MEMPHIS — Welcome to the end of Georgia’s season. I know. The Liberty Bowl is not what you were expecting, and neither is the modest goal of trying to finish with a winning record. But Memphis is a nice place, particularly if you’re into barbecue, and I can recommend the ribs at the “Germantown Commissary” (albeit not a BBQ-sounding place).
I would’ve saved the bones for Uga VIII but, alas, he has a tummy ache and didn’t make the trip from his palace in Savannah. At least, that’s the word that the Seiler family is putting out. I’m more inclined to think Uga just didn’t want to make his bowl debut at a game so beneath his standards, particularly since he came in as such a highly touted recruit.
Or maybe Uga’’s just academically ineligible like Caleb King. Like everybody else, he lost interest after the Florida game. Like King, he missed five “academic-related appointments” (obedience school).
So, we have this significant change the depth chart: Russ, The Temporary Mascot, is back!
Don’t, worry. Russ has more bowl experience than Aaron Murray: He won the Independence Bowl last year. Come to think of it, maybe Georgia Tech should’ve borrowed Russ last week for its game in Shreveport. Does Russ get holiday pay for this? The poor mutt was probably happy in retirement, playing shuffleboard at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm.
But this could be good news for the Dogs. Russ is only 4-4. But he’s 1-0 in bowls and won his last game over Tennessee. Also, Georgia is 3-1 when both Russ and A.J. Green are in the lineup. (Kudos to newshound Tim Tucker for supplying me with that statistic.)
Meanwhile, back here on earth . . .
A loss would give Georgia (6-6) its first losing season since 1996, when the Dogs went 5-6 in Jim Donnan’s first year. Ironically, the last time the Dogs lost in the Independence Bowl was to North Carolina State, which had Donnan at quarterback, in 1967.
Here’s the good news: Donnan is not in Memphis.
But do I think Georgia will lose this game? No. Central Florida will be able to put some points up but in the end I don’t think George O’Leary’s defense will have an answer for Murray-to-Green.
Take one last look at Green because this likely will be his final collegiate game. He most likely will be a top-five NFL pick and I don’t believe the threat of an NFL lockout has any significance. Remember, any college junior who comes out can always take a nice little $1 million loan from an agent to hold him over, just in case the league doesn’t play next season. The potential of a lockout affects mostly mid-to-low-round picks, not first-rounders.
As for the significance of this game, it’s obviously a much bigger deal if the Dogs lose (panic!) than if they win (expected). But going 6-2 after a 1-4 start would be a slight boost going into the offseason.
Not sure what kind of crowd this game will draw but I’m guessing not great. The last report was that the Dogs had sold only 5,000 tickets for this game and gave about 1,000 tickets away for staff and families. That would still leave about 4,000 from its 10,000-ticket allotment.
If you missed them, here are links to a couple of stories from the week worth looking at:
– Tucker’s story on Murray, who’s about to break every significant, single-season Georgia passing record as a freshman.
– Tucker’s piece on the homecoming and disappointing season by Marlon Brown, a highly touted receiver out of Memphis.
That’s it for now. I’ll be here to report on the game and all of Russ’s movements.