody extra study time for defending the option.  If we can follow the three I's, I like our chances.


November 24, 2008

Hoops: Georgia defeats Santa

The Georgia Bulldogs basketball team raised their record to 4-1 with a win over Santa Clara in the Preseason NIT consolation bracket. The 54-48 win was made possible by strong defense and ok performances by the Georgia front court as Woodbury, Albert Jackson and Howard "Trey" Thompkins III all scored in double digits. (Image: No. The other Santa)

The most important news of the game came from the debut of Thompkins. The box score shows 18 minutes, 10 points, 2 rebounds, 5 blocked shots, 1 steal, 1 turnover and no fouls. Thompkins played physical enough to shoot 5 of 6 free throws, but didn't play recklessly enough to draw fouls. Interesting.

I'll see him play up close tomorrow night, and I'm intrigued. He'll see his minutes slowly rise from here as Felton works to get Thompkins in shape without re-injuring his ankles.

As a team, the problem area is (as always) offense. Chip Towers talks about the offensive woes including another sub-40% shooting night from the floor. Still, they won.

Tomorrow, they get a warm-up game against Mississippi Valley State before facing Western Kentucky (road), Illinois (Neutral Site in Chicago) and Virginia Tech (home) in a row. The next two weeks will give us more visibility into what sort of team this is than the past two weeks did.


Tech Wants It More? So What.

Georgia Tech hasn't beaten Georgia without Ralph Friedgen on the sidelines since 1984. The Yellow Jackets also haven't won against us without playing 10 or more documented ineligible players since 1990. (video: 2006 game from ugamummra)

The idea that Tech wants it more is laughable or irrelevant. Tech probably does want it more. Some would argue that they always want it more. In fact, for many of their fans it's the ONLY thing they want. And what has all of that wanting it gotten them since 1964?

If you're looking for intangibles, look to the pressure on the Yellow Jacket sideline. This game is as much mental block for them as our game with Florida. It is perhaps a larger mental barrier given the overwhelming emphasis that their fan base puts on this game.

How many times have you heard a Tech fan say, "I'd gladly go 1-10 as long as the one was to UGA." That's absolutely dumb.

You would be hard pressed to find a group of Yellow Jacket fans who honestly think that Tech could win the ACC Championship game the week following a loss to Georgia. So even if Tech were to backdoor the ACC Title Game with a UVA win over Virginia Tech, they would most certainly walk into a loss against Boston College or FSU...if they drop Saturday's game to the Dawgs.

And realistically, what Tech fan would care either way if they drop Saturday's game?

It is a fact that more Tech "fans" hate Georgia far more than they love Tech. So, I ask you....Can they handle the pressure?

See Also:
-- Defending the Drought - GT Sports Blog
-- Georgia and Tech trade places - Bradley
-- Tech's order of priorities - AJC
-- So Close to Tampa - AJC
-- Defending the Triple Option - DawgSports
-- Tickets: UGA vs. Georgia Tech


Now that you mention it. Tech does suck

Really, Daddy? A Reggie Ball jersey? (Image: AJC)

I took advantage of the bye week, and I didn't post much. Next thing you know even the Tech folks are emailing me asking...why aren't you making fun of Tech? What's wrong with you? Are you ok?

When The Sporting News says:
"Georgia plays Georgia Tech this Saturday, and if there is one thing Georgia fans will be doing this week, it will be finding new and elaborate ways to call Georgia Tech fans nerds without girlfriends. No one does this better than Paul Westerdawg on the Georgia Sports Blog, where you may also find the latest UGA news, discussion and pictures of Florida fans in jean shorts."
Hell, even Wes Durham emailed me to give me a heads up on the TSN news (not to ask my why I wasn't making fun of Tech). You know you're falling down on the job when the Tech folks are disappointed in your lack of mockery.

So, I'll step it up.

See Also:
-- Recycled Tech Week Smack- GSB


Rennie IS the Georgia Way

Rennie Curran (Image: Jim Hipple)

"His persona, the way he carries himself in here, it's such a great help to our strength staff, because he uses that leadership. Now, even as a sophomore, I can point and say, ‘Hey, if you want to do it the Georgia way, do it that way.' Because he does it."
- Dave Van Halanger on Rennie Curran

If you haven't read it already, you should really check out the series of articles on Rennie Curran from David Hale. The first article appeared in the Macon Telegraph discussing Rennie working towards his goals. It's a good read, but I especially enjoyed the extra content that didn't make the hard copy newspaper.

The longer, second article includes interviews with Coach Van and several of Rennie's teammates who discuss his work ethic and approach to football. It's a great read.

See Also:
-- Monday reading -- Dave Hale
-- On Massaquoi -- Travis Fain
-- Tickets: UGA vs. Georgia Tech


November 20, 2008

Presidential Involvement in College Football?

As most of you know, President-Elect Barack Obama has publicly said that he would like to see College Football move towards a playoff system. Set aside for a moment if you will whether a playoff is a good thing or a bad thing.

How is government involvement in a private enterprise at that level of detail a good thing? Shouldn't the free market decide what sort of product (or method for deciding victory) is "best."

College Football ratings have an aggressive upwards trajectory. TV rights are selling for an all-time high for the sport as evidence by the $2.25 billion deal TV between the SEC and ESPN. It's not a product that needs government intervention to be "fixed."

Be Careful What You Wish For
All of that said. A College Football Playoff is a "Be Careful What You Wish For" endeavor. If we could get a system whereby the "Best" 8 Teams would battle it out for post-season supremacy, I'd be opened minded about it. That will not happen. To think that's what you would get would be to ignore everything that's happened over the past 20 years politically within college football.

The "Best 8 Teams" model is not what the NCAA, BCS Conferences and Non-BCS Conferences would give us. Instead, we would get a system with rules very similar to this:
    1. An 8 Team Playoff whereby the 6 BCS Conference Champions are guaranteed an automatic birth. Any BCS conference commissioner agreeing to a system whereby his "champion" didn't get automatic access to the playoffs would be fired on the spot.

    2. An accessible entry point for the best non-BCS Conference Champ to enter the playoffs. They would open the door for them slightly wider (like Top 10 or Top 12 finish) in order to avoid pesky lawsuits from non-BCS Conferences. Also, the 53 teams not involved in a BCS Conference would never vote in favor of a playoff system that didn't give them an accessible entry point.

    3. Most years there would only be one at-large spot left. What criteria would be created to make sure that an independent like Notre Dame would be invited to fill that spot? A Top 8 Finish? A Top 10 Finish? There would most certainly be a loophole to grant them access, and no one is forcing ND into a conference against their will.
If you are an SEC or Big 12 fan, your conferences are most likely to produce a playoff champion. That's why all other conferences would aggressively work to limit your access to that one remaining at-large spot.

For instance, Big 10 Conference members -- who don't play an championship game -- would have a much easier path to the one at-large spot.

In the scenario above, it's very easy to see the #4, 5 and/or 6 teams in the nation being left out of an playoff in favor of lesser ACC, Big East, non-BCS conference members and/or Notre Dame. This year either the SEC runner-up or the Big 12 runner-up would be sitting at home in favor of a 4 or 5 loss Big East or ACC Champ.

How is that a better system? How does that bring on less controversy? Because that's the outcome you most certainly will get if we make a change for an 8 team bracket.

I keep hearing, "It's what everyone wants." I would argue that's only because "everyone" doesn't understand what it is that they are going to get if they make their request.

See Also:PWD

(NOTE: This is a FOOTBALL discussion. If you hate / love the president-elect or the sitting president, I respect your opinion. But I don't want to moderate a discussion on The Presidency. I'd rather...if at all possible...have the comments centered around the existing BCS debate. I know that's asking a lot. But please help me out. You're not going to convince anyone reading a football blog comments area that their views on the 43rd or 44th president of the US are "wrong.")

College Football Pick 'em (Picks are Due!)

Your pick 'em selections are due today. The first game for the week is tonight's Georgia Tech vs. Miami game which is being called a "white out." Although, one Tech fan did suggest a geek out instead. I thought that's what they did every week? are the standings from last week.

Standings for Week 12
Rank Selection W-L Pts
1 HannibalBarca's picks 12-0 78
1 Jman781's picks 12-0 78
3 bdetle8's picks 11-1 77
4 Puzzleman's picks 11-1 76
5 romebuzz's picks 10-2 72
5 The Sodomizers 9-3 72
5 accsecblog's picks 11-1 72
8 DragoDawg's picks 11-1 71
8 RichtFlair's Picks 10-2 71
8 TebowSurgeryCenter's picks 10-2 71
8 Milton Dawg's picks 10-2 71

Overall Standings Through Week 12
Rank Selection W-L Pts
1 GolfDawg 104-42 788
2 dawgnotdog's picks 106-40 786
3 DOTWU 's picks 110-36 785
4 NCT's picks 107-39 783
5 Milton Dawg's picks 108-38 780
6 Greg Blue Broke Your Spinal Cord 108-38 776
6 Urban Meyer Says These Picks Are A Bad Deal 105-41 776
6 jbh3rd's picks 109-37 776
9 Mid80sDawg's picks 106-40 774
9 romebuzz's picks 111-35 774

I finished last week at 95th, and I'm at 56th overall for the season. Quinton finished the week at 62nd and is 43rd overall. Dawgnoxious finished 252nd and he's "up to" 206th overall. My brother is up to 23rd overall, which obviously means he sucks.


November 19, 2008

Arizona Coming to Athens for Preseason NIT

However, in a cruel tease, it is impossible for Georgia to play them given that the NIT is run by boobs. The Athens Pod for the P-NIT was announced today. I was wrong about 3 of the 4 teams in my predictions yesterday. Shocker huh? The participants will be:
    Santa Clara
    Mississippi Valley
Sadly, it's not set up as a tournament bracket at this point. That means no UGA vs. 'Zona possibility. Our two games are set. The schedule is:

Nov. 24thMon.Mississippi Valley vs. Arizona5:45 PM, ET
Nov. 24thMon.Santa Clara @ Georgia8:00 PM, ET
Nov. 25thTues.Santa Clara vs. Arizona5:45 PM, ET
Nov. 25thTues.Mississippi Valley @ Georgia8 PM, ET

Why on earth would the P-NIT organizers send Santa Clara and Arizona all the way across country to play in an empty gym in Athens, GA at 5:45 on a Tuesday? That's idiotic. How does that help ticket sales for the P-NIT? How does that help the schools?

Damn. I was excited at first. Arizona in Athens would be a very big deal.


Keep an eye on Miami vs. GT

Defending Tech's triple option will be the biggest challenge of the season's final game. Stopping that offense requires playing assignment football and excellent tackling. Unfortunately, those are two things that Georgia has struggled with at times this season.

To quote a friend, "our guys tackle like women." And not tough women like those semi-pro football league chicks that bring a certain fierce determination to both their games and auto body repair careers. More delicate than that (Note: Not Rennie. He'd tackle my nightmares and the Detroit Bailout if unleashed). We've got to wrap up Tech's runners at the initial collision. But I digress.

On Thursday, the Miami Hurricanes will be the next in line to try and stop Tech's ground game. Their plan seems to be attack the football and tackle high. I'm assuming that the "tackle high" comment at the end of the article pertains mainly to the QB. If Miami tries to tackle Jonathan Dwyer high, they will be watching end zone celebrations throughout the night.

It's interesting to see how other teams have prepared to defend Tech. FSU worked its scout team offense against its first team defense without a football so the Noles could focus on their assignments better. Given that Bowden is 126 years old and has seen more triple option football than anyone not employed by a service academy or Georgia Tech, it seemed like a logical way to prepare. Unfortunately for FSU, Tech ran some new looks at them and rushed for 288 yards.

The good news:
  • Georgia Tech's offensive line is in shambles because of injuries. This is helpful news given that UGA's defensive line is arguably our most injured and inconsistent unit.

  • The last team that had an extra week to prepare for GT's triple option was UNC. The final score was 28-7. However, UNC still gave up 326 yards on the ground to the Yellow Jackets.
I'm expecting Georgia to give up 250-325 yards on the ground in our game, but I'm also expecting the Tech offense to turn the ball over several times. More importantly, I'm expecting the UGA offense to outscore the Tech offense. Isn't that what really matters?

See Also:PWD

November 18, 2008

Georgia Beats Eastern Michigan 61-60 in Preseason NIT

The Hoop Dawgs are now 2-1 after defeating EMU today in P-NIT play. The victory puts the basketball team back on pace in terms of quantity and quality of wins, but not on the desired pace for quality of losses. Most folks expected UGA to exit the second round of the P-NIT with this record. However, most anticipated a loss to Purdue instead of Loyola-Chicago.

Today's game was marked by 2 of 12 shooting (unofficially) to open both halves, but Georgia recovered behind big shots by Corey Butler and Dustin Ware to squeak out a win. Per the AJC:
Ware nailed a go-ahead 3-pointer with 49 seconds left as the Bulldogs rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final nine minutes to escape with a 61-60 victory over Eastern Michigan in a consolation game of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Tuesday.
Felton called an outcome changing timeout with about 7 minutes remaining. The Bulldogs were down by 11, and things looked bleak. Coming out of the timeout, the Bulldogs scored 7 quick points and got back into it. Last year, the timeouts often seemed to be called well after the damage had been done, and they did little to alter the game. Good call by the coach.

The team should find out tomorrow who will be in their next "pod," and where the games will be played. In theory, we should be playing two games in Athens in a grouping of three mid-and low-majors.

If I were guessing, I'd say the Athens pod will consist of:
    James Madison
    Florida Atlantic
Don't everybody go buy their tickets all at once. We'll know more tomorrow.

See Also:PWD

Real Fan Pain vs. Feeling Sorry for Yourself

Image: MGoBlog

As you think about this season and listen to sports talk or read message boards, you may hear/read someone say that "Georgia is terrible." Or "It's hard being a Dawg fan this year." That sort of hyperbole isn't constructive, and it's not really true.

If you want to see what it's like to really follow a terrible team, check out MGoBlog. Brian Cook writes about sitting through a game in "subfreezing wind chill, rain, sleet and snow" (Weather from ESPN) only to watch Northwestern beat his team and leave Michigan a gut punching 3-9. He describes it as the type of game that not leaving early empirically establishes a fan as hardcore. Per Brian:
If you put up with it (and far, far fewer than the announced 107,000 did), you are hardcore. You have a black belt in fandom. You get the Fandom Endurance III merit badge. If anyone ever questions your Michigan allegiance, you can just say "I was at the 2008 Northwestern game" and they will have to step off.
For me that "I was there when we hit rock bottom" moment was the 1995 Florida game in Athens. I sat until the bitter end as Spurrier ran the WR reverse pass to break 50 points in Sanford Stadium. The problem with staying through a debacle like then owe it to yourself to never leave a game early again.

It's actually a burden. You now have to live up to that rep you earned during such a bitter loss. Past You will always be looking over your shoulder like Capt. Miller at the end of Private Ryan telling Future You...."Earn This."

(Image: Capt. Miller. Not Westerdawg)

That said...while sitting in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium this year, I honestly felt less like a soldier marching across the French countryside than I felt like Izzy from Grey's Anatomy wondering why Dr. Karev won't open to me. (Note: The Cocktail Party would be playing the role of Karev).

As Meyer hung 49 or so on us, I just thought..."I'm so stupid to keep coming back here. Jacksonville is not good for me. I need a healthier relationship with a kick ass mid-season, boozy neutral site bowl game." Yet, I ran home as fast as possible and wrote this piece about why we should never leave Jax.

Where was I? Oh yeah...wuss town referencing chick shows. Before that? Oh yeah...being a fan in tough times. Apparently, I digressed wildly.

So Back to UGA's Season
Travis Fain asks what numeric rating would you give this season on a schedule of 1 to terms of satisfaction. I can't imagine giving a 9-2 season anything below 7, but an 8 seems kind of high. Is 7.5 too low? Travis went with an 8. What would you give? If we go 11-2 with a win over Ohio State, I could see that score creeping up to 8.9 maybe.

Also, Senator Blutarsky talked about the feeling of satisfaction or lack thereof related to this season. So what score would you give this season in terms of satisfaction?

See Also:
-- Pick Your Metaphor - Maize n Brew
-- A comeback that wasn't - EDSBS


November 17, 2008

Georgia Basketball Preview -- Geez I hope not


Tonight, the Bulldogs lost to Loyola-Chicago by a staggering score of 74-53. For those of you unfamiliar with the Loyola Ramblers, they are a middle of the road Horizon League team who lost their home opener to Rockhurst. Georgia plays Eastern Michigan in the next round of the tourney.

The AJC has the details on the loss. Here's the punchline:
The Bulldogs finished with five assists and 18 turnovers. They shot 18-for-53 from the field (34 percent) and 1-for-12 from behond the arc (8.3 percent). here's my preview for the 2008-2009 Bulldogs.

    Guard: Georgia lacks a proven point guard or shooting guard. With the untimely departure of Billy Humphrey, the team really lacks any sort of three point threat. This problem was on full display tonight as the Dawgs went 1-12 from behind the line. Freshman Dustin Ware has the handle and natural quickness to become an SEC Caliber Point Guard down the road. It's a question of time. But shooting? I don't see Troy Brewer (soph) or Rickie McPhee (walkon) as much of an option here when we get into legitimate SEC play.

    Wing: The picture is brighter at small forward where Woodbury and Travis Leslie, a true freshman who scored 23 tonight, both look promising. If Leslie rolls to shooting guard, we still won't have an outside shooter. BUT, we'll have an exciting athlete. Woody is one of the streakiest Bulldogs since Derek Dukes in the mid-90s. Super recruit Trey Thompkins could also get minutes here.

    Front Court -- When Trey Thompkins' ankles heal, this could be the most raw talent along the front line assembled at Georgia in many, many years. Jeremy Price, Albert Jackson, Thompkins, Chris Barnes and Drazen Zlovaric make an interesting group of players. They combined to go 3-16 tonight, but they'll get better.
Style of Play and Big Picture Issues:
  • Must Win on the Road - Under Coach Felton Georgia has struggled mightily to win outside of Clarke, Gwinnett and Fulton counties. In fact, the Dawgs are roughly 11-50 outside of the State of Georgia. I say "roughly" because I may have miscounted when reviewing the media guide, but I'm close enough.

  • Must Improve Player and Ball Movement - This will be difficult with a new, unproven point guard and extremely limited options for outside shooters. If Brewer were to emerge as a legit bomber and not just a kid standing at the 3 point elbow waiting to shoot unguarded, then we could make progress here. The assists to turnover ratio has never been strong under Felton. Young guards don't generally strengthen this weakness. Ball and player movement has been the weakest area under Felton for his entire tenure in Athens.

  • Must Stay out of Trouble - The Dawgs haven't had any trouble since Billy left.

  • The Schedule - Felton ramped up the schedule this year anticipating a healthier, more Billy Humphrey oriented roster. With games against Missouri, Virginia Tech, WKU (road), GT (road), Illinois (road) and 4 preseason NIT games, this is a tough draw. When we lose games against teams like Loyola, we have to make those up against SEC teams. That's not a good trade.
The Outlook:
The pundits have Georgia ranked around 10th or 11th in the SEC overall and 5th or 6th in the East. Auburn is sort of the consensus bottom of the toilet, and the Gamecocks are our other cellar peer.

If you had asked me before tonight, I would've said that Georgia would be doing good to finish at 10-4 non-conference and 6-10 in SEC play. That record combined with a 1-1 mark in the SEC Tourney would've stuck us right on the NIT Bubble.

An NIT bid without inking all-universe recruit Derek Favors would in my opinion result in Felton's departure due to his contract situation. His contract wasn't extended following the SEC Tournament Championship. He'll only have two years remaining on his deal at the end of the upcoming SEC Tournament. A two year deal would mean that he would enter the Nov. 2009 early signing period with only 1 year left on his deal to show kids who were considering inking for 2010 enrollment. That is an unworkable situation.

Felton not only has to win this season to keep his job for one more year. He actually has to win enough to warrant a 4-5 year commitment from Georgia. I'm not calling for heads, and I'm not "demanding" anything. I'm simply pointing out a contract situation.

The four games in Atlanta last March were awesome, but the other 140 games that he's coached matter, too. More importantly, the next 30 games matter even more. Six years is six years. It's time to show that Dennis Felton can build a sustainable product with upward trajectory that doesn't embarrass itself on or off the court. That's not too much to ask for in year six.

The season is not over just because we lost to a team you've likely never heard of. But the climb is uphill from here. It is my opinion only, but Georgia needs either Dennis Felton or Anthony Grant of Virginia Commonwealth to have a huge year.


So Long, Nomar Moreno

Last week, we discussed the BCS bidding war between FOX and ESPN.  Both networks submitted bids to broadcast all the BCS Bowls not hopelessly enslaved by Big 10, Pac-10 "tradition." Each bid was at or over $100 million a year.  You can go ahead and set your TiVO's to ESPN for those bowls in 2010 because FOX has pulled out of negotiations.  Now listen to me, mouse ears, Ron Franklin should be the new voice of the BCS.  Make it happen.  He'll never refer to Knowshon as Nomar or call us the Gators.

Confirmed: UGA vs. GT Kickoff at Noon on CBS

As we said earlier, the Georgia Bulldogs will host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at 12:00 pm on Nov. 29th (Source: Athens Banner Herald). The game will be televised on CBS. The interesting twist for this game is the addition of Trev Alberts as the color man.

As many of you know, Trev hearts Georgia.

Steve Beuerlein used to be the color guy for the CBS double header's "lesser" game. What we lose in wildly out of context discussions of Notre Dame from Steve, we gain in quality Chick-Fil-A references and hopefully a shot at Mark May from Trev.

See Also:
-- UGA vs. Georgia Tech Tickets


The Expectations Disconnect

My first Georgia game was in 1989 as a high school kid. I was a student at UGA through arguably the second darkest extended period in modern Georgia history -- only the 1950s were worse than the '90s. I appreciate how far we've come under Richt. In fact, I think that hiring Mark Richt is the second best thing to happen to Georgia since Easter Sunday 1980 when "that kid out of Johnson County" finally signed his letter of intent.

It's extremely hard for me to call a season that could very well end at 11-2 a disappointment. But anyone -- including Richt -- would admit that it's been frustrating to have such high hopes dissolve into a season that lacks a win over a Top 15 team.

The downside of being ranked Preseason #1
There's almost nowhere to go but down. Even though I repeatedly said that I didn't think this team had the schedule or offensive line to pull off a #1 ranking, I still expected a less convoluted and more inspired product from Bulldogs.

Coach Richt is probably annoyed that Georgia fans seem so disgruntled in the face of such a high ranking and strong record. We certainly come off as spoiled and ungrateful, but I look at that as a credit to the job he's done over the past 8 years in raising expectations.

Mark Richt created a new definition of success in Athens. As a result, fans raised their expectations for the program.

The Expectations Dilemma
My only question...has Mark Richt continued to raise the expectations for his team, his coaches and himself?

In my own career, I have a specific exceptional skill. However, (a while back) due to a series of events that started off as beyond my control, I slowly lowered my expectations for myself and those around me as it relates to that skill. The result was an erosion of excellence in that one area. That slippage came back and bit me. To "fix" the situation, I had to go back and elevate my expectations for everyone involved...including myself.

I wonder if something similar hasn't happened in Athens. Does Mark Richt expect and demand the sort of excellence from this team that produced the 2002, 2005 SEC Championships and 2007 second half of the season turnaround? Has he raised his expectations for the team?

These things don't suggest high expectations:
  • Special Teams -- There is nothing "special" about this group unless you're referring to that short bus kind of special. We aren't playing enough exceptional athletes on kick coverage. We are kicking the ball out of bounds with regularity. We're fumbling punts. We've got a third team QB that's going to strain his throwing shoulder frantically calling fair catch on punt returns. This is fixable by simply putting more high quality athletes on special teams. This is an old personnel problem that has gone from nuisance to game changing source of pain.

  • Tackling -- People who are still bitching about Willie Martinez's play calling and scheme need to go back and watch this game again. Willie was reading their mail through long stretches. Even the second Auburn TD included a beautiful play call where two guys blitzed into the gaps where the play was run. Unfortunately, neither dude tackled the runner. The worst example of tentative tackling came when Reshad Jones pulled up and refused to pummel Tim Hawthrone early in the second quarter. Jones has devolved his tackling into a guy playing bummer cars instead of wrapping up or clobbering people. Additionally, both safeties are making our CBs look worse with their help in coverage. Particularly on corner blitzes. Regardless, if the players would wrap up at contact, the other team's stats would look much more favorable to us.

  • Penalties -- As Quinton said to me yesterday, "I don't know how to fix this, but I don't make $2.8 million a year either." Six personal fouls in one game has to be an Olympic Record. That has nothing to do with injuries given who was committing the fouls. Other coaching staffs do not have the personal foul epidemic that UGA does. This is fixable.
The Red Zone situation is also still a problem, but I'm not sure that it's a question of expectations as much as play calling and confidence in the offensive line.

All of this is a long drawn out way of saying...I am not "disappointed" in this season. I'm frustrated by it, and I'm mostly frustrated that if the Coaches don't raise their expectations for special teams, tackling, penalties and red zone play that we will most certainly be disappointed next year.

Please fix the fixable stuff.


November 14, 2008

UGA vs. Georgia Tech Projected TV Time

Image: Hipple

Back in August, Quinton McDawg recorded the prematurely leaked CBS SEC Football Schedule. A variety of things changed from the initial publication of that list due to certain unexpected events such as the collapse of Auburn and Tennessee as well as the meteoric rise of Alabama.

However, the CBS Double Header dates do not appear to have been altered. They get two double-header weekends per year under the current deal. One airs at 3:30 and 8:00 pm (UGA vs UT and LSU vs. UF) and the other airs at 12:00 and 3:30.

Unfortunately for us, the noon and 3:30 combo hasn't been used yet. Therefore, it appears that it will run on the last regular season weekend as initially leaked. That means, UGA vs. Georgia Tech will very likely have 12:00 pm kickoff on CBS.
    SEC TV Contract Games for Nov. 29th:
    Auburn at Alabama - Projected 3:30 CBS
    Georgia Tech at Georgia - Projected 12:00 CBS
    Kentucky at Tennessee - TBD

    ACC TV Contract Games*:
    Florida at Florida State
    South Carolina at Clemson
    Vanderbilt at Wake Forest
See Also:
-- Tickets: Georgia Bulldogs vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets


*Home team conference controls TV.

Auburn Headlines of Note

Lots of headlines from today:PWD

Dooley's Memories of the UGA vs. Auburn Series

From's GXtra (ht - Nick)


November 13, 2008

Mark Schlabach on the SEC



The Fire's in their Eyes and their Words are Really Clear

To be honest, reading the Auburn quotes regarding Georgia players dancing to the Soulja Boy (seen above) during last year's makes me think..."What a bunch of whiners." You were up 20-17 and ended up getting mauled 45-20. Soulja Boy should've been the least of your concerns.
"That's been on my mind for the whole year," said Auburn receiver Rod Smith, a Georgia native. "They even had whoever was calling the game — those guys were up in press box doing that (dancing). That got to me. It's just another opportunity to try to get them back for what they did to us last year. I've definitely been looking forward to this game. This is the game that's been marked on my calendar since last year.

"I'm sure it didn't sit well with any of the players on the team. It was a hurtful feeling in my heart to be on the sideline and to see those guys dancing."
To quote Dawgnoxious yesterday, "I feel terrible we gave Rod Smith a hurtful feeling in his heart. I hope the pain did not radiate all the way down to his uterus."

It's almost like they're disappointed that they lost the dance off...not the game. Apparently, Auburn is expecting the pre-game coin toss to be similar to the opening scene from the Beat It video with Penn Wagers tying Knowshon and Tristan Davis together at the wrist. From the Montgomery Advertiser:
Players who draw unsportsmanlike conduct penalties often spend extra time with strength coach Kevin Yoxall in the days following the transgression.

That's a price Davis is willing to pay.

"I've got something for them: Don't let me get in the end zone," said Davis, who has returned two kickoffs for scores this season. "If I score on a kickoff return against Georgia, I'm with Yox the rest of my life. I'm going to let it be known. They might want to get me right now."
With that in mind....
Richt Told Tristan Don't You Ever Play Around Here
Don't Wanna to Recruit you, You Better Disappear
The Fire's In his Tristan's Eyes And His Words Are Really Clear
So Beat It, Just Beat It

He Better Run, He Better Do What He Can
Don't Wanna See No Dance, Don't Be A TD Man
You Wanna Be Tough, Better Talk While You Can
So Beat It, But You Wanna Be Bad.

Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be 5-5
Showin' How Funky Spread is Your O
It Doesn't Matter Who's QB or Throws
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It

You Have To Show Them That You're Really Not Scared
You're Losing with Your Line, This Ain't No Winning Team
They'll Kick You, Then They Beat You,
Then They'll Tell You It's Fair
So Beat It, But You Wanna Be Bad

It doesn't matter who's wrong or who's right. Just beat it.
Heee. Heee. Ohhh. No. Heeee. Heeee.

See Also:
-- Georgia vs. Auburn Tickets Starting at $52 (as of this posting)


Early Signing Period Roundup

Yesterday was the start of the early signing period, which runs through next Wednesday.  Here's a brief rundown of the newest Dawgs and a few prospects that are still deciding:

Men's Basketball - Coach Felton signed two players, a big man and a guard.  Daniel Miller is a 6-11 center from Loganville.  Miller's not only tall, but he's a healthy 240 pounds.  He won't start immediately, but he's likely to develop into a nice, consistent presence down low.  DeMario Mayfield is an athletic combo guard out of Carnesville.  He's not a pure point guard, but can handle the ball well and averaged over 28 points in his junior year.  Neither of these guys are real high profile signees, but they are nice players.  The big fish remains silent in Atlanta contemplating us and Tech.

Women's Basketball - Andy Landers has taken some heat lately about recruiting.  That will happen when UConn steals the best player in women's basketball out of your backyard.  There shouldn't be many complaints this year because Andy brought in a nice class.  These Dawgs-to-be were ranked in the top 10 in several recruiting services. The crown jewel is Jasmine Hassell from Tennessee, a big post player capable of dominating the paint.  All four signees were ranked in the top 100 collegiate prospects overall.

Gymnastics - I'll be honest.  I don't know how good this class is or even what most of the credentials of the recruits even mean.  But, given Jay Clark's track record as a recruiter, I'll trust him. (UPDATE: Judging by the ABH story, it's a loaded class.)

Men's Tennis - Manuel Diaz hasn't signed anyone yet, but got a big commitment last week when Chattanooga's James Seal committed to the Dawgs over the Big Orange.  Seal is a top 15 recruit and has spent most of his high school career at the top of the national rankings.  Will Reynolds, another Chattanoogan, is also a UGA verbal.  Like Felton, Diaz is waiting on another big recruit, Jarmere Jenkins, who appears to be signing in the spring.

Women's Tennis - The girls signed a fantastic duo last year and they are in the hunt for another superb player this year.  Mallory Cecil, a South Carolina native, is the top ranked senior in the country and has an offer from the Dawgs.  I don't think UGA has many more offers outstanding, if any. 

I don't have reports for any other UGA program.


November 12, 2008

ESPN Makes Bid for BCS

In news likely to excite anyone who sat through Thom Brennaman's five hour marathon torture session on New Year's Day, euphemistically called the Sugar Bowl broadcast, ESPN has made a giant bid to get the broadcasting rights to the BCS bowl games starting as soon as 2010. The Disney subsidiary is reportedly offering $125 million a year for the rights, while FOX is offering $100 million a year. 

Not that I want it to happen, but why can't FOX offer more?  The movie "Jumper" sponsored every tackle during last year's broadcasts and the commercial breaks seemed to be measured by glacial ice core samples, not minutes.  I'm surprised they didn't make me wear a corporate logo when I watched the broadcast.

Does anyone not want ESPN to win this bidding war?  I'll take three Brittney Spears references for every carry by "Nomar Moreno."

The best news for Georgia fans, according to the initial version of this story on's site, is that the Dawgs are apparently still on track for a BCS bowl appearance in the Capital One Bowl this year!  You can't complain about a season that ends with a BCS bowl bid.  Oh, wait ...


Cool Stafford vs. Auburn Stat

Granted, it's a team game...but. David Hale has the interesting stat of the day. He points out:
Interesting tidbit from my story on Matthew Stafford's success against Auburn in today's Telegraph: Did you know that if Georgia wins this week, Stafford will become the first Georgia QB to beat Auburn in three straight years since Johnny Rauch from 1945-1948.
Overall, the last time Georgia won three in a row vs. the Tigers was '80-'82 on the way to three SEC titles and two national title games. Prior to that, we did it in '66-'68 on the way to two SEC titles, and '50-52 on the way to a big bowl of nothing.

In case you were wondering, our longest all-time winning streak against the Tigers from 1923-1931. Our longest losing streak was six in a row from '53-'58. Proving once again, that the '50s (aside from 1959) were the single darkest hour in Georgia history.

See Also:
-- Inside the numbers: Georgia vs. Auburn - Blutarsky
-- Georgia vs. Auburn Tickets - Lower Level Tickets Starting at $64.*


*As of the time of this post.

November 11, 2008

Auburn Blogger Hates Freedom, Liberty and Puppies

Earlier this week, I posted a note regarding Auburn's Brad Lester and his defiant, screaming claim that the Auburn Tigers would maul Georgia to tiny pieces and poop out our remains like so many undigested bits of walnut candy.

Jerry Hinnen (a known communist and felon*) at the Auburn blog "Joe Cribbs Car Wash" felt that I might have overstated Lester's comments by using the word "prediction" to describe the original quote in question. Hinnen scolded me saying:
"But is [Lester's comment] a prediction, a guarantee, or any kind of promise? No, it is not. If we win, Lester says. We should beat both teams, he claims. If and should do not mean the same thing as when and will. (snip)

Unfortunately, this didn't keep Paul Westerdawg from curiously titling his post in response. (snip)

It's the mainstream media's job to take athletes' quotes and stretch their meanings beyond the breaking point of truth in the exalted holy name of Hype. I suggest you let them handle it."

Well sir, I would like to defend myself. Ladies and gentlemen, I'll be brief.

The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules of journalistic integrity or took liberties with the English language.

We did.

But if a blogger can't make hyperbolic and barely substantiated claims against his rivals while posting in his boxer shorts and drinking bourbon by the fist full, then haven't the terrorists already won?

And furthermore, you can't hold one blog responsible for the collapse of the integrity of the entire blogosphere. Why if you do, shouldn't we also blame the entire Internet?

And if the entire Internet is to blame, then isn't this an indictment of our American society in general?

I put that to you Jerry Hinnen. You can question my blog, but I won't sit here and read your comments bad mouthing the United States of America.

Gentlemen. I'm leaving.


*Obviously not true.
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