Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The 2011 UnDawgs

As was highly visible in the media last off-season, a number of Georgia players left the team either by choice or because they were forced before completing their eligibility in Athens. Today, I take a look at what a few of those players did during the 2011 season instead of playing ball between the hedges.

Washuan Ealey, Running Back

Rumors ran wild during the spring that Waushan Ealey was going to leave the Georgia program for Georgia Southern. But after Ealey officially left the program, Southern coach Jeff Monken publicly stated that Ealey would not be coming to Statesboro. Ealey followed in the footsteps of former LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux and ended up at Jacksonville State University. Wearing #7, Ealey helped solidify a Gamecock rushing attack that led them to a 7-4 record. Ealey had a very good junior year, leading the team with 1082 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and 8 touchdowns. He added 126 yards receiving and one touchdown, giving him 1,200 yards in total offense for the year. Ealey even had a solid game against SEC foe Kentucky. Returning to the site of his 5 touchdown performance in 2010, he rushed for 120 yards on only 16 carries in the 38-14 loss.

Marcus Dowtin, Linebacker

Marcus Dowtin, who would have been a senior for the Dawgs this fall, left the program in January and transferred to play for Terry Bowden at North Alabama. Dowtin was arguably the best player on defense for the Lions this fall. He was named Gulf South Conference player of the week after his first game against Central Oklahoma. He had 9 tackles, forced a fumble, and returned an interception 23 yards. He lead the team with 115 total tackles on the year, including 9 for a loss, 4 sacks, and one interception. Along with former Florida star Janoris Jenkins, the Lions defense helped lead them to a 9-3 record this fall.

Brent Benedict, Offensvie Tackle

Benedict transferred from Georgia to Virginia Tech and sat out the 2011 season because of NCAA transfer rules. Benedict never played a down at Georgia because of a knee injury, but it sure would have been nice to have him on the two deep.

Zach Mettenberger, Quarterback

Many expected Mettenberger to challenge for playing time at LSU this fall, but a solid early season from Jarrett Lee prevented him from seeing the field much. When Jordan Jefferson returned and took back the starter's job, Mettenberger fell to third on the depth chart. LSU will play for the national championship, but Mettenberger had little to do with it. For the season, he completed 8 of 11 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown. He will most likely be the starter in Baton Rouge next fall.

Caleb King, Running Back

King was declared academically ineligible during the summer, ending his underwhelming Georgia career. He entered the 2011 NFL supplemental draft but was not taken. He signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings and has remained on their practice squad all season.

The list of others includes Nick Williams, Jalen Fields, Lonnie Outlaw, Dontavious Jackson, Montez Robinson, Derek Owens, and Chris Little. In all honesty, the only players I wish we still had this fall would have been King, for running back depth and pass protection, and Benedict. The others, it is probably better they were not around.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Streit's Bowl Mania Part 2 - The BCS (and a few I missed)

Today is the final part in my series previewing the entire bowl season. today, I will cover the BCS bowls along with two games I accidentally missed along the way.

December 28

8 PM - Holiday Bowl
Matchup: California (7-5) vs. Texas (7-5)

What to watch for: California is a mediocre team with a mediocre record. They do not have a signature win on their resume and are 47th in the country in scoring offense and 52nd in scoring defense. Zach Maynard has thrown for 2800 yards, but only completes 57% of his passes. While Georgia was able to rebound from a losing season in 2010, Texas was not. The Longhorns looked great to start the year, but then got crushed in back to back games to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. They dropped a game to Missouri in which they only scored 5 points. Texas's defense was decent this year and should get better in the future.Texas employs a two young quarterbacks in Case McCoy and David Ash. I think the horns take this one to get back to 8 wins.

The pick: Texas - 29 points

December 29

9 PM - Alamo Bowl
Matchup: Washington (7-5) vs. Baylor (9-3)

What to watch for: This will probably be the final college football game for Heisman winner Robert Griffin III. I could take time to preview Washington or talk about the improvements Baylor has made, but I won't. The reason to watch this game is RGIII.

The pick: Baylor - 30 points

January 2

5 PM - Rose Bowl
Matchup: Wisconsin (11-2) vs. Oregon (11-2)

What to watch for: A classic Rose Bowl matchup between the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-12. Both teams feature running games that can rack up yards and points in a hurry. I would love to save that Russell Wilson and Montee Ball can help Wisconsin score enough to keep up with the Ducks. But I just don't see it. LaMichael James will close out his college career in style as the Ducks send the Badgers home as Rose Bowl losers for the second straight year.

The pick: Oregon - 13 points

8 PM - Fiesta Bowl
Matchup: Stanford (11-1) vs. Oklahoma State (11-1)

What to watch for: Offense. You've got the best quarterback in the country against the oldest quarterback in the country. Andrew Luck is the best college quarterback I have ever seen. He looks like an NFL QB the way he commands the line of scrimmage. If he played at USC, Texas, or Alabama, those schools would have gone undefeated. He has taken Stanford, I repeat Stanford, to two straight BCS bowls. As good as luck is, he does not have the supporting class to beat the Cowboys. Oklahoma State proved they are that good by thumping Oklahoma. Justin Blackmon is Julio Jones with better hands. Lots of points will be scored here.

The pick: Oklahoma State - 11 points

January 3

8 PM - Sugar Bowl
Matchup: Michigan (10-2) vs. Virginia Tech (11-2)

What to watch for: Two teams that had solid years but will be much better next year. Denard Robinson is a fun player to watch, but I still think he is too risky with the football. He made so many risky throws against Notre Dame, yet somehow they won. We know Michigan has a solid defense, but winning this game will be on Denard Robinson. Virginia Tech looked impressive when I saw them play...except against Clemson. Logan Thomas is going to be a very good college QB and I loved watching him get 8 yards a pop on QB sneaks against Tech. David Wilson is fast, and the key for him is getting to the edge against a large Wolverine line. I have no clue who wins this one, this is my least confident pick.

The pick: Virginia Tech - 1 point

January 4

8 PM - Orange Bowl
Matchup: West Virginia (9-3) vs. Clemson (10-3)

What to watch for: Dana Holgerson's passing attack is fun to watch. Unfortunately, it is all they have got. I expect the Wolverines will come out looking strong, but eventually Clemson will shut them down like LSU did. Sammy Watkins will have a field day against the West Virginia secondary. Unless Clemson plays like they did against Georgia Tech.

The pick: Clemson - 20 points

January 9

8 PM - BCS National Championship
The matchup: LSU(13-0) vs. Alabama(11-1)

What to watch for: The rematch. Alabama may be one of the most complete teams I have seen in years. But, LSU beat them at their place. Yes, Bama missed 4 field goals. But, LSU has actually played even better since that game. After seeing the Tigers in person, I know what they can do when they get rolling. If Bama wants to win, they will need to win the second half of the game. That is when LSU bludgeoned Georgia and Arkansas. I can't see the Tigers playing as well as they did in the SEC Championship losing to Bama.

The pick: LSU - 2 points

So that's it. Are you ready for bowl season, I sure am.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Streit's Bowl Mania Part 3 - January Bowls

today, I preview all the bowls that will take place in January (with the exception of the BCS). I will also preview the Pinstripe Bowl which I accidentally forgot to cover yesterday. Tomorrow, we'll wrap up the Bowl preview.

December 30

3PM - Pinstripe Bowl
Matchup: Rutgers (8-4) vs. Iowa State (6-6)

What to watch for: You can tell how excited I am for this game, I forgot it in yesterday's previews. Rutgers is basically playing a home game in Yankee Stadium. They have the 12th best scoring defense in the country at 18.8 points and nearly won the Big East. The Scarlett Knights are led by the leading receiver in the country, Mohamed Sanu, who has 109 catches for 1144 yards this year. Iowa State pulled the biggest upset of the season when they knocked off Oklahoma State to keep them out of the National Championship game. Freshman quarterback Jared Barnett has played well since taking over mid-season, but Rutgers defense should get the job done.

The pick: Rutgers - 3 points

January 2

12 PM - Ticket City Bowl
Matchup: Houston (12-1) vs. Penn State (9-3)

What to watch for: Houston appeared to be head to the BCS on the arm of record setting quarterback Case Keenum…until they got destroyed by Southern Miss in the Conference USA championship. Houston sports the #1 passing attack in the country at almost 445 yards per game. They have a pair of solid running backs as well. Penn State has gone through more adversity this season than any team in the country, but still finished with a solid 9-3 season. Their offense is not good, with only bright spot being running back Silas Redd. Their defense, on the other hand, has been fantastic for most of the season. They have 5th rated scoring defense in the NCAA and defensive tackle Devon Still is one of the best in the country at making big plays in the back field. After watching Southern Miss shut down the Cougars offense, I think Penn State will be able to do the same.

The Pick: Penn State - 10 points

1 PM - Outback Bowl
Matchup: Georgia (10-3) vs. Michigan State (10-3)

What to watch for: I'll have much more on this game in the coming weeks. This is a solid matchup between two teams coming off losses in their conference title games. Expect great defense from both squads, but you know I'm taking the Dawgs in this one.

The Pick: Georgia - 15 points

1 PM - Capital One Bowl
Matchup: South Carolina (10-2) vs. Nebraska (9-3)

What to watch for: South Carolina's defense has been great all season relying on the strength of the defensive line led by Melvin Ingram and Jadaveon Clowney. The Gamecocks were able to keep it together after losing Marcus Lattimore and Connor Shaw has gotten better and better. Nebraska also relies heavily on its defense to keep them in games. Runningback Rex Burkhead had another great season this year and Taylor Martinez continued to be Taylor Martinez. If the Gamecocks shut down Burkhead, the Huskers will be in trouble.

The Pick: South Carolina - 22 points

1 PM - Gator Bowl
Matchup: Florida (6-6) vs. Ohio State (6-6)
What to watch for: So may subtitles for this game: The Urban Bowl, The Lowered Expectations Bowl, or the How the Mighty Have Fallen Bowl. Neither team is good on offense and decent on defense. Braxton Miller will be a great player under Urban Meyer, but right now he still plays for Luke Fickell. I'd like to see Muschamp send John Brantley out a winner for making him take a tremendous amount of punishment this fall. Florida fans will get to laugh at Urban on this day…but Urban will remember and it is going to be a big deal!

The Pick: Florida - 14 points

January 6

8 PM - Cotton Bowl
Matchup: Kansas State (10-2) vs. Arkansas (10-2)

What to watch for: This game matches up two school that should be in the BCS in my opinion. Arkansas scores with the best in the country on the strength of its passing attack that features quarterback Tyler Wilson and a great group of receivers. Joe Adams is one of the most exciting players in all of football and the Wildcats would be wise to not kick him the ball. Kansas State, on the other hand, gets things done using a ground game. They rarely pass (109th in the country) but their quarterback is the star of the offense. Collin Klein has been responsible for 38 touchdowns this year, 1745 yards passing, and 1099 yards rushing. But their defense gives up too many points and the Hogs will score at will.

The Pick: Arkansas - 32 points

January 7

1 PM - Compass Bowl
Matchup: Southern Methodist (7-5) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6)

What to watch for: The Pony Express is back in a bowl for the second year in a row. June Jones tried to leave to take the Arizona state job, but he is now back on the sideline. The offense was not nearly as successful as last year, with Kyle Padron benched in favor of JJ Mcdermot early in the season. SMU's best victory was a defeat of TCU, but overall, this season ahs been a disappointment. Pittsburgh lost its first year coach yesterday, so who knows

The pick: Pitt - 23 points

January 8

9 PM - goDaddy.com Bowl
Matchup: Arkansas State (10-2) vs. Northern Illinois (10-3)

What to watch for: Arkansas State lost their coach to an SEC school and immediately replaced him with a coordinator from an SEC school. They won the Sun Belt Conference this year by scoring a lot of points and going undefeated in conference play. Quarterback Ryan Aplin threw for 3,235 yards and receiver Dwayne Frampton caught 90 passes for 1,125 yards. Northern Illinois won the MAC by coming back against Ohio to win 23-20 in the MAC Championship. Chandler Harnish was absolutely amazing this year, passing for almost 3,000 yards and running for almost 1400. That is an amazing feat, and for that, I am giving the edge to the Wolves.

The pick: Northern Illinois - 7 Points

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Streit's Bowl Mania Part 2 - The Tweener Bowls

Today, I preview the bowl games that take place between Christmas and New Year's. There are some good matchups in here.

December 26

5 PM - Independence Bowl
Matchup: Missouri (7-5) vs. North Carolina (7-5)

What to watch for: This is a pretty good matchup between two mediocre teams. The two teams are tied at 43rd in the country in points allowed per game. North Carolina started out strong, charging out to a 5-1 start. But they lost 4 of their last 6, including a 13-0 loss to NC State. The winner of this game will be determined by whether North Carolina can stop Missouri's running game. The Tigers are 11th in the nation in running with mobile quarterback James Franklin, but are missing running back Henry Josey. If North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner gets hot, the Tar Heels could pull the upset.

The Pick: Missouri - 17 point

December 27
4PM - Little Caesars Bowl
Matchup: Western Michigan (7-5) vs. Purdue (7-5)
What to watch for: Can a strong Western Michigan passing attach, led by quarterback Alex Carder, lead the MAC to a victory over the Big 10? Western Michigan receiver Jordan White leads the nation in receiving yards and total receptions and they also have MAC defensive player of the year, Drew Norak. Purdue is a very average Big 10 team whose best win was beating 6-6 Ohio State. They do not sport any crazy statistics and even lost to Rice. But they should have just enough to beat a middle team from the MAC.

The pick: Purdue - 5 points

8PM - Belk Bowl
Matchup: Louisville (7-5) vs. NC State (7-5)

What to watch for: Louisville was very close to winning a Big East Championship in its second season under Charlie Strong. The Cardinal defense improved to 14th in the country in points allowed per game this year, holding opponents to only 19.2 points per game. They are especially strong against the run, allowing under 100 yards per game. Freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has definitely shown signs that he will be a future star. NC State quarterback Mike Glennon is definitely the leader for the Wolf Pack and he passed for almost 2800 yards and 28 touchdowns this year. The NC State defense is solid overall, but struggles against the pass. Louisville's defense is stronger, and should be the difference in this game.

The pick: Louisville - 8 points

December 28

4 PM - Military Bowl
Matchup: Toledo (8-4) vs. Air Force (7-5)

What to watch for: Toledo's offense is extremely high powered, 29th in the country in passing and 14th in rushing. Their 42.3 points per game is good for 8th in the country. They have scored at least 44 points seven times so defense (89th in the country in scoring) is not too much of a concern. Air Force runs the option and I just don't see them being able to keep up.

The pick: Toledo - 4 points

December 29

5 PM - Champs Sports Bowl
Matchup: FSU (8-4) vs. Notre Dame (8-4)

What to watch for: Many people predicted this would be a BCS matchup. Both of these teams underperformed this fall. Florida State is as talented on defense as any team in the country. Greg Reid may be small, but is one of the best play makers in the country. Brian Kelly hasn't named a starting QB for the game yet, but whoever starts, FSU will only have one goal on defense: stop Michael Floyd. If the Noles shutdown Floyd, Notre Dame has no chance.

The pick: FSU - 9 points

December 30

12 PM - Armed Forces Bowl
Matchup: BYU (9-3) vs. Tulsa (8-4)

What to watch for: BYU returned to being an independent this year and had a successful 9-3 campaign against a pretty easy schedule. The Cougars only faced one team (TCU) that finished in the top 25 and suffered an embarrassing 54-10 loss to in state rival Utah. BYU also changed quarterbacks this year, as once highly touted signal caller Jake Heaps lost the starting job to riley Nelson (and Heaps is now transferring). Nelson found great success as starter, throwing 16 TDs with only 5 picks and helping BYU win 8 of their last 9 games. Tulsa won every game it was supposed to this year, but went 0-4 against ranked teams (and all of those teams finished the season ranked in the top 25, including two in the top 5). They feature a strong passing game and a balanced running attack that saw two backs (Ja'Terian Douglas and Trey Watts) go for over 800 yards each on the ground. Tulsa can score (24th in the country) but their defense isn't up to par. BYU is the better overall team, despite the flashy stats from Tulsa.

The pick: BYU - 21 points

6 PM - Music City Bowl
Matchup: Miss State (6-6) vs. Wake Forest (6-6)

What to watch for: Coming off a 9-4 season, big things were expected in Starkville this fall. But a 6-6 record is not what they expected. I think MSU was really hurt by Manny Diaz leaving for the DC position at Texas. Mississippi State's strength is still its defense, as Chris Relf could not find the success he did a year ago. Vick Ballard had another nice season for the Dogs, rushing for over 1000 yards and 8 scores. Wake Forest was a surprise in the ACC this year, going 5-3. They also played well against ranked opponents, knocking off Florida State and nearly defeating eventual ACC Champ Clemson. Sophomore QB Tanner Price had a great season, throwing for nearly 3000 yards and 20 touchdowns while only throwing 6 interceptions. I see this as a low scoring affair where Mississippi State grinds out a victory in the second half.

The pick: Miss State - 16 points

10 PM - Insight Bowl
Matchup: Iowa (7-5) vs. Oklahoma (9-3)

What to watch for: Oklahoma was the pre-season #1 team and was on a tear until a surprising upset at Texas Tech on October 22. After losing All-American Ryan Broyles, the sooners lost 3 of their last 6 games and found themselves outside of the BCS. This season seems eerily similar to the one suffered by Georgia in 2008 that included a loss to their in state rival who they had recently dominated. Oklahoma still sports the #4 passing attack in college football and Landry Jones will look to get back on track against an Iowa defense that was only 67th in the country against the pass. Kirk Ferentz team averaged 28.7 points per game, but that will not be enough to keep up. Oklahoma, pissed off about their crummy season, blows them out.

The pick: Oklahoma - 34 points

December 31

12 PM - Texas Bowl
Matchup: Texas AM (6-6) vs. Northwestern (6-6)

What to watch for: Texas A&M was one of the best teams in the country in the first half of games, but probably the worst in the second half. The high powered Aggies should have had a much better record this year. This is their last game as a member of the Big XII. Northwestern's Dan Persa is good, but A&M will be motivated to head to the SEC on a victorious note. Plus, I can't see Texas A&M not scoring at least 35 points against the Wildcats defense.

The pick: TAMU - 31 points

2 PM - Sun Bowl
The matchup: Georgia Tech (8-4) vs. Utah (7-5)

What to watch for: Utah has two things going for them in this game: a stroing scoring defense that only allowed 19.7 points per game and running back john White who rushed for over 1400 yards. But their offense is anemic and against a school like Georgia Tech, you definitely need to score points. The key to beating Tech is getting a lead and forcing them to pass. Utah won't make this happen. Tech's running back group of Orwin Smith, Roddy Jones, and David Sims will have big days. Tech scores atleast its season average of 35 points in this one.

The pick: Georgia Tech - 25 points

3 PM - Liberty Bowl
The matchup: Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6)

What to watch for: Cincinnati (technically) won a share of the Big East championship this fall. They may have easily won it outright if not for the loss of their starting quarterback, Zack Collaros. After losing Collaros in the first half of the West Virginia game, the Bearcats lost by 3 to the Mountaineers and then lost at Rutgers the following week. Without the injury, Cincy may have been a 10 or 11 win team. They sport a solid scoring offense (28th) and a good defense (20 points per game). Vanderbilt has been heaped with praise under first year head coach Tony Franklin. He may have done a good job, but he is a jack ass. Vandy was the dirtiest team Georgia played all year. Jordan Rodgers had a decent season, but he's not his brother. The most impressive player for Vanderbilt is running back Zach Stacy, who was not even supposed be the starter this year. Vanderbilt is really bad in pass defense, and I think Cincinnati will exploit this. Just like many other Vandy games this season, the Commodores will lose a close one in the fourth quarter.

The pick: Cincinnati - 19 points

3 PM - Fight Hunger Bowl
The Matchup: Illinois (6-6) vs. UCLA (6-7)

What to watch for: Two lame duck coaches against each other in a bad bow game. Because of their loss in the Pac-12 Championship, UCLA is playing in a bowl game with a losing record. I think these are two bad, underperforming teams and I really don't care who wins. I'll take Illinois just because I know the Zooker recruits good players.

The pick: Illinois - 18 points

7 PM - Chick-Fil-A Bowl
The matchup: Virginia (8-4) vs. Auburn (7-5)

What to watch for: The defending national champions against one of the surprise teams in college football this season. Auburn has five losses, but all of them came at the hands of teams who finished the season ranked in the top 25. Losing Michael Dyer hurts, but they should still have enough fire power to get past the Cavaliers. Ontarion McCalebb averaged over 5 yards a carry this year and will handle the bulk of the carries for the tigers. Virginia sports the 30th ranked defense in the country, not bad, but not great. They have two solid running backs (Perry Jones and Kevin Parks) who combined for over 1,500 yards this year. Michael Rocco and Kris Burd are one of the better QB and receiver tandems in the country. But in the end, the Tigers will be able to physically beat Virginia down. Whoever players quarterback may have a career day.

The pick: Auburn - 24 points

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Streit’s Bowl Mania Part 1: Pre-Christmas Bowls

Bowl season is just 4 days away. Can you believe it?!? Over the next few days I will preview all of this year's bowl game, provide my pick, and rank each one (1-35) on my confidence in that pick. It should be fun.

December 17

2 PM - New Mexico Bowl
Matchup: Temple (8-4) vs. Wyoming (8-4)

What to watch for: Temple's rushing offense is ranked 7th in the country averaging 256 yards per game. The leader of their rushing attack is Bernard Pierce, who has over 1300 yards and 25 touchdowns this fall. The Owls blew out Maryland 38-7 and played well in a 14-10 loss to Penn State. Their passing offense is horrible, but against Wyoming's 115th ranked rushing defense, they shouldn't need to throw it much.
The pick: Temple - 26 points

5 PM - Idaho Potato Bowl
Matchup: Ohio (9-4) vs. Utah State (7-5)

What to watch for: Ohio is coming off a MAC Championship loss in which they had a 20 point lead at halftime. The Bobcats are led by quarterback Tyler Tettlton who accounted for over 3,600 total yards and 35 touchdowns, but he did throw three picks in the last game. Utah State had defending champion Auburn on the ropes on opening day, only to see an onside kick and a couple of quick scores ruin their upset bid. Despite the early disappointment, they won their final 5 games and finished runner up in the WAC conference. They are led by running back Robert Turbin, who rushed for 1,416 yards and scored 23 total touchdowns this fall. This game will come down to defense, where Ohio is giving up only 22 points per game (while Utah State averages 28). The bobcats win this in a close contest.

The pick: Ohio - 6 points

9 PM - New Orleans Bowl
Matchup: San Diego State (8-4) vs. Louisiana Lafayette (8-4)

What to watch for: Both teams are 8-4, but I do not expect this to be a close game. Lafayette reeled off 6 straight wins early in the season, but went just 2-3 down the stretch. Their defense is weak, giving up 30 points a game and almost 400 yards of offense. The Cajuns junior quarterback, Blane Gautier, led the Sun Belt in passing but it will not be enough. San Diego State senior quarterback Ryan Lindley is a four year starter with over 12,000 career passing yards and 87 touchdown passes. Sophomore running back Ronnie Hillman has rushed for 1,656 yards and 19 touchdowns this year. I don't see Lafayette being able to stop this duo. Plus, the Aztec defense has only given up 72 second half points all year.

The pick: San Diego State - 28 points

December 20

8 PM - St. Petersburg Bowl
Matchup: Florida International (8-4) vs. Marshall (6-6)

What to watch for: We are..not winning this game. FIU had their best year in school history, including its first ever win over a BCS conference school (against Louisville in September). Receiver TY Hilton has nearly 1000 yards receiving this year. Marshall barely made it to a bowl game by defeating East Carolina and Memphis to close the season. Their best player is defensive end Vinny Curry, who had 11 sacks and 21 tackles for a loss.

The pick: Florida International - 12 points

December 21

8 PM - Poinsettia Bowl
Matchup: TCU (10-2) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-4)

What to watch for: This is a matchup of two conference champions, as TCU won the Mountain West while Louisiana Tech won the WAC. But lets be honest, Louisiana Tech only won the Wac because that conference is really horrible and Boise State is now in the MWC. TCU should have been back in the BCS, in my opinion. They lost to Baylor to open the season in a crazy game but 10-1 the rest of the way, despite replacing almost all of their major players from last year's Rose bowl squad. TCU will win, we don't even need to talk details. This is my highest confidence pick.

The pick: TCU - 35 points

December 22

8PM - Las Vegas bowl
Matchup: Arizona State (6-6) vs. Boise State (11-1)

What to watch for: This will be the final game for Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore. The senior who has rewritten the NCAA record books should lead his squad out with a victory. Arizona State was a popular pick to win the Pac-12 South, but they failed to live up to the hype and recently fired Coach Dennis Erickson. If Boise State plays anywhere close to how I saw them play against the Dawgs in September, this one isn't close.

The pick: Boise State - 33 points

December 24

8 PM - Hawaii Bowl
Matchup: Nevada (7-5) vs. Southern Miss (11-2)

What to watch for: Southern Miss is one of the hottest teams in the nation after knocking off previously undefeated Houston to win the conference USA Championship. This will be coach Larry Fedora's last game before he moves on to take the job at North Carolina. Two early season losses to Marshall and UAB are the only blemishes on the Golden Eagles' record. They have a strong defense that has intercepted 18 passes this year and only gives up 21 points per game. Linebacker Jamie Collins had 94 tackles, in 19.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. They also boast the 14th ranked scoring offense in the country, led by senior QB Austin Davis. Nevada does not have the same potent offense as the 2010 WAC Championship team did, but they did finish 8th in the country in rushing. Unfortunately, their defense gives up over 30 points a game against bowl teams.

The pick: Southern Miss - 27 points

I'll be back with Part 2, the 'tweener games, tomorrow!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

2012 Recruiting: A Quick Look at the Remaining Targets

With the commitment of Keith Marshall on Tuesday, the Dawgs have begun their final recruiting push towards National Signing Day 2012. In year’s past, the Dawgs would often have around 20 commitments at this point. Yet this year, the class sits at 14 and is currently ranked #23 by Scout. Come February, I expect Georgia to be back in its normal place in the top 10, but there is a lot of work to be done. Here are some of the players that Georgia is hoping to land in the coming weeks:

5 Star Prospects:

Name: Avery Young
Position: Offensive Tackle
Height and Weight: 6’5’’ 270 lbs
Hometown: Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Notes: Will attend the Georgia Gala on December 9
Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdTge9OnY08

Name: Nelson Agholor
Position: Safety
Height and Weight: 6’1’’ 175 lbs
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Notes: Seems like a long shot at this point
Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgDTBmew_HM

Name: Jordan Jenkins
Position: Defensive End
Height and Weight: 6’3’’ 246 lbs
Hometown: Hamilton, GA
Notes: Took official visit on 11/12 at the Auburn game and came away very impressed.
Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9X2gcQNFDQ

4 Star Prospects:

Name: Josh Harvey-Clemons
Position: Outside Linebacker
Height and Weight: 6’4’’ 207 lbs
Hometown: Valdosta, GA
Notes: Official visit scheduled for Jan 20, the last of his four scheduled official visits.
Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1BsHZDEGiM

Name: Mike Davis
Position: Tailback
Height and Weight: 5’10’’ 195 lbs
Hometown: Stone Mountain, GA
Notes: Previously committed to Florida. Georgia re-offered him this week.
Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPGjLYvKxZ0

Name: Tyriq McCord
Position: Defensive End/ Outside Linebacker
Height and Weight: 6’3’’ 225 lbs
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Notes: Will attend the Georgia Gala on December 9
Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38WvtrbBzxE&feature=related

Name: Todd Gurley
Position: Tailback
Height and Weight: 6’ 190 lbs
Hometown: Tarboro, NC
Notes: Official visit back in September. It appears to be a two horse race between Georgia and North Carolina.
Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMUyVSHsoDQ&feature=related

Name: Cordarrelle Patterson
Position: Wide Receiver
Height and Weight: 6’4’’ 205 lbs
Hometown: Hutchinson, KS
Notes: #1 rated JUCO wide receiver in the country.
Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EArUSFokOE

Name: Dalvin Tomlinson
Position: Defensive Tackle
Height and Weight: 6’3’’ 270 lbs
Hometown: McDonough, GA
Interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tzo3ptzclSk

3 Star Prospects

Name: Chaz Elder
Position: Safety
Height and Weight: 6’2’’ 172 lbs
Hometown: College Park, GA
Notes: Will attend the Georgia Gala on December 9
Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irWxlDLnDMA

Name: Kendarius Whitehead
Position: Defensive End
Height and Weight: 6’4’’ 212 lbs
Hometown: Lithonia, GA
Notes: Will attend the Georgia Gala on December 9
Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGiBWP2nGHw&feature=related

Of course, there is more information and highlights available of these and other prospects, all you have to do is search the web. I am not a recruiting guru and I have no idea which of these players we actually will end up with.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Final Thoughts on the SEC Championship

Doesn't Saturday already feel like a long time ago? About 72 hours ago, Georgia had built a 10-0 lead on #1 LSU and it looked like the Dawgs might pull the upset. But it wasn't meant to be. Here are my final thoughts on the game:

  • The defense was amazing. Allowing 0 first downs in a half is an amazing feat, especially against a highly ranked SEC opponent. Despite LSU scoring 35 second half points, the defense still played fairly well. LSU only had two real scoring drives the entire game. Their other points came off a punt return, a fumble inside Georgia's 30, another punt return into the red zone, and a pick 6. Sounds a lot like the South Carolina game, doesn't it?
  • Bobo called a perfect first quarter and then fell asleep.
  • Against a team like LSU, you cannot leave points on the board. And that is what Georgia did. Instead of a touchdown to TK on the first drive, we settled for 3. Instead of touchdown to Malcolm Mitchell (on a perfect throw by Aaron Murray) , Walsh missed another field goal. It should have been 21-0 and the outcome would have been much different.
  • After the first quarter, the LSU defense was amazing. From pass coverage, to QB pressure, to stuffing the run. They are just so deep.
  • As good as Brad Wing kicked for LSU, Butler was doing better. too bad our coverage unit started missing tackles.
  • Damn the Honey Badger.
  • Malcome should have started and gotten most of the carries. Crowell was hurt and looked like it (or he wasn't ready, either way). See my previous post for opinion on Crowell.
  • Aaron Murray had a bad game statistically, but 7 dropped passes will do that. In the second half, LSU was in the backfield on every snap and Aaron was just trying to make plays. I can't really put the poor performance on him.
  • The Dome was electric and then Mathieu returned the punt. It was a kick to the stomach and Georgia never recovered.
All in all, despite the loss it was a great experience. It has been a marvelous season that will conclude with a great bowl trip to Tampa.

It sure is great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The One Thing You Should Never Do

Saturday night in the Georgia Dome was whirlwind of emotions. From the great defense and the early lead to the Honey Badger stealing our hearts and momentum. Despite the loss, I will have great memories of the night and of the 2011 season that saw the Dawgs get up off the deck and make it back to Atlanta for the first time since 2005. And while I was proud of the Georgia faithful for showing up and being insanely loud, I was not proud of one moment that occurred in the second half. At that moment, I saw (and heard) Georgia fans doing the one thing they should never do: boo a player.

Yes, that player was Isaiah Crowell. I am not going to sugar coat it, Crowell looked weak on Saturday. Rumors flew all last week about attitude problems and that only stacked the deck more against him on Saturday night. His 11 carry 15 yard performance was highlighted by a personal foul call that made Mark Richt look the maddest I have ever seen him. I was pissed, just as most of you were, but never did I consider booing him off the field.

Let's take a quick step back to the last time I heard a player individually booed by Georgia fans. The year was 2006 and Georgia was going through a tough season that included a loss to Vandy on homecoming. Georgia sophomore receiver Mohammed Massaquoi was struggling mightly in his first season as Georgia's #1 receiver. After a great freshman year, MoMass had a developed a case of the drops and with Sean Bailey out for the year, there was little other receiver fire power for freshman Matt Stafford to throw to. I can't remember which game it was, but after Mohammed dropped a pass at home late in the season, Georgia fans began to boo. I was ashamed and that is much the same feeling I felt on Saturday night.

Before you jump down my throat, yes, this was a much different situation. Crowell has been a problem, including suspensions and attitude issues. You may feel every bit justified in booing the kid for limping off the field. But my argument is not in favor of Crowell, it is more in that you should never boo a kid, period. The Georgia coaching staff has been very quiet in recent weeks about the status of Crowell's ankle. As fans, we actually have no idea how bad he was hurt. And if they knew he was not going to suck it up and bear through it, then why even play him? So he can be made to look bad? My point is, I would have never had him out there if he wasn't ready to go. Malcome is capable enough to carry the ball for 3-4 yards at a time.

Booing a player also looks incredibly bad to those outside of the program. This includes the television audience at home, other coaches, and most importantly, recruits. You don't think Nick Saban is going to call up a recruit and say, "Crowell could have come to Bama, but instead he went to Georgia and that ungrateful fan base boos him after a freshman season where he had almost 1,000 yards rushing"? Come on, you know he will.

In the future, I implore you to keep those feelings in. Remember, these are kids who give their time and their bodies to play football for your entertainment. If you don't like their play or their attitude, open a blog, vent on a message board, but don't try to humiliate them in public. The same thing goes for social media, if you don't want to support them, don't follow them on Twitter.

Make no mistake, I think Crowell is soft and if he can't change, he won't be long for Athens. But I will never justify the booing of a player on our team and you shouldn't either.

Friday, December 2, 2011

SEC Championship - Prediction

Unfortunately, I had to go out of town this week for a funeral and this did not allow me to provide much preview for the game. At this point, you have all seen a million break downs so I will leave you with a preview.
No matter what happens, this has been a great season for the Dawgs. I honestly feel we are headed in the right direction and will be a contender for the national championship next year. But as much as this team has improved, LSU has been amazing all season long. The Dawgs will put up a fight and it will not be easy like some think. But depth in the fourth quarter will help the Tigers pull the victory.
LSU 24, Georgia 17

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is this the best defense of the Richt Era?

Todd Grantham has done an amazing job with the Georgia defense. The idiots on television can say what they want about weak schedules, but the improvements we have seen this year speak for themselves. You don't have a top 10 defense in the country by luck. My question is whether or not this year's defense is the best of the Mark Ricth era, even better than the Van Gorder units. Take a look at this comparison of the national rankings for Georgia's defense during the 2002 SEC season, the 2003 SEC East Champion season, the 2005 SEC Championship season, the 2007 #2 final ranking season, 2009 (Willie's last stand) and this year:

Of the 9 major defensive categories I examined, the 2011 squad had the best national ranking in 5 of them. Arguably, this is the best defense since 2003 when the unit featuring David Pollack, Odell Thurman, and Thomas Davis helped the Dawgs win 10 games despite an offense that struggled all year. What sticks out even more is the deterioration under Martinez and the rebound under Grantham. Georgia finished second in the nation in 2007 because of the strength of the offense and the ability to get sacks, not because of their ability to cover receivers.

Can I honestly say this is the best defense of the Richt era? I don't know. But what I can say is Coach Grantham has returned us to the defense glory we once had and I don't see that changing with the very experienced group we having coming back in 2012.

Monday, November 28, 2011

We Run...We Pass.. We Own this State

For the 10th time in 11 years under Coach Mark Richt, the Georgia Bulldogs defeated in-state rival Georgia Tech by a score of 31-17 on Saturday. The margin of victory was 14, but like many other Georgia games this year, the game was really not that close. People were concerned that Georgia would be looking ahead to the SEC Championship. They were wrong (I'm looking at you, Corso and Herbstreit). Once again, we played without our starting running back and Georgia Tech took out our best defensive tackle with a cut block on the first play from scrimmage. Didn't matter. The Dawgs put "Boots to Asses". Here are my thoughts on victory 10 of the 2011 season:

  • Dirty play by Georgia Tech knocks Tyson out and what happens? Garrison Smith comes in and play lights out all game. Paul Johnson calls a timeout to try and ice Walsh and Walsh gets a second shot and makes it. Karma bitches!
  • John Jenkins is every bit the player we hoped. His presence made the difference in how we defended Tech last year and this year.
  • Tech still seemed to be able to pick up too many yards on the sweep play. Why can't we stop it when we know they are going to run it on third down.
  • Bad game for Christian Robinson, but he is definitely the emotional leader on defense. I am very glad he is a part of our team.
  • Shawn Williams vs. Mike Gilliard for biggest surprise play on Georgia this year. Both were after thoughts in the depth chart pre-season.
  • I thought Brandon Boykin was going the distance.
  • When you get a big running back near the ground, fall on him. We can't let LSU backs keep their feet this week.
  • Murray looked sharp like he did against Auburn. The only bad pass was missing a receiver wide open in the end zone (can't remember if it was King or Mitchell).
  • Speaking of Mitchell. Can you think of a better freshman trio than Mitchell, Bennett, and Conley? I sure can't.
  • Orson Charles could have had 10 catches at least if we kept throwing to him. Tech had no answers for him.
  • I am proud of Ken Malcome. He made sure we held the lead with his hard running in the fourth when Tech knew we were trying to kill clock. If Crowell is still hampered and Samuel is 100%, I would keep Malcome for LSU.
Overall, a great day for Georgia once again. After the 0-2 start, nothing feels better than getting win 10 against Georgia Tech. Now, it is the Dawgs' turn to upset someone.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

"That's how winning is done"

I will be back tomorrow to offer my review of the Tech game and begin to look at LSU. But until then, I offer this quote from the last Rocky movie which perfectly sums up what the attitude the Dawgs should take heading into this match up:

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!

Friday, November 25, 2011

QuickTech Preview

The Dawgs take on Tech tomorrow for state bragging rights. Georgia has won 9 games in a row and has bigger fish to fry with the SEC Championship next week, while Tech has had a nice season at 8-3, but for every good win (defeating top 5 Clemson) they have a stupid loss (against Virginia). Georgia's defense is awesome, especially against the run. Tech's option attack is a well-oiled machine in year 4 under Paul Johnson.

Here's what I think will happen. The Dawgs will be able to move the ball effectively on Tech. Who ever runs the ball will have big holes like we saw when Georgia played Auburn. Success in the run will lead to success in the passing game. Georgia Tech, on the other hand, will also be able to move the ball. Their offense is very tricky and despite superior athletes on the Georgia side, Tech will break off a few big plays like they do every game. The difference will be Georgia keeping Tech out of the end zone. While Tech will move the ball, I think the Georgia D will step up on their own side. The key for the Dawgs is to get an early lead. If they can build it to 2 touchdowns in the third quarter, Tech will be in trouble. The Dawgs win a the game that will be a lot closer than the score will indicate.

Georgia 34, Georgia Tech 23

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We run this state...revisited

Last time the Dawgs traveled to Grant Field, Georgia ran all over the Jackets. Here's a quick reminder:

King and Ealey may be gone, but the memory remains.

Go Dawgs!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


And, oh yeah


Monday, November 21, 2011

We'll Miss Ya Larry

When I woke up this morning to the news that Larry Munson had passed away, I immediately began to think of what he meant to me as a Georgia fan. Unlike many of you, I did not grow up in a Georgia family. While I would occasionally watch Georgia play on television, I worked almost every Saturday during high school and did not know much about Larry Munson before I came to Georgia. But when I arrived on campus, I kept hearing about people turning off the sound on their televisions during the games to listen to Munson. This was a new concept to me, but I soon understood why people preferred Larry to the babbling idiots on television.

Larry Munson was a true throwback in the broadcast industry. Today, broadcasters are trained to be objective and to not show favoritism. And while Scott Howard has carried on Munson's tradition of being a blatant homer for the Dawgs, nobody could do it quite like Larry. During my second year at college, I had a ticket to see the Dawgs take on the Vols in Knoxville. But when the people I was supposed to go with backed out (and rather than driving up there by myself) I sold my ticket to a friend from high school. That friend just happened to be the girlfriend (and now wife) of Georgia quarterback David Greene. Watching the game on TV (and listening to Musnon on the radio) in my apartment, I felt sad that I had missed the game, but glad I was able to hear one of the greatest calls in college football history.

The Munson's Greatest Calls DVDs introduced me to the full collection of Larry's best moments. For any of us who attended Georgia during the early 2000's, the Munson's Greatest Calls: The Mark Richt Era DVD is a must have. Despite the fact that I saw many of those plays live, I will always remember them with Munson making the call. The DVD includes what I consider to be the last great Munson call, that took place when the Dawgs took the field in black jerseys to host Auburn. It was Munson's classic opening, with a slight twist: "Get the picture now. Only this time it's a little different. The helmets are still red, but the jerseys are black."

My father called me just after the 2008 victory over Central Michigan. No one knew that this was going to be Larry's final game, but my dad seemed concerned. As a kid, my dad rarely watched football games on television. He would sit down and watch Braves games almost every night, but never really watched football. When I went to Georgia, my dad began watching games and he only watched them with the radio on. He loved Larry's passion and it turned my dad into a Georgia fan. Now, I talk to my father every week after the game. It is a bond we share and I feel like Larry Munson had something to do with it.

Larry is a true Georgia legend and there will never be another one like him. He will always hold a special place in my heart.

Larry, thanks for always being you. We'll miss you.

For some more information on how Larry came to Georgia, check out this story I wrote earlier this year.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Charge Continues: The Kentucky Preview

If you have ever been around a bunch of Kentucky fans watching the Wildcats play basketball, you will know that they have a pretty passionate fan base. Two years ago, I was sitting in the now gone Wild Wing cafe in downtown Athens before the nigh contest between Georgia and Kentucky. Kentucky was playing basketball that afternoon against some small school (I can't remember exactly which one, maybe it was Liberty or Lehigh). They were up like 40 points in the second half and these crazy Kentucky fans were swearing at the top of their lungs when their walk-ons took a bad shot or there was a foul call. A little annoying, but I understand the love. Luckily for us, Kentucky's football team this year is horrible and our shot at the SEC East is not against the (#2 ranked) Kentucky basketball team.

Georgia goes for its 9th win in a row tomorrow and chance to secure a trip to the SEC Championship for the first time since 2005 (note: this is technically not our first SEC East Division championship since then, however. In 2007, we technically won a share of the division. I know this may seem stupid to point out, but if we were in the Big 10 that year, we could have called our selves conference champs and that whole argument about not winning your conference would have gone out the window). The Dawgs are playing the best football I have seen them play since the stretch run in 2007. And while that team was known for the offensive power of Moreno and Stafford, this team is known for the defensive tenacity of Jones and Rambo. While most of us are still on the high from destroying Auburn at home last week, I hope the team is ready to go for the early kick tomorrow.

Kentucky should not be a problem. In what I have seen out of Kentucky this year, they are the worst Kentucky team I have seen in quite a few years (and since they are pretty bad normally, that is saying something). I listed some statistics the other day, so I won't cover them again. Kentucky's bad defense will be missing two starters on Saturday and their offense is on their third or fourth tailback. Morgan Newton has lost his starting job at quarterback. They lost to Vanderbilt by 30 points last week. Georgia should not lose to this game.

I expect the Dawgs to come out hot on offense once again. A little more rushing in the first half than last week. Crowell goes over 100 and Thomas may too. Hopefully, we get Murray out of the game in the second half and give Mason some more reps. Georgia wins big and will be headed to Atlanta for the next two weekends!

Georgia 48, Kentucky 10

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Georgia Will Beat Kentucky Because...

Randall Cobb is now in the NFL. For the last three years, Randall Cobb was an amazingly talented player on a pretty bad team. But whenever Georgia took on Kentucky, it seemed like Cobb was everywhere. In 2008, a heavily favored Georgia team was taken to the brink because of Cobb's 185 total yard and three touchdowns. In 2009, Cobb rushed for two more touchdowns as Kentucky came back from a 20-6 halftime deficit to win. And even last year, when Kentucky turnovers lead to 5 easy rushing touchdowns for Washaun Ealey, Cobb still had 7 catches.

But Cobb has finally moved onto the NFL, where he now plays for the best team in football and constantly makes highlights like this one:

I hated Tim Tebow and loathed Nick Fairley, but no player scared me more than Randall Cobb. Maybe it was because his team was so bad that you knew he was only chance they had. I am just glad he won't be there to try and prevent us from winning the East on Saturday.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Only One Game Matters

People are buzzing about a potential match up with LSU in the SEC Championship, but they need to worried about the game this Saturday. But it's only Kentucky you say. Ask South Carolina what can happen if you over look Kentucky. Hell, eventual national champion Auburn needed last minute heroics to beat Kentucky last season. For me, no lead is safe until the clock ticks down to 0 at around 3:30 PM next Saturday.

Without a Georgia victory, the game against Tech will be the final game before the bow. I surely do not want that to be the case. And hopefully that is the same attitude the team is taking. There will be a lot of distractions. The AJC has an article up saying Georgia would be a 10.5 point underdog to LSU. Who cares at this point, since neither of those schools have even clinched a spot in the SEC Championship.

Looking at Kentucky, this is a game that the Dawgs should win easily. They are 4-6 and their signature win is a 17 point victory over helpless Ole Miss. Vanderbilt blew them out, 38-8 last Saturday. Their leading rusher is a junior who had only 55 career carries until late October. As a team, they have a little over only 1400 yards passing and a paltry QB rating of 98. In the NFL, that would be awesome, but in college, that sucks. they are 110th in the nation in passing, 89th in rushing, and average only 17 points per game.

The defense isn't that much better. The Wildcats rank 66th in the country in total defense at 393 yards given up per game. They are 98th in the country against the run (198 yards per game) which should mean another big day for Isaiah Crowell and Carlton Thomas. they are much better against the pass, where they rank 26th in the country at 194 yards per game. But that number may be inflated since opposing teams are often running clock late in the games (like Georgia did the entire second half against Auburn on Saturday). They are 64th in scoring defense giving up 27 points per game.

Georgia should win the game relatively easy. But saying it and doing it are two different things, as we learned out in Boulder last season. Until the Chapel Bell rings on Saturday, I hope the Dawgs keep their minds in the right place.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


That is the only way I can describe Georgia's 45-7 domination of the Auburn Tigers in Sanford Stadium on Saturday. Call it a blowout, call it payback, call it whatever you want. The Georgia Bulldogs stood up on Saturday night and let the entire country know that we are back and a force to be reckoned with. There were no real bad spots in this game except for a Drew Butler shank and two harmless fumbles by Crowell. Here are my observations on the game:

  • The offensive line absolutely gashed Auburn's defensive front. In the second half, Thomas and Crowell had holes so big they could have driven an F150 through them. Great game on the ground for the Dawgs and we even saw Ken Malcome get a few carries.

  • Mean, nasty, relentless. This is Todd Grantham's defense. Sign him to an extension, now.

  • Jarvis Jones has only gotten that much better since the return of Alec Ogletree. Jones may win the SEC defensive player of the year and both will be All-SEC and potential All-Americans next year.

  • John Jenkins has really started to play well. He has taken that starting spot away from Geathers and I don't expect him to let go. Motel 6 was every where on Saturday.

  • Aaron Murray is playing lights out right now. Whatever he has found between the Florida game and now, it has transformed him. The most impressive thing that Murray and Bobo did all night was take advantage of the back shoulder throw. Murray could not make that throw last season, but he sure can now.

  • The Georgia receiving corp is sick and the top 6 guys will all be back next season. As scary as the defense has become, the offense is quickly catching up.

  • When Bacarri Rambo took that pick 6 back, that was the loudest I have heard Sanford Stadium in years. The crowd was on fire and I loved it. And it also prompted this:

  • I was very proud to see Crowell come out and have a good second half. After the fumble in the first half, he came up limping after a ten yard carry. Thomas got a lot of carries after that, but then Crowell came back in. And looked every bit the 5 star player he is. I think his eyes are opened and he is ready become the star we need.

  • My last point is one that I am very proud to say I forsaw even if few people did. Back during the recruiting season, many people lamented the offering of a scholarship to Quitavious Harrow. I wrote this. The hit Harrow put on the Auburn kickoff return was impressive and it fired up a kick off team that had struggled over the last month. I could watch this play over and over again, all day long.

When Vegas set the line at 13 points, I thought they were out of their minds. But they must have known something the rest of us didn't. Georgia beat Auburn as soundly as we have beaten a rival since the 2002 Georgia Tech game. And now, the Dawgs are poised to earna spot in the SEC Championship for the first time since 2005. Kentucky comes to Athens on Saturday, and the Dawgs need to keep their focus on that game. Kentucky is not a good football team and hopefully the Dawgs close out the SEC schedule with a resounding victory. The Vegas line has been set at 29.5, but I think it will be safe to take the Dawgs this week.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Get It Done

Two months ago, we sat in Sanford Stadium as the clock reached :00 and watched the Dawgs fall to 0-2 on the season. After the deflating loss in the Dome to Boise State, the Dawgs had looked determine to turn things around, but too many mistakes led to another home loss. The media and fans were all over Coach Richt, and even I began to think this may be Coach Richt's final season in Athens. But then a funny thing happened - we woke up.

Call it easy schedule, call it luck, call it whatever you want. But the fact of the matter is that Georgia's magic number (to borrow a term from baseball) to clinch the SEC East is 2. The combination of Georgia victories tomorrow and next week or a victory in one of those games coupled with a South Carolina loss to Florida means the Dawgs head back to Atlanta for the SEC Championship for the first time since 2005. You may say you knew this would happen, but I wouldn't believe you.

The game on Saturday presents a interesting matchup for a Georgia team that has really found its groove the last few weeks. Since allowing 35 and 45 points in the first two games, Georgia has allowed more than 20 points only once. The defenses is in the top 10 in the country and has been especially strong against the run. Auburn will rely heavily on HB Michael Dyer and if Georgia shuts Dyer down, I can see a double digit win for the Dawgs. This game really comes down to a good Auburn offense against a strong Georgia defense. The winner of that battle wins the game.

While some people still think Aaron Murray is struggling, the sophomore quarterback is putting together what could be a record setting season. He leads the SEC in passing efficiency and has found a way to make some big plays despite not having his best stuff(see the Florida game). Having Crowell suspended last week may be a blessing in disguise. Hopefully the two bye weeks he had this month allowed that wrist to heal and hopeful he is ready to carry the ball more than 20 times.

Do I think this game will be one sided, as the 13.5 point spread suggests? Hell no. Have you watched the Georgia - Auburn games over the last 10 years? But, do I think this is a game where one team has a talent and experience advantage over the other? Yes. Auburn won a national championship last fall, but almost everyone of the critical pieces from that team moved on. This is a different Auburn team, one that almost lost to Utah State to open the season. Much like Georgia, their losses are all to highly ranked teams. But unlike Georgia, they now start a freshman quarterback who is starting for only the third time in his career.

Georgia should lead most of the game, but the Tigers will keep it close. The fourth quarter may see Georgia build a lead to around ten and then proceed to run clock like they did against Mississippi State.

Georgia 34, Auburn 24

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Never Forget

Fairley and Scam may be gone and Auburn is just a middle of the road school, but never forget the cheap shots and lack of class they showed last fall. Auburn deserves no respect from me, at least this year. I watched the Iron Bowl documentary from ESPN last night, and I wanted to punch Fairley and Scam in the face. Auburn will keep their National Championship, but they didn't do it the right way. I am no Alabama fan, but watching them win the 2009 Championship was much more fun to watch than Auburn last year.

After this season, it may go back to a friendly rivalry with the boys from the Plains. But for this year, it's pay back time.


Monday, November 7, 2011

DSOR: Flashback,1986 'Between the Hoses'

We all know the big implications of the looming game versus Auburn: Take care of business, and it'll be the first time since 1981 that we will have beaten UT, UF and AU all in one season (plus one more step toward an SEC Championship berth, our first since the Shockley-led Championship team of 2005). And that's not even mentioning the opportunity to get back to a 1-game difference in the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry.

In an attempt to ignore some of the revenge-buzz that will likely percolate after last year's blatant lack of sportsmanship, here's a quick flashback to an earlier Bulldawg generation's controversy, the 1986 "Between the Hoses" game at Jordan-Hare.

As the R&B article notes, Auburn itself, in an official statement, acknowledged turning the "spray into the stands on the north end of the field," with 400 UGA fans on the field and more trying to partake in the celebration.

The article notes 2 Redcoat Band members were injured by a thrown beer bottle and interviews a flag corps member who received stitches and a drill team member also cut by flying glass; it does not have further details on the extent of any other injuries suffered during the melee. 38 people were ultimately arrested.

The scary footnote to the article, though, happens to be that UGA at that time also had a similar policy for crowd control (quoting then-AA administrative assistant Greg McGarity). I can't imagine a modern Athletic Association ever executing such a policy again, even if it was still on the books, with the swift and immediate repercussions the school would deal with. Can you imagine ESPN's coverage in the 21st century over something like that?

The game itself carried such a strong reaction with the unranked 6-3 Bulldogs facing the No.8-ranked Tigers, 8-1 on the season, on the Plains. With starting QB James Jackson out with an ankle injury while also dealing with his grandmother’s death, backup Wayne Johnson got his first start of the season and led the Dogs to a major upset, 20-16.

Wayne Johnson came into the game 1 for 4 on the season with an INT, yet was able to manage the Dawgs down the field in the 2nd quarter to tie it up, with a TD pass to Troy Sadowski on a quick play action rollout. Johnson ultimately had little to show for it in the box score, going 6-7 with only 59 yards passing; the UGA running game saved the day, running all over the top-ranked defense in the SEC for 236 yards. The Dawg defense had a decent day, with LBs Steve Boswell and John Brantley sharing the AP's Southeastern Defensive Player of the Week award.

A late 4th quarter INT by Boswell ultimately iced the game for the Dawgs, 20-16, and then the chaos ensued.


The 1986 game, with a mediocre UGA team winning over the then-#8 War Eagles, is pretty symptomatic of the Rivalry's swings; the team in a relative down year can and has knocked the stronger team off its pedestal (for a more modern example, look to the 2006 game and Tra Battle's 3 INTs on the rain-soaked Plains against the No. 5 Tigers).

Sporadic highlights from the 1986 game (sadly no 'hoses' footage).

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Welcome Homecoming

The Dawgs return to Athens for their first home game since beating Mississippi State back on October 1. And after the hard fought victory over the Gators in Jacksonville last week, getting a cupcake game could not come at a better time. I am not going to take much time talk about tomorrow's opponent, the New Mexico State Aggies. I did a profile of them earlier this year that you can check out here. They are a bad team from a bad conference who the Dawgs should beat handily. They do have a decent passing offense and are one of the better teams in the country at kickoff returns (which does scare me a little bit). But other than that, there is not much to talk about.

As for Georgia, the feel good vibes from the Florida victory were quickly dashed this week with the suspension of Isaiah Crowell, Carlton Thomas, and Ken Malcome. The controversy surrounding these suspensions is BS and it seems like everyone is trying to take shots at Mark Richt. But the truth of the matter is the tests took place on Thursday, they got the results on Monday, and the players were automatically suspended per AA policy on Tuesday. I really have to laugh at the Florida and Auburn fans who are complaining, since if this had happened at their schools these guys would be playing this week. In the end, it is just an extra week of rest for these backs who we will need down the stretch with Richard Samuel out with ankle surgery (yes, even Ken Malcome).

This Saturday should be a good chance for the Dawgs to rest some guys and get some backups into the game. Despite his insane 4 sack effort last week, Jarvis Jones has an MCL sprain and I would love to see him get some rest. Maybe we get to see more Ray drew? I'd also like to see Mark Richt give Mason some snaps, just in case Auburn decides to carry on the traditions of Nick Fairley and take cheap shots next week.

Despite the suspensions, I feel like the team is in a really good place right now. A win tomorrow (which would be 7 in a row) coupled with an Arkansas victory over South Carolina could mean next week's game with Auburn will pretty much decide the SEC East (there's no way we lose to Kentucky with the East on the line). From a team that started 0-2 and was getting killed in the media to a potential SEC Championship birth, I am proud of this year's squad.

Georgia 48, NMSU 10


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

So, what will the play book look like on Saturday?

Since we have exactly zero scholarship running backs healthy or eligible for Saturday, I predict a heavy dose of passing. I'm thinking the play book will look something like this:

Good luck boys!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Glory, Glory...HALLELUJAH!!!!

My first trip to Jacksonville since the victory in 2004 proved to be victorious this time around. I guess that means I am going to have to make the trip every year. I don't care how ugly the victory was, it was still a victory. And in this series, that is all that matters.

I will only spend a little breath on the bads, because we all know them. Special teams...WTF. Blair needs to see a shrink or something. The kick coverage was horrible too, even though I noticed a few more starters like Ogletree and Samuel out there. Murray made some great passes, but missed a couple of easy wide open throws. No where near as bad as last year, but still. Everything else wasn't perfect, but we won, so they are forgiveable. Now, onto the bright spots.

  • People can give Todd Grantham crap all he wants about being a hothead, but he is one hell of a defensive football coach. He has turned this team into one of the best in the country in just two years. After the first play of the game that went for 72 yards, Florida had a grand total of around 160 yards. That is phenomenal against ANY team. The blitz worked well and we did exactly what you are supposed to do to a quarterback with a gimpy leg, make him feel uncomfortable.
  • Jarvis Jones has been in beast mode all season, but it really showed. Man, I wish he would have came to Georgia straight out of high school. Grantham gets a lot of the credit for the defensive improvement, but I think Jones deserves a little bit as well. He is the play maker we needed to make the rest of the scheme work.
  • Ogletree. Bad ass. All I need to say.
  • Crowell had another solid game but the injuries keep biting him. I was proud to see him come back on the final drive and pick up a huge first down. People seem to be a little down on him right now, but come next season, injuries and conditioning will not be a problem.
  • Coach Richt and Mike Bob deserve a lot of credit as well. The offensive game plan was pretty damn good. If Murray had not been all over the place with a few passes (and Walsh could actually make 30 yard field goals) this game could have been very one-sided. The play calling was very good.
  • Hello Christian Conley! A couple of huge catches and one key PI call. It makes me giddy to think about the wide receiver position next season. King, Mitchell, Brown, Bennett, Wooten, Conley, and 6'7'' Lonnie Outlaw. That's a lot of size an experience for Murray to throw to.
  • My final nod of the week goes to the much maligned Richard Samuel. He may still fall over way to easy when hit from the side and may never live up to the 5 star recruit he was out of high school, but Saturday this kid wanted that game and it was his determination that keyed the strong second half from the Dawgs. He ran hard and put his head down on every carry and showed the kind of emotion that has been missing in the Georgia backfield the last few years. When he crossed the goal line to give Georgia the lead, his excitement made me finally believe we were going to win the game. 17 carries for 58 yards may not be an impressive line, but this kid had one hell of a football game. It has been a long time, but in honor of Samuel's first touchdown since September 19, 2009, I present to you the return of the RICHARD SAMUEL TOUCHDOWN PYGMY GOAT (for more info, read this)
This was just a great weekend. A gritty, gutsy effort for the Dawgs. This is the type of game that Georgia loses in this series, but we somehow found a way to win. The celebration was great and my favorite quote came from Georgia receiver Michael Bennett:

"I've never seen so many drunk people in my life. I jumped in crowd and all I could smell was whiskey."

And in victory, what a glorious smell that is!