Boise State deserves all its accolades, but UGA’s going to win

Several men, well coaches, in ties dig those old, crazy helmets. (AP photo).

Mark Richt and Chris Petersen consider the old-school aesthetics of a helmet not designed by Nike. (AP photo).

Let’s be clear about this. I have the utmost respect for Boise State. This is a team, as Georgia coach Mark Richt said Friday, “that plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played, that plays as hard as any team I’ve every seen.”

Boise’s Chris Petersen might well be the best coach on any campus. (Take that, Nick Saban!) Kellen Moore deserves inclusion on all the Heisman shortlists. Pound for pound, this is the nation’s finest program. That said …

I still can’t get over Boise State being favored against Georgia — in the Georgia Dome.

Go ahead. Call me an SEC homer. I ‘d counter by saying I was rooting hard for Boise to play in the BCS title game last season simply because I enjoy seeing the BCS turn a Boise-esque blue in the face. But I’d also note that facts are facts: The SEC has the best players and plays the best football, and even coming off two down seasons Georgia has better players than the Broncos.

Doesn’t mean Georgia will win. (Although I believe it will.) The Bulldogs spent last season losing every lose-able game save one. The edge Boise has, even under the off-white roof of the Georgia Dome, is its reservoir of contemporary success. Richt again: “When you play a team that’s used to winning and that knows how to win, it’s hard.”

But here’s the thing: Winning Saturday night would mean more to Georgia than to Boise. The Broncos can lose and still point with pride to their cumulative record — they’re 61-5 under Petersen — and last season’s rousing victory over Virginia Tech in Washington, D.C. Boise can lose this game and still be Boise.

If Georgia loses, however, the questions will begin again: About Richt and his job and his program and its future, or the lack thereof. And that has made for a weird dynamic in this made-for-TV opener. The heavyweight has more to prove than does the welterweight.

At Friday’s news conference, Petersen was asked if he was surprised to be favored by a field goal. “Favored by who?” he said. “I don’t see it like that … I don’t know what they’re looking at.”

Yeah, this is Coachspeak 101. But Petersen also noted that he’d included Georgia in his preseason Top 25. “I don’t think I had the Broncos, though,” he said, perhaps even telling the truth.

The media session at the Omni hotel was so sugary-sweet as to induce cavities. Richt gushed about Petersen and his program. (”Coach Pete,” he called him.) Coach Pete alllowed that playing such an opponent in such a game was “always very scary.”

Just to clear the air, Richt mentioned Brandon Boykin’s Tweet. (The Georgia returner dared Petersen to kick to him.) “How ’bout that?” said Richt, glancing at Petersen and ducking his head.

Said Petersen, grinning: “I don’t know anything about it. We don’t have Twitter.”

Petersen even offered an opinion on Georgia’s infamous Pro Combat uniforms. “My boys think they’re awesome,” he said. “They say ours [Boise will also wear a Nike-designed kit] are all right but, ‘Did you see Georgia’s?’ ”

Richt on the uniforms: “The players like ‘em and we’re wearing ‘em.”

OK, so who wins?

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But enough about clothing. Back to the game. Richt said of Boise: “They could play in our league and do well.”

And maybe the Broncos could. But Georgia has the chance to do very well in its league this season, and the proving begins Saturday night. It’s a game these Bulldogs have long awaited — Richt recalled announcing the Boise opener after a practice last fall and seeing the heads of all those who figured to be returning perk up — and it’s a game that could go a long way toward making Georgia matter again.

Let’s say it again: Boise State — great coach, great program. But there’s still a difference between the Mountain West and the SEC. In such a bout, a skilled and disciplined welterweight always has a chance. But most of the time a good big man beats a good little man. Georgia 34, Boise 24.

By Mark Bradley

243 comments Add your comment

Dr. Sigmund Football

September 2nd, 2011
3:07 pm

Dawgs 34- Boise 17

September 2nd, 2011
3:07 pm

Mark Bradley

September 2nd, 2011
3:08 pm

Kudos to the doc.

TGT

September 2nd, 2011
3:08 pm

Yes, UGA will win. Plus, ESPN now reports that Boise left behind 3 players–2 starters–for this game.

cptzzggyy

September 2nd, 2011
3:08 pm

I hope you’re right this time!

lol

September 2nd, 2011
3:09 pm

You always guess wrong! Now we going lose! Fire Mark Richt!

Dr. Sigmund Football

September 2nd, 2011
3:09 pm

Jarvis Jones, Kwame Geathers, John Jenkins. This is a whole new season, and I think it will be a good one for the Bulldogs. Starting tomorrow.

Benjamin [Atlanta, Ga]

September 2nd, 2011
3:10 pm

Boise’s gonna beat us, MB. [I hope you're right and I'm wrong.]

Vixzilla

September 2nd, 2011
3:10 pm

k483

September 2nd, 2011
3:11 pm

Yeah, the same was said of Oklahoma a few years back…

dawggirl

September 2nd, 2011
3:15 pm

I hope we win, but I just don’t know at this point. I do know my stomach is in knots already.

Top Dawg

September 2nd, 2011
3:18 pm

This game is a coin flip.

keyer soze

September 2nd, 2011
3:18 pm

well, always the homer. classic matchup of talent vs. coaching

Spanky

September 2nd, 2011
3:19 pm

I gotta agree, plus 3 BSU starters were just ruled inelgible… Go Dawgs!

slydog

September 2nd, 2011
3:20 pm

OOHHHWEEE I HAVE GOOSEBUMPS!!!! GO DAWGS!!!!

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Dawgs97

September 2nd, 2011
3:23 pm

Boise with 3 additional players suspended for tomorrow night: http://atlanta.sbnation.com/georgia-bulldogs/2011/9/2/2400511/boise-state-players-cedric-febis-geraldo-boldewijn

I felt we had the better talent even without that distraction for Boise State. Dawgs win and America can rest easy and not talk about Boise for the 2011 season. Our Defense is transformed, Murray’s a stud and people seem to be ignoring the fact that Kellen Moore’s two favorite targets of the last 3 seasons, Titus Young & Austin Pettis, are NOW IN THE NFL.

Facts, they are a funny thing. Dawgs win.

stachemoney22

September 2nd, 2011
3:23 pm

Dawg’s kicking game will prove to the be difference

Dawgs97

September 2nd, 2011
3:25 pm

Dawgs win.

Just announced two hours ago that 3 Boise players (inclduing a very good starting safety) have been suspended for the opener, pending an investigation.

In addition, Kellen Moore lost his top two targets from the past three years to the NFL – Austin Pettis & Titus Young. That’s tough for a school like Boise to replace…whereas Georgia has the athletes to compensate for the losses of Kris Durham and AJ Green.

I liked Georgia before the news today – our house, our fans, our comeback – DAWGS WIN.

Heep Bad Dawg Dude

September 2nd, 2011
3:27 pm

Saturday night = the Nick Marshall Show – My God, a freshman!

dawg-bone

September 2nd, 2011
3:27 pm

I’m a dawg but I’ll have to see us win to believe it after last year………..

Desert Dawg

September 2nd, 2011
3:27 pm

From all of us fans out here in Phoenix we simply say Go Dawgs and GATA!!

1eyedJack

September 2nd, 2011
3:29 pm

This time Goliath slays David.

Reid in EAV

September 2nd, 2011
3:31 pm

This is what I fear: an emotional victory over Boise State… Then a big letdown against SC. And of the two, the SC game is the more important one to win, especially for me (I went to high school there). Praying it’s not so, but a loss against the Broncos wouldn’t be the worst thing.

DawgInaTruck

September 2nd, 2011
3:32 pm

Boise State has a good team and will keep it close for a while but we have better quality depth. By that I mean there is a much bigger difference between their first and second team talent wise than ours. We can sub more freely without giving up a huge amoun of talent. You have to respect BSU but the numbers just work against them in this regard. As the game wears on, we’ll methodically put it out of reach.

Big Albany Dawg

September 2nd, 2011
3:33 pm

Lay some stinking wood to them. GO DAWGS

Mtn Dawg

September 2nd, 2011
3:36 pm

DAWG 28 – 24. GATA!!!

JB

September 2nd, 2011
3:37 pm

Biggest gut check in a while for the Dawgs. Let’s hope it all works. One of the guys not playing was a starting WR. They are all new. Could be the difference.

Funny

September 2nd, 2011
3:37 pm

Mark, I can’t wait to read your article on Sunday after a Georgia loss. “I (Mark Bradley) in my infinite wisdom knew Georgia would lose this game. It’s time for Mark Richt to go. But my prediction for next week is Georgia 24, SC 6.”

Covers Dixie like the Dew

September 2nd, 2011
3:39 pm

But Jeff Schultz is just not feelin it.

Abnerish

September 2nd, 2011
3:42 pm

I still have Murray’s pitiful performance in the bowl game stuck in my head. Until I see him play well, and see the Dawgs play well in a big game, I have a hard time believing we will win.

Good God, Mark

September 2nd, 2011
3:43 pm

Mark = UGA/SEC homer.

You’re so predictable, Mark. Come back when you have a clue.

SecFan

September 2nd, 2011
3:45 pm

Georgia though a slight underdog, should win the game. Never have been sold on BSU. This is not really that bold of a prediction for Mark,a guy who’s made a career of pandering to Georgia fans. To pick Georgia to win next week though would not only be pandering, but shameless pandering.

MattDawg

September 2nd, 2011
3:46 pm

2 Boise starters and 1 backup out for the game… sweet. starting safety and wide receiver!

anotherdawg

September 2nd, 2011
3:48 pm

Congrats to Mark for picking the Dawgs! I see Shultzie is going the other way with Boise. Well, how bout the “beat” writer that picks wrong has to wear the winning team’s Nike pro-combat uniform for a week? You can call this the AJC challenge bowl.

reality check

September 2nd, 2011
3:49 pm

24-13 DAWGS in the Dawg House.

Mtn Dawg

September 2nd, 2011
3:49 pm

Good article Mark. Spot on. Not sure why all these bloggers launch personal attacks. I guess they have all the answers.

GO DAWGS!!!!!

huffsleeper

September 2nd, 2011
3:51 pm

you are right that the SEC and Georgia have better players. We just don’t have a Coach that knows time management , player discipline or can grasp the complex nuances of the game. Please don’t be caught off guard by razzle dazzle early on. Be vigilent and alert.

The Dude Abides

September 2nd, 2011
3:53 pm

Thanks for ruining the game and Richt’s tenure Mark. Way to go :[

SecFan

September 2nd, 2011
3:54 pm

Georgia, though a slight underdog should win. Never have considered BSU anything but a media darling. But this is not exactly a shocking, bold pick by Mark, he’s made a career of pandering to Georgia fans. Probably makes his life easier.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

September 2nd, 2011
3:55 pm

UGA’s defense will be the difference…tons of speed & power coming at Boise’s offense. I predict at least 4 sacks by the Dawgs.

POOPDAWG

September 2nd, 2011
3:56 pm

I agree Mark , UGA wins. It might be an ugly win but it really doesn’t matter . I also believe Spurrier loves the attention he’s getting for naming Shaw the starting QB.

trupert

September 2nd, 2011
3:56 pm

BSU has a good offense but they don’t have a SEC caliber defense. they don’t have any Alex Ogletrees, Jarvis Jone’s, Geathers, Brandon Smith’s, etc, etc, etc. Defense and special teams will be the difference.

Dawgs win! 24-17. Go dawgs!!!

Richt`s Hammer

September 2nd, 2011
3:59 pm

Sorry everyone. We will lose by 50. But does it really matter. We can all do God`s work. Each in our own way.

As long as my check doesn`t bounce. Everything is wonderful.

1eyedJack

September 2nd, 2011
3:59 pm

Abnerish, the way I remember it, Murray was one of the only ones actually trying to win that game.

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DawginLex

September 2nd, 2011
4:00 pm

Was feeling pretty good until Mark and Stewart Mandel(SI-Never have I seen a more delusional fanbase in all of my college football travels) both picked us.

GeoffDawg

September 2nd, 2011
4:00 pm

A lot of respect for the BSU program but when you have three players from Amsterdam on your team, that speaks volumes about the talent disparity. This is football, not futbol.

Richt`s Hammer

September 2nd, 2011
4:01 pm

Are we playing Florida Saturday? Just feels like a beatdown weekend.

Richt`s Hammer

September 2nd, 2011
4:02 pm

Spoke with Russ earlier. He has been in Vegas. Says he put a 100 k on boise state.