Back in the saddle again

… or at least on the right side of New Year’s Day again.

“When we went to the Sugar Bowl in 2007, we thought we should have been going to the national championship, to the Rose Bowl,” Georgia senior punter Drew Butler said recently. “I don’t want to say we were upset with it, but we thought we deserved better. Then you go to the Capital One Bowl the next year and you want to be back to the Sugar Bowl. And then you go to Shreveport and Memphis back to back and you just want to be back in Florida…”

Here’s a quick statistical snapshot of Michigan State, which looks to be as accomplished defensively as Georgia, perhaps not as solid offensively but slightly better on special teams (not that that’s a high bar to cross, it seems).

You wonder if Sparty’s going to come into the game with a bit of a chip on the shoulder, given that the Michigan team it soundly whipped is headed to the better bowl game.

The good news for Georgia should be that the walking wounded will have a month to heal, giving the offensive line and running backs group depth again, as well as getting Tyson and Gilliard back on the field.

More to come, obviously…

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52 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

52 responses to “Back in the saddle again

  1. TennesseeDawg

    It’s an absolute joke that Michigan and VT are in the BCS. Michigan beat just one ranked team and made the BCS (Nebraska) as did VT (Georgia Tech). The bammers think just because they get a rematch they’ll win. Most likely LSU will beat them even worse.

    • PatinDC

      I am rooting for LSU to smash them. Rematch stinks.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Funny. I am rooting for Bama to smash those Bayou cheatin’, holdin’, blockin’ in the back, SEC-ref game fixin’ MFs.

        • Cojones

          My good thoughts as well, Mayor. LS Lieux, LS Lieux, LS Lieux.

          • Cojones

            Hope Bama takes a dump on the lieux.

            • Cojones

              Where are you, BD?

              • Macallanlover

                You guys are nuts. LSU is not only better, they are a better program, a better fanbase, and much more fun to interact with. Miles is a better man and a better coach. And you don’t want to even think about having to put up with Bama if they get 1/2 of the faux title. LSU is the SEC champion, I support them.

              • Macallanlover

                BD is the kind of representative I remember of Alabama fans….before they opened the doors to the asylum.

      • Will (the other one)

        I’m rooting for LSU to smash them because every blasted Bama fan I know thought it was their birthright to play for the MNC this season (and the ones with any doubt were rooting against us this past Saturday.)

    • Saint Johns Dawg

      BCS is set up to match #1 and #2 ONLY.

      The rest of the bowl selections are determined by how much money each site can raise in revenue. Period. All that stuff about rankings to determine BCS opponents has always been total crap. We don’t have to like it, be we should acknowledge it.

  2. Brandon

    I am sort of ticked the palmetto state poultry are getting to play Nebraska and we got more of our regular Michigan State-Wisconsin-Purdue rotation, as many times as we have been to these SEC-Big 10 bowls you would think we would have drawn Ohio State, Michigan, or Penn State more often, with those programs because of their histories (same with Nebraska) it wouldn’t be a total disgrace to lose but we always get stuck with the match ups that if you win, you were supposed to, if you lose you suck. It’s no better when we go to the BCS, then they just stick us with the same formula, 8-5 FSU in 02′; WV in 05′; Hawaii in 07′; they were going to slap us with Houston or TCU this year had we made it. It just gets old.

    • Ruteger

      Hate to say it, but I agree. To have the greatest regular season in sports, college football sure does leave me saying “Meh” or “WTF?” all to often in the postseason. Scanning the short list of bowl games I might be interested in watching leading up to ours, I just noticed that the Outback kicks off at 1:00. The Capitol One kicks off at 1:00. The Gator Bowl kicks off at 1:00. WTF? It’s always irked me that they’ve overlapped a good bit, but now you won’t be able to catch more than a few minutes of the other games, if any at all.

      • Sanford222View

        D-V-R!

        I agree though that the scheduling leaves a lot to be desired.

      • Will (the other one)

        At least one used to kick off at 11, so this might be the first year they all go at the same time. On the day after New Year’s Day. Which is also weird.

    • Cojones

      Brandon, you don’t seriously want to play a Legends team, do you. That would just be looking for trouble with those big time powerhouses; – of yesteryear. Where is The Lone Stranger with the proper intro for those teams?

      Lone, Tonto was telling me that the Indians named Red Rider. Something to do with the maidens? He also said Red’s companion was named after his mother. What’s with Tonto lately? He said to tell you that you have a little thingy and his is so large he carries it in his Quiver. Odd name for a squaw. He was making disparaging remarks about the Seminoles as well. Tell you about that next time.

  3. The other Doug

    I like our match up. It should be a good game.

  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    It’s tough to root for a college that was led by General Sherman, but LSU has taken on all comers and beat em, and Alabama hubris is as bad as Duke or North Carolina hubris.

  5. adam

    This game actually concerns me. I hope the team stays interested. After 10 straight wins, that was a pretty tough loss in Atlanta on Saturday. I hope they can bounce back and realize that bowl prep is the beginning of 2012 prep. If we want to go back and win the SEC, it starts immediately.

    • Bulldog Joe

      Georgia is coming off what is likely its worst half of football in its history (0-35), worse than the first half of 1999 Auburn and 2008 Alabama (0-31), worse than second half of 2008 Florida (7-35). The embarrassment was all there on national television.

      Georgia has every reason to come out with a chip on ITS shoulder.

  6. Spike

    What is the deal with Crowell?

    • He’s an immature 18-year old kid who didn’t get raised in the same setting as you or I did and is now trying to figure his way around in a rather alien world. It’s sink or swim time for him.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        +1. Let’s all get off his back and give the kid a chance.

        • Ben

          Thanks for saying that. I saw the photo of Murray that Christian Robinson sent around on Twitter last night (RTed by a UGA blogger), and it was a good reminder that these are really just kids. It’s hard for us who didn’t play and who tie up so much emotion into the game, but knowing and being reminded that we’re hedging our hopes and dreams for a BCS title (as fans) on the shoulders of 18-23 yr olds and demanding perfection and maturity from them is crazy.

          Ultimately we want the coaches to put them into position to win; I think the coaches did that on Saturday night. They didn’t execute the gameplan perfectly in the first half, but we’ve all screwed up on a project or a talk or something else. The difference was we didn’t have millions of people watching us and judging us the whole time.

          • Dawg in Alabama

            My mother taught Crowell when he was a child. It’s a neighborhood school and a lot of the older kids come back to visit their old teachers when they’re picking up siblings or nearby for any other reason. She talked to him and she talked to his parents several times about coming to UGA. I’m an alum, my husband is an alum, and my sister graduated from UGA’s law school last year, hence, my mom knows a lot about Athens, the school itself, and Mark Richt (she’s a FSU grad, so she was a fan from the minute he arrived in Athens). She said several times that his parents were really enthusiastic about him going to Georgia, as was his Carver coach. They liked and trusted Mark Richt and believed they were a good match. According to her, Isaiah’s been a little sheltered his whole life. Going to college has been his first taste of freedom. Couple that with the immaturity that’s expected out of an 18 year old who’s been taken care of his whole life and was a phenomenal talent in a talented school who apparently didn’t have to work much for success, and, well, you got some issues. I’ve remarked to friends that I expect Isaiah will be getting a lot of lectures over Christmas Break when he heads home, not only from his family and coaches, but from everyone else in his life who wants to see him succeed. Hopefully he’ll listen to them. Frankly, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if next year we are marveling about his change and looking forward to his assistance in leading us on a sweep to end up back at the Dome.

            • The Lone Stranger

              Interesting perspective there—always good to inject some first(or second) hand understanding on the psyche/motivations of a personality that to about all of us is just a #1 carrying the pigskin.

            • Macallanlover

              Thanks for sharing that. I don’t think there are any haters here that don’t want IC to succeed. He is an adult now, and the it is time for him to move beyond the problems he is having. I hope he listens to those in whom he trusts this month, he is at a critical intersection of his life. No one wants to see him continue down this path, but his talent and privilege has made this a very high profile situation so everyone will follow his next steps. Like you said, he can turn it on and become a leader on this team, it really is up to him.

      • Ginny

        That you for this reasonable analysis. I’ve been reading so much vitriol being spewed about him. I mean grown men on Dawg Sports calling him a “pussy”. He’s a kid who, like you said, wasn’t raised in the same environment as you and I were. He’s had a target on his back since the moment he signed. He’s had total strangers call him really mean things. I wish people would cut him a little slack. I get that he has an attitude problem and if it continues, I’m all for letting him go, but we need to remember that he’s still a kid.

        • Ben

          It’s funny you say that. My wife wanted to get on there and say, “I’ll tell you what! I pushed two kids out of my _____ without an epidural, so if that’s your way of saying someone’s not tough, maybe you should reevaluate what you’re saying!”

        • tc4792

          I agree, I thought that was completely asinine on the writer’s part. I really like this blog by far the most out of any of the possible sites out there. He is a kid, either he will grow up or he want. Also, high ankle sprains are awful, I saw someone who was trying at the dome and I don’t like anybody specifically calling someone out for an injury, even with his history.

  7. Nate Dawg

    So, UGA & Mich St make it to their respective Conf Champ Games and get lower-paying-out bowls than both USCe and Nebraska. Wow. How many ways can we get screwed? Call up Penn Wagers, see if he’s available for this year’s Outback Bowl…
    But you gotta hand it to Saban and his staff. All they had to do was LOSE an INTER-DIVISIONAL conf HOME game, and now they get to play for the NC. Now that’s coaching…

  8. Skeptic Dawg

    I completel forgot that ESPN currently holds the TV rights to most of the bowl games, including the BCS games. Now I have a huge issue with all of their talking heads pushing for the “Rematch of the Century”. This seems to be wrong on several different levels. As fans we just have to sit and take it! Thank you, may I have another.

    • The Lone Stranger

      They have the rights to all but two — Sun and Cotton, I think.

      • Cojones

        Yeah. Poor Tech. Heh,heh. And Arky has to be on the Texas channel (I know, not true, but it’s fun saying so.).

        Posted a mesage for you up above, Lone. Tonto’s in a weird mood.

  9. PatinDC

    Do the early enrollee’s get to practice with the team for the bowl games?

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Really good question. Also, if they are enrolled, can they play? If so, sign several RBs.

      • Cojones

        I would imagine that LeMay can play, along with Rome and early signees they aren’t going to redshirt.

        • adam

          You can’t play in the bowl without losing your redshirt.

          And early enrollees can practice with the team, but then they are ineligible for high school all star games. Happened to Lemay last year.

          • Cojones

            The game will be played next year so LeMay is having it lifted, I would imagine. That’s why I mentioned him.

  10. Regarding Michigan-Michigan State, “soundly whipped” is a little much. Michigan got stopped on a fourth and inches inside the MSU ten with eight minutes to go in a 21-14 game. The yardage for the game was even when you factor in MSU’s raft of personal foul penalties, which were seemingly part of their strategy.

    A few thoughts on MSU:

    1. The weakness of the team is the offensive line. They have struggled to run the ball at times this year and their pass protection can be hit or miss. Jarvis Jones could have a very big day. He’ll need to because Kirk Cousins is very accurate when he has time and they have two good receivers in Cunningham and Martin.
    2. MSU’s defense is well-coached. Against Michigan, they repeatedly killed the UM offense with creative blitzes, including a number of double A-gap blitzes that Al Borges never figured out. Crowell might be a bit of a liability in this game if he is not good at pass protection.
    3. Dantonio is 0-4 in bowl games at Michigan State. Only one of the four games was by single digits. MSU’s offensive style is pretty conventional and can be figured out over the course of a month.
    4. I don’t think that any Big Ten team plays a base 3-4, so MSU is going to have to make some adjustments. Cousins is a smart guy who may make it in the NFL, so I’ll be interested to see how he does against exotic blitz packages.
    5. Jerel Worthy wouldn’t be out of place on LSU’s defensive line. His matchup with Ben Jones should be very entertaining.

  11. Since BCS games are made away from most schools involved, therefore decisions borders on which fan base can fill a stadium better than other similar candidates with near similar records.

  12. Considering the gloom and doom a lot of fans and alumni had at the start of the season, just being at Tampa is a blessing indeed. I just hope the DAWGS does not come in with 2 losses and exits with the same, not that I am part of the gloom and doom group. It may just be what Richt and BOBO may consider a well balanced season.

    • Russ

      If we go to Tampa with 2 losses, I hope we leave Tampa with the same 2 losses, meaning we won the game.

      I figure that’s your sentiment, but your logic seemed off somehow.

  13. As much as we got screwed going to the Outback, Michigan State got screwed even worse.

    They got hopped by Michigan *AND* Nebraska. Total BS.

    • Cojones

      True, but the Big 10 teams are overdue for a little shit rubbed in their faces. ESPN’s darlings have slithered to the level many have deserved for years and just in time for Nebraska (Aksarben spelled backwards).