Category Archives: GTP Stuff

Fabris Bowl Pool PSA

I’ve just checked, and see that only 85 of you guys have signed up.  Games start this Saturday, so if you want your picks to count, don’t forget to register in time.

Go here to get in.

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A couple of reviews, and a (potential) project

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and all that, so I thought I’d bring two items to your attention as potential holiday gifts for the Dawg fan you know and love.

First on the agenda is Rob Suggs’ latest missive, Sax Attacks.

The book is partly a history of The Dawgvent and partly a compendium of some of Rob’s funniest observations on Georgia football (actually his observations on certain other programs are even funnier).  As somebody who traces his virtual fandom back to the DV’s earliest days, the first section was fascinating to read.  (Although I did tease Rob about not having more to say about the infamous Rolo; Rob’s response was that he would have had to write an entire chapter on him to do it properly.)  It’s a fun read for anybody who loves the program and if that someone is an Internet geek who’s been around for a while, it’s almost a necessary addition to that person’s library.  Recommended.

My second suggestion should come as no surprise to anyone who knows how important music is to me.  I’m a firm believer that you can’t have a proper tailgate without good music.  The problem for me comes with the delivery system.  I’ve run through two boom boxes — portable speakers, if you prefer a haughtier vernacular — that have proven to be flimsy enough to break while being jostled in the back of a SUV or had batteries that lost their juice over time and couldn’t hold a charge long enough to survive a five-hour tailgate.

This time, faced with my third purchase (first two ran in the neighborhood of $150-200 each), I made a vow to find something with a more robust battery, preferably one that was modular, so that if/when it eventually died, I could replace it without having to ditch the speaker as well.  My mission eventually landed here, with this.

This thing is, I admit, a little insane.  It’s built like a tank.  It’s a little heavier than the other speakers I’ve used, but I found it easier to maneuver because of its twin handles.  (There’s an optional backpack, if you’re even crazier than I am.)  The battery is advertised as able to hold a charge for 30-40 hours of outdoor playing and I have little reason to doubt that.  I ran it for almost six hours at its first tailgate and the power indicator never moved.

It’s loud as shit, too.  If you’re somebody like me who gets irritated at other tailgaters playing their tuneage loudly enough to bleed into and over your finely honed musical selections, then this thing is a godsend.  I can pretty much guarantee you’ll never have that problem again.  As one of my friends said after the Kentucky game when I brought the Soundboks for its maiden voyage, it ruled the parking lot.

There’s also an amusing Spinal Tap tribute, as the volume indicator goes to eleven.  How can you not love that?

It’s easy to set up and use, with only a couple of knobs to fiddle with.  It’ll take a music source directly jacked in, like my iPod, and it’s also Bluetooth enabled, so you can run music off your phone, if you prefer.  Sound quality, even blasting away, is far better than anything I’ve had before.

Yeah, it’s pricey.  But I’m on my third speaker in less than five years and if this turns out to be the last one, then I figure I’m ahead of the game.  If you’re looking for the ultimate recommendation, all I can tell you is that I had two people come up to me during the tailgate to get the link to the company website so they could order one.

As for the project mentioned in the header, perhaps some of you might remember that I ran a holiday gift guide post about three years ago.  My thought is to turn that into something more robust, in the form of a permanent page linked at the top of the blog, that’s organized by categories so that someone looking for the perfect gift for the rabid football fan in his/her life will have a useful reference guide.  Much like the Lexicon, I’d like this to be a collaborative affair with your input.

So here’s what I’d like to do.  In the comments thread to this post, if you like the idea, tell me.  Assuming there’s enough positive interest in proceeding, I’ll set up the page.  There, use the comments to make suggestions, preferably in a one paragraph format that describes the product, why you recommend it and provides a handy link for reference.  I’ll then start formatting the recommendations (giving credit where credit’s due, of course).  Let me know what you think.

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Fabris Bowl Pool news

As you read this, invites to join this season’s bowl pick ’em are going out.  You know the drill.  You’ll have the entirety of the postseason to pick against the spread.

If you don’t receive an email, click here to sign up.

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Biting the bullet: reviewing my SEC preseason predictions

Okay, okay, it’s time to call my own ass out.  I made my preseason picks and now I have to live with them.  It’s time for my annual modest attempt at keeping myself accountable.

As always, schools are listed in the same order as they were in the preseason post, with this season’s won-loss totals.

[Ed. note:  Please read that last sentence again, carefully, before you blast me in the comments for not agreeing with the order of presentation.  You’ll save us both a lot of time.  Thanks!]

SEC WEST

ALABAMA (11-1, 7-1)

  • What I said:  Did you ever see Groundhog Day?  Nothing changes under Saban.
  • How I did:  Close, but no ceegar.  It turns out even Alabama can have enough injuries to expose depth problems.  Who knew?
  • Final grade:  B+

AUBURN (10-3, 7-1)

  • What I said: If you believe the Stidham hype, Auburn is going to have a great season. I’m a little skeptical because of the small sample size and because of the change at offensive coordinator.  On the other hand, the Tigers looked better on defense last season than I thought they would under Steele, so I expect the losses they suffered on the d-line won’t affect them too adversely.  That being said, Gus has proven he doesn’t do as well when big things are expected at Auburn.  Add it all up, and it comes to nine wins.
  • How I did:  It took a little while for Stidham to get untracked, but when he did, so did Auburn.  I have to give Gus credit for going against type, too.  If Auburn beats UCF in the bowl game, that means the Tigers will have beaten three ranked undefeated foes in the same season.
  • Final grade:  B+

LSU (9-3, 6-2)

  • What I said:  On paper, there’s a lot to like:  talent in many places and two well thought of coordinators, for starters.  So why does it feel like some cracks are starting to show?  Part of it’s probably due to Orgeron’s ceiling as a head coach.  The extra SEC road game doesn’t help, either.  It looks like another eight-win season from here.
  • How I did:  The Tigers won a game more than I thought they would, but lost to Troy.  I’d call that a draw.
  • Final grade:  B+

TEXAS A&M (7-5, 4-4)

  • What I said:  Sumlin’s looking at more hot seat talk.  The real issue for TAMU is that while he’s a good in-game coach, he’s clearly not as good at talent evaluation and signing as Mike Sherman was.  The Aggies get Alabama and Auburn at home, which can’t hurt, but that last three quarters of the schedule looks like a real grind.  It’s hard to see them notch more wins in 2017 than they did in 2016.
  • How I did:  They dropped one more game than they did the previous season.  Then they dropped Sumlin.
  • Final grade:  B+

ARKANSAS (4-8, 1-7)

  • What I said:  Is this the SEC’s most meh team?  It’s not that the Hogs are outright bad; it’s just that it’s hard to see much to get excited about.  Seven wins again sounds about right.
  • How I did:  I predicted mediocrity and got bad instead.
  • Final grade:  D

MISSISSIPPI STATE (8-4, 4-4)

  • What I said:  Mullen is an excellent quarterbacks coach and Fitzgerald is his latest success story.  Grantham is an improvement at defensive coordinator; unfortunately he doesn’t have much to work with.  The middle part of the schedule is a weekly grind.  There is also the question of whether the NCAA investigation of Ole Miss winds up ensnaring the Bulldogs, or at least diverting some attention to the season.  This season looks like another fight for bowl eligibility.
  • How I did:  I underestimated this team, or maybe I overestimated the quality of the SEC West.  In the end, same difference.
  • Final Grade:  D+

OLE MISS (6-6, 3-5)

  • Outlook:  Man, what a mess.  I figure there’s about a 20% chance of the team rallying with an “us against the world” attitude and about an 80% chance things snowball quickly as the schedule toughens.  The Egg Bowl ought to be fun, though.  Even if the Rebels were bowl-eligible, they wouldn’t be going.
  • How I did:  The 20% chance hit.  The Egg Bowl was fun.  They aren’t going to a bowl game.
  • Final grade:  C+

SEC EAST

FLORIDA (4-7, 3-5)

  • What I said:  McElwain is two-for-two in division titles, which is particularly impressive given the personnel flaws on offense he’s had to manage around.  He faces different challenges in 2017, though.  The offense ought to be better on the o-line, at receiver and at running back, while the defense has suffered significant losses at every level.  The schedule helps, but this is a team that could go south in a hurry if injuries mount.  If that can be avoided, the East being weak should keep the Gators in contention.  In that regard, it helps that the two toughest games on the schedule are against non-conference opponents.  (Not to mention the Gators have five home conference games.) I’ll say nine wins for now.
  • How I did:  Oof.  Didn’t see the wheels coming off this particular wagon the way they did.  One of my bigger whiffs.
  • Final grade:  D-

TENNESSEE (4-8, 0-8)

  • What I said:    Boy, did I whiff on last year’s prediction that Shoop was the best offseason hire in the SEC.  The Vols’ disappointing 2017 season can be blamed on several things, but the defense was a major contributor.  It’s hard to see the losses in the offensive backfield and Barnett being replaced without a hitch.  This season has the feel of a reboot.  Eight wins, if they get some breaks; otherwise, seven seems likely.
  • How I did:  The Vols were so far off from my expectations that they made me look like Nostradamus when it came to Florida.
  • Final grade: F

GEORGIA (12-1, 7-1)

  • What I said:  On paper, this is a team that should win at least nine games and the SEC East.  As last year’s Nicholls game indicated, though, Georgia often doesn’t play on paper.  The rising talent base fueled by two excellent recruiting classes should fix the problem areas; the question is how long it takes.  If the offensive line gels early on, the season shapes up quite favorably.  I’ll say nine regular season wins and hope to be pleasantly surprised.
  • How I did:  What can I say?  I was pleasantly surprised.
  • Final grade:  B

KENTUCKY (7-5, 4-4)

  • What I said:  There’s a lot of “if this team wore Florida’s or Georgia’s uniforms, they’d be taken as a serious division contender” talk for the Wildcats.  But they don’t, and that’s because it’s hard for a perennial doormat to take that next big step.  That being said, there is a fair amount to like about UK, as Stoops has done a good job upgrading the talent base.  I don’t think the ‘Cats slide and may actually add a win to last year’s total.
  • How I did:  Came out where I expected, but that may be more attributable to the weakness of the division than Kentucky’s quality.
  • Final grade:  A-

VANDERBILT (5-7, 1-7)

  • What I said:  Derek Mason knows how to coach defense.  That’s good, because losing Zach Cunningham hurts.  Vandy starts at a talent disadvantage against the rest of the conference and this year’s schedule doesn’t help.  If the ‘Dores make it back to six wins, Mason’s done a good job.
  • How I did:  It looked early on like Mason was on his way to exceeding expectations, but then his team imploded.  The big surprise was how much the ‘Dores regressed defensively.  This was not a good season.
  • Final grade:  C

SOUTH CAROLINA (8-4, 5-3)

  • What I said: Although the talent situation is less dire than Spurrier left it, there are still a lot of holes on the roster.  Muschamp did a respectable job managing last year’s team to bowl eligibility.  A respectable job this year might mean another win.
  • How I did:  Helped by divisional mediocrity, Boom did a better than respectable job.
  • Final grade:  C-

MISSOURI (7-5, 4-4)

  • What I said:  The offense was okay last year.  The defense was abysmal.  The offense will probably be better with another year under its belt.  If the defense shows even modest improvement, the Tigers should be bowl eligible, especially with that non-conference schedule.  It’ll be close, but I think they’ll get to six wins.
  • How I did:  It took a while to kick in, but the defense stabilized in time for Mizzou to rattle off wins in its last six games.
  • Final grade:  B+

Overall, it felt like I was about as mediocre with my picks as the conference was with its results.  How did your expectations turn out?

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Happy anniversary, baby.

Dang, I almost forgot.  Eleven years ago to the day, I opened up the doors to this joint.

To everyone that’s stopped by, I don’t know why you came, but I deeply appreciate it all the same.  Hopefully the ride is just getting good, if you’re a Georgia fan.

Oh, and as always, thanks, dog.  I couldn’t have done it without you.  You’re my muse.

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Fabris Pool results, Week Thirteen

And so, my friends, another pick ’em season comes to an end.  It wouldn’t be fitting if the last week didn’t end in a tiebreaker.  This one did.

STANDINGS for WEEK 13
Rank
Selection Name
Standings
Adjustment
W-L
Pts
Tie Breaker Game
38-22
1 watcher16 Adj 8-2 8   24-10**
1 IHazAFatPencil Adj 8-2 8   21-20
1 Mark Richts Bookie Adj 8-2 8   21-14

Congrats to watcher16, who narrowly greased this one out.

Now comes time to crown the seasonal champ.  The race came down to the wire.

SEASON STANDINGS through Week 13
Rank
You
Selection Name
W-L
Pts
1 Biggen 81-49 81
2 83Dawg 79-51 79
3 Meat686 78-52 78
3 mhagan73 78-52 78

Congrats, Biggen! Your name will be engraved on a special plaque mounted in the GTP Hall of Fame, if that ever exists one day.

As I mentioned before, there will be a bowl season pick ’em.  I should have an announcement on that in a couple of weeks or so.  Stay tuned.

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It’s Thanksgiving!

And you know what that calls for here at the blog…

Enjoy the day, be grateful for friends and loved ones, savor a 10-1 record going into the Tech game and settle down for what (I hope) should be a nasty Egg Bowl tonight.

Life ain’t bad, all things considered.

**********************************************************************

UPDATE:  Turkeys Away:  An Oral History.

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