It is getting close. Jesus fasted for 40 days, so look at like that. We're just one good fast away from football season. A couple of thoughts popped in my head lately.
-A positve thing for us is that South Carolina does NOT play on Sept. 1. They play a neutral site game vs. East Carolina in the Carolina Panthers stadium on Sept. 3, just like us. Noon kickoff. They'll have to put out some effort to win that thing. East Carolina is no pushover and much better than that Southern Miss team they played last year and probably those NC State teams they played in years before that.
-Have you seen those 2013 and 2014 Schedules? That's going to be some weird stuff. We play the first 2 games away in 2013. How weird is THAT going to be. @ Clemson & @ Vandy. What does Nashville look like in September? Very strange. But I like shaking things up and I certainly like that as our SEC opener instead of the Cocks.
-I'm pumped about the Pro Combats. Football is supposed to be fun, right? I think it will be fun for the players and I'm excited to see what NIKE comes up with. If they're terrible, we'll never see them again. If they're awesome and we rock Boise like a hurricane, maybe we'll see them down the road. If we roll Boise and end up in Atlanta in December, it'd be kind of fun to bring them back out. We could call them our Inside Unis. I really, really believe we're going to have silver helmets.
On to football. It really is a simple game. I did a little research w/ the handy new app I got from blutarsky's blog that has a plethora of stats. It was eye-opening. And it helps you understand the cunundrum the Dawgs were last year. Cox was a turnover machine in '09. We were terrible at take-aways and gave it away like we didn't want it. We knew it killed us and Richt and Bobo worked hard on correcting the -17 or -18 or -19 or whatever terrible number it was in '09. Murray was much more careful with the ball in '10 and we seemed to get a few more fumbles and INTs ourselves. We ended up w/ a +10 on the turnovers and it was hard to figure out how in the world we ended up 6-7 as opposed to 8-5 the previous year when we improved by over +25 for the season. Turnovers are the most important stat in football, right? Well, yes. We improved greatly over the season, but let me give you a little clue about how the season went down.
Minus 1 or worse: Arkansas, Miss. St., Colorado, Florida (0-4)
0 (even on turnovers): South Carolina & UCF (0-2)
Plus 1 or better: LA-Lafayette, UT, Vandy, UK, Auburn, Idaho, Tech (6-1…with the only loss to 14-0 National Champion Auburn*)
It's pretty clear: win the turnover battle and win the game. We've got to cause turnovers and we've got to avoid them. It is crazy to think about what happens last season if Ealey doesn't fumble on the goal-line vs. South Carolina and Miss. St., and Caleb doesn't fumble on the last play, basically, vs. Colorado. We could easily have been 9-3 without those 3 fumbles…as bad as we were. And who knows what happens in Jacksonville if Sanders Commings falls on the ball instead of trying to pick it up. Oh, I do…we win. There you go. Four plays. Four turnovers that didn't go our way. Four losses. Could that crappy team really have gone 10-2? Who knows. But it should would have been fun to get another shot at those War Chickens on our turf.
And P.S. on Ealey. We could sure use the depth at RB, but I got to thinking about him. I had forgotten about '09 UK. In the span of about 19 games in 2 seasons, the kid fumbled THREE times inside the 5 yardline when we're going in to score vs. and SEC opponent. The UK game was a lock win if he doesn't fumble. The Miss. St. game is probably a win. And the South Carolina game sure would have been fun to watch. 3 times. Fittingly…he wore #3.