Daily Archives: April 14, 2016

So there’s to be music after all.

But not country.

It turns out G-Day will have a big name music act just like Georgia officials were hoping.

Rapper Ludacris from Atlanta will perform 15 minutes before the scheduled spring football game.

John Bateman, Georgia’s assistant athletic director for marketing tweeted Thursday afternoon: “Here ya go! @Ludacris performing 3:45 before G-Day game.”

Had it all the way, I’m sure.  Honestly, I don’t know if this came about due to a last minute scramble in response to all the mockery, or if we have a case of an artist taking pity on the athletic department for its clumsiness, but either way it’s a nice save.


UPDATE:  The article has been updated to disclose that the artist stepped up to pull McGarity’s nuts out of the fire.

UGA athletic spokesman Claude Felton said the school had established a network within the music industry during the process and someone representing Ludacris contacted Georgia officials on Wednesday.

The deal was finalized Thursday morning.

“Everybody’s excited that he’s a Georgia fan, a world-class entertainer and he wanted to be a part of G-Day,” Felton said. “We’re looking forward to having him.”

Speaking of world-class, how does an athletic department that employs someone as skilled as Claude Felton appear so inept at PR?


UPDATE #2:  Heh.

Sneer if you like, but I’d be interested in knowing if the school had to pay a little extra to sign him at the last moment.  Guess we’ll find out in 90 days.



Filed under Georgia Football

In praise of Uncle Verne

Verne Lundquist stopped by Athens this week on his way back from the Masters, which gave Tony Barnhart the opportunity to retell a couple of stories.

Two stories best sum up the love affair Verne Lundquist has with SEC football.

* His first SEC game for CBS was Florida at Tennessee in 2000. In that contest, Florida trailed 23-17 with the ball at its 9-yard line with only 2:14 left to play. Jesse Palmer drove the Gators down the field, and with 14 seconds left, he hit Jabar Gaffney on a short pass in the end zone for a touchdown. The ball quickly popped out of Gaffney’s hands but line judge Allama Matthews (a Vanderbilt grad) ruled it was a touchdown and the Gators won 24-23.

When the game was over Lundquist took off his head set and turned to then-broadcast partner Todd Blackledge.

“Are all of them like this?” Lundquist asked.

“Enough of them,” Blackledge said.

* Later that season, Lundquist did his first Alabama-Auburn game, in Tuscaloosa. Understand that Lundquist had been a veteran NFL broadcaster and had been all over the world when he agreed to become the voice of the SEC for CBS. But on this day, Bryant-Denny Stadium was unlike anything he had ever seen.

“The band was playing. The jets had flown over. It was just an incredible scene,” Lundquist says. “I put my arm around (my wife) Nancy and said, ‘Be honest with me. Would you rather be doing this or Detroit at Tampa Bay?’ ”

This is what people who don’t share my love for Uncle Verne fail to get about him.  At heart, he’s a sports fan who appreciates the settings he’s cast in.  Throw in that he’s not an incessant yakker like the majority of people ESPN shoves in our faces, and he’s a rare bird.

You can bitch all you like about him missing a name here and there, but just think about what we’re likely to get in his place when he retires.  Whoever it is may earn a nickname from the audience, but it probably won’t be a fond one.


Filed under SEC Football

“It wasn’t just the quarterback last year.”

I guess if you’re a head coach making $4 million a year who’s coming off a disappointing season, “I’m a football coach, not a CEO” is the new black.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

God’s way of telling college football it has too much money…

… is Bobby Petrino’s new contract.

I’d say that’s insane, but it’s just the way they roll these days.


Filed under Fall and Rise of Bobby Petrino, It's Just Bidness

I got a fever, and the only prescription is more …

happy talk.

It sounds like Spurdog is cured, though.


Filed under Blowing Smoke, The Evil Genius

If you change your mind…

You don’t see this every day.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Won’t somebody think of the head coaches?

Shorter Indiana University coach Kevin Wilson:  All you did was weaken a conference today, Delany. That’s all you did. You put coaches’ careers in danger. Sweet dreams, son.


Filed under Big Ten Football

Spring games as a point of pride, and something more

Read this piece about the history of Alabama’s A-Day game in the Saban era, and I think you’ll get a sense of why Kirby Smart wants the numbers up big time this Saturday.

The attendance marks aren’t just a point of pride. It’s all part of the massive recruiting pitch a few bus loads of prospects and families will see. That was a point Saban subtly made last week in a news conference pitch to fans requesting their presence at A-Day.

If Georgia draws a bigger crowd than Alabama this year, will that make for a new pitch on the recruiting trail?  You tell me.


Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

Gus surrenders.

This is what comes of being in the same division with Nick Saban and Les Miles.

If Greg Sankey had a sense of humor, he’d call up Malzahn and tell him he had some good news and some bad news:  Auburn’s moving to the East, but so is Alabama.  Oh, and by the way, the Tigers’ permanent cross-division rivalry game will be against LSU.

Of course, this follows in the fine Auburn tradition of Tuberville dropping FSU from the schedule as soon as he took the job.  As the head coach on the Plains, if you can’t beat ’em, walk away from ’em.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

“So why shouldn’t Georgia have 93,000 for every spring game?”

I’m sure this will shock some of you, but count me in the easier said than done camp on management of a larger than usual G-Day crowd showing up.

It’s no small undertaking, however. To date, the largest crowd ever to attend the annual intrasquad spring game was 46,815 last year. So Smart is hoping to double that his first year.

And it hasn’t come without some hiccups. Already UGA was unable to achieve its stated goal of lining up a major musical act for pregame entertainment. Administrators reached out to several front-line stars but ultimately could not get a deal done, primarily because of the limited window of entertainment time available (roughly 15 minutes).

Instead, UGA has produced a 15-minute “behind-the-scenes” hype video that they will show on the videoboard right before kickoff.

“We didn’t know what this was going to look like and once we got the schedule and started talking about the pockets of time … we figured we had a 15-minute time span there, and it just didn’t work out,” Athletic Director Greg McGarity said. “But I think the videos will be something nobody has seen before. Our video staff does a great job with that. Really in a way it will hype the fans. The next thing that comes out of the tunnel is the team.”

The game will also represent a challenge from an event management standpoint. They obviously sold no tickets to it and admission is free. But they also didn’t issue any vouchers or distribute anything that would give organizers an idea of how many fans might actually show up.

So they’re planning for a full house. They will have every section open, all the way up to the 600 level in the upper tier, and they will be filled from the bottom up on a first-come, first-serve basis. All concessions stands and restrooms will be opened and most general game-day parking is expected to be available, though not on a reserved basis.

“It’s a lot more difficult planning for this than it is for a normal game because you (don’t) know what you have as far as numbers,” McGarity said. “So we’ve got plans in case it fills up, what do we do if it goes over the amount? So that’s how we’re planning this event. Everything is staffed at full strength. We just don’t know.”

There’s a certain sense of “what have we gotten ourselves into?” there that’s inevitable, I suppose.  In a real way, G-Day is as much of a test for how the athletic department can manage heightened expectations as it is for the coaching staff.  Here’s hoping for a day full of pleasant surprises.


Filed under Georgia Football