Monthly Archives: October 2007

Happy Halloween

From Dontavius Jackson’s presser to announce his verbal commitment to Georgia:

(PHOTO COURTESY POUYA DIANAT / AJC)

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Filed under Georgia Football

Just win, baby.

If you’re looking for a handy, dandy chart of the contending schools’ chances to emerge from the SEC East and go to the SECCG, The State has one here, although it should be noted that Vanderbilt isn’t included, and the Commodores haven’t been mathematically eliminated from the race.

What’s obvious is that Georgia has no margin for error at all. There isn’t a single [ed. note - three or four team] tiebreaker scenario that resolves itself in the Dawgs’ favor.

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

Just how smart is Mark Richt?

Upon initial reflection, I thought The Celebration was a brilliant move on Mark Richt’s part because it got Georgia’s players out of the funk they’d been in for much of the previous three games. As the game went on, I was even more impressed because I saw the effect it had on Florida’s players, too.

But after reading this overwrought letter posted for public consumption by one Franz Beard, who is the managing editor of Gator Country, a Florida online site (h/t Best of the SEC Blogs), my attitude is beginning to border on flat-out awe.

When this guy writes “I shake to think what might have happened”, I don’t doubt it. My bet is that he was still shaking with righteous indignation when he wrote the letter. Listen carefully and you can hear his voice quiver.

… I’ve been at Florida-Georgia games since 1962 and I know the hair-trigger emotions both on the field and in the stands. One ill-timed remark, one bump of a Georgia player into a Florida player and we could have very easily had an on the field incident that would have made Miami-Florida International look like something you see on Sesame Street. It is only by God’s grace and the restraint of the Florida coaches, who prevented the UF team from charging the field by their quick, positive response, that there was no incident on the field.

I’ve got to tell you, I had no idea of the grave danger I was in at that moment.

But skip that – my point here isn’t to mock what Franz Beard wrote (BestofSEC does a fine job of that all on his lonesome). It’s to note that Mark Richt and Georgia football are in their heads. All of that Gator superiority we’ve come to know and love have vanished from this guy’s mindset. It’s all ghosts now. Three out of the last eighteen? Gone. Visor Boy? Gone. Danny the All-American? Gone. At this point, Franz may not even remember that his team won the last MNC, so consumed is he with wrath over Richt’s perfidy.

And this from a guy who runs what I presume to be a popular Gator fan site and shares a conviction about Florida football with a large following. He’s representative, in other words.

This ain’t going away anytime soon, folks. It’s going to eat at the Gator Nation at least until next year’s WLOCP. And with that one little gesture, Mark Richt has managed to destroy the psychological status quo of this series that Spurrier built and had grown over the better part of two decades. Easy, comfortable arrogance has been replaced with a burning desire to even the score.

The worm has turned. What do you think Urban Meyer is going to hear at every Gator Club breakfast, lunch and dinner meeting he attends in the offseason next year? He’s gonna hear the same incessant complaint that every Georgia coach has been forced to suffer through for nigh on about twenty years: Coach, you gotta beat Georgia this year. You just gotta.

How delicious.

And so I ask one more time: just how smart is Mark Richt? Did he actually see this coming? Because if he did, all I can say is, man, I can’t wait to see what he has up his sleeve for next year’s game.

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UPDATE: For all my Gator commenters in denial, here’s more of what I’m referring to. Feel free to keep insisting otherwise, though.

(h/t Dawgbone)

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

That was different.

Ah, hell, I said I wouldn’t revisit the subject, but I can’t help it.

Please note this great moment in sportsmanship in 2007, as the Florida Gators get their pregame on by stomping on the Tiger logo on LSU’s home field:

Gator fans, I share your outrage. Shall we move on now?

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Filed under College Football, Crime and Punishment

The SEC down the stretch

With two thirds of the season in, there are a couple of things we can see about the SEC this year:  (1) the difference in quality some thought they saw in separating the Southeastern Conference from the remaining BCS conferences is not as apparent at the top, at least with regard to the Pac-10 and, arguably, the Big 12; and (2) the quality of the SEC at the middle and lower parts of the conference, on the other hand, is apparent.

The result of these two factors has been one of the most competitive, exciting conference races I can remember.  No team in the SEC East as I type this has been mathematically eliminated from going to Atlanta.  The West isn’t quite as bunched up, but it still boasts three teams that have a shot at the SECCG.

In a season that’s seen Kentucky go from beating the #1 team in the country and being ranked as high as #7 to getting blown out by Mississippi State at home a couple of weeks later, I feel a little queasy ranking the teams, but I’ll give it a shot nevertheless.

The Elite

  • LSU (7-1 overall, 4-1 SEC).  The Tigers’ loss at UK looks weaker now, but, in spite of that, not too surprising, given their track record under Miles.  Still sporting the best talent in the conference, LSU shouldn’t lose again.   That doesn’t mean it won’t, though.  If LSU beats ‘Bama, it’s pretty close to over in the West, as LSU would have the tiebreaker advantage over its two closest rivals.

Good, But Not Elite

  • Georgia (6-2 overall, 4-2 SEC).  All but given up for dead three weeks ago after a horrendous loss at Tennessee, the Dawgs may have found their identity in that thrilling win against Florida.  Then again, who knows?  Auburn and Kentucky are both winnable games, but Georgia is a team that isn’t good enough to win just by showing up and bringing its “C” game.  I thought at the beginning of the season that this team would win anywhere from 8 to 10 games with a shot at the SECCG, and it’s still on track to accomplish that.  However, the ride will continue to be a wild one for the rest of the season.  Hold on to your hats.

The Rest Of The Ranked

  • Alabama (6-2 overall, 4-1 SEC).  Really, there isn’t much of a gap between the schools on this tier.  I give ‘Bama the slightest of nods because it’s the only school in this bunch that doesn’t have three losses.  Saban has done a fine job masking this team’s shortcomings, but he’s going to have his hands full this Saturday.  The win over the Vols was impressive, but I have a hard time getting worked up over a program that’s lost to FSU this year.  I still think eight wins looks likely for this bunch, but we’ll see.
  • Florida (5-3 overall, 3-3 SEC).  Wow, isn’t it special to be the best three loss team in the country right now?  Georgia exposed some flaws with this team.  The holes in the defense weren’t unexpected, but the coaching staff’s inability to adjust to game developments was.  The Gators are teetering on the brink of a four or five loss season if they don’t fix a few things.  That being said, this is a talented group that has the resources to rebound quickly.
  • Auburn (6-3 overall, 4-2 SEC).  Great defense, mediocre offense.  Very good coaching staff.  All of that translates into eight or nine wins, tops.
  • Tennessee (5-3 overall, 3-2 SEC).  Yes, the Vols have the inside track to Atlanta from the East.  How many of you are ready to bet the ranch that they’ll actually be there?
  • South Carolina (6-3 overall, 3-3 SEC).  Like Tennessee, the ‘Cocks are ranked in the AP poll, so I’ll list them here.  It feels like the bloom is wearing off the rose a little with this team and the OBC doesn’t seem to be working his magic on offense consistently.  There are no gimmes left on the schedule, either.  The ‘Cocks will be doing quite well to get to eight wins, but may very well have to settle for less.

The Few, The Proud, The Unranked

  • Kentucky (6-3 overall, 2-3 SEC).  They are freefalling.  Fast.  With the ‘Cats remaining schedule, we’ll see if Rich Brooks is the coaching guru every pundit claimed he was three weeks ago.  All of their games are winnable -  and if you’re a Georgia fan, you probably ought to hope that’s truly the case with the season finale against UT.
  • Arkansas (5-3 overall, 1-3 SEC).  Yes, the season is toast for the Nuttster.  But this team shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.  Any time you trot that backfield out, you’ve got a chance.  Monk is back, although clearly not up to top speed at this point.  There are no gimmes in the final four games, however, the Hogs definitely have a chance to screw with some other teams’ seasons.  It’s hard to see more than seven wins, though, which is not where they should have finished with this schedule.
  • Vanderbilt (5-3 overall, 2-3 SEC).  One win away from bowl eligibility, although it’s not going to be easy to get there.  Surprisingly tough on defense.  Six wins, max – and if they get it, it’s been a good year.
  • Mississippi State (5-4 overall, 2-3 SEC).  The Croom Abides.  This is not a very talented team, but it plays to the limits of its abilities most weeks.  If you want to beat MSU, it’s pretty simple:  don’t turn the ball over.  That being said, this team looks like it will be bowl eligible by season’s end.  Good on ‘em.

Bringing Up The Rear

  • Mississippi (2-7 overall, 0-6 SEC).  There was a brief moment in midseason when it looked like things might be starting to come together for the Rebels, but that turned out to be a mirage.  Three wins, none in the conference, seems likely from here.  If you’re fired after losing to MSU when they’re favored,  have you been croomed?

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Filed under SEC Football

Did you order the Code Red?

I dissed Zemek’s article in CFN yesterday, so it seems only fair to point out what Pete Fiutak has to say about the WLOCP today. It’s pretty good. My favorite line:

I guarantee you the first thing that went through Meyer’s mind when he saw what was happening was, “Aw crap. I wish I had thought of that first.”

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UPDATE:  Tater Tot agrees.  (But check out Tuberville’s courageous fence straddling.)

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles

My last post on class

It’s hardly a point worth mentioning, but I’ll mention it anyway. Class, or the lack thereof, manifests itself in many ways.

You tell me how this looks:

After Florida wins, usually between seven and 10 players are made available to the media, whether at home, on the road or at a neutral site.

After Saturday’s game only three Gators (quarterback Tim Tebow, linebacker Brandon Spikes and safety Tony Joiner) were brought into the interview room with Joiner and Spikes staying less than five minutes combined. The excuse given was the players needed to catch the team bus.

Last year after Florida’s victory against Georgia, numerous players — starters and backups — stuck around for interviews for close to an hour. The bus waited.

Despite having a much longer trip home, Georgia players and coach Mark Richt were still speaking to reporters more than 90 minutes after the contest had ended.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Being offended by the offended

Let’s not forget the media weighing in on the Crime of the Century.

The Terence Moore piece on the Celebration should have been seen as nothing more than typical AJ-C pot-stirring. As such, I found it more an exercise in cynicism than anything else.

This article [ed. note - original link no longer works.] by Matthew Zemek in CFN, on the other hand, while earnest, manages to be both breathtakingly stupid and pompous at the same time, which is no easy feat. He manages to invoke the names of Martin Luther King, Gandhi and Mother Teresa in an attempt to find the larger meaning in the act of a bunch of teenagers running on a football field for something like 20 seconds during a game. I kid you not.

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UPDATE: On the other hand, Mark Schlabach has some astute comments about the Celebration and the bed that Urban’s made this season in this post.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Speaking of classless…

The Ol’ Ball Coach weighs in on the Celebration.

“I guess they lost so much to Florida they got to the point they said, ‘Hey, let’s try something different,’ ” said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who went 11-1 against Georgia at Florida. “Let’s all run out there and go crazy and act like a bunch of happy Bulldogs or something, and don’t worry about the 15-yard penalty.”

It’s nice to know that Spurrier still can make time to think about Georgia football after his team blows a game – to Phil Fulmer! – because the opposing kicker gets a second chance to send the game into overtime due to a penalty by the kid’s own team.

Secondly, you just know he had to be thinking something along the lines of “if I were still coaching in Gainesville and Georgia had pulled that kind of crap on my team, there’s no way I wouldn’t have made them pay for it…”

There is no truth to the rumor that Urban is sporting a “what would Spurrier do?” bracelet there… (photo courtesy AB-H/ John Curry)

Dawg fans, Florida and Spurrier took it on the chin painfully last Saturday. Revel in this.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Evil Genius

You had me at “classless”.

Quick question: if Florida fans weren’t offended by the Celebration, as Dawg fans, would we be offended by them not being offended?

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Filed under General Idiocy, Georgia Football