Which present-day SEC coach owns the best career record against teams that finished the season with a winning record?
The answer is … Georgia’s Mark Richt.
I admit to some trepidation in even attempting a preview of the South Carolina game, first, because I know in my heart of hearts I’ll never top this one, and second, because the real story to this game is not a fun one and something for which I don’t have an answer: how does Georgia cope with the incredible amount of negative energy thrown its way by the media and much of the fan base.
Five minutes after the outcome of the Boise State game, you had to figure the sphincters on the Sanford Stadium sideline were bound to be tight based on what was at stake for the season and Mark Richt’s career. This week’s reaction to the opening night loss has only served to intensify that. I don’t think there will be ninety thousand-plus fans sitting there tomorrow waiting for Georgia to make a mistake, but I worry that the players will feel like that’s the case and play accordingly. If that’s the case, it’s probably going to be a long game. And season.
I posted that the keys to the Boise State game were two-fold, line play and team psychology. As for the latter, even though the Dawgs looked disorganized, I didn’t see them quit. Indeed, they played better late than they did from the middle of the second quarter through most of the third. So there’s that. But the pressure has been ratcheted up significantly for this game.
As for the offensive and defensive lines, well, the defensive line didn’t play too badly. I like what Paul Myerberg has to say about that.
Don’t doubt Georgia’s ability to beat South Carolina. Not for a minute, and I’m not sure why you would — and don’t say it’s because the Bulldogs lost to Boise, because that would shoot a lot of holes in a lot of arguments. I can tell you one reason why Georgia can win: the play of the front seven. In stopping the run, more specifically. While the Broncos had their way in the intermediate passing game, the Bulldogs were terrific against Boise’s ground game.
I think that’s fairly accurate. But that alone isn’t going to put Georgia in the win column. And that’s because the offensive line play, particularly in the passing game, fell so short last week. Georgia was done in against Boise State by that and by being on the losing end of the field position battle all game. Those two things have to improve for Georgia to stand a decent chance of beating the Gamecocks.
I haven’t said much about the Gamecocks here, mainly because they’re sort of Georgia’s polar opposite right now. What you see with them is pretty much what you get: a supremely talented pair of skill players in Jeffery and Lattimore; a quarterback who Spurrier is going to have to live with, for better or worse; and a defense that’s fairly similar to Boise State’s (great defensive front, decent linebacking and questionable secondary), only with better athletes. It’s not a team that Georgia will beat playing its “C” game.
Tactically, I think Myerberg is right about what Georgia should try to do defensively.
… Georgia’s game plan will be simple: we need to stop Marcus Lattimore — or slow him down, at least — and force Stephen Garcia to beat us. Not that Garcia couldn’t beat the Bulldogs on his own; he’s no Kellen Moore, but Garcia has ability, experience and one of the nation’s best receivers to work with. But more so than Boise, South Carolina’s offense is one that plays into Georgia’s perceived strength defensively, if last Saturday is any indication.
Easier said that done, of course. And Georgia can’t sleep on Lattimore, the receiver, either. He’s damned good at that. But Carolina’s receiving corps after Jeffery wasn’t impressive in their opener. If Grantham can figure out a way to squeeze that down, he’s got a chance. (It’s not like Georgia gave up a ton of points last year in Columbia.)
On offense, it’s all about Aaron Murray. He didn’t look like a first-team All-SEC quarterback in the Dome. There’s plenty of blame to go around for that. The line play, of course. Some of the receivers besides Charles and Mitchell need to step up. Murray’s offensive coordinator needs to put him in a better position to make positive plays (sometimes you’ve got to let the quarterback run the ball out of the shotgun spread just to keep the defense honest, for one thing). And Murray’s got to do a better job with his decision-making, both in terms of knowing how long to hold on to the ball and in finding the open man downfield.
Ultimately, though, tomorrow comes down to whether the Dawgs can find their collective mojo in time. As Myerberg asks, “(m)ost importantly, can Georgia recover its misplaced confidence in time for an SEC run?” If the Dawgs can, that “goals remaining” talk won’t sound cringe-worthy at all.
I’m sorry, but this cracked me up.
“I couldn’t hear a thing because that stadium was so loud,” Anderson said. “We had those new uniforms on, and I hadn’t played ball in a whole year. I had a lot going through my mind.”
I just want to know what the story is with the uniform reference. Was he distracted admiring his looks as he got in his stance? Was he upset that he wasn’t celebrating his return to the field in a more traditional uniform? What?
I’d like to think this could be the final nail in the coffin for Georgia wearing special uniforms again. But I doubt Nike agrees with me on that.
Prior to enrolling at Florida, Sharrif Floyd received cash and impermissible benefits totaling around $2,700 and for that, the NCAA has ruled that he must repay the money to charity and sit for two games.
If, um, those numbers don’t quite gibe with a recent transgression we’re all well aware of…
Under most circumstances, a $2,700 tab would warrant a four-game suspension (see last year’s verdict against Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green), especially involving benefits exchanged during the recruiting process (see last week’s verdict against multiple Miami players).
… that would be because the NCAA is making shit up as it goes along. Again.
In Floyd’s case, though, the NCAA cited several “mitigating circumstances” after examining “the totality” of the situation — beginning with the apparent fact that, according Floyd’s high school coach in Philadelphia, Pa., Ron Cohen, at least some of the improper benefits in question were generated by a school bake sale on Floyd’s behalf…
… But the second possible factor in reducing Floyd’s time from four games to two was, in the NCAA’s words, “his personal hardship.” Or, in Cohen’s words: “He didn’t have two pennies to rub together.” Floyd often relied on people outside of his family — including Cohen — for money to eat, as well as clothes and transportation.
Will Muschamp is pissed.
“I’m angered, disgusted and extremely disappointed that Sharrif will have to miss two games.
In my opinion Sharrif is getting lumped into what is bad about college athletics. As we indicated in the statement Saturday night his issue was not related to sports agents, University of Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida or anywhere else.
Sharrif is what is good about college athletics – his life is about survival, struggle, disappointment and adversity. I have recruited kids that did not know where they would sleep that night or what they would eat. Growing up, Sharrif was one these kids. Sharrif’s life is also about triumph, honesty, integrity, determination, perseverance and character. The NCAA stated that he received preferential treatment; there is nothing preferential about his life…”
Now the point here isn’t to make light of the fact that Floyd has had a rough go of it, at least until he got to Gainesville. Nor is it whether or not the NCAA acted reasonably here. It’s that there’s no rhyme or reason to this stuff. Either you’ve got these strict guidelines that call for certain amounts to lead to certain penalties with no shades of gray, or you’ve got an amorphous situation where it’s going to less troublesome for some kids to receive benefits than for others based on whatever feels good at the moment.
It’s nice that the NCAA showed consideration for Floyd. But as a Georgia fan, I sure feel cheated right now.
Here’s one way to define chutzpah:
Leo Rosten in The Joys of Yiddish defines chutzpah as “gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible ‘guts,’ presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to.” In this sense, chutzpah expresses both strong disapproval and a grudging admiration. In the same work, Rosten also defined the term as “that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.”
Football in Texas is more than a passing interest, it is a part of the fabric of this great state.
- Will Texans stand by and watch hundred-year-old rivalries be cast aside as the state’s largest universities align themselves with other states across the country?
- Will Texans sit and watch as Texas’ flagship universities pledge their loyalties to other states?
- Will Texans stand by as our most promising student athletes are lured out of Texas by new rivals?
- Will Texans watch as our most precious resources—the great minds of the next generation—are exported to new conference institutions?
Seventeen years ago, Baylor had a chance to make a stand. The Southwest Conference was dissolving: what was once a nine-team league had dwindled to eight when Arkansas left for the SEC in 1991, leaving the conference’s long-term future was in doubt. Yet the remaining eight teams held on through 1992 and 1993, playing a seven-game conference slate and adding a fourth game outside of SWC play. The death knell came in March of 1994, when four teams accepted to join the Big Eight, soon to be the Big 12: Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor.
That’s when Baylor should’ve made its stand, if Baylor truly means what it says when the university climbs upon its high horse in defense of the “integrity of college athletics.” Or when it warns the masses: “Don’t Mess With Texas Football.”
Baylor didn’t stand up for “Texas Football” then, nor for this unimpeachable “integrity,” as it left for higher ground, bigger deals and fatter paychecks in the Big 12. That move left four key members of “Texas Football” out in the cold: S.M.U., T.C.U., Rice and Houston.
Of course, what this farcical nonsense is really about is that Baylor, in surveying its options in the event the Big 12 crumbles, isn’t thrilled with the likelihood that it won’t wind up in a BCS conference once the music stops. If the school finds the right chair to sit in, rest assured that its noble concern about integrity will vanish like a fart in the wind.