Daily Archives: September 22, 2008

It really is the end of an era.

Damn.  Just damn.

Larry Munson, the legendary voice of University of Georgia football will announce his retirement Monday night, three people familiar with the situation told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

We all knew it was coming.  I just hoped it would be under more ideal circumstances.

Every Dawg fan has his or her particular moment when Munson first cast his spell.  I fell in love with Larry listening to his incredible 1978 broadcast of the road game at Kentucky.  I was at a party and remember joining people drifting away from the larger group to gather around a radio.  The tension that Munson was able to create with his play by play became almost unbearable; the call of Rex Robinson kicking the winning field goal was cathartic.  Lewis Grizzard later described Larry’s call of the game as “better than being there” and he was spot on with that.

I doubt this is the way Munson wants to go out, but as the saying goes, sometimes the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  In any event, I will be forever grateful for the way the man has enriched our lives for so many years.  As an epitaph for his career, to say there will never be another one like him is a woeful understatement, but so be it.  God bless you, sir.

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Filed under Georgia Football

I knew I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

Chris Low, who really should know better, is on the Vanderbilt bandwagon.  In fact, he sounds like someone who’s bought the bandwagon factory when he writes that

… The next question becomes: How many games can this team win? I’m setting the over/under at eight right now.

Eight?  Eight?

Check out Vandy’s statistical rankings.  The Commodores rank 110th nationally in total offense and 72nd in total defense.  They play in the SEC East.  They’re last in the conference in total offense, total defense, passing offense and passing defense.

That’s not a resume that adds up to anywhere near eight wins.  It’s crazy talk.  Heck, six is gonna be a fairly tight squeeze for the ‘Dores.

And it’s not like they haven’t been here before, either.

11 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football

Around the first turn: an early look at the SEC

Every team in the conference has played at least a quarter of its schedule and every team in the conference with the exception of Kentucky has at least one SEC game under its belt, so now seems as good a time as any to take stock of how the schools are shaping up this season.

My overall general impressions to date are that (1) the top of the conference is as good as it’s ever been; (2) the bottom of the conference may be worse than it was last year; and (3) the West is definitely weaker than the East this year.

SEC WEST

  • Alabama (1-0 SEC; 4-0 overall). The Tide runs the ball (first in the SEC in rushing offense) and stops the run (third in the SEC in rushing defense).  That’s a damned good place to start if you want to win in this conference.  I’m not a John Parker Wilson fan, but they really don’t ask him to do too much.  I originally thought ‘Bama was good for about eight wins this year, but given the weakness at the bottom of the West and the way Saban has his defense playing, it’s not unreasonable to see ten wins for this team.
  • LSU (1-0 SEC; 4-0 overall). You don’t want to read too much into one magical moment, but these guys have to be feeling good about their chances now.  Outside of quarterback, this is still the most talented team in the SEC.  I think they beat ‘Bama to win the West, but lose two other conference games, because that’s what they do under Miles.  They sure are fun to watch, though.
  • Auburn (1-1 SEC; 3-1 overall). You’d like to say Auburn is a work in progress, except that the LSU game showed some chinks in the armor.  Everyone gets mesmerized by the defensive speed, but tends to forget that this team is smallish on defense and consequently vulnerable to teams with power running games that can pound on them over the course of a game.  Check the schedule;  these Tigers will lose at least two more games this year in the conference.
  • Arkansas (0-1 SEC; 2-1 overall). Of all the comments I’ve read about last weekend’s games, nothing puzzled me more than the recurring one that ‘Bama’s win over these guys was significant.  Based on what?  This is a bad football team and it may not win another game this year, including Tulsa at home and Mississippi State on the road.  But at least the records requests will be down this year.
  • Mississippi (0-1 SEC; 2-2 overall). Closer, but not there yet.  Jevan Snead is not without talent, but he’s also thrown more interceptions than any other QB in the conference.  The Rebels are getting key personnel back on defense, so there’s room for improvement, but bowl eligibility may boil down to a road game in Columbia.
  • Mississippi State (0-1 SEC; 1-3 overall). When games against Louisiana Tech and Georgia Tech expose your structural flaws, you might as well face the fact that you aren’t very good.  This is a very bad, very untalented offensive team that has to hope its defense can keep things close and that it can win the turnover battle.  That formula worked well for Croom last year, but it’s deserted him this year.  The Bulldogs may steal a game this year doing that, but it’s just as likely they’ll blow one, too.  Bowl eligibility looks like a stretch right now.

SEC EAST

  • Vanderbilt (2-0 SEC; 4-0 overall). Yes, the Commodores are ranked in the top 25.  Yes, they stand atop the East standings.  It’s a mirage.  They’re last in the SEC in both total offense and total defense and were outgained on average in their two conference wins by about 140 yards per game.  The good news is that they’ve got Duke and Mississippi State to play and that should be just enough to get them into a bowl game.
  • Georgia (1-0 SEC; 4-0 overall). This team is better than it was at the same stage a year ago.  The emergence of A. J. Green for an offense that’s already ranked first in the conference in total offense has to be encouraging.  Still, the schedule is a demanding mistress.  My heart says one loss (and it’s not in Jacksonville).  My head says two right now.
  • Florida (1-0 SEC; 3-0 overall). I think the Gator secondary is this team’s weak link.  The catch is that, in this Year of SEC Passing Offenses With Mediocre Quarterbacks, it may not matter.  Florida won’t go undefeated, but it’s not going to lose more than two, either.
  • Kentucky (0-0 SEC; 3-0 overall). The Wildcats haven’t played anybody so far, so it’s hard to give them a complete evaluation.  But the fact that UK is ninth in the conference in total offense after playing the likes of Louisville, Middle Tennessee State and Norfolk State doesn’t bode particularly well.  They’ve still got one more cupcake to play this week, and Arky and Mississippi State are coming up, so they’ll probably eke out six wins or so, but there just isn’t much to see here.
  • Tennessee (0-1 SEC; 1-2 overall). There’s something about chickens coming home to roost that’s appropriate here.  This team has talent, but it’s a mess.  All the negative preseason trend lines that I mentioned a while back – first time offensive coordinator and starting quarterback, all those close wins last year, for example – are coming back to kill UT with a vengeance.  This week’s game at Auburn is huge.  If Herbstreit’s right and the Vols get off to a 2-4 start, here’s the table they have to run to finish with eight wins:  Mississippi State, Alabama, at South Carolina, Wyoming, at Vandy and Kentucky.  Could they do it?  Sure.  Would they?  Probably not.
  • South Carolina (0-2 SEC; 2-2 overall). That Spurrier is seriously considering starting Stephen Garcia to jump start his offense tells you all you need to know about the ‘Cocks, who are still second in the SEC in total defense.  There are four more wins apparent on the schedule right now, but these guys won six last year and got shut out of a bowl game.  That seventh win would have to come out of this bunch:  LSU, Tennessee, Florida and Clemmins.  It’s looking more and more like a rerun, isn’t it?

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Filed under SEC Football

Monday morning breakfast buffet

It ain’t the Sho-nee, but here’s what I’ve got for you this AM:

  • Alabama cornerback Marquis Johnson says the Tide is back.  Except it never left.  Or something like that.  “We sent a message to the rest of the SEC,” cornerback Marquis Johnson told reporters. “It’s not like we were hungry. We already knew we were on top. It’s like we’re coming from the back to show everybody else we’re the team from the past. This is a new identity. Look out.” Once we parse that, Marquis, we will, buddy.
  • Scoff at Damon Evans’ “branding” strategy all you want, but one good result that comes from a win like Saturday night’s is that the West Coast media pays attention to a team that it may not have followed that closely before.  Exhibit “A” is this very complimentary article about the Dawgs by the Los Angeles Times’ Chris Dufresne.
  • Speaking of that win and the West Coast, CFN’s Pete Fiutak points out that scheduling cuts both ways and that Southern Cal may need all the style points it can garner.
  • If you ever see an SAT question that starts off “Georgia is to South Carolina as South Carolina is to…”, Garnet and Black Attack’s cocknfire has your answer.
  • Mr. Westerdawg shakes off his jet lag to point out something very special about this week’s Alabama-Georgia game.  And it has nothing to do with jersey colors.
  • Talk about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic:  Tennessee is taking another look at walk-on punters.  That ought to get the fan base pumped.

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Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football, The Glass is Half Fulmer