I’ll be off as usual on Tuesday, and the Blawg will return on Wednesday.
In the meantime, the news announced today that Georgia’s Oct. 3 home game against LSU has been set for 3:30 p.m. by CBS means the Dogs will play their first afternoon game of the season in Athens and first daylight game since the opener in Stillwater.
Frankly, that suits me. Night games are a nice change of pace, particularly during the heat of September, but even if you tailgate, that makes for an awful lot of time to kill before you go to the stadium. I’m glad to get back to afternoon football.
This will be Georgia’s first appearance of the season on CBS. The network’s usual team of Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Wolfson will provide coverage. They’re not bad, but Lundquist has slipped some in recent years, often missing developments or misidentifying players, and I think the CBS coverage was stronger when it had Todd Blackledge as analyst instead of Danielson.
I thought the ESPN crew covering the Georgia-Arkansas game did a good job. Brad Nessler is a definite improvement over Mike Patrick and I like Blackledge’s insights into the game. He and Nessler were pretty evenhanded Saturday night; they obviously were wowed early on by Ryan Mallett but ended up giving Joe Cox his due.
And sideline reporter Erin Andrews’ “hot librarian” look worked for me.
But ESPN’s game day wrap-up continues to suffer from the increasingly ridiculous Lou Holtz. Saturday night, he was babbling on about Notre Dame in the middle of the recap of the Georgia-Arkansas game until Rece Davis reminded him what game they were on. It’s long past time for ESPN to put Lou out to pasture.
On the radio, I thought the new ISP-era Georgia broadcast sounded slickly packaged. A bit too much so.
I used to get as aggravated as anyone with Loran Smith’s postgame locker room rambling, but I don’t find Chuck Dowdle’s puffball questions to Mark Richt any more illuminating. And now that they’ve quit airing the player and assistant coach interviews live, dropping taped snippets of them into the call-in show instead, it all sounds a bit too canned. I liked the live chaos of the old locker room show. I also miss the days when the network aired at least parts of Richt’s postgame press conference.
As for the UGA radio network’s “Dog Talk” call-in show originating from the Hotel Indigo in downtown Athens (as they incessantly tell listeners), it’s pretty much a snooze. David Greene is very personable but comes off kind of bland in his assessments of the game. And Jeff Dantzler just talks too much. They don’t take enough calls, either.
Athens’ WNGC (which I can pick up in DeKalb County) cuts away from the network to do its longtime “Fifth Quarter Show” opposite “Dog Talk,” and while the “Fifth Quarter” misses Kevin Butler a lot this season, it’s still more entertaining and more informative than the official show.
Host David Johnston isn’t afraid to express an opinion that might run counter to thinking at Butts-Mehrer. And while Butler’s replacements, former players Kelin Johnson and A.J. Bryant, start off sounding like they’re still on the team and have been indoctrinated with coachspeak, they usually loosen up once the calls begin. Also, because they were on the team not that long ago, they have some unique insights into the current lineup.
Plus, it’s just not Saturday night without hearing a call from “Macho Man.”