Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Who we rootin for?

Well, it's obvious we're not competing for a national title this year, so I'm picking Iowa as my team to root for. Forget the SEC, I'm tired of Florida and really even tired of Bama already. I don't particularly want either of those guys getting another ring. I like Colt, so I could settle for Texas, but I definitely don't want to see USC in there or Cincinatti. I'm choosing Iowa as my second team this year. Ferentz seems like an alright guy, they play hard and their kind of crazy to watch, no matter if they're playing Penn St. or Arkansas St. And how can you not root for this helmet?

Good Lord that's a good look, especially since they've revived putting the "America Needs Farmers" sticker back on the helmets this year. So, Go Hawkeyes. Unless, of course, they stumble down the road and we put it together and meet up in Tampa. In that case, death to all things hawkeye!

What Might've Been....

You know, I can't help but think about us when I look at Oklahoma. Look at what happens to a team when you lose your biggest offensive weapon (Gresham) and an NFL quality QB to injury. You lose 3 games and you're in disarray. Those guys were supposed to contribute. When you look at them, it's kind of sad because they didn't get a fair shake. When it comes to players leaving early, I used to say, "Well, it happnes to everyone, you just deal with it." Well, that's just not true. Sometimes, superstars return for a shot at immortality. What could the '09 season have looked like w/ Asher, Knowshon, and Matthew back for one more year. Is there any doubt that we'd be 7-0 and ranked in the top 4? The truth is, Florida is markedly different because Harvin left, but just think how different they'd be if Spikes and Tebow would have left. Sometimes, that's just the nature of life in college football, and every program goes through different ups and downs with that issue. How would the '04 Auburn team have fared if Ronnie, Cadillac, and Carlos Rogers decided to skip out on that year? I don't fault those guys for going. I just want to think that our day will come when a special group decides to make history at UGA. Which makes me think: I may never get over that '04 UT game and David missing Reggie in the back of the endzone. That was the group and that was the team. And it also makes me think that DJ Shockley was pretty darn special.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Last Time We Faced #1 in Jacksonville

In case you're wondering when the last time the Dawgs went down to Jax to face the #1 team in the country, that one didn't work out too well for the Gators. Ironically, 1985 was also the last time UF won in Starkville. That was not a memorable UGA team. We went down to the game w/ a 6-1-1 record. We lost the season opener to Alabama and tied Vandy 13-13 a few weeks before we played Florida. That fun day in Jax would also be our last win of the season, as we'd drop the final 2 to Auburn and Tech and tie Arizona in the Sun Bowl.

But that was a season w/ a couple of memorable moments. We won in Clemson in red pants, as our All-American Center Peter Anderson fell on a fumble in the endzone to score a TD against the Tigers, and we had that moment in Jax, waxing #1 Florida 24-3. It was the epitome of the spell Dooley held over the Gators. They were way better than us that season…but not that day. Florida's schedule looks eerily similar, winning in Baton Rouge and Starkville and beating UT in Gainesville.

1985 Galen Hall

9/7 Miami (Miami) (5/NR) . . . . . . . . . . . . . W 35-23
9/14 Rutgers (Gainesville) (3/NR) . T 28-28
9/28 Mississippi State (Starkville) (11/NR) . W 36-22
10/5 LSU (Baton Rouge) (11/8) . W 20-0
10/12 Tennessee (Gainesville) (7/14) . . . . . . W 17-10
10/19 Southwestern Louisiana (5/NR) . W 45-0
(Gainesville) HC
10/26 Virginia Tech (Gainesville) (2/NR) . W 35-18
11/2 Auburn (Auburn) (2/6) . . . . . . . . . . . . . W 14-10
11/9 Georgia (Jacksonville) (1/17) . L 24-3
11/16 Kentucky (Gainesville) (11/NR) . . . . . . W 15-13
11/30 Florida State (Gainesville) (6/12) . W 38-14

I think the most intriguing thing about all of this is the strange range of emotions that all dawg fans are feeling right now. We all desperately want to put it together and spoil the seasons of our 2 most bitter rivals. We want to upset Florida and pull for the Evil Genius to catch lightning in a bottle against his old team and send us to Atlanta. We want to sneak into the SECCG. Or, at worst finish 9-3, end on a high note and go destroy some ACC team in Atlanta, some Big 12 team in Dallas or some Big 10 team in Tampa. We all want something like that. We want to get better and play like we're capable of playing. But, here is the million dollar, gut-check, dark places you don't talk about question: would you trade a miracle SEC title if it meant Willie Martinez keeps his job. Or the better question is probably: would you take and 9-3 turnaround and bowl win if it meant CWM keeps his job? Those are dark questions, my friends. I'm not sure I know the answer. And if I do, you probably don't want to know which way I'm leaning.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Unpredictability of College Football

How's this one for you? Some things about college football blow my mind. It is an utterly unpredictable sport. What if I'd told you in August these basic facts?

Through 6 games:
-Drew Butler will be the best punter in America, averaging right at 50 yards per punt
-Blair Walsh will be having an All-SEC caliber season, leading the SEC in touchbacks, 8-9 on FGs (including 3 50+ yarders) and perfect on PATs.
-We will not redshirt Washaun Ealey
-Brandon Boykin will have 2 100+ yard KO return TDs, and they come against South Carolina and UT
-We march the opening drive 80 yards in Stillwater and take a 7-0 lead before OSU ever touches the ball and both Branden Smith and Logan Gray see action in that series.

That tells me that we practiced special teams (just like we promised!), we put young players in positions to excel, we come out guns blazing and no holds barred.

When you see those things (and if you'd seen them in August), there's no way you'd guess we're 3-3. Such is the nature of college football.

But there's really 4 simple explanations:
1. Our defense has forgotten that 3 and outs are actually still legal in collegiate football.
2. We can't cover a kickoff to save our life.
3. We turn the ball over like it's covered in H1N1.
4. We commit the dumbest penalties you'll ever see in your life.

It's really pretty simple. Of course, there are a myriad of other factors, including our decision to not run block for the 2009 campaign, but fixing those 4 sure would go a long way to making sure that we don't go 3-3 in our next 6.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Couple More Things...

By the way, you think that #24 was pretty good? Everyone was writing the Broncos off after the Cutler trade. That kid does something to a team.

This whole season is going to challenge our dawgdom. But it's one of those reminders that I don't love UGA because we're good, because we beat our rivals, because I like red and black. Simply, I believe it's a better way to be. It was a better way to be in the Goff years…and it's a better way to be now.

I was thinking today about this season and looking at 2007. Yesterday was a more important game in Richt's career, but the '07 performance in Knoxville was still the worst performance in the Richt era in my book. It's the only game in 9 years that we didn't put up a fight. It was worse. It was uglier. It was 28-0 at halftime. It was 35-0 at one point. We never punched back that day. Thinking about that in light of how bad we looked yesterday, I just got to thinking about that season.

OSU-looked good and beat a decent team
So. Car. - Looked absolutely inept on offense and couldn't make the stop we had to at the end of the game.
W. Carolina - It was Western Car…did we really learn anything. Knowshon scores his first TD. But we get rested and better.
Bama - We look sharp on offense. Defense fails late and gives up a big lead and we win in OT. Ole Miss - They take a 7-0 lead in the 1st and are driving late in the 1st and fumble at our 4 yard line…do you remember that. We recover (in all aspects), and somehow strangely win 45-17, and they remember that they are Ole Miss. If you'll recall, this was Orgeron's train wreck season.
UT - Ugliest loss of Richt era, IMHO.
Vandy - Thank you Daryl Gamble.
Off week - The rest is history.

We don't have the talent of that team and we have systematic problems that have to be fixed, but…BUT…the comparison of that season and this is interesting.

OSU - This time we play them on the road and they're a lot better. Do you think we win the '07 opener on the road?
So. Car. - Played our guts out, looked incredible on offense, and schizo on defense, but made the stop this time.
Arkansas - Very comparable to the Ole Miss game that year. Crazy game in which we pull away late.
Arizona St. - What? We don't get to play Western Carolina? You get the idea. Thanks, Damon. LSU - Basically the South Carolina game from '07. Inept offense and can't make the stop we have to at the end of the game.
UT - Same song, different verse. ?????????????????

So, how different are the seasons? You could say the big difference was the schedule. And we're not coaching as good or as talented.

For the life of me I still can't figure out how where that team came from that showed up in Jax that cloudy day. We don't have Knowshon Moreno this year, so I'm not counting on it this time around. But it begs a greater question, and one that I think is the hardest for Richt to figure out, and, frankly, Damon. What if we did go on a run like that? And, I mean, it looks like what we saw in '07. Dominating teams on both sides of the ball. The problem is that wouldn't fix anything. That's the point that Richt's got to see. If we go on a run like that and somehow finish 10-3 and win the Outback Bowl…it doesn't matter. We can't go 11-1 playing the kind of D we play, and that is, essentially, the goal. That's the part I hope Richt as figured out.

Shifting Through the Wreckage

Well, it was not an understatement when we said before the game that it was the biggest in Richt's career. Of course, Kiffin made the usual idiot of himself by proclaiming that the Vols would never lose to UGA while he as the coach at UT. Ummm, Coach, you do know you don't get to play us in Neyland every year…and you do that Eric Berry's eligibility will eventually run out…and you do that you're younger than Willie Martinez, so he'll at least die before you do if you both end up staying there a while. Really, I can't see any redeeming thoughts about making a statement like that. It makes no sense. Of course, he makes little sense. Say you're making UGA the biggest game. Say you plan on creating a new biggest rival. Say you plan on giving UGA your best shot. But don't say that you're actually going to beat them every year, because you're not. And…he overestimates winning in recruiting. It has very little to do that. If he were a smart man, he'd make Florida the biggest game because winning the east will get you the best/most recruits. But I digress. He was the victor, for sure, yesterday and to the victors go the spoils.

Nothing we haven't said about Richt can really be said. The Senator sums it up perfectly: The fact that Blair leads the conference in touchbacks is staggering. It's like having a clean-up hitter leading the division in home runs and asking him to bunt half the time. This one's going to sting for a while, that's for sure, but it has to have revealed basically every ugly problem w/ the program. To be honest, I don't know if he wants to fix it or cares to fix it. Richt looks like he doesn't care anymore and is being Donnan-esque w/ the media. If that's the way it's going to be, I'll help him pack the truck because the least he can do is be a witness for Jesus…and he's not doing a very good job at that as well when he's curt w/ the fans and media. So, from where I sit. I hope he can fix it. I just don't know if he can. Assuming the wheels don't come completely, he deserves that shot.

As crazy as it sounds. I'm on the Aaron Murray bandwagon (or at least Logan), but I don't think Logan is going to be our QB next year. We need someone who can make some plays w/ their feet. What I'm certain of is that Aaron can throw 10 picks in 6 games just as well as Joe can. It's not that Joe's inadequate like JTIII was. It's just we're not getting the payoff of having a 5th year senior. If we're going to throw picks and spike the ball w/ :01 left…heck, the least we can do is play the more talented kid and get ready to make a run in 2010 and 2011. That's where I am.

Bottom lines:
-Willie has to go, probably along w/ our entire defensive staff
-Bobo has to get demonstratively better
-We need to play the younger QBs because we can't get worse offensively
-Richt needs to be a strong willed gentleman instead of a weak willed prick

I fear that no matter what, the bigger concern is that Richt has completely lost this team and program and the kids just aren't listening anymore.But, this is what separates the hangers on and the real fans. Let's be the real fans.