Posts Tagged ‘Georgia Bulldogs’

Alabama will begin 2013 as No. 1, duh. Who’ll give chase?

Will these two teams go at it again this December? Maybe. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Will we see these two teams go at it again this December? Maybe. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – On the morning after securing his fourth BCS championship ring, Nick Saban was asked what he does with his BCS championship rings. Does he wear them all at once? Rotate them by month, by week, by day?

Said Saban: “I just put ‘em on the coffee table for recruits to look at.”

This drew a huge laugh — such a kidder, that Nick! — but it does underscore the problem facing the rest of college football. Success on the field begets success in recruiting, which begets even bigger success on the field, which is how one team in a cutthroat conference has come to claim consecutive BCS titles and three of the past four.

And Alabama now has bigger fish to fry. Only three programs — Notre Dame in the late ’40s, Nebraska in the ’90s and Saban’s Alabama — have taken three (legitimate) national championships in four seasons. No school has ever won three in a row, or four in …

Continue reading Alabama will begin 2013 as No. 1, duh. Who’ll give chase? »

A classic game? Nope, just classic Alabama domination

Touchdown, Alabama! And there were a bunch of those Monday night. (AP photo by John Bazemore)

Touchdown, Alabama! And there were a bunch of those Monday night. (AP photo by John Bazemore)

UPDATED WITH NICK SABAN QUOTES

Miami Gardens, Fla. – For a minute, this felt like a real event. That was the minute before kickoff, when the stadium was alive and both sides lived in hope. Then the game began, and it got …

Ugly? If you’d hoped for a competitive BCS championship game, yes. But in another way, what came after was a kind of brutal beauty. A great football team played at the peak of its power, and how often are we privileged to witness such brilliance? If this wasn’t quite UCLA beating No. 1 Houston 101-69 in the 1968 Final Four, it was pretty darn close.

Alabama led by seven points after three minutes, by 21 four seconds into the second quarter. At that moment, the Crimson Tide had outgained No. 1 Notre Dame 203 yards to 23 and had scored more points than the vaunted Irish defense had allowed in four quarters this season. It’s easy to say now that Notre Dame stands …

Continue reading A classic game? Nope, just classic Alabama domination »

Live from the BCS title game, where the Irish have landed

The view from my seat. There are more folks here now. (Photo by M. Bradley)

The view from my seat. There are several more folks in the stands now. (Panoramic photo by M. Bradley)

Miami Gardens, Fla. – Maybe it was because this correspondent spent more time counting ocean waves than hanging out on South Beach, but it was hard to get a read on the fans. I saw far more Alabama folks walking around, and it wasn’t until Sunday that I saw more than a few Notre Dame shirts. (And I’d even gone to Mass, where there were actually more folks wearing crimson. Go figure.)

That changed today. When the first media bus rolled into the parking lot at Sun Life Stadium — that’s what this place, which has known many names, is now called — at 3:40 p.m., we saw Irish fans by the boatload. If I had to guess, I’d say the crowd will be 55-45 Bama, but I’m bad at estimating crowds.

I’m sometimes bad at predicting games, too, but the responsibility to offer a pick comes with the job. I’m on video record with Noah Coslov of CineSport as taking the Tide to win 17-10, but I’ve …

Continue reading Live from the BCS title game, where the Irish have landed »

Heat Check: Will the Falcons again feel the January chill?

Here's how it was when last the Falcons were the No. 1 seed. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Here's how it was when last the Falcons were the No. 1 seed. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Fort Lauderdale – Owing to the national championship game, our weekly Heat Check emanates from warm environs. We begin, however, with professional football.

FALCONS: It has already started. The No. 1 seed hasn’t yet stuck its toe in playoff waters, and again we’re hearing that it’s out of its depth. The local franchise sits behind five other teams on the odds-to-win-the-Super-Bowl tote board, and it’s even with Seattle, which has to play in the Georgia Dome on Sunday. Technically the Falcons are a two-point favorite over the Seahawks, which is the same tepid betting line the 13-3 Birds faced when playing host to Green Bay two years ago. And they lost that one 48-21. Atmospheric reading: I’ve been saying since August that these Falcons are different. Here’s where they prove me right.

GEORGIA: Won the Capital One Bowl, lost Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree to the NFL, kept Aaron Murray. That …

Continue reading Heat Check: Will the Falcons again feel the January chill? »

Aaron Murray stays, which puts Georgia back in the hunt

"Maybe we'll get us one of those crystal trophies next year." (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

"Coach, maybe we'll get us one of those nice crystal trophies next year." (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Fort Lauderdale -- The cream of football journalism had gathered for a media party at our hotel overlooking the ocean — the Atlantic, I believe it is — when esteemed former colleague Mark Schlabach, lately of ESPN, rushed over and said, “Aaron Murray’s staying.” And we managed to tear ourselves away from our paella to ponder where this puts the Georgia Bulldogs headed in the 2013 season. (Never mind that the 2012 campaign has one game to go.)

Pretty darn high, we decided. (I know exactly where Mr. Schlabach has the Bulldogs in his not-yet-published Top 25 for 2013, but I’ll let him do those honors.) I’d say Georgia has again become the favorite to win the SEC East, and I’d say — this is just me — this again puts the Bulldogs at/near the top five.

Figure Alabama will be preseason No. 1. Figure Notre Dame will be up there, too, and Texas A&M. (I sat in on a press conference …

Continue reading Aaron Murray stays, which puts Georgia back in the hunt »

Bama-Notre Dame? A big game. Nick Saban? Even bigger

"You know, Brian, these crystal things can break if you drop them." (AP photo by John Bazemore)

"You know, Brian, these crystal things can break if you drop them. Just a warning." (AP photo by John Bazemore)

Fort Lauderdale – Taking a break from leveraged buyouts, the Wall Street Journal devoted four full Friday pages to college football, labeling Alabama-Notre Dame “the biggest game ever.” And it well may be. Alabama claims 14 national championships, Notre Dame 11. Alabama had the Bear, Notre Dame the Four Horseman. But you know all this already.

The mood on the ground in South Florida is a bit different. In January 2005, USC met Oklahoma here for the BCS title, and that, at least until kickoff, felt like a bigger game. Four of the top five vote-getters in the 2004 Heisman Trophy balloting — Matt Leinart, Adrian Peterson, Jason White and Reggie Bush — were on display, and three of those would actually win a Heisman before leaving school. (Then the game began and a Sooner named Mark Bradley fumbled a punt and the Trojans won 55-19. So much for buildup.)

Before the other …

Continue reading Bama-Notre Dame? A big game. Nick Saban? Even bigger »

Bama’s Geno Smith went the wrong way on UGA’s last play

That's Geno Smith at Chris Conley's feet on the final play. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

That's Geno Smith of Atlanta at Chris Conley's feet on the frantic game's final play. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Miami Gardens, Fla. — Geno Smith sat in the stands at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday. Come Monday night, the freshman cornerback from Atlanta’s St. Pius X will play for Alabama in the BCS title game, and his mother and grandmother will be on hand to watch. But on this humid Media Day,  Smith was answering questions about the final play of the Tide’s last game.

“It all ended up working out,” Smith said, but here in South Florida it has been revealed that not everything about the last snap of the classic SEC championship game against Georgia went according to Bama plans. Ten Tide defenders did what they were supposed to do; Geno Smith was the exception.

He dropped into coverage when he should have blitzed. He doesn’t know why. He heard the defensive call — “Spear,” in Alabama parlance — and just went elsewhere. “I was going to take the back (Georgia’s Todd …

Continue reading Bama’s Geno Smith went the wrong way on UGA’s last play »

Clemson notches ‘a landmark win’ for itself and the ACC

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Clemson depicts the thrill of victory, LSU the agony of defeat. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Not to sound like the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, but the 45th Chick-fil-A Bowl featured the third-best matchup on this year’s cluttered postseason board. (Behind only Oregon-Kansas State in the Fiesta and Notre Dame-Alabama in the BCS title game.) You had LSU, which this time last year was preparing to play for a national championship, and Clemson, which at the dawn of 2012 was, er, readying to yield 70 points in the Orange Bowl.

And that recent history, divergent as it was, is what made the Chick-fil-A so enticing. LSU is a big-time program from The Only Conference That Matters, while Clemson remains a wild card from that basketball league. Clemson entered 10-2, same as LSU, but the orange Tigers closed their regular season by losing at home to a South Carolina team without both Marcus Lattimore and Connor Shaw.

This happened on the same day Florida State lost at home to Florida …

Continue reading Clemson notches ‘a landmark win’ for itself and the ACC »

UGA, Tech and the Falcons as division champs? I called it

In 2012, there was much cause for local football celebration. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

In 2012, there was much cause for football celebration in these environs. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

For a while there, I had to ask myself, “Old son, did you really change your first name to ‘Homer’?” Because that’s what I was getting called by many of y’all. Prompting this charge was my stated belief that Georgia, Georgia Tech and the Falcons would all win divisions. But with 2013 near at hand, this Homer must confess that he considers his prognosticating work of 2012 a triumphant odyssey.

Because Georgia won its division. And so did Georgia Tech. And so did the Falcons. And who called it way back when?

The jinx of all jinxing. The archduke of addled thinking. Dumb ol’ MB.

Usually the annual Accountability Scoreboard serves a three-course dinner of Crow Soup, Crow Mignon and Humble Pie. Not this time. And yes, I’m as surprised as you are.

I predicted every Georgia regular-season game correctly. I did miss on the bigger part of my UGA prediction: The Bulldogs will not …

Continue reading UGA, Tech and the Falcons as division champs? I called it »

Heat Check: History says 14-2 Falcons would be Super lock

Go 14-2 and it's a lock! (AJC photo by Marlene Karas)

How the last 14-2 Falcons fared. (AJC photo by Marlene Karas)

Our weekly Heat Check commences with a team that just aced its final regular-season exam.

FALCONS: Beat the reigning Super Bowl champion 34-0, which, according to Elias, is the worst shutout loss ever suffered by a reigning Super Bowl champion (Elias also notes that only three previous teams in NFL history had been shut out the week after scoring 50 points. You mightn’t be surprised that the Falcons, who beat the Saints 62-7 in 1973 and then lost to the Rams 31-0, made that list.) Atmospheric reading: The Falcons can finish the regular season 14-2. Every single Falcons team to finish a regular season 14-2 has reached the Super Bowl. (OK, so that’s a grand total of one.)

HAWKS: Were briefly tied for first place in the NBA Southeast before losing here to Golden State by 22 points. Atmospheric reading: At hand is a case of extremes — tonight the Hawks play in Washington, owner of the league’s worst record, and …

Continue reading Heat Check: History says 14-2 Falcons would be Super lock »