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A return, and way too early look at the schedule

Well, after a rather long hiatus, we’re back. Due to some real-job goings on and Little Lugnut Dawg having to go into the hospital the weekend of the Auburn game and having some after-effects, it’s been awhile (update on Little Lugnut coming at some point down the road).

At any rate, this is the least favorite time of the year. There’s too much time, as Munson would say, until the season gets here. All that’s left to do is think ahead to preseason camp and pray to all things holy that no UGA players do anything knuckleheaded off the field. It doesn’t help that the offseason will drag by at a snail’s pace with the looming trainwreck that is the Braves (thanks for the screw job, Frank Wren).

Speaking of that schedule, there’s a lot of time to mull over how it may shake it out. Here’s how it could turn out, week to week.

Sept. 5, Louisiana-Monroe

Should be a steady diet of getting things in sync and hopefully, time for Ram-Bau-Park to get a good feel for the offense

Sept. 12, at Vanderbilt

Nice scheduling break here, getting a first SEC road game for a new QB against a lower-rung team of the conference.

Sept. 19, South Carolina

This’ll be a war, as always. No beating around the bush. USCe’s offensive holes do make you feel a tad better until you realize the HBC is on the other sideline.

Sept. 26, Southern

Are they bringing their band?

Oct 3, Alabama

Possibly the most anticipated home game in Athens since many of us 30ish Dawgs were in diapers. The shot at Bama for the first time since five yards short? The first trip to Athens since a darker shade of jersey out? The atmosphere itself will be worth being in Athens for.

Oct. 10, at Tennessee

This has trap game all over it, being on the road and a week after what will be a charged game against Bama.

Oct. 17, Mizzou

Who’d of thought four years ago that Missouri would be a game with heavy SEC East implications riding on it?

Oct. 31, Florida

Given the rebuilding in Jortsville, Georgia should win. We said that last year, too

Nov. 7, Kentucky

Scrappy Kentucky team could prove to be a speed bump in between a pair of rivalry games.

Nov. 14, at Auburn

I’m more worried now that Bobo is not around to counter Muschamp. Take away the UF game last year, and Georgia had an apparent advantage. Not so sure now, although that could change.

Nov. 21, Georgia Southern

With GSU no longer running a true option, this game is less of an advantage preceding Tech. Georgia Southern now has a bunch knowing they can hang with big-time teams and be in the game. That could be scary for Georgia, especially if it is banged up or deshoveled after a loss to Auburn, if it happens.

Nov. 28, at Georgia Tech

Only thing worse than losing to the NATS? Losing to them twice in a row.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Making sense of Saturday’s nonsensicals

– Georgia may have lost this game on a squib kick, but it was the game itself was lost well before that. Fact is, the better team won on Saturday, Georgia just came close to digging itself out of a big hole just in the nick of time. For the most part, this same team that overpowered Auburn and Clemson got manhandled by Tech. Basically, it was the Florida game all over again. If I’m playing Georgia, I run it, run it and run it. because as good as this defense is against the spread, its as lacking against power running games.

– Really a shame for Hutson Mason. He probably got more out of his ability than most players in the CMR era – but he’ll be remembered for a massively boneheaded play in the worst time to make it.

– I turned and made sure to exit Saturday and not see GT players taking pieces of our hedges. It sucks that it happens, but when you protect your house, it doesn’t happen. Then again, fair is fair – Ben Jones gave us one of the better post-game shots a few years ago with a chunk of yellow turf in his mouth, so it works both ways.

– You cannot, CANNOT get inside the five three times and score a combined three points. I said to myself at the half that Georgia would lose after the two first-half fumbles.

– Speaking of fumbles, Georgia got a gift on Swann’s return….but based on the screw jobs by refs on Georgia this year, we were due for once.

– Look, I like accountability as much as the next guy, but this after the fact business of, ‘yeah I messed up,’ is getting old and getting old fast. It doesn’t matter if you admit it was a bad decision, it was STILL a bad decision. The squib kick ranks up there with the 2001 goal line debacle against Auburn and opting to redshirt Knowshon Moreno. One of the biggest mistakes in TV series history was when Coy and Vance were in the Dukes of Hazzard. Every knows it was a bad mistake, but it does not change the fact that it took place.

– That said, I’m not on the “fire Richt” bandwagon. Bonehead things happen. Remember Saban in the Iron Bowl last year? That said, everyone on the staff should have their feed held to the fire after losing to Georgia’s two biggest rivals. That should not be unacceptable. The problem is that being ‘pretty good’ seems to be ok with the UGA administration.

– Please, for the love of Christmas, don’t make us play Nebraska again in a bowl.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Jacksonvilling, A Georgia Tradition

38-20.

The winning team with more than 400 rushing yards.

The losing team’s fans taking to social media to rip the losing coach to shreds, some calling for his firing.

On paper, and if you asked anyone outside the Georgia fan base the past week, they’ve have surmised that it would have been Georgia with the 38 points and gaudy rushing yards, and Florida with the loss and possibly placing the red tag in Will Muschamp’s locker.

Then again, none of those fans know that us Georgia fans know all too well. There’s a little thing called Jacksonville, and for whatever reason, Georgia’s more underwhelming performances happen at Everbank Field. It may not be a true neutral site, but that can’t be an excuse to let down after let down. Go back in Mark Richt’s tenure and better Georgia teams have either struggled to beat, or lose to inferior Florida teams.

But Saturday? It took it to another level. In terms of losses under Mark Richt, it, to me is among the top three most shameful, in the same breath as the 2006 Sugar Bowl and 2008 against Georgia Tech.

It’s unconscionable that a team that rolls over Mizzou and Arkansas, on the road, to be blunt, just seemed uninterested in being there on Saturday. More baffling? This team’s worst performances this year have come off open dates. I mean, if this coaching staff has problems keeping players sharp, why the heck not scrimmage someone like Buford High on open weekends?

The officials Saturday? They were bad, as usual. Was Gurley missed? Yes, but it wouldn’t have meant much with the way Georgia was beaten up front.

But it’s funny, in a way. Saturday may have been the final laugh for Georgia toward the Muschamp era at Florida. Instead, it is one that Florida fans will always remember, and remind Georgia fans with infamy – very similar to Georgia’s 1985 win over top-ranked Florida. And, depending on what happens the rest of the year, could be the turning point for Richt’s turnaround during the past three seasons. Sure, it’s post-game gut reactions, but all I know is a lot of Richt apologists last night appeared to be tired of defending Richt, and may be finally resolving that maybe their loyalty needs to be reevaluated.

At the end of the day, the problem is this. Georgia fans are asking themselves why this team has put together another underwhelming showing in a game it had no business losing going in. And it happens season after season.

Saturday was a chance to continue moving this program forward. Instead, it took multiple steps back, and it may need a win over Auburn in two weeks to get back on track.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

30 years ago, this Lewis wrote this classic

30 years ago today exactly, Kevin Butler’s mammoth field goal kick upset Clemson.

We’re guilty of re-posting this column of Lewis Grizzard’s but it’s very, very fitting on a day like today.

Great moments in a would be father’s life

To my Son, if I ever have one:

Kid, I am writing this on September 3, 1984. I have just returned from Athens, where I spent Saturday watching the University of Georgia, your old dad’s alma matter, play football against Clemson.

While the events of the day were still fresh on my mind, I wanted to recount them so if you are ever born, you can read this and perhaps be able to share one of the great moments in your father’s life.

Saturday was a wonderful day on the Georgia campus.

We are talking blue, cloudless sky, a gentle breeze and a temperature suggesting summer’s end and autumn’s approach.

I said the blessing before we had lunch. I thanked the Lord for three things: fried chicken, potato salad and for the fact he had allowed me the privilege of being a Bulldog.

“And , Dear Lord,” I prayed, “bless all those not as fortunate as I.”

Imagine my son, 82,000 people, most whom were garbed in red, gathered together gazing down on a lush valley of hedge and grass where soon historic sporting combat would be launched.

Clemson was ranked number 2 in the nation, and Georgia, feared too young to compete with the veterans from beyond the river, could only dream, the smart money said, of emerging three hours hence victorious.

They had us 20-6 at the half, son. A man sitting in front of me said, “I just hope we don’t get embarrassed.”

My boy, I had never seen such a thing as came to pass in the second half. Todd Williams threw one long and high, and Herman Archie caught it in the end zone, and it was now 20-13.

Georgia got the ball again and scored again, and it was now 20-20, and my mouth was dry, and my hands were shaking, and this Clemson fan who had been running his mouth the whole ballgame suddenly shut his fat face.

Son, we got ahead 23-20, and the ground trembled and shook, and many were taken by fainting spells.

Clemson’s kicker, Donald Igwebuike, tied it 23-23 and this sacred place became the center of the universe.

Only seconds were left when Georgia’s kicker, Kevin Butler, stood poised in concentration. The ball rushed toward him, and it was placed upon the tee a heartbeat before his right foot launched it heavenward.

A lifetime later, the officials threw their arms aloft. From 60 yards away, Kevin Butler had been true, and Georgia led and would win 26-23.

I hugged perfect strangers and kissed a fat lady on the mouth. Grown men wept. Lightening flashed. Thunder rolled. Stars fell, and joy swept through, fetched by a hurricane of unleashed emotions.

When Georgia beat Alabama 18-17 in 1965, it was a staggering victory. When we came back against Georgia Tech and won 29-28 in1978, the Chapel bell rang all night. When we beat Florida 26-21 in the last seconds in 1980, we called it a miracle. And when we beat Notre Dame 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl that same year for the national championship, a woman pulled up her skirt and showed the world the Bulldog she had sewn on her underbritches.

But Saturday may have been even better than any of those.

Saturday in Athens was a religious experience.

I give this to you, son. Read it and re-read it, and keep it next to your heart. And when people want to know how you wound up with the name “Kevin” let them read it, and then they will know.

Personally, I’m glad it’s over

If anything else, the Gator Bowl loss to Nebraska means one thing more than anything else – closure.

You want frustration, this season has been full of it with injuries, unbelievably bad luck, defensive misadventures and haphazard efforts on special teams.

Unless you are playing in a BCS Bowl, a bowl game is pretty much, as Corbin Dawg alluded to earlier, an exhibition. Oh sure, they are fun to go to for fans (me and Lugnut’s dad enjoyed ourselves in Jacksonville) and players get to do some cool things. But for the most part, bowls do not define your season.

Regardless of Georgia’s result in Jacksonville, it does not change the fact that three damning issues exist within the program going into the offseason that would be the same if Georgia would have rallied to win:

– An atrocious defensive secondary

– Bad News Bears special teams play

– Hutson Mason getting a firm enough grasp of the offense

If there is a silver lining, it’s that this team heads into the offseason pissed off. If this team needed a wakeup call, Nebraska may have done Georgia a big favor.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Gator Bowl Review: A Crummy Commercial

Be Sure to drink your Ovaltine.  Ovaltine?  A crummy commercial?  Son of a bitch!
-Ralphie

I have a few thoughts about the Gator Bowl yesterday, but before I jumped in the specifics, I wanted to touch on some big picture thoughts.

I hate when the Dawgs lose.  I hate it so bad.  I want, and most years expect, Georgia to win every game.  I have as unrealistically high expectations on where I want the football program to be as anyone.  I was devastated after the Auburn loss, and in the past, I have been devastated by losses in bowl games.

But not anymore.  I saw a lot of venom and angst yesterday on Twitter, but I simply don’t care that Georgia lost yesterday.  If Georgia had won, I would have felt good, but not have the same feeling of happiness I have when we beat South Carolina, LSU, came back against Tennessee and Tech, and beat Florida for the 3rd year in a row.

Don’t be confused; I am not one to hate on the Bowls.  I love watching these games.  I stayed up to 12:30 in the morning last night watching UCF beat Baylor.  I was glued to Texas A&M and Duke.  These are fun games.  But in the end, they are just glorified commercials for the sponsors, ways for local towns to fill up hotel rooms, and ESPN to have content and sell advertising space.  That is all.  The bowls have no merit other than that.  Except the National Championship.  And I’ll even say the bigger bowls have luster.  Living in the South and having the tradition, you want to say you won the Sugar Bowl.  The Rose Bowl is important to the Big 10 and Pac 10/12.

But these mediocre bowls are just exhibition games and fun games to watch.  How many times yesterday did they talk about the bad playing conditions on the field, yet they let Junior drive his car out on the field and hand over the coin?  It was done for pomp and circumstance, and to let Tax Slayer have their spokesmen get TV coverage.  I’m sure if this was game in Sanford Stadium, there would be no way in hell a car would be driven on the field, espeically in those conditions.

I saw stats yesterday that UGA is 1-3 in Bowls the last 4 years, or they’ve lost X number of games the last five years and this and that.  I hate these stats, because they are intellectually dishonest.  If we had won yesterday, UGA would be 2-2 in their last four bowls.  Just like with the beating ranked team argument, those stats are only thrown up after a loss. If we had won, no one would say “Hey, Mark Richt is 47-21 his last five years.”  But since they lost, it was “Mark Richt is 46-22 his last five years.”

Previously, a bowl win might help you in the polls for next season.  But now with the playoff selection committee, the polls are completely irrelevant.  And Auburn and Baylor showed that if you start the season unranked, you can still climb up in the hearts and minds of America if you just win the games.

I am not just saying this as a defense mechanism because the Dawgs lost or having sour grapes.  It was nice to get a win last year, but did it matter?  I mean, it was nice to close out on a win, but last year I was still hung over from the Alabama game.  Losing to UCF didn’t keep the Dawgs from signing the Dream Team or winning the SEC East in 2011.  Losing to Michigan State didn’t keep Georgia from signing the “Ring Team” or winning the East in 2012.  Beating Nebraska last year didn’t do anything to help us for 2012 against Clemson or keep anyone from getting injured this season.

I opened with a quote from one of my favorite movies.  I’ll throw in another 80s movie franchise example.  In the Rocky movies, what bout was more important-Rocky beating Apollo Creed for the title in Rocky II or beating Ivan Drago in Rocky IV?  Clearly, beating Creed was more important.  It was for the belt.  Did Rocky’s fight against Thunderlips in Rocky III matter?  No, it was a charity exhibition.

Like with Ralphie and his Little Orphan Annie Decoder that was thought to be something more than it was, these bowls are just a crummy commercial.  Any more or less emotional investment in them is just a waste of time.

The actions in the game certainly frustrated me.  Same old, same old.

-I want to get into special teams more in detail later, but how we can’t be competent in the punt return game is maddening.  As I was watching UCF last night, every time they received a punt there was no drama.  Remember when we had Damien Gary, Thomas Flowers, Mikey Henderson, and Brandon Boykin would could actually make plays?  We can’t even field the punts anymore.  Man, I long for the days of Logan Gray.

-I think the defense quietly played its best game of the year yesterday, with one glaring mistake.  Of course, the glaring mistake was a big one.  For all intents and purposes, a 100 yard touchdown pass is not something you see often, especially from Nebraska.  And what sucked so bad is as soon as he let it rip, you just knew it was going to the house.

-Gurley was hobbled, it was clear he wasn’t 100% still.  But he still had a very good game.  I think that if he was 100%, he would have scored on the 3rd and 10 draw play in the closing minutes.

-It seems like Lynch has had some big drops and other miscues this season, but Lynch is still a good player and will be sorely missed.  I wish him nothing but the best in his NFL or other future endeavors.

-Not having Matthews or JHC at safety was evident.  I hope JHC can get his act together, because I am not sure his leash is going to be incredibly long going forward.  He is reminding me an awful lot like Ealey and King.

-Mason did well statistically, but 182 out of his 320 yards (57%) came on little dump offs to Gurley and Douglas, and the one long pass to Bennett.  I get the weather didn’t help any, and the O-line protection was shaky, but it seemed he was a little off, hesitant, and held on the ball for way too long.  Like I said last week, hopefully he was able to learn something.

I don’t know if I have ever said this, but I am glad this season is over.  I love watching the Dawgs play. I pine for it all year.  I talk about it all year with friends.  Hell, I take the time to blog about it.  Football season is fun, even if the team is not doing well.  It is even more fun when they are.  But this year was an up and down roller coaster of emotions and I’m glad it is came to an end.  I’ll be jacked up for the 2014 campaign soon, but right now, I am just glad this year is over and behind us.

Corbindawg

Murray’s mom speaks up

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