Friday, October 26, 2012

I Never Thought Hate Week Would Involve Hating Something Georgia Related

Hate Week.  A time when members of the Bulldog Nation show what it means to be part of the Georgia faithful.  We make the annual trek to Jacksonville to support the team in silver britches with a black G on the side of that beautiful red helmet.  We get into a war of words with our enemies from the south, making funny of their denim attire and their love of haircuts that have not been popular since the 1980's.  Hate week has always been about celebrating everything we love about Georgia and everything we despise about Florida...until today.  Hate Week 2012 will be marked as the day that I officially began hating the student operated newspaper, The Red & Black.

Anyone who attended school in Athens most likely has some kind of memory attached to the Red & Black.  Be it the Get Fuzzy cartoons, the stupid editorials about finding the best drink specials downtown, to the ever reliable crossword puzzle, the R&B was there to provide some distraction during those 75 minute lectures about macroeconomics or the climate patterns in southeast Asia.  So it came as a surprise this afternoon when I heard about a full page advertisement that appeared in today's issue of the paper.

The nature of the ad was to attack Georgia's football team and make a mockery of our coach.  I was not shocked that Florida fans would pay to have something like this put in our paper.  However, I am completely shocked that the editors and people who run The Red and Black would allow this to happen at all.  Under no circumstances is this acceptable for the student newspaper, independent of but still representing the University of Georgia, to run an ad like this.  It is degrading and down right insulting.

Like myself, many other people were outraged and voiced their opinions to the Red & Black's twitter account (@redandblack).  I expected a logical response and perhaps an apology, but instead there was the biggest scape goat answer I have ever seen (this same response was given to multiple people):

It's a paid advertisement. We have to sell some ads to bring students free news. Put some duct tape over it, we understand.

Are you freaking kidding me?!?  You are hiding behind money and the fact that you are a free paper?  If I was in charge of that paper, there is not amount of money that could have been paid to me to allow that ad to run in my paper.  It defeats the whole purpose of the paper, to report and cover the University of Georgia.  Hell, their official purpose is (from www.redandblack.com):

"Our two-fold mission is: to provide a training ground for students interested in gaining experience in various aspects of newspaper publishing and to produce a high quality newspaper for the University of Georgia community."

I don't know about you, but running crap ads that demean the university seem to break both of those missions.  An ad such as this is not something you see in a high quality newspaper.  You would never see an ad as childish as this in the AJC or any other paper.  And how does running that ad help the students in their learning experience?  It makes the paper that they are writing for and the school which they attend and hope to earn a degree look bad.

Later this evening, they offered an official statement from the Red & Black editorial board.  The long and the short of it was that they don't control the advertisements (I can't seem to find the link right now).  That's crap.  There is always someone who has the final say of what runs in a newspaper.  And it seems to me that the editorial staff, both student and non student, have enough power to stop the presses.  Hell, the entire staff WALKED OUT THIS SUMMER and the man who was running the paper quit!  So don't tell us you have no control over the ads that run in the paper.

So, as of today, now October 26, 2012, I officially hate the student newspaper at the University of Georgia, The Red & Black.  It no longer provides a positive image of the university and is not trying to make the university a better place for the students and men and women who work there.  This paper has operated without competition for a long time and I think the power has gone to their heads.   I wish the student editorial staff would have stuck to their guns when they walked out this summer, because maybe there would be a second choice for students to get information.  I am not a journalism major and if you this read blog, clearly I have no professional training, so by no means am I claiming that I could do a better job.  But there has to be someone out there who could.

I hate Florida and now I hate the Red & Black (newspaper)!

Go Dawgs!!!

PS - I have also read some chatter that some people feel this ad may have been planted by Georgia fans to try and motivate the team.  If that is the case, ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?  What kind of motivation is that?  It smells a lot like FAKE JUICE to me.  If indeed it was a Georgia fan behind this, turn in your Dawg card now, sell your season tickets, as stay as far away from Athens as possible.  We don't want, or need, people like you.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hate Week 2012: Payback

The year was 2002.  In its second season under Mark Richt, the Georgia Bulldogs were undefeated heading into the showdown with Florida in Jacksonville.  The Dawgs had a strong defense led by Sean Jones and Boss Bailey and a rising star named David Pollack.  The offense was playing well too, with a finally healthy Musa Smith and sophomore quarterback David Greene coming into his own.  Georgia was ready to not only win the SEC but compete for a National Championship. 

Jump to today.  Florida is in its second season under Will Muschamp and are undefeated.  They have a strong defense led by veterans Omar Hunter and Matt Elam.  This offense is playing well, with senior running back Mike Gillislee carrying the load and Jeff Driskel quickly improving.  They are ranked near the top of the BCS standings and looking to reassert themselves on the national stage.  Sound familiar?

In 2002, the Gators decided to ruin the party for the Dawgs.  Make no mistake, the Gators were not playing their best football entering the contest.  As a matter of fact, they were still ranked, but at 5-3 they had already suffered a loss to an Ole Miss team that would finish the year at 6-6.  They had also been embarrassed by LSU two weeks earlier, losing 36-7 in Baton Rouge (doesn't this also sound familiar to Georgia losing 35-7 at South Carolina).  Despite this, the Gators walked into the stadium in Jacksonville and ruined Georgia's perfect season.

I think it is time to repay the favor.

Is Georgia playing good?  Hell no.  The loss at South Carolina was embarrassing and the defense looked pathetic in the close win at Kentucky.  But does that mean that there is not talent on the team? No. 

Make no mistake Georgia fans, it may look bleak.  But if you can't look at the big picture and see that a win could mean that all those goals from the beginning of the season will be back on the table, then you are just blinded with hate for the coaching staff.  A win Saturday means we will most likely return to Atlanta.  Would we be able to hang with Alabama, I have no clue.  But you can't find out if you don't even make it in the first place.  It's time rally around the team and get a little revenge for 2002.

And by the way, as Georgia we hate Florida.  That should be motivation enough.

GO DAWGS!!!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One Goal



This season began with promise: an experienced team with a high ranking and an easy schedule.  Many of the players talked about an ultimate goal, making it to Miami for the National Championship game.  But as we watched the debacle that took place on Saturday night, all of those lofty dreams quickly died to the sound of Sandstorm over the loud speaker.  Maybe the players were not focused, the coaching staff ill-prepared, or maybe South Carolina is just that good.  We’ll never truly know why the game went so bad on Saturday.  But one thing has become abundantly clear: Georgia must beat Florida.

The coaching staff may mention other goals.  They’ll say we still have a chance at the East, that we can beat Auburn for 6th time in 7 years and Georgia Tech for the 11th time in 12.  They’ll say we can return to a New Year’s Bowl game and potentially a BCS game if we win out.  NONE OF THIS MATTERS.
The only goal the coaching staff and the team should be focused on is beating Florida.  The rest of the schedule is filled with scrubs (Kentucky, Ole Miss) and teams that clearly have no idea what they are doing right now (Auburn and Georgia Tech).  Beating them should be expected (and no, that does not mean overlook them, it just means Georgia clearly has more talent).  After two down years, the Florida Gators are trying to reintroduce themselves to the nation.  Their second season under Will Muschamp is beginning to bear a resemblance to Mark Richt’s second season at Georgia, with a strong defense, a reliable running back, and a quickly improving quarterback.  If the Dawgs hope to reclaim what was once a bright season, they must return the favor that the Gators gave them back in 2002.

Florida is still the team that I want to beat more than anyone, and I think most of the Dawg Nation would agree.  South Carolina appears to have turned the corner as an upper echelon team in the East and if the Dawgs don’t want to get left behind, they must take back control of the series in Jacksonville.  We all know the numbers over the last 20 some odd years, but let’s just look at the years under Richt.  Since 2001, Georgia has gone 3-8 against the Gators.  And while that number is still horrendous, it is much better than the one win in the ten previous seasons.  And that record is better when you look at the last 5 years, where Georgia has gone 2-3.  Getting to .500 over the last six would be huge.

The season is not lost, but it sure feels like it.  The fans are angry and some are acting really stupid.  To salvage the season, we need to feel good about something.  Beating Florida (I believe) is what the doctor ordered.  So forget our time, our team, no regrets.  It’s time to embrace the only goal that matters:  BEAT FLORIDA.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gameday Activities & More Hype in Columbia

The South Carolina State Capitol, located near the Horseshoe (GameDay site) and the Vista bar area.
COLUMBIA, SC -- The excitement for Saturday continues to build. I went to trivia last night at the Thirsty Fellow, which is immediately adjacent to the Colonial Life Arena, and their weekly 'Special' menu featured such items as "Burn the Hedges" Soup, "The DOWNward Dawg Salad, an "UGA-ly Burger," and "The Fall of Athens Dinner." And as you may imagine, 107.5 The Game has been especially interesting, with everyone emphasizing that UGA has been SC's circle game on the calendar which allows them to dismiss their otherwise-dismal performance against the Kentucky Wildcats.

The new Farmer's Market will be hosting a free Billy Currington concert at 5pm on Saturday. The Farmer's Market is located on the Southwest side of the Stadium, immediately opposite the Stadium across Bluff Road (the Bojangles is conveniently accessible).

For Friday night activities, be aware that the Salty Nut/Pavlov bar complex in Five Points will be very busy, with the Salty Nut rumored re-opening finally occurring the same weekend. The bar area though has a large outside setup at night for big home football games, and will still feel more spacious than most of the other cramped Five Points bars. For those unfamiliar with the bar areas, Five Points is generally the more undergrad/throwdown bar area, with the newer Vista bar scene being more appropriate for the older crowd.  If you are looking to find a sports bar to hunker down in, however, the Vista will be a better option (check out the Carolina Ale House).

For Gameday logistics, the South Carolina State Fairgrounds, the primary tailgating venue which varies opening depending on the kickoff time (example, UAB parking for a 7pm kickoff, was not open until 2pm), will officially be open at 8am to accommodate the anticipated hordes of fans descending on Columbia.

USC will also be operating free shuttles from the Fairgrounds to the situs of the GameDay broadcast, from 8:30am until 1:30pm.  Be aware, however, that parking at the Fairgrounds will be more limited than an average game due to setup activities associated with the South Carolina State Fair, which begins the following week. Unless you already have a parking pass for the lot, there will not be general paid parking available at the Fairgrounds.

There will be parking around the Colonial Life Arena, with a (very quick) shuttle over to Williams-Brice Stadium, for those who would like to try and avoid the parking headaches immediately around the Stadium. Make sure to get in the area early to avoid major parking hassles later.

Monday, October 1, 2012

'It's Official,' the Hype in Columbia Has Begun

The SC student newspaper cover, building up the hype on 10/1.

COLUMBIA, SC -- On a wet, dreary, and overcast day in South Carolina, even the weather cannot dampen the irrational exuberance that is part and parcel of the natives' passion for the Gamecocks. Especially on campus, the excitement for the game is noticeably palpable, with 4-5 conversations between myself and Gamechicken fans immediately before & after the normally quiet 8am class bloc.

The excitement is very much justified however, with this being the first top-10 matchup between SC and UGA in the rivalry's historically infrequent matchup. The highest-ranked matchup between our Dawgs and SC occurred, coincidentally enough, in 1980 in a matchup of future Heisman trophy winners George Rogers and Herschel Walker, with #4 UGA beating #14 SC 13-10 in Athens.  The 7pm game will also be the first time SC and UGA have played each other in October since 1971.

The only complaint I have heard so far regarding the ESPN College Gameday selection is the site location of the broadcast.  While ESPN itself considers the Historic Horseshoe as "one of the best sites we've ever had for College GameDay," the Horseshoe is nearly 3 long miles away from Williams-Brice Stadium, located across several railroad tracks and with rows of seedy warehouses and industrial areas further separating the two locations. Especially with the new Farmers Market tailgating grounds, located in an otherwise bleak area surrounding the stadium, it is surprising to me that SC did not try to convince ESPN to more extensively highlight the big upgrade.

As an open question, what pro-UGA ideas come to mind for Gameday sign material for this weekend? With the later than average opening of the Fairground parking lots and surrounding lots, all of the travelling Georgia fans should have plenty of time to visit the Gameday scene before getting down to tailgating business before the big night game.

As things further develop here in Columbia, and the hype/smack talk unfolds, I'll try to add more location-specific coverage as we rapidly approach the big game.

Feel free to toss your visor into the ring in the comments below, or on Twitter!