Archive for December, 2011

Fan talk: Dawgs have a chance to prove they’re for real

The battle of the quarterbacks will pit Georgia's Aaron Murray ... (Associated Press)

The battle of the quarterbacks will pit Georgia's Aaron Murray … (Associated Press)

Two very similar, evenly matched teams are meeting Monday in the Outback Bowl’s pairing of conference runners-up, which is why Georgia’s favored by a slim 3.5 points.

Both teams are strong defensively, with Georgia ranked third in the nation and Michigan State ranked fifth. Both teams have capable passing games but also have been productive on the ground. The Spartans have the more experienced QB in senior Kirk Cousins, but Georgia’s Aaron Murray looks to be more mobile. MSU has ace receiver B.J. Cunningham while Georgia has Orson Charles and Malcolm Mitchell. Georgia would seem to have a slight edge in the ground game if Isaiah Crowell holds up, and the Dogs tend to play better a) on the road and b) in bowl games.

Still, it’ll likely come down to which defense forces a turnover or two. I think Jarvis Jones and company will make the difference and get Georgia’s 2012 off to a great start.

And …

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2012 SEC schedule works in Bulldogs’ favor

SEC-Football1UGA fared pretty well in the revamped 2012 SEC football schedule released Wednesday morning.

It’s official that Georgia travels to Missouri Sept. 8 and the South Carolina game, traditionally the conference opener for the Dogs the past couple of decades, moves to Oct. 6, replacing the previously scheduled trip to Alabama.

The Dogs lose the open date ahead of Florida as the visit to Kentucky, originally scheduled for Oct. 13, moves to Oct. 20. But the Gators will have it even tougher, playing host to South Carolina the week before playing Georgia.

Here’s Georgia’s revised conference schedule: Sept. 8 at Missouri, Sept. 22 Vanderbilt in Athens, Sept. 29 Tennessee in Athens, Oct. 6 at South Carolina, Oct. 20 at Kentucky, Oct. 27 Florida in Jacksonville, Nov. 3 Ole Miss in Athens, Nov. 10 at Auburn. The nonconference home schedule looks to remain the same as before, facing Buffalo (Sept. 1), Florida Atlantic (Sept. 15), Georgia Southern (Nov. 17) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 24).

The …

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Fan talk: Schedules, special teams, Stafford and celebrating the holidays UGA-style

A great gift for any UGA fan. (University of Georgia Press)

A great gift for any UGA fan. (University of Georgia Press)

Here’s wishing everyone in the Bulldog Nation a merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah. I hope your holidays are full of joy and you get to spend them with family and friends. And for those of you traveling, please be safe. If your holiday gatherings are anything like my family’s, you’ll probably wind up talking Dawgs and getting some UGA-related presents. Along those lines, let’s help out someone looking for last-minute gift suggestions as we check the Junkyard Mail. …

Julia McKenzie writes: Bill, I’m among those folks who have left their Christmas shopping until the last couple of days and I still need to get something for my uncle and another gift for my Dad, both of whom are UGA alums and big Bulldogs fans. I don’t want to go the logo cap, T-shirt, jacket route because I know they’ve both got plenty of those. What can you recommend?

I’ve got two suggestions for you, Julia. First is the new, updated edition of “Damn …

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What was your favorite Bulldogs play of the season?

Brandon Boykin goes 80 yards against Boise State. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Brandon Boykin goes 80 yards against Boise State. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

If you haven’t been over to Georgiadogs.com lately, they’ve got a vote going to pick fans’ favorite plays from UGA’s 2011 football season.

They’ve compiled 25 plays (or performances), which are represented by video clips complete with Scott Howard’s play-by-play description — which makes for some very enjoyable viewing. They’re all individual plays except for Jarvis Jones’ four sacks against the Gators, which are clustered together as one entry.

Many of the nominees are, naturally, touchdowns, but you’ve also got key plays like Isaiah Crowell’s 29-yard third–and-9 run against Ole Miss, Sanders Commings’ interception against Mississippi State, Shawn Williams’ diving interception against Tech and Drew Butler’s game-saving tackle on a blocked punt against Vandy.

And there are other fan favorites like Aron White getting trapped in the hedges, John Jenkins body-slamming a Mississippi State player like a pro …

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UGA fans have visions of four- and five-star tailbacks dancing in our heads

Isaiah Crowell is talking the right talk. (Associated Press)

Isaiah Crowell is talking the right talk. (Associated Press)

Coming back from a week’s vacation, there’s plenty to talk about, even if there thankfully wasn’t any major news in Athens amid the continuing coaching upheaval in the SEC, with South Carolina losing Ellis Johnson the latest development.

The rumor mill was working overtime about Mark Richt and Isaiah Crowell, but Richt’s not going anywhere despite the efforts of some folks in the media to send him to Texas A&M or Penn State.

And apparently Crowell isn’t going anywhere either, contrary to all those bulletin board sources, though he does find himself behind Boo Malcome on the depth chart heading into the Outback Bowl. Still, a little competition never hurt and it’s encouraging that Crowell is saying all the right things about needing to apply himself more and take more responsibility. Maybe he’s finally growing up.

There’s also been the usual wondering you normally get this time of year about which underclassmen will …

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Fan talk: Rumors, running backs and favorite moments from Dogs’ 10-win season

Aaron Murray celebrates in the big win over Auburn. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Aaron Murray celebrates in the big win over Auburn. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

If you can tear yourself away from all the Internet rumors popping up, you ought to check out a video compilation that Georgiadogs.com has put up of all 33 of Aaron Murray’s touchdown throws from the past season. It’s tough to pick a favorite, but I think I’d have to go with that Michael Bennett catch in the Florida game.

I’ll be on vacation the next week, but before I head out let’s get to some Junkyard Mail. …

Steve Williams writes: Bill, I’ve heard it said that although Georgia had a 10-game winning streak this season and took the SEC East, the Dawgs didn’t have a single signature win because they lost to the three best teams they played. This was cited by one observer in explaining why South Carolina got the Capitol One Bowl over Georgia. I can’t really argue about us losing to the three best teams we played, but I thought the comeback in Jacksonville was a pretty “signature” moment, even if it …

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UGA signing Keith Marshall can only help Isaiah Crowell

Isaiah Crowell disappointed many fans and yet still was SEC freshman of the year. (Associated Press)

Isaiah Crowell disappointed many fans and yet still was SEC freshman of the year. (Associated Press)

The shift in UGA fan support away from Isaiah Crowell and toward Keith Marshall has been swift and decisive, at least online.

But I really don’t understand some folks’ penchant for viewing Georgia’s tailback situation next year as an either-or proposition where Marshall, the new golden boy, supplants Crowell, the disappointing former favorite.

Let’s keep some perspective here. Yes, the injury-prone Crowell rubbed many the wrong way to start with this season by frequently taking himself out of games after a couple of runs. Then there was the immaturity that manifested itself in a couple of suspensions.

And there definitely seems to be a bit of an attitude problem, evident when we saw Crowell turn his back on his head coach in the middle of a dressing down for drawing a penalty with his mouthing off during the SEC championship game. That’s something even the ever-patient Mark …

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Georgia fared pretty well in illogical world of bowl pairings

outback-bowl logo“The first man gets the oyster, the second man gets the shell.” — Andrew Carnegie

“Nobody remembers who came in second.” — Charles Schulz

The SEC no longer allows the loser of its championship game to plummet to a third-tier bowl and Mark Richt’s Dawgs weren’t exactly forgotten as the team that finished No. 2 in the conference this season.

But it’s one of those typical quirks of the crazy world of college football that the SEC runner-up Dawgs and the No. 6 team in the BCS, Arkansas, both were passed over by the Capitol One Bowl in favor of South Carolina, which finished behind Georgia in the SEC East. Of course, the Gamecocks are ranked higher in the polls than Georgia and their fans are known for buying up all the bowl tickets they can get their hands on.

Another oddity: While getting pasted in the second half of the SEC championship apparently knocked Georgia down a notch in the bowl pairings, the ACC runner-up, Virginia Tech, managed to crack the BCS (also on the basis …

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Tigers show Dogs half a win isn’t better than nothing

Malcolm Mitchell contemplates what might have been after dropping a sure touchdown pass. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Malcolm Mitchell contemplates what might have been after dropping a sure touchdown pass. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Is there such a thing as half a moral victory?

If so, you could probably chalk up Georgia’s first-half showing in the SEC title game as something along those lines.

Of course, the cold, hard truth is that moral victories are just losses in which you can find something to make it hurt just a little less. And that’s where UGA fans are left after running into the Honey Badger and Co.

Yes, the Dogs were soundly beaten by LSU in the Georgia Dome in what turned into a very ugly rout in the second half. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Georgia defense played a remarkable first half, holding the No. 1 team in the country to a mere dozen yards of offense and absolutely no first downs.

I can’t remember ever seeing that before in a game against a major opponent.

Unfortunately, while Georgia came out initially with an aggressive game plan that included a flawlessly …

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Fan talk: Looking at Georgia-LSU from both sides

big bulldog head logoEarlier this week a Bulldog friend of mine who lives in Baton Rouge reported that Tiger fandom was sounding a bit cocky about Saturday’s game with Georgia. But wanting to introduce some genuine Cajun flavor into the proceedings, I went to my favorite LSU fan, Louis Mayeux, for his view of the SEC Championship.

“While I’m confident that my LSU Tigers will beat Georgia in the SEC Championship game Saturday,” he said, “one memorable bit of history reminds me that nothing is certain in college football. In the 2001 SEC Championship, an 8-3 LSU team found itself in the same underdog’s role as Georgia this year, with No. 2 Tennessee in LSU’s present overwhelming favorite’s spot. The Volunteers were expected to win handily and head to the BCS championship game. But rising young coach Nick Saban’s Tigers upset Philip Fulmer’s Vols. The memory of that great win, which marked the beginning of LSU’s recent rise to college football prominence, should keep Tiger fans from …

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