So I return from vacation to find Mark Richt’s Dogs now a Top 20 team with opening-game uniforms that look like something out of a Japanese kiddie show.
Actually, I don’t mind the red on red aspect of Georgia’s Nike Pro Combat uniforms so much but I just don’t like that jersey, especially the black on the sleeves. However, the helmet actually comes close to being pretty cool; I just wish the red stripe wasn’t so wide. I could see those helmets — or a variation — brought back out for a future bowl game or something with our traditional uniforms.
Discussing the Pro Combats over the weekend with several fans, both young and old, I found a recurring theme that most would have preferred something a bit closer to a retro look (silver helmets, red jerseys, silver britches), but throwbacks is not really what the whole Pro Combat thing is about. Still, as my old schoolmate Rusty said on Facebook, “Well, they’re hideous, true. But I can live with them for one game.”
(For a closer look at the poster of the evolution of Georgia’s uniforms, go here. Artwork courtesy of Scott Sillcox. Each of the 15 actual pieces of original watercolor artwork used in the UGA uniforms poster are available for sale here.)
Meanwhile, I have to say I was a little surprised to see Georgia ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press preseason poll — the only team on the list coming off a losing record — but Boise State at No. 5 (making the Broncos the highest-ranked season-opening opponent for the Dogs since 1965) and South Carolina at No. 12 is about what I expected.
As Neil “Hondo” Williamson of the Georgia broadcast team points out, dating back to the first AP poll in 1936, Georgia has never opened the season against two top 20 teams (or top 25 for that matter). So in terms of how highly ranked the opponents are, 2011 will mark the most difficult opening two games in Bulldogs history (though I’ve heard several fans make a good case for the opening tandem in 1982 when Georgia faced defending national champion Clemson and a Steve Young-led BYU team).
Estimations of how the Dogs will weather those first two games and the 10 regular season matches to follow are all over the place, ranging from Phil Steele’s prediction of Georgia winning the SEC East to Sports Illustrated predicting a 6-6 record.
Of course, such predictions are, like the preseason polls, nothing but guesswork, but if there’s anything even sillier, it’s preseason bowl projections. That doesn’t stop various sports media outlets from trotting them out, though, and College Football News has Georgia playing Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in its “way too early” projection, while both of ESPN’s bowl projections have the Dogs in the Capital One Bowl, with Mark Schlabach pitting Georgia against Ohio State and Brad Edwards pegging Nebraska as the opponent.
That’s getting way ahead of all the games, of course, in a season where even die-hard UGA loyalist Loran Smith isn’t sure what sort of team Richt is going to field but is cautiously optimistic, noting, “this team could play really well the first two weeks and begin the season 0-2. The good news is that, in the Butts-Mehre building, you won’t find anybody who believes that will happen.”
Neither do I. How about you?
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