Dog vs. Dog: Battling to emerge from SEC’s loser’s bracket

Russ may be the interim mascot, but he's still going to be top dog in Starkville. (University of Georgia)

Russ may be the interim mascot, but he's still going to be top dog in Starkville. (University of Georgia)

A coworker came up to me this week and said, “Mississippi State a favorite over Georgia? Really!!??

OK, so it’s only a 1-point spread, which basically means a toss-up, but yeah, as Georgia prepares to enter Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field in Starkville Saturday night for one of those rare SEC battles of the Bulldogs, there’s no denying it: Things have gotten ugly. It’s a match between the only two teams in the conference to both have two conference losses already, battling to keep from being declared irrelevant in their division race before September is even over.

Still, I’m always up for a little good-natured smack talk, so I asked my friend Harvey, the only Mississippi State grad I know, for his take on this week’s game.

As Harvey noted, since the two schools don’t play all that often, “there isn’t the kind of venom” between the two fan bases that you get with a division rivalry. But we’ve got that whole who-are-the-real-Bulldogs thing going. Although bulldogs have been part of MSU’s tradition since early in the 20th century, the bulldog didn’t become the school’s official mascot until 1961. Before that they were the Maroons. (My high school team also was formerly known as the Maroons but switched to the Trojans. Seems no one wants to be called a Maroon.)

Bully, the MSU mascot, better get ready for Russ marking his territory at Davis Wade Stadium. (Mississippi State University)

Bully, the MSU mascot, better get ready for Russ marking his territory at Davis Wade Stadium. (Mississippi State University)

I asked Harvey how it felt to be the “other” Bulldogs in the SEC.

His reply: “Actually there are no other Bulldogs other than MSU. To this day, when I hear Bulldogs I don’t think of UGA first. It’s like Carolina trying to call themselves USC. Any true SEC fan knows there’s only one group of Bulldogs and they where the maroon and white. Gooooooo Dawgs, Sic ’em!”

Aren’t delusional college football fans fun?

As for the game itself, Harvey first tried to blind me with science by predicting, “We’re going to win because I predicted after looking at the schedule we’d be 2-2 after facing Memphis, Auburn, LSU and Georgia, and Georgia is our last hope to make that prediction come true.”

Yeah, well,my preseason prediction for Mark Richt’s Dawgs was 10-2, and so there’s no margin for error left on our side, either.

Anyway, Harvey continued with a summation of where the Maroon Bulldogs stand: “Even though our record may not see improvements this season, the team is a much better team, veteran O-line, one of the best young defensive coordinators in the country and even though they’ve struggled, the QBs are the best we’ve been a that position in the last 6-8 years. The atmosphere is going to be wild. The game sold out about 2 weeks ago and the cowbells will rule.”

It’s not all blue skies, though, for MSU fans. “Quarterback is the biggest worry,” Harvey said. “Five interceptions last week. The best thrower is a redshirt freshman and the starter can’t throw that well especially down the middle of the field. They don’t turn the ball over, we win. Dogs 24, UGA 16.”

Sorry, Harvey, but I think that score’s more likely to be flipped. True, MSU has a pretty stout secondary, but they’re susceptible up the middle, Georgia’s getting Caleb King back and the UGA offensive line is overdue to finally put it all together. Plus, State has only gotten four sacks so far this season, so Aaron Murray’s likely to be able to stay upright and with his helmet on.

I will admit the prospect of Todd Grantham’s unpredictable troops facing Dan Mullen’s spread option offense worries me a tad, especially when Chris Relf, the running quarterback, is taking the snaps. But they don’t have a big, punishing tailback, MSU’s offensive line also has been disappointing so far, and they don’t have much of a downfield passing attack, so Georgia can pretty well load up the box to stop the run. And then things can get interesting, as both Relf and State’s other QB, Tyler Russell, have shown a propensity for throwing picks. Georgia has the decided edge in special teams, too.

So when the last cowbell has clanged Saturday night, I think the true and proper Bulldogs will be victorious.

Over a bunch of Maroons.

Woof woof!

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176 comments Add your comment

lastgrad

September 24th, 2010
10:43 am

Great game to start new again. Let’s all cheer our Dawgs to victory.

snotbubble

September 24th, 2010
10:54 am

Go Georgia……The REAL Bulldogs………Sic ‘em.!!!! 27-13 Georgia Dogs.

H DAWG

September 24th, 2010
10:58 am

There’s only one BULLDAWG !!!!

Bugs Bunny

September 24th, 2010
11:05 am

What a Maroon!!

Olivia

September 24th, 2010
11:09 am

heres to hoping Bobo gets hit in the head with a cowbell

Valdosta DAWG

September 24th, 2010
11:12 am

1eyedJack

September 24th, 2010
11:22 am

Valdosta DAWG, I’ve got a perfect position for a man like you…It’s just that I’m too busy to do any digging right now. Tool!

Left wing tactics.

Delbert D.

September 24th, 2010
11:23 am

Bully looks more like a regular bulldog than the later versions of the UGA line.

Mark "Crimson Crier" Ingram

September 24th, 2010
11:41 am

Michael Vick suggestd they let Russ and Bully fight during halftime.

1eyedJack

September 24th, 2010
11:53 am

Russ is a lover not a fighter….but don’t get the wrong idea.

Red

September 24th, 2010
11:54 am

GT played a home/home series with Miss St and averaged over 40 points and won by an average of 20+ points. Wow has UGA fallen so far that this is considered a big game? If UGA can’t easily defeat MSU, they are worse than mediocre. At least all the fans know where to eat in Shreveport. MID LEVEL PROGRAM

Buckhead Dawg

September 24th, 2010
12:04 pm

Defense!!!! Where have you been all year?? The dawgs do know this is not flag football. I wish we had another headhunter like Greg Blue who made receiver/QB’s think twice about throwing high over the middle. I wish Rambo lived up to his last name

Come on Dawgs!!!! Turn it around.

ps

Bobo your playbook is the most boring playbook in the history of college football.

RxDawg

September 24th, 2010
12:10 pm

The Dawgs turn it around and knock off the imposters this weekend.

Dawg 39

September 24th, 2010
12:17 pm

This Is the week we find out about the DAWGS.
IF the Dawgs can win & IF USCe & ARK. play well against Auburn & ALA.,then maybe we will know more about our team. This game is huge.
My concern is mainly our D against the Spread, not our O. We Still have to have the passing attack to open up the running game but I think that will work. If we lose this will be my last comment this season, mainly because I disagree completely with those who blame our losses on CMB & not on the execution of the plays that were called. Hasta Luego ?.

jrmdvm1

September 24th, 2010
12:21 pm

The FIRST SEC Bulldogs win this one.
This is for all Miss. St. fans:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_Kh7nLplWo

ABBA DAWG

September 24th, 2010
12:23 pm

Mark Richts “waterloo”. Hire Jim Harbaugh at seasons end !!!!

New Low

September 24th, 2010
12:30 pm

Battle of the cellar dwellars. UGA is orse than Vandy. pathetic!

edumacated

September 24th, 2010
12:31 pm

Caleb King is back? Really? Well then, I guess we are going to win!!!
Hey everybody, did you hear? Caleb King is gonna win the game for us! Yay!!
What? Our offensive line still sux? Oh yeah……we are going to lose.

jacob hunter

September 24th, 2010
12:33 pm

UGA WILL LOSE! No doubt about it. Richt is incompetent and Vanilla as they come. UGA fans Gotta learn their place in college football.

Speaking of the "real"...

September 24th, 2010
12:43 pm

…”USC” or “Bulldogs”, etc., you need to enlighten your friend Harvey that there is only ONE “Carolina”, and it ain’t South…

Mike Bobo

September 24th, 2010
12:45 pm

New 3rd and 4 play this week if the game is on the line again:

Send everybody 70 yards deep and Murray throws up a Hail Mary!

I’m starting to get the hang of this Offensive Coordinator stuff…..

Coachdawg 2000

September 24th, 2010
12:50 pm

Red-
Even a moderately intelligent fan would know the Indy bowl is no longer an SEC bowl.Maybe you just suffer from dyslexia and your name is actually DER!!!!!

Coachdawg 2000

September 24th, 2010
12:52 pm

Dawgs defeat the imposters and punish them just to shut up the lunatic fringe idiots on this blog.

edumacated

September 24th, 2010
12:56 pm

Lunatic fringe idiots proven right by season’s end. Coachdawg 2000 changes mind about Richt and his staff.

Coachdawg 2000

September 24th, 2010
12:57 pm

Dawg 39-
I have found another person that seems to understand that coaching gives way to execution at some point. You actually use reason. I am very apprehensive about the fact that our is facing the 3rd completely different attack in 3 weeks. We need to play tough “D” and use controlled passing and running to keep the defense off of the field.

I hate to say it, cause I have a GA one...

September 24th, 2010
12:59 pm

…but Bully is a much better looking Bulldog than is Russ, the Temporary Mascot (who, unfortunately, looks more than a little in-bred) – let’s hope that Sonny has the new Uga VIII that looks like a real BullDAWG and not an in-bred like his cousin Russ….

Coachdawg 2000

September 24th, 2010
1:00 pm

edumacated-
I have said that we need to reserve judgement until the end of the sseason and we need to understand that making a change flushes at least one season on the field and multiple seasons in recruiting. Coaching make you go backwards way you go forward.

Don't Matter

September 24th, 2010
1:04 pm

Both are losers this season. It makes no difference who wins. If UGA wins, so what? Another trip to Shreveport in the offing? They still have to play FL,AUB,TECH, and a win at KY should be rated 50-50 at best. So probably 3 more loses and possibly one more. Call that a successful season? That’s definitely worth 2.8 million a year. By the way, what’s the payout at Shreveport?

As you say, Don't Matter...

September 24th, 2010
1:07 pm

…it ‘don’t matter’ what the Shreveport payout is this year ’cause no SEC can play there – can you not READ?

DawginLex

September 24th, 2010
1:07 pm

Don’t matter,

What is the payout in shreveport?

It doesn’t matter to us. Better ask Paul Johnson since the ACC is the conference tie-in this year to the bowl.

edumacated

September 24th, 2010
1:08 pm

Coachdawg 2000, the season is already a disappointment. Richt is already getting beaten in recruiting by everyone that matters. UGA has lost all respect and importance in the SEC over the last few years with losses to Kentucky, S.C. and Vandy as well as annual beatdowns by Florida and Tennessee. The team has problems off the field as well as on.
How bad does it have to get before you would be willing to give somebody else a shot at being the coach?

Coachdawg 2000

September 24th, 2010
1:18 pm

edumacated-
Who do you think would want to come here? Petersen isn’t leaving Boise’s cream puff schedule to deal with the gantlet of the SEC. Harbaugh isn’t leaving the PAC 10-2 good teams versus murder’s row of SEC sked. Do we want another coordinator Kirby Smart is just Saban’s belt-loop boy(Saban does all of the coaching and Kirby just stands at Nicky’s hip and signals in the play).Muschamp isn’t leaving almost $1 million to be skewered by the our delusional fanbase. IF we are in the Market for a HC then we should go after Gary Patterson at TCU. But I think the best coach for UGA is already here.

TheTaxJacket

September 24th, 2010
1:20 pm

*** Nesbitt for Heismen ***

(((( 45 – 42 ))))

Sammy Head

September 24th, 2010
1:21 pm

Jock Sniffer!

edumacated

September 24th, 2010
1:26 pm

Coachdawg 2000
There are lots of coordinators out there that guys like you and I have never heard of. Most people had never heard of Richt before he came to Georgia, and by the way, he had no experience as a head coach before he landed here either. As far as saying guys won’t come, never say never. Just ask Alabama. Why wouldn’t someone want to come when the salary is so high and the resources so unlimted? Muschamp could come.

Sad, sad, sad.....

September 24th, 2010
1:29 pm

How low can the program go??? Underdog to Miss. State??? Riding the cellar in the SEC East??? Bobo, you’ve been holding onto the playbook a little too long. Give it up.

Coachdawg 2000

September 24th, 2010
1:33 pm

Look I don’t want to play this game when should be supporting OUR team. We still have 9 ballgames left. I will however, say that I thought we should gone after the “D” coordinator at Air Force Deruyter instead of Grantham. But since we didn’t I’m in his corner 100%. I will also say this IF we do have to start over, then I don’t want another “offense guy” I want a defensive guy(inherently more disciplinarian than QB-types).

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 24th, 2010
1:34 pm

Tech fans say UGA fans live in the past? Hell a Tech fan just commented what Tech did 2-3 years ago in a series against Miss St! WOW! Who was the coach then? WOW! Good job in beating them 3 years ago. Proud of ya, you can hang on to that for another decade or so. Good luck against the ACC Player of the year as he smokes you.

Coachdawg 2000

September 24th, 2010
1:36 pm

Lowcountry-
Taxbug is still using st.simon’s 45-42 score. I guess he was in comma when we spanked them last year(just like we have for 16 of the last 20) at the joke by coke.

reebok

September 24th, 2010
1:39 pm

…so if UGA is playing well, they will win because they are on a roll…and if they are playing poorly, they will win because they are overdue to put it all together…?

i like it!

Paul in RDU

September 24th, 2010
1:41 pm

And Tuffy...

September 24th, 2010
1:44 pm

…would not last long against “Mike” or “Bevo”…

James Taylor

September 24th, 2010
1:44 pm

Bill – Tell your buddy that “Going to Carolina” is not about the state with the capital in Columbia

Browndog

September 24th, 2010
1:45 pm

I have watched UGA football for a very long time and have seen some bad teams, good teams and great teams but there was always fan support for the players regardless. We need a lot more of that right now and let the year play out. If changes need to be made they will be made and not because of what is written on this blog. Best of luck to the team Saturday night.

edumacated

September 24th, 2010
1:46 pm

Hey, if Richt manages to beat Florida this year, then I’ll start singing a different tune, no matter what the season record. Promise.
Now, who on this site thinks Richt can beat Meyer this year or next? Seriously.

Nor is the sky...

September 24th, 2010
1:47 pm

…Carolina Garnet…

Ralph

September 24th, 2010
2:02 pm

It became clear this week that the Administration fully supports Richt and sees him as the man to lead the dawgs for at least the next 10 years. This will dismay many of the Richt haters but for folks who know the game there is a sigh of relief. Coach Richt brings experience, youth and vision to our program. Couple of bad years but 8 out of 10 good years ain’t that bad. Will win on Saturday and the rest of games. But even if we lost the rest it is not clear that Richt will lead this program into the future. For that we can all be glad.

Freudian slip, Ralph...

September 24th, 2010
2:26 pm

…”But even if we lost the rest it is not clear that Richt will lead this program into the future”, or an unintended prophecy?

Old Dawg

September 24th, 2010
2:30 pm

The SEC is the only conference in the country with two teams sharing the same nickname. For branding purposes it’s problematic. I’ve often wondered if the conference got together, offered Miss State and one of the Tiger schools a million or 2 to change their nicknames if they’d take it.

I know it’s a long shot but what do y’all think?

ca dawg

September 24th, 2010
2:32 pm

hahaha, reebok, you understand the way we dawg fans think. i’m as guilty as anyone of that kind of thinking, so whatever.

i’ve said this the last two weeks, but i’ll say it again: i think we win the game this week. what i’m hoping to see is better coverage, continued improvement with tackling, and continuing to open up the playbook. my guess is that we’re going to have to throw to set up the run, and that MSU is going to blitz a lot. i hope we see a little less play action on downs where the threat of a run isn’t viable and little more in terms of rolling murray out on waggles and bootlegs. i wonder why we haven’t seen more of that this year, to be honest.

this is a game we should and have to win, but i’m less worried about outcomes than about seeing improvement across the board every week. outcomes will take care of themselves if we do that.

go dawgs!