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.