Good times in Gainesville

You may remember Saturday Down South for hosting this hilarious hot take about Georgia football last season.

Welp, the calendar page has turned to a new year and SDS has gone back to the well with a new school as the next challenge.

Maybe, just maybe, Florida’s “lost decade” is over.

If it isn’t, this is the greatest false alarm yet.

The past two weeks have been the best two weeks for Florida football this decade.

First, Florida clobbered Jim Harbaugh and Michigan in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, vanquishing all manner of 2010s demons in the process…

Later that week, rival Georgia lost the Sugar Bowl decisively to resurgent Texas, a sign Kirby Smart’s program might have been too impressed with themselves and what game they felt they should have been playing instead of interested in making a statement in the one they were playing.

The Bulldogs are the one program in the SEC East Mullen and Florida are definitively chasing, but that chase became a little easier over the last month of the season, at least from a momentum standpoint.

Georgia didn’t just lose the SEC Championship Game in heartbreaking fashion or stumble in the Sugar Bowl after claiming the Twitter trash talk national championship.

They lost a massive amount of production and potential production for 2019.

Justin Fields, the jewel of Kirby Smart’s best recruiting class to date, transferred to Ohio State. Days after the Sugar Bowl defeat, junior playmakers Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardmon declared for the NFL Draft. Tight end Isaac Nauta, who terrorized Florida, also declared, as did All-SEC running back Elijah Holyfield.

Then Tuesday night, in a shocking development, Georgia also lost its offensive coordinator, Jim Chaney, the quarterback-whisperer who so often seemed to have Todd Grantham’s number over the past two years, to SEC East rival Tennessee.

If you had “Chaney’s departure as the beginning of the end of Georgia’s run in the SEC East” in the office pool, go collect your winnings.  If you’re not too shocked, that is.

Look, I’m not mocking the idea that a resurgent Florida is a legitimate possibility.  Certainly if the Gators are back, they’re a credible threat — likely the most credible threat over the long haul — to any sort of dominant run by the Dawgs.  But the idea that a disappointing bowl loss, players leaving early for other opportunities (something the Gators aren’t immune to, by the way) and some coordinator turnover all add up to a return to the glory days in Gainesville does seem like something of a stretch, at least until Mullen shows he’s recruiting at the same level as Smart.

Hey, I’ll give the author some credit.  At least he didn’t resort to a cannon shot metaphor.

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79 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Media Punditry/Foibles

79 responses to “Good times in Gainesville

  1. Dawg1

    Add to it how Bevo treated UGA and UF is derinitely back baby.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Uglydawg.

    Thin gruel and wishful thinking.
    Simple Delusional Speculations

    Like

  3. Mayor

    I hate to say it Gator-hater that I am but Mullen deserves some credit for winning 10 games with the personnel he inherited. Plus, ranking 11th in the 247 Rankings isn’t chopped liver either. I’m concerned about the Gators.

    Like

    • Walt

      10 wins ain’t what it used to be. Particularly in a 13 game season.

      Like

    • St. Johns Dawg

      Eh, if Mullen was really so good he would have taken Miss State to Atlanta more often. The great, great ones find a way to overcome challenges/obstacles … Instead he showed his teams will lose a few critical games ever year. Not impressed with Mullen’s ability to do more than knock on the door once in a while at Florida. Basically if he coulda, he woulda by now.

      Like

      • Tony Barnfart

        While I don’t think Mullen is the greatest thing since sliced bread, I’m not feeling the Mississippi State point. They are the auburn cow college of a state with 27% of the population of Georgia while also sporting another SEC team. And the kids that are in their immediate backyard grew up 75 miles from Tuscaloosa.

        Like

        • spottieottie

          Not to mention, the entirety of Mullen’s tenure in StarkVegas overlapped with the height (or what I hope was the height) of Saban’s run at Alabama.

          Since Mullen started at Miss State in 2009, Alabama has gone to Atlanta 6 out of 10 years. In 3 of the 4 years they didn’t win the West, they finished 2nd. LSU – a school with better resources and a better recruiting base – has only gone to Atlanta once since 2009. A&M still hasn’t been to Atlanta.

          Since 2009, the West has finished the year with at least two teams in the top 10. In 2010 and 2011, they had 3 (2010: #1 Auburn, #8 LSU, #10 Alabama) (2011: #1 Alabama, #2 LSU, #5 Arkansas). The West is probably the toughest division in college football. Grinding out a consistent 8 to 10 wins at a place like Miss State is more than respectable.

          Like

      • MGW

        Way off base. He was awesome at Miss St, and the only way to deny that is to ignore the fact that they were absolute perennial basement dweller garbage with no hope of doing anything at all of consequence before he arrived. That was one of the most difficult jobs in the country when he showed up. They competed like hell in what was the pinnacle of the SEC West’s dominance of the conference and nation.

        Still, Florida sucks.

        Like

    • MGW

      They’ll be a pain in the ass, but until they up their recruiting they’ll only be a pain in the ass. 11th is a big improvement, but it’s still what like 7th in the SEC?

      Like

  4. ASEF

    Stitching together a string of negatives is how balls get rolling. Kirby will get a few Ws on Second Signing Day, BM will build some PR momentum over the coordinator hires, and then Kirby’s 4-0 at the end of the September. Welcome to college football.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. paul

    Mullen will likely make Florida a better team He’s a good coach. Georgia will have two new coordinators on staff and we will need a lot of young players to step up. That could easily make next year more of a rebuild than a reload. However, putting those two things together doesn’t necessarily spell the beginning of the end for Georgia. Nor should we simply dismiss our Sugar Bowl performance out of hand. It could have been the result of a lot of things, most of which are fixable. But we won’t know that for a few months.

    Like

    • Biggus Rickus

      It’s an older team than this year’s. I mean, if people want to look at a half-empty glass, that’s fine. But assuming Smart doesn’t completely botch the coaching hires, it’s hard to see Georgia not going 7-1 or 8-0 in conference and winning the East again.

      Also, yes, we should dismiss the Sugar Bowl out of hand. Bowl performances don’t predict future success or failure. I don’t know if anyone has done an extensive look at it, but here are the 2017 bowl winners and losers and the 2018 regular season +/- for their records. This is overly simplistic and doesn’t take a whole lot of things into account, but I’m not putting together an extensive report here:

      Winners: Losers:

      Troy (-1) North Texas (0)
      North Texas (-4.5) Western Kentucky (-3)
      Boise State (+1) Oregon (+1)
      Marshall (+1) Colorado State (-4)
      MTSU (+2) Arkansas State (+.5)
      FAU (-4) Akron (-3)
      LA Tech (+1) SMU (-2)
      Temple (+2) FIU (0)
      Ohio (0) UAB (+1)
      Wyoming (-1) Central Michigan (-7)
      USF (-2.5) Texas Tech (-1)
      Army (+1) San Diego State (-3)
      App. State (+1.5) Toledo (-3)
      Fresno State (+1) Houston (+.5)
      Utah (+3) WVU (+1.5)
      Duke (+1) Northern Illinois (-1)
      Kansas State (-2) UCLA (-3)
      FSU (-1) Southern Miss (-1.5)
      Iowa (+1) Boston College (0)
      Purdue (0) Arizona (-2)
      Texas (+3) Missouri (+1)
      Navy (-3) Virginia (+1)
      Oklahoma State (-3) Virginia Tech (-3)
      TCU (-4) Stanford (-1)
      Michigan State (-2) Washington State (+1)
      Wake Forest (-1) Texas A&M (+1)
      NC State (+1) Arizona State (0)
      Northwestern (-1) Kentucky (+2)
      New Mexico State (-3) Utah State (+4)
      Mississippi State (0) Louisville (-6)
      Iowa State (+1) Memphis (-2.5)
      South Carolina (-1) Michigan (+2)
      Notre Dame (+3) LSU (0)
      Ohio State (+1) USC (-5)
      Penn State (-1) Washington (-1)
      Wisconsin (-5) Miami (-4.5)
      UCF (0) Auburn (-3)
      Georgia (0) Oklahoma (0)
      Alabama (+1) Clemson (+1)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Biggus Rickus

        Second on the list is supposed to be Georgia State as the winner.

        Like

      • paul

        Biggus, I don’t think I’m at the glass half full stage, I just think there are some things we don’t yet know. I believe the coordinator hires will tell us a great deal. For me, I looked at the Sugar Bowl performance primarily as an indicator or our team’s state of mind. It wasn’t good but that doesn’t mean it was fatal either. Like so many others, I’m hoping for a more consistent mental attitude regardless of the opponent or situation. That’s always the goal. In that respect, one had to admire the Ol’ Ball Coach. He was never one to let his foot off the gas. I think UGA could use a little more of that.

        Like

    • dawgfan1995

      If any year was rebuild rather than reload for Georgia, it was this year and not next year.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. gastr1

    “They lost a massive amount of production and potential production for 2019.
    Justin Fields”

    LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • KornDawg

      Exactly. I don’t hate the kid, but how can they say he’s going to do all these great things based just on what we saw this past season? And if you’re going to consider losing Fields as a negative, than we can say getting back Zeus is a positive in regards to RB production.

      Like

  7. gastr1

    The funny thing they don’t mention is that Georgia lost even more production on the field the year before, especially on defense. How’d that work out?

    Like

    • Russ

      But we lost one of our top rushers, after losing our two top rushers the year before!! Oh no, what will we do? I suspect we’ll have a pair of 1,000 yard rushers again, right Mr. Zeus?

      Like

  8. Skeptic Dawg

    Our rivals should strike now while the iron is hot. From the looks of things, the Dawgs are a mess right now. Awful showing in the Sugar Bowl. Poor QB performance vs Texas. Another 5 star QB transfers. Loads of juniors leave the program. No DC. Our OC leaves for a lateral move to a program with less talent. It would be easy to paint an awful picture of the Georgia program right now. It is easy to forecast a decline today given the 2019 schedule.

    Like

  9. Granthams replacement

    After many years of being a Georgia fan I’ve learned my team doesn’t win championships when other programs fall back. That guy is currently sitting in my 1990s chair.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Argondawg

    Mullen had the good fortune of returning 19 starters in 18. That’s just nuts. They had some talent the year before but quit on the shark humper. He will have like 12 returning starters this year which is pretty average. They lost 4 of 5 starters on the Oline. They don’t have the talent or experience to replace them with equally good players. We’ve seen Felipe when he gets pressured. It’s not pretty. If you finish the year in the top 10 at UF you should be able to land a top 10 class and he isn’t going to.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Russ

      They do return some good defensive talent, especially along their line. That end, Zuniga, had 12 straight tackles on the goal line (or whatever it was that Chaney submitted us to).

      Like

      • Got Cowdog

        That’s the game I was thinking of yesterday when the Chaney move was announced. The “Great Goal Line Massacre of 2018”. I think JC’s done an OK job, but he’s had some head scratching brain farts too. IF CKS had wanted to keep him he would have. We’ll be OK.

        Like

        • They’ll be talking about the Goal Line Stand. Apparently, it was significant.

          Like

        • Derek

          I don’t know about that. UT obviously was desperate having been passed on by so many, and you know they were dangling similar dollar figures out there, and Jim is at the point where he’s focused on financial security. Sometimes people are willing to overpay somebody who is no position to say no. Why match that?

          Is CKS capable of helping Chaney negotiate a great deal knowing they would be parting anyway? Maybe. It’s entirely possible.

          But I think we were willing to do anything reasonable to maintain continuity for Fromm. If we had a qb with a different skill set, we may have been anxious for a departure. For a pocket passer at qb, I’m not sure you’re finding a better college level OC.

          Like

  11. spottieottie

    We’ve seen Felipe when he gets pressured. It’s not pretty.

    I still remember his body language from 2017. Kid looked like someone had killed his puppy.

    Like

  12. Ellis

    SDS has the journalistic credibility of MAD magazine. It’s entire purpose is to troll each school’s rivals.

    That being said, with the talent Georgia returns next year we will definitely be a better team than we were this year. Add another top 2 recruiting class and things look great for Georgia for years to come. Losing Mel Tucker was a blow, but that will happen when you are as good as we are. He can be replaced however. The Sugar Bowl was a meaningless game. Our season ended in the SECCG. Fortunately, we are no longer saddled with the reason for that loss. It is great to be a Georgia Bulldog right now!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Got Cowdog

      Cade Mays did a very good job as a true freshman. Imagine what he’ll be like next season with a full year in the program. Ben Cleveland will be back. Jake Fromm is a very good QB and Deandre ain’t no slouch at tailback. I think the offense will be better, which should scare reptilian turds out of the gators. If some ballers show up on D? ’19 will be a fun season to watch.

      Like

  13. Charlottedawg

    Here’s hoping Mullen is the new mark richt: a guaranteed win over a ten win opponent in the cocktail party. Good enough to add credibility to our resume, not good enough to actually beat us.

    Like

  14. Not to devalue Mel Tucker but seems to me this is Kirby’s defense and he can be replaced… Jim Chaney- see ya, Tubs- not worries about him… Justin Fields- talented for sure but in my opinion the most overhyped Dawg to come through here- ever. He may realize his potential. He may not… The Sugar Bowl approach was the most disappointing of all things listed in that article as I thought our culture was elevated after Chubb, Michel and co. showed the way in 2017.

    Like

  15. Macallanlover

    I don’t consider Tucker’s loss as a blow. I hate the instability part, but Tucker was basically implementing Smart’s defense. He was good at that and required little oversight due to their common background, including the language, but there was nothing ferocious about UGA’s defense. We had talent and communicated well so we were pretty decent in statistical results. What I never saw though was a defense that disrupted the opponent’s offense and forced big losses, or turnovers. I hope we play more aggressively on defense next year, and this hire needs to help turn Kirby’s philosophy away from bend don’t break. The talent, and potential is there, we just need to let it rip more often.

    Like

    • Yurdle

      I think you’re right, but I also think that Part of the cause for the flat game in New Orleans is that Kirby was not dedicating enough time to being the head coach. He loves to tinker and play the chess match (and he’s good at it, too), but teams also need a head man to oversee everything. The Sugar Bowl was a game where the whole was less than the sum of the parts, and that’s a learning experience for Smart.

      Like

  16. DawgFlan

    I’m not arguing the writer’s point, it’s far too hyperbolic, but if you are UF or another rival you have to love how the real issues listed above can be perceived as cracks in Smart’s program overall. UGA has certainly lost some of the momentum it enjoyed the last 2 years with coaching stability, top juniors returning, and blue chip talent rushing in instead of out. There will be a learning curve with new coordinators, there will be a lot of unproven players on the two-deep offense, there is the question of game-changing playmakers on defense, the team is coming off a two-game losing streak, and the root causes of UGA turtling away games at the most inopportune times has still not been solved. Could all these questions be answered positively with upgraded talent and coaching? Sure. But until we get answers to those questions next year, UGA is as vulnerable as it has been since Smart took over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Got Cowdog

      Yeah but….
      This is one of the best things about CFB. No season or team is like the one before it. ’18 is in the books. We won’t know really what we have until Hot Rod kicks the first one in September out of the end zone. Go Dawgs.

      Like

      • DawgFlan

        Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

        Until my dying day I will hope for at least one more year where UGA can get over being the Charlie Brown of national championship contenders. I just find myself investing less emotional energy into building up that hope each off-season.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. TN Dawg

    Before I pop a woody about UF’s victory over Michigan, I’m gonna have to factor in all the Michigan players that sat out.

    It’s impossible to note DB’s choice to sit out the Sugar Bowl as a contributing factor (to whatever extent you believe it to be) to our teams attitude towards the game and then glaze over the fact that 4 or 5 of Michigan’s top players sitting out wasn’t a key contributor to Florida’s Peach Bowl victory.

    Like

    • TN Dawg

      I probably should add that Michigan was pretty much in the same funk we were, disappointed coming off of their loss to OSU and losing out on their chance at CFP.

      Like

    • Dawg1

      Right, most of the talking heads now agree that a top player should sit out “a meaningless bowl game” so as to not get hurt, pile on even more by saying it isn’t a CFP game that God forbid, someday, someone may sit out anyway, and then wonder why the team’s remaining players don’t exactly chomp at the bit to play in that exact same “meaningless bowl game.”

      Seems we’ve drawn the line at CFP meaningful, etc,; regular ole bowl game, meaning-less, etc.

      Like

  18. TN Dawg

    It’s worth noting that losing juniors to the NFL and having coordinators leave is pretty much indicative of a top program, not one that’s struggling.

    Nobody raids Vanderbilt’s cupboard.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Derek

    Florida has a particularly challenging schedule coming into the Cocktail Party and it’s hard to see where they are better than us at any position group.

    We need to get Cook and White and/or the freshman RB to come in and share the load with Swift. And we need Holloman and Co. to step up. Should be deep and hungry at both those spots. Frsh. D. Blaylock and Zamir White will be stars.

    The OL will be salty and deep. Someone will take that C position over. We’ll be better across the front of the DL and better at ILB. Get someone playing the corner opposite 27 well and we’re going to be just fine.

    2019 will be the best of the CKS dawg teams talent wise. Stay healthy and get some internal leadership and we can be special. Save your nickles for NOLA in January 2020, we may well need them.

    Like

  20. W Cobb Dawg

    Let me say this in rebuttal: Fromm and Thomas, Kindley, Cleveland, Wilson, Mays, Salyer, Hill, Webb, Ericson, Hayes, etc., etc.

    Like

    • Derek

      I hope that it’s time for that group to leave a mark. It’s what I’ve been waiting for. An OL so good you could win with 6 three stars at the skilled positions. Your QB and RB and WR’s skills aren’t there for the W’s but just for showing off and style points. 2019 may be the year that group finally settles in and begins to dominate.

      Punch them in the mouth and make their asses quit.

      Like

  21. The Dawg abides

    They fail to mention that Florida has five guys entering the draft, one more than us. Three of their best defensive players, their best OL and best RB. It could be asked why all these guys are jumping ship if there’s so much momentum after Mullen’s first year. After all, Georgia’s top juniors all came back after Smart’s first season. Chauncey Gardner must have gotten tired of being there.😉

    Liked by 2 people

  22. DawgPhan

    Doesnt seem like much of a stretch to say that Florida has improved.

    UGA should still have a significant lead over them in terms of talent and I dont think they are closing it this year.

    Like

  23. Will Trane

    SDS. I read it regularly, but it is a very pro University of Tennessee site. Go back, read the articles, and draw a conclusion.
    Losing junior offensive players [experience] to draft and your OC in about a week.
    Think about these comments from coaches you lost to in back to back seasons.
    “I see a lot of guys becoming more specialized at an earlier age. That is all they do ,is play quarterback.”
    “Now you have an offense where a lot of plays are made in the passing game and the running game based on one singular read, which is pretty simple for a quarterback.”
    Comments from Dan Enos, QB coach at Bama, and Nick Saban, HC at Bama.
    What does that say about production, and upperclassmen leaving early, when these highly talented, skilled players are coming in the front door in January.
    How many does Smart have coming in as of today?
    These young, poorly educated, no life experience writes who deem themselves a freaking expert are clueless about production from players and coaches.
    I have friends whose sons are at these football camps year round. One between Christmas and New Years in Florida. [Hello Coley}oThese writers have no idea about the strength and conditioning these young high school players go thru plus their academics and coaching in school and out. Most of them already have had letters from programs.
    Why? Football programs know what they need and they know the “roster” coming up.
    Frankly, I am tired of reading “stupid” and “trolling”. Advice.
    Get out of the damn lane, and park your ass.

    Like

    • The Dawg abides

      You’re very pro-University of Tennessee there yourself, Willbilly. It’s been pretty obvious this past season. You just exposed it by your comment. SDS is garbage that has fluff coverage of every team they target with a specific article. The only ones I ever read are UGA focused because I only link to the ones that get put up on the Dawgbone. I never come across the UT ones because I don’t look for them, and I don’t visit any UT sites that may link to them. Apparently, you do both.

      Like

      • Got Cowdog

        My disdain for the dumpster fire that is volunteer football has no boundary, much like your own. I understand your aversion to all things related to ut. However, if you do not occasionally peruse Volnation over the last couple of seasons your are doing yourself a disservice. The angst surrounding the end of the Booch era and the loss to tech was truly sublime and meant to be savored by those who connoisseur it, much like a fine red wine or grass fed, perfectly aged prosciutto.

        Like

  24. Bulldog Joe

    Recruiting remains strong and we can’t underestimate how much the early signing rule changes helped Georgia this year with the turnover of coaches and players. The staff was ahead of the curve and took advantage of these rule changes.

    We acknowledge recruiting never stops. However, there is time this off-season to decide what offensive and defensive changes this team needs to take that next step, then identify who is best to implement them. Defensively, the solution appears to be personnel-related. Offensively, it is a combination of scheme and personnel development.

    Looking back at the coordinator decisions made before the 2005 and 2006 seasons, they were internal promotions which maintained the status quo.

    Georgia won the 2005 title, but the lack of new blood and new ideas allowed others to innovate and pass the program by for an entire decade. It became immediately evident in the 2006 Sugar Bowl and the following season. Georgia became stale.

    In 2019, we have a good core staff and they should be rewarded for their success, but it is time to bring in some new perspectives.

    We should be looking at outside hires on both sides of the ball.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Will Trane

    Gators beat a Michigan team that was depleted by players sitting out.
    i will give credit to Florida, staff and players, for a well coached game and well played game.
    One game does not set the bar, nor does back to back losses at the end of the season when you know you have players sitting out, already expressed to you they are leaving early, and coaches who are in a transfer portal themselves.
    Upside for Georgia is the players coming in who are probably motivated to play at a high level, plus the opportunity to put in place a defensive and offensive playbook the rest of the conference has to prepare for which they have not seen in the past.
    Dawgs know Grantham, Chaney, and etc.
    Is that bullet proof. No. Why? Two words. Bama losses.
    Some of us have a take on those losses.

    Like

  26. NoAxeToGrind

    Mullen should have stayed at State; that’s where he belongs. Three years and he will wish he had not left State.

    Like

  27. Our first experience of a player sitting out the post season plus our possible not taking the sugar bowl moment serious are ALL negatives (bad look/bad taste) to over come for 2019 (players/staff) and going forward….dragging FU all over the turf in this years edition of the WLOCP will go far in our preparation for all who remain on UGA’S schedule thru 2020! GO DAWGS!

    Like

  28. Doug

    Interesting how both Alabama and Georgia have experienced early departures to the NFL, watched highly touted backup QBs transfer, had coordinators poached by other teams, and gotten embarrassed in their respective season finales . . . yet somehow only one of these programs is in free-fall. It’s good to be the king, I guess.

    Like

    • The Dawg abides

      In their defense, bama’s nattys have bought them enough clout to assume they will just reload for another run after an off year. Finishing the championship game with a win last year would have given us a little of that clout right now.

      Like

  29. Whiskeydawg

    Todd Grantham’s number is on a lot of offensive coordinator’s bathroom walls. “For a complete your third down, call Todd”

    Like

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