Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Spartan Mothers and Their High Expectations

As Greek young men prepared for their first battle, their nurturing mommies were rumored to have given them an ultimatum that challenged their manhood and undoubtedly made the little hairs stand up against their tunics.

"With it or on it."

The ancient muthas referred to the soldier's shield. To return with it equated to a victorious warrior; to return on it meant they had perished, but in honor.

....and we would complain when our mothers would insist we finish our grits.

But to return without their shield meant they had performed what would later become known as "pulling a Petrino"; they had seen the field of battle and decided to drop their weapons and scurry home...to mommy. Or in Petrino's case, the warm, loving arms of a late night WooPigSooie!!

Well, the Dawgs have landed in Orlando where they will do battle with the Spartans of Michigan State, all against the backdrop of Mickey, Minnie and...doh, garsh! Goofy.

For the Dawgs, Coach Searels is still in the fold, which last week's BDB poll overwhelmingly predicted (if six of seven votes can be associated with overwhelmingly). Stafford and Moreno are still in red and black...for now. No academic leave 'em behinds and the number of green jerseys in practice is....dwindling.

Things are looking pretty good it seems.

And did we mention that the bowl preparations have been...spirited? A fracas or two (you know...a donnybrook) during scrimmages is a clear sign that the boys are taking this game seriously. 

For their part, Michigan State brings a solid running back who ran for more than a mile against Florida Atlantic. Against Penn State...well, barely to the mailbox. 

Shield or no shield, the bottom line for this Spartan offense is - as goes Ringer, so goes the Spartans.

Coach Martinez will undoubtedly use his defense to force Spartan QB Hoyer to make plays. It would be a great time for an INT in the secondary (hey! I asked for it for Christmas and it wasn't under the tree...maybe Santa left it in Orlando) Meanwhile Coach Dantonio will hope to keep Stafford and Moreno on the sideline weighing professional options.

But, in the words of the esteemed and slightly senile Lee Corso, not so fast my friend! Spartans can't slow the Dawgs' roll. Stafford, Green, Moreno, MoMass...heck! Maybe even Dobbs again...they all score.

The good news for Michigan State...they return to East Lansing...but without their shields. Let me know if you want one as a souvenir. 

More specific (accurate...???) predictions:
  • Dawgs  41 Spartie 13
  • Bernie shells out more money in concessions for Conner and Ainsley than he did on the tickets. BTW - Ainsley wants to know if the Citrus Bowl sells cotton candy. If not, she'd rather just see the game at Sanford (there's no reasoning with her...believe me, I've tried).
  • Stafford lets the CapOne win marinate a week, then announces he's staying. And Asher opts for more education too.
  • Moreno is much harder to predict as he is NFL ready now. But I say he announces he's good for another year of hurdling and breaking ankles 'tween the hedges.
  • So the UGA Bookstore sells another 2 trillion of #24 jerseys, by mid-February.
  • Georgia fans temper their off-season enthusiasm in '09. By late August, we're all thrilled with a top 15 pat on the back.
  • DC Martinez gets a stay of execution from disloyal, hot under the collar fans (who...?? me??). They decide that since CMR has won over 80 games in eight seasons and has a 6-2 bowl record (after Sparty turns tail), he might actually know what is best for the program.
  • That's right belligerant bulldogs, just lower the phone and the PBR. Nice and easy....
  • And of course...all Dawg fans have a very happy New Year.
Trivia this week brought to you by Hannah Montana. Santa invested a lot in her this Christmas. It's her turn to give back.

How does Spartan tight end Charlie Gantt plan on getting the Dawgs to "back up a little bit"?

Winner gets a video clip of my daughter playing guitar for Hannah's band. Pace yourselves on New Year's Eve Dawg fans. Hate for anyone to miss the opening kick...or have to explain to their mother how they lost their shield. 


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Parking fines, Gravy and too much Nog!

Coaching News...
All is pretty quiet around the BDB offices this week. The head man has given most of the staff some well deserved time off. The only sounds are the taps of the keyboard and the Gurgh! of the water cooler every now and then. Oh! Someone left cookies out...cool!

I had hoped we'd have some news regarding Coach Searels by now. But evidently CMR and Damon Evans are still putting together a package to try and keep the O line coach in Athens. That or Coach Searels is pondering the two offers. But just the fact that we haven't read that he is moving to Opelika is good news for the Dawgs. If CMR could escape this off season with both line coaches still in the fold it would be his best recruiting effort to date. 

And says a lot about the state of the Bulldog Nation.

Weighing in Auburn's favor:
  • the fact that Searels played there. 
Weighing in Georgia's favor:
  • stability under CMR
  • a young, talented line that returns for '09
  • good rapport with Coach Bobo
  • and the absolute mess that is Auburn right now.

Surely we'll have an answer by the time the team reports to Orlando Friday...

"Is this thing on?"

BDB posed the question, who is your favorite all-time Dawg? If it weren't for Adam, all we would have heard was (...chirp...chirp) crickets. We even put a poll up with a smattering of 'tween the
 hedges All-Stars. Ten votes...and about five of those are Bernie's (4 for Pollack, 1 for Herschel). 

Come on folks, if BDB is gonna shell out the benjamins for these sexy gadgets, the least you could do is use them.

And for entering the discussion, Adam and Demiko both get their tabs at Steve's picked up at the field trip this winter. The rest of you dolts are on your own.

My favorite Demiko play was the catch against OleMiss in Oxford. Great game, great place to watch the Dawgs play, after tailgating in the Grove. Southern hospitality at its finest.

Don't Park So Close to Me
I had planned to steer clear of any more text devoted to Dawgs pondering NFL futures. But I was afraid my readers may have missed this tidbit by DH of Bulldogs Blog and Macon.com fame. Georgia Athletics have a good number of beat writers bringing the red and black news to our hearts and minds. Hale is at the top - IMHO. 

This story may have fallen in his lap, but I found it interesting. Will the parking police tow away our hopes of having Stafford and Moreno back next year?

Nama once again hopped on the Trivia Train. By now his closet is stuffed with useless prizes from BDB trivia. But since he knew Clark Griswold's response to son Rusty's question, "It's not going in the yard, Russ. It's going in the living room", he takes home a beautiful new dual bag vacuum. I suspect Christine's heart will skip a beat!

  • All of the Dawg December grads! Way to go!
  • Dawg QB recruit Aaron Murray who overcame a devastating injury and came back to lead Plant HS to victory in the State Semi-finals and Championship game. Makes me feel pretty small having spent the last three days complaining about this hangnail.
  • The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia (thanks for the spelling correction honey!) Bowl. As expected it was a great one. Even if the Horned Frogs didn't cover...
  • Everyone at Wal-Mart this morning. It's so relaxing to shop on Christmas Eve morning with so many cheerful and jubilant people.
  • Charles, for bringing the oysters to the annual Wilkinson Family Christmas Dinner Saturday. Conner thanks you as well.
  • And of course, Adam.
Since it's Christmas Eve, BDB has added a special section to this edition. As fans, we tend to be greedy at times, whiny at others, unrealistic, pithy, and really whiny at other times. That being said, given our hugely unsuccessful (insert sarcastic grin) 9-3 season, BDB has put our concerns, thanksgivings, well-wishes all together into one list.

Red and Black Christmas Wishes
  • A Capital One Bowl victory
  • two more Rennie Currans and three more AJ Greens
  • one Brannan Southerland TD run from the one yard line, for old times sake
  • an arrest free off-season
  • a blackout free season
  • a recruiting class as heralded in three years as they are in Feb '09
  • an INT by a defensive back next Thursday; if it were a picksix it would be gravy on the turkey
  • a placekicker that can boot it into the endzone...everytime...with no return...ever
  • at least 90 yards receiving for MoMass and 49 for AJ next Thursday
  • a decision to have the GA-Fla series moved to alternating sites: GA Dome and Jacksonville for instance
Feel free to add others as necessary. Merry Christmas Dawg fans!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yes, Virginia......Bernie is Coming for Christmas

Surely you've noticed the haste with which this edition has found its way to the foot of your tree. BDB will be taking a much needed break to venture north along that beautiful stretch of interstate between the Mall of Georgia and Petersburg.

The journey may begin Friday afternoon, but between potty stops, gasoline fill ups, the notorious DVD switch from The Little Mermaid to Madagascar, dinner at some Wendy's the '90s left behind, the less popular DVD switch from Madagascar to Cinderella II and a Charlotte NC traffic jam or two .......

It'll be early Saturday morning before the Tahoe loaded to bear with suitcases, Christmas presents and empty french fry containers pulls in to the in-laws. How Santa does it, I'll never know.

News outta Athens this week..........Stafford, Allen, Atkins and Moreno have officially dipped their toes into the waters of the NFL. They'll have until January 15th to decide if the feedback they get is worth putting on their NFL swimsuit a year (or two) early or not. For the best rundown, check out David Hale's Media Notes on his Bulldogs Blog. (BTW - I asked DH about Owens, he said he would check the next time the big guy was available to the media, likely Friday. UPDATE - Bulldogs Blog reports that Owens says he's definitely staying. Use the link to discover another nugget.....)

This week I've begun reminiscing of a few years ago when David Pollack was faced with the decision of forgoing his amateur status for NFL stardom or staying in Athens to study and attend class. Particularly with Stafford and Moreno, there has been this feeling since '06 like they would leave Athens as beloved as any other Dawg. Should they choose to go, it won't take as long to clean out their locker as it did Greene, DJ, Pollack, Musa, Brown....others. Knowshon would leave some breath taking highlights, Stafford some impressive throws. (image SI.com)

When Pollack decided to stay, he became even more endearing to the Bulldog Faithful. Willing to sacrifice a nice paycheck for another year on campus was both enlightening and encouraging amid today's society of instant gratification.

On that day he became Bernie's favorite all-time Dawg. Let's open the phone lines.......Who's your favorite Dawg?

Dawg Bones

  • Sounds like CMR isn't expecting any casualties from the classroom heading into Bowl preps. I don't know about you, but I'm anxious to hear the crack! of pads coming from the Butts-Mehre backyard.

  • I keep rinsing and repeating, but I just can't get the taste of that poor, poor defensive performance against Tech out of my mouth. And January 1st is still a ways away.

  • Take this Techies! UGA graduates enjoy a better value for their post-secondary education. We're not delivering your pizza anymore, we're hiring the high school kids to do it for us.

  • Georgia back-up punter Drew Butler is evidently trying to get one of his Sugarloaf neighbors (Matt Ryan) to play a round of golf with Matthew Stafford. Hey Drew, if ya need a fourth......???

  • If they do tee it up together, I'm guessing Ryan will fall in line with Archie Manning as advising Stafford to stay. Wonder if Peyton (that makes a great girl's name doesn't it?) and Eli will also get a chance to speak to the Dawg QB.

  • TotalUGA.com reports the recruitment of the much sought after receiver Marlon Brown will likely come down to Georgia and the hillbillys. Ohio State among others also are in the mix. If Brown does choose Tennessee it will obviously be because of their new head coach's experience in running a high achieving, professional and respected program like the Raiders.

  • Brown is in town on Saturday for an UNofficial visit. Let's hope it goes better than his Official visit, the Dawg's loss to Bama.

  • And there is no truth to the rumor that CPJ will use the bulk of his new $17 million contract with Georgia Tech to finance a Dawg fighting operation. BDB has recently learned that the Dawg killer is actually a cat lover. All together now.....Awwww!

Friday's Feedbag


  • And in what may be bigger news, Plax hasn't shot himself in the upper thigh in nearly three weeks.

  • One of the best games on the entire bowl schedule may be Tuesday night's Poinsetta (did I spell that right Jenn?) Bowl. One of the nation's most powerful offenses in Boise State meets the nation's second best defense in TCU. Both coaches were heavily rumored on the coaching carousel, but got off the same place they got on. It may come down to which team was less distracted.
  • BDB is thinking about organizing a winter field trip to see the Vince Dooley tribute. With the weather and the crappy game, just never made it over there the day the Wreck wrecked the streak.

  • And you know what's within a couple blocks of the Dooley Tribute........Steve's. Steak and Cheese all the way and a dozen hot wings. OH YEAH!

  • Statesboro Anonymous offers THIS LINK to you gentlemen who are waiting to the last minute to buy your wife or significant other a mop or an umbrella for Christmas.

  • Six shopping days left reader!

Sudden Death Playoff Trivia - It's been two issues of BDB since the question was asked and we spent some time airing some grievances Monday. Well........turns out BDB does indeed have Seinfeld fans that thumb through its pages. Within hours of Monday's blog posting, we had a number of comments and emails, like .........nearly eight.
YadaYadaYada....Let's get to the prizes. The following made Bernie both chuckle and laugh uncontrollably, in no particular order:

  • Erin's Seinfeldism on tabloid reading: "I think that people who read the tabloids deserve to be lied to."

  • Nama's favorite episode is obviously The Chinese Restuarant as he submitted several doozies from that early show. Hard to compete with, "You're going by sound? What are we, whales?"

  • Fred jumped into BDBs cyberspace with a "play" on The Serenity Now episode, blending it with Auburn's struggles to overcome their own ineptitude: "Mediocrity now!" Well done Fred, well done!

  • Cord may hold the Penske file, but that doesn't prohibit him from reaching into The Abstinence episode to grab this classic from Jackie (the Cochranesque lawyer): "Miss Wilkie, your tobacco company has turned this beautiful specimen, into a horrible twisted freak."

  • And Joe couldn't decide on just one, there's just so many right? My favorite among his offerings comes from The Marine Biologist, "The sea was angry that day my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli."

Enjoy your Festivus Pole everyone. At the BDB family dinner, you all will NOT be listed among those who have disappointed me this past year. You're all winners in my book!

Trivia - When Rusty says, "Dad, this tree won't fit in our backyard. " How does Clark Griswold respond? Winner gets a brand new dual bag vacuum....to give to your wife for Christmas. "It's the best vacuum cleaner you'll ever have baby."
And with that another chapter of BDB comes to a close. We'll be back after a long weekend with a special Holiday version of BDB. Until then I leave you with the wise words of George Costanza: "Do you ever get down on your knees and just thank God that you know me and have access to my dementia?"

I'm sure your answer is.......some days.

Gotta run. These pretzels are making me thirsty!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Auburn Officials are Full of Chizik........

Chizik is off the Chizzang!
Auburn has a new leader and his name is Snoop Dogg. Or at least it might as well be.

Mike Leach had an 11-1 record this season in the Big XII, but wasn't even given a glance. Gene Chizik went 2-10 this season in the Big XII and was given the keys to one of the top programs in the nation. You can officially place the Auburn faithful into two groups right now. Those with the word HUH? continuously hanging from their lips and those that are a little too quick to defend the hire.
You know, they say something like, "He's our coach and I support him. (long pause) DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO WIN IN AMES?!?!?" Simmer down, simmer down.

Yes, Chizik won just 5 games while sipping his gin and juice during his tenure at Iowa State. But he lost his last ten and needed victories over Kent State and South Dakota State this season to avoid going o-for '08. From 2-0 to 2-10. Ouch! And don't think that he had the uneviable task of playing Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech. Cuz he didn't have to line up against any of them.

So, does Chizik have any ties to Garner? I dunno. But there are rumblings that part of the breakdown between Tuberville and Jacobs was their interest in releasing some assistant coaches from their duties and Tubs' loyalty to them. If that was a line in the sand, I would expect that Auburn officials would have a few names for Chizik to call.

Word on the street is Martinez isn't one of them.

But I would be surprised if we're not looking for a new defensive and offensive line coach in as little as a week. Both Searels and Garner are Auburn alums and former players and would be bigger losses than Moreno, Owens, Stafford and Allen put together. You can bet Pat Dye has already recommended them to Snoop....er...I mean Chizik. In fact, is that Tammy Mettenberger's phone ringing right now......

Heisman Trophy goes to a quarterback
So Tebow is left off of 109 ballots and yet gets more first place votes than Bradford. Congrats to Mr. Bradford and he is very deserving of this award, but it sounds like the Heisman voting could use an electoral college to further screw things up.

Bradford owes a BIG thank you to both voters with agendas and faulty tie breakers in the Big XII. Most voters waited until after last week's games to cast their ballot. McCoy probably should've won the trophy but didn't play. And the other finalist finished playing four hours before Bradford. This was a case of who holds the ball last, wins.

Dawgs put academic exams behind them, prepare for gridiron exam
News outta Athens is slow leading up to bowl preparations. It might be a good time to peek around and see what some other more knowledgeable writers are offering up.

First stop, David Hale has a two part interview with Damon Evans posted to his blog. I found his take on the season and more importantly the status of the program particularly refreshing.The man is obviously a good administrator with great leadership skills. Jay Jacobs ! Pay attention! Athens Banner-Herald's Marc Wesier ran a piece on the bonuses that are in store for the coaching staff. See if you think the numbers add up. Rivals has the bowl games ranked in terms of best to worst. Click HERE for The Dead Guy's run down of the SEC side of things or HERE to go straight to Rivals.

Exams are now over and practices will begin to pick up. I guess we'll also know soon if there are any academic casualties that get left behind as the team heads to sunny Florida. Meanwhile, let's get to some............

Shout outs:
  • Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith for getting all up in Antonio Bryant's grill and showing him the way to his own sideline. Politely.
  • Christine Nama for making sure dinner Saturday night wasn't Spumoni free. Ahh! You go girl!
  • Munk for the following YouTube clickable. All together now: Fa ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra!
  • ALL the talent at the W Hotel Saturday night. It was nice to get a glimpse of how the other half lives............ among other things.
  • The nine Brian Nichols jury members who saw reason and argued on the side of logic.
  • The other three jurors.
Monday Leftovers:
  • Last year this time we were all geek'd up about eh Dawgs' finish to the '07 season and were peeking ahead at the '08 schedule. It looked daunting at the time, but proved to be not so bad with teams like ASU, Tenn and Auburn failing to reach acceptable levels of competition in tackle football. Next year ain't no walk in the park. Will it also prove to be deceptive?
  • And when I pored over the '08 schedule in August I thought 10-2 would be great. 9-3 ain't too far south of that, but it sure doesn't even feel good. I guess it's been several years since we've lost to both the reptiles and insects.
  • Cheer up War Eagles. At least your coach is old enough to vote.
  • Dan Mullen, newly appointed head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs will likely not call the plays in the National Championship game next month. Tebow says the Gators could handle the duty "by committee." I've already submitted a few I thought they should run, cc'd to one Bob Stoops, Norman OK.
  • And one last link for you to pore over. January 15th is the deadline to declare for the NFL Mega Millions Lottery. Todd McShay alludes to a possibility that this year's crop of undeclassmen leaving early could increase by as much as 33%. No surprise that he lists both Stafford and Moreno as likely leaving.
And to wrap things up, the tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances. I've got a lot of problems with you people! And now you're gonna hear about it! Last week's trivia was a complete bust. BDB had one entry. It included a brief excuse and a Wikipedia link, that didn't link. Not exactly a Festivus Miracle.

But rules are rules and the Festivus Pole must go to someone. So the person that submits their favorite Seinfeld quote that makes Bernie chuckle out loud will win the playoff round. And will gain a leg up on the feats of strength.

Have a great week reader. Only 9 shopping days left.


Friday, December 12, 2008

And the Heisman goes to......

..........Jay Jacobs.

Can you imagine a funnier holiday movie than the one showing right now on the plains in Auburn? I've always considered A Christmas Story the greatest Christmas movie ever. Nothing gets me in the spirit like the scene with the Chinese waiters singing to the Parker family, "Deck the haws wit bows of horry, ra ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra."

Seriously, Tebow, McCoy or Bradford may walk away tomorrow with the hardware, but I challenge anyone to find a person more

valuable to their program's decline than Mr. Jacobs. The SEC is supposed to be the most professional of the major conferences, and yet Auburn's AD is getting outplayed by Syracuse's Daryl Gross.

I mean even Mississippi State has found their man with a sense of organization, a modicum of professionalism. They named Dan Mullen, the Florida OC earlier this week. MSU fans will get really excited about that news next week when the newspaper gets printed and word begins to spread.

As far as the pleasantries in New York, Tim Tebow has a real shot at pulling an Archie. You have to figure Colt and Sam will split the mid-west, and the left coast is always a crap shoot when a trojan isn't in the mix. So if Tebow's smile and boyish charm can sweep the eastern seaboard........we might have our first repeater since '75. Wonder who Archie's voting for?

And if lil' Tim does repeat as Heisman winner then goes on to win his second MNC......he comes back to Gainesville next season to......trim his fingernails? Work on his video application to Dancing with the Stars? Provide trailer park circumcisions to jort wearing fans?

Speaking of underclassmen about to cash in their collegiate chips: Owens, Moreno, Stafford, and Allen.......Isn't Athens a nice place to live?

I was working on a piece to project next year's starters for the Dawgs, but it would be hard to outdo this piece from David Hale. I will add this however: in 2005 we had a starting QB who had been extremely patient (DJ) and a tailback by committee that got things done. They gave LSU and Nick Saban a beatdown of glorious proportions in the Georgia Dome to bring home the banner. So all's not lost should Stafford choose the Lions and Moreno starts singing, "J-E-T-S jetsjetsjets!!" Not to be greedy, but it would help if Owens and Asher didn't follow.

Dawg Bones
  • CMR said he is pulling for Rodney Garner to land the job at his alma mater. Problem is it was just a courtesy interview, even though Garner would be a great hire.
  • If he really wanted Garner to get the job Richt should do Garner a favor and elevate him to co-coordinator NOW. It would help the Dawgs and it would give him a better shot at Auburn's head job when it is vacant again in one and a half seasons...........you know.....after they hire their "Shula" to keep the seat warm while Lowder twiddles his thumbs.
  • Stacy Searels was jobbed. I dare you to find an assistant coach more deserving of the Broyles Award. He loses his All-SEC monster at LT before the season starts and continuously is having to reshuffle and retool his line throughout the season. Just when things are somewhat settled, another season-ending injury pops up and it's back to the drawing board. I don't mind letting the cat outta the bag.....I smell a shout-out. Small consolation I guess.........really small.
  • Speaking of getting hosed on the awards circuit, Moreno lost the Doak Walker to some kid in Iowa. I had to look up which conference Iowa plays in. I complained to Jenn and she asked if this Hawkeye had better numbers. You know.......I'm not sure I care. 
  • I guess Knowshon and Ringer can battle it out for second on January 1st.
  • And speaking of the Capital One Bowl, the Dawgs go into the reindeer games as a touchdown favorite. I haven't watched the Spartans play yet, but Javon Ringer is supposed to be a work horse. I guess as long as he isn't as good as Tebow, Coffee or anyone who touched the ball on offense for the rambling wreck....we may have a shot.
  • Ringer has said he envisions the "perfect" game to end his collegiate career. 25 for 200 and 3 TDs.
  • Of course he also said "Georgia has a tremendous defense." Proving he's either naive or drunk.
  • Running out of career options to steer Coach Paul Johnson towards, BDB is lowering itself to a good ol' smear campaign. Syracuse failed us, Wal-Mart isn't hiring greeters until after the recession....so it is time the truth came out. CPJ is a Dawg Killer, worthy of all the indignation of one Michael "Jailyard Hero" Vick.
  • Lastly, what the hell's a hawkeye?

Friday's Feedbag
  • Word outta Knoxville is that Lane Kiffin has not only passed the NCAA test that allows him to recruit players to become hillbillys. He also has passed his driver's test on the first try and can drive a car!
  • I've got some new stuff on this other site a friend directed me to, The Bleacher Report. As you're roaming around cyber space sometime, check it out.
  • There's a scenario out there that O'Leary is on the way out at Central Florida and that Charlie Strong would be a leading candidate.
  • If that plays out, it could leave Florida without either coordinator for the MNC game. Methinks Florida still wins by two touchdowns.
  • Took the girls to see Santa this week. Some three year old behind us tried to cut into our face time. Long story short...I think I'm ink'd onto the naughty list. So no eggnog for me!
  • Tech is the favorite to win the Eat 'mor Chikin Bowl. Although I'm sure LSU will show up and dress out, Tech may have this one in the bag well before people start putting on those New Year's party hats. The Tiger defense has done nothing but disappoint all season. Johnson wins a big one on the GA Dome floor, only strengthening his ties to Vick.
Have a great weekend BDB reader! I wish you all good parking spaces and recession style prices on what is to be a merry shopping weekend. Me....I'll be safe at home relentlessly punching buttons on my remote control. Yes, the honey-do list is shortened. I managed to fix the gas logs last weekend. With my cold-natured and circulatory challenged wife, that should buy me another week and a half.

Trivia this week embraces the spirit of the season with the holiday for the rest of us. The reader with the best explanation of the origins of Festivus wins an aluminum pole that requires no decoration. In the words of Frank Costanza, "I find tinsel distracting." 

And always remember loyal readers, Festivus Yes!, Bagels NO!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Wilson is good........

.....but Tebow is a legend.

Turns out the only thing that kept Alabama from yet another SEC championship was a decision a teenager made some 3 years ago. The Crimson Tide stood toe to toe with the best team in the country and absorbed blow after blow with counter-punch after counter-punch. It was a game you could sense was being taped for replay as an instant classic. The drama was thick. The star players lined each sideline hoping to build upon already impressive resumes that would rest comfortably in the hands of most NFL GMs.

And as the third quarter came to a close, I felt pretty good about my Friday prediction. Tebow had touched the ball less often than a Gatorade cup since halftime and Coffee was well on his way to MVP type numbers.

But as a senior in high school Tim Tebow chose sunny Florida over Titletown Tuscaloosa without even really realizing that his decision would be the difference in the SEC title game three years later. Saturday night he welcome the game unto his shoulders and may have established himself as the first repeat Heisman winner since ol' Archie. (AP photo, John Bazemore) 

Make no mistake about it. Bama played well enough to win. Their game plan was sound. They set up the play-action early. And they avoided 
getting down by too much early. Even after Florida scored the first touchdown in seemingly effortless fashion, Bama didn't budge. They steadied themselves like any tremendous pachyderm would. Then took two giNORMous steps towards the opposite end zone and balanced the scoreboard in less than a minute.

In the end, Tebow was the quite certainly the difference. As good as John Parker Wilson is and as good as the Crimson Tide has been this season, Tim Tebow is just too good and the Florida Gators too fast, well coached and determined to lose this game.

And now the national sports media turns its attention to the BCS big 'un. The finale in Miami. The game for the Mythical Nat'l Championship.

All season the pundits have ruled the SEC inferior to the Big XII. The midwest major conference just had too many star QBs and too many prolific offenses. Well, we're gonna see aren't we. I still subscribe to the theory that offense sells seats and defense wins championships. 

There's no question that the two teams from Oklahoma and the two from Texas (no....not Baylor) are well oiled point scoring machine. And I understand the argument that the SEC defensive numbers may be deceiving given the lack of talented QBs in the conference this season. But historically the SEC is faster and more dominating on defense than their counterparts in other conferences. Florida's defense was gashed Saturday night, but is far improved from last season's trial by fire. They'll go against Oklahoma's high powered offense. Last team with the ball may hoist the trophy.

  • Bob Stoops for whining his way into the voters' mind and then coaching his team into the MNC game. The BCS creates the system, this coach knows how to work it.
  • Plaxico Burress. Some playahs use their mouth to shoot themselves in the foot; this killa uses a glock.....and "aims" higher.
  • Ainsley for tearing up Math Blasters, her math learning game on the computer. As she says, "It's like stealing candy from a baby!"
  • My cousins Kate and Alex, both East Carolina students. They take out Tulsa Pirate Style for the CUSA Championship. 
  • And Conner for surviving her first viewing of Ol' Yeller. You're my girl!

Monday's leftovers
  • I watched a few minutes of the ACC Championship game in Tampa. Did they sell ANY tickets to that game? I know a yankee team from Boston and another team from the hills of Virginia were the contestants. But it had to be embarrassing for ACC officials to see so many empty seats.
  • Meanwhile the Georgia Dome ruckus could be heard from well outside the perimeter. Turns out a pair of jorts and a houndstooth hat go pretty well together. At least the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce thinks so.
  • Coaching updates: Tommy Tuberville played golf this weekend after purchasing roughly 200 billion acres of real estate in Alabama and Mississippi. Oh, and a new fishing pole. Sylvester Croom refused opportunities to throw his former employer under the bus. And Phulmer relaxed a bit and only visited three buffets over the weekend.
  • The magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl is one of the games on the slate for December 20th, opening day for Bowl Season. I had heard of St. Petersburg (the one in FL and the one in Russia) but was curious about magicJack. Well...try it! Risk free. Call me.
  • Have you taken a look at the Bowl Schedule yet? It reads almost like a NASDAQ stock report. You start in mid-December with some start up stocks that aren't well recognized and then it grows into powerful tech stocks that are household name brands like the Chick-Fil-A and the Tostitos.
  • What about the Dawgs you ask? As expected, Stafford and Moreno will be parlaying their final collegiate game with the heavy promotional machine that once was the Citrus Bowl. Word out of East Lansing.......Dantonio is using the holidays to implement the triple option.
  • On Friday BDB wondered if Coach Garner would get a chance at D coordinator at Auburn once a coach was named. Well, yesterday he interviewed for the head job. Hard to believe he would land the gig without even any coordinator experience. But they could do a LOT worse on the plains.
  • And another coaching update: GA Tech follower Miranda was able to confirm for Bernie's Dawg Blawg that Coach Johnson will NOT be moving to Syracuse. But the Tech alum has not been able to unsubstantiate rumors that his coach is leaving Tech after the bowl game to accept a position as a Wal-Mart greeter. Any heavily recruited teenagers who happen to read this should NOT, I repeat....NOT...let this rumor affect their decision in any way.
  • And yes. Once Johnson is officially hired by the retail giant, I will immediately fax Coach Willie's resume over.
This weekend's Mall Santa Special: two tickets to next year's Bernie's Dawg Blawg OldCrow and HamDog Bowl. Coming to a back yard near you.

And the trivia winner from Friday is.........Bernie! It took him the entire season to stump Nama, Cord, Jenn, Allen and others. But he did it. Turns out he should have abandoned the medium of choice (internet) and used the BDB preferred medium (sports talk radio) earlier. The answer is a newcomer to 680theFan, but an old voice on Atlanta radio waves, Chuck Oliver. When news broke of Tuberville's exit in Auburn, some callers and co-hosts kidded Oliver about Petrino being their new guy. Oliver played nice until enough was enough. Then he let listeners know exactly how he felt about the Falcons coaching seat warmer. And that was your Sports Talk Radio Quote of the Week.

BDB rules specifically frown upon an employee taking any prize as a result of a contest or otherwise. When contacted at home late Sunday evening and informed of the "lawyereze", Bernie replied, "Sue me!"

Here's to you Bernie. Everyone else - steer clear of mall Santas that smell of whisky, have fake beards that are askew and have torn ponchos.


PS - if someone with a key happens near the suspension desk, please let Miranda out. I think he has a date for Saturday night. Hate for him to miss it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Phillip, Tommy and Sly....Oh My!

It was bound to happen....

As coaches' salaries in the SEC have escalated, evidently the expectations are following suit. Two coaching legends and one 2007 SEC Coach of the Year have been fired, resigned or forced out (whatever you choose to believe) as this season has come to a close. The latest, Tuberville "shocked" his AD Jay Jacobs by stepping down for the good of his family and the good of the War Eagle. Shocked you say...?? We're not stoopid Auburn. Ol' Big Ears was fired, you know....in the 21st century meaning of the word fired. It sounds like the talks with Jacobs broke down when Tuberville asked the AD if he was his coach. When the response was a less than emphatic "You are for now", well.........Coach Tubs said he would play the Lowder Lottery, evidently to the tune of $5.1 million (although Auburn says the Tuberville check will come directly from university funds....wink, wink).

I'm sure the Bama beatdown Saturday didn't help matters, but let's face it; this divorce has been forthcoming since that "meeting on the tarmac" between Auburn BOOSTer Lowder, his lackeys
and then Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, you know back when his resume was only a 3MB Word document. It was just a matter of time. Time ran out this week.

As bad as the Auburn news was this week given Tuberville's success, the coaching change in Starkville is a much bleaker statement. Sylvester Croom was the 2007 Coach of the Year in the SEC. A year later they force the man to resign? And worse they claim it was a mutual decision reached face to face. When in fact the decision was made while Croom was visiting an injured player in the hospital.

Croom's a class act. BDB wishes him the best.

Philmer we've known was on the way out for a while. Rocky Top officially stepped off of the carousel Monday when they introduced Boy Wonder, Lane Kiffin. Word is Kiffin turned in his fake ID prior to signing the contract.

Dawg Bones
  • Tech just ran the ball again. Reshad missed a devastating arm tackle and Ellerbe's shoulder bump made Dwyer take 5.9 seconds to score instead of 5 flat. Martinez stands bewildered; insists the scheme was sound.
  • I've been playing NCAA Football on PlayStation for years now and I've never allowed 400 yards rushing in a game.
  • Anyone think the new Auburn coach might come calling on Coach Garner as a candidate for defensive coordinator?
  • In another personnel story, Syracuse has stopped taking my calls in support of them hiring Paul Johnson.
  • I don't buy that CMR is now the Dean of SEC coaches. Not as long as Spurrier is around.
  • Some telling stats: Van Gorder's defenses gave up 228, 205, 203 and 198 points during his time as coordinator. Coach Willie's defense has given up 213, 229 and 262 points each season since. This season we've given up 307 points with a game yet to be played.
  • Now we realize BVG isn't coming back, no matter how good we've been for Santa this year. But the numbers don't lie folks. Coach Willie is in over his head at this level of competition.
  • However, since Martinez isn't going anywhere, I like what Buck Belue offers as a possible solution. Sign more 3 and even 2 star recruits that have a passion for the game. David Pollack wasn't a 5 star player. But he never quit trying to win the game on every play. Rennie Curran plays with heart, not with individual glory in mind.
  • These 5 star prima donnas are playing with a since of entitlement. They've been told they're the best and they believe it. The results are evident in the film. That first play from scrimmage in the 3rd quarter against Tech said it all. An "all-star" safety trying to tackle a fullback with his right arm and a senior linebacker trying to level him with a shoulder. The game was over right there.

Friday's Feedbag

- Mike Leach will earn enough frequent flyer miles in the next 10 days to pay for the Red Raiders' charter flights from Lubbock to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl.

- It's laughable that some people think it was the potential buyout that is keeping the Irish Eyes content with Weis. People.....when Touchdown Jesus farts......20 dollar bills come out. Notre Dame feared an embarrassing coaching search that would only result in a long, hard look into an honest, unforgiving mirror.

- ESPN News wire check.........oops..........looks like the Washington job is filled. Jim Mora must be devastated.

- Bama is a 9 point dog to floriDuh...?? Gimme the Tide and the gift points!

- You read right! Bama in an upset tomorrow night. Coffee is your SEC Championship Game MVP.

Enjoy the smattering of games this weekend reader. And good luck avoiding that honey-do list tomorrow. The list gets longer as our girth gets wider.

Talk radio quote of the week
"Bobby Petrino's jaws unhinge and he can swallow bird eggs whole."
If you can name the origins of this quote you will win a piece of the famed hedges of Sanford Stadium now being sold on Ebay. I just bought a piece with roots from some seller named E=MC2 beats Sports Recreation majors. I don't get it....


Monday, December 1, 2008

From the highest ranked team in the nation......

.....to the second best team in the state of Georgia. It's a good thing Georgia State's football team is still in the building phase......

Fans who had withstood dampened tailgates, wet sacks and eggless HamDogs were rewarded with a misleading first half and a lackluster, uninspiring second. I'll be glad in years to come when I can tell my daughters I was there when Larry Munson walked out onto the playing field for the first time during a game and I stood to tip my hat. And I'll be proud to also tell them that I saw Mohammed Massaquoi nearly single handedly beat Tech with a stellar performance in his last game in Sanford.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock Saturday I tried to find Stafford and Moreno on the field. I figured this is likely the last time to see them dressed out between the hedges. I wasn't able to find Stafford in the chaos, but Knowshon could easily been seen sprinting out to the center of the field as a large number of Tech players converged on the "G". I also noticed that he was largely alone and that he was pretty effective in convincing his opponents to celebrate in other ways.

Many Dawg fans spent the remainder of the weekend finalizing their Santa Wish Lists. Knowshon returning for '09 had likely been atop most lists. I would reckon that now "Martinez leavin'" tops the lists. Richt quickly quashed that debate, but guaranteed changes in practice habits AND results next year. Hopefully tackling teammates to the practice turf on Bloody Tuesdays instills some intensity that can last for an ENTIRE game.

Against Tech we built a pretty good lead heading into the locker room. In fact I was pretty pleased with the defense that had allowed a mere 6 points in helping build a 28-12 halftime lead. But whoever spoke to the team at halftime should be checked for an engineering degree. That third quarter was pathetic. By the fourth we suddenly realized that just going through motions wasn't going to garner that 8th consecutive win, but by then it was too late. The killer buzz had turned into Killer Buzz that would not be denied.

Sure, if we had gotten one more shot in the waning seconds we may have put together a miracle. But MoMass and Stafford can only do SO much.....right?

And let's give some props to our beloved senior wideout. Eleven catches for 180 yards and 3 TDs. Wow! A day to remember for Massaquoi. I'm just glad his team gets one more chance to send him out a winner.

And speaking of that upcoming bowl game, remarkably Saturday's result (likely) did little to affect our destination. Of course it all trickles down from the top. If Bama loses to floriDuh they will surely get an at-large BCS (Sugar Bowl) bid. And the same can be said for the reverse scenario. So even with the loss to Tech, it's hard to imagine the Dawgs not going to the Capital One Bowl to face Michigan State. The only team within one game of the Dawgs is Ole Miss and they seem bound for the Cotton.

I had made the argument that Martinez needed this game more than the yeller jackets. I stand by that assessment, but it is apparent that Martinez's D lacked the ability to prove they could earn it. Halftime adjustments have been an area where our coaching staff has been getting outdone all season (see Jacksonville, Auburn, Kentucky). Saturday around 1:30 we had the chance to step on these insects and notch that 10th win. We were up two big scores and had just exploited a depleted secondary. What happened?

Fans want Martinez gone. Richt wants staff continuity. BDBs solution: promote Rodney Garner to Co-Defensive coordinator NOW. Garner is the lone leftover from Donnan's staff. He's shown loyalty to the program. He's also expressed interest in making the next step to coordinator. If the problem is preparation, let Garner coordinate practices. If the problem is in-game adjustments, let Garner game-plan and game-manage. (photo RedandBlack)

Would that be a bitter pill for Richt and especially Martinez to swallow? Sure. Would it keep the staff intact, the '09 commitments and the returning roster happy? To quote Sarah Palin, "you betcha!" Those that want Martinez gone are entitled to their opinion and I have certainly chimed in on that side of the field. But who would we get in his place? Muschamp was the hot name and is now off the market. And after seeing Texas give up big numbers (albeit to very good offensive teams) I'm not sure that is who we want. Plus he didn't exactly turn the SEC offenses on their ear while at Auburn. John Chavis is looking for a job off Rocky Top. He kept the Fulmer ship afloat for over a decade. Or how about stealing one from another SEC school: Ellis Johnson at South Carolina or the gators' Charlie Strong? Yeh right!

I'll take Richt's decision to keep Martinez, afterall it is his staff. But something's missing. It's been missing all season. We used to GATA. Now we just watch their ass run towards the end zone. It can be argued that some change is necessary. Give Garner a chance at an expanded role.......

Enough of the bad, let's get to the ugly. Suspensions:
  • Miranda. I'm not real sure why. I guess I'm still bitter.
  • Martinez. You say it wasn't bad scheme, just execution. So when you feel the heat you throw the players under the bus? You have a couple weeks to look in the mirror, then get ready for the next opponent. Letting three teams score over 40 and two others 38, that spells poor coaching my friend.
  • CMR. The buck stops with the head man. Donnan won twice against Tech, but lost his last three. You won your first seven. Although many would like you to, no one really expects you to actually can Martinez. It's admirable to stand by a friend through rough waters. Just be sure to find your way back to solid ground if the water only rises....
  • Blair Walsh. I hate giving freshmen a suspension, but you're a veteran now. Two kicks out of bounds? Your leg is well-celebrated and documented as a strong one. Tee it up and aim for the uprights, not the cheerleaders.
And due to the weather and dire conditions we must give a few shout-outs:
  • David and Allen for stepping up in others' absence.
  • Ann for showing her hubby who wears the pants.
  • Papa Nama for picking up the slack for whoever forgot the ice......
  • Chris Bryan for overcoming a Thanksgiving Day cornhole injury to help Bernie unseat the Nama/Trammell machine!
  • And lastly, Bernie. Without him Fred would still be huddled in the bed of his truck outside of Plant Services. Who's the man?
It's been a long trip this season BDB readers. What started as a pea brained idea, grew wings with the help of VP Trammell and now our readership rivals that of the Saskatchewan Gazette's Op-ed pages. BDB will be back on occasion in the month of December with ramblings and other general nonsense. If you're interested in that sort of First Amendment entitlements, y'all come back now, ya hear?

Bernie's Dawg Blawg - it's what Jefferson and Washington were thinking of when they put pen to parchment and it's what Al Gore envisioned when he sat at his desk to invent the internet.

What better way to finish off the regular season than with a Chris "Search Engine is my middle name" Nama BDB trivia victory. His fingers did the typing and his iPhone discovered that "we picked it (our heart) up, and we (stuck) it back inside" when we nearly lost on the flats back in '97. Congrats my friend. It is no longer legal to mail hobnail boots as they are considered a weapon in SEC land, so you'll have to stop by the BDB offices to pick up your prize. Just call Betty, our front office admin asst at (800) BDB-rocks ahead of time to give her your boot size.

Happy Holidays readers! Next Monday we'll take a look at the juniors around the nation who may take their talents to the pro level. Your homework for next week:
  • Paul Westerdawg's analysis of Moreno and Stafford's decision and how the potential NFL rookie cap may impact them with a link to Tim Tucker's AJC article.
  • David Hale weighs in on the issue.
  • If you can't get enough if our lovable Uga, you'll enjoy this piece from ESPN Travel.
  • And pics of the tailgate: HamDog the Rematch.
We here at BDB wish you and yours all the egg nog you can swallow and as much fruit cake as you can stomach. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good defensive bowl game.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Tryptophan induced stupors are always cured.....

...........by a little gridiron gravy.

'nuf said Monday, right? As long as we're clear on who plays and who stays tomorrow morning, we'll keep this short and sweet. I've got some leftover turkey waiting on me and I'd also like to fit in 18 holes before the rain.

Almost a year ago things were Utopian-like in Athens, at least in the realm of football against the in-state rival. Coach Mark Richt had notched his 7th win in as many tries against the hated bees. Chan Gailey was doing just enough to continue on as the leader of the flats. And although Reggie Ball had moved on, his replacements had not produced a win against the Dawgs either.

Then Gailey was shown the door. I remember a conversation with Chris "Buzz" Miranda during the subsequent search for leadership. I asked him who he liked to get the job. During the history of our friendship we have disagreed on many things ranging from the sublime (whether Joe Hamilton actually played 7 seasons or not) to the ridiculous (who's triple bogey putt was more difficult). It turns out we agreed on one thing: Paul Johnson was the candidate best suited for the job.

Of course our angles were drastically opposed. He wanted Radakovich to hire Johnson right away. I hoped the talks would break down and Johnson would stay in Annapolis. I tried to place a call to Tech Athletic offices to voice my undying support for Gailey being rehired, but the phone just rang......and rang.

Come to think of it, Miranda? Did you give me the right number?

In the end of course, Johnson was hired. "Buzz" even reports that he was the only candidate of the seven to interview with Prez Clough and was offered straight away. And now on the precipice of another match-up between the Dawgs and Jackets, the two teams stand with nearly identical records.

I've spent a lot of time reading this week. One of the hot topics has been which side needs a win the most. The Dawgs are looking for another 10 win season and a Capital One bowl berth. The Jackets want to beat Georgia for the first time in this millennium.

But it is also worth wondering, who (individually) needs this win the most. BDB argues for Coach Willie. I know that Johnson has marked this game from the time he was introduced as GTs most important. And I know a win tomorrow would cement his first season on the flats as a tremendous success. But Willie doesn't just want a win. He needs it.

If the Dawgs D can put together a strong performance against an offense that shredded Miami on national TV it wouldn't necessarily put Martinez on a pedestal. But it would dampen the shrieking coming from his critics.

Another question......... which game is more important to Tech: The one between the hedges or the one up in Blacksburg? If given the choice between the two, would the average Jacket fan take a win versus the Dawgs over a Cavalier upset against the Hokies? Just a question.

If you force me to put the shoe on my foot, as a Dawg fan, would I rather have a W against Tech or a W against the gators? Well, ........I would insist on both. : )

The vegas line has shrunk since the beginning of the week. I still believe the Dawgs can put up some good numbers, but if they are to cover the spread (something the Dawgs have a knack for not doing) they will need to tackle .......WELL! Dwyer and any other pigskin carrier that had a turn was rarely touched near the vicinity of the line of scrimmage against Miami. And when they were it was fleeting.

If there is a bright side to facing this offense it is that our defense's Achilles heel this season has been it's pass rush. That will be but a small factor tomorrow. I expect the Dawgs to struggle some against Johnson's triple option attack, but not on the scale that the Hurricane D did.

And I also believe our offense will fair well against the bees' D. I remember Moreno not playing much last year against Tech so I think he will come out hungry; in fact he and the other skill players in silver britches should do very well. And if we can convert red zone opportunities into TDs it should keep our defense relaxed and on their toes.

Dawgs count to eight and send Johnson's Jackets back to Hotlanta empty handed.

Dawgs 28

pesky pests 24

Trivia this week brought to you by Bernie himself. Larry Munson shut off his mike earlier this year and will be honored in between the 1st and 2nd quarters tomorrow. One of his greatest lines came at the end of the '97 Tech game after the pass interference and the Bobo TD pass to Corey Allen. What did he describe that we did with our heart? Winning comment gets a hobnail boot. God bless ya Larry!

If you eat a hamdog, please don't forget your Monday morning cholesterol check. And if you show up at Sanford at 11:30, you will bark like a Dawg.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Please stand by.......

......the State of the BullDawg Nation address will commence shortly.

If everyone will take their seat we can get started, it's gonna be a busy start to an important week. While we wait for Bernie to take the podium, let's take some time to go over a few announcements. Can you hear me in the back? ...... Good.
  • Nama's research staff once again reins supreme. He walks away with a case of homebrew from Miranda's basement. Miranda is a true Tech fan and a great (albeit somewhat quiet) supporter of BDB. We can understand why he is reluctant to voice his opinion, especially this close to the BIG game. So we especially appreciate the question and the sponsorship. Nama - don't forget to use a glass.
  • Bye Week Shout-outs:
  1. Congrats to Mr. Rolle on what has to be one of his all time best days Saturday. Myron is obviously a smart young man, so smart money is on him choosing Oxford.
  2. The students in Dr. Burnette's class. I know your teacher all too well. If Dad starts to correct my writing while in class, please inform the principal....and my mom.
  3. Mohamed Massaquoi - happy birthday!
  4. Jack Bauer for surrendering himself for the good of the kids!
  5. Boomer-Sooners for going all PlayStation 2 on the Red Raiders from Lubbock. My oh My!!
  • Bye Week Suspensions:
  1. 790 the Zone for blatant, unabashed bias against Bernie. That's the last 790 contest I bother entering. They obviously can smell a 680 the Fan listener when he enters the building. Blow-hards!
  2. Florida Gators - just because.
  • When we mapped out our Saturday viewing schedule, we had no idea that the best game of the day would be the Versus Pac-10 matchup. Here's hoping the Beavers de-feather the ducks and create the rematch the granddaddies at the Rose Bowl deserve.
  • BDB "followers" welcome. Sign up today and receive a free Reggie Ball jersey. sign up over here - - - - - - - - - - >
  • And lastly, please don't overindulge on Turkey later this week. Saturday morning's tailgate needs your full participation.
And now for Bernie's Dawg Blawg's first annual address to the BullDawg Nation, BDBs creator and owner, head writer and floor sweeper, chief editor and toilet scrubber ..........Bernie.

Two words.....two simple words

State of the BullDawg Nation

Glory, Glory to ol' Georgia! Heroes have graced the field before you. Men with hearts, bodies and minds of which the entire Bulldog Nation can be justifiably proud.......

Gather round faithful readers and let's hunker down to business. There are but 5 days until the game defined best as Clean Old- Fashioned Hate. We've come a long way since the beginning of the season. There have been thrills and chills, ups and downs. We've had highlights and lowlights, TDs and 3 and outs. We've felt the dry heat and survived the cold wind on the plains. Now it's time to evaluate, reflect, reminisce. All to gain a clearer picture of where we stand, together as one nation. In a sea of red and black.

With dreams of a December trip to the GA Dome and even Miami in January proven to be of the pipe variety, many fans turn their thoughts to the 2009 season. Questions about the professional futures of numbers 24, 7, 2 and 95 are argued, debated and blawgged. As awkward as those conversations are, they are a welcome distraction to the red-faced shouts for the heads of coordinators to be sacrificed .......... immediately.

And now a new breed of bulldog stands ready to take the field of battle, to assume the reins of their Georgia forebears and continue that tradition.....

Coach Willie feels the most heat, although CMR has done a fair job of deflecting it. The defense has certainly lacked bite, but (in fairness) has saved us in a handful of tense moments. The main culprit from this blawgger's eyes has been the lack of consistent pressure from a four man front. You can argue that the D has been lacking in producing turnovers, but that is often a result of a heated rush, hands in the face of a QB with a sudden case of happy feet. In BDBs first edition the issue was raised: "Probably my greatest concern is defensive pressure. One sack against CMU - are you kidding me? Did Dooley use up all of Tardit's eligibility? Where's this season's Pollack/Johnson/Moses/Howard? Can Knowshon play from a 3 point stance???" Well, Martinez hasn't gotten so desperate that he's asked to use Knowshon on his side of the ball. But the fans have gotten desperate enough to wonder, "Why all the zone?"

The O line has been in the spotlight since Sturdivant was lost in two-a-days. But has performed well considering all of the juggling. AJ Green has exceeded expectations. And Knowshon seemed to respond to the questions about his substitution practices with a focus and determination that will almost certainly see him eclipse all of his totals from last year (needing just 91 yards and 38 carries to finish it off). And statistically Stafford has certainly surpassed his 2007 season as he looks for just 200 more yards to pass 3000 for the season.

Certainly there has been reason for confidence, optimism. All fans can remember a time when just sniffing another 10 win season was a pipe dream. AHEM!! (raygoff) AHEM!! Excuse me. And yet, there are blisters on the hand of this season that just won't go away.

The two biggest sores aren't just the two losses. It was more the way in which we lost. The build up to the Bama game was immense. It had been more than 9 months since we had ALL gone Johnny Cash on an opponent. ESPN Gameday had returned after a 1o year absence. We'd been to the desert and handily dispatched the diablos de la Sol. Knowshon had leaped into the endzone without a red cape. This was gonna be huge! And yet the game was over before Uga VII had a chance to get cozy with his bag of ice.

Three wins later we were heading down to Jacksonville. All we found was a determined reptile with the memory of an pachyderm. We were outmanned, outcoached and outplayed by our arch nemesis. It was the kind of loss we're not used to seeing under the Richt regime. And it was the kind of loss we never expected from this team that had started the season at the top. We drove back up to Athens with the realization that starting the season ranked #1 only allows you to start the climb at the front of the pack. The spoils go to the team that finishes the climb on top. Worst of all was the realization that we would not be that team, nor would we be the team that danced on the Dome floor in Atlanta.

It hurt.....bad.

The two wins since, remarkably have done little to soothe the burn. Kentucky by a hair and Auburn by whatever fraction was left. The grumbles had grown into shouts. The angst was all out turmoil.

As we prepare for another meeting between the hedges, let all of the Bulldog faithful rally behind the men who now wear red and black with two words, two simple words which express the sentiments of the entire Bulldog Nation......

My friends, we have muddled through a season that we had hoped and dreamed would be a pathway of entitlement. We were wrong. Wrong about our talent level, wrong about what to wear to certain games and wrong about where we stood in the national landscape.

But the season is not over.

Even as these blisters fester and make grasping anything difficult, painful ........we all know that Sanford Stadium will be a welcome sight come Saturday. We know the house will be jumping and the support not just unified but thunderous. As we watch our seniors hug their mamas we know we will cheer as one voice. And when the team bursts through the big G we'll all become unglued.

There will be one focus come Saturday. The memories of Jacksonville will become distant. On the graph that defines Saturday's game, that devastating loss on the first of the month will simply become a remote outlier, inconsequential. The loss at home to Saban's Herd will not only be in the background of our collective memory, it will be irrelevant. A double non-factor in a game that can define so much.

The Yellow Jackets will be visiting. Their bottles of white-out may still be half full, but they are looking to define their own season. The Dawgs will need our voices, our barks and our attitudes. There will be no other option than one of support, fevered fandom and concentrated chaos. It will be time to "tee it up between the hedges."

If you awaken Saturday morning and you ain't got it ......we kindly ask you to not bring it. If you are on your way down 316 and your red and black tank is only half-full, please turn around. Don't wait for the next stoplight. Go right through the median. I'll gladly pay the fine. If you are walking down the tracks towards River Rd and your bark is greater than your bite, you must find the maturity to sit this one out. Because you can only bring us down at that point. No late morning intervention is gonna pull you through. We'll talk you through it during the off-season.

Five days Bulldog Nation. Five days to come to peace with our two losses and embrace our 9 wins. It won't feel cuddly warm at first. But it is necessary and you will feel the rewards when you sit down at 11:30 to watch these seniors get their props. It will feel great when MoMass the Tech killa hauls in that first pass. It will feel incredible when Southerland pancakes a pocket intruder.

And when you do get that feeling, don't look for me. Don't feel like you have some overwhelming desire to thank me. Your attendance will be thanks enough. So don't look around for me.....

Just start barking your ass off!



Friday, November 21, 2008

Water'd Down Bye Weeks......

.......are like pitchers of beer at the St. Simons bowling alley.

All's quiet in Butts-Mehre this weekend. The players are huddling with family and friends for a change and the coaches are surely huddling with future players they hope will choose to wear silver britches. The only sound coming from the building is a dryer full of wet laundry someone left running. Let's see if we can sort through it.

Let's start with some recruitin'. As other schools in the southeast dabble in coaching changes some recruits who had previously committed are beginning to stretch their neck back out. It has been reported this week that J.K. Jay of Greenville, SC is willing to look at UGA in case Clemson doesn't retain their current staff. CMR and Coach Searels jumped at the opportunity and will be entertaining the young behemoth this weekend. If Jay were to switch commits (and it looks like we are the only other school he may look at as he has spurned opportunities to visit floriduh and bamma) it would add to what is shaping up to be a stellar O Line class. Jay would join Chris Burnette (no relation), Austin Long and Dallas Lee as UGA commits and we have our interest in a couple others who are also on ESPN's 150 Watch List.

Speaking of Clemson, there are rumors that the head job is Dabo's to lose. Swinney took over when Tommy Bowden played some Steve Miller Band and took the money and run. There is evidently a lot of support from the athletic director for Dabo, but to hire him would be putting the ADs neck on the line. If Terry Don Phillips doesn't get his way, then Bobby Johnson will be given a chance to turn the job down. I don't know much about Dabo, but I do know that the Tigers need a coach that forces his players to get tough. They laid down in the Georgia Dome after the first two snaps. Bobby Johnson would not allow that.

More coaching news:

  • Muschamp is off the market. He is the newest assistant to become the trendy Head Coach Elect. Pretty good deal for both sides.

  • Auburn is evidently a house divided. There is a growing public feeling that Tuberville should be gone. Privately there is much deserved support for the man still growing into his ears. This decision will come down to money ....what else? Both sides may like to part ways. If they can agree on a dollar amount it may actually happen. The wild card will be the bamma game. If Auburn pulls the unimaginable upset and makes it seven straight against the tide, then Tommy could do whatever suits him.

  • Rocky Top has zeroed in on Cincinnati's Brian Kelly. A host of others have said no thanks. Kelly has at least lent an ear. I checked the Bearcats schedule and they don't end until Dec 6th. And they are also in the running for winning some conference called the Big East ....?? If these two suitors end up being a match, it could get a little awkward. Alas! BDB has a solution: Since the vowels aren't bowlin', maybe Philmer would lead Cincinnati in their bowl game as their interim coach while Kelly moved into Knoxville's premier trailer park.

This and That:

Myron Rolle's 36 game streak as a starting safety will come to a close in the early evening Saturday in College Park, Maryland. If you're asking if this is another Seminole to be suspended, then you don't know this young man very well. I've followed this kid since he was a 5 star recruit out of New Jersey. Rolle will spend most of his day in Alabama interviewing to become a Rhodes Scholarship recipient. Rolle, a junior, should finish up around 6pm, quickly board a plane and catch up with his teammates by halftime. Rolle arrived at FSU after a recruiting battle that this blawgger had hoped would end with the future neurosurgeon as a Dawg. He enrolled at FSU a semester early and has already graduated. If things go well Saturday he will have an interesting choice to make: FSU, NFL or Oxford. All three could do a LOT worse.

Well, Knowshon and Stafford aren't in the running for a Rhodes Scholarship, but there are a lot of Dawg fans interested in where they'll be in August '09. SO interested, that a website has recently been created to "aid" them in turning their back on millions of dollars. Don't Go Dawgs even allows visitors to sign a guest book where you can implore our stars to ignore the opportunity to embrace financial security for them and their families. This blawgger prefers to leave this site alone.

Why, you ask? First of all, I doubt Stafford and Moreno will take the time to read and consider the thoughts and musings of Joe Fan before they pull the trigger. Secondly, as much as people make of greedy players leaving school early to grab a bag of cash, they should .......with all due respect ...... look in the mirror.

I would love to see both 7 and 24 return next year. And as a player it would have to be tempting. An experienced O line; AJ Green in his sophomore season; those 20 or so players on crutches and rehabbing in the training room return to the sideline in a uniform. I also pay attention to those pesky graduation reports the NCAA puts out each year. And I know both of these young men are close to finishing their degrees. But I'm not so greedy that I feel they should be given some guilt trip and should feel obligated to stay on campus. This is an opportunity for these players to provide for themselves and their loved ones. It could be there next year. It may not.

And one thing we know for sure is that the NFL will institute a Rookie Salary Cap after this next draft. To put that in perspective, it could mean a difference of not just 7 figures, but possibly 8 figures difference in guaranteed money once their contracts are worked out. That is a factor that will definitely be on Stafford and Moreno's mind in the coming months. Of course they are both competitive. Maybe they will also consider the bad taste Jacksonville left a couple of weeks ago, the lack of a championship, an opportunity to do something special next year.

Whatever their decision, life as a Georgia fan will continue on and we will all wish them well, as a Dawg or as a pro athlete.

This week's trivia is brought to you by a Miranda's Homebrew - as smooth as the surface of the reused bottle. Who is the only team currently in the ACC or SEC to have an all-time losing record to Wake Forest? Winning comment receives a bottle of Liquid Paper.

There's much more to discuss I know. But the bye week has a tendency to water things down some. My State of the BullDawg Nation will be ready for print by Monday. And of course we'll take a closer look at this team of insects that completely obliterated Miami last night. I knew a hurricane could not sustain its forceful winds this far inland, but holy crap!! Various beat writers reported that some Dawgs would be watching the game on ESPN hoping to glean some insight. After that impressive display I just hope they come back to campus next week.

Stay warm. Be a good neighbor. And as always, wear clean socks.