Archive for June, 2010

When it comes to SEC, Dawgs are your rival’s rivals

The Jacksonville game remains a great rivalry despite the lopsided results of recent years.

The Jacksonville game remains a great rivalry despite the lopsided results of recent years.

I’ve said it before here that Georgia seems to have more big “rivalry” games every year than just about any other college program around. And by rivalry, I mean those games that take place every year and get the fan bases on both sides revved up to the point that even the players approach it as more than just another game.

Besides our in-state rival, Georgia Tech, the Dogs have conference rivalries that go a long way toward determining the champ each year: The neutral-site meeting with the Gators in Jacksonville. The Deep South’s oldest football rivalry with Auburn. The longstanding border war with South Carolina that predates the Gamecocks being in the SEC and gives one or the other an early-season leg up in division battle. And then there’s the rivalry with Tennessee, which is of more recent vintage but has been red-hot over the past 20 years, especially since the conference split …

Continue reading When it comes to SEC, Dawgs are your rival’s rivals »

Bottom line on donations: UGA season tickets still sold out

As usual, there are no season tickets going unclaimed at Sanford Stadium. (University of Georgia)

As usual, there are no season tickets going unclaimed at Sanford Stadium. (University of Georgia)

Somewhere over the past few years the annual cut-off level of cumulative Hartman Fund/Bulldog Club donations necessary to become a first-time UGA football season ticket holder became a “magic” number to be breathlessly reported and discussed.

Previously, the only folks who anxiously awaited the cut-off score were those on the cusp wondering whether they’d get season tickets or not.

Now, however, it’s held up in the media like some sort of barometer of fan interest or support for March Richt’s program within the Bulldog Nation.

I think probably the tipping point was a couple of years ago when the bandwagon effect generated by preseason expectations for the then top-ranked Dogs prompted a bunch of folks to up their donations in a frantic bid to get season tickets. As a result, the cut-off score soared from $1,991 in 2007 to a ridiculous $10,651 for 2008. A jump like that naturally …

Continue reading Bottom line on donations: UGA season tickets still sold out »

What would SEC expansion mean for UGA?

What might SEC expansion mean to the Georgia-Auburn rivalry? (Associated Press)

What might SEC expansion mean to the Georgia-Auburn rivalry? (Associated Press)

It’s like following a soap opera: Will the Aggies follow Texas wherever it goes or step out of the Longhorns’ shadow? Might Virginia Tech be lured away from the ACC? Does a mega conference deserve two BCS bids?

Amid all the cliffhanger scenarios, impassioned debates and wild speculation about what will happen in the current conference realignment upheaval, there’s a more pertinent question for the Bulldog Nation: What would an expanded SEC mean for UGA?

Or, more particularly, what would a 16-team mega SEC mean for the Dogs?

Probably a scheduling nightmare, for starters. Mark Richt has gone on record as saying his main concern is that the SEC not add an additional conference game to the eight already played, and he’s probably not alone among conference coaches in feeling that way.

If the SEC winds up as a 16-team league, that most likely means two eight-team divisions. If you play every other team …

Continue reading What would SEC expansion mean for UGA? »

A return to old-school mentality with latest ‘Dream Team’ member

Nick Marshall (left) decided he'd rather play defense at UGA than quarterback at Georgia Tech. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Nick Marshall (left) decided he'd rather play defense at UGA than quarterback at Georgia Tech. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

After Christian LeMay committed to Georgia, many recruitnik types were writing off Mark Richt’s chances to sign Nick Marshall of Wilcox County, the state’s top-rated quarterback prospect.

So it was certainly a pleasant surprise to see that Marshall not only had committed to the Dogs, but as a defensive back, with plans to walk on with Mark Fox’s roundball Dogs as well.

And on top of that ESPN says he previously was a “silent” commitment at QB to Georgia Tech but decided he’d rather play defense at Georgia!

Pretty sweet, assuming all goes according to plan and he winds up enrolling in Athens.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the opportunity to play basketball for what looks to be an up and coming program that’s starting to generate some excitement might have played a bigger part in Marshall’s decision than a lot of folks think. But I’m sure Richt pitching this …

Continue reading A return to old-school mentality with latest ‘Dream Team’ member »

Consider the source of reports bad-mouthing UGA coaches

Secondhand sniping at Mark Richt isn't worth worrying about. (University of Georgia)

Secondhand sniping at Mark Richt isn't worth worrying about. (University of Georgia)

This seems to be a week for second-hand knocks on UGA’s football coaches.

First we had the much overblown report that Nash Nance, a quarterback whose main claim to a scholarship at the University of Tennessee appeared to be that he was the best friend of highly recruited receiver Da’Rick Rogers, told the Knoxville News-Sentinel that Rogers reneged on his commitment to Georgia because “the [UT] coaches are a lot more professional. He had a lot of bad dealings with Georgia coaches.”

Nash didn’t provide any specifics on those so-called bad dealings, but the natural suspicion among many in the Bulldog Nation is that what’s at the heart of Nash’s blast is that the UGA coaches wouldn’t guarantee to Rogers that they’d give his buddy a scholarship as well.

Whatever. Sounds like mean-spirited post-recruiting sour grapes.

But on top of having his professionalism questioned by a kid who UGA snubbed, Mark …

Continue reading Consider the source of reports bad-mouthing UGA coaches »

Who are your all-time favorite defensive Dawgs?

Jake Scott was a legend in Athens. (UGA)

Jake Scott was a legend in Athens. (UGA)

The news this week that Jake Scott and Bill Stanfill will be inducted into the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll is a welcome return to the spotlight for two players who not only rank among UGA’s storied All-Americans, but are two of my all-time favorite Bulldogs defenders.

Leading the SEC in interceptions and punt returns in his two years playing for the Dogs in the late ’60s before going pro, the tremendously exciting Scott was a legend in Athens as well for his off-field exploits, which included riding a motorcycle over the Coliseum roof. And on a personal note, the product of the Athens YMCA’s football program was one of the guys running the movie projector when they showed us the infamous “Signal 30″ film in the driver’s ed class I took at UGA in the summer of 1968.

And teammate Stanfill, of course, is UGA’s only winner of the Outland Trophy, signifying the nation’s most outstanding lineman. More importantly, he terrorized Gators …

Continue reading Who are your all-time favorite defensive Dawgs? »

Does an expanded SEC without a Texas school make sense?

sec logoI’ve said before here that I don’t think the SEC should consider adding teams unless it expands its geographic (read: television) footprint — specifically, into the state of Texas.

It only makes sense to add teams in states where the SEC already has members if you’re filling out a 16-team league that has expanded the conference’s borders. Sure, a Clemson or Florida State would be a good match in terms of tradition and on-field product for the existing SEC membership, but the conference wouldn’t gain much in terms of market reach by adding them, although the Seminoles are a big-name program with a national profile.

However, if Texas and Texas A&M really do join a mass exodus of six programs from the Big 12 to the PAC 10, as has been rumored — and that’s a mighty big if, I think, where the Longhorns and Aggies are concerned — Mike Slive and the SEC presidents are going to be under increasing pressure to react.

(I still think that if it’s apparent the Big 12 is falling apart, …

Continue reading Does an expanded SEC without a Texas school make sense? »

Why not give the old Dawg a full season?

A lot of fans are particularly fond of interim mascot Russ. (University of Georgia)

A lot of fans are particularly fond of interim mascot Russ. (University of Georgia)

As had been expected, Sonny Seiler has made it official that a new Uga won’t be ready in time for the start of the season, meaning interim mascot Russ will be around for a few more games. In fact, Uga VIII might not make his debut until the homecoming game against Vandy on Oct. 16.

But what might surprise Seiler and the folks at Butts-Mehre is that there’s a growing contingent in the Bulldog Nation that thinks changing mascots in midseason isn’t that great an idea. And just imagine what the chatter would be if the Dogs were to be undefeated coming into that homecoming game. Is that really when you want to make that kind of switch?

Sure, it’s understandable that Russ at age 5 is considered too old to become the next Uga. But there’s a definite fondness for the not-quite-all-white half-brother of the late Uga VII, probably because his tenure as a sub kicked off in such spectacular fashion last …

Continue reading Why not give the old Dawg a full season? »

Stoking the fires of offseason optimism among Dogs fans

Mark Richt's new slogan is to the point. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt's new slogan is to the point. (Associated Press)

It’s that time of year when Georgia fans examine every comment Mark Richt makes for clues to what we can expect on the field this fall. So far this spring, Richt has pretty much stayed on an even keel, as he usually does, although he has sounded optimistic enough to have stoked expectations up a notch or so among many in the Bulldog Nation.

Despite all the questions about an inexperienced quarterback and revamped defense, I’m hearing more and more fans saying they expect the Dogs to achieve 10 wins this season, at the very least.

How realistic that is, we can’t really say until we see the team perform.

So we look for clues from Richt. So far I like what I’m hearing for the most part, including some comments he made in a recent interview with Fox Sports South.

Asked whether tight end Orson Charles can take pressure off A.J. Green on the outside just as well as any secondary receiver, Richt said flatly, “He can. In our …

Continue reading Stoking the fires of offseason optimism among Dogs fans »