Saturday, December 15, 2012

Top plays of 2012

This past week over at DawgNation, Ching has featured his top five moments from the season. In order they were: 5) Jarvis takes over Missouri and Florida games, 4) defense turns Vols over, 3) Norman not fooled in Lexington, 2) Shawn Williams speaks out, changes course, and 1) Malcolm's catch and run in Jacksonville.

Of course, we've already looked at Connor Norman's huge play in comparing it to Gamble's forced fumble in '07. In my mind it saved the season just before Shawn Williams' helped turn it around. And while I can't think of a play/moment I would put ahead of what Ching has listed, I would definitely give honorable mention to Rambo's strip at the goal line early in the Tech game, Todd Gurley's 100 yard kickoff return against Buffalo and Rambo's sack in the Florida game (which is one of the greatest plays I've seen in terms of sheer enjoyment value).

However, in the end I nod in the same direction as Ching. Mitchell's touchdown was both pivotal in terms of the game on the field as well as the season as a whole. It was a big throw by Murray, and it was a huge catch and run by #26. One I'll remember forever.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Crappy officiating vindicated

Alabama defensive lineman Quinton Dial won’t be suspended for the BCS national title game by the Southeastern Conference due to a hit that included helmet-to-helmet contact on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.
The league said it looked at footage from the SEC title game and is leaving any discipline to the schools.
“The Southeastern Conference has completed its review of video from the 2012 SEC Football Championship Game,” the league said in a statement released today. “Several plays involving both teams were reviewed. After review, all subsequent action will be handled internally by the two institutions and the conference office is satisfied with their actions.” 
I recognize that Georgia was dishing some stuff up too. And I also recognize that on the interception return, at the moment that Aaron Murray was hit he was really fair game. But the hit by Dial was helmet to helmet. Clearly.

In the NFL Dial would've lost a chunk of a paycheck. In the SEC, this type of thing is handled "internally" with stadium stairs. At best.

Unbelievable. Not surprising mind you. But still unbelievable.

Poor Capital One Bowl officials

Mike Bianchi was kind enough to air some grievances on behalf of the Capital One Bowl yesterday. Turns out what they really wanted was Johnny Football jerseys in their stadium and on the streets of Orlando New Years Day.
According to two members of the bowl search committee, the Jan. 1 Cap One Bowl reps wanted Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel to play in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, but the Southeastern Conference essentially forced them to take Georgia -- the loser of the SEC Championship Game. Not only that, but Cap One Bowl reps wanted to match up Texas A&M with Northwestern, but the Big Ten forced them to take Nebraska, which was in the Cap One Bowl last year and was clobbered by Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.
While Georgia and Nebraska were probably the most deserving teams to be in the Cap One Bowl, Texas A&M would have been more exciting for fans and more lucrative for the local economy.  Johnny Football is currently college football's greatest show on turf and it's been more than half-a-century since Texas A&M played a bowl game in the State of Florida. Aggie fans would have flocked to Orlando for the bowl game and many local residents would have bought tickets just for the chance to see Johnny Heisman work his magic.
But don't get them wrong, they're happy to be part of the SEC and B1G families!
"Without conference partnerships, you don't have the inventory to play your game," Hogan says. "We don't have the groceries, but we have to cook the dinner. ... We are a host destination that wants to continue to be important.
"You have to understant that we've had a 20-year relationship with the SEC and Big Ten where we've had the top (non-BCS) selection from those conferences. That's an important place to be and we'd like to continue that relationship."
Being lucky enough to land two conference runner ups, especially one that was five yards and a few seconds from going to Miami, is a nice consolation. Add in the star power of Aaron Murray, Jarvis Jones and a Taylor's not so bad is it? So I can understand Hogan's back-tracking.

And I'm sure it helps that Georgia is well on track to meet its share of the ticket allotment. If only the same were true for the Huskers.

Bowl Season is upon us!

You know those people that stand in line to purchase a phone? You know the ones that get up at all hours of the morning to shop on the day after Thanksgiving? Or how about the ones that wear orange to football games?

Well, I would never do any of those things. But I recognize that those people must have a certain level of excitement in them to help them cross that line towards insanity. And that's how I feel about bowl season. Are many of the games just a glorified crap sandwich? Sure. But I love college football, ergo I love being able to tune in each day and watch some of it for the better part of a month.

So, it all starts tomorrow at 1pm with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl from Albuquerque between Arizona and Nevada. And that means there is but a few hoursto enter the third annual bowl pool here at Bernie's Dawg Blawg, Festivus4theDawgNus. It's a "confidence" pool, so just select your winners and how many points to assign to each pick. Winner gets a Festivus t-shirt.

What do you mean by confidence points Bernie? And why is the spread listed on each bowl? Am I picking based on the spread? Also, while we're at it, what is a "spread"? Glad you asked:

  • A spread is the number one team is favored over the other. The spread for the CapOne Bowl is Georgia -10.5, so the Dawgs are favored to win by that many points. They'd have to win by 11 points for a bet on Georgia to win.
  • However, our pool isn't based on the spread. It's a confidence pool. You pick each winner and assign a number of points to each based on the confidence you have that you're right. So I picked Georgia to win the CapOne Bowl and gave it a 35. In other words, that is the pick I'm most confident in, and if I'm right I'll get 35 points for that selection. If I'm wrong I'll curse a lot and get zero points.
  • So the spread that is listed is just for your information and to help you in making picks.
Thanks. Lastly, what is Festivus? Infidel! Leave! At once! You obviously don't read my blog or have better than average skills in remote control usage. Therefore this pool is too deep, no picks for you!
The rest of enter, CLICK HERE and then submit the password - thehumanfund. After that, all that is left is to make sure the beer fridge is full.

*You have until the day after Christmas to enter, but any picks prior to that date would be locked already, which greatly hinders your chances at the t-shirt but still allows you to display some feats of strength.

A Capital One Bowl preview, prediction

Mark Schlabach runs down each and every bowl game. Here's what he had to say about the Dawgs and the Huskers.

Capital One Bowl

No. 7 Georgia vs. No. 16 Nebraska, Jan. 1 (ABC, 1 p.m. ET)
Why to watch: To see which team shows up motivated to play in Orlando. The Bulldogs lost to No. 2 Alabama 32-28 in the SEC championship game, which cost them a chance to play Notre Dame for the BCS national title. The Cornhuskers were embarrassed 70-31 in the Big Ten championship game, which knocked them out of the Rose Bowl.
Who to watch: Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones was one of the country's most disruptive players, finishing with 77 tackles, 22½ tackles for loss, 12½ sacks, 33 quarterback hurries, seven forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. The USC transfer is considered a potential No. 1 pick in next spring's NFL draft and might be playing in his final college game.
Motivation for Georgia: The Bulldogs lost to LSU 42-10 in the 2011 SEC championship game and then blew a big lead in a 33-30 loss in three overtimes to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. UGA doesn't want to finish consecutive seasons with back-to-back losses.
Motivation for Nebraska: Nebraska is a proud program, and its ugly loss to Wisconsin left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths. The Cornhuskers' defense needs to make amends after it was ripped for 539 rushing yards in the Big Ten championship game.
Pick: Georgia 49, Nebraska 31

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Which comes first, the court or the call?

Either way, Richt's staff appears to be home for Christmas.
The coaching carousel continues to spin, but Georgia coach Mark Richt said he hasn’t been contacted by other schools about his assistants.  
“Not one bit,” Richt said. “Can you believe that? I think our coaches are worthy of that, and I think our coaches have been obviously courted, but no one has called me.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was one of five finalists for the Broyles Award for nation’s top assistant. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has aspirations of becoming a head coach one day. 

Hairy Dawg history

Hairy Dawg is currently one of the most recognizable college football mascots in the country.  He made his first Georgia Football appearance during the 1981 Sugar Bowl for the 1980 National Championship Game. Coach Vince Dooley saw sketches of Hairy, presented by the designer, Tom Sapp.  He liked the sketches and wanted the new mascot to make his first appearance at the Sugar Bowl game. "It was designed to be a more intimidating look than our previous mascot." he said.  Tom got to work right away and created the new mascot in a short 3 weeks, cutting and stitching it himself.  UGA student, Stan Beecham, wore the first Hairy Dawg costume.  Hairy was a big hit among Bulldog fans!  The Bulldogs went on to beat the Irish and became the national football champions.

From the folks who created "1980 Dawgs - The Inside Story of the National Championship Season". Which, by the way,  is incredible look back at that amazing season, with many stories that haven't been told before.  "1980 Dawgs"  would make a great stocking stuffer for that favorite Dawg fan in your life.  You can order here:
(via Mike Moss, exec. producer; photo:  Wingate Downs)

Our haunted quarterback

Yesterday when I got home the wife was replaying the game...the Bama game. Although I only caught a glimpse my heart sank and I couldn't draw a breath. I just quietly did a 180 and walked back downstairs.

And I thought I had it bad.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray says he has yet to move past what occurred in the closing seconds of the SEC championship game, when the Bulldogs' hopes for an upset of Alabama and a chance at a national title died at the Crimson Tide's 5-yard line.
"I can't sleep at night," Murray said Wednesday in his first interview since the 32-28 loss to Alabama on Dec. 1. "I literally replay the entire game pretty much every night before I go to bed. It's stressful. It's a game that will probably haunt me the rest of my life, honestly."
[Here's Radi's video of the answer that includes a quick comment about the bowl game and the seniors.] Then later...
"We're great at (the back-shoulder fade)," Murray said. "That's why I feel like if that ball wasn't tipped, there was a pretty good chance that it would have been a completion. But hey, it happens. Move on."
And our quarterback is having a hard time practicing what he preaches when it comes to moving on. More so than the rest of us I'm sure. Easier said than done.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More on Murray and Geathers

One of the fringe benefits of being a hotshot blogger is having "experts" like Mel Kiper read your blog. That way he can piggy-back on what I set up for him. So after reading yesterday's post on potential early UGA departures the ESPN draft analyst was kind enough to call in and teleconference with the media. If you can get past his unsolicited and off base assessment of the waning SECCG moments, its hard to argue with his logic. On Murray:
"I think he'd be in the second and third round discussion. If he wants to be a first-round pick, if he wants to improve your stock you go back. It really depends on where he is, in terms of his career, whether he just wants to move on and go to the NFL and take his chances."
Kiper goes into pretty good depth on Murray. Worth the read. But ultimately, like we said yesterday, it will come down to a personal choice. And given his career thus far and any obligations he may feel for his family, it will be easy to support whatever decision he eventually makes.

And there's also some analysis by Kiper on the other underclassmen making a decision. Here's what he said about Kwame:
- Junior nose tackle Kwame Geathers projects to the second or third round if he decides to leave, according to Kiper.
"Geathers is a junior who has a decision to make. He's huge, he's a space-eater. He frees up the linebacker, and that obviously helped out Ogletree at inside linebacker, having Jenkins, having Geathers," Kiper said. "You pop (Geathers) in the second round as a possibility.
After thinking about it some more yesterday, I decided to check to see where Geathers might possibly fall in the defensive tackle projections for April's draft...should he decide to leave. Here's some of the names other than Jenkins: Star Lotulelei (Utah), Johnathan Hankins (OSU), Sheldon Richardson (Missouri), Jesse Williams (Bama), Sharrif Floyd (Florida), Kawann Short (Purdue), Sylvester Williams (UNC), Akeem Spence (Illinois), Daniel McCullers (Tennessee). Of that group I would think Geathers would fall towards the bottom (still 2-3 round) prior to combine workouts and pro days. Given how hard Kwame has worked and how competitive he is based on his response to Jenkins moving to Athens, I really think he has the potential to move up to the middle of that pack, say even with Floyd. That would almost assure him of an early to mid second round selection at worst.

For a guy who's 22 and is playing a position that doesn't have a whole lot of longevity in the NFL anyway, that's a pretty good spot I think. And by the way, in terms of size Geathers dwarfs all of those guys with the exception of his teammate and McCullers, who's really not much more than a miniature dumpster. He'll impress a lot of scouts just by walking onto the field.

Anyway, we'll talk about it plenty more in the coming weeks, but for now I'll stick with my previous assessments: Jarvis and Tree are most definitely done in Athens, Murray may stay and Geathers probably goes.

2012 All Star Dawgs

via @WeRunThisState

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Who's leaving early?

Here's who we're not going to keep on roster and who I think we will, with a brief synopsis.

Jarvis Jones - Gone. what seemed like an easy decision last year this time (and one he thankfully chose against) is an even easier one this year thanks to an amazing season. Even though he missed a couple games Jones established himself as the best defensive player available in this year's draft and perhaps the best overall.

Alec Ogletree - Gone. I read somewhere the other day that a 2013 commit will be using the #9 next season while on defense. The fact that he's rated so high (mid-first rounder) in spite of a four game suspension tells you all you need to know. Jarvis could've slipped to the late first round or early second round in the 2012 draft. Tree won't leave anything to doubt.

Aaron Murray - Stays. This was going to be a difficult decision for Murray even if he had a few more seconds to throw that game winning touchdown in the Dome. The mechanics and the talent really can't brush up against much higher of a ceiling can they? And still he can't make himself any taller at the combine. So his decision will come down to personal perspective I think: weighing whatever feedback he gets from the league and those close to him (Bobo, Richt, the Mannings, family...) against where he wants to be next year physically and mentally.

Kwame Geathers - This is as big of a decision for the defense as Murray's is for the offense. We're already losing Jenkins at the nose spot. If Kwame can bridge the gap as we give some younger guys some experience here it would be huge. Still, our luck with getting members of this family to matriculate fully has not been good. Grantham and Garner can use a deep 2013 class against the idea of Geathers leaving (Jenkins is one of a slew at DT that would go ahead of Geathers), but in the end I think Kwame is Gone.

Surprises - There's usually one or two that we're caught off guard by, at least from a "didn't see that coming" standpoint. Redshirt sophomores that are eligible as well as ones who have had significant playing time is a small pool. Like, Ken Malcome is about it. Unless you include Michael Bennett coming off a knee injury. As for juniors that we haven't already covered, we're looking at guys like Wooten and Vasser as well as some offensive line guys that are just getting their feet under them and some good exposure.

So I think we're concentrating on the list above, which is full of talent and experience, but is luckily short in number. We'll know more once we start to hear substantial rumors and the list of players who turned in requests for evaluation is leaked. And now that it's December we've officially created separation between Murray and Mason. So hopefully Murray stays and we get another season to establish some competition for Mason in the 2014 season with Bauta or the Ramsey kid that's supposed to enroll next month. That didn't seem like nearly as big of a deal until we saw how much more faith Bobo/Richt had in a walk on quarterback taking garbage time snaps over the redshirt freshman scholarhship player.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday's Meatloaf - No longer numb, but I might still vomit

It's taken a week or more, but I don't think I'm completely numb any longer as to the ways things unfolded in the Georgia Dome against Alabama. I've heard a lot of people describe the level of frustration and displeasure as they walked away from this year's SEC Championship. I only recall a deep ache in my heart and then just being kind of dazed, anesthetized. Weary from walking up to the summit, then turned around just as we thought we were traversing the peak, I just remember looking at all the Crimson Tide fans and thinking, "This is our reward? To walk through this madness, get in our car and go home? With each and every shout of 'Roll! TIDE! Roll!' like a dagger in my chest, this is what we get?"

Pippa posing a few
paragraphs too early...
Normally after a loss, each day you wake up a little easier and light of foot. But such was not the case last week. Each day was agony and Saturday was brutal as we didn't even get to go to Athens to heal together with another game.

But I'm ready to move forward. I'm taking off the robe and slippers I've been wearing for eight days and putting on clothes. I've brushed my teeth and am acting as if there is life after the 2012 SECCG! I'm not humming a tune yet but there's one gathering in my head. I don't want to push it, but I may even (gasp!!) watch a few minutes of the Monday night football game tonight. However, if there's a random deflected pass at the line of scrimmage I might need an elephant tranquilizer to deal with the anguish. So I'll enter that threshold carefully and steady of foot.

So, I guess what I'm saying is I'm coming to grips with losing that amazing game. I'm ready to embrace the idea of watching my team put everydamnthing out there on the field and still walk away with nothing but nightmarish memories. I think I can actually stand the thought of moving forward with life after the 2012 season.

Because what we witnessed nine days ago was, for all intents and purposes, the national title game. We can all agree on that quite easily. The game in Orlando is a celebration, a matter of bridging the gap between what happened December 1st and what will happen next August 31st; a holiday reward for the players and fans of one of the best teams I've had the pleasure of rooting for in all of my days.

That shower and shave felt good. The memories of what happened didn't wash away...but I'm no longer just numb.

Today's Ingredients
- And a lot of credit for me being able to move forward this morning goes to this video ecdawg posted yesterday - We'll be back!
- Heading down to Orlando? Tyler has a lead on some bowl packages as well as a giveaway.
- But the coaches won't need any help getting to Orlando after their bonuses kick in.
- Buck moved forward pretty quickly as he's already looking at the changes in store for Grantham's defense next season.
- Speaking of moving quickly, Spencer Hall already has footage from the "contest" in Miami.
- In Knutsville things are moving quickly towards a very merry Christmas. Even though CCRider doesn't think Santa Claus will last long in the HillBillys' chimney.
- Blutarsky has little sympathy for Texas Tech's AD. However, I feel very sorry for the Bearcat grad assistants.
- Looking for more coaching news? Mr. SEC has all that and more in his headlines from yesterday.
- If you watched Johnny Manziel make history Saturday night, you really only have yourself to blame. I did all I could to help you.
- Have you joined the third annual bowl pool, Festivus4theDawgNus? Password is - thehumanfund. Kruger's flask is running low. Bowl games start Saturday!

Alright, so while I was dazed and confused, evidently it was announced that Pippa's sister is preggers. Everyone's all worked up that there will be a royal dirty diaper in the kingdom sometime next summer. But in truth it appears as if things have already gotten dirty.

The royal embryo seen here flipping off
the duchess' digestive tract
The duchess...oh, am I supposed to capitalize that? I don't know, being American and all I don't really give a flip on the formality of it. Especially when the newspapaers across the pond can just print stories about Prince William's wife vomiting, and her vomit that has been vomited all over top of the old vomit that she vomited earlier. It's enough to make me vomit, which is about 349 less times than Duchess Kate has vomited in the past week it seems. (btw, it wasn't until just now that I realized that the word "vomited" only has one "t" and not two. The more you know huh?)

Yep, Pippa's sister has something called hyperemesis gravidarum. Mrs. Bernie had that with our youngest. But I don't guess Prince William and his fancy ascot will be mopping up all of his wife's vomit. Which I did, time after time. And all while caring for the two year old, working 40 hours a week and feeding my queen one and a half saltines each evening. And I don't suppose it'll take the royal subjects six months and 349 more piles of vomit to convince the doctor that it might just be time to give her highness something more than a pat on the back and a roll of the eyes from the nurses. "By the way, your copay is $20 Mr. Bernie."

Thanks. Thanks a lot. No Prince Willy probably has doctors lined up ten deep as well as chambermaids and stewards and butlers and younger brothers to hand the mop to. Because God Save the Queen!! and all should Lady Kate be asked to hold her head over a toilet, er commode...or is it just a bloody john? "My lovely Kate, bearer of my son the future King of England and most likely a smashing good cricket mid-wicket, or a jolly good gully, could you perhaps retire to the powder room to wretch your guts out me lady? I am desperately trying to type out this tweet to Harry. Oh! And on your way darling, what is a hastag any way?"

#royalbaby causes #lovelyDuchessKate to throw #pricelessvase 
at the heir's head. Then she #vomits on his #spongebobslippers
[insert picture of Harry snowboarding] 

Have a lovely day Reader! I hope it's vomit free.


Is Butch Jones Santa Claus?

The guy has the potential to be my favorite Tennessee coach since Layla left town.
Reports out of Alabama and Tennessee indicate Tommy Thigpen, recently fired at Auburn, is a potential candidate for Jones' defensive staff. Another ex-Auburn defensive assistant, Willie Martinez, was mentioned Saturday by various sources as a likely addition.
If Thigpen and Martinez both are hired, the defensive portion of the staff would appear to be set if Jones brings coordinator John Jancek and defensive line coach Steve Stripling from his Cincinnati staff.
Seriously, Jancek as defensive coordinator would be more than enough. But please don't let that word spread up in the hills. If Jones can somehow find room for John Fabris to coordinate special teams I might never stop smiling.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jarvis Jones named permanent captain

The GALA Awards dinner banquet was last night. I'm always intrigued to see which Bulldogs are permanently immortalized as team captains. This season Jarvis Jones was overall, Aaron Murray and Tavarres King were selected as offensive captains, Shawn Williams as defensive and Ty Frix as special teams captain.

And then there was this matter of business:
Senior tailback Richard Samuel of Cartersville and senior defensive end Abry Jones of Warner Robins were named winners of the David Jacobs Award as the players who, by example, portray courage, spirit, character and determination.

Dawg gone good stocking stuffer

If you are looking for that perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite Dawg fan, you might want to consider the "1980 Dawgs" DVD set.  It was just released last season and has been a big hit among Dawgnation.

Dawg Fan Testimonial:  " '1980 Dawgs' is the best Bulldog gift I've ever received.  Frankly, I was surprised.  I thought I already knew everything there was to know about that season.  I laughed, I cried and I was inspired by this fantastic film! "

Order Online: