Live from Lexington: Fur sure to fly as Dawgs and Cats meet!

The early arriving Bulldogs survey the surroundings at Commonwealth Stadium. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Early arriving Bulldogs survey the surroundings at Commonwealth Stadium. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Lexington, Ky. – This isn’t how it’s supposed to work. The Kentucky game shouldn’t define Georgia’s season. The Kentucky game should be the one Georgia wins so it can get to the games that define its season.

But this is 2010, and 2010, as we know, has been different. Georgia won its opener. Then it lost four in a row, something no Georgia team under Mark Richt had ever done. Then the Bulldogs beat Tennessee and Vanderbilt by the total score of 84-14. And Saturday night brought the Big Blue, which was 4-3 to Georgia’s 3-4, but which — and this tells us something about the state of Kentucky football — entered as a five-point home underdog.

To its credit, Kentucky had done one thing Georgia couldn’t: It beat South Carolina, thereby thrusting the SEC East into disarray. It again became possible that the Bulldogs, who lost their first three conference games, could win the division. But first they had to beat Kentucky, and beating Kentucky keeps getting harder and harder.

The Bulldogs couldn’t manage it a year ago, losing to the Wildcats in Sanford Stadium for the first time since 1977. (The 1977 score was 33-0. Noted guests included both the Prince of Wales and the Godfather of Soul. Introduced by Vince Dooley to the former, the informal Kentucky coach Fran Curci uttered the immortal greeting: “Hey, Prince.”)

From 1977 through 1987, Georgia didn’t lose to Kentucky again. Then Dooley’s final team came here and got beat. Then Ray Goff’s second team came here and got beat. Then Jim Donnan’s first team came here and got beat. And those were the only blips: From 1974 through 2005, Georgia won 28 of 32 against UK.

Then the series changed: Rich Brooks’ Wildcats beat Richt’s Bulldogs here in 2006, prompting Kentucky fans to tear down one set of goalposts. (Why only the one set? Perhaps because even ‘Cat fans realized that UGA had lost four of its past five games.)

Ever since, the series has become a new and stirring thing. The best Georgia team of the past five years — the 2007 bunch that finished 11-2 and No. 2 in the land — was pressed to beat Kentucky in Athens. In 2008 Matthew Stafford hit A.J. Green with 1:54 remaining to give the Bulldogs a 42-38 lead, and Demarcus Dobbs made a leaping interception of Randall Cobb’s screen pass to seal the deal.

And last year Georgia lost at home after leading 20-6 at the half and 27-13 midway through the fourth quarter. That dealt the 2009 Bulldogs their fifth loss, the most any Richt team had suffered. (Unless this team wins the rest, it will match that.)

Doubtless feeling there were no more worlds to conquer — forget beating Tennessee; UK hasn’t done that since 1984 — Brooks stepped down after the season, leaving the coaching job to Joker Phillips, who was a Wildcats wide receiver and had been anointed coach-in-waiting. Until last week, Phillips had fallen into the Kentucky habit of gaining notoriety by coming close: Auburn needed a last-second field goal here two weeks ago to prevail.

But then the Joker took down the Evil Genius and his Gamecocks, and suddenly Saturday’s game bore the look of a match of near-equals. Which is something you wouldn’t have said about the Bulldogs and the Wildcats over their football history, something you wouldn’t have said about them in August 2010. But 2010 has, as we know, been different.

To make the most of its second wind, Georgia needed to beat the Wildcats in Commonwealth Stadium and head to Jacksonville likely favored over thrice-beaten Florida. And then, on Nov. 13, the Bulldogs go to Auburn. For those games to matter, this one had to be won. Handling Kentucky has seldom been a problem for UGA, but times, as we’re constantly learning, do change.

With that, the floor is open for comments, questions and nominations to succeed Richt. (That’s if Georgia loses. If it wins, forget I mentioned it.) I’ll be here all night, and I’d love your company. And I thank you, as always, in advance.

1,448 comments Add your comment

J Clay

October 23rd, 2010
6:08 pm

william cranman

October 23rd, 2010
6:09 pm

Was wondering where you were Mark. Glad to see you made it.

J Clay

October 23rd, 2010
6:11 pm

MB, I saw an early line on “games of the year” section of a site and UF is a 2.5 point favorite right now…

Also, was at that game in ‘06…rough day for the Dawgs. I remember seeing Moreno on the sidelines in warmups thinking he would be the real deal…

Mark Bradley

October 23rd, 2010
6:11 pm

I made it, william.

Mark Bradley

October 23rd, 2010
6:12 pm

Really, J Clay? Gators favored?

My old Kentucky home

October 23rd, 2010
6:13 pm

Go dawgs….let’s get it done tonight…MB do you still know your way aroung in Lex..??

J Clay

October 23rd, 2010
6:14 pm

Mad Hatter is staying in the game on the Plains

Nicholas

October 23rd, 2010
6:17 pm

Dawgs go down tonight, 34-24.

Mad Hatteras

October 23rd, 2010
6:21 pm

The Other Mark

October 23rd, 2010
6:21 pm

What’s the vibe up there original Mark? I guess the fans have had all day to get primed and relive last week’s glory (and maybe catch a basketball practice?) They can actually make Lexington a pretty tough place to play. What is the feel so far?

CSpin

October 23rd, 2010
6:22 pm

Hey I’m in Kentucky—GO DAWGS

My old Kentucky home

October 23rd, 2010
6:22 pm

anybody remeber Matt Satfford’s bloodied face..?? on his first visit to Lexinginton..??

Lets go

October 23rd, 2010
6:26 pm

Enter your comments here

J Clay

October 23rd, 2010
6:27 pm

Nerd alert….Jackets about to go down to Clemson and it’s not that close…

So MB, assuming Tech goes ahead and loses this game, who would you now say is underperforming more – UGA or Tech? I’d have to say Tech, as they had higher expectations (remember they told us 500 times they were ranked higher and more relevant nationally these days LOL) and also their worst loss (Kansas), worse than UGA’s…

Anyway, good start to the day: Tech loses, Florida didn’t win, and hopefully a victory for the Dawgs tonight

Ted Striker

October 23rd, 2010
6:34 pm

That is a fantastic stadium for college football. The view of the outlying countryside is incredible. Wish I were there.

Mark Bradley

October 23rd, 2010
6:36 pm

I barely recognize Lexington, My old Kentucky home. I’ve been gone since 1984.

Lexington Lil

October 23rd, 2010
6:36 pm

Dawgturds show their true colors tonight: Kentucky 31, Georgia 24.

todd grantham

October 23rd, 2010
6:37 pm

Mark, you say this is where I earn my big bucks? I have to agree with you on that assertion. This is important enough that my blogging may be limited as CMR hates it when I chat during the game.

todd grantham

October 23rd, 2010
6:38 pm

have you had a chance to visit your Mom? Hope she is doing well.

J Clay

October 23rd, 2010
6:39 pm

Where are the Tech fans that were calling Nesbitt for Heisman? He is soooo bad…Clemson picks him, game over 27-13….HAHAHA

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Jan

October 23rd, 2010
6:39 pm

Attention, everyone, especially dawgtards. Before the game starts, we will observe a moment of silence in memory of Saint Jan Kemp, who exposed the shameful practices at UGA that were initiated and carried out by slimeball Vince Dooley. Dooley’s image as a coach and a nice guy were forever shattered during the trial, not to mention the one million dollars that dawgtards had to pay Saint Jan. These practices of recruiting morons and coddling them for four years, them tossing them out like garbage, are still going on, but at least the world knows what’s happening in Athens now.

And now, the moment of silence…
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Thank you, you may resume your normal activities now.

todd grantham

October 23rd, 2010
6:40 pm

LSU and Auburn are tied at 17. Auburn should be way ahead, but can’t finish the Tigers (of LSU) off.

J Clay

October 23rd, 2010
6:40 pm

Tonight Tech will be talking “academics” and “thuga”….typical retorts when they get that a#$ whipped…HAHAHA

todd grantham

October 23rd, 2010
6:41 pm

I fear that Cam Newton is going to be indefensable.

Guvnor

October 23rd, 2010
6:42 pm

Buh bye, dawgs. Beatdown is coming!

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My old Kentucky home

October 23rd, 2010
6:44 pm

@ Todd…LSU seems to have a horeshoe up their arse….I have Auburn -5.5pts…I’m not having fun….

?

October 23rd, 2010
6:48 pm

Is the game on TV?

Mark Bradley

October 23rd, 2010
6:48 pm

It’s on CSS.

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kwgadawg

October 23rd, 2010
6:49 pm

Jan we have never asked for any of your food stamps to fund what we’re doing at UGA.

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todd grantham

October 23rd, 2010
6:52 pm

24-17 Auburn with 5.05 left in the 4th

Willy

October 23rd, 2010
6:54 pm

Glad to be back in your home state, Mark?

todd grantham

October 23rd, 2010
6:54 pm

My Old, I think your bet is safe

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
6:55 pm

Are all the Mutts in the House? Are you guys still talking crap on the TECH BLOG?
Bali are you here yet? I will chat with you when it gets closer to game time. Watching Auburn right now.

My old Kentucky home

October 23rd, 2010
6:55 pm

I wish I shared your confidence…(that said I do feel a little beeter..) thanks for support Todd…..

GO DAWGS!!!

todd grantham

October 23rd, 2010
6:56 pm

Mark, is the grass really blue up there?

Georgia Avenue

October 23rd, 2010
6:56 pm

Can we call a time out on poor old Jan Kemp?

Party school

October 23rd, 2010
6:56 pm

Cats top RB is out for the game. I wouldn’t expect too much from Ky tonight.

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
6:56 pm

Mark can you get me in the conversation a lil faster tonight? Thanks. Don’t Pull for your Kats too much.
Good luck and have fun.

todd grantham

October 23rd, 2010
6:57 pm

Old, LSU should have lost 3 games this season. that kind of luck cant hold.

todd grantham

October 23rd, 2010
6:58 pm

doesnt everyone, by now, know about Jan Kemp?

My old Kentucky home

October 23rd, 2010
7:02 pm

Jan Kemp…the UGA professor from the 1980’s that didn’t get the memo that football players don NOT fail tests..?? is that her..??

Mark Bradley

October 23rd, 2010
7:03 pm

I always enjoy coming to Kentucky, willy. But I don’t get back often.

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
7:05 pm

Mark
Where did you get to eat and have a beer?

Jackets2010

October 23rd, 2010
7:06 pm

Seems to me this great technology we have should be used for more than poor sportsmanship.
Having endured your fans all day, I can’t stop mine from being in a foul mood and coming on here trying to return the nastiness.
I have no ideas how to stop it.
Seems like a waste to me.

[...] (Note: Please join the conversation during the game on Mark Bradley’s live blog.) [...]

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