Posts Tagged ‘Georgia Bulldogs’

UGA isn’t just playing a team – it’s facing the Alabama aura

Emperor Saban and his band of conquerors charge onward to the next fray. (AP photo)

Emperor Saban and his band of crimson conquerors charge onward to the next fray. (AP photo)

Heard often: Georgia’s path to the SEC championship game was facilitated by a schedule that didn’t include Western powers Alabama (No. 2 in the BCS standings), LSU (No. 7) and Texas A&M (No. 9).

Heard less often: Alabama’s path to the SEC championship game was facilitated by a schedule that didn’t include Eastern powers Georgia (No. 3), Florida (No. 4) and South Carolina (No. 10).

Heard often: Georgia’s biggest victory of the season was largely a function of six Florida turnovers.

Heard less often: Alabama’s biggest victory of the season was largely a function of four failed kicking ploys from the fertile mind of LSU’s Les Miles.

There’s a military acronym — RHIP. It stands for, “Rank has its privileges.” Ranking matters in college football, where two-thirds of the BCS standings consist of human polls, and privilege has tangible benefits. The benefit of being Alabama is that you never …

Continue reading UGA isn’t just playing a team – it’s facing the Alabama aura »

His Jackets pull a no-show, and Paul Johnson is not pleased

This one picture is worth a hundred thousand words. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

This one picture is worth a couple of hundred thousand words, give or take. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Athens – There were two snippets of good news for Georgia Tech on an otherwise wretched Saturday: The Jackets still get to play for the ACC Championship, and the Georgia Bulldogs will be occupied elsewhere.

Other than that, this was a wipeout of epic dimensions. It wasn’t quite as bad as the 51-7 loss here in 2002, but at least that drubbing came in Year 1 under a new coach. This one arrived in Year 5 under Paul Johnson, who seemed the anti-Chan Gailey. Meaning: A man who could hold his own against the hated mutts. (Gailey went for 0-for-6.) But now Johnson, after stunning the Bulldogs on his first try, has lost four in a row to Georgia, and the series has again gone lopsided.

And Johnson, who on taking this job ordered that the slogan “Beat Georgia” be displayed on Tech’s practice field, was not pleased. Afterward his voice could be heard — at great volume and great …

Continue reading His Jackets pull a no-show, and Paul Johnson is not pleased »

Richt was right: UGA is ‘knocking on the door’ of greatness

Mark Richt: Two games to go, two thumbs up? (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Noted critic Mark Richt gave Georgia's clinching of the SEC East two thumbs up. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Mark Richt called this shot. Speaking in Tampa on the first day of 2012, he said of his Georgia Bulldogs: ““We’re going to be knocking on the door of the greatest success you can have in college football, and if you knock long enough, you’ll eventually break through.”

Some folks tittered, noting that Georgia had just lost the SEC championship game by 32 points. A day later, when the Bulldogs (and Richt, too) messed up every which way in blowing the Outback Bowl to Michigan State, the tee-hees became hardy-har-hars. A team that had gone 0-4 against ranked opponents would go on to achieve “the greatest success you can have in college football”? Dream on, brother.

Eleven months later, the dreamer awakes and smells a heady blend of coffee. If the Bulldogs beat Georgia Tech on Saturday, they will stand on the cusp of the BCS title game. Granted, they’ll face a …

Continue reading Richt was right: UGA is ‘knocking on the door’ of greatness »

Can Georgia Tech ruin UGA’s season? (Video added)

The dynamics changed Monday morning. With Miami’s decision to exclude itself from postseason play, Georgia Tech claimed the ACC Coastal Division title. So now, for the first time, Tech and Georgia will meet with both having, to borrow Paul Johnson’s pithy phrase, bigger fish to fry. Win or lose Saturday, both will play for conference championships a week later.

But these two division titlists are not equal. The Jackets are 6-5, and the best they can do is to play in the Orange Bowl. (Not that the Orange Bowl, given that Tech just nosed above .500, would be a bad deal.) The Bulldogs are 10-1, and with two more victories they will play for the BCS crown. Georgia has much more to lose. The Jackets are 14-point road underdogs against an opponent they’ve beaten once since George Godsey ran through Jim Donnan’s crew of NFL-caliber defenders in 2000.

If these teams met 10 times, Georgia would win nine. But the Jackets have only to beat Georgia once to make their season and …

Continue reading Can Georgia Tech ruin UGA’s season? (Video added) »

Heat Check: Hot ‘Dogs face a warm swarm of Yellow Jackets

This was the one time the Richt-coached Bulldogs didn't beat Tech. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

This was the one time the Mark Richt-coached Bulldogs didn't beat Tech. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Given that this is Thanksgiving week, our Heat Check begins about where you’d expect.

GEORGIA: Will play for the SEC title. Could play for the BCS title. First, however, the Bulldogs must win the state title. This hasn’t been much of an issue for Mark Richt — he’s 10-1 against the North Avenue crew — but the one blip (in 2008, in case you’ve forgotten) was monumental. Barometric reading: Remember when we wondered if things would ever again get really good for this coach at this school? Richt’s team has a chance to finish all drills.

GEORGIA TECH: Will play for the ACC title, thanks to Miami’s decision to remove itself from postseason play. For a team that wasn’t sure it could wangle even a trip to Shreveport, that’s a nice bit of rallying. Barometric reading: Chances are, Tech will be an underdog — the opening line for this weekend favors Georgia by 14 points — in every …

Continue reading Heat Check: Hot ‘Dogs face a warm swarm of Yellow Jackets »

The SEC in flux: Four teams could be seeking new coaches

Could we soon see the SEC return of the uneasy rider? (AP photo)

Could the SEC soon see the return of the uneasy rider Bobby Petrino? (AP photo)

The mighty SEC could see a 29 percent change in coaches before November is done. Joker Phillips has already been told he’s out at Kentucky, and Arkansas is conducting a search even as interim John L. Smith lobbies to stay. (Good luck there. Smith inherited a Top 10 team and has gone 4-6. He has also declared bankruptcy, which may be why he needs the job.) And two of the league’s flagships — Auburn and Tennessee — figure to be holding we’ve-decided-to-go-in-different-direction press conferences soon.

Gene Chizik won a BCS title in 2010. In 2012 his Auburn Tigers have gone 0-7 in league play and have lost 63-21 to Texas A&M and 38-0 to Georgia at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Matt Scalici of Al.com reports that Chizik is telling recruits he will be back next season, but what’s a coach supposed to say?

After Tennessee lost to Missouri 51-48 in overtime Saturday to fall to 0-6 in SEC play, rumors swirled that …

Continue reading The SEC in flux: Four teams could be seeking new coaches »

Heat Check: Was cutting Ray Edwards a message sent?

"So, Brian, how's this Auburn gig working out?" (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

"So, former colleague Brian VanGorder, how's this Auburn gig working out?" (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Our weekly Heat Check appears a day late but, one hopes, not quite a dollar short.

FALCONS: Lost for the first time this season against the rival that has become an abject nemesis and, in losing, saw their biggest weaknesses – can’t run the ball, can’t stop the run — exposed. And what were the two things Mike Smith, after taking this job in January 2008, said a good team had to do? Run the ball and stop the run. Barometric reading: Barely 24 hours later, the Falcons cut defensive end Ray Edwards, who had little to do with Sunday’s loss but who did little after signing as a big-ticket free agent. Students of Falcons history will note that, after the first loss of the 1998 season, Dan Reeves cut cornerback Juran Bolden for messing up a coverage in San Francisco. Those Falcons would go 14-2 and make the Super Bowl.

(Please see my video chat with Brian Clark of CineSport, …

Continue reading Heat Check: Was cutting Ray Edwards a message sent? »

UGA’s path to the BCS title game? It’s not a straight shot

These are the Oregon Ducks. Georgia wouldn't mind seeing them lose. (AP photo)

These are the Oregon Ducks. Georgia wouldn't mind seeing them, er, quack up. (AP photo)

The last BCS title game not to include an SEC representative was staged in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4, 2006, exactly one year before Nick Saban was introduced as Alabama’s new coach. The last BCS title game to include a team from a conference other than the SEC was staged in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10, 2011, and by now you’re sensing where I’m going with this.

Georgia is No. 5 in the BCS standings. If it wins the rest of its games, it will be 12-1 and the SEC champion. Is there any way a 12-1 SEC champion would NOT play for the BCS title?

Yes, this is putting a wobbly cart before a skittish horse. To get to 12-1, the Bulldogs have to beat Auburn, and then Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech, and then would come Alabama. (Provided Alabama doesn’t do something crazy like lose to Texas A&M and Auburn, which it won’t.) Let’s assume Georgia arrives at the Dome on Dec. 1 having lost only once to play …

Continue reading UGA’s path to the BCS title game? It’s not a straight shot »

Heat Check: Falcons and Bulldogs and Hawks, oh my!!!

Michael Turner is pumped after scoring on Big D. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Michael Turner, who can still play a bit, is pumped after scoring against Big D. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Our weekly Heat Check begins with the hottest team around. No, not Georgia State.

FALCONS: Made it to 8-0, disappointing Al Michaels and especially Cris Collinsworth in the process. Stacked 453 yards on Rob Ryan’s star-spangled Dallas defense. Next up is New Orleans in the Superdome, site of last December’s Drew Brees rub-it-in record-breaking. Barometer reading: Some in the national keep saying none of this matters if the Falcons don’t win a playoff game. When last I checked, there are no playoff games scheduled until January. Bradley’s Rule: Can’t win in January unless you qualify for the postseason, and being 8-0 makes qualification one less thing to sweat.

GEORGIA: That wobble at South Carolina aside, the Bulldogs are almost exactly where we figured they’d be. Picked to win the SEC East, they’re in position to do just that. Ranked No. 6 nationally in preseason, …

Continue reading Heat Check: Falcons and Bulldogs and Hawks, oh my!!! »

On Aaron Murray, the TO binge and those scoring Ogletrees

Alec Ogletree gets bonus points for this soaring INT. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Alec Ogletree racked up major bonus points with this soaring interception. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

This post is an adjunct to the Georgia-Ole Miss game column, which can be found here.

1. Aaron Murray is pretty darn good. He was sacked five times in the first half, twice off play-action fakes. (Generally speaking, play-action should buy an extra second.) He wound up completing 21 of 28 passes for 384 yards and four touchdowns. The second touchdown came three seconds before the half after Murray pumped left, ducked right and threw long to Tavarres King. The third was a deep throw to Malcolm Mitchell down the right sideline for the touchdown that put Georgia ahead 21-10. Murray completed 13 of 15 second-half passes, with no sacks. Update: Murray now ranks sixth nationally in passing efficiency.

2. Five plays, four turnovers: Has there ever been a wilder sequence? For posterity’s sake, we recap the dizzying minute midway through the second quarter. Georgia’s Keith …

Continue reading On Aaron Murray, the TO binge and those scoring Ogletrees »