Fan talk: Matt Stafford, UGA’s cupcake schedule and more!

A new Matthew Stafford action figure is expected to look something like this. (McFarlane Toys)

A new Matthew Stafford action figure is expected to look something like this. (McFarlane Toys)

For those of you who enjoy Georgia Bulldog-related collectibles, a new action figure coming from McFarlane Toys and Clarktoys.com in September is available for pre-order: Matthew Stafford in his Detroit Lions uniform.

Here’s the company’s spiel for Stafford: “The former Georgia Bulldog QB, drafted #1 overall in 2009 by the Detroit Lions, had been plagued by injuries in his first two NFL seasons, only playing 13 total games over the course of two years. In 2011, with the injuries behind him, Stafford put together the greatest quarterback performance in the history of the Detroit Lions. The 2011 season was the official ‘I have arrived’ party. Stafford threw for more than 5,000 yards (only the 4th QB in NFL history to do so), with 41 touchdowns, and led the Lions to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. He currently holds the Lions franchise record for passing yards, passing touchdowns, passing attempts, and completion percentage for a single season.”

Pretty impressive.

Unlike most of the McFarlane NFL line, the Stafford figure will only be available via Clarktoys.com and won’t be sold at retail.

Pre-orders of the $17.99 limited-edition figure, which will ship in July, can be made online. And for $27.99 you can get a combo of the Stafford figure with one of Lions receiver (and North Avenue Trade School alum) Calvin Johnson that ships in September. (Some of you Tech fans that spend so much time on the Blawg might at least want to jump on the latter.)

Now, let’s get to some Junkyard Mail. …

Matt Cafaro writes: Bill, With this new reality of playoffs in 2014, will we FINALLY see the end of McGarity’s Florida-esque scheduling of boring cupcakes? The committee that will be choosing the four playoff participants will give some weight to winning a conference and maybe margin of victory, but it seems, most importantly, to strength of schedule. I’m sure the S.O.S. component will be important because it’s the only way Notre Dame could ever gain access into the playoff if they actually become relevant again (hard to say that with a straight face, haha), but also because of the upcoming Big 10 and PAC 12 scheduled games. McGarity’s way of scheduling just won’t fly with the BCS finally dying. So will Georgia again embrace competitive scheduling? … McGarity’s way is cowardly, let’s just come out and say that. It’s cowardly and boring and beneath UGA. Better to be beaten by Oklahoma State than win another yawner versus Jacksonville State. Go Dawgs!

Fans aren't very excited about the Dogs facing the likes of Buffalo. (University of Buffalo)

Fans aren't very excited about the Dogs facing the likes of Buffalo. (University of Buffalo)

You make a valid point, but I don’t think the mere prospect of a strength-of-schedule component in the selection of teams for the playoff is going to be enough to prompt immediate changes at UGA or any of the other SEC schools that tend to go with two or three cupcake games each season. (Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, of course, each have BCS-level nonconference rivals on their schedule every year.) As McGarity told the Chattanooga Times-Free Press on the subject of adding a ninth conference game in the SEC, “We are locked into nonconference games with very high liquidated damages for both parties in some games through 2016. … I fully expect to play every one of our nonconference opponents on the Saturdays we have fully executed contracts with.” UGA has a dozen contracts for nonconference games, with the buyouts ranging from $1.2 million to $450,000. It also should be noted that, in addition to playing Georgia Tech every year, UGA “periodically” (McGarity’s word) likes to schedule a second major nonconference opponent, and the Bulldogs have Clemson coming on the schedule for their twice-a-decade appearances in 2013 and 2014. Georgia was supposed to play Ohio State in 2020-2021, but the Buckeyes canceled that deal because of Big 10 teams adding a PAC 12 opponent each year. As you made reference to, McGarity brought the cupcake-heavy philosophy from the University of Florida, where it helped secure a couple of BCS titles. Still, there’s no getting around how weak and downright unattractive this year’s UGA nonconference schedule is. The Oklahoman recently ranked the nonference schedules of the 68 schools in the six major conferences and UGA, playing Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern and Tech this year, came in 47th, falling far short of Michigan, which topped the list by scheduling Alabama, Notre Dame and Air Force. Of course, most of the schedules looked more like Georgia’s than Michigan’s, as cupcakes have become the preferred dish in college athletic offices. And the Oklahoman ranked the conferences in terms of schedules, and the SEC lagged behind the Big 12, PAC 12, ACC and Big 10, but ahead of the Big East. Whether the playoff selection committee (assuming that’s what we end up with) giving weight to strength of schedule will be enough to reverse the cupcake trend remains to be seen. A bigger factor might be ticket sales. UGA is still offering single season tickets and multiple single-game tickets to the Buffalo, Florida Atlantic and Vanderbilt games. If the number of unsold seats starts to grow for the weaker opponents coming to Athens, Georgia might indeed rethink its scheduling philosophy.

In another schedule-related question, Josh Floyd writes: Are you as tired as I am of the demeaning of UGA football accomplishments last year due to the reasoning of weak scheduling, and this year that any titles should have an asterisk because of the “weak” schedule? I’m so appalled at the lack of truthfulness by the media, and other SEC head ball, er, coaches, that don’t seem to realize it’s on a rotation. There is no bias or conspiracy to give UGA an “easy” schedule. I’m with Coach Mark Richt: Tell me the rules, and who we’re playing, and let’s go do the best we can.

You’re right, it’s been ridiculous how many supposedly knowledgeable folks who should know better (including at ESPN) have been implying that Georgia pulled a fast one or got away with something in the conference schedules for 2011 and 2012. It was just the Dogs’ turn in the rotation for the easier cross-division schedule. (In 2008, for example, Georgia played both Alabama and LSU from the SEC West.) If the SEC honchos at conference headquarters in Birmingham give special consideration to any program, it’s certainly not UGA’s!

Commenting on a couple of issues recently discussed here, Harry Charbonneau writes: Bill, The University of Georgia substance abuse policy is superb. Drug use is antithetical to athletics and all Georgia fans should be proud of our tough and uncompromising policy on drugs. I agree entirely with Greg McGarity’s and Coach Richt’s stance on this issue. I am proud to be an alumnus of a university that leads the way in setting these standards. [Also] the black jerseys should definitely be revived and used this year. The black jerseys with red helmets and silver pants is a great look. I think they should be used in several home games and would like to have the players select the games. I agree Auburn at home would be an excellent time for black and I suspect the players might agree. I greatly enjoy your blog.

Thanks, Harry. I can’t disagree with you on the drug policy, though it would be nice if the standards were higher throughout the conference or nationwide, so the Dogs weren’t put at a competitive disadvantage. As for the black jerseys, I agree it’s a terrific look, but I believe once per season would be sufficient.

A couple of fans have a suggestion for improving Stegeman Coliseum's home court advantage. (University of Georgia)

A couple of fans have a suggestion for improving Stegeman Coliseum's home court advantage. (University of Georgia)

Switching sports, James Gates writes: Bill, I am a regular reader of your Blawg — keep up the great work! One of my best friends from college, Brent Paten, and I are UGA alumni and supporters of the basketball program. While attending the UGA-Bama basketball game a few years ago (Mark Fox’s and Anthony Grant’s first seasons, respectively) we were discussing what simple things we could we do to help our program reach its potential. Brent suggested that we should swap court directions so that we force our opponent to shoot at the student section goal in the second half. … Brent noted that it is rather idiotic we do not do this. Let’s be honest: Stegeman Coliseum is not packed for every game. However, our fans (particularly the students) show up for the really big games. The weeknight and Saturday SEC contests are well attended and supported by the student body. It would be not only a savvy move but also an easy fix to involve them more in the game. Forcing the visitor to shoot into our student section in the second half would provide a true home court advantage. The section is elevated and the band is adjacent to the students. If you think I am overemphasizing this element of the college game please review footage of our games at the O’Connell Center or Rupp Arena and then look at our games in Stegeman. Observe our opponent’s focus as they shoot critical second half free throws totally undisturbed into Stegeman’s crowd of older folks seated in folding chairs. (Of course, these programs have combined to win 3 of the past 7 national championships in basketball so they might not know what they are doing). It’s not just free throws either. Our students get loud and more importantly can disrupt the opponent’s ability to operate its half-court offense. I would appreciate you mentioning this in your Blawg to see what others might think. GO DAWGS!

It does seem like a simple change that might help the second-half atmosphere at the Steg. Georgia roundball fans, what do you think?

We’ll answer more Junkyard Mail next week, so if you have something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg, send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

173 comments Add your comment

jkirsch6

June 23rd, 2012
9:35 pm

first?
I totally agree with the notion of switching court directions for basketball games. As a recent graduate of the University of Georgia, and having attended the majority of the basketball games over the past couple of years, I’d have to say that the student section is considerably louder than the “old folks” section of Stegeman.

And bring back the black!
Go Dawgs!

Broad Street

June 23rd, 2012
9:35 pm

I think these numbers by Stafford prove what everybody not on North Ave knows……

It took a UGA quarterback to make Calvin Johnson live up to his potential.

GO DAWGS!!!!

Macclenny_dawg

June 23rd, 2012
9:43 pm

The year of the Red and Black Attack!!!

Sam

June 23rd, 2012
9:44 pm

Matt Cafaro needs to look at ND’s SOS. Phil Steele has it rated the hardest in the country for 2012. ND has never played a FCS school. It plays a very intriguing schedule virtually every year. The service academies might be the only things close to a cupcake and yet I do not see SEC schools reaching out to play Navy or Air Force. I think as long as the SEC is held at the current level of respective, going undefeated in the conference regardless of the OOC schedules is not going to matter. I think for other conferences it might however.

http://www.fbschedules.com/2012/06/phil-steele-2012-college-football-strength-of-schedule-rankings/

Joe

June 23rd, 2012
9:51 pm

Black jerseys are stupid. It was a nice gimmick, but it is played out. Just stick with the regular jerseys and focus on the dadgum gameplan.

Typical UGA stuff on the court direction. Basketball is just so irrellevant to the athletic department that they have never thought about it. They probably do not want to upset the 50 season ticket holders whose total contributions probably don’t add up to more than a couple hundred thousand dollars. Basketball could be a money maker if the AD would realize that the “donors” are wastes of space and a winning program would provide a huge infusion of new money.

It’s so painful that Calvin Johnson chose to waste his college career. I have no doubt that UGA would have won the national title in 2005 with the Shockley to Johnson connection.

Across the wide Missouri

June 23rd, 2012
9:56 pm

Missouri 42, Georgia 7

Broad Street

June 23rd, 2012
9:58 pm

Get over yourself Joe,

The black jerseys are an incredible look for the program. The fans and the players loved them.

The only “gimmick” was the nasty black helmets worn at the 2009 Gator game.

Broad Street

June 23rd, 2012
9:59 pm

Across the wide…..

BYU 65, tek 2

Joe

June 23rd, 2012
10:01 pm

Those gimmicks are for Oregon and Rutgers. Alabama, USC, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas don’t fool with their uniforms. If you want to be like Oregon and Boise St, have at it.

mgdawg

June 23rd, 2012
10:05 pm

I love the fact that UGA and richt have made a stand when it comes to drug use, and I only wish that it would be made more public how harsh UGA’s standards are versus everyone else. It really makes UGA look bad when they have all these suspensions, but it should really be more publicised that this is because UGA has higher standards then everyone else.

I love the black uniforms, bring them back.

RHall55

June 23rd, 2012
10:10 pm

Keep an eye on CMB’s play calling; an eye on CRG’s in-state recruiting; and CWF’s depth of OL!! If these performances do not get better, then it will be time for another episode of a Willie Martinez exodus; see what happens when you put a more qualified, more energetic, more knowledgeable Coach in a position like that!! A world of difference!! Until more changes like that, UGA will not win a NC!!

Einstein

June 23rd, 2012
10:11 pm

There are an infinite number of possible solutions to my Special Theory of Relativity. One solution recently found by a supercomputer actually suggests the possibility of a UGA national championship under Mark Richt. In order to be mathematically correct, however, the solution requires that the sun rise in the west, the moon is made of green cheese, and dinosaurs still roam the earth.

Humberto

June 23rd, 2012
10:27 pm

James, I totally agree with you on switching court directions for bball! It just makes sense & I can tell you that students would actually be more into the games if they were closer to the action as opposed to sitting in the upper level (though Stegeman isn’t that big of an arena). I wish McGarity would open up the whole lower level to students (maybe the first 10 rows or so) like most other schools. At the very least, McGarity should open up the section opposite to the current student section under the jumbotron to students–which would create a true home court advantage.

claytondawg

June 23rd, 2012
10:35 pm

@Einstein: you are absolutely correct. Don’t think we’ll see anything dominant on the playing field with the current coaches–Bobo, Richt. I, myself, would like to see Grantham as head coach.

DawginLex

June 23rd, 2012
10:38 pm

Tunsil and seymour in the mix next??

Foster shaky at bama?

Next 3 weeks leading up to dawg night=interesting times

RED DOG 77

June 24th, 2012
1:23 am

Bill………..what-up with your site dude?…………I just finished one of my more brilliant posts and like a flash………….it was lost in some black hole…………..I’m taking my ball and going home……….for now…………..RED

LakeDawg

June 24th, 2012
1:31 am

I think the black jersey’s look good, but as another poster pointed out, teams with winning traditions don’t wear gimmick unis. Stick with the red.

RED DOG 77

June 24th, 2012
1:34 am

Someone posted Missouri 42 Georgia 7…………..Whoa Nellie ! someones already into the eggnog and Christmas eve is exactly six months away…………well each to his own I suppose………..Me? I’m enjoying a mintjulip in the shade of a magnolia tree………….Football is coming pretty soon though……………..I can’t wait !…………..RED

gbal

June 24th, 2012
7:38 am

Enter your comments here

UGA Fan Foreva

June 24th, 2012
7:43 am

HHAHAHAHAHA wow Missouri 42, UGA 7???? HAHAHAHAH that’s funny. That’s a good one haha. If anything it should be the other way around!!! GO DAWGS!!!!

just a fan

June 24th, 2012
7:47 am

I recently was transferred to Florida for work and am looking to sell my season tickets for the upcoming year if interested email me at fantasynfl3100@yahoo.com

The REAL sugarHillDawg

June 24th, 2012
8:06 am

Matt Cafaro, so winning against a cupcake is worse that losing? Dude, do you realize how STUPID you sound?Don’t guess you mind losing if it’s a moral victory huh?We don’t need fans like you Pal.

Big Dawg

June 24th, 2012
8:09 am

Enough of the yucky black uniforms. WHo died? They are so depressing; so mortuary.I thought we had gotten past that.
The school colors and brand are the beautiful red with white pants. Keep it that way period

Beast from the East

June 24th, 2012
8:19 am

“Bill, With this new reality of playoffs in 2014, will we FINALLY see the end of McGarity’s Florida-esque scheduling of boring cupcakes?”

Phile Steele has UF’s 2012 schedule ranked as the 5th toughest in the country. Why do you uninformed pups feel the need to blame UF for your wimpy scheduling philosophy?

NJ Dawg

June 24th, 2012
8:24 am

If I am not mistaken, the Girls bench is opposite the Men’s….correct? It may have been that way for years…

Keep (bring back) the black uniforms…..no black helmets….

Solve the scheuling problem by adding Clemson again…..what a GREAT series that was! Then you can keep the two cupcakes and Tech…..

Last year really showed how truely great Stafford was at UGA….and will continue to be in the NFL! Only one problem….I am a lifelong Vikings fan!

Go Dawgs!

bitter A.D.--mc-greedy

June 24th, 2012
8:25 am

your wife said your weak———–hahahah

Verlaine

June 24th, 2012
8:26 am

Wounds my heart with monotonous languor.

Beast from the East

June 24th, 2012
8:29 am

By the way, Steele doesn’t even have UGA’s schedule ranked in the top 50. UF at #5 toughest, UGA not in top 50. How can you possibly say they are “following the UF model” with a straight face?

Time Bandit

June 24th, 2012
8:30 am

How many more Caleb Kings has Richt recruited – ticking time bombs waiting to explode?

Only Richt would have recruited losers like King, Ealey, and Crowell.

Tick… tick… tick…

Okiedawg

June 24th, 2012
8:36 am

Nobody should take The Oklahoman seriously. After all, they proclaim Oklahoma as the National Champions every preseason. Georgia needs to schedule some stronger teams. Go Dawgs!

THE Dixie Redcoat Band

June 24th, 2012
9:01 am

Let’s see, Penn State, Michigan, So.Cal etc., have pretty good teams……how many times have they switched uniforms? Oh, neither has Michigan State nor Central Florida and they’ve won a few bowls games lately.

takedowndawg

June 24th, 2012
9:06 am

We may have a softer than usual schedule but we still have to complete full games. We have lost to lesser talent in the recent past. The lack of finishing games, is my primary concern. Can we be focused for a full four quarters. Nothing new under the sun, but seems to be difficult for the offensive coaches and players of to do against quality opponents.

DAWG60

June 24th, 2012
9:14 am

You will not see the court change in bball. the coaches like to be able to direct their offense in the second half. Most all schools do the same thing.I played college bball and that is how the coaches think.

Joey

June 24th, 2012
9:22 am

“If you want to be like Oregon and Boise St, have at it.”
*****************************************
Hey Joe, I’d like for the Dawgs to win games at the rate those two teams have the past 4 seasons.

ozzfest

June 24th, 2012
10:02 am

Michigan State wore PRO COMBAT during the 2011 with GOLD on GREEN helmets.
….and drop the “Dixie”, dude…that is old-school ‘neck.

a few notes

June 24th, 2012
10:21 am

first, let me address ozzfest…the Dixie Redcoat Band was the actual name of the Redcoats several years ago. It isn’t “old school neck” it is a historical name. dude….get a brain

second: That Staph figurine is perfect. It doesn’t have a heart and it can be yours for the right amount of money.

cdpridg

June 24th, 2012
10:24 am

yes it took a Bulldawg qb to get the best out of Johnson…I mean who has been throwing him the ball….tech and good qb just dont go together. My last isssue is with the media that continuously talk about soft schedules….there are no soft schedules in the SEC….so people need to drop that bit of misinformation!

BigGAdawg

June 24th, 2012
10:33 am

Cupcakes may not be the most exciting games, BUT I believe they are necessary. Starting off the season against a top ten opponent and then moving into the SEC schedule is goofy. Especially since ALL the rest of the SEC teams are going to have at least two, and usually three lesser opponents. Not having the cupcakes is like going to a foot race and strapping on ankle weights when no one else is wearing them. Playing eight SEC conference games every year is more than enough to prove yourself.

I could go forever without seeing another gimmick uniform. It was great the first time but it seems lame after that. A different color jersey is not what is going to win games. Talent, preparation, attitude, focus, and execution are what wins games. Having your mind right is much more important than wardrobe.

Now GATA DAWGS!!!
WOOF!

Dawg Bite

June 24th, 2012
10:38 am

Recently saw on ESPN an episode on Herschel. Him running over Bates and those other UT guys that night in Knoxville. The white jersey, red helmet and red pants looked pretty good in that game, maybe use that uni again sometime? Oh yeah, Dooley sold those red pants to Lincoln County High. The best alternate uni the Dogs wore was against Wisconsin in one of those Florida bowls. White jersey, black pants, red helmets. I think that was under Donnan, and we wore Wis. out that day. Bring that look back, and forget the black jerseys. I think Bama wore us out in that so called blackout game. Better yet, stick to what we got. No gimmicks, just “man up” and beat somebody!!

SSIgator

June 24th, 2012
10:56 am

“Matthew Stafford in his Detroit Lions uniform”

An action figure? What does it do? Bench press beer kegs?

Top Row Dawg

June 24th, 2012
11:00 am

Georgia plays four of the twenty teams with most all time (Division 1) wins every year. If we make it to to the SECCG and play Bama or LSU, that will be 5 of the top twenty teams of all time. Throw in trips to Columbia MO. & S.C. along with a game against Ole Miss (# 29 all time) and it is amusing to think Georgia has to apologize for anything.

As a matter of fact College Football Warehouse puts Georgia at #2 all time in strength of schedule, behind only Michigan……

http://cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/rankings/all_time_team_sched_rankings.php

The problem is not that Georgia has a weak schedule but that Tennessee, Auburn, Florida, and Georgia Tech are all under performing currently.

Just win baby.

SSIgator

June 24th, 2012
11:00 am

“the $17.99 limited-edition figure”

No, I don’t think so. But hey, if he was outfitted in the Power Ranger uniforms that UGA wore last year vs. BSU, it would probably be a big seller.

jrmdvm1

June 24th, 2012
11:59 am

Florida has Bowling Green, Louisiana Rajun Cajuns, and Jacksonville State on their schedule this year. The reason their schedule is rated so high is that their SEC schedule includes LSU, and their “regular” OOC BCS school is Florida State, who is rated higher than ours ( Tech ).

Brainiac(Dawg for life/Richt fan for life)

June 24th, 2012
12:19 pm

UGA is the Red & Black but we only see that combo occasionally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would love to see that combo FREQUENTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Beast from the East

June 24th, 2012
12:20 pm

Bowling Green went 9-4 last year and won their bowl game. Jacksonville State almost beat the Semis a few years ago. MUCH tougher OOC schedule than UGA. Spin it however you’d like. I just take offense with the folks that always say UF plays nothing but cupcakes while our schedule is rated in the top 20 toughest year after year.

jrmdvm1

June 24th, 2012
1:04 pm

Beast, I didn’t mean to demean the Gators schedule. Rather, I think that those who play in the SEC shouldn’t be crtitcized for scheduling as much as they are. We have people complaining about UGA’s games this year and don’t want to go to the games. When we don’t sell out these opponents often enough, then better teams will be scheduled. If the Swamp doesn’t sell out then UF will change who they schedule. I think it is absurd to think that an SEC team needs to fill out it’s schedule with Michigans and USC’s, etc. Of course, all SEC teams schedules may be affected by the new playoff system which supposedly will use “strength of schedule”. I personally think that the SEC got screwed in the new playoff system.

Red Stick

June 24th, 2012
2:22 pm

Here’s where the SEC schools stand in Phil Steele’s Top 50 toughest schedules for 2012:

2. Ole Miss
5. Florida
8. Texas A&M
10. UK
13. S. Carolina
17. Auburn
18. Arkansas
19. Missouri
28. Bama
29. LSU
38. Miss St
46. UT
47. Vandy

Georgia is the only SEC school not listed in the Top 50. Dawg fans certainly have a legitimate gripe about the home schedule this season.

Geaux Tigers

uncledaddy

June 24th, 2012
2:37 pm

Buffalo 17 – UGA 14

UGADawg83

June 24th, 2012
3:11 pm

Would everyone quit whining about the schedule…In 2008 the schedule bit us squarely in the backside. For example, the trip to Arizona was followed by the disaster against Alabama. How exactly did out trips to Oklahoma State or Colorado help our program? The Florida way of scheduling has produced two national championships in the last ten years while our has produced none. As far as the weak conference schedule, since Arkansas joined the SEC we would rather have played them every year instead of Auburn. Teams have up years and down years and we are simply catching a break in having some teams with what looks to be down years coming up on our schedule. Bill, your constant negativity is not helpful to a program you claim to support.

Sussex Club

June 24th, 2012
3:21 pm

Calvin Johnson,
the Number 1 reciever in the NFL with 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns
is a big asset to Matt Stafford.