Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year in Review....Favorite Moments of 2011

So, it took me a while to detox from the whooping I got in the GA Dome. But I wanted to reflect on the season a little bit. I have this little personal tradition. After a win, I change my computer wallpaper to a play from the game. I try to find a nice picture of the 'play of the game' or at least one of the star of the game. I never put a picture from a loss up there. Do you know how long I had a picture of Justin Houston running a fumble back for a TD against Tech in Athens in 2010? A long time. Having said that, this team gave me great joy this year. I got to change that picture for 10 straight weeks. And in hindsight, a victory over Boise and subsequent lose to USCjr. Would have meant having the pro combats on my screen for 2 weeks, which would have been unfortunate.

We did all I asked of this team of it after an 0-2 start -- we beat our rivals. A season in which you beat UT, UF, Auburn and Tech is a resounding success. There's no other way to say it. On top of that you win your division and it's a really good season. Maybe a great season. We got better as we played. And we did much of it with smoke and mirrors on offense with the running game. Our defense was one of the most fun to watch in recent memory. This season and this team was much, much like the '03 team and in many ways a mirror image. That team was very talented. We lost to LSU and Florida. LSU ended up being a better team. Florida was in our heads. That team played some ugly, ugly games. We played terrible in Nashville and trailed 2-0 at the half. We also struggled against UAB, winning 16-13. Yes, we beat UAB 16-13. But that team also showed flashes of dominance, pummeling UT in Knoxville and beating Auburn into submission at home. We closed with a 34-17 win at Bobby Dodd in a game we controlled from start to finsih, much like our 31-17 win this year. That team had a dominating, dominating defense and a questionable running game. We bounced around with Michael Cooper, Tyson Browning, Tony Milton and Lumpkin came on later in the year. It was sad. We went to the dome and played a deeper, better LSU team en route to a National Championship. We ended up in Florida vs. a Big 10 team. I loved that 2003 team. I loved this team.

Having said that, this bowl game is very, very important. The fact remains that if we lose, we'll have lost to the best 4 teams we played. It'd be great to beat a team with 10 wins. They're good. I feel like we're going come out ready to play. And, their D is good, but I'll hedge my bet that they don't have a guy that can cover #26. I also believe this game is a great opportunity for Isaiah. We need him to be good. But, I'll say this. I left that dome very encouraged. The bottom line is that we're way farther along than we were last year. We played toe to toe with probably the best team I've ever seen us play. I was trying to think about that, but I'm pretty sure it is. And we had them. I'm not one for moral victories, but as far down in the dumps as our program was, it's about steps. And we took a lot of steps this year. A couple of highlights for me:

My favorite freshmen: Malcom Mitchell sure is something.
Players I'm looking forward to watching for their career: Conley and Bennett. Boy, they're going to to make a young Christian LeMay's life a lot easier one day.

My favorite player: Uh, #29. It sure is fun to have a player like that on your team.
Player I'll miss most: Boykin. We got about all we could out of him this year, finally.
Coach of the Year: Olivadotti. What he did w/ our LBs with injuries coming off an August with his daughter in Scottish Rite was pretty amazing.

Favorite game: Auburn. Best I've seen us play in a long, long time. Probably since that '04 LSU game. Or at least since the '08 Sugar Bowl.

Favorite O play of the year: Whew, the TD to TK in Jacksonville was pandemonium.
Favorite D play of the year: Bacarri's INT return vs. Auburn
Favorite moment: Going for it on 4th down from the 50 in Knoxville. To me, it showed a mentality that has been missing with Richt for a while. I truly think he's changed. We saw it time and time again throughout the season.

Play of the year: Drew Butler's game saving tackle. I shudder to think what we turn into if Vandy scoops and scores on that punt block. I think we implode.

It sure does seem hard to find a coach these days. I'm really glad we're getting to keep ours and he got his act together. It's nothing short of a miracle, and it might be the last time we see something like this happen in CFB again. And I really like Shawn Williams.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Getting to know Texas A&M

After Texas A&M’s brutal domination of the Big 12 over the years, the next step is obvious. They are coming to slay the college football dragon that we know as the Southeastern Conference, and there is nothing that can stop them.

Texas A&M has been scheming for this move for some time. They started making minor preparations dating back all the way to the early 1900’s, when a few cadets in the Texas A&M fake army soldier club skipped fire-building practice one night, and discussed what they could possibly do to have the upper hand against Florida in the Swamp in 2012. After hours of deliberation they knew what had to be done. Instead of having attractive, under-dressed female cheerleaders with dainty voices jumping and flipping on the field, they would elect 5 boys each year with funny haircuts to dress up as janitors in white jumpsuits to run around the sidelines yelling at everybody. They were sure that it would instill fear in opposing teams and fan bases, and they could not have been more correct.

Furthermore, it’s not like TAMU has no idea what playing an SEC team is like. Trust me, they know, they even beat one in 1995. They come into the league boasting a 58-78-6 overall record against teams from the Southeastern Conference. Quit laughing, a .426 winning percentage is nothing to scoff at – Albert Pujols would kill for a .426 average. So obviously what I am saying is that Texas A&M would be a shoe-in first ballot Major League Baseball Hall of Famer – name one SEC team that can hang their hat on only this? You can’t.

TAMU enters the SEC after basically being the 5th best team in the Big 12 year in and year out. That is pretty good if you ask me. So what, they have losing records against conference foes Colorado and Nebraska (then in Big 12), Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech. Big deal. They beat Baylor and Iowa State a lot – that is good kind of. They were even Gallery Furniture Bowl champions in 2001. I highly doubt they would have lost to any Texas high school teams during their time in the Big 12, and we all know how big Texas high school football is.

Texas A&M brings a different element to the college game. This element is spirit. This is intangible. Their fans never, ever, ever give up. One of my most fond memories I have of any football game was the 2005 Cotton Bowl Classic, when the fiery Rick Clausen lit the Aggie defense up for a 38 – 7 route to victory. But what the Aggies lacked on the field, they more than made up for it in the stands. Their fans were relentless. The clock was winding down in the 4th quarter, they weren’t within four touchdowns, but you would think they had just won the Super Bowl with the way they wouldn’t shut up. It almost made me wish Tennessee had lost due to all the fun the Aggie fans were having. “Oh honey! Look! We are down by forty-seven touchdowns – Riffety, riffety, riff-raff! Chiffity, chiffity, chiff-chaff! Riff-raff! Chiff-chaff! Let’s give ‘em a horse laugh: Sssssss!”

So congratulations, Texas A&M. The Big 12 leash that has been holding you back for so long and keeping you distant from any kind of success whatsoever has been severed, and you are finally free to show what you are made of. Honestly, I’m not too afraid to say that in five years from now I just might be writing an article about how Texas A&M is gearing up for their first season as a member of the AFC South.

Watch out SEC, you are about to be gigged. (Whatever the hell that means.)


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's the system we're stuck with.

Just a little something to ponder, you can see the list compiled below. Since 1980, we've played in a bowl 28 times…in 11 bowls. That's right, we've played in only 11 different bowls in the last 31 years. That means we've been to most bowls. 2-4 times.

Since 1984, we've played in 24 bowls against only 15 opponents. We've played:


Three Times:
Michigan St.

These are by biggest gripes with the bowl system. Every other school mostly has the same problem. South Carolina went to the Outback to play Ohio St. for 2 straight years. I don't really know the answer. The SEC has the best bowl tie-ins. It's not like we're going to send fans out to the Holiday Bowl or something. But I wish something could be done about the opponents. Could we get more Big 12 matchups, could we squeeze in a Pac-10 match-up somewhere? What about more ACC matchups that include us not playing a team from Virginia or Boston or FSU? How in the world have we not played Clemson or North Carolina in a bowl? Or Miami? How in the world have we not played Penn St. or Michigan all the times we've been to the Ouback or Cap One?

The best answer is to go to Big Time Bowls. Since '80, our matchups in the Sugar or Cotton have been: Notre Dame, Pitt, Penn St, Texas, FSU, WVU, and Hawaii. Not all great tradition schools, but the variety is much better than the standard UVA or Wisconsin matchup.

Year Bowl Opponent
1980 Sugar Notre Dame
1981 Sugar Pitt
1982 Sugar Penn St.
1983 Cotton Texas
1984 Citrus/Cap One FSU
1985 Sun Arizona
1986 Hall of Fame/Outback BC
1987 Liberty Arkansas
1988 Gator Mich. St
1989 Peach/CFA Syracuse
1990 N/A N/A
1991 Independence Arkansas
1992 Citrus/Cap One Ohio St.
1993 N/A N/A
1994 N/A N/A
1995 Peach/CFA Virginia
1996 N/A N/A
1997 HOF/Outback Wisconsin
1998 Peach/CFA Virginia
1999 HOF/Outback Purdue
2000 Oahu Virginia
2001 Music City BC
2002 Sugar FSU
2003 Citrus/Cap One Purdue
2004 HOF/Outback Wisconsin
2005 Sugar WVU
2006 Peach/CFA VaTech
2007 Sugar Hawaii
2008 Citrus/Cap One Mich. St.
2009 Independence Texas A&M
2010 Liberty UCF
2011 HOF/Outback Mich. St.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

About the CMR Rumor...

Eh...I'm not sure I buy it. The site it's from is very shady. It sounds like a recruiting ploy to me. I just don't see it for a couple of reasons:

-I think he likes making $3 million and has figured out how much good he can do with it.
-Zach and Anya are still in school
-I think he'd be worried about his assistants
-There's too much talk of contract extensions from McGarity, and I think he'd know
-We're going to be absolutely loaded next year.

CounselorDawg said he heard Petersen was visiting Chapel Hill with his family on Dec. 5. That'd be a great hire for the Heels.

Nothing surprises you in the business of College Football, but I just don't see it. I think he's fought like crazy to get it back and wants to enjoy the ride. He's said as much. It'll be interesting to see if he addresses it. The fact that the report says that we'd be looking at Dooley or Bobo kind of lends itself to ridiculous. Kirby would be at the top of that list. Of course, you know I'm all for Bobo. I actually think he'll make a good head coach and he's an outstanding and tireless recruiter, something Richt isn't, but something that Saban and Miles are. But I'm not sure McGarity would go that route, and there would be an uproar if he hired Derek. I think a lot of people want to bring UGA down, and now that the hot seat talk is over, the new thing is to say he's leaving. That's because they know we're about to land Marshall and Gurley and be unstoppable.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rivalry Week Nugget

Did you know that UGA/Auburn was the 7th oldest rivalry but is about to be #4?

Kansas/Nebraska, Kansas/Mizzou, & Texas/A&M are all getting lost in realignment. That's a darn shame. After next year, only Minnesota/Wisconsin, Miami (oh)/Cincy, & UNC/UVa will be older.

Kinda sad on this rivalry week.

The aforementioned chaos...

And you thought I was crazy a few weeks ago…So, here's what we're looking at as far as the BCS.

1. LSU - Arkansas & SECCG
2. OSU - OU
3. Bama - @ Auburn
4. Oregon - Oregon St.
5. OU - Iowa St, @ OSU
6. Arkansas - @ LSU
7. Clemson - @ USCjr.
8. VaTech - @ UVA & possibly vs. Clemson in ACCCG
9. Stanford - Notre Dame
10. Boise St. - Wyoming, New Mexico
11. Houston - @ Tulsa, C-USC champ game
12. South Carolina - Clemson
13. Kansas St. - Iowa St.
14. UGA - you got that one
15. Mich. St. - @ Northwestern, BIG 10 CG vs. Wisconsin or PSU
16. Nebraska - who cares, they got blown out
17. Wisconsin - PSU, prob. Vs. Mich. St. in Big 10 CG

Why do Mich. St. and Wisconsin matter? Strangely the middle section of the USA Today (used for the BCS) looks crazy.
12. Michigan St.
13. Wisconsin
14. South Carolina
15. UGA
16. Nebraska
17. K-State
18. Michigan

You want…
Auburn to beat Bama
Virginia or Clemson to beat VaTech
LSU to beat Arkansas
OU to beat OSU
Clemson to beat South Carolina
Someone to beat Stanford
Houston to lose
Something crazy to happen in the Big-10, like their champion having 3 losses, but it probably doesn't matter there.

You don't really need all those things to happen, but we need most of them. Like I said, "We gotta play somebody." We just have to get to #2, not #1. NC State winning was huge. Clemson getting their act together and beating South Carolina and UVA would knock 2 teams out ahead of us, and VaTech still only has one loss.

2 weeks to go, and it's just getting fun!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rankins: Let the Chaos Begin

Chaos got a slow start this weekend, but it started a little. So, here's a rundown of those in the mix ahead of us and what they've got left. Mind you, I'm not saying we're going to end up playing on Jan. 9. I'm just saying that it might get crazy here at the end.

These are their losable games
K-State - @ Texas
Mich. St - @ NW, BIG 10 champ.
Wisc. - @ Ill, Penn St, Big 10 champ.
South Carolina - Clemson
Boise has essentially no tough tests left
Houston - SMU, @ Tulsa
Clemson - @ NC State, @ South Carolina
Stanford - Cal, ND
VT - UNC, @ UVA, ACC champ.
Arky - Miss St., @ LSU
OU - @ Baylor, @ Okie St.
Oregon - USC, Oregon St.
Bama - @ Auburn
Okie St. - @ Iowa St, OU
LSU - @ Ole Miss, Arkansas

So, there's a few ways to look at it.

LSU or Arky is going to lose
South Carolina or Clemson is going to lose
Wisconsin or Mich. St. is going to lose
Oklahoma or Okie St. is going to lose
Va Tech or Clemson is going to lose

So, if you take the chalk in those games. We end up ranked ahead of Arky, South Carolina, Mich. St, Oklahoma, and Va Tech by Dec. 4. That puts us at 9. I feel like a few other crazy things are going to happen and, if we win out, we're going to end up on that Sunday night at about 5 and be talking about 'What if?' Here's the games to watch if you want absolute chaos to transpire:

USC over Oregon
SMU over Houston
ND over Stanford
Texas over K-State
Illinois over Wisconsin, then Wisc. Beats Mich. St.
Va Tech or Clemson drop a game, then the one w/ 2 losses wins the SECCG
Baylor over OU, the OU beats OSU

That looks a lot like 2007 and probably won't happen. But, we've got 3 weeks left and only 2 teams left. I don't think we're gonna have 2 teams undefeated left when it's all said and done.

The game for us to really watch is SMU/Houston. I don't want to play vs. Houston in the Sugar Bowl. Case Keenum really does not want to play Jarvis Jones in the Sugar Bowl. We've seen that movie already. If Houston loses, then that frees up 4 at-large bids for the power conferences. The SEC would be guaranteed one and Stanford looks like a lock to get one. I'd love to see VT win the SEC and us play a 11-2 Clemson in N.O. Would be fun for my family…till game time. Who else gets one, then? Does the Fiesta really want a 10-2 OU? They go there every year and would their fans travel after just losing their conference title? The Big 10 championship game loser is going to have 3 losses. Do they go? Who gets stuck playing Cincinnati?

It sure is nice to be able to think about big bowls.

WOW! That happened...

If you haven't looked at the stat line from Saturday, do yourself a favor and savor it. I still can't believe we whipped Auburn like that. I have literally gone to sleep smiling the past 3 nights. We did what I asked of us in mid-September. We beat our rivals. One more SEC game to go. One more rival to go. One more championship to go. I'm really interested to see how Saturday plays out. Will we be a little listless knowing we've got a hate game and a championship war on the horizon? I just hope we're efficient. Even with a division title on the line, I don't expect us to have that edge. I just want us to be efficient. Heck, what do I know? Hopefully, we'll have the attitude we had vs. NMSU, which seemed to be, "Hey, let's let everyone score a touchdown!" Just a couple random thoughts:

  • This sure is fun. I gotta admit, I was in a very dark spot after Boise. After the Cocks we were 6-9 in our last 15 games. Hard to believe we pulled it together. Probably the best coaching job by Richt in his career. That he pulled us out of this is remarkable.
  • Jarvis Jones is very, very good. Why, exactly, didn't they want him in Los Angeles?
  • And Alec Ogletree is also very, very good.
  • And, boy, it is a great feeling to excited about our D on the field.
  • At what point to people start talking about how lucky LSU and Bama were to not have to play UGA and South Carolina?
  • Grantham is worth every penny. Mike Bobo deserves a raise.
  • All-SEC is going to be littered w/ Dawgs. Rambo, Jarvis, Murray, Jones, and maybe Boykin are locks. We'll have some D-lineman in consideration, along w/ maybe Cordy, and you gotta wonder about a WR. Crowell's gonna come close, probably 2nd team. The interesting thing is that our virtual locks, Butler and Walsh, will be nowhere to be found.

What I'm most excited about is personnel improvement and use this year. Gilliard continued to start after Robinson got healthy. Rambo has gotten incredibly better. We pushed to get Shawn Williams on the field, even if it meant pushing Branden Smith off it. Carlton eased ahead of Samuel on the depth chart during the season. And we finally had enough with our all-world kicker. There truly is a new attitude in Athens.

My favorite moment from Saturday was Rambo's pick six. A wild moment in the stadium. After Boulder, Colorado…we deserved that. What was your favorite part?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

To the Barners who still think Bo was better....


Anyone who's watched SEC football for the past, oh, 50 years knows that when it comes to running backs, there's Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson, and everyone else. So who's the better college running back? Bo? Herschel? There are a few ways you can look at this one.

1. Freshman impact. No contest here. Herschel set the freshman rushing record at 1,616 yards - and he did that in the equivalent of 9 games (he missed the bulk of the Ole Miss game, and a half against both UT and TCU). Bo? 829 yards. Ho hum. Or let me put it this way: Bo rushed for fewer yards as a freshman than Jasper Sanks did as a sophomore. Herschel should have won the Heisman as a freshman. Bo? Bo wasn't diddly as a freshman. Advantage: Herschel, and Bo doesn't really deserve to be mentioned in his company here.

2. Season rushing stats. Let's take a look at their seasons in terms of yards gained per season and put them in order.

1. 1,891 yards. Herschel, 1981.

2. 1,786 yards. Bo, 1985.

3. 1,752 yards. Herschel, 1982.

4. 1,616 yards. Herschel, 1980.

5. 1,213 yards. Bo, 1983.

6. 829 yards. Bo, 1982.

7. 475 yards. Bo, 1984.

Auburn fans will quickly remind you that Bo's 1984 season was shortened by injury. I will remind Auburn fans that Herschel missed a game and a half his freshman year and a game his junior year based on injury. OK, so let's go ahead and play the "what if" game. What if Bo and Herschel hadn't missed any time due to injury? To let you know how I came up with these numbers, I did it like this. Herschel missed 1.5 games in 1980 due to injury. Take 1,616, divide by 9.5, multiply by 11 for the revised total. Here are the "no injuries" numbers:

1. 1,936 yards. Herschel, 1982.

2. 1,891 yards. Herschel, 1981.

3. 1,871 yards. Herschel, 1980.

4. 1,786 yards. Bo, 1985.

5. 1,213 yards. Bo, 1983.

6. 1,045 yards. Bo, 1984.

7. 829 yards. Bo, 1982.

Bo don't know Herschel's yards. Put another way, Herschel's 3 years are 3 of the top 5 rushing totals in SEC history. Bo's second best year doesn't even make the top 20.

Advantage: Herschel, and it's not close.

3. Career rushing stats.

Herschel: 5,259 yards in 3 years

Bo: 4,303 yards in 4 years.

Some Auburn fans will tell you that a healthy Bo Jackson would have outrushed Herschel over 4 years. Fine. Let's play that game, too. I'll even give Bo a 1984 equivalent to his best season, 1985. Don't forget, though, that Herschel had another full year to play when he left. Giving Herschel the equivalent of his best year, you get these numbers:

Herschel: 7,150 yards

Bo: 5,614 yards

Sorry, Aubies. Advantage: Herschel, and again, it's not even close.

4. Durability. To make it through the always-brutal SEC schedule, a running back must have durability. The best home-run running back in the world doesn't do squat from the bench.

Per game: Herschel has two of the top 4 rush attempts in a game. Bo doesn't even make the list.

Per season: Herschel has the top 2 seasons. Bo's best season is at #15.

Career: Herschel had more rushes in 3 years than anyone in SEC history had in 4.

No contest here. Compared to Herschel, Bo was a china doll. Bo took himself out of games. Herschel put himself back in them. Advantage: Herschel, and Bo isn't in the same class.

5. Team impact. Good players get good stats. Great players get great stats. Elite players lift the teams around them. Let's look at the team records and accomplishments.

National championships: In Herschel's 3 years, Georgia won a national championship and played for another. In Bo's 4, Auburn won none and played for none.

SEC championships: Georgia won 3 in Herschel's 3 years. Auburn won 1 in Auburn's 4.

Winning percentage:

Georgia: .917 (33-3), Auburn: .755 (37-12)

At home: Georgia: 1.000 (19-0), Auburn: .846 (22-4)

Away: Georgia: .909 (10-1), Auburn: .714 (10-4)

SEC: Georgia: 1.000 (18-0), Auburn: .708 (17-7)

Win streaks:

Home: Georgia: 19, Auburn: 10

SEC: Georgia: 18, Auburn: 9

AP final ranking:

Georgia: 1, 6, 4, Auburn: 14, 3, 14, unranked


Georgia: Sugar, Sugar, Sugar, Auburn: Tangerine, Sugar, Liberty, Cotton

Advantage: Herschel, and Bo is nowhere near.

6. Heisman balloting:


1980: 3rd (highest ever point total for a freshman)

1981: 2nd

1982: 1st (margin, 695 votes over John Elway)

Herschel beat out such names as John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Anthony Carter, and Dan Marino.


1982: not on the ballot

1983: not on the ballot

1984: not on the ballot

1985: 1st (margin, 45 votes over Chuck Long, the closest vote ever)

Bo beat out such names as Chuck Long, Robbie Bosco, Vinny Testaverde, and Allan Pinckett.

Advantage: Herschel, and Bo doesn't approach him.

7. Other arguments.

Bo was a great baseball player. So was Nolan Ryan, but no one mistook him for a football player.

Bo had a better pro career. By what standards? Consider this:

Bo never had over 1,000 yards. Herschel did it for two different teams.

Bo never finished in the league's top 10 in any statistic in any season. Herschel was in the top 10 in rushing yards twice, rushing scores 5 times, receptions twice, yards from scrimmage 4 times, and rush/recieve TD's twice.

Bo never finished in the top 50 for any stat in his career. Herschel is in 5 categories. Herschel is the only player to have 10,000+ yards gained on offense and 5,000+ yards on kickoff returns. Herschel is one of only six players to exceed 60 TDs rushing and 20 TDs receiving.

Bo is only one of two players with two 90+ yard rushing TDs, but Herschel is the only player in NFL history to score a 90+ yard TD rushing, receiving, and kickoff return in the same season, and he did it in his 30's.

In conclusion:

The SEC has seen a lot of great players, and a lot of great running backs. None of them have been better in four years than Herschel Walker was in three, and that includes Bo Jackson. Bo had one great year. So did Charles Alexander from LSU and Kentucky's Mo Williams, who both exceeded 1,600 yards in a season. So did Florida's Emmitt Smith, Auburn's Rudi Johnson, and Georgia's Garrison Hearst, who all exceeded 1,500 yards in a season. No one, however, has had the sustained excellence that Herschel had throughout his career.

No one comes close. Not even Bo.

BCS and Bowl thoughts

Just some thoughts on bowls. We really want Florida to win and win out. An 8-4 Florida would be awful attractive to the Outback, even though they went last year. You know the Outback, they don't care. Of course, a 9-3 or 8-4 USCe might be attractive, too. That might leave us with a shot at Dallas if we get 'upset' in the SECCG.

Just thinking BCS if things hold true to form. Who's getting 2 in? Big 10 is not. They stink and their highest ranked team is at, like 12, right now. And that's Penn St, who has a few more losses on that schedule. Plus, that conference is going to enjoy the ol' extra loss in the Championship game syndrome the SEC loser has experienced a time or 2. Pac 12 probably won't if Oregon gets beat this weekend. They could, but they'll drop to about 12 or 13 after losing. SEC certainly will. Boise St. will most likely be in. Big 12 looks to get 2 in, even if OSU beats OU. OU probably goes somewhere at 10-2. They'll still be highly ranked. It's a no brainer for them if OU beats OSU. Now, if OSU drops another one somewhere…could get interesting. Big East should thank God and the BCS they get in. Their leader, Cincy, got boatraced in Knoxville. So that leaves the ACC. Is this the year they get 2 in. Interesting thing here. Is the ACC better off if Clemson goes 11-1, then loses in the ACCCG? An 11-2 would be very attractive to the Sugar Bowl or Fiesta Bowl, I would think. But, a 9-4 GaTech coming off losses to UGA and Clemson has no shot at getting a bid. Just interesting to see what happens there. It's between the ACC and Pac 12, it looks like, with the Big 10 having an outside chance.

Speaking of the BCS, what in the world happens if Arkansas beats LSU. Figuring out who gets to Atlanta would be a royal mess. It would come down to BCS rank. I wonder if the pollsters would give the inside track to Arky because they would have been the only team to have lost on the road. Bama lost at home to LSU, and LSU would have lost at home to Arky. Arky lost in T-town. Just an idea. What if Arkansas beats LSU, Oregon beats Stanford and OU has their annual depants-ing of OSU? What in the world happens? You probably go SEC 1-loss champ vs. Boise. All that is very, very possible.

I'm not predicting this, but what if a few other things happen that are in the same vein.
-OU beats OSU
-LSU wins out regular season, looking impressive vs. Arky
-Oregon or ND beats Stanford and Oregon loses to USC
-Clemson loses to South Carolina or Ga Tech, again
-Boise wins out

Most of those things will happen. I'm not sure Clemmons is 12-1 team. I'll believe OSU is the real deal when they stop somebody. And LSU will probably beat Arky. The rub there is Stanford. But, something's gotta happen. We go into championship Saturday with rankings that look something like this:

1. LSU
2. OSU
3. Boise
4. Alabama
5. Oklahoma
6. Houston
7. UGA

No, I'm not smoking what Isaiah was smoking. Stanford will drop considerably after they lose because their schedule has been so weak. Oregon's gonna lose to either USC or Stanford, maybe both. Arkansas is out due to loss to LSU, VaTech will be out after losing to Tech this Thursday. Penn St has a lot of losses on their calendar left, as does K-State. The pollsters are just waiting to see if we can win a game against a real opponent this weekend to bump us up over USCe. What if that happens and Aaron Murray does his best DJ Shockley impression in the dome and we beat LSU 31-10? That's what you call a mess. Do we have a shot at the BCS game? Probably not. Stuff crazier than '07 would have to happen. But we might come real close. The best news for us is that we'll get a shot to play the undisputed #1 team in the land to win our league. And doing that will be enough. The question is, "Is a 2 loss SEC champion better than a 1 loss Pac-12 or Big 12 champion?" The last 5 years has taught us that the SEC is about 1 loss better than the rest of the leagues. It would be a very, very interesting scenario. Remember '02? People weren't talking about us sneaking into the game…it was 2 loss USC who started the season 0-2 or 1-2. If nothing else, we would bust up the formula and make for an exciting Sunday. Ain't scheduling crazy? That first weekend. We can't go ahead of Boise. Oregon can't go ahead of LSU.

Just chewed on that at the bar tonight. This thing could get crazy down the stretch. I'm not sure OSU or Stanford have "undefeated" on them.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Controlling our destiny and the weekend review

Hard to believe after that debacle on Sept. 10 that we control our own destiny going into Auburn week. It's really hard to believe after what we saw in the Dome. For the life of me, I have no idea what we were doing in that game. But that's water under the bridge. We've won 7 in a row, which seemed impossible 8 weeks ago. And, we've already won more than we did all of last year, so there's that. Couple thoughts:

-When that Arkansas kicker missed that FG before halftime, after the TD drop, that's easily the most disgusted I've ever been watching a game that didn't involve UGA. I just thought, "Here we go." Alas, the Cocks offense is terrible. And it might get worse if Shaw doesn't play on Saturday. I'm predicting the typical November swoon for the Cocks. Florida wins and we clinch on Saturday. We're going to look back at 2010 as an aberration of winning the East w/ a 5-3 record. It won't happen again.

-Hey, you could be a USCe fan. They'll have to travel to Mizzou and Fayetteville BOTH every other year. Ouch.

-I'll say it once. Brandon Harton is better than Richard Samuel. Now, we needed Richard vs. Florida. We needed to run right at them and Harton can't do that. But, Harton's vision and balance are on another planet compared to Richard. It will be interesting to see how it plays out over the next few games with Carlton and Harton.

-After watching all of the Arky game, it is crystal clear that Murray is far and away the best QB in the conference. No one else is close. I thought Wilson was a little better that what I saw on Saturday, but he's not in Murray's league. I hope our fans can learn to appreciate it the next 2 1/2 years. The kid is going to break every UGA record and probably every SEC record, maybe even get close to Weurffel's career TD record, which I thought would never get touched.

-I don't know that I've ever actually seen a 3rd team defense on the field in a game. I did Saturday.

-I think we're going to roll Auburn. I think they've been playing above their heads, and I just don't think they're that good. It's about time we put it together. We are back to being relevant, but Mark Richt couldn't ask for much more. CBS game at home against your oldest rival to essentially clinch the East. Time to get it done.

-USCe vs. UF is on at 12 on CBS. We could know what we're up against before we even start. It sure would be fun to clinch it in a big game and not against UK.

-Derek Dooley needs a win in Fayetteville in a bad, bad way.

-As for the Game of the Century…it went about how I expected. I was encouraged. I'd be excited about playing LSU or Bama. It'd be Murray's game because they'd stop Crowell, but Murray can beat them. We'd get lots of one on one coverage, and Mitchell would have to play the role of Sean Bailey. If that team got down by 14, I don't know if they could catch up. They've got talent all over, but Jordan Jefferson has no idea what to do when he drops back to pass…even as a senior. I'm not predicting a win, but I'd love to get our shot.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

That glorious catch by Chris Conley

Whew, I just watched that pass to Conley again. If it's incomplete, we're at 3rd and 9 from the 36 and the clock is stopped at 2:23. Florida had one timeout left. It would have put us in an obvious passing down, and another incompletion would have given the ball to Florida with one timeout and about 2:10 left. Ballsy call after a 9 incompletions in a row streak. Maybe I was focused on other things, but being in the stadium and not hearing the commentators or seeing stats, but I never would have thought Murray had missed on 9 in a row at that point. I'd have said something like 5 or 6 maybe.

That's how you win big ball games. Kudos to Bobo and Murray for calling the play and making the play. And thank goodness we took Conley's shirt off. Looking back, maybe we should have played Justin Scott-Wesley this year, too. We hadn't really had a receiver like Conley. I can't figure him out. He's not a burner. He's big, though, and catches the ball really well. If people can get off comparing guys based on race, Conley is actually a lot more like Kris Durham and Bennett is a lot more like Michael Moore.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Perhaps this situation will bring some things into light...

...That need to be brought into light. Blutarsky linked to a fantastic article on by Brett McMurphy. What we find is what we found about UGA in the '80s-'90s when it came to academics: UGA simply has a stricter policy than just about every other program in major college football. Michigan, Ohio St., Penn St., Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas A & M, Clemson, FSU, Georgia Tech, Oregon, Arizona St., West Va, Tennessee, Florida, LSU, Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, and South Carolina all DO NOT suspend players nor report when a player fails a drug test for the first time. Kentucky and UGA are the only teams in the SEC to have manatory suspensions of 10% of the season after 1 failed drug test. Virginia Tech is the only other 'big time' public program that has a similar policy. Some of the also rans in other conference have a similar policy.

What does that tell us? LSU's boys had failed a couple of drug test to get suspended. This would have been a non story, not reported and a non-issue just about everywhere else. Once again, we are lambasted because we actually have stricter policies that we abide by rather than looser policies that allow us to work things however we want. Just kind of interesting. If McGarity really wants to help our program succeed at the highest level, he should be using the media (aka, the AJC) to help push for conference-wide policy reform on 2 major issues in which we are ahead of the curve:

1. 4-year scholarships and oversigning.
2. Standard drug testing procedures and suspension policies.
If we got those 2 things straight across our conference, it would change the landscape pretty quick for UGA and the SEC…in our favor.

On to Saturday, if you haven't heard or read about Kyle Karempelis, do your homework before Saturday. He's going to play, a lot. I'm actually kind of excited about watching it. I've seen Harton run in practice and the guy is good. The interesting thing is Karempelis. He was a standout at Wesleyan and rushed for over 5,000 yards. They knocked Nick Marshall's crew out of the playoffs. He is a true freshman and on track to redshirt, of course, as a preferred walk-on who would never see the field. The media didn't even really know he was on the roster. But, here we are 8 games in, and because of circumstances, they're pulling his redshirt faster than you can say "Karempelis". This tells me a few things.

1. He's good. Wes Van Dyke has played spot duty this year, but Bobo said he's not in the mix, meaning, he's not as good as Karempelis, even though Karempelis hasn't played a snap.

2. We're committed to putting the best guys on the field. The kid can always redshirt next year, but we want to win now…even if it is New Mex. St.

3. We're looking for guys to help us. There is no telling what we'll need in the 3 weeks following this game with Richard out. We might need Karempelis or Harton to carry it 3-4 times against Auburn or Tech, and we're committed to getting them meaningful snaps to see who might be ready.

I also can't wait to see Nick Marshall or Damian Swann take a toss sweep. It's going to be like watching a really, really good high school game. I think Harton might star on Saturday, but look out for Karempelis. You don't rush for 5,000 yards without knowing how to run the football. Great vision and feel for running. He might be a surprise. Boy, you come walk-on at UGA and you never think you'll get this chance. Good for this kid. I'll be his parents are throwing up daily this week.

There's a YouTube bit on him with highlights and interviews with him and his high school coach. You should watch it. And, yes, he is a Caucasian brother. Been a long time since we've seen that in Athens. The ol' Brett Millican days.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This game is HUGE for Georgia Football

Are you like me and you're just glad that it's going to be over on Saturday. Not the game. Hopefully that will be 60 minutes of pure joy that I'll never want to end. But, no matter what, the drama will be over. Lose, and the Mark Richt era is probably officially coming to a close. Win, and he'll probably be here as long as he wants. I, for one, am glad to be getting an answer to that question on Saturday.

The more I think about the game, the more I want to throw up. Good Lord, it's huge. It's huge not just for Richt, but for our program and the national perception of our program. This isn't just about this year's team. This is about can Georgia finally take advantage of a poor Florida and some momentum to seize control of this series and recruiting. Win this game and you've got an uber-experienced Murray coming back against Driskel the next 2 years. I like my chances there. Win this game and #11 has the legitimate chance to be a UGA QB that leaves with a winning record vs. the Gators. That is, as we say, unheard of. The last QB to do that? Wayne Johnson was 1-0 and James Jackson was 2-1. Yes…the mid-eighties. It's time to stop it. If Mark Richt can't do it in 11 years, it's time to find someone who can. This year is a good place to start.

And, hopefully this will be the beginning of something to prove for the remainder of the season. 2009 vs. Georgia Tech is still the last time we beat a ranked team. That's a looooooooong time for a program like UGA. We haven't had many shots this year, but we'll get some down the road. Auburn will probably still be ranked when we play them. And, despite all their flaws, every team they've lost to is in the top 10 and either undefeated or their only loss is to one of the undefeateds.

And a scheduling note, Auburn will probably be a 3:30 game at home (finally) if we win. The other games that week are Bama @ MSU, UT @ Arkansas, and Florida @ South Carolina. If we win, ours will be the only game pitting two ranked teams. And, given the history of the series, they'd be crazy to pass it up. Bama will be a snoozer, and Arkansas might beat UT by 80. Depending on what the Cocks do, that could be a battle for 2nd place in the East.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Grantham-gate: It deserves nothing more than a slap on the wrist

Can I just say that if any disciplinary action other than a slap on the wrist is taken against Grantham and Kwame it will push me to another level toward being done with SEC football. It won't be lack of sleep, long drives or ticket prices that ever push me away or make me end the streak or stop going…it's this nonsense. I'm not an old-timer, but I am just about sick and tired of the sissy-fication of American football. It is a collision sport. They are gladiators. That's why I come to watch, and I could care less is the coaches get in a cage match after the game. I thought Fairley was dirty, but dirty in a way that I wanted him on my team. The UGA fans crying about him last year were just being babies. Tackle till the echo of the whistle, my coach used to say.

And, if something were to happen to Grantham and not Mus-chump, then we have serious problems in our league. Kwame's action was a retaliation off a really dirty, possible career threatening play. It's 2 boys being boys. Separate them and move on. Good lord, we've turned into girls.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Well, here we are...5-0 after week two

Hey, after walking out of Sanford Stadium on Sept. 10, you were begging to be 5-2 heading into the off week. If I'd have told you that I'd give you 5-2, with South Carolina toting a loss into the stretch of UT, Arky, and Florida and Garcia and Lattimore are gone for the year and Florida has 3 losses…you'd have taken it quicker than you can say "James Fraklin's a punk." So, take it. Don't whine about how ugly it was or the teams we've played. So what? The thing I think about this team is that we're going to get a lot better each week and as the season continues to progress. If we do, we'll get our shot against one of those monsters from the West and we'll see how we measure up. All we can do is play who's in front of us, and Lord knows we've had enough trouble with those guys since Lil Bit has been alive.

Having said that, if we can get our act together down there and play like we should, beat those lizards into submission, we'd be 3-5 over the last 8 years. Now, that's not great, but it's a heckuva lot better than we've fared recently. If we do that, I will no longer accept any arguments about our 20 year history with them. I will simply refer to those years as "The Dark Ages of Goff and Donnan". We'd be 4-18 over the last 22 years, but Richt would have 3 of those wins, so we'd be talking apples and oranges.

On Oct. 29, after we secure a victory, the Vols and Cocks come on at 7:15 that night. I don't know where my crew is watching that game, but we're watching it somewhere. No driving back this year!!!!! Hopefully Dooley can pull one out for the old Classic City home team. It really does all set up perfectly for us…it's scary. Off week (rest players), play guts out and beat Florida, Patsy game (i.e. rest injured players), play guts out and beat Auburn at home, Worst SEC team in ages [UK] (i.e. rest injured players and thank God it's not in Lexington), play guts out and beat Tech. Get ready to shock the world in the Dome.

Upon further review of the game, Aaron's late INT was bad and he missed a few guys, but when you look at the stats, it's hard to say he played bad. I wonder if we've become too much of perfectionist from that position and I wonder if our memories of Greene, Shock and Matthew are better than reality. The truth is, All-SEC QB is a 2-man race between Tyler Wilson and Aaron Murray. If we win the East, it's almost a lock it's Murray. You wouldn't trade a single QB in the league for him. Thinking nationally, what QBs are better? Luck, Moore, Landry Jones, Weeden from Okie St…who else? And those guys simply don't play against the kind of defenses we play against in the SEC week in, week out. We wouldn't take Darron Thomas over Aaron. No one in the ACC is on his radar. Is the kid form Clemson playing good? Sure. Is he better than Aaron…probably not. He's gotta clean it up a little bit, but 1 1/2 into his sophomore season, he is already ranked 4th in career TD passes for a UGA QB behind some guys named Greene, Zeier, and Stafford. He'll shatter Greene's TD record probably by the end of next year.

The most fascinating play of the game to me, looking back, was the blocked punt. Richt no doubt made the right call. Butler is a 5th year senior, and All-American, the son of a guy that understands situational special teams better than probably anyone in the history of the sport, and I can't ever remember him getting a punt blocked. What if there were only 5 seconds, what would you do? Basically saying, we could run around for 5 seconds. What do you do with 15 seconds. Assuming we get a touchback, they've got the ball with 6-7 seconds on their own 20 w/ no timeouts -- game over. However, the block is the risk. Holy smokes, I have no idea how Drew tackled that guy. In the future, I wonder if you think about putting Boykin or Smith in shotgun or maybe even in punt formation to get a deeper snap and having them run straight for the endzone, maybe even run around for as long as you can. You might burn out the whole 15 seconds. It would take at least 5-6 seconds just to get to the endzone in pads and with the snap. Then, you just run around till they get close and you step out of the back or side of the endzone. So, you end up getting the free kick off the safety up 33-30 with no more than probably 5-6 seconds left and they have no timeouts. You squib it and the games probably over right there. You have to cover the kick, obviously, but is covering the kick a riskier play than getting the scoop and score off the blocked punt? It would certainly be worth a thought the next time around. That's a play you've got to practice over and over to see how much time you can actually run off from different places on the field.

On a side note, on the last week of the regular season, 2 undefeateds OU and OSU will be squaring off, and we could be playing an undefeated West team. Boise could be sitting at #4 in the BCS rankings that day. They'll certainly be cheering for their week 1 opponent then.