ATHENS — For the first time since November, I can begin a blog with, “Good morning from Sanford Stadium.” The Georgia Bulldogs plan to have the Buffalo Bulls for a light lunch.
Let’s get to the important stuff:
• 1.) It’s humid. I mean, really stupidly humid. My iPhone right now says 81 degrees (projected high in Athens: 93). But it feels more like a sauna on July 1 than the almost-fall cooling temperatures of Sept. 1. Logic suggests this will affect Buffalo more than Georgia, not that we would have attached any trace of suspense to today’s outcome even if it was 72 degrees with a soft ocean breeze. (The point spread is 37½. I say the Dogs cover. See the rest of my picks here).
• 2.) This is the first game for Russ, The Temporary Mascot, as Uga IX. I’m hoping this ascension to full time means the poor dog finally gets insurance benefits. I had to crack up at athletic director Greg McGarity’s statement the other day: “Russ has endeared himself to the Georgia people over the last three years. His dedication to duty when called upon has been exemplary and it’s fitting that he takes his place in the official line of Georgia mascots.”
People. The dog is in a crate. What’s he going to do? Make a break for it and hop a bus to Starkville?
(You may now commence with your cyber attacks on me for making Uga jokes.)
• 3.) This is a good chance for Georgia to test its depth on defense and try some players in different situations. Five defensive starters are expected to miss the game: Cornerback-wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell (sprained ankle), cornerback Sanders Commings (suspended two games for domestic battery), linebacker Chase Vasser (suspended two games for DUI), linebacker Alec Ogletree (violation of team rules) and safety Bacarri Rambo (violation of team rules). Georgia has never confirmed reports that the Olgetree and Rambo both failed drug tests or that they have been suspended (and for how long).
• 4.) I’m most interested to watch the Dogs’ offense, particularly the play of the offensive line (which I believe ultimately will determine what kind of season they have) and the effectiveness of freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. As much as the excommunicated Isaiah Crowell was undone by off-the-field issues, most recently felony gun charges, he easily was the best running back the Dogs had.
That’s it for now. I’ll post any updates on the lineup and suspensions as warranted. Now, I may head down for a pre-game chat with Russ.
Welcome back to college football.
The cyber venting lines are open.
By Jeff Schultz