Archive for August, 2010

Too Good to be True…

We all know that North Avenue Trade School is legendary for its fan support.

I bet the powers that be in Atlanta are praying for full capacity as the Mighty Nerds take on the South Carolina State Bulldogs (who are the defending MEAC champion, by the way)– but the competition for a crowd is tougher than they think.

Dragon*Con, aka the:

largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!

This year, Dragon*Con will be held…you guessed it this weekend in Atlanta, GA. Just too good to be true.

Maybe Paul Johnson will use his packets of health potion that gives him +1000 in defense points to win the game. Ah…the list of jokes is too long to type.

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A Look Ahead: Louisiana Lafayette

Throughout the season we will be composing a preview of Georgia’s competition for the upcoming weekend.  Luckily for us and the Dawgs we get a warmup week to work the kinks out.

Louisiana Lafayette

Quick Hits
0-0 (2010) / 6-6 (2009)
5th place in the Sun Belt Conference
Return:
7 Offensive Starters
9 Defensive Starters
Interesting fact:
UL-La will host Oklahoma State on October 10.  I know T. Boone has taken a hit with his oil stocks but when you’re taking a pay check game by traveling to Cajun Field you’ve solidified your spot as the little brother in the state.

Positive Points
Louisiana comes to Athens as a middle of the road mid-major who looks to have a few issues and questions marks with their starting lineup.  On the positive side they are very impressive in the Red Zone, last year averaging the 16th most efficient in the nation and were 48th best in yards/game passing.  To put this in perspective, UGA was 75th.  Also, UL-La is known for their special teams and have blocked 41 kicks since 2002 – third most in the nation.

Key Players
Their most powerful offensive weapon, TE Ladarius Green did not start the final five games last season and has missed part of camp with knee tendinitis.  Depending on how his injury has improved, he may not see PT all 4 quarters.  Green was chosen for the preseason All-Sun Belt Team and if the game gets out of hand I see him resting on the side lines as this is not a conference game.  QB Chris Masson returns for his junior year hoping to improve 10:8 TD Int ratio but may have a rough start as five receivers have missed time in fall camp with injuries.  WR Marlin Miller has stayed healthy and should be his main target Saturday.

As for the running game, both leading rushers in 2009 graduated and preseason camp has seen the carries split evenly between four backs.  Soph FB Yobes Walker returns after starting 4 of the final 6 at running back and averaging 3.55 ypc.

On defense sr leader Grant Fleming is a two-time All-Sun Belt selection and moves from outside linebacker to inside linebacker.  And they return a secondary that recorded 16 interceptions last season, 23rd best in the country.

The Grit Tree’s Guess
If UGA can play smart vanilla ball this should be an easy Saturday.  With the injuries and inexperience UL-La’s offense should not be a problem for our new 3-4.  I am worried about Murray forcing any passes into their better than average secondary but I do feel okay knowing that 13 of the 16 interceptions came from their 6 wins.  I see this being a 38 to 6 kinda afternoon where Richt takes his foot off the gas early and Mason plays the entire 4th quarter. Don’t be suprised if you see some of the same plays you saw at your local middle school game this week.

Go Dawgs!

granitedawg
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For your reading enjoyment
UGA Game Notes
UL-La Game Notes
(I always print the depth chart in UGA’s notes and keep it in my pocket on game days.  Works great when we start subbing in lineman late in the game)

Tuesday Leans

With Opening Day now on the horizon, we are glad to be back with our weekly leans and picks. Each Tuesday, The Grit Tree will provide you with a few leans as you look forward to the weekend. On Friday, we will lock in our picks for 3 games each week. If you are a gambler, use these as basis to pick the opposite way if you want to make your dollar go farther. With no further ado:

Corbindawg

Kentucky (-3) @ Louisville Charlie Strong held out for a good head coaching job and got….Louisville.  Joker Phillips has some talent, and Hartline and Cobb are playmakers.  I like the Wildcats

Boise State vs. Virginia Tech (+3) The Broncos are traveling across the Country for a game in which is basically a home game for the castrated turkeys.  Virginia Tech has a power running game and a quarterback that can make plays with his feet.  Frank Beamer and Chris Petersen are complete 180 on coaching styles.  Two National Title Contenders enter DC on Labor Day, and only one survives-Virginia Tech and its strong defense and power running attack will overpower the Broncos and send them back to tater country

Utah State at Oklahoma (-34.5) Bob Stoops has some offense at his disposal.  Landry Jones has improved and Demarco Murray is 100% healthy.  Coach Stoops is an a-hole who wasn’t afraid to run up the score on opponents in Bradford’s 2008 Heisman campaign (50+ ppg) and will quiet the pissed off Sooner fans who were mad at a poor season last year.   Look for Stoops to run up the score for Boomer Sooner.

Granitedawg

Southern Cal @ Hawaii (+21) Look for my boy Lane to run up the score here. I love this guy, and he could be the next coach at UGA if we play our cards right. The SEC will really miss his genius this year. Lay the points and take USC.

Utah State @ Oklahoma (-34) Bob Stoops is a jerk and is going to run up the score on lowly Utah State. Again, lay the points.

SMU @ Texas Tech (-13.5) Even though my second favorite pirate is no longer the captain of this ship, I love Texas Tech. I’ll give the points here against the Methodists and call for the Red Raiders to claim their bounty over the Mustangs.

Kensingtondawg

Purdue at Notre Dame (-11) The Irish hit a home run when they hired Brian Kelley to coach this football team.  He is demanding and tough.  He mission to get Notre Dame back on track will begin Saturday against a Purdue team that has been flat out mediocre the last few seasons.  Call me crazy, but I think the Irish are a darkhorse to play for the national title.  If you don’t believe me look at the schedule.  It’s a breeze!  Irish will roll in Kelley’s first game and cover the 11.

UCONN at Michigan (-3) This is a make or break season for Rich Rodriquez.  UCONN returns a pile of starters and has a great coach in Randy Edsall.  However, I think Michigan will continue to improve, and they know the stakes for this opening game at Ann Arbor.  A loss here and the season could unravel quickly.  It won’t happen.  Michigan win will and cover the 3.

Oregon State at TCU (-13.5) This number looks very high on paper, however I think TCU is looking to make a statement here.  Boise State is getting all the preseason love as the non-BCS team that could make it to Glendale.  Oregon State is well coached under Mike Reilly but typically start out slow and catch fire late.  Plus the Beavers can’t be too excited about traveling to Fort Worth, TX to may in a small stadium so early in the year.  The Frogs will make a statement and roll Saturday.  Lay the 13.5

Ucheedawg

Purdue @ Notre Dame (-10) As bad as it pains me, I really like this season opener for the Fighting Irish. They have incorporated a new, faster paced offense and will be too much for Purdue. I’ll give the 10 and take ND in a big way.

North Carolina vs. LSU (pk) Vegas has this game as a pick. I’m mildly surprised that LSU isn’t a small favorite here. I think it will be a close game, but will lean towards the SEC in this matchup and take LSU to open the season with a W against a good UNC team.

Boise State (-2.5)  vs. Virginia Tech Vegas is throwing out a teaser here to see how many folks they can get to take VA Tech, but in the end it  just won’t be enough. Look for the Broncos from the Blue Turf to come east and win by………………..wait for it………………..2 TDs en route to a berth in the MNC!!!!!!!!

Barndawg

Oklahoma State (-14.0) vs. Washington State The ‘Boys from Stilly get a much easier opener from last year. Wazzu has been horrible for a long time.  RB Kendall Hunter gets 100+ rushing yards. Oklahoma State wins big.

So Cal (-19.0) vs. Hawaii  USC will try to beat their opponents into submission as much as they can– to at least get some brownie points. USC and give the points.

UL-L at Georgia (-24.5) Aaron Murray has a great debut. AJ makes Sports Center with some insane, Prothro like catch. The 3-4 gets a couple of offsides, but takes control early. Red kool-aid is the best flavor. UGA rolls.

The Grit Tree

I want to be Roger Federer

The women love him and oh yeah he can play some serious tennis.  Check out this shot in the 1st round of the U.S. Open last night.

Kensingtondawg

#6 Boise State

Offense
While I realize Boise State, doesn’t play in a BCS conference nor has SEC type athletes I will rank their offensive unit against any team in America. Their QB Kellen Moore has been phenomenal since he took over the starting QB job his freshman season. He has thrown for nearly 7,000 yards in only two seasons and completed nearly 70% of his throws in 2009! He is back along with the best stable of RBs in the WAC led by Jeremy Avery and DJ Harper. The offensive line is one of the 20 best in the country and the Broncos are very experienced at receiver. The unit will strike fear in the hearts of any football team especially Virginia Tech come Monday night.

Defense
The Broncos get major pub for all their offensive prowess, however Boise State is also a solid defensive football team and will be strong again in 2010. The strength is the defensive line which returns All-WAC perfomers Ryan Winterswyk at DE and Billy Winn at DT. Winerswyk had 17 tackles for a loss last season while Winn had 44 tackles at his DT spot. I will shocked if this group allows over 100 yards rushing per game.

The linebacking and secondary corps are solid as well. Boise State returns its entire two deep at LB led by 2nd team WAC performer Winston Venable. The secondary loses their top guy from 09 and 1st round draft choice Kyle Wilson, however they return 5 with starting experience including 2-time 2nd team WAC star Jeron Johnson. Johnson is a stud, and he led Boise State in tackles last season and has 150 tackles in his career. Very solid from the safety spot.

Overall
Chris Peterson is outstanding, and I am shocked he’s still coaching at Boise State quite frankly. He has put a masterful run together going 49-4 with 3 undefeated regular seasons in his 4 years! Remarkable!

Many think this is the season that a non-BCS school will play for the title. Boise State will get that chance. They return a pile of talent, but open with a monster game against Virginia Tech in Landover, MD. Boise State must prove themselves in this game. The last time they made the trip to the East Coach they were blasted by Georgia 48-13. If the Broncos can make a statement and beat the Hokies, they will be a prime contender for the national title.

Target Acquired

One of my favorite things about UGA Basketball games is the crowd entertainment during timeouts.  If you’ve ever been to home games, the one guy wears boxing gloves and shorts and runs up the stairs ala Sly Stallone in Rocky as the legendary theme song plays on the speakers.

After seeing this quote from Coach Richt’s press conference today, I had a great idea. Via Seth Emerson at the Bulldogs Blog

Richt sort of cleared up who was starting at safety, with Bacarri Rambo. The depth chart said Nick Williams, but Jakar Hamilton said he’d been told it was him.

Richt agreed that it was Hamilton and Rambo, but added that Williams “will play.”

It just makes total sense to play this now, just substitute Murdock to your typical SEC RB or WR.

barndawg

#7 Texas Longhorns

Offense
Garrett Gilbert was thrown to the wolves a little premature in the national title game last year due to the injury to Colt McCoy. After a first half that saw Gilbert complete just 1/10 throws, Gilbert rallied the Longhorns before falling short in the 2nd half. Gilbert will be sold piece of the Longhorn offense in 2010, and he’ll have a loaded receiving corps at his disposal. Despite the loss of WR Jordan Shipley, the Longhorns return WR Malcom Williams and John Chiles. Williams had over 500 yards receiving in 09 and with Shipley out of the picture, I think Williams may double his numbers this season.

The key for Gilbert to be successful in his starting role is to get better production from the RBs. Tre Newton led the way last season with a mediocre 552 yards on the season and fumbles were a major problem. However, I look for a much improved season out of Newton. Mack Brown is shifting to I-formation attack which will better suit Newton and Gilbert. Plus, the Longhorns return 10 players on their O-line two deep depth chart.

Defense
Another year and another stacked defensive football team for Texas. Each individual unit on Texas’ defense could compete for the best in the nation, which is a true testament to Mack Brown’s recruiting efforts. Alex Okafor returns on the defensive line after an outstanding freshman season. MLB Jarred Norton has 122 tackles and Emmanuel Acho will compete for All-Big 12 honors.

Texas for my money has the best secondary in America returning led by CB Curtis Brown. DC Will Muschamp is the best in the business and this group is just as talented and loaded with potential as any in Muschamp’s tenure.

Overall
Record breaking QB Colt McCoy is gone, but I don’t there will be the dropoff many expect with Garrett Gilbert. The key will be a solid establishment of a running game.

After what some considered an underachieving run in the first few years of Brown’s tenure, Texas has reeled off 3 BCS bids in five seasons including 2 national title appearances. The schedule sets up nicely, however the Longhorns have two mammoth games on the road at Nebraska and the annual Red River Shootout. Look for Texas to split these games and finish 11-1. However, this will be good enough to land in yet another BCS bowl.


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