Archive for the ‘UGA / SEC’ Category

I’ve moved — let me show you my new neighborhood…

Roddy White, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan are seeking a little redemption. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Roddy White, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan hope to be doing this Sunday. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Roddy White, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan are so excited because the the AJC has a new digital platform!

OK, not really. But we have moved. You can still find my old blogs on this site. But for the new ones, please go to ajc.com/weblogs/jeff-schultz.

Hopefully we can get through this transition period with a minimal number of hiccups. Also, please note that readers commenting on blogs now need to register first. Just go to my latest blog (about the Falcons) for all of the info.

Thanks for reading, Jeff

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Georgia projects well for 2013, even with flaws in win

Mark Richt gets the Gatorade bath after Georgia's Capitol Bowl win over Nebraska. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Mark Richt gets the Gatorade bath after Georgia's Capitol Bowl win over Nebraska. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

ORLANDO – The players wore hats reading “CHAMPIONS” in all cap letters. The fact that “Capital One Bowl” — and not SEC or BCS — also was stitched on the caps in a much smaller script might deflate that declaration a bit, but it doesn’t take away from where Georgia may be headed.

Were the Bulldogs great in their final game of the 2012 season? Hardly. The defense, purported to be loaded with NFL talent, too often played sloppy and undisciplined. The quarterback, Aaron Murray, threw two interceptions in the team’s first three possessions. It is what happens sometimes in bowl games. The Dogs didn’t save their best for last. Their best came in the next-to-last game against Alabama.

But ultimately, what came out of Georgia’s 45-31 win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl were signs that this program isn’t likely to take a step back next season.

There will be new …

Continue reading Georgia projects well for 2013, even with flaws in win »

Short takes: Murray, defense rebound; freshmen shine

Tavarres King goes up for a 75-yard touchdown from Aaron Murray, one of five scores thrown by the Georgia quarterback. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Tavarres King goes up for a 75-yard touchdown from Aaron Murray, one of five TDs from the quarterback. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

I’ll be back with my column on Georgia’s win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl shortly. Until then, here are my three “short takes” on the game.

1. Defense underperforms but rebounds: When the season began, we were led to believe that Georgia’s defense was stuffed with several potential NFL players. If that’s true, the Bulldogs underperformed in several games. They were missing two linemen Tuesday (nose guard John Jenkins was academically ineligible; end Abry Jones was out with an ankle injury). But even then, Todd Grantham’s defense too often looked undisciplined (leading to breakdowns and penalties) and was shredded for far too many big plays. However, like in some other games, Georgia’s D made some big plays when it mattered most: Alec Olgetree forced a fumble at the Dogs’ 37, and Damian Swann had two interceptions. Nebraska, after scoring 31 …

Continue reading Short takes: Murray, defense rebound; freshmen shine »

LIVE: Georgia tries to forget SEC ending, close with win

Aaron Murray gives a high five to tackle Xzavier Ward before taking on Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. (Brant Sanderlin)

Aaron Murray high-fives Xzavier Ward before the Capital One Bowl. (Brant Sanderlin)

ORLANDO — When asked the other day if he viewed this season as a missed opportunity to win SEC and BCS championships, Georgia coach Mark Richt said, “Every year is a missed opportunity, I think.” And that’s probably the right thing to say, even if it’s not every season the Bulldogs come within one tipped pass of winning the SEC title and going to the BCS championship game.

When Georgia faces Nebraska today in the Capital One Bowl, the question is whether we’ll witness any hangover from the last game. The Dogs (11-2, coming off a 32-28 loss to Alabama, No. 7 BCS) may be a more talented team than the Cornhuskers (10-3, coming off a 70-31 loss to Wisconsin, No. 16 BCS). But that doesn’t always mean anything in bowl games. Witness Georgia Tech vs. USC. Or witness Georgia’s last two bowl efforts — losses to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl two years ago and Michigan State in the Outback last …

Continue reading LIVE: Georgia tries to forget SEC ending, close with win »

Georgia needs to finish strong to avoid diminishing season

Mark Richt hopes his team can finish the season better than it has the last two years. (AP photo)

Mark Richt hopes his team can finish the season better than it has the last two years. (AP photo)

ORLANDO – The old comedian Steve Allen once said, “I used to be a heavy gambler. But now I just make mental bets. That’s how I lost my mind.”

He easily could have been talking about bowl games. As inexact sciences go, they fit somewhere between the “wheel of fortune” and “pick a number between one and 10.”

A college team’s best players often are upperclassmen who already have one foot and an entire head out the door. Some get lost in the vacation atmosphere of bowl week. Some can’t transition back from holiday break. Others just look, play and act like they would rather not be there. It’s why we are left with results like: Central Florida 10, Georgia Holograms 6 in the Liberty Bowl.

For Georgia’s sake, this next bowl needs to be different.

This isn’t some grand declaration that the Bulldogs’ program will be defined by whether or not they defeat Nebraska in the …

Continue reading Georgia needs to finish strong to avoid diminishing season »

Aaron Murray may be playing his final game for Georgia

Aaron Murray hasn't told Mark Richt or anybody if this is his final game. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Aaron Murray and Mark Richt have been together for three seasons. This may be it. (Brant Sanderlin)

ORLANDO – Before this season began, Aaron Murray set a plan for the next two years — not for football, but for a doctorate program in industrial-organizational psychology. Call it an academic and career game plan.

“It’s a pretty big field nowadays,” Murray said in August. “A lot of companies are hiring I-O psychologists.”

Aaron Murray plays a football game Tuesday. There is a very good chance it will be his final football game for Georgia.

This is pure conjecture on my part. It is based on the fact that Murray, as much as he loves college football, has other things going on in his life. He has other things he wants to try. He’s a different kid.

“You mean mature?” Murray said, smiling.

“No,” I responded. (He laughed. Know your audience.)

I presented my theory to Murray, that Georgia’s game against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl would be the end of this …

Continue reading Aaron Murray may be playing his final game for Georgia »

Progress pleases McGarity, but he’s still not ‘comfortable’

Greg McGarity is pleased but not content with Georgia's turnaround under Mark Richt. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Greg McGarity is pleased but not content with Georgia's turnaround under Mark Richt. (Curtis Compton)

Greg McGarity is avoiding amusement parks and costumed cartoon characters this week. He found his own “Happiest Place on Earth” in Orlando – roaming the aisles of a Barnes and Noble while clutching a gift card.

“I’m going to spend all of this,” he said by phone.

McGarity loves books, particularly anything on leadership. His favorite is, “Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck — Why Some Thrive Despite Them All,” by Jim Collins.

“There’s a section in there on productive paranoia,” Georgia’s athletic director said. “I think all ADs have a level of that.”

It is why, despite the generally positive feelings that surround the Georgia football program these days, McGarity isn’t nearly satisfied. In fact, when asked if he felt comfortable about the program’s turnaround and direction, he all but chewed up the word and spit it out.

“I don’t …

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Predictions: It’s time for bowls(!), contest (!) and BCS (ugh)

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Welcome to the next-to-last BCS bowl season, or as we like to call it: “The mole in the middle of our forehead that the plastic surgeon said he can’t remove for another two years because the deals are in place, conference commissioners have been bagged, athletic directors already have used the free golf clubs, the booze cruise just left port, it’s too late to cancel the caterers, and, dang it, Mike Slive just took the last shrimp!” So we’re stuck.

After 15 years, it’s almost gone. After 17 years, it will be. (How did the BCS get to vote before it was 18?) We’re left with a palatable title game (Alabama-Notre Dame) but a nonsensical way of getting there and zero postseason drama.

BCS road map looks something like this.

BCS road map looks something like this.

Well, except this: (Promotion coming. I feel so dirty.) There’s still time to enter the “Sack Schultz” Bowl Special. We’re giving away $200 in gift cards to Marlow’s, which should buy a lot of wings. Don’t worry that some of the 36 bowls have been played because …

Continue reading Predictions: It’s time for bowls(!), contest (!) and BCS (ugh) »

SEC’s decision to not suspend Dial sends wrong message

Aaron Murray crumbles after helmet-to-helmet hit by Quinton Dial, who wasn't penalized. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Aaron Murray crumbles after helmet-to-helmet hit by Alabama's Quinton Dial. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

If Alabama goes on to defeat Notre Dame in the BCS championship game, there’s a pretty good chance that Quinton Dial will play only a minor role. So the problem with what happened Friday is not that the SEC just gave Alabama some unfair advantage by avoiding suspending one of its players — the problem is that it is sending mixed messages about how much it really cares about head injuries in football.

Or are hits to the head only important when it’s convenient?

After reviewing three plays from the SEC championship game between Georgia and Alabama, most notably Dial’s helmet-to-helmet hit on Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray, the conference declined to issue any suspensions, releasing a statement that said, “After review, all subsequent action will be handled internally by the two institutions and the conference office is satisfied with their actions.”

To translate: The SEC will …

Continue reading SEC’s decision to not suspend Dial sends wrong message »

‘Sack Schultz’ unveils Bowl Blowout (from Potato to BCS)

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Welcome back.

The Sack Schultz contest continues to spread good cheer and free food. It has been another great Uneducated Guessing Season, as we’ve given away tickets to the Georgia-Georgia Tech game, a stay at the Hotel Indigo in Athens, tickets to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, a $5,000 trip to Hawaii (yes, that Hawaii), gift cards to Marlow’s Tavern and Fat Heads (the product, not Ray Edwards).

About the only thing we haven’t given away is a coaching job for Bobby Petrino, who at this time next week will be on Groupon.

Now, we’re doing it again. Just go to AJC.com/go/sackschultzbowl2012 and it will take you to our bowl games pick page. Enter just like before and pick the winners of all 35 bowl games. The winner of the contest again will receive our admiration, as well as a relative Gorge-A-Thon. I define that as $200 in gift cards from Marlow’s.

Is shrimp and grits an acceptable appetizer ...

Is shrimp and grits an acceptable appetizer …

There are two great things about this contest: 1) I live pretty close to a …

Continue reading ‘Sack Schultz’ unveils Bowl Blowout (from Potato to BCS) »