Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 21 Days to Go

21: Matt Stinchcomb, Offensive Tackle #79 (1995 – 1998)

Along with younger brother Jon, Matt Stinchcomb makes up one half of the 2 pairs of brothers to appear on our countdown. After a great career at Parkview High School in Lilburn, matt decided to stay in state and attend The University of Georgia. This would be the beginning of a great relationship with Georgia, one that led to a Facebook campaign nominating him for the AD spot after the departure of Damon Evans.

After playing as a backup during his freshman season in 1995, Stinchcomb earned a starting spot on the line during his sophomore season in 1996. He would make 32 consecutive starts on the Georgia line over the next three seasons. In 1997, he earned first team All-SEC honors and was named an All-American by the American Football Coaches Association. Back for his senior season in 1998, Stinchcomb earned nearly every honor a lineman can obtain. He was a finalist for the Lombardi Award (given annually to the nation’s best lineman), first team all-SEC, and a consensus All-American (AFCA, Playboy, AP, Walter Camp, Sporting News). He was also an Academic All-American with a 3.96 GPA in business. For his efforts on the field and in the classroom, he was named the Woody Hayes National Scholar Athlete Award Winner.

He was selected as the 18th overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He played for the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 8 seasons and retired following the 2006 season. In 2009, he was selected to the University of Georgia Circle of Honor and was recognized as an SEC legend during the SEC Championship weekend. He has partnered with former Dawg quarterback David Greene to put on the annual Countdown to Kickoff, which raises money for local charities. You can also see Matt Stinchcomb doing college football coverage for CSS and ESPN.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 22 Days to Go

22: Ben Zambiasi, Linebacker #44 (1974-1977)

"In all my years of coaching, I never coached a more intense and tenacious football player than Ben Zambiasi." – Coach Vince Dooley

In 1974, a lightly recruited fullback named Ben Zambiasi came to The University of Georgia. The undersized player (195 pounds) from Macon would move to linebacker that fall where he played sparingly during his freshman season. In 1975, Zambiasi became one of 6 sophomores starting on Defensive Coordinator Erk Russell’s defense. The group, which Erk nicknamed the Junkyard Dawgs, would be led by Zambiasi over the next three years.

In his first season as a starter, Zambiasi tied a school record with 148 tackles and earned second team All-SEC honors. The following season, he turned in an All-American season leading the Bulldogs to a Sugar Bowl birth against the Pittsburgh Panthers. While the Dawgs would come up short against the eventual National Champions, Zambiasi enjoyed a great game recording 15 total tackles. During his senior season in 1977, the Bulldogs would struggle to a 5-6 record, however this did not deter Zambiasi from having a record setting season. He tallied a total of 177 tackles and was named first team All-SEC and All-American.

Zambiasi was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1978, but found his true professional football home in Canada. He spent 11 seasons in the CFL, where he was a six-time All-Star, runner up for the Rookie of the Year (1978) and won defensive MVP in 1979. Here are some highlights from his CFL career, for which he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2004:

During his career at Georgia, he led the team in tackles each of his last three seasons. He is the only Georgia player to ever lead the team in tackles three times and remains Georgia’s all-time leader in total tackles with 475.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I am officially a season ticket holder! It seems pretty weird that as a first year ticket holder, I got a season parking pass as well. Guess I won't be needing that spot I bought in South Deck.

Only three weeks!!! GO DAWGS!!!

In Honor of the PGA Championship

Former UGA golfer Bubba Watson...

Although he's not the namesake of this blog, take it from Bubba and this guy, Go Dawgs!

The Countdown 2010: 23 Days to Go

23: Joe Bennett, Tackle (1920 – 1923)

In the modern days of college sports, there been a number of players who have found success in multiple sports during their collegiate years. Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson, Charlie Ward, and Harschel Walker are just a few who excelled in multiple sports. Back in the 1920’s, Georgia had its own multi-sport star in Joe Bennett.

Statesboro native Joe Bennett earned a starting position at tackle for Georgia during his freshman season in 1920. Playing both offense and defense, he became a key component of John Stegeman’s 1921 squad that would be the first Georgia squad to go undefeated since 1896. The team finished 8-0-1 and won the Southern Conference championship. Bennett would continue his fine play in 1922 and 1923, earning All-Southern conference honors both years. He was named a Walter Camp All-American in 1922. During his senior season in 1923, he was named Georgia captain and once again earned All-American honors (NEA, Billy Evans).

Joe Bennett was a four year starter for Georgia. During his four seasons, they compiled a record of 25-9-4. Bennett was the star of the Georgia basketball team in 1922 and 1923 and would go onto a career in business, working as an executive for Coca-Cola. He was inducted in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 24 Days to Go

24: Lindsay Scott, Wide Receiver/Kick-Off Returner #24 (1978 – 1981)

The one thing about natural talent is that even when you are having the worst season of your career, the next play could be the one that turns things around. That was the case for wide receiver Lindsay Scott leading up to the match up against Florida in 1980. With only 11 catches and no touchdowns coming in, Scott had become an afterthought in the Georgia offense dominated by freshman Herschel Walker. One play would change the perception of Scott’s career at Georgia and his play in the history of college football forever.

Lindsay Scot grew up in Jesup, Georgia, and enrolled at the university in the fall of 1978. His blazing speed made him an asset on both offense and special teams. He would earn SEC rookie of the years honors as he led Georgia in both receiving (36 catches for 484 yards and 2 scores) and kick-off returns (529 yards). The first signature play of his career came against LSU when he returned a kickoff a record-tying 99 yards for a touchdown. He continued to excel as both a returner and receiver during his sophomore season in 1979. He caught 34 passes for 512 yards and one touchdown to lead the Dawgs. He also led the team kickoff return yardage for the second year in a row, totaling 532 yards on a Georgia record 27 returns.

There was much anticipation for Scott to excel during his junior year in 1980. But Lindsay struggled to find his place in the Georgia offense and Amp Arnold had taken over as the favorite target of quarterback Buck Belue. But with the Dawgs trailing late in the fourth and Georgia near its own goal line, Scott broke free in the middle of the field. The rest is history:

After the game, Scott was quoted as saying, “I’ve forgotten what it’s like. I don’t even remember what it’s like to catch a touchdown pass.” Georgia would go on to win the national championship and Scott finished with the year with only 19 catches for 374 yards and one touchdown. But, my god, how important was that one score?

For as much as 1980 was a down year for Scott, 1981 was the opposite. During his senior season, Lindsay Scott would earn first team All-SEC honors and regain his crown as Georgia’s leading receiver. For the season, he tallied career high in receptions (42), yards (728), and touchdowns (6). In his final regular season game with Georgia, he made one final play to endear him to the Bulldog nation:

Lindsay Scott will forever be remembered for his fantastic play against Florida in 1980, but his whole career in Athens makes him a Georgia legend. He caught 131 passes (6th all-time) for 2,098 yards (5th all-time) and 10 touchdowns. His 52 career kickoff returns is second in school history and he had a total of 1,152 yards in returns. He was drafted thirteenth overall in the first round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He spent four years in the NFL, where he caught 69 passes for 864 yards and one touchdown.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 25 Days to Go

25: Zeke Bratkowski, Quarterback/Punter #12 (1951 – 1953)

To be the SEC’s all-time leader in interceptions, you have to be the type of player who can forget about mistakes quickly. Illinois native Edmund “Zeke” Bratkowski was just that type of player. One of the first great passing quarterbacks in SEC history, Bratkowski led the Bulldog offense from 1951 through 1953. Bratkowski’s high school coach, Paul Shelby, had also coached Georgia legend Charley Trippi and felt Bratkowski was a perfect for Wally Butts’ system. Turns out, he was right.

Bratkowski became the starting quarterback for the Dawgs during his sophomore season in 1951. Zeke put up some decent numbers that year, completing 116 of 248 passes for 1578 yards and 6 touchdowns. Unfortunately, he also threw for a Georgia and SEC single season record 29 interceptions. This included a record 8 in the season ending game against Georgia Tech. Despite the high number of interceptions, Bratkowski was recognized for his fine play by being named to the All-SEC second team. He would enjoy a much better season in 1952 as Georgia would improve its record from 5-6 to 7-4. He was named a first team All-American by the coaches association while throwing for 1824 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was also named first team All-SEC. In his senior season of 1953, Zeke Bratkowski was named the Georgia captain and once again made the All-SEC squad. He threw for 1461 yards and 6 touchdowns and also led the nation in punting average (42.6 yards per punt). He was once again named an All-American, this time by Focus Magazine.

Zeke Bratkowski ended his career at Georgia as the NCAA’s all-time leader in passing yardage, a crown he held until 1961. For his career, he threw for 4,836 yards (still good for 6th all-time at Georgia), 24 touchdowns, and an SEC record 68 interceptions. He twice led the SEC passing yardage (1952, 1953), led the nation in passing yardage (1952) and led the nation in punting (1953). His career total of 4,854 yards of offense was an SEC record until it was broken almost 30 years later by Herschel Walker. Bratkowski was drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He played in the NFL for 14 seasons with the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, and Los Angeles Rams. He later coached under Vince Lombardi and has once again found his way back into the spotlight in recent days. In 2010, Bratkowski was brought in to help Florida quarterback Tim Tebow transform his throwing motion prior to the NFL Draft.

Bratkowski working with Tim Tebow in 2010

Season Ticket Advertisements

There has been some responses to my recent post on the Louisiana-Lafayette season ticket advertisement. I was not trying to pick on the "little guy", I was just stating how bad the advertisement was. Just because they are a smaller school doesn't mean they can't have decent advertisements. Here are three examples from non-BCS schools of season ticket advertisements done right:

Arkansas State

San Diego State

Youngstown State

I mean, if a team that has a penguin as a mascot can get fans excited about football, I think any team can.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 26 Days to Go

Rodney Hampton, RB #7 (1987-1989)

Rodney Hampton came out of Houston, Texas to run in one of the greatest backfields of the '80s with Lars Tate, Tim Worley and Keith Henderson at the University of Georgia.

Courtesy of ESPN and GhostofErkRussell

Although having to split carries with the talented group, Hampton emerged as probably the best of the bunch. He still holds the UGA record for highest single-season average gain per carry with his 7.06 yardage mark his freshman year. That season was highlighted by his performance against Ole Miss, a 290-yard all-purpose day including 227 yards rushing, 28 yards receiving and 35 kickoff return yards. The all-purpose mark stands as UGA's highest total.

Hampton's 2,668 career rushing yards are third highest in a three-year stretch by any Georgia back -- all while splitting carries his first two seasons.

Inducted into the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame in 2006, he carried 62 times for 288 yards versus Florida in three victories.

The Texas product checked in as an All-American in 1988 and 1989, and scored three touchdowns in the 1989 Gator Bowl, Vince Dooley's final game as head coach.

Hampton declared early for the 1990 NFL Draft and was selected 24th overall by the New York Giants, where he played his entire career. His 6,897 rushing yards were the most by a Giant until Tiki Barber surpassed the number in 2004.

What's Worse than a Tech Football Ad?

Georgia fans living in the Atlanta area have all seen the advertisements over the last few years for Georgia Tech football season tickets. The Yellow Jackets like to run these ads during Braves games and I find it pretty sad that they have to basically beg their fans to buy season tickets. As pathetic as these ads are, at least they look to be pretty well done with at least someone who took classes in marketing and advertising working on them.

On the other hand, you have advertisements for Georgia's first opponent of the 2010 season, Louisiana-Lafayette. I have heard that they are trying to brand themselves as just Louisiana..are they trying to profit off of LSU's name? I know they certainly do not have the budget of even an ACC school like Georgia Tech, but this is just pathetic:

Couldn't they at least have put some pictures up behind the people instead of a plain yellow background? At least they were right in calling the game against Kansas State a rematch (they had lost 45-37 the year before). The Ragin' Cajuns beat the Wildcats 17-15 (my god, how bad was K-State?)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Interesting Read: 1976 Sports Illustrated Article about Dooley's Junkyard Daws

Have I ever mentioned how much I love SI Vault? The fact that you can find pretty much any article that has appeared in the magazine EVER is pretty awesome. Every so often, I'll run across an article too good to not share. The link below takes you to a story writen following Georgia's 21-0 defeat of Alabama in 1976. Georgia would finish 10-2 that season and win the SEC Championship.

Nothing Meaner Than a Junkyard Dawg

And if you're not sure what the subtitle on the article is referring to, here is a refresher:

The Countdown 2010: 27 Days to Go

27: Mike “Moonpie” Wilson, Offensive Tackle (1974 – 1976)

Before winning the National Championship in 1980, Coach Vince Dooley led the Dawgs back to the top of the SEC with an SEC Championship season in 1976. A key member of that team was a player with one of the most unforgettable names in Georgia history, Mike “Moonpie” Wilson. But Wilson’s career in Athens almost never happened. During his freshman season, he twice left Georgia for home only to return just a short time later.

Wilson came to Athens from Florida where he played his high school football at Johnson High School. A fixture at tackle for Georgia, he was an All-SEC performer during his junior season in 1975. In 1976, he was one of five players with the last name Wilson to suit up for Coach Dooley. Along with fellow future All-American Joel Parrish, Georgia’s line was one of the most feared in the country. When the Bulldogs defeated Bear Bryant’s Alabama Crimson Tide squad 21-0, Bryant said that the 1976 Dawgs were “the best Georgia team I’ve seen in years.”

After the season, Mike Wilson was once again named to the All-SEC first team. He was also named a consensus first team All-American. He went onto to have a long career in the National Football League, playing for over a decade with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was fixture on the Bengals line that went to the Super Bowl in 1982. He was elected to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.

Doesn’t reading this story make you hungry?