If you missed it, here’s my story on Georgia and Texas A&M accepting Independence Bowl invitations.
Now, a few more things:
– If Georgia had not blown a 20-6 halftime lead with four second-half turnovers against Kentucky, the Bulldogs would have finished the regular season on a four-game winning streak -– and probably would be headed to Tampa for the Outback Bowl.
– Let’s hope the weather in Shreveport on Dec. 28 doesn’t resemble that for Texas A&M’s last appearance in the Independence Bowl – the 2000 game known as the “Snow Bowl.” A driving snowstorm began during pregame warmups and continued throughout the game, a 43-41 Mississippi State overtime victory. .
– Georgia and Texas A&M had two mutual opponents this season –- Oklahoma State and Arkansas. Both lost to Oklahoma State -– Georgia 24-10 and Texas A&M 36-31. Georgia beat Arkansas 52-41, while Texas A&M lost to the Razorbacks 47-19.
– No. 5 in the nation in total offense and No. 107 in total defense. That’s Texas A&M.
– Pretty interesting that a team without a defensive coordinator (Georgia) will go up against the fifth most prolific offense in the country. Even if Georgia hires a new DC before Dec. 28, he wouldn’t work this game.
– The Aggies’ defensive coordinator is Joe Kines, who was on Georgia’s staff as DC from 1995-98 and as assistant head coach in 1999. These Aggies aren’t typical of Kines’ defenses through the years; they’ve allowed 47-plus points four times, including 60-plus twice.
– Last year’s Independence Bowl matchup? Louisiana Tech (coached by Derek Dooley, son of Vince) vs. Northern Illinois. That was because neither the SEC nor the Big 12 had enough bowl-eligible teams to fill their slots in the game.
– Georgia and Texas A&M might be the last SEC and Big 12 teams to play in the Independence Bowl. The bowl’s tie-ins with those conferences end after this game. Starting next year, the bowl will match an ACC team vs. a Mountain West team. The Gator Bowl replaces the Independence on the SEC bowl roster.
– The last time Georgia played Texas A&M, Herschel Walker was a freshman and the Bulldogs were in the second week of what turned out to be an undefeated, national-championship season (1980).
– And the last –- and only previous -– time Georgia played in the Independence Bowl, Damon Evans was a wide receiver for the Dogs. Georgia beat Arkansas 24-15 in that game Dec. 29, 1991.
– For the second time, Georgia has pushed back the start of bowl practices – this time until Saturday. There’s a lot of juggling going on, what with the staff three coaches short, recruiting demands and Mark Richt in hiring mode. Plus, past practice patterns don’t exactly work for this bowl, which is earlier than the Dogs are accustomed to playing. The tentative plan now is to practice Saturday morning, then resume with daily sessions after final exams end Dec. 16. Richt said the team might be in Shreveport on Christmas, although he wasn’t sure of that yet.
– Richt said, by the way, that he doubts any position switches, such as the rumored-to-be-under-consideration moves of Logan Gray to wide receiver and/or Richard Samuel to linebacker, would occur during bowl practices. “We’re going to have our hands full just preparing for this game,” Richt said. “I’ve always had the opinion that it’s very crucial to try to win the game. . . . Not to say we won’t have some opportunities for some young guys to scrimmage a little bit, but our main focus is preparing to play this ballgame.”
– In just 22 career starts, Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson has broken the school record for touchdown passes with 51. He has accounted for 306 yards per game total offense this season, sixth best in the nation.
– Another Aggie name to note: Defensive end Von Miller leads the nation in sacks (17).
– Georgia rarely has any trouble selling football tickets. But lotsa luck selling out its 12,000-ticket allotment this time.