Early lines have Dogs up to a 15-point favorite over Tech (plus lots of notes)
Some notes to start the week . . .
- As you might have heard, Georgia and Georgia Tech will play football in Athens on Saturday night. Georgia (5-6) opens the week as a surprisingly heavy favorite over Tech (6-5). According to VegasInsider.com, as of late Sunday, one sportsbook had the Bulldogs as a 15-point favorite and three others had the Dogs as a 13-point favorite.
- Georgia returns to the practice field Monday afternoon after a three-day break. The Dogs are looking for the session to provide a good indicator of the health of quarterback Aaron Murray, who was sidelined from practice last week with knee and sternum bruises suffered against Auburn. It’d be a surprise if Murray isn’t able to play against Tech. But if he’s not, true freshman Hutson Mason would start and Logan Gray would be “more of an emergency” QB, Mark Richt said last week.
- The Georgia-Boise State matchup in next season’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome, announced Friday, required eight teams to juggle schedules: Georgia, Boise State, Louisville (dropped from Georgia’s schedule), North Carolina (added to Louisville’s schedule to replace Georgia), James Madison (switching dates on North Carolina’s schedule to accommodate the UNC-Louisville game), Ole Miss (moved a scheduled 2011 season opener against Boise State to 2014), BYU (replaced Boise on Ole Miss’ 2011 schedule) and Oregon State (changed dates on BYU’s schedule to accommodate the BYU-Ole Miss game). Who has enough clout to facilitate all those changes? Only ESPN, which played a major match-making role.
- One clarification from Gary Stokan, president of the Chick-fil-A Bowl and Chick-fil-A Kickofff Game. He said on a conference call Friday afternoon that the Kickoff Game and ESPN would pay Louisville $600,000 to buy out its contract with Georgia. He later said he misspoke about ESPN and that the Kickoff Game would pay the buyout. In essence, the buyout seems to come out of Georgia’s cut from the Kickoff Game. The Bulldogs will get about $1.7 million, which is $600,000 less than the $2.3 million apiece that LSU and North Carolina received for playing in this season’s event.
- Georgia AD Greg McGarity said UGA staffers will convene Monday to start figuring out how to handle ticket sales for the game against Boise State. He suggested a starting point would be the model already in place for selling Georgia’s 40,000-plus tickets to the annual game against Florida in Jacksonville. Stokan said Boise State will get an allotment of 7,500 tickets to sell and Georgia will get the rest (perhaps 55,000-plus) after some are put aside for Georgia Dome suite-holders and Chick-fil-A Bowl purposes.
- Guess what Stokan was doing as I asked followup questions Friday night? Ordering dinner at a Chick-fil-A drive-through.
- Georgia women’s basketball coach Andy Landers reached a mind-boggling milestone Friday night — his 1,000th game as UGA coach. His first came on Nov. 10, 1979, an 88-69 win over Piedmont. His 1,000th was a 79-69 victory over Chattanooga. He’s now 752-248 as the Lady Bulldogs’ coach.
- The Georgia men’s basketball team, 1-19 in opponents’ arenas over the past two seasons, is 1-0 on the road this season after Saturday’s come-from-behind, last-second victory at Saint Louis. The Dogs (3-0 overall) head next to the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, where they’ll open against Notre Dame at 7 p.m. Thursday.
- A major signing last week for the Georgia men’s tennis program: Nathan Pasha of Atlanta — the top-ranked prospect in the state, No. 2 in the Southeast and No. 5 in the nation, according to TennisRecruiting.net -– signed a national letter of intent to attend UGA and play for the Bulldogs starting in 2011-12.