Friday, December 29, 2017

Difference between bowls and actual playoff games

Things shifted when the bowls adapted into the Bowl Championship Series which begat the College Football Playoffs. Similarly things will shift Monday when the mere bowls give way to the real games.

Oklahoma meets Georgia. Alabama meets Clemson, again.

Two epic matchups. And only two winners will prevail.

The real difference between those two bowls and the rest that we’ve witnessed before them is that Oklahoma and Georgia and Alabama and Clemson all are hungry. Teams in mere bowls are subject to changing coaches’ allegiances and seniors eyeing draft prospects and others lacking the hunger.

Every player in the games on Monday are hungry. The playing field doesn’t tilt on the whims of a coaching staff or a running back protecting his draft stock.

It’s almost time to man up.

Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

I'm a Dawg fan, not an SEC fan

Today Missouri opens SEC bowl play in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl against the Texas Longhorns. It will be the first of nine bowls that feature a Southeastern Conference team, and thereby sparks up the annual dialogue about the myth that is "conference loyalty".

Some people like to root for our own rivals. It's a practice that I fail to understand. I am a Georgia fan. Not an SEC fan. I can't stand the other teams in the SEC. I can't stand the referees in the SEC. I can't stand all of the Cracker Barrels in the SEC. And I hate watching those other teams win.

Many of you may know that I graduated from Cedar Shoals High School. Our cross town rival was Clarke Centtral. They were bigger and better at most things as I was growing up. So was I filled with pride when they'd bring home another state title just because I was from Athens?

Hell no. I hated them even more for it. The same way I hated it when Tennessee won the National Title in 1998, and don't even get me started on the Gators during their hey days. My heart skips a beat whenever one of our conference rivals' quarterbacks throws a pick six. Oh the joy!
So, you'd sit next to this and high five it when they scored? (Hypothetically.
since we all know they ain't playing in no bowl game this year.)

I'd root for Russia over Florida and I'd prefer to be friends with JR Ewing over Philip Fulmer. At least when JR'd eventually stab me in the back he wouldn't smell like rank possum meat and gin while he did so.

"But Bernie, what if I picked an SEC team in my bowl pool, or maybe even placed a wager on one of them to win a game?"

Glad you asked. I hope you do well in your pool. I've picked my share of enemies to win some of those games too. But I'll be thrilled if they lose instead. If you placed a bet, I hope you don't lose your money. I really don't. But just because you think highly enough of the Gamecocks to bet $50 on them doesn't mean you need to cheer for them to do well.

And if you show up on my lawn wearing orange it'll be a race between my youngest and my dog to see which gets a hold of your ass first.

I'm a Dawg fan. To root for other SEC teams is a Tennessee Hillbilly kind of sad. Cuz those sonsabitches are sitting at home with nothing to do but live vicariously through the rest of us.

Rose Bowl Betting Preview: Georgia Slight Favorite vs. Sooners

Georgia and Oklahoma are two of the marquee programs in college football and have been for decades, yet the Bulldogs and Sooners have never met on the gridiron. That changes on New Year’s Day at arguably the most storied venue in the sport, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. The Dawgs opened as 1.5-point underdogs but a check of Bovada for latest odds on the game shows UGA as a 2-point favorite for the first national semifinal. Oklahoma has won six of its past seven games as an underdog, however, including both this year.
There are 41 bowl games this season, including the Jan. 8 national title matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, and there perhaps isn’t a pairing of more polar opposites than Dawgs-Sooners.
Georgia, the SEC champion for the first time since 2005 under second-year coach Kirby Smart, wins with ball-control offense and a ferocious defense. Led by Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, one of the best tailback duos in the country, Georgia ranks 10th nationally in rushing yards per game at 263.5. Smart generally asks freshman quarterback Jake Fromm to manage the game and avoid mistakes – Fromm largely has with just five interceptions. He’ll run occasionally too.
Big 12 champion Oklahoma hasn’t faced a defense near as good as Georgia’s this season as the Dawgs rank fourth nationally in points allowed (13.2) and fourth in yards surrendered (271.0 ypg) behind Butkus Award winner and SEC Defensive Player of the Year Roquan Smith. Georgia allowed more than 20 points just twice: a 53-28 win over Missouri and a 40-17 loss at Auburn. UGA’s final three opponents, Kentucky, Georgia Tech and Auburn in the SEC title game, totaled just 27 points.
Behind Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Sooners lead the nation in total offense (583 ypg) and are third in passing (367.4 ypg) and scoring (44.9 ppg). Mayfield is No. 1 nationally in rating (203.8) and completion percentage (71.0) while ranking second in TD passes (41) and yards (4,340).
If there’s one quarterback comparison for Georgia this season regarding Mayfield, it’s Missouri’s Drew Lock, who threw for 3,695 yards and an NCAA-high 43 touchdowns. In the Tigers’ 53-28 loss in Athens on Oct. 14, Lock was 15-for-25 for 253 yards, four TDs and a pick. Missouri couldn’t run the ball whatsoever that day. OU has three running backs who have rushed for at least 500 yards, topped by Rodney Anderson’s 960 yards and 11 touchdowns. Mayfield himself has rushed for 310 and five scores.
Of course, it’s Georgia’s first-ever trip to the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma was a No. 4 seed in the playoff following the 2015 season and was routed 37-17 in the Orange Bowl semifinal by No. 1 Clemson.
This will be only the 10th time since 1966 that Georgia will face a Heisman winner in the same season the player won the trophy. It last happened in 2015 when Alabama running back Derrick Henry rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown in the Tide’s 38-10 win in Athens, a loss that helped spur the end of Mark Richt’s tenure. UGA’s last win over a Heisman winner in the same season was in 2007 over Florida and Tim Tebow – the infamous “Gator Stomp” game.
Either Georgia or Oklahoma would be an underdog in the national title game against No. 1 Clemson or No. 4 Alabama. Check Bovada for latest odds on that game. Incidentally, the 2015 Bama-Georgia matchup referenced above was the only time this decade that the Tide opened as a betting underdog. The Dawgs haven’t beaten Alabama since 2007 but have played only three times since. Georgia last played Clemson to open the 2014 season and throttled the Tigers in Athens, 45-21, behind four touchdowns and 293 all-purpose yards from Todd Gurley. Deshaun Watson wasn’t Clemson’s starting QB yet back then.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Jeff Schultz is right, this time.

Like you, I’ve been following and subsequently been confused by this Natrez Patrick affair. The facts are: 1) he’s known as much for being in the wrong pot at the wrong time as much as he is for making tackles, 2) the charges following the SECCG were dropped, 3) he subsequently both passed and failed a drug test, and 4) UGA is playing coy about his future.

Yesterday, the AJC’s most prolific pontificator since Terence Moore left town, Jeff Schultz weighed in. Schultz was his usual pompous, arrogant, click bait self. He pretended to know facts that he can’t possibly presume to know. He used the term “Bulldog Justice” with an air of both a thumb aside his nose and another up his ass.

But, he’s also right.

UGA shouldn’t let Patrick play any more games with a G on his helmet. The dude has a problem and not the least of it is that he puts smoking pot above playing for the University that you and I hold dear. He’d rather continue to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time than increase our team’s chance at winning. Or more personally, he’d rather take chances around random marijuana leaves, however minuscule, than potentially increase his draft stock this spring.

There’s one thing I do know. And that is that Patrick has one game, potentially two games left at UGA. He’s moving on to the NFL regardless after this season. We can pretend that it’s to further his game and play at the next level. But the truth is that, from what we’ve witnessed, it’s more likely that he’s moving on to be able to afford a better strain of weed.

To allow him to play in the Rose Bowl is to give him a pass. He won’t learn and at best he’ll go on to be an average player that continues to put a chance to smoke weed above being a team player. At worst he puts all that above being a good man, son, dad, human being.

Sit him down and the stakes go up. He is forced to answer tougher questions. He is forced to show he can put football above his next toke on the pipe. He’s forced to re-evaluate his life decisions. He’s forced to become a man.

This isn’t a political issue. I’m not for pot legalization and I’m not against it. I’m glad the Barrow county charges were dropped because they were bullshit, to be perfectly honest. This isn’t a football issue either. Life is bigger than football. 

This is a personal issue. Kirby has a chance to help both his player and the program. What does every other player that practices hard and puts the team first learn if Natrez plays in Pasadena?

Yes, we are the new Georgia. We signed on for this and Kirby has us at the precipice of something special. But the truth is we don’t need Natrez Patrick to beat Oklahoma any more than we needed him during the games he was suspended. We can still be bigger than the issue, the lawyers, the newsprint, and the charges that #6 has brought to the spotlight.

We’re still Georgia. We can win with players that truly want to play football. And if I’m being perfectly honest, I’m not convinced Natrez Patrick really wants to play football.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Rarefied air

Now that the bowls have started, have you noticed how much air time Georgia is getting in half-time commentary, ESPN playoff commercials, and general highlights? Although it still feels a little surreal, it also is helping it to hit home that "HOLY CRAP! We're in the CFB Playoffs and have to play Oklahoma y'all!"

We were in Virginia visiting the in-laws this weekend. The wife and I went into a local grocery store and were immediately met by the Salvation Army greeter who gave us a solid and boisterous "Go Dawgs!" upon seeing our red and black attire. He explained that he wasn't a Georgia fan but he'd be rooting for us. It seems fans that have no dog in the hunt still like a good Dawg to pull for.

Then as we were checking out a dude came up behind me and practically screamed "I hope y'all beat Bama!" I turned around and it was a guy wearing an Ohio State jacket and cap. He had strong opinions about how the Tide got in the playoffs despite a weak schedule and subsequently screwed over the Buckeyes.

Funny how he didn't want to talk about Iowa or 2016's version of Penn State getting left out. Anyway, it's cool seeing your team get so much air time. And I bet there are plenty of "Dawg fans in Exhile" enjoying the fact that the Dawgs are firmly in the national spotlight and have had similar experiences to the one we had at a Richmond area Kroger.

It's a fantastic addition to this Holiday season thus far. And a reminder that the coaches and staff are probably more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs about the players losing focus and getting a lot of this talk in their ears.

Two weeks from today!! Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Rose Bowl - could time of possession be the game's biggest factor?

If we can agree that this Rose Bowl isn’t likely to be the high scoring affair that Sooners have gotten used to with Mayfield at the helm of its offense, and if we can agree that the Georgia coaching staff is likely to want to slow this game down and limit the Sooner possessions as much as possible, then we might start to look for 2017 games for each team that could serve as a crude, yet convenient barometer for what each team wants to avoid.

Never fear, I did just that last night.

October 14th, the Red River Shootout, Oklahoma 29   Texas 24. (And yes, that’s considered low scoring by their standards.) Time of possession is pretty even with the Sooners possessing the ball for just under 32 minutes. Here’s a recap of the highlights:

What I see is a lot of big plays breaking down (for both offenses really) to the point where the quarterback and his playmakers have to improvise. Both quarterbacks do a remarkable job of moving the pocket, using their feet for both time and yards (points), and simply waiting for the secondary to break down to the point that a receiver was open or there was room to run.

In the end Baker made one more play than Ehlinger. Otherwise it might have been the Longhorns running out the clock at the end instead. And in the end Texas surrendered 174 yards on 39 carries. The Longhorns were essentially beaten by Mayfield’s arm because they weren’t effective enough in stopping Trey Sermon and Rodney Anderson on the ground.

November 11th, Iowa State 38   Oklahoma 31. The Cyclones handed the Sooners their only loss, and ISU too held the OU just below their season average in time of possession. Unlike the Longhorns though, the Cyclones were able use enough screens, score late, or play some defense late to hold off another Sooner rally.

There’s no question that Georgia’s secondary should provide a more difficult task for the Heisman winner and this Sooner offense. But the last thing we want to see is Tucker’s defense struggling to balance when to rush extra men and when to drop them back. Because Mayfield is the type of quarterback that will expose a defense that is playing on its heels.

And he’ll do it with ease.
Baker dominated the Buckeye midfield logo. What a champion!

If 2017’s version of the Red River Shootout and the loss to the Cyclones at home are the types of games Oklahoma wants to avoid playing again, then without question Georgia wants to avoid what happened on the Plains about a month ago even more.

November 11th, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, part one, Auburn 40   Georgia 17. This was, obviously, the Dawgs’ worst game in terms of controlling to game’s momentum and possessing the ball - 26:54 to 33:06. (We only held the ball for 25 minutes in Jacksonville, but that was all you needed to whip the gators’ ass this year, so…)

The Tigers were undoubtedly the more physical team at the point of attack. They gashed Tucker’s defense for 237 yards, and made it feel like double that.

However you feel about the Big 12 being a finesse league and full of soft defenses and cute passes, make no mistake that this Sooner o-line is legit. They’ve got a Heisman winner that has helped them win some awards and gain some recognition. Plus they’d love nothing more than to contain Georgia’s pass rush and open up holes for their running backs in front all those NFL scouts that will be out in full in Pasadena.

I like the fact that our offense could really complement our defense well on this grand stage in the Rose Bowl. Fromm will definitely have to make some throws, but there should be plenty of yards to gain on the ground against a defense that is 40th nationally in rush defense.

Hand the ball off. Tick tick tick tick tick tick...Keep the Baker man cold on the sideline as much as possible.

Go Dawgs!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Your Unofficial Heisman Saturday Evening Alternative Entertainment Guide

The damn thing has been irrelevant since 1980...minus 1982 when they awarded an already twice-slighted Herschel Walker the hardware he'd actually earned three times...but I digress...

I'd like to provide alternatives for your first Saturday evening without football in some time. A word of caution however - depending on your own neighborly environs, some of these could get you a visit from Officer Friendly who also might just be a recently disgruntled Auburn fan. So proceed with caution.

Regardless, you should find something to do rather than listen to Kirk Herbstreit gush over Baker Mayfield. Although the ratings will probably sky rocket if they end up grabbing each others' crotch. At any rate, here are my suggestions:

  1. Eat a big bowl of Captain Crunchberries at 8:00 pm.
  2. Call your mom and tell her you just ate a big bowl of Captain Crunchberries at 8:00 pm.
  3. Find a nice romantic comedy to watch with your significant other.
  4. If you can't find your significant other, watch a nice Holiday film like Die Hard for the 173rd time. YIPPEE KI YAH!!!
  5. Call your favorite Tennessee fan and ask them if Jeremy Pruitt is going to coach them in their bowl...."Aw shit. I'm sorry. Welp, how's your mama n them?"
  6. Start reading a book. Or at least open one up in your lap before you doze off so that it looks like you were doing something important.
  7. Rewatch last week's SEC Championship game and text updates to your favorite Auburn fan as the game develops.
  8. Find a new favorite Auburn fan because your last one just blocked you.
  9. Help your wife with all those Christmas Cards. Or at least refill her wine glass. Stop sitting there drooling in your kid's Diary of a Wimpy Kid book and be helpful!!
  10. Go back to September of 2008 and re-read every post I've ever written. Then translate them into Mandarin for all my homeboys over in Manchuria!
  11. Prepare a large tumbler of bourbon and go door to door singing Christmas carols. Take your dog along for the harmony of it.
  12. Create a fake Baker Mayfield's cell phone twitter account that only tweets random Roquan Smith stats and related facts.
Whatever you choose to do to pass the time tomorrow evening, make it a great weekend Dawgs!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The 8th Annual Bowl Pool - Another Festivus Miracle!

The brain trust at ESPN has spoken and matched all of the teams up for us. So it's time to select the winners and see who comes out on top.

PASSWORD = Festivus

It all starts December 16th with Grambling vs NC A&T in the Celebration Bowl. It ends in The Benz with the Rose and Sugar winners. Should be quite the ride. So gather round the table and let's begin with the Airing of Grievances!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Atlanta by way of Pasadena

Man, what a weekend! Two years ago today we didn’t have a coach. Yesterday we watched Kirby give an interview to Rece Davis after Georgia was seeded third in the CFB Playoffs!

What a time to be alive!

When Joe Waterloo texted me for a prediction before the SEC Championship game I went with 28-17. I knew our offensive line especially would play better than they did in the environment of Jordan Hare three weeks ago. The wild card was Kerryon Johnson. Turned out he was a shell of his former self. I’m not entirely sure he should’ve even been playing at all.

Take away their running game and Malzahn is back to being just a gimmick with no alternate game plan.

Kirby preached before and during his game interviews about “physicality” and “composure”. His team really played with his instructions in mind. We were dominated in the trenches three weeks ago, but Georgia's coaches were able to flip the script on Malzahn & Co. Saturday night. The offensive line was bulldozing jokers and the defensive front was everything we saw in other locations like Knoxville and Jacksonville earlier this season.

We knew it before Saturday, but this team is something special. Now that we've made it in I'm thoroughly looking forward to seeing how they measure up against the nation's elite.

Speaking of which, I really think the committee got it right by bringing in Alabama at #4. I didn't think they would, but it seems they saw what many of us did as well - with Ohio State you have an up and down team. Conference champion or not, on January 1st in prime time no one wants to tune in to see a re-run of Clemson obliterating the Buckeyes.

On the other hand, a rematch of last season's epic battle between the Tigers and the Tide? Yes please.

But there's a lot of time in between now and then. I'll have the 8th annual Bowl Pool up later today or tomorrow. Until then, you can keep pinching yourself until the cows come home. But this is real y'all! Go Dawgs!


Friday, December 1, 2017

the Friday Misery is not feeling entitled

They blew up the place where your five yards short was born. So I don’t know why everyone keeps talking about it. Are you the kind of husband that gives his wife the same gift every five years? Are you wearing the same shirt today that you wore back then? Did you save the last three cups of milk from December 1st, 2012 to tailgate with tomorrow outside the Benz?

Put your History books down. The bell rang and there’s a new sheriff in town.

The Official SECCG entrance exam
Step off Trebeck! This is my show. Contestants, please remember to phrase your answers in the form of a correct answer.
  1. Which number is greater, Matt Lauer’s creep factor or the number of Auburn mascots?
  2. Which has a bigger mouth, Mr. Ed or Cam Newton?
  3. Celebrity quotation: who said it? … “We beat the dog crap outta them didn’t we?” ...Gus Malzahn or Mike Vick??
  4. Per capita, which city’s teenage boy population takes more cows to their high school prom, Pakistan or Opelika?
  5. Greatest running back of all time….Herschel Walker...or the Goal Line Stalker? (I’m sorry, Bo who?)
  6. What one item do Auburn area Costco’s and local supermarkets stock more frequently than all other items combined?
  7. Is it Plainsmen or Planes’ men?
  8. Eric Ramsey is to cassette tapes as Cam Newton is to _________?
  9. Greater man, Vince Dooley or Pat Dye?
  10. Please spell your name here —-> _____________.

Answers: 1. Ironically, Lauer by a long shot. Congrats National Broadcasting Company Creepshow. 2. Cam. But, have you ever seen the two of them in the same room? At the same time? Hmmmm…. 3. Both answers are correct! But Vick has paid for his crime. Gus, you’re next dipshit! 4. Opelika up until 2010 when there was a sudden surge in goat dates and Pakistan took the lead. 5. Yes, even the Official SECCG entrance exam has a freebie. 6. Toilet paper. What else? 7. Who gives a shit? 8. Church Steeples. Also, bagman is an acceptable answer as well. We’d also accept sleaze bag, laptop thief, panderer of attention (aka attention whore), outfit pimp, Pimp of Cheese, misogynistic asshole, whiny ass loser, eternal three year old, and of course Fairley’s shower partner. 9. Son, it ain’t how you start it’s how you finish! Patty shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence as St. Vincent. 10. If yu jist rote a “X” than u cuddint git ntwo UGA. Wur dam eegle!

Comparing apples to some other apples
Of course I considered going back to re-read my post prior to the 2012 SEC Championship Game. It’s still one of my favorite Friday Miserys of all time. Honestly. So it would make sense to at least give it a cursory glance.

But as I reflected back on how I felt back then to be in that position, as well as what I thought I could remember about my words that came forth from my keyboard before that epic GA Dome battle, I realized the vast differences between then and now.

Back then I remember feeling like it was our turn, it was our time. I’d be willing to bet there is an air of “Hey, we’re due!” in that post. I was eager to see our team stand up to the nation’s darling, the straw that stirs the college football postseason drink, the mighty Saban’s minions vs our talented squad of hard working Dawgs.

Yes, I felt it was our time. In other words, I felt that 2012 team was entitled to the national title game as a reward for a hard fought season. I felt those players, and by proxy us as fans, were even destined for it.

I don’t feel entitled to anything today. Sure, that 2012 team came so very close to earning it all. Nothing was going to be handed to them on that field, on that day. We knew that going in. Alabama gave us their best effort, as expected, and the Dawgs nearly stood taller in the end. Nearly.

But despite that near euphoric moment five years ago, I don’t feel entitled to anything today. I certainly don’t think that’s Kirby’s message. In fact, I know so.

"Hey guys, I read the quarterback's eyes, broke on the route,
and this is what I earned!"
We can argue at a later date as to whether the 2017 SEC East champions are better than the 2012 SEC East champions. It’s a little too early to gauge that honestly right now, other than to say that the 2012 team had a more competitive geographic environment to do work in. But at this point in the season, I do feel it’s safe to say that this team has worked harder than any other Georgia team in recent memory.

Some of you may bristle at that last sentence, but bear with me. You have to remember that those 2012 seniors were a foundation that had grown into men together under one regime. They were a group that had been to the SEC Championship game together the year before.

This 2017 team that will vie for the SEC crown against Auburn tomorrow is in their second year under a new head coach. Some of them have had more than three different position coaches since they left high school. They finished last season with five losses.

They lost to Vandy at home. They needed a late field goal to beat Kentucky. They lost to Tech.

Georgia Tech.

And they responded in the off season by lifting more weights, by running more reps, by pushing each other even further, and by buying into what the coaches were selling even more. Then they laid absolute waste to the SEC East this year. From the end of the Georgia Tech game in Athens last year to today, this team has grown leaps and bounds.

After losing to Auburn three weeks ago Kirby said that this team will be remembered by how they respond. Well, they’ve responded by beating two lesser teams soundly. That’s resiliency.

That’s the kind of resiliency that sees its quarterback go down in the early moments of the season and says, “This is just the next obstacle.” That’s the kind of resiliency that finds a way to force a turnover late on the road against the storied Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

It’s focus in the eye of the storm. It’s taking a punch and steadying yourself instead of falling. It’s not just Georgia. It’s the new breed. It’s not preparing yourself for the professional Sundays. It’s facing the here and now with a low growl and leverage against the man in front of you.

You want more? You need more?

Well, the pressure is on Auburn. They set a bar I don’t think they can continue to clear. Their coach used his mouth to write a check that his team can’t cash. Gimmicks are cute, but just like two-ply shitpaper dangling from trees, mall Santa candy canes, and Bobby Lowder’s checkbook, they’re a dime a dozen.

The pressure is on Auburn. Compared to three weeks ago, they’re trading in roughly 40,000 fans for a nice dinner in Buckhead and what they hope will be a front row spot on Finebaum’s show. They’ll bring their Walmart jeans and anti-Bama signs/slogans/chants, still clinging to the only bowl they truly care about.

Bless their hearts. We beat our state rival and calmly boarded the buses for home. Auburn fans will still be talking about beating Alabama last week when the cows’ calves’ calves come home in 2028.

Erk telling his captain Ros the best way to GATA!
Georgia knows their mistakes. Tucker and Pittman and Chaney have taught and coached and revamped just for this moment. Bellamy and Dom and Zo didn’t come back to lose to the same plain men twice in one season. Chubb and Sony can shoulder the reins; their thighs only get heavier as the fourth quarter wears on. Then, “Oh hey there Mr. Swift! C’mon in!

Georgia has the talent. We also have the depth. And both are rested and ready. While Bama was separating shoulders Saturday evening, Swift and Herrien and Clark and Muckle were iced and ready for Monday’s practice. Fromm, perhaps the only player to show his true composure in the fourth quarter three weeks ago, has been patiently waiting for a moment to shine on this kind of stage.

Tomorrow is time. It’s not time to go through warm-ups and stand there ready to be handed a trophy. Tomorrow is time to earn every yard, fight for every first down, challenge every ball carrier. Tomorrow is only our time if we make it our time. Kirby’s crew ain’t coming to claim what we believe is rightfully ours. He’s coming to put his players on a field for the opportunity to prove they’re worthy, prove they’re ready.

It’s “your time” if you wait in line during recess for a swing on the playground. It’s “your turn” if you have successfully traversed the queue before finally getting to ride Space Mountain at Disney World. You’re entitled to take a seat and say “WEEEE!!!!”

I don’t want a swing and Space Mountain is just turns in the dark at a high rate of speed, like an Indy 500 during a solar eclipse. I’m ready to see to the finish what these Dawgs started Labor Day weekend. Are you ready? Are you going to just stand there with your hand out, or are you going to shove it into the turf, bend your knees and get your hips set to drive through whoever, whatever is in front of you?

It's SEC Championship weekend baby! And these Dawgs weren't bred to be hunted. Now bow your heads...dear Lord, please don't let these tigersmenplaineagles hoard our Charmin over the weekend. And may our Savages run as rampant as our running backs run free. In the name of Uga V and Auburn's own four sport letterman, the late, great Erk Russell! Amen!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday Thoughts on Roquan pulling ol’ Turkey Neck’s pants down

Seriously, last night #3 knew what Coach Johnson was going to have for dinner before the Johnson’s party was even seated.

If you like that, here’s a few more:

- I was both elated and afraid to see Trenton Thompson come back in. Seeing him writhe in pain really took the wind out of my sails early on. Glad he’s okay.
- I’m also conflicted on seeing #1 and #27 on the sidelines so much of the fourth quarter. Gonna miss seeing those guys run for the G. But glad we can keep them fresh. We’ll need that on Saturday at the Benz.
- Hard to say who was worse, the refs (although they closed the game strong) or the ABC play by play guy (name = ???). There were times I had no idea what he was referring to, except that it seemed to not be in the Dawgs’ favor. I mean, he actually made McIlroy sound times. (But not Luginbill.)
- That field goal at the end of the half was huge. In the end it wasn’t even needed, but I thought the fact that the coaches were game for using the timeouts instead of taking a knee really shifted the momentum in our favor.
- And once again the adjustments on both sides going into the second half were key. Tucker had the answers and Chaney’s crew took it from there. I haven’t even stopped praying for that Tech defender’s ankles that Sony broke!
- Hello Akhil Crumpton! Can we haz mor plz!
- If you take a step or two back, it’s interesting what’s happening along Techwood drive, other than the local drug deals. I mean, Paul Johnson just keeps doing just enough. So many of their fans are tired of it, but he seems to get a pass. How long can it last?

For me, I hope he retires there in around 15-20 years. For now, we’re 11-1 heading back to Atlanta! What a season! Who woulda thought that!

(Lastly, Coach Paul Johnson was at the nearest Subway because he can’t get enough $5 foot longs.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Clean Old Fashioned Hate - turnovers

I mentioned yesterday the importance of winning time of possession. The fact is that last year we won time of possession against Tech, although the second half was a near 50/50 split.

However, we didn’t protect the football, which is part of the reason why our defense was playing that last Tech drive with their hands on their hips in between plays. Our first three second half possessions went field goal, touchdown, field goal. But the last three went punt, interception, interception. (VIA)

The difference this season is that this team knows how to close a game. The coaches know how to make the adjustments and communicate them effectively to the players.

Plus, Georgia is a decently good +2 on the season in turnover margin, while Tech is -4. (VIA)

A lot of people are poking Tech fans over that loss last weekend to Duke. And yes, it was ugly. But it tells me Johnson will have these enginerds ready to play. There’s no game that means more to him than the last of the season.

But the reality is that we are way too talented to lose to Tech. Protect the football and keep the defense rested and it should be a fun one for us to watch.

Don’t do those things, and we should just prepare to gnash the teeth deep into the fourth quarter.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Clean Old Fashioned Hate - Mambo Gook

Coach Fish-Fry is in his 10th season at Tech. So by now we know the recipe for continuing our domination in this series. But a reminder is always helpful.

1. Stop the dive. Unless our defense can stop this basic first option run, it will make for a long afternoon at the Joke by the Coke.
2. Protect the football. Our offense has to keep theirs off the field as much as possible. A close game with a tired defense in the fourth quarter is not a good way to spend the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
3. Mind your gap. Play disciplined defense. Miss an assignment and a three yard gain turns into at best a first down, at worst a touchdown.

In other words, Mambo Gook. Because ol’ Erik always knew how to wreck Tech!

“If you think you’re coming my way, that’s the wrong way brother. Because you ain’t gonna make nothing here.”

Friday, November 17, 2017

the Friday Misery converses with the internet idiocy

It's short, but it's sweet. So grab the remote and let's dive right in! Because on this episode of “Conversations After a Loss”....

The Internets
  1. “...and we all knew this would happen. We all knew Georgia would implode like this and what we thought was a magical season is actually just another flop and we’ll back our way into that Independence Bowl again because we can’t have nice things and oh have you seen this video of a chimpanzee cooking pop tarts in the microwave with the foil wrapper omg it makes me laugh so hard…”
  2. “9-4 season. Not much better than last year to be honest.”
  3. “So we need to beat Auburn or Bama, and then hope that…”
  4. “I hope we do implode. Kirby needs to go back to the coordinator level. Hopefully we can get <INSERT NAME OF HOT MESSAGE BORED NFL COACH> before it’s too late!
  5. “Lost a recruit. Whoa boy, here we go again.”

  1. “Dude, we lost one game. Got our asses beat for sure. But all of our goals are still ahead of us.”
  2. “No, are you high? We’re 9-1. Put down your crack pipe for one minute and sort through some facts okay?”
  3. “Nope nope nope nope! Stop right there. What we need to do is beat Kentucky. That’s step one partner. Step two, beat Tech. Then we worry about Bama or Auburn. Get back on the winning run and the rest will take of itself.”
  4. “Shut. Up.”
  5. “If you believe for one second that we’re on a recruiting downtick, well, it might be time to go back on your meds.”
"I believeeeee I can fly!!" (via ABC Sports)

1+7+17+24+27 = 2017
Senior Day, the home closer if you will, is always a time for reflection. And when I think about all of these seniors, I’ll call back to that day that those mentioned in the subheading stood in front of the media and explained why they were staying in Athens for their senior season. Regardless of the final W-L record, regardless of whether we win the SECCG and make it into the CFB Playoffs, this season has been made possible by their leadership.

When you think about it, it’s really because of them that we haven’t had one home nooner this season. What a blessing!

And to be honest, how the team responds after last weekend’s loss will start with the senior leadership as well. I think they’re going to finish strong. I think Kentucky’s not going to know what hit them. I think Christian Payne gets sent in to throw a block and next thing you know there’s #JazzHands all up in our endzone one last time. Then there’s Wynn raising Chubb to the Heavens next to the Hedges one last time. And God I hope there’s a blindside sack by Bellamy and that beautiful oblong spheroid pops free then Zo scoops and scores that damn thing!

Lord have mercy! How ‘bout them Dawgs y’all! So please let us bow our heads...dear Lord, can we please see a Parrish or Sanders or Davis pick one more time? Maybe also followed by one last glimpse in Sanford of Wims soaring to some ungodly height to catch that ball before returning to the earth with six points? Thank you, and please bless all these Dawgs in their future endeavors. Once a Dawg, always a Dawg. How sweet it is! Amen!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Will the biggest factor for Saturday’s game even be on the field?

The largest crowd Kentucky has played against was in Columbia when South Carolina beat lost to them 23-13 in front of 82,000. For the rest of their games they’ve played in front of an average of less than 50 thousand people.

In fact, here’s a look at the crowds they’ve faced on the road other than that loss to the Gamecocks:

- at Southern Miss, 22,761
- at Mississippi St., 58,963
- at Vanderbilt, 27, 346

The Sanford crowd was notably subpar against the Gamecocks. In the seniors’ last game between the hedges, I hope we manage to lift their spirits while crushing Kentucky’s will. If so, it could be quite a special day in Athens.

Are the fans ready to get behind the team? I think so. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the backlash following the Auburn beat down, naturally. Many are especially upset that some took Miami’s win just as hard as our loss.

I get it, but I really think there’s a very small minority out there that can’t see that both Coach Richt and the Georgia program are better off after the split. I think most can see the results Kirby is bringing in in terms of recruiting energy and game preparation. I also think he has the leadership in him to help the team see that loss Saturday and turn it into something to build upon late.

Now, if the game were today there might still be a hangover from the plains, both with the players recovery and especially in the fans’ spirits. But I think by Saturday everyone will be ready to put that game against Auburn behind them. Nothing heals the wounds from a loss like that like getting out there and drawing first blood.

So bring the noise! And go Dawgs!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday Thoughts on getting past these awful hurt feelings

Damn. Does your backside hurt as much as mine this morning?

Everything is still in front of us. Go to Atlanta and win the damn thing, all of the other stuff falls in place. So there’s that. I mean, it was kinda cool having that “#1” tag beside our name for a while and having everybody talk about us like we could do things like stop the run and block and tackle ball carriers, not to mention make half time adjustments and also remember to get the team off the actual bus with their heads on straight.

But it was also awkward if you want to know the truth,

Kirby is right, this team will be defined by how it responds to this setback. Big game left at Sanford, especially for the seniors that came back for this season. Then an in-state rivalry game that we pissed away last year. Focus on those two one at a time and let each rep, each whistle in practice motivate you.

Because yesterday was quite obviously a team loss. It wasn’t just the players and it wasn’t just the coaches. We all got beat, very handily. Regroup and refocus without the attention that comes with being the number one team in the nation.

The fact of the matter is that currently we aren’t the team we thought we were. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be yet.

I’d love to play Auburn again. I’d also love the chance to play Alabama. But right not we all just need to focus on Kentucky and beating the snot out them like we should. We need to focus on not drawing selfish penalties. We need to focus on a better game plan. And quite honestly, we need to focus on being a better home crowd than we were when the Gamecocks visited a couple weeks ago.

Because whether you like it or not...whether you are still stewing over yesterday’s debacle...we’re still in this together.

Go Dawgs!

(Now if you’ll excuse me I’d like to go back to bed...)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Misery - an abridged history lesson on the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry

A litmus test for whether you, as a Georgia fan, should be worried about Auburn: 1) has their quarterback ever stolen a laptop? No, then 2) has he ever taken teammates cash and valuables from the team lockerroom? No.

Okay. So if Auburn somehow wins tomorrow, we’ll know this Stidham kid is hiding some shit in his dorm room closet.

It was close to a brotherhood really. I mean, there was no love lost between us. But it’s not like we met in Jacksonville each year to shout our disdain about each others’ mothers and general hygiene habits. We even shared fellow alumni/former players as coaches. Our campuses are one lazy drive away. We didn’t even complain all that much when they used our fight song, and we tolerated their cute yet inferior hedges with a modicum of respect.

And their schizophrenic loyalty to three different mascots at the same time was amusing if not downright...well, yeh it was kinda sad and pathetic even then.

But, there were times they’d beat the Gators and the Volunteers just to show they had our back. We did the same against Bama and LSU more than our fair share.

In 1996 we shared one of the greatest college football games that will ever be. An epic four overtime battle that turned boys into men right before our very eyes. God bless you Corey Allen. And may Robert Baker get a fair shot at his next parole hearing.

It was an experience that helped Georgia fans put the Game Between the Hoses from 1986 behind us on some level. It deepened our bond as fellow SEC compatriots. We drew closer, but always respecting the fact that we would always be on separate sides at least one day out of 365.

Then again. They lost. We won. So maybe that's just how I remember it.

...and now.
Fairley buried the crown of his helmet so deep into the back of our quarterback that we all felt the pain surge through our spines. Then he did it again.

Then yet again.

No flags*. Of course not. The health and safety of an opposing quarterback shouldn't stand in the way of a plainsman title run pahtnah! And as if the salaciousness of buying players to grab that national championship wasn’t enough, they then resorted to taking Butts-Mehre outcasts and degenerates as their own, shoved them in our face, and essentially told us to get the hell out of town.

Auburn is like that best friend you had all the way through grade school. Until freshman year of high school, when he fell ass first into a Homecoming date with a junior cheerleader because his older sister owed him a favor because of that time Dad took Mom to that three day conference in Columbus and sister threw that party where Johnny Snodgrass got drunk on Bartles and Jaymes and threw up on GramGram’s handmade bedspread and the younger brother didn’t tell a legally responsible soul. After Homecoming he of course developed into a snot-nosed piece of shit that everybody else turned their back on because he somehow always thought he was the Big Man on Campus even though he didn't own a single pair of Nikes, wore a knock-off Members Only jacket from KMart, and ate by himself next to the teachers’ table sophomore, junior, and all of senior year until he walked across the stage of the gym through the jeers and sneers of two hundred and eighty-six other pissed off 18 year olds in cap and gowns (60% of which were also drunk on Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers).

I still hate that guy. Hell, he’s probably at some insurance seminar right now talking some sap’s ear off at the Holiday Inn Express breakfast bar about that one time he had a Homecoming date with Sissy “Two Bits” Kowalchuk and stayed out past 10pm. Asshole.

They drew the line, we’re just here to remind them of how often they have failed to cross it. Because that coach that bought them that natty, yeh, he’s now wearing a rented suit on the SEC Network jabbering like a mental patient that’s on the second of three frontal lobotomies. And their new coach, yeh, Malzahn is the equivalent of the high school kid that stole all the answers to the physics test but then fails the final every year because he can't even spell the word "formula".

Malzahn's glasses are just for show because he thinks it makes him look smart. If you take away his reclaimed 5star former safety he’s just a pink slip away from a job on an Opelika used car lot drinking day old coffee because Starbucks won’t validate his latte anymore.

Okay, let’s break this down for real...they’re central time zone. They’re an hour behind and three chromosomes short of a gene pool. We squeeze the Charmin just like the old commercial asks us to, but they rub it on their genitals and hurl it into trees to celebrate a victory, or just another successful evasion of an NCAA inquiry. We #keepchopping, they #keepdodging FBI investigations. We watch Netflix and chill, they go cow tipping and get ill.

They're plainsmen which is evidently the lovechild of a tiger that beds down with an eagle. We just wanna get after that ass! Go Dawgs and also screw it I’ll pronounce Jordan Hair any damn well I please and thank you very much! Now, bow your heads...Lord, please give Chubb 13 yards and any number of one hundreds he chooses. Also, please protect our traveling fans from their deviant time zone confusery. In the name of Wayne Johnson, Mike Bobo, and UGA V, Amen!!

*CORRECTION: the Senator provides video evidence of a flag after the third late hit. I would apologize, but I'm not yet ready. Go Dawgs!