Daily Archives: October 3, 2015

Now we know what Alabama’s best shot looks like. 

Today wasn’t a case of a desperate team pulling out a win.

It was simply another game where Georgia didn’t show up.  That’s both sad and incomprehensible.


Filed under Georgia Football

Last thoughts on a rainy morning

I’ll be heading out the door shortly.  The only thing I know for sure is that I’ll be getting wet.

Obviously, a win would be fantastic.  But there’s something I want even more than that.

I want a moment of clarity.

I want that flash again that went through my head in the second quarter of the 2002 Florida game, when I saw Georgia’s defensive front not only holding its own against a team that had dominated it for years, but actually whipping ass on the line of scrimmage, that flash of “holy crap, they can play with that team!”.  That was the moment when I knew Richt had the program back to a point of being a relevant player in the SEC again.

That’s been lost.  I want it back.  And today provides the perfect opponent for it.

Yes, I know how that Florida game ended.  But I also know that flash in my brain resonates more strongly than DJ’s pick six or whatever the hell it was George Foster was doing when he drew that untimely penalty ever has.

That’s been lost.  I want it back.  And today provides the perfect opponent for it.

And, yes, I know there have been blips over the years – the last part of the 2007 season, the first half of the 2011 SECCG, the marvelous effort the team gave in Atlanta the following year – when we were tantalized with possibilities, but blips were all they turned out to be.  They weren’t what I felt that day in Jacksonville.

That’s been lost.  I want it back.  And today provides the perfect opponent for it.

Give me that, Dawgs, and I’ll be the first to say there’s no shame in losing, if that’s what’s in the cards in the end today.  Just give me that and I’ll be more optimistic about where this program is headed than I’ve been in a while.

Feel free to post your game day thoughts in the comments.  Hopefully, they’ll be happy ones.



Filed under Georgia Football

Beats me.

Matt Hinton does a nice job of summing up where my head is at on this rainy morning, trying to balance the expectations that have been raised with Georgia’s 2015 resume…

One month into the season, Georgia has dispatched four unranked opponents by a combined margin of 128 points, including a 52-20 rompover South Carolina that stands as the most lopsided victory in the annual series in more than 40 years. Greyson Lambert, a summer arrival from Virginia, has been an unlikely answer to the Bulldogs’ most glaring preseason question,1 and they’ve kept tailback Nick Chubb on an All-American pace within a sustainable workload. They rank among the top eight nationally in both traditional polls and among the top five according to Jeff Sagarin, Kenneth Massey, and ESPN’s Football Power Index. And unlike certainothercontenders, they’ve also remained remarkably healthy on both sides of the ball.

Ahead of this weekend’s season-defining visit from no. 13 Alabama, it’s worth considering just how rarely Georgia has managed to put itself in this position in the past decade — undefeated, nationally relevant, still boasting highly favorable odds of winning an SEC or national championship — even at this relatively nascent stage of the calendar. The fact is, for a program that enters almost every season with a “championship or bust” mentality, the month of September has been a minefield.

… with… well, you know.

It’s when it comes to winning big games that Richt’s reputation as the Charlie Brown of college football — always within striking distance of the prize, never able to follow through — takes shape. In many respects, as the most high-profile, resource-rich program in one of the most fertile statesfor big-time FBS talent, Georgia is on a very short list of the most coveted coaching jobs in the sport, and has been for a long time: Since 1980, the year of their only post–World War II national title, the Bulldogs have posted a better overall winning percentage under four head coaches (Richt, Jim Donnan, Ray Goff, and Vince Dooley) than all but six other major programs in the same span. But by virtually any other measure of sustained, elite success — conference championships, top-five finishes, appearances in major bowl games — Georgia has lagged well behind its ostensible first-class peers…

I think today qualifies as a big game.  And that’s why Matt asks the question that’s been rolling around my brain all week:  Is the 2015 edition poised to get over the hump?

Honestly, I have no idea.  I’ve had less feel for predicting the outcome of today’s game than any other Georgia game of recent memory.  And I don’t mean that in the sense of head vs. heart.  (If anything, my heart is more pessimistic about Georgia’s chances than my head is, which is rare.)  I mean, simply, I just don’t know.  There are convincing stats, as I said the other day, to make a case for either team.  There is talent galore on both sides of the ball.  Even the intangibles are mixed.

There are two perceptions going into the game, though, that need to be dismissed.  The first is that Alabama deserves to be ranked where it is the polls. The idea that Georgia faces what is only the thirteenth-best team in the country borders on farce.  The Ole Miss loss, while real, is overblown to the extent that it took a flood of turnovers and one of the wildest TD pass plays you’ll ever see for the Tide to lose to a top-five team in a one-score game.  I shouldn’t have to say it, but this Alabama team is one of the best we’ve seen come into town in a while.

Which isn’t the same thing as saying Georgia’s gonna crap the bed.  Not by a long shot.  And that brings me to the second misperception.  The reality is that the Dawgs aren’t really that bad in these types of games.

… overall, the Bulldogs have pretty much held their own. They’ve faced ranked opponents at Sanford Stadium eight times in the last five seasons and they’re 5-3 in those games. Georgia has been the lower-ranked team, as it is against Alabama this year, five of those times, and it’s 3-2 in those games.

Extrapolated over the course of Richt’s 15-year career at Georgia, the Bulldogs are 12-12 in “ranked games” at Sanford Stadium. They had the better ranking in 17 of those contests, including 2008, when No. 8 Alabama throttled third-ranked UGA 41-30.

Which isn’t the same thing as saying Georgia is going to win the game.

Crap, I have no idea.


Filed under Georgia Football

Remember the time Georgia played Alabama?

It’s no secret how much I detest the current version of conference scheduling the SEC has saddled us with.  Today marks only the fifth visit between the hedges Alabama’s made in the last thirty years and if the conference sticks to its guns, we won’t see the Tide here again until – wait for it – 2027.

On the one hand, that is a ridiculously silly way for a conference to go about its business.  On the other, as Will Leitch notes, the rarity of Georgia playing Alabama at home does make today’s meeting special in a way that couldn’t be in the context of a more regularly scheduled match up.

… Georgia is trying to reach a level it hasn’t in nearly three decades, and Alabama stands in its way, as Alabama always stands in everyone’s way.

The game is particularly monumental because it is so rare. The SEC’s schedule construction doesn’t have Alabama and Georgia playing again until 2020, and that will be in Tuscaloosa. The next time Georgia hosts Alabama likely will not be until 2027. My oldest son will get his driver’s license that year. He’s currently 3. They have long memories down here. No matter what happens in this game, it’ll resonate for decades to come. Will Saturday’s game become a touchstone event that culminates in Georgia football fans reaching the heights they’ve dreamed of for so long? Or will it cause everyone’s faces to fall, even 15 years from now? It will be everything.


Filed under Georgia Football

The eternal sunshine of the Bulldog mind

As much as it pains me to admit it, John Kincade, of all people, nails our fan base with this observation:

Some Georgia fans have attempted to alleviate this week’s angst by talking up their team’s chances. They point to Chubb’s rushing ability, an improving defense and the surprising play of quarterback Greyson Lambert, whose emergence contrasts starkly with Alabama’s instability under center. But seasoned Bulldogs watchers say this positivity offers little relief, especially since there’s a scary idea that still awaits: What if Georgia wins?

If that happens—or especially if that happens—Georgia fans won’t be cured of their anxiety. That’s because the Bulldogs play Tennessee next Saturday, and everyone in the fan base knows what that means. “I promise you this,” Kincade said. “If Georgia wins Saturday night, the No. 1 talking point in the state of Georgia all next week is going to be: Uh oh. Now we’ve got the letdown game.”

Not that we don’t have reason to feel that way.


Filed under Georgia Football

“Sometimes change is good.”

Mark Schlabach digs into the Grayson Lambert transfer story and finds it started off as insurance for Mark Richt.

Richt wanted a fourth scholarship quarterback in case someone left after a heated quarterback competition during spring practice. (redshirt freshman Jacob Park did leave after Lambert announced he was transferring to Georgia).

“There’s always a chance somebody decides to go after spring competition, and you don’t want to be sitting there with only two quarterbacks,” Richt said.

Richt being Richt, Lambert wasn’t promised much on the way in.

The popular belief: How could a quarterback who couldn’t win the job at Virginia win one at Georgia? The only thing Richt and Schottenheimer promised Lambert was an opportunity to compete for the job.

“We felt like he could function in our system,” Richt said. “We promised him an opportunity to compete and were sincere about it. That’s all we promised him. We thought he could be a legitimate contender for the job.”

It’s been a helluva story so far… from demotion at a mediocre program to one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country at a school contending for an SEC title.  And today, Lambert’s got an opportunity to elevate that story to a level nobody expected in the preseason.

You gotta love college football.


Filed under Georgia Football

“You never get halfway from Nick.”

As Nick Chubb strives for another 100-yard rushing day, here’s another good story about what drives him to be the player he is.


Filed under Georgia Football