Posts Tagged ‘Florida Gators’

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 …

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SEC title would mean Georgia’s return to elite status (video added)

Mark Richt has Georgia in the SEC championship game for second straight year. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Mark Richt has Georgia in the SEC championship game for second straight year. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

(VIDEO ADDED BELOW)

This might stun starry-eyed middle-schoolers and high school players, who are otherwise oblivious to ancient history before 2006 in the SEC. But even the football Godzillas of this conference and, it follows, the globe, aren’t that far removed from humility (and Shreveport).

Before the last five seasons under Nick Saban, Alabama had an 11-year stretch (1997-2007) when it reached double digits in wins only three times, suffered through four losing seasons, four non-bowl years, lost to Auburn six straight years, went to the Music City Bowl twice and even was subjected to the Independence Bowl . . . three times! There’s your, “Roll Tide.”

Florida fans would like to forget the Ron Zook era of relative torment, sandwiched between Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer.

Auburn just fired a coach, Gene Chizik, who won a national championship two years ago.

LSU: You say …

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Predictions: Smelly, incompetent, soft Bullldogs win again

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According to legend, and also Wikipedia, my two favorite sources when I have other things to do, the expression, “Eureka!” dates to the Greek scholar Archimedes, who noticed that when he stepped into a bathtub the water level rose and he exclaimed, “Eureka!” because, I dunno, “Wow,” just didn’t sound scholarly. Archimedes then continued this research into volume by seeing what would happen if he sat in a hot tub with five co-eds from Palermo State, but that didn’t work out so good, he lost his grant and now can be found teaching sociology at junior college in Poughkeepsie.

So last week, Georgia punched Florida in the mouth, and I’m certain I heard Mark Richt exclaim, “Eureka! No more Mr. Nice Guy!” See, because I’m sure the Bulldogs played tough because they were angry at being called “soft” by teammate Shawn Williams.

So coddling days are over. This week Richt called in appropriate inspirational speakers to address his players:

"Bring me the broomstick of Nick Saban!"

"Bring me the broomstick of Nick Saban!"

Oz: …

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Georgia will take an ugly win like this any time

Jarvis Jones had a monster game (three sacks, two forced fumbles) to lead Georgia. (Bob Andres/AJC)

Jarvis Jones had a monster game (three sacks, two forced fumbles) to lead Georgia. (Bob Andres/AJC)

Everybody is going to call it ugly. The quarterback was awful for most of the game. The opponent had six fumbles (four lost) and two interceptions. Two of the supposed best teams in the SEC swapped turnovers, penalties and dropped passes. If the late Sid Gillman was watching, he would’ve covered his eyes and screamed, “No! My eyes! My eyes!”

But does it matter?

Ugly is barely beating Kentucky after a bye week. Ugly is looking flawed against Buffalo and Florida Atlantic. Ugly is giving up 44 points to Tennessee. If beating the No. 2 team in the BCS — especially when it’s Florida — is considered ugly, it’s a canvas of ugly that the Bulldogs would wrap themselves in any day or night.

As Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, he of the three first-half interceptions, said Saturday night, “I know I’m going to get stressed out when I look at the film. But it’s still a great win.”

Georgia, …

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Short takes: Jarvis Jones rules, Aaron Murray escapes

Aaron Murray struggled for most of the game but had a big 47-yard touchdown pass play to Malcolm Mitchell late in the game. (Bob Andres/AJC)

Aaron Murray struggled for most of the game but had a big 47-yard touchdown pass play to Malcolm Mitchell late in the game. (Bob Andres/AJC)

(I’ll be back with a column from the Georgia-Florida game shortly. Until then, here are my three short takes on the game.)

1. JARVIS JONES A DIFFERENCE-MAKER. If the Georgia outside linebacker (ankle, groin, knee) is still not at full strength, it would be scary to watch him when he is. In a game when defense (and turnovers) ruled the day, Jones stood out. After missing last week’s game against Kentucky, he returned and had four sacks, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and a dozen tackles. If NFL scouts were watching, they were salivating.

2. AARON MURRAY: NOT LOVING JACKSONVILLE: The Georgia quarterback had one of the worst games of his career two years ago, with four turnovers in the Florida game as a freshman. It appeared he would revisit that low Saturday, with interceptions in three consecutive first-half possessions. The …

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Georgia-Florida LIVE: Dogs try to take control in SEC East

The forecast calls for no rain but wind and the usual amount of drinking.

The forecast calls for no rain but wind and the usual amount of drinking.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – So I was standing outside the EverBank Field with Tim Tucker because the stadium gates were closed – Jacksonville has this thing about letting media in too early, not sure why – and up walks Vince Dooley. After about a 30-second conversation, he turns to us and says, “I’ll see if I can get in.” And, of course, he did. Because he’s Vince Dooley. But at least he turned to us, smiled and waved.

So hello. I’m inside the gates now and figured I would open with something less dramatic than: GEORGIA HAS TO WIN!

Athletic director Greg McGarity, who has sat on both sides of this rivalry, has been trying to diminish the stress level associated with this annual meeting. He told our Chip Towers that he’s trying to “debunk this notion that beating Florida was any more important than beating anybody else in the SEC It doesn’t count any more in the standings.”

I understand McGarity’s objective. But …

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Georgia has chance to alter perceptions with one win

Mark Richt and Georgia hope to take control of SEC East with win over Will Muschamp and Florida.

Mark Richt and Georgia hope to take control of SEC East with win over Will Muschamp and Florida.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are those rare games that can unify a fan base. This is one of them.

Just for a moment, put aside that Georgia’s defense has underachieved and may have a level of dysfunctionality in the locker room. Put aside that the Bulldogs, in a week where they should’ve been focused and in assault mode, made Kentucky look relevant. Put aside whatever it was that happened in Columbia.

One game changes everything.

Georgia isn’t just playing Florida on Saturday in Jacksonville. It’s playing for a chance to change its season and obliterate perceptions about “big game” performances. That doesn’t mean the Bulldogs haven’t won big games under coach Mark Richt, but the results in recent seasons certainly aren’t something that any coach wants slapped on his resume: 3-11 against Top 25 teams since 2009, 1-9 against top 10 teams since 2008.

One win over Florida, the No. 2 team …

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Predictions: Sorry, Doggies — Gators look too good

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Before getting to this week’s big game — Florida vs. The Indecipherable Dogs of Athens — a world news update: Police in northern England tasered a 61-year-old blind man the other day after — and I’m not making this up — they mistook his white cane for a Samurai sword. Fortunately, the man, Colin Farmer, seems OK after being hit with 50,000 volts of electricity and handcuffed by England’s finest nincompoops, although he may own half the United Kingdom and be knighted before the next attorney knocks on his door.

The po-po chief, Stuart Williams, said, “It became apparent that this man was not the person we were looking for, and officers attended to him straight away. Lancashire Constabulary deeply regrets what has happened.” And then he excused himself for his new job — walking behind elephants.

He said police were responding to reports of a man walking around with a sword. Of course. So their intentions were honorable.

At least Shawn Williams didn't call his teammates "Pop Tarts." But it was close.

Shawn Williams didn't call teammates "Pop Tarts." But he …

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Does Georgia have edge on Florida? Yes — Aaron Murray

Aaron Murray can quiet a lot of critics if he leads Georgia past Florida. (AP photo)

Aaron Murray can quiet a lot of critics if he leads Georgia past Florida. (AP photo)

ATHENS – Have you heard? The Georgia quarterback can’t play in big games. He can’t beat great teams. He melts in big moments. He is 0-4 against top 10 teams, 2-8 against ranked teams. He lost to South Carolina. Twice. He’s no David Greene, no D.J. Shockley and he sure ain’t no Buck Belue.

This is how the story about Aaron Murray gets spun. Not that he has thrown 75 touchdown passes in 2½ years, or that he threw for over 400 yards the week after his father had cancer surgery, or that Georgia has won six games this season not in spite of its quarterback but because of him — because the six wins certainly can’t be attributed to special teams or the soft-as-nougat defense (paraphrasing Shawn Williams).

Here is the problem with “the book” on Murray. It’s short-sighted. It’s the cheap-and-easy pop that goes an inch deep instead of Butts-Mehre-wide. The 0-4 and 2-8 records technically are accurate. …

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Pessimism reigns by Georgia fans about Florida game (video added)

Mark Richt and Dogs beat Florida last season but they're underdogs this year. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Mark Richt and Dogs beat Florida last season but they're underdogs this year. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Remember how high optimism was about Georgia football before this season? Well, that seems to have eroded.

The recent loss to South Carolina, several unimpressive victories – including the latest win at Kentucky — and a perceived talent-loaded defense that hasn’t nearly lived up to expectations has led to many Georgia fans expecting the worst when the Bulldogs face Florida in Jacksonville next Saturday.

Who will win the Georgia-Florida game?

  • Georgia
  • Florida

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How do I know this? Because when I relayed via Twitter that Florida was anywhere from a 3½ to 4½ point favorite at most sportsbooks, the responses could all be reduced down to these three words: “Is that all?”

In fact, as I type this, I have yet to find a reader who would take that bet (Georgia plus the points).

Georgia is 3-8 against Florida under Mark Richt, including last year’s …

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