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 that’s exactly what’s on the mind of one reader in our holiday week Junkyard Mail …

... against Michigan State's Kirk Cousins. (Associated Press)

... against Michigan State's Kirk Cousins. (Associated Press)

Garrett Kee writes: Hey Bill, hope your Christmas was great and your New Year’s will be fantastic, hopefully watching a lot of football! I wanted to see what you thought on this. I think this could be one of the Dawgs’ most important games of the year in regards to a couple of things. Obviously, a win in any bowl gives you an edge for the upcoming year and gives your team a boost. From what I’ve read, a win over #13 Michigan State would put us in the pre-season Top 10. The most important thing I believe is to show that the Dawgs did steadily improve throughout the whole year. Let’s face it, the three best teams we played this year, Boise, Carolina and LSU, we all lost, so it has fueled naysayers that Georgia really didn’t get any better, they just got better because their “cupcake” schedule allowed them to. I feel like if we could come out with a win — doesn’t have to be a statement win — it would help reassure the whole Bulldog Nation that Georgia will be ready to make a run in 2012. Go Dawgs!

If Georgia doesn’t get hit too badly with underclassmen leaving early for the NFL, I have a feeling the Bulldogs may enter the 2012 season as a Top 10 team even without a win in the Outback Bowl, thanks to a combination of returning talent and a favorable schedule. But you’re certainly correct that notching the season’s 11th victory against a Top 20 team would improve Georgia’s image and make up for the 0-2 start in terms of the national media — as well as bolstering support in the Bulldog Nation.

Harrison Gaines writes: Bill, like all Georgia fans I’m pleased with how the revised 2012 schedule worked out, but I’m wondering where the conference goes from here. I keep reading conflicting things about the likelihood of a nine-game conference schedule in the future. On the one hand, I’d much rather see Georgia play Alabama than Buffalo. But adding another conference game probably would make it tougher for the SEC champion to make it to the BCS title game and would mean fewer home games some years. What do you think?

With nonconference schedules already set for several years and the buyouts from them rather expensive, I don’t think adding another conference game is likely to happen for a while, if ever. I know that sticking with the current eight-game model would mean long gaps between meetings with teams from the other division. And I have heard the argument that eventually going to a nine-game conference schedule would help TV ratings (and likely boost SEC licensing fees) with every team eliminating one cupcake and playing another SEC team. But as UGA athletic director Greg McGarity has pointed out, for schools like Georgia and South Carolina and Florida that have an in-state BCS nonconference rival they play every year, the nine-game model would really be limiting. And, frankly, as long as Georgia and Auburn play every year, I’m fine with only seeing the Hogs or the Maroon Bulldogs a couple of times per decade.

Trey Jarrard writes: I know that currently Dawg fans everywhere are concerned with the bowl game, recruiting, scheduling, and who we will lose to the NFL draft, but one question cries out for an answer every single year and we never get it. During Mark Richt’s tenure at UGA, the offensive line is plagued with injuries year in and year out. We get some of the best recruits in the country, and it’s not that these guys don’t live up to their potential, but rather they get injured in practice before they ever really get a chance to play to their potential. At what point should the coaching staff step back and start asking some serious questions? Are we doing the right drills? Strength and conditioning? Every year it seems like our O-line is supposed to loaded, but before the first game we’re decimated and relegated to playing backups for the rest of year. Now this year, Ben Jones and crew stepped up, but it was the same exact story as every other year before the season started. It’s one thing if these guys get hurt in a game like Dallas Lee, but it’s a whole different issue when they’re never making it on the field. I was just wondering if I’m the only one that’s noticed this yearly preseason evaporation of our offensive line?

The offensive line situation during Richt’s tenure hasn’t always been quite as dire as you paint it, but you’re not the first fan I’ve heard ask that question. In general the OL is an area that tends to see a lot of physical wear and tear. I think perhaps the tremendous size of Georgia’s offensive linemen in recent years has been a factor — particularly in the case of Trinton Sturdivant, whose knees didn’t appear capable of supporting his playing size — and in general UGA’s conditioning wasn’t what it should have been before this season. I’m encouraged, however, that Georgia was able to make it through this season with overall improved OL play despite a severe lack of depth. Looks like new OL coach Will Friend was a great hire.

PAC Man writes: It amuses me that whenever UGA has a modicum of football success, its delusional fan base starts crowing about “them Dawgs” getting back where they belong. Come off it! Outside your little corner of the country Georgia is not viewed as a major football program and never has been! You’re not at the same level as a traditional power like USC! You’re not even up there with Texas, Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan or Oklahoma! Get real and accept that you’re a midlevel program that rides on the coattails of LSU and Alabama!

I hate to burst your West Coast bubble, PAC, but it’s not just UGA fans who consider Georgia a major program. Just this week, Forbes magazine ranked the Top 10 “most valuable” college football teams in America (based on revenue generated) and Georgia placed seventh, behind Texas, Notre Dame, Penn State, LSU, Michigan and Alabama. Rounding out the Top 10 and trailing the Dogs were Arkansas, Auburn and Oklahoma. Your mighty Trojans didn’t make the list.

Got something on your mind concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

280 comments Add your comment

Spanky

December 30th, 2011
10:11 am

This just in: Big-Bad Jon Jenkins will be back next year! Awesome!! Go Dawgs!!

Spanky

December 30th, 2011
10:12 am

Holy Crap!…I was first?….and I don’t even shive a git!! LOL

Money talks and smoke walks

December 30th, 2011
10:18 am

The best indicator os a school’s worthiness is looking at the entire span of that school’s history. I believe that Alabama, Southern Cal ( the REAL USC) and Penn. State and UGA are the ALL TIME …………………ALL TIME …………….ALL TIME BOWL GAME WINNERS.

Shake it, twist it, spin it anyway that you desire, haters, UGA is just one game below Penn State (in third place) for wins. Pretty decent company for a “low level, obscure, hidden, out of sight out of mind program”. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ???

As for BRAND $$$$ AWARNESS ………………….UGA is only behind Ohio State and I believe Texas for the REVENUE that is created by their BRAND, as measured by apparel sales, logo licensing contracts, etc. MONEY TALKS and SMOKE walks, haters.

Another way to compare, is to view the Sun Bowl in 2011 and their $2.2 million team pay out and compare that to the Outback Bowl and their $7 million pay out.

Joey

December 30th, 2011
10:20 am

Bill, you can’t smell a Tech-mite behind that “PAC Man” handle? Key words: delusional, midlevel, coattails, etc.

But, to be fair, what else can a techie talk (write) about? 1 win in 11 years? NCAA Probation, El Paso?

Thus, some of them just hide behind some obscure handle, or pretend to be a fan of a team that has actually given us trouble lately.

artful codger

December 30th, 2011
10:22 am

This game should give more insight as to whether Crowell has the mettle needed at RB or not. He is supposedly healed up … over his virus, etc.
Hopefully we won’t see him limping off the field in Tampa.

faithfuldawg86

December 30th, 2011
10:23 am

Way to burst PAC Man’s bubble, Bill, I love it! I sincerely hope we get Orson Charles and Bacarri Rambo back next year. With Crowell and Marshall in the backfield and a couple new guys up front to give us some depth at OL (something EVERY tems needs, because as you pointed out, those guys get banged up – it’s the nature of these positions), I think we will truly see a return to the kind of success UGA fans expect. So glad Richt shut up most of his detractors this year as I truly believe he is the right man for the job. Great character, great mentor for these young men, and a great football coach – who could ask for more? I also like Bobo but I think he needs to work on making in-game adjustments and more imaginative play-calling (better in the last few games). Those were, incidentally, the same complaints I used to have about Vince Dooley :) Go Dawgs!! Let’s go take Sparty DOWN!

Typical GT Nerd

December 30th, 2011
10:24 am

MSU WILL DESTROY UGA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MSU 68

UGA 0

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

gbal

December 30th, 2011
10:26 am

Seen two tweets on jenkins and rambo regarding jumping to NFL (or not) but nothing reported on it? Where are our beat reporters? They need to be on this story as opposed to “UGA DROPPS BAMA FROM SCHEDULE”. Comon man!!!

Dawg4Life

December 30th, 2011
10:28 am

Will Friend has done more in one year the Serales did in three. I still don’t understand why he is considered such a premiere OL coach. 2012 is looking well.

bring the pain

December 30th, 2011
10:30 am

spanky where did you hear that about Jenkins? what about the rest who are considering the jump?

bring the pain

December 30th, 2011
10:36 am

As a coach i can tell you that Oline issues sometimes are not due to lack of conditioning and strenght, ligament injuries and shoulder injuries are from the constant pounding they take. You have to undestand you CANNOT condition and Tendon or a Ligament. I do wonder if we should not implement some type of SERIOUS yoga or some type of martial arts stretching regiment, hell the martail arts would help with all aspects of the game look at Herschel.

Frank Lane

December 30th, 2011
10:36 am

PAC Man, I have lived and worked in NYC, Cincinnati, Detroit Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Portland. Believe me UGA is considered a perennial powerhouse even when we should not be.

Evansdawg

December 30th, 2011
10:37 am

That PAC person is a definite Techie. No one at USC has the passion to jump on an Atlanta paper where the Dawgs are being discussed. Those people don’t even tailgate, showing up an hour or two before the game. Pathetic Tech fans are funny having to pose as fans of other schools.

WDE

December 30th, 2011
10:51 am

@bring the pain you make some really good points regarding Tendon and Ligaments. Martial arts are a great way to condition your body and mind for the physical and mental toughness you need on the OL or anywhere on the team. Plus getting to hit folks helps hone the “killer instinct” needed to play, and getting hit and learning how to take a hit helps build toughness and the understanding that just because you got hit doesn’t mean you’ve lost . Another thing that really helps is jumping rope..I promise I’m not making that up great for conditioning and flexibility.

Geaux Tigers

December 30th, 2011
10:53 am

If the 2011 version of the UGA football team were “for real” they would have beaten a couple of top 25 teams. Here we are at the last game of the season and we are still waiting. 13 games are plenty to already proven they are “for real”. They parlayed an easy schedule into 10 wins without a single one
of significance.

Buckeye

December 30th, 2011
10:54 am

Lake Dawg

December 30th, 2011
10:55 am

UGa lost to the 3 best teams they played. Really? Didn’t just about everyone except LSU lose to the best teams they played? Isn’t that better than losing to weaker teams on the schedule. No matter how you slice it, the Dawgs have 10 wins and only 3 losses.

Hey buddy, thanks!

December 30th, 2011
10:55 am

Just think of it like this:

The more haters we have, the more relevant we are! When people take the time to come talk crap about UGA, they are admitting that they are paying attention to us. I take it as a compliment. The more haters, the better if you ask me. Thanks guys!! We love the Dawgs too!!

Michael J.

December 30th, 2011
10:56 am

Well the Dawgs should be for real considering that almost 80% of their entire athletic department revenue comes from football. That’s the highest in the FBS over the last decade according to this link from CBTN:

http://coachesbythenumbers.com/coach-rankings/?reportId=10

Mtn Dawg

December 30th, 2011
11:00 am

PAC Man does not have is facts straight. Not even close. UGA football has the respect of every major program in the country, and most of them would rather not play us. I would love to rub Pac Man’s (USC’s) face in the dirt sometime.

GO DAWGS!!!!!

WDE

December 30th, 2011
11:01 am

Mtn Dawg

December 30th, 2011
11:01 am

@Geaux Tigers – The DAWGS beat a ranked Auburn team. Get your facts straight!

DecDawg

December 30th, 2011
11:03 am

Dawg4Life i agree…Friend is getting the job done and in recruiting too! Sereals was a problem and glad he’s gone. We are getting good looking recruits (depth finally) and have a solid OL coach to that is coaching them up. Future looks bright! GO DAWGS!!

SSIgator

December 30th, 2011
11:04 am

“Dawgs have a chance to prove they’re for real”

This is news? They have a chance to do that every year, only to flame out again and again. They had a chance to prove it against LSU in Atlanta this year, but forgot that there are sixty minutes in a football game. Another beautiful coaching job by Mark “I can win games – just not the big games” Richt. No matter how you slice it, 1980 is not coming back again, but do enjoy your VHS tape of the game.

WDE

December 30th, 2011
11:04 am

@Mtn Dawg as hard as it is to believe Bug U was ranked in the top 25…till they played us.

Mtn Dawg

December 30th, 2011
11:08 am

@WDE – You are abosulely correct. Easily overlooked though.

Mtn Dawg

December 30th, 2011
11:08 am

That would be ‘absolutely’. My bad.

Proud-Dawg

December 30th, 2011
11:20 am

@PAC, to answer you national brand question. I’m currently working in NYC. I’m aways supporting Dawgs attire, and when I walking down the street I get a lot of “Go Dawgs.” My company home base is in San Diego, CA. You would think being on opposite sides of the country, no one know what that “G” stands for, right? Well, judging by the comments people recognize the Georgia brand. The only thing missing from the brand “no one cares about” is that mythical NC. It amazes me so many people talk about UGA in NYC and on the left coast when we haven’t won a title since the 80’s. Sleeping giant is what I hear a lot. Go Dawgs

sogadog

December 30th, 2011
11:22 am

Any season we beat Tenn., Florida, Tech and Auburn and end up with 10 wins is a great season regardless of Boise, USC and LSU.

Frank Lane

December 30th, 2011
11:27 am

Auburn was also in the top 25 until we destroyed them.

Lakedawg

December 30th, 2011
11:28 am

Sickgator–Careful man, true dawg fan will be all over your back with remarks like that. Guess Coach Richt should take a few lwssons from that new hot shot coach in Gaainesville, believe he won all his BIG games this year/

106-37 No coach in SEC has that winning %, believe that included a few big games.

Say It Aint So

December 30th, 2011
11:28 am

I hope the Tech players enjoy the Sun Bowl Swag Gifts like the hair dryer they got.

Spanky

December 30th, 2011
11:58 am

Say It Aint So…they also hafta chip in for gas! LOL!! It is, however, a step up from the cheap-trinket bowl they keep playing!…not MUCH of a step, but it is a step!

01HAWK

December 30th, 2011
12:04 pm

1980 ……………………………………………..It was a long time ago…………………………..Wasn’t it ?

george

December 30th, 2011
12:05 pm

you cant be serious? FOR REAL???? HA HA HA HA HA. How can a team that beat ONE ranked team all year (#25) taken for real. 4 maybe 5 teams in the SEC west could have had the exact same record as the puppies with their schedule. So I guess all those teams are “for real” as well?

gt4ever

December 30th, 2011
12:09 pm

I would have to agree with Pacman…. You can almost write verbatim how the dawg nation reacts when they experience a little success… It’s kinda sad really… All these delusional dawg fans…. They are so PREDICTABLE….. I think this game will prove one thing…. If they win, which is unlikely, they will have beaten ONE descent team this year…. Bring on the NC…. LMAO…

GAFan

December 30th, 2011
12:13 pm

I just saw where 63,548 tickets are sold for the Outback bowl, with only 2300 left for the game on Monday. UGA Sold out its allotment. On the other hand, the Capital One bowl has well over 10,000 tickets remaining. Good thing the Capital One bowl took S. Carolina over UGA. LOL

GAFan

December 30th, 2011
12:15 pm

Please everyone QUIT speaking of Arkansas in the same breath as Alabama and LSU. Arkansas got beaten as bad as UGA did against those teams. Arkansas is no better than UGA so PLEASE quit speaking of them as a BIG BAD SEC WEST team, which they are NOT.

Dawg_Mike

December 30th, 2011
12:15 pm

1980 was a long time ago. so we have established that to be a fact.
In other news, the sun came up this morning.

damn trolls.

BAMA STAN

December 30th, 2011
12:16 pm

13 NATIONAL TITLES – 22 SEC TITLES!!!!

I think the UGA/Sparty match-up is one fo the better match ups this bowl season.

In fact – I have debated to my Dog friends that UGA is the Michigan State of the SEC.

Both are regionally respected – but are not considered nationally elite.
Michigan State has 4 recognized National Titles
UGA has 2 recoginzed National Titles
Both teams – historically speaking – are rated the 4th or 5th best team in their perspective conferences.
Neither team is considered NATIONALLY as an elite football power – yet are fairly consistently competitive.

I am rooting for UGA – but think Michigan State is going to win this game.
Why?
1. UGA lost to the only really good teams they had to play this year – and sturggled to beat Florida and Tennessee….. these teams sucked.
2. Michigan State had the harder schedule – and actually beat some good teams.

I think UGA will be in position to be a really good team next year – but I do not think Richt, one of my favorite coaches – is National Tilte Coach material.

GAFan

December 30th, 2011
12:17 pm

Forbes Magazine just ranked the UGA Football team the #7 most valuable college team. 6 of the 10 teams were from the SEC.

GAFan

December 30th, 2011
12:20 pm

No way Michigan State will beat UGA. It will be close, but UGA wins by 4

Ty

December 30th, 2011
12:23 pm

I’d like to see the Falcons use a middle rounder on Cousins. Redman ain’t getting any younger. Oh, wait … I forgot the Falcons traded away the entire 2012 draft for Julio Jones. Never mind.

gt4ever

December 30th, 2011
12:24 pm

NO way, huh, GAFan…. What a HOMER! There is NO reason to think that UGA will win this game… NONE…

ARdawg

December 30th, 2011
12:30 pm

gt4ever

Your hatred and your slip is showing, sissy

Nom Nom Nom Chuck's Taylor, or Norris if he is avaliable

December 30th, 2011
12:31 pm

Is Murray taking a dump in that pic?

roughrider

December 30th, 2011
12:32 pm

If I were a GT Nerd, I would be worried about nothing but Tech getting it’s rear end kicked in the past 6 bowl games.

gt4ever

December 30th, 2011
12:33 pm

lol… You got me ARdawg…. Still doesn’t change the fact that you guys haven’t beat anybody this year… Nothing to warrant all this talk about 12 – 0….. I mean, are you a HOMER to, ARdawg…

Proud-Dawg

December 30th, 2011
12:33 pm

@Trolls

we all know that UGA hasn’t won a title in 31 years. As a UGA fan and alumnus, I don’t care that we are on a dry streak. I love my Dawgs regardless, 0-12 or 12-0. Your negativity is a byproduct of your own life. It’s really sad. Your opinion means very little, except to the fringe lunatics.

I guess I’m just thankful my happiness is not tied to whether my school wins a National Title. It would be extremely sad to live on the success of STUDENT athletes, like one fan base in particular.

Happy New Year to all

REALDAWG

December 30th, 2011
12:36 pm

Any fan of Alabama or LSU fans that come on this site and talks trash must have just started watching football in the last five years as Georgia has crushed both those teams in the past.

For the record Georgia is #6 for most bowl games played and has a higher winning percentage than Alabama who has only played in 11 more games making them #1.

LSU’s 2007 NC is a joke. No team that lost to Kentucky and Arkansas on the last game of the year is a NC. Everyone knows Georgia was a much better team that year but had to settle for a #2 ranking becuase of Kirk H.. Alabama does not deserve to be in the NC becuase they are not SEC CHAMPS and played a weak schedule, Another joke.