With Georgia-Florida falling on one of the best holidays of the year (candy, parties, hordes of scantily-clad women), plus our recent record against Florida, superstition is always in the air on this weekend.
UGA definitively wins annually in one department.
Whether you always hit up Brogen's at the St Simons Pier, rent a condo on Jekyll Island or simply destroy property down in Jacksonville, every Dawg has a superstition or tradition they follow over the annual WLOCP weekend. Some, such as the detailed ones over at a female UGA blogger's The Adventures of the Redshirt Senior, tilt more to the personal side.
I was not aware of the superstitions followed by some of the Dawgs on the team highlighted by UGA alum Mark Schlabach, from Blair Walsh's eating a mini box of Raisin Bran before every game since Oklahoma State '09 to Ben Jones' unusual warm-up routine:
Before every game, Jones goes through the early parts of pregame warm-ups in his bare feet. The junior center from Centreville, Ala., even practices snaps with quarterback Aaron Murray without wearing shoes.
"I did it during my senior year of high school," Jones said. "I was sleeping on the bus and we got to the stadium, and I didn't have time to put my shoes on. So I went through warm-ups in my bare feet. We ended up winning the game and had a great season. I've done it ever since."
While "Shoeless Jones" is one of the more unusual football player rituals I've heard of, I particularly enjoyed this story I came across of an Erk Russell superstition...
Erk took a scout team tight end, Robert Miles, on as a reserve defensive end after offensive coordinator Bill Pace offered him to Erk and remarked to Erk as an afterthought, "Robert Miles is a pansy." Erk utilized this comment with regularity a year later, throughout the 1980 season as a superstition during the championship run (read the full story here, from Vince Dooley's Tales from the 1980 Georgia Bulldogs).
At the end of the day though, traditions and superstitions are one of the great things to pass from generation to generation of players and fans, and it makes college football's heritage richer and more enjoyable than the bland, corporate NFL.
Whatever your superstition is, whether it happens in Atlanta or down on the pier in the Golden Isles, enjoy your Cocktail Party weekend.
"A long ride back from Jacksonville, 500 miles from a game we should have won, Man we ought to burn down that stadium."
Georgia's annual trip to Jacksonville has turned into a nightmare over the last 20 years. A series that the Dawgs once dominated by Georgia has now completely swung in the other direction. With the Gators taking 17 of the last 20, many Georgia fans have become accepting of the fact that this game is a loss on the schedule every year. But in a series that has been this lopsided, the games are usually pretty close...until the last two years.
Florida has absolutely waxed the Dawgs the last two years. In 2008, the Georgia team that was preseason #1 kept it close until late in the first half, but seemed to give up in the second. Hell, the only touchdown came late in the fourth quarter on a touchdown by Joe Cox. Last year, clearly the Gators were more talented than the Dawgs and once again sent the Dawgs north with a bad loss. But this year, things may be different.
While Georgia struggled in the early part of the season they have gotten it together lately. Scoring over 40 plus in three straight SEC games, even if they are bad teams, is still an accomplishment. Throw in the fact that the defense is also playing better and things are looking pretty bright for the Dawgs. With the best receiver in the country and a star in the making at QB, Georgia has some weapons similar to what they had back in 2007.
Florida has struggle all season long, not just in their last 3 losses. If they were not playing the likes of Miami(OH) and South Florida in their first games, they may have more losses than the Dawgs right now. John Brantley has not been the answer they thought, their receivers have really struggled, and Florida fans are left questioning the ability of offensive coordinator Steve Addazio.
For once, everything appears to be set up in Georgia's favor. But history tells us that Florida will make the changes needed to beat the Dawgs. While their offense has been bad, the Florida defense has been solid. I don't expect the Dawgs to walk up and down the field like they have the last few weeks. The return of the criminal texter, Chris Rainey, and a healthy Jeff Demps will also provide a spark to the Florida offense. I'm not expecting the Florida team from last year to be back on Saturday, but I certainly expect a better one than we have seen this season.
Mark Bradley of the AJC wrote a column yesterday entitled, "What if Richt DOESN'T beat these Gators?" What kind of question is that? Yes, Florida is struggling, but they are still a team filled of 4 and 5 star players with a two-time national champion coach. If the Dawgs lose on Saturday, then it is another Georgia loss and the 2010 season will go on. The Dawgs may miss a bowl game for the first time in forever, but that is about the worst of it. No one is getting fired if we lose on Saturday. Nothing is worse than the Colorado loss this year, even if we lose by 50 on Saturday.
Do I think the Dawgs can win tomorrow? Hell yeah. Are we going to win? I may not be so enthusiastic, but it just seems like this Georgia team is playing harder right now. If they win, we may have a return trip to Jacksonville in January for the Gator Bowl.
Happy Hate Week everybody, and Happy early Halloween! Week 8 proved to be another pivotal week in college football as well as the 3rdn Annual BNE Pick 'Em. First and foremost, another #1 fell in the form of the Sooners to Big 12 rival Missouri, who beat the Sooners for the first time since 1998. This of course led the way for Oregon to take the #1 spot ahead of Boise, TCU and Auburn. But don't feel bad for me, because where it really counts, the BCS, Auburn is #1!!! Can I get a War Damn Eagle?! Anyone? Anyone...
Well tough, because I'm going to talk about the top game of the week! Face it folks, the fate of the SEC is not in the hands of Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, or Les Miles. Its not really in the hands of Gene Chizik either when all things are considered. Friends, the fate of the conference and a 5th straight shot at a National Title lies in the very large hands of the Heisman front runner, 6'6", 250 lb, Cam Newton. The showdown on the Plains last Saturday was nothing short of a textbook-perfect example of an SEC grudge match with everything at stake. Undefeated LSU came in with their #6 ranked rush defense against Auburn's undefeated and 6th ranked rushing attack. Allowing only 89 yards per game, LSU was the best shot this far of shutting down Cam and the duo of Mike Dyer and Ontario McCalebb. When it was all said and done, Auburn had scorched LSU for over 400 yards of rushing, of which a 70 yard game winning burst came from Ontario McCalebb, and 217 came directly at the hands of Cam Newton. Statement win? Heisman winning performance? You betcha!!
This game marked the 4th game of the season with over 500 yards of offense for the Tigers. In addition, Cam Newton broke the 1963 record at Auburn of quarterback Jimmy Sidle by rushing for over 1000 yards in a season, and surpassed Heisman winner Pat Sullivan for the most touchdowns in a season by an Auburn quarterback. Those two did it in 11 games, Cam has done it only 8. For the season so far, Cam has accumulated 1386 passing yards with 13 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and a QB rating of 172.1. In addition to those numbers, he has 157 carries for 1077 yards, 14 touchdowns, including one for 71 yards. We still have 4 more games left in the season including this week's match up against Ole Miss which poses a serious threat for a let down considering our secondary and Jeremiah Masoli. If Auburn comes away with another W, I expect it will once more be at the hands of Cam Newton. I hope everyone is watching because The South's Oldest Rivalry is fast approaching.
Who's making the trip to the Loveliest Village on the Plains?
Of course, outside of watching Auburn, I know everyone will be tuned in for the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktai...oh yeah, sorry Michael Adams, "Georgia vs. Florida". Anyway, this battle pits rivals UGA against their southern Guido neighbors, the Florida Gators. I'm not going to go into a lot commentary or analysis since everyone else pretty well covers it here. I'll just reiterate what Streit has said; UGA needs to win to keep their hopes alive at a shot of winning the SEC East and a bowl game. Please Dawgs, please put a whuppin on the Gators and those god-awful Pro Combat uniforms.
Leave the uniform shenanigans to the pros at Oregon, OK?
And now for our weekly Top 5 performers as well as our overall leaders:
BLACKOUT with 249 points and almost perfect at 21-1
FelonWaits amassing 239 points going 18-4
ugafan13 just three points behind and also 18-4
calgee managing 230 points and an 18-4 record
Bubba also just three points behind going 18-4
For our overall leaders, we have a new face at the top of the heap. Could it be...
AUMav's Picks with 1735 points and a 131-50 record. That's right! After woof woof's total collapse and tumble from #1 to #18, not to mention my superior streak of good luck this season...I'M NUMBER 1 BITCHES!!! WAR DAMN EAGLE!! Glory, glory to me!!
Blackout with 1726 points and a 133-48 record
WarriorDawg also with 1726 points but a not too shabby 130-51 record
allyugadawg keepin it real for the ladies with a 132-49 record and 1705 points
Silver Britches staying consistent with 1691 points going 127-54 in picks
Sadly, we have to turn our focus away from my sure-to-be short lived #1 status, and turn to our weekly Bottom Feeder of the Week, sponsored by every Florida fan's favorite, Wrangler Big 5 Pocket Denim Shorts, available at Wal-Mart. The BFotW's special sponsor is in honor of Hate Week and our current BFotW, Shackin at the Whitney. For those of you who don't know, Shackin at the Whitney is none other than our very own BnE contributor, MT. We are ashamed, ASHAMED I SAY! At no point throughout this season has a contributing editor to BnE fallen so low as to have the dishonor of being named our BFotW. Tell me you didn't drink the purple Kool-aid and pick the Huskies over Arizona. Have you learned nothing this season?! This is a disgrace, A DISGRACE! I think in honor of your dishonor of being the first and only BnE contributor to sink to this lowly state of infamy and tainting our ranks with such a foul stench, you must be punished!
He's a witch! Burn him!!
No, no, we're going to need something much worse. In fact, I think we should take advantage of our sponsor, Wrangler Big 5 Pocket Denim Shorts, available at Wal-Mart. Since this is Hate Week, and since this is the time of year every Florida fan dusts off their finest denim clothing items, MT I challenge you to not only wear a pair of Wrangler's finest Denim Shorts this weekend, but to also take a photo of you in said shorts as you watch the beloved Dawgs battle Florida so we can post it here on BnE. Maybe this will teach you, and everyone else appearing in our BFotW, to appreciate making good decisions and using good judgement, because we all know how bad a choice jean shorts can be...
Oh lord, help us all!
Don't forget to get your picks in for this week. WAR DAMN EAGLE. Go Dawgs! HATE FLORIDA!!!
I can't believe The Situation would ruin his abs and pecs like that!
Our good friend Alex recently had the opportunity to be the primary photographer on a photo shoot with the cast of Jersey Shore. To his shock and horror, the guido gang has fully embraced the Florida gator lifestyle (how do people live like that)?
This is an just another example of the Florida fan bases' continued flirtation with guidos (we've discussed this here before). Here's some other pics we were able to get, including this one from the guidette JWoww, who would be lovely if it wasn't for all of that gator bullshit:
Even Tebow wants a piece of that guido!
C'mon Ronnie! That shirts ruining some good shots of those guns!
Vinny behind the scenes with his souvenir garbage.
The annual match up with Florida always seems to be the most pivotal game on the schedule. In recent years, we have seen this game cost the Dawgs a shot at the national title (2002), spark the team for a late season run (2007), and completely humble a team that had great expectations (2008). This year’s game means so much because instead of championship implications, it has bowl implication. More specifically, whether Georgia will reach a bowl game at all.
At 4-4, the Dawgs need two more victories to become bowl eligible this season. With Idaho State coming to Athens next week, there is little doubt the Dawgs will get to 5 wins. But if they lose on Saturday, there is no guarantee win #6 will happen. Auburn is currently atop the BCS standings and despite Georgia’s 4 game win streak over the Tigers, a victory this year is definitely a long shot. And then there is the final game of the season against Georgia Tech. As an underdog last year, Georgia ran its way to victory over the eventual ACC Champions. And while the Jackets surely have struggled at times this season, the game will be even tougher if the Dawgs head in with a losing record.
But if the Dawgs win on Saturday, Georgia may be in line to head back to a New Year’s Day Bowl. While I am not crazy to think we could play for the SEC Championship, I think a victory on Saturday will help lead to a 7-5 record for Georgia. With the struggles of the East, I can see the Dawgs receiving an invite to either the Outback Bowl or the Gator Bowl, both on January 1. But first, we have to take care of business on Saturday. Florida, we’ll see you at the crossroads on Saturday.
Coming into the 2010 season, many of the “experts” ranked Florida quarterback John Brantley as the third best quarterback in the SEC despite the fact that he had never started a game in his collegiate career. Ryan Mallett has once again had a fine season for Arkansas and we all know what Cam Newton is doing on the Plains. So at this point in the season, who is the third best quarterback in the SEC?
The answer is certainly not Brantley. Not a true fit for the Urban Meyer offense and without many of the key weapons Tim Tebow had to work with last year, Brantley has struggled to the tune of a passer rating of only 117. How bad is that? Only Jordan Jefferson and Larry Smith, two quarterbacks who are more dangerous running the ball than they are throwing, are worse in the SEC. Florida’s best offensive game this season came against Kentucky, when back up Trey Burton scored six touchdowns. Many have wondered if Brantley may lose his job to Burton if the Gators offense continues to struggle.
The real answer to the question is Georgia freshman Aaron Murray. For all of us who have followed the roller coaster 2010 season, we know the one bright spot has been the play of the kid from Tampa. His 157 rating is fourth in the SEC, while throwing for 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions (tied for least amongst starters in the SEC). His running ability has also provided the Georgia offense with a spark and he has contributed fours scores on the ground.
These two quarterbacks appear to be at very different junctions in their career. Brantley may be playing for his job on Saturday while Murray could be writing one of the first chapters in a historic Bulldog career. Considering how bad Florida wanted Murray out of high school, a victory on Saturday could be that much tougher for the Florida staff to swallow. Earlier this year, I quoted an interview Murray did with David Hale about his decision to choose Georgia over Florida. Here is again:
"It was huge just because the perception is that if you're in Florida, you're going to go to one of those three schools Miami, Florida or Florida State. It wasn't tough for me because I knew where I wanted to go, but for the people down there, everyone's a Florida fan, so they were all like, 'You need to go to Florida, blah, blah, blah, this and that.' In the end, I was going to go where I felt more comfortable. I fell in love with Georgia."
"So I went to Georgia, and the next week I went to Florida. I left there and I called my mom and I'm like, 'I'm ready to commit.' She was like, 'Oh, so you're ready to commit to Florida?' I was like, 'No, I'm ready to commit to Georgia.' Right then, when I left Florida with Georgia on my mind, I knew that it was the place for me. "
Why does it seem like both the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators need gimmicks to fire up their teams for the annual showdown in Jacksonville? One would think that nearly 100 years of games, often with SEC title implications, would be enough. But no. Florida recently announced they will wear their new Nike Pro Combat jerseys this Saturday. Here is a picture of what they will look like:I don't know what's worse, the alligator scales on their helmets or the black "Grambling knock-offs" that the Bulldogs wore last year.
Let's not forget that the Gators started all this ridiculousness with their one orange sleeve jerseys back in 2005.
Uniforms don't change the players who wear them. For a home game, they may make a difference, but in a game like this, they are just a distraction. Both Georgia (2008 vs. Bama and 2009 vs. Florida) and Florida (2009 vs. Bama and 2010 vs. LSU) have lost their last two games when wearing alternate iniforms. Let's hope that trend continues with a Georgia victory on Saturday.
2004 was Coach Richt's fourth year on the sideline for the Georgia Bulldogs. After already winning an SEC Championship and playing for another, Coach Richt had one item left on his SEC checklist: beat the Florida Gators. An experienced Georgia team led by seniors David Greene and David Pollack had thumped defending national champion LSU a few weeks earlier, and despite a slip up against Tennessee, were expected to compete for the SEC Championship.
Florida, on the other hand, was struggling. Coach Ron Zook was already on the hot seat the week before the Georgia game when he took his Gators to Starkville. Mississippi State was in its first year under Sylvester Croom and not expected to hang with Florida. On that day, the western Bulldogs beat the Gators 38-31, and the term "getting Croomed" was born. The next day, Florida made Ron Zook a lame duck coach by announcing that he would not return for the 2005 season.
With the Gator's struggling, Georgia took advantage and earned their first victory over Florida in the 2000's. David Greene hooked up with Fred Gibson in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory:
Six years later, the Dawgs head to Jacksonville with Gators reeling from a defeat at the hands of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. After the rough start for Georgia, the Dawgs have won three straight SEC games while scoring at least 41 points in all three contests. Florida has lost three games in a row, averaging only 14 points per game.
Will the Mississippi State factor be enough to help Georgia get back above .500? We'll find out Saturday in Jacksonville.