“I don’t know what I’d do without an Uga.”

I’m a sucker for stories about Georgia’s iconic mascot, and this one certainly serves.  I love this bit in particular:

In the years since Uga’s beginnings, the mascot has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and appeared in multiple movies. When Georgia won the 1980 national championship, Uga III received an inscribed championship ring.

“He didn’t have a finger,” Seiler said. “So I wore it for him and still do.”

That’s one ring you’ll never see for sale on eBay.

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“Looking back, Dooley admits there was one game that changed his life more than any other.”

Hardly a surprise as to what game that was.

On Jan. 1, 1981, Dooley’s Bulldogs turned back Notre Dame, 17-10, in the Sugar Bowl to claim Georgia’s first and only Associated Press national championship, forever making Dooley a national-championship coach.

“Now that it’s all over, I think it did,” Dooley said. “What everybody would like to do as a coach is have a team that would be undefeated and then the undisputed national champion, and that’s what Georgia did in 1980. They always found a way to win, and there was no question that Georgia was the undisputed national champion. That was very, very special.

“Everything has to fall in place for that to happen. Some teams play a long time and never win a national championship, and other teams have things fall into place a couple of times just right.”

What makes his reflection particularly remarkable is that it’s easy to forget Dooley almost didn’t coach that game.

In early December of 1980 and only two days after Georgia had defeated Georgia Tech to complete a perfect 11-0 regular season, it was announced by The Birmingham Post-Herald that Vince Dooley was leaving UGA and heading to Auburn to replace the resigning Doug Barfield.  Citing sources, the newspaper declared Dooley had decided to return to his alma mater when he was also promised the athletic director position.  Reportedly, Auburn was offering a contract of anywhere from $1 million for five years to $1.8 million for eight – a nice chunk of change 30 years ago for an Athletic Director/Head Football Coach.

With the Sugar Bowl less than a month away, who would replace Dooley immediately began being discussed.  The logical and leading candidate was defensive coordinator Erk Russell – Dooley’s top assistant since they arrived together to Georgia nearly 17 years before.

If Dooley was going to leave for Auburn, Russell stated that he “would like very much to have the head coaching job [at Georgia].”

Dooley was lobbied for the switch by his former Auburn teammate and Alabama Governor Fob James.  In the end, he turned down mama and stayed in Athens.

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Mark Richt is a liberal plot.

I appreciate the thoughtful responses Sunday’s post about Charlottesville generated, even from those of you who disagreed with me.  That being said, I have to tell you that none of you came close to touching the sheer, concise brilliance of a comment my post spawned at the HOTD message board.

In fact, I’m going on record to say that in more than ten years of blogging, it’s the greatest comment about a GTP post I’ve ever read.

Still has his head up CMR’s ass so liberal was a given

If you’re a Georgia fan, in twelve words, that has it all, don’t it?

And some of you thought my post was political.

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Today, in missing something

How can you rank SEC stadiums in order of loudness without a single mention of piped-in music?

As an aside, though, bonus points for this throw in:

Off-beat fact: Neyland Stadium actually ranks for the least number of square inches per seat in college football.

No shit.

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Fourth chance U

The agony of Jim McElwain:

Florida coach Jim McElwain didn’t hesitate when asked if troubled receiver Antonio Callaway is running out of chances following his third off-the-field issue in the past 20 months.

“Absolutely,” McElwain said on Monday. “The one thing I will do is I’ll continue to help. I’ll continue to be there. I’ll continue to support. But obviously the consequences, you make your own bed, man.”

Running out of chances.

Man, for McElwain to embarrass himself like that… all I can say is Callaway must be an All-American type talent.  Or has pictures of McElwain naked with… uh, wait.

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For once, you done good.

As much grief as I give Greg McGarity, it’s only fair to dish out praise when he’s deserving.  Here’s a case for that:

Fans seem to be happy that they are getting a break from noon kickoffs. The Appalachian State game is on Sept. 2 at 6:15 p.m. and the Samford game on Sept. 16 is at 7:30 p.m.

“The number of noon games we have had previously and the reaction we’ve had from our fans and others was that was not a desirable time,” McGarity said. “Frankly, among all conference teams, especially in the central time zone, that’s not a great time, but we all know that’s part of the TV package. We did ask for any consideration. It’s never guaranteed, but we did ask for some consideration for non-noon kickoffs whenever possible.”

He listened and he asked.  You can’t ask for more than that.  From such small gestures of courtesy, fan appreciation is born.

Feel free to make it a habit, sir.

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“Money isn’t the asset most think it is in Athens.”

I guess this Dean Legge post about dwindling profits at the University of Georgia is supposed to arouse my anxiety about the athletic department’s management skills.  Speaking as someone who has no problem expressing that anxiety when it’s justified, I have no problem saying there’s no outrage here.

The main reason for that is if you’re someone who has any familiarity with Georgia’s recent financial history, there’s really no news in what Legge writes.  Georgia’s outsized “profitability” of a few years ago was largely fueled by lower than conference norm expenses.  Now that Kirby Smart is forcing Butts-Mehre to play catch up with things like facilities and recruiting budgets, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the profit margin is being squeezed.

The real question here is why anyone outside of Greg McGarity should give a shit about Georgia’s athletic profits in the first place.  What we as fans should care about is simply whether those funds are being spent sensibly to achieve excellence.  When the reserve fund wins a single football game, let me know, and I’ll look upon it differently.

Ah, you say, but Legge points out that Georgia lags in raising money behind its SEC peer institutions.

Twelve years ago not only was UGA the leader in the SEC with donations of $28,305,817. It was taking in about $10.8 million more in contributions than Texas A&M, about $1.5 million more in contributions than the Gators, about $5.5 million more than Auburn, about $13.5 million more than Tennessee and about $17.2 more than LSU.

In the last 12 years, those institutions have zipped past UGA in raising money for athletics according to USA Today’s reporting on all 230 NCAA public athletic departments in Division I…

… Every SEC member institution has increased its donations by anything from a heathy to an incredible amount… but UGA seems to have settled with a modest 18 percent difference when comparing 2005 contributions to 2016. One should also consider the rate of inflation over that time as $1 in 2005 would equal about $1.25 today.

All of that information indicates that UGA either doesn’t care or doesn’t want to raise more money; can’t come up with the projects to raise the money for; hasn’t yet or won’t identify new donors; doesn’t see the need to raise money (lack of vision); or has become comfortable asking donors to remain at their current level of giving only… or, perhaps UGA just isn’t very good at raising money.

Or perhaps Georgia never should have hired Michael Adams.  When you bring on a president who promptly proceeds to alienate a third of the donor base, there are repercussions to the bottom line.  And that’s the thing about alienated people — it’s hard to talk ’em back.

Finally, Legge is shocked, shocked to find that the state legislature’s financial support of the school is dwindling.

But UGA, and every other public higher education institution, has had lower and lower money coming from state capitals as time goes on. For the current fiscal year, FY 2018, the State of Georgia appropriated $473.3 million to UGA. The University of Georgia’s budget for FY 2018 is $1.6 billon. So the State gave UGA only 29% of the funds necessary to function. The other 71% had to come from somewhere else. In years gone by UGA was funded primarily from the State. That’s not the case any more, and it won’t change in the future.

That’s an amazing shock to the system. Public schools have had to learn how to become much more “private” in many ways. The most important lesson learned over the past two decades is that the State isn’t going to pay for UGA… UGA must figure out how to pay for itself. And after two-plus centuries of being able to be flexible thanks to the state legislature, that’s no longer the case.

Guess what?  That’s the story across the South, and indeed across much of the country.  Public support for secondary education steadily shrinks.  It’s hardly a Georgia Way thing.

Legge is right that the athletic department is expected to make up some of the difference.  That, too, isn’t much of a surprise, especially to Jere Morehead, who received that kind of news when the Regents offered him the job.

Which brings us to Legge’s conclusion.

…  Once a power broker at the intersection of money and college sports, UGA’s athletic revenues are now 9th-best in a 14-team league.

Perhaps it is an oversimplification to ask if Georgia wants to be 9th best in the SEC in money – because money < championships. But the truth is that’s the wrong way to look at it. Georgia should be exhausting itself trying to best figure out how it can maximize the monetary potential of its fanbase.

Doing that will increase the chances of championships in the future. Money leads to and follows championships.

Except for all the times when Georgia’s profit margin was bigger, that is.

“Georgia should be exhausting itself trying to best figure out how it can maximize the monetary potential of its fanbase.”  If you’re the Georgia Way, that’s winning.  If you’re a wallet, well, that’s hardly a surprise.

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