Friday, October 10, 2008

Beware of the Orange Despair

Last year, I distinctively remember driving to Knoxville for the game and being amazed at what I heard on the radio. All of the talking heads on East Tennessee radio stations were picking Tennessee to get beat. This never happens. It does not matter who UT plays, their homers ALWAYS pick the Vols. Always.

I should know. I’m originally from Knoxville. My entire family is from East Tennessee. My Dad and other family members went to UT, and I myself grew up a Vol. The areas surrounding the Smoky Mountains are mine and my family's home, even though I spent most of my life as an army brat (by the powers of HOPE Scholarship, I saw the light, went to Georgia and received a blood transfusion to red and black).

Here’s a typical sample of what you would hear on a radio station in Tennessee: “Well Jimmy, I know we’re on our second string quarterback and we’ve got injuries all over the place, but we gonna beat these sum bitches tonight. I just know it. The Vols are just damn better, I don't care what the records are. Vols 38, Dawgs 21. Go Big Orange!”

Last year was vastly different. They were in such despair at their situation (and many wanted UGA to win in order to have an excuse to fire Fulmer), that almost all of these radio hosts were picking us to win. One guy even picked Tennessee and said he was doing so just to do it because he actually thought the Dawgs were going to win.

Even though I was shocked at this strange happening, I was suckered and bought into it. I already thought we would win. Now I was confident that their despair meant we’d crush whatever confidence they had left.

WRONG. Wrong, wrong, wrong. They caught us off guard and sucker punched us.

So, when you hear Tennessee fans talk about how they’re going to lose, they’re going to fire their coach and that humanity is about to end with a giant orange nuclear implosion, don’t listen to that garbage.

If you hear or see this orange despair, it is a reverse psychological trick they are using to try and beat us. Just ignore it if you come across it.

I’m sure this tactic was created by Cutcliffe (a.k.a. Dawg Kyrptonite). Hopefully, it is just one more thing they cannot pull off without him.

SEC Weekend Games of Interest: 10/11/2008

We had another solid effort going 4-1 last week, improving our season record to 33-7. Vandy was our lone loss and I’d love to have perfect picks this week with only 4 games outside of UGA on the schedule. Unfortunately, we are going to be pretty short this week because of some pending work issues and stick just to the football. Here is what’s happening in your neck of the woods:

South Carolina at Kentucky: A solid game between two teams that have solid mid-season records. Both the Wildcats and Gamecocks have been very good on defense while struggling at the same time with continuity on offense. Carolina’s D has a lot of size and underrated speed, despite playing people out of position and Kentucky, on paper, looked to validate their statistically dominant defense against Alabama. A closer look at that Bama game will give the Ole’ Ball Coach everything he needs to attack Kentucky. The Wildcats surrendered over 280 yards rushing and a fumble inside the UK 10 yard line combined with a missed field goal really kept the game from being a blow out on the scoreboard.

Look for SC to come out and try to establish the line of scrimmage early. They are most likely not going to be as successful as Alabama was but they will take a lot of pressure off of Chris Smelley, who threw for over 300 yards last week against Ole Miss. Overall, Kentucky doesn’t have the offensive power or consistency to keep up with Carolina. Their running game is less than stellar and Mike Hartline is essentially a 3rd string QB everywhere else in the SEC with the exception of Mississippi State. I see the Gamecocks walking out of Lexington with a 24-14 victory.

Vanderbilt at Mississippi State: This could be the classic overlook game for 6-0 Vanderbilt. They are coming off of an emotional, hard fought victory and have the opportunity to make a statement next week against UGA, a team they arguably should have a 2-game winning streak against (Luckily, this honor now belongs to Spurrier and South Cackalacky, Zing!) Sylvester Croom’s Western division Bulldogs play very hard nosed defense, even when they are not a strong squad. This grit and determination is what has allowed Mississippi State to sneak up on teams and defeat superior competition once or twice every year.

Statistically, both of these teams are towards the bottom of the conference in Total Offense and Total Defense. The difference here is Vandy’s ability to create turnovers and take advantage of these turnovers while MSU makes a tremendous amount of mental mistakes with the football. Vanderbilt is a great example of why football is played on the field and not on the stat sheet and Bobby Johnson will have his Commodores ready to play. I expect a tough, workman like 28-17 victory for Vandy on the road.

Arkansas at Auburn: Arkansas hung tough against Florida last week for 3 quarters and has a talented tailback in Michael Smith. This is about all I can say for the Hogs as they give up 38 points per game as a defense and still have all of the same issues that we have focused on in previous weeks. Just think, only two years ago an unproven Razorback squad came into Jordan-Hare with freshman QB Mitch Mustain and sophomore RB Darren McFadden and dominated Auburn. Arkansas thought they were back and had every reason to. A short two years later they have chased off a coach that loved their institution and are looking to have a 2-10 season. Be careful what you wish for discontent fans, things don’t always get better when you chase a proven coach out of town.

This is a great lead in to Auburn’s season. The Ron Franklin experiment didn’t quite work out and I was wrong with one of my Auburn-Tennessee predictions, as the losing OC in that game didn’t get fired first. The situation on the Plains has unraveled very quickly, leading the small fraction of Tiger fans to come out and want Tommy Tubbs' head. We could go on and on with this story and we look forward to see how it progresses. However, this week Auburn will look better and it’s hard for them not to when playing this uninspired Arkansas crew. Getting slightly back on track, the Tigers win 24-10.

Louisiana State at Florida: The biggest SEC game of the weekend and second biggest game nationally looks to be a real doozie. Last year, Florida held a 24-14 lead in the 4th quarter before getting “Lesticaled” and losing 28-24. The game promises to be as intense as any conference game this season.

Florida has underachieved to an extent this season on offense. They still lack a consistent running game as Urban Myer does not trust any of his tailbacks. Teams are being very aggressive when Tim Tebow commits to the run as he isn’t elusive in the open filed. Earl and I had a long discussion about Tebow while watching his game against Arkansas last week and don’t see a lot of on field composure from him. Not to take anything away from him as a player as he is a tremendous talent but if teams are able to get to him and knock him around, he has a tendency to get amped up to the point where he can be a detriment to his team’s success (Something I like to call Reggie Ball Syndrome). LSU has a fantastic defensive line and we all know that Ricky-Jean Francois wants to take Tim Tebow out, gerrrr!

LSU has a very powerful running game and a load of a tailback in Charles Scott. This feeds into the weakness of Florida’s young defensive line and if LSU is successful running the ball, Jarrett Lee will have a much easier night. LSU looks to be the stronger football team when they get consistent QB play and the night’s wild card will be Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida does not lose at home very often, especially in this type of game. However, I’m going with the gut again and picking LSU 23-21 in a tight one (because it worked so well when I picked Tennessee over Florida).

That does it for this week. We are looking forward to seeing the Dawgs back in action this week against Tennessee and having a couple of delicious Beam and Cokes.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Inside the Longhorn Nation

After Bubba’s great post on the Red River Shootout, I asked my good friend Tony from Austin to provide us with some insight to this game. Tony is a Texas alum and a resident of Austin, so he should have some great thoughts on this. Plus, he shares a love for the great words of Will Muschamp, just like the rest of us (be warned: foul language will ensue at the end of the post).

The Red River Shootout/Rivalry/Walkabout (whatever) is the greatest sporting event since Maximus took on 3 gladiators, 4 tigers, and Johnny Cash. The atmosphere for the game is tremendous. Where else can you have the best rivalry in college football and the country’s largest state fair in the background? As for the food, while the fried bacon and fried coke are great, it begins and ends with the Fletcher’s Corny Dog. It’s the only thing Okies and Longhorns can agree on all weekend. One of the great traditions friends and I have is to be the first ones out of the game at halftime. We down two large beers, two Fletcher’s Corny Dogs, smoke two cigarettes and get back to our seats before the second half begins.

Before any OU fans try and tell you that the game is in Texas and they’re the “visitors,” remind them the Cotton Bowl is 3 miles CLOSER to Norman than to Austin. Longhorns and those inbred, toothless bastards to the north seemingly get along while walking around the fair before the game.

One of the funniest things about the demographics about TX/OU weekend is the women. If you see a pretty girl anywhere on the fairgrounds she will, without a doubt, be wearing burnt orange. I don’t know what they put in the water at our little neighbor to the north, but I have never seen a more abundance of ugly women in equally ugly colors.

However, as soon as you walk through the antique (apparently now face-lifted Cotton Bowl) you don’t care about the girls, the corn dogs or the beer (ok, maybe the beer a little bit). The intensity is unreal. It’s so thick and so full of hate for the opposition; this is why we have to play the game at 11 am (neither school would allow for a night game because of fear of packing the Dallas Co. jail). Our band starts playing, theirs plays louder. They start the ghey “OU” chant; we have to say “Texas Fight” louder. They take a piss in the urinal; we take a piss on their shoes…and on and on.

Texas is well known, at least in conference, to have a very apathetic fan base. If you get to the Cotton Bowl an hour before the game, 90% of the OU section is filled compared with maybe 1/3 of the UT section. We are the LA Lakers of college football. However, for this game and only this game, when we eventually get there we are loud and involved. For only this game, girls don’t care about their purse matching their boots and guys don’t care about their white little polo horsies on their burnt orange shirt…they only care about the game. Then again, it is Dallas, so the girls do check their makeup between quarters.

Slowly but surely, those Longhorns are making it in.

The last 8 years of this rivalry have not been kind to the Longhorns. OU has won 6 of the last 8 including a 5 run stretch. However, one of the things nobody realized at the time was how overrated UT was in every one of those games, except the National Championship year. This year is different than the overrated years. We are for real. We will not only win the game, but we will win the game going away. Mack will be a winner of 3 of the last 4. It starts with Colt McCoy and ends with Will Muschamp.

On offense, Colt “I’ve never had a coke in my life” McCoy is completing nearly 80% of his passes and rushing for 370 yards (Who’s this Tebow guy)? We have scored no less than 38 points in each gam, called off the dogs in the fourth quarter of every game and put in our turnover prone backup. Our RB is still by committee, but Chris Obgann, Ogbanni, er #3, will start. Bruiser Cody Johnson, Vondrell Magee, and maybe (please Lord, please), Fozzie Whittaker will be taking some snaps. We will be fine offensively. The only worry is Greg Davis’ conservative play-calling. However, Mack admitted our play-calling was conservative under his direction and he’s turned Davis loose this year.

On defense, two words: Boom Motherfucker!!! We lead the nation in sacks, negative yards, one of the top 5 rushing defenses, but to quote Muschamp: “stats are for losers, I want to win games.” I don’t want him to think I’m a loser, so I will not mention any of that. Sorry coach, please don’t hurt me…

Good guys – 48, Land Thieves – 24 (after the game, Muschamp will yell about giving up 14 points in trash time while holding a bloody visor with hair that he ripped off Stoops head).

- Tony from Austin

BulldawgJosh and Bubba's 80's Music Video of the Week

We need to be careful this weekend with Phil "Let me pull some magic outta my ass because I need to keep my job" Fulmer heading to Athens. I'm sure he's in his office with a cape, top hat, and magic wand working on his tricks right now(gameplan, schmameplan! Magic is how we're going to win this game)!

In honor of Fulmer (I hate you) and his job saving magic (I hate your magic too), we bring to you the Steve Miller Band's ridiculous #1 hit and the title track of their 1982 album, "Abracadabra."

This video is just absolutely absurd. It has less to do with the actual meaning of the song than my Fulmer comparison. Nevertheless, it is amazing.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

On The Road - Illinois

I'm on the road in Illinois for training. 9 hours sittin' in a classroom with a bunch Europeans everyday isn't exactly my idea of fun. At least there has been plenty of news on the college football front to keep my interest. Here's what I'll be watching for this weekend:

1. Can Vandy avoid the hangover from the big win and beat Miss. State? If not, is it fair to say Vandy got Croomed?

2. Texas and Oklahoma - Do you think both teams should quit playing defense and just see who can score most? That would a lot fun to watch (like playing hockey on the Xbox without a goalie.)

3. Is Notre Dame good or is Carolina for real?

4. Can LSU make Tim Tebow cry?

5. Can Georgia get it together and steal Fulmer's donuts?

This just makes me laugh. Gotta love Photoshop.

Tony Franklin, You GONE!

THIS IS THE BEST DECISION I'VE EVER MADE...and I want to keep my job...

The Deep-Fried Red River Heart Attack

This weekend brings us the great fall tradition of the State Fair of Texas and the Red River Shootout (not to be confused with the Red River Rivalry that title sponsor AT&T wants you to call it). This annual meeting between the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma is just as unique as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” and I’d put the shootout on the same level if this game wasn’t played at 11AM central time every year.

The game promises to be intense and we will get into the on-field merits of the Longhorns and Sooners as well as the rivalry and the fans later. First, let’s focus on the State Fair of Texas’ seemingly never ending selection of deep-fried food. Every year “Big Tex” offers up some oddly developed and oddly delicious concoctions that could only conceived in a cauldron of hot Texas Crisco.

1) Fried Coca-Cola: Being a UGA Graduate raised in the thriving Southwest Georgia metropolis of Americus, how could this not appeal to me? I mean, we are basically talking about deep fried dough made with one of God’s great gifts to society, Coca-Cola. Add some “Coca-Cola syrup” and whipped cream and you’ve taken the funnel cake to another level.

2) Chicken Fried Bacon: Battered, deep-fried, peppered Bacon that is served with Honey Mustard or Ranch dipping sauce, say what? I will have 6 please. Seriously, I know some people hate it, but thank you Texas for Chicken Fried stuff. Think you could get this stuff on a cheeseburger? Better idea yet, a Chicken Fried Bacon Cheeseburger, yum. Honorable mention here would have to go to the Chocolate Covered Bacon served at the Arkansas State Fair. See, Texas didn’t think of everything.

3) Fernie’s All-American Fried Grilled Cheese Sandwich: The Grilled Cheese Sandwich is one of life’s true little pleasures. Get a little cheese, some good bread and griddle it with butter in a pan. The cheese melts and the bread toasts, easy comfort food right there. Now, how can we improve on that? Here is an idea, lets take the cheese and bread combination, dunk it in an egg and milk batter and cover it with light breadcrumbs. After a quick bath in Crisco you get a souped-up cheese Monte Cristo, sign me up now.

"Big Tex" is a fan of Rolaids. You should be too.

Now, there is nothing like 4 days on St. Simons and/or in Jacksonville for Georgia and Florida’s annual celebration of the repeal of prohibition. However, I believe that a few restaurants at the Jacksonville Landing serving Chicken Fried Bacon would really put that party over the top.

Seriously, this game has had major implications on the national college football scene for decades and the 103rd edition to be played Saturday is no different. Oklahoma and Texas are both very strong squads that have rolled in the majority of their games with strong QB play. The Sooners have a strong supporting cast behind Sam Bradford and look for him to make good decisions and big plays with the football. On the other side, Colt McCoy has really been outstanding in leading the Horns in both rushing and passing. Neither defense has been stretched or tested this season with the type of athletes that they will see Saturday, leading me to believe that points will be put on the scoreboard. Personally, I see Oklahoma pulling out a 31-27 victory in a hard fought, entertaining football game but this game can be very unpredictable. Just look at the 63 and 65 spot that OU dropped on the Burnt Orange in 2000 and 2003. On a side note, why does Oklahoma call themselves OU when they are the University of Oklahoma, shouldn’t they be UOK? The same thing goes for Kansas, oh well.

Last but never least, we need to mention the fans in Dallas, the atmosphere of the Cotton Bowl, and the history of the game. Texas and Okalahoma have never really been fond of each other and this is literally a ball busting rivalry. Dallas was selected as the host site for this game in 1912 because of its proximity and central location to both college campuses and the Cotton Bowl has been used as a neutral stadium since 1929. Like Jacksonville and the Gator Bowl, tickets are split 50/50 but in a far more interesting manor going down the 50 yard line.

Texas owns a 57-40-5 record overall in the series and has a 46-35-4 edge since the move to Dallas. Names featured in this game are college football royalty, including former OU QB and Texas Head Coach Darrell Royal and OU Coaches Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer. Overall, this is one of the greatest games and football atmospheres of the year. It is better than Michigan/Ohio State in my opinion and it blows that Notre Dame/USC crap out of the water. Real football is played in the south with fried food and without a guy riding around wrapped in tin foil on a big damn horse.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up and Tuesday Night Football

Just watching the Florida Atlantic-Troy matchup on Tuesday night football as I fill in for Streit on the Weekend Wrap Up...

We have Tuesday night football nowadays and I don’t know why I’m watching it. I don’t care for football on Tuesday night or on Wednesday night for that matter. But as Bubba says about most college football traditions…its still better than petting an f’ing rock, and I guess Tuesday night football is better than some of the dredge that’s on television (i.e. the Debate). So, when you’re stuck at home on a Tuesday night why not watch the Howard Schnellenberger game of the week.

Speaking of former head coaches at da U, what about the job Butch Davis is doing at North Carolina. Many Cleveland Browns fans would disagree, but Davis is a really good football coach. He gets his real chance this weekend by playing Notre Dame in Chapel Hill. Notre Dame might not be the best 4-1 team in the country, but like it or not, they are the most watched. Many eyes will be on that game this week in Chapel Hill. I think Davis and the Tar Heels will boost the ACC’s image problem this week. I hope I’m right. I hate Notre Dame, like most Southerners do, and I’m kind of feeling sorry for the ACC these days. That conference hung its hat on Florida State and Miami, who ended up playing each other in a slap fest this past weekend.

Seriously, did anyone watch Florida State-Miami on ABC? Florida State won 41-39, holding off a furious Miami rally in Dolphin Stadium. That’s right, Dolphin Stadium. Sadly, there’s no more OB (the old Orange Bowl), and I guess you CAN really come up in Dolphin Stadium AND treat Miami that way. Remember when this series featured Deion Sanders versus Michael Irvin and Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp? As much as some old-time SEC fans hated it, the college football world practically stopped in the ‘80s and the ‘90s when these two got together. Last weekend, there were no rankings between these two, no old Orange Bowl and no care.

And so the ACC now looks a little foolish putting its eggs in that state of Florida basket. So, here’s to North Carolina helping the ACC’s image a little bit this upcoming weekend. Sure, Paul Johnson is doing some good things over there on the Flats, but I promise that we won’t ever mention them much.

So there it is. A little Tuesday night football, a little Weekend Wrap Up of yesterday’s ACC teams, and a little hope for our sister conference this weekend against Notre Dame.


In full disclosure here, I haven’t written much on the blog since the Alabama game. It was a disappointment, no way around that. But, its time to play the hated Viles and ring that victory bell again on our way to another shot at Alabama in Atlanta. Everything’s still left to play for: the SEC East, the SEC Championship and a National Championship.

How ‘bout ‘em Dawgs!