Next year starts at the Outback Bowl.

Mark Richt, on the bowl game:

… It’s also the first game of 2012, and the way everything is set up in the BCS system, I think how you finish has something to do with how people see you when the season begins the next year. I think it’s important for the future too to play well and try to get the victory.

What was once – and not very long ago – laughable is now something to be considered seriously.  And Richt’s not the only one harboring such thoughts.

“I know I’ll have to compete with Jarvis though,” Rambo said, smiling. “Some of the team goals: We made it to the SEC (championship), we won the SEC East, but we didn’t win the SEC, and that’s one of the goals I want to achieve. And also the national championship. I never had a chance to win a ring playing any sports, and I think next year will be a great year for us.”

Senior cornerback Brandon Boykin went through this process last year. At one point he had decided to leave, but changed his mind.

Boykin said the juniors considering the job should “really think about it, not make a decision off of what they feel at the moment.”

“I know everybody’s goal is to go to the NFL,” Boykin said. “I know everyone wants to get out and make money and stuff like that. But to just really think about the situation, what’s best for them. I know everybody’s situation is different.

“Definitely for me I wanted to come back and make sure I got closer to my degree. Make sure you help your draft stock as much as you can. For me, a huge thing was coming back on a winning season. So with us winning 10 wins this year, a lot probably want to come out and win the SEC next year.”

First off, it goes without saying that if a kid’s good enough to go pro, when the time comes, I’ve got no problem with the decision.  But it’s been a while since Georgia players like Rambo and Charles have had a tougher choice to make between the pocketbook and collegiate success.  If we see them decide to stay, there’s something to be said about the 2012 bandwagon gaining momentum.

As Seth Emerson points out, there are reasons to be optimistic about how Georgia’s next season shapes up.  For one thing, the schedule may prove to be even more favorable than 2011′s was.

Georgia had a fairly easy schedule this year, and it could be even easier in 2012. All four of its non-conference games are at home, with Georgia Tech the only opponent from a BCS conference.

And the Bulldogs may catch a break in the SEC’s re-worked schedule: Reports out of Missouri are that school will open its SEC membership by hosting Georgia early in the season. While that may not be an easy game, it could replace a previously scheduled trip to Alabama.

And you’ve got to like the prospects for a defense when Todd Grantham says finding a nickel cornerback would be his main issue this coming spring.

Still, baby steps.  It will be worth watching three things before spring practice arrives:  (1) Georgia’s attitude and effort at the bowl game; (2) how well that staff closes on national signing day (particularly at running back and offensive line); and (3) how many juniors forego the jump to the NFL.

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40 Comments

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40 responses to “Next year starts at the Outback Bowl.

  1. timphd

    These kids seem to have a better head on their shoulders than some in the past. I would wish Orson and Bicarri nothing but success if they choose to go to the NFL, but the fact that they are thinking of this in terms that include not only cash but life experience and team makes it even more impressive. I am so hopeful for next year, regardless of their decision (though having both back would be great). I also have to like the quote from Crowell about being “more accountable” to his teammates. Go Dawgs! Let’s rock and roll in 2012!

  2. All signs are pointing toward a strong close to the recruiting season. That’s all I want for Christmas.

  3. Cojones

    Did I catch this correctly? Rambo is entertaining coming back above the NFL? Jarvis has gotten through to him that another year will be a better goal than going now? Wow! If that’s true, it will cause a groundswell of positive motivations everywhere including the fan base.

    C’mon, AD/Pres, sign and announce that contract now. This is that pregnant time we all have been waiting for. Let those recruits know now that we all mean business and it’s “All in” for UGA. Git’er done!

    • The other Doug

      Please don’t use Auburn slogans like “All In” to describe our Bulldogs. This is a family blog.

      • Juan

        Total agreement. Get that cheesy Aubs garbage out of your vocabulary, cojones.

        • Cojones

          My bad. It won’t happen again. I’m sure it was used in jest on here because I succumbed to visiting their blog once- immediately after we kicked their ass. I’m sure they weren’t using the expression then or I may have been laughing so hard at their flustered blog that I just missed it.

          Once again, my apologies for having let it seep into my subconscious.

          Back to less serious subjects- no one answered my Questions. Need these answers because our future is nowhere.

  4. I agree with the 3 things to watch for before Spring Practice starts.
    How many jump to the NFL is my biggest concern but I think that the Dawgs will be good to go in 2012 even if more than expected make that jump.
    Still believe USCe will be the main stumbling block in 2012. GATA.

  5. Dumb & Dumber Dawg Fan

    So…you’re saying there’s a chance?!

  6. H-Town Dawg

    CMR hit the nail on the head. For the program, 2012 is here now. As gratifying as it is for us to see the Dawgs beat all our rivals, for the media THIS game will be UGA’s signature win. This will be the game they point to in the off-season when deciding how they want to view UGA’s pre-season status. This game and, of course, recruiting and spring practice.

    I believe the Dawgs will take care of business in Tampa.

  7. W Cobb Dawg

    It’s not 2012, it’s still the 2011 season. Beating Michigan State is huge – and shouldn’t be overlooked or taken for granted. For all the feel good happy talk, we still need to prove we can beat a team with a similar record. I wouldn’t worry about next season or the NFL until after a bowl win. The recruits can watch on TV, confident they’ll get a call from us soon after the game. It’s likely they already have our offer and are looking to see how we finish.

    • Puffdawg

      “…we still need to prove we can beat a team with a similar record.”

      This is a new spin on the “beat a team with a winning record” I haven’t seen yet from the detractors. LOL.

      We won 10 games and won the East. Can we give this weak schedule meme a rest already? I’d expect it to continue from opposing fans who can’t stand our success, but not from our own fans who are supposed to enjoy our success.

      And of course you wouldn’t worry about the NFL because you aren’t a 22 year old kid with a mulit million dollar life altering decision ahead of you in a few weeks.

      • Skeptic Dawg

        While you may not agree with W Cobb Dawg’s statement, it holds true none the less. Yes, the Dawgs had a successful season with 10 W’s. However, their best win was against a 7-5 Auburn team that lost their last 4 or 5 games by an average of 31 points. Yes, the Dawgs need to prove something in the bowl game.

        • Puffdawg

          No, it’s not true. When we beat Auburn, they were 6-3, similar to our 7-2 record at the time. When we beat GT, they were 8-3, similar to our 9-2 record. And not only did we beat both those teams, we beat them both SOUNDLY. They don’t have similar records to us now because we beat them.

        • Puffdawg

          BTW I thought you were back on the bus?

      • W Cobb Dawg

        I’m not spinning the ‘easy schedule meme’. I’m saying that this team still has things to prove. Beating a 10 win team puts a punctuation mark on the 2011 season. Distractions should be minimized until after the bowl game. Most of our starters played against UCF in our last bowl game, and all of our coaches were there. They should know better than to assume an easy win.

        • Puffdawg

          See above for my repsonse on beating a team with similar record.

          Also, I agree a win in the bowl would put some sort of punctuation mark on the season. Hopefully an excalamtion mark but with some of our fans I suspect it’d be a question mark.

          As for the distractions, I’m sure you are already aware the NFL Draft Advisory Committee strongly recommends submissions in by mid-December for a complete evaluation. So should they not have submitted paperwork? Or just not answered question from the media regarding the submissions?

          Why is it you think they are assuming an easy win?

  8. Bad M.

    There are so many dominoes that have to fall to get a magical season. Having these guys come back is domino 2. Win the bowl game, get a good recruiting class, avoid injuries, etc.
    It’s possible. It can happen.

    • Cojones

      I think it could be helped if the admin gave Richt +3 or better, quickly. No telling the harm already done by some buttheads who still linger like vultures ready for something negative to chime in on. Still think most were trolls who schmoosed their way in. Don’t hear any more from many of them. The genuine fans have seen the error of their ways and continue to participate, but I note the abscence of some of the more vociferous “fans”.

  9. Cojones

    Since this is another year, I think our “season” is over. Which means this game starts another year and , I maintain, Rome is eligible to play since his redshirt will be lifted this year. Does anyone know difinitively?

    Was Ray Drew redshirted this last year? Haven’t heard a peep since he wasn’t played after missing so much practice and familiarity with plays. Know he was in on a couple of plays, but did that medical redshirt get placed?

    • Macallanlover

      If only it were so Cojones, it makes no sense to bar RS players from playing without penalty. The prior season is over, and the games are exhibition only. These players should be rewarded for being practice day dummies if the coach chooses. What is really any different from Spring Practice games? A coach should be allowed to reward the guys he chooses, and get a peek at the players in competiion with game-like simulation. The film is helpfull in evaluating/coaching the player’s development.

  10. ben

    Last night I attended the UGA Alumni night in Los Angeles. Greg McGarity was there and spoke a small amount about two things. First he said that the schedule, as reported, will be out Monday or Tuesday. He said that he couldn’t comment on it other than we would be playing in Kentucky during horse racing season and we’d be visiting a new campus we’d never been to. So no Bama. Secondly, I asked him if they were planning on locking up CTG. He sort of danced around the question but alluded to the fact that they would be dealing with CMR’s contract and then they would work towards something with CTG.

    • Hayduke

      Thanks for that ben!
      Interesting replies by McGarity, especially the coaches contract question if one were to (subjectively..of course ;)) read between the lines of his response.

    • Macallanlover

      I don’t see anything in your comment that would exclude Bama from remaining on the schedule, but I think you are right. Old Miss hasn’t completed the 2 game series and is owed a home game. I wish we could keep Bama too.

      I get tired of the UGA easy schedule discussion, no one in the SEC has to back up to any other school for what it faces year-in, and year-out. As teams rotate on and off the schedule you will catch some on the upswing, some down. I actually find it more significant in the SEC it is when you play teams, not who. Regardless of the rotation, you cannot duck your way to a title, and no one can say how tough a team is until they have played them in comparable situations. (Which is why only a playoff that includes major conference champions can provide one with real bullets to defend their claims of superiority.)

  11. Right now I think we could beat USCe or Arkansas. Just an opinion.
    If the Dawgs win the bowl game, they will have had 4 seasons out of 11 under Richt where they have won at least 11 games. Playing in the SEC that counts for a lot with me despite who we played or did not play. Another top 10 team ???.

  12. Comin' Down The Track

    Oh, man. I cannot wait until football season.

  13. Spike

    Meet me in Tampa, I’ll have the beer cold, boys!

  14. FanSince59

    2012 won’t be any different from 2011. Yes, Richt may back into the SEC east again, especially if Bama is removed from the schedule. Then Richt gets the hell beat out of him in the SECCG by Saban or Miles. Then a nothing non BCS bowl. Then it’s the same old off-season BS about the possibilities for 2013. And the saga goes on. Hope springs eternal.

    • Bad m

      Because in college football, the one thing you can always count on, is a repeat from the year before.

      • H-Town Dawg

        No, not the one thing. You can also count on trolls making pointless posts like “FanSince59.”

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I also think the post is factually inaccurate. In the 11 years that CMR has been HC the Dawgs won the SEC Championship outright twice, won or tied for the SEC East title 5 times and would have won the BCSNCG in ’07 if the nattering nabobs at ESPN had not gone on an all out full court press to stop UGA from playing in the BCSNCG that year. Also, UGA has played in multiple BCS bowl games the last 11 seasons.

    • Yeah, Saban and Miles are going to dominate forever. Remember a couple of years ago, people were wondering if anybody other than Bama and the Gators could make it to the SEC Championship in the near future?

    • Biggus Rickus

      ’59? You mean the year Georgia went 10-1 out of nowhere to capture the SEC? The lone shining year between 1949 and 1965? Same old. Same old.

  15. BulldogBen

    Man, I hate baby steps.