Sunday, November 26, 2006
Evidently, all it takes to get these Georgia Bulldogs fired up and playing up to their potential is for me to issue a statement like this, "So much for finishing strong. It won't happen. This team does not have the character to right the ship. It makes me sad, but, admitting that you have a problem is the first step to getting help." I posted this after the loss to Kentucky when I mailed in the season. Fortunately, the kids in the jerseys had other plans. They have fought their hearts out the past two games and have earned total redemption, in my view, for the Vandy and UK losses. These guys have one more win before they finish the drill.
There was so much to love about winning the 6th straight against Tech. For me, the following are the foremost enjoyable specifics from the game.
1. Mohamed Massaquoi was perfect and had four catches, several in traffic, on the final drive to get us 2 first downs, a touchdwon and a two-point conversion. I hope the asses who booed him the last time he was on the field in Sanford had the decency to eat shit after he delivered us to victory Saturday night.
2. Coach Willie Martinez. Two straight gems registered by our defense against two good offenses. I believe that when looking at this season as a whole, CWM did a better job than most of us realize. Until the Tennessee game, our defense was impenetrable. The UT game smarted, but many of the points came from short fields due to turnovers. Still did not like the soft zone, but, based on our gameplan and execution against Auburn and Tech, I think it is clear to see that CWM got more comfortable attacking and leaving his DBs to fend for themselves and make plays. Which they did quite well. The defensive players really gave great effort the past two games and played with great intensity and determination. I hope that CWM will follow up these two wins with more attacking and press coverage. With the talent he has in the defensive backfield that will return next year, he should be able rely on their coverage skills and playmaking ability. In the end, CWM called very good games against 4 of our 5 most important rivals: South Carolina (0), Florida (14), Auburn (15) and Tech(9). So, let's all get of his back now. Umkay?
3. Martrez Milner. I am so glad that he has finished the season strong after his earlier problems catching the ball. In addition to making several key first downs in the last two games, I saw him make some spectacular blocks. He is so packed with potential and I hope he gets a chance in the NFL.
4. Mario Raley. Huge props to Mario for going out and playing fearlessly two weeks after getting his head removed and reattached at Kentucky. He had at least two catches on the sideline when he could have stepped on out of bounds but instead he put his head down and fought for extra yardage. I also saw him make one great block downfield and though I can't remember which play it was, his tenacious block helped us pick up an additional 10 yards on the play.
5. Matt Stafford. Since I stopped calling him Matthew and shortened it to just Matt, he is 2-0 with zero interceptions. He is such a talent and I think everyone now knows just how bright the future is for him. It has been an interesting season watching him learn on he job. His decision making and recognition of defenses improved steadily before our eyes and the past two games have been pure visions of beauty. I thought Tech was doing a great job of disguising their blitzes and coverages, but Stafford did not let them force him into any big mistakes. He is a true gamer.
6. Offensive Line. The walking wounded gutted it out yet again and had enough fortitude to pave the way for the final drive and give Stafford ample protection when we absolutely had to have it. Nick Jones and Ken Shackleford deserve some sort of medals of valor for their service above and beyond the call of duty. I am especially proud of how Nick Jones held this gimpy crew together for such a long stretch of games and led them to the two great performances against Auburn and Tech. He is a soldier!
This win over Tech is definitely sweeter than the previous wins in the current streak. In the past 5 wins, I had full confidence that we would win as we were the higher rated team and were expected to win. This one, despite the fact that Vegas had us as a slight favorite, definitely had the feel of an upset since Tech was higher ranked and was leading their conference while we were unranked and were in the middle of our conference. By the way, the SEC swept the ACC in Saturday's three inter-conference matchups, so we should not have to listen to any BS about the ACC being better than the SEC, at least not for a few weeks anyway.
Way to go Dawgs. You made us proud.
GATA one more time!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I did not get a TOP 20 list out last week because I was traveling and had limited access to the internet. So '80s. ANyway, here is where I see the TOP 20 after 11 weeks of football.
1. Ohio State. Duh.
2. Michigan. Also duh.
3. Rutgers. See Kyle King for explanation upon explanation and pics of Kristin Davis. For me, the ultimate justification is that they remain unbeaten in a BCS conference and that is enough reason to elevate them above the one-loss crowd. They have West Virginia in a few weeks and if they finish out undefeated, they will be either number 2 or number 3 in many polls. It all solves itself in the end.
4. Florida. Yes the struggled against the Evil Visored One. Yes their offense looks sluggish. But defense wins championships and unless they lose to FSU (not likely) or Arkansas in Atlanta (completely possible), they will remain at this lofty perch.
5. Southern Cal. Redeeming win against Oregon. Hard to rank this team below Arkansas even though I understand that Arkansas now is nothing like the team that played USC on week one and committed 5 turnovers. Still, these are the breaks in a virtual single-elimination season.
6. Arkansas. If the Hawgs win out and win the SECCG, then they will have a legitimate claim to go to the MNCG. However, if USC and Rutgers also win out, their argument will fall short.
7. Notre Dame. If they win out, we will hear more than anyone can stand about their right to play in the MNCG. USC will be at the Colisseum. Good.
8. Wisconsin. The most unheralded team in the Top 10 just keeps winning. Very sound team but overshadowed in the Big Ten by the Game of the Century hype.
9. Wake Forest. Nice showing Seminoles!
10. LSU. Such a dangerous team. The best of the two-loss bunch.
11. Boise State. Undefeated against lesser competition.
12. Oklahoma. The next best two-loss team.
14. West Virginia.
15. Georgia Tech.
18. Boston college.
20. Tennessee. This is where I see them without Ainge.
Also ran: California, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, Maryland.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Too much travel and work have kept me from blogging lately. I apologize to both of my loyal readers!
In my last post I stated that this bunch of Bulldogs did not have the character to get things on track. I wish I had made that statement after the Ole Miss game. I feel a little like Pat Dye. Clearly the players took my challenge to heart and proved me wrong in every way. BRAVO, gentlemen, BRAVO.
Kyle King has already usurped me on one topic that I intended to discuss, so I will be brief since the Mayor has already treated the subjected deftly. Every year, a Mark Richt team will open a can of whoop ass and pour it all over somebody who is supposed to give us trouble. This year, Auburn was that somebody. Previous recipients have been LSU, LSU, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech in reverse chronological order. When these days of beauty will strike is always hard to predict, but just know that they will come at least once per season. If you are a Georgia opponent who gets caught in this annual eviscerating buzzsaw game, wear raingear because the bloodletting and detrital body parts will stain your clothes and possibly your soul. Oh, that one season soon we will have many of these days of football nirvana.
Until then, we have Georgia Tech in front of us and one more chance to redeem this season in memorable fashion by unleashing the rabid hounds that played so impressively on the Plains.
Speaking of impressive play, here is a "we are not worthy" repeated bow to the hobbled trenchmen Nick Jones, Chester Adams, Ken Shackleford, Daniel Inman and Bubba Velasco who played hurt and/or without relief for 11 consecutive weeks and on this day, put it all together for a dominating, road-paving performance against a solid defense. They just got better and better as the afternoon wore on and on. Huge kudos to Shack for gutting it out after getting banged up in the first series but refusing to be kept out of this redemption game.
Matt Stafford was awesome. The out route to Michael Moore was a laser that could not have been made by many NCAA QBs. It came on a critical third down in the third quarter when Auburn was trying to wrest the momentum away from the Dawgs. Moore had about one step of separation from the defender. Stafford rifled a bullet across the field perfectly on the outside shoulder of Moore and out of harms way for a first down catch. A flutterball in that situation could have easily been picked for six. That is why CMR is so impressed with this arm. His two beautiful deep throws were also welcome sights for sore eyes. Because of his early effectiveness and some well coordinated runs by Kregg Lumpkin, the Auburn defense was left scrambling for an answer and ended up leaving the middle wide open for the numerous first down runs made by Stafford. What a great day at the office for the true freshman. He really deserved this one!
We should also praise the perfect game played be the receivers and tight ends. NO DROPS. Circus grabs. Downfield blocking. Keep it up gang.
Lastly, the entire defense deserves tremendous kudos from CWM to Tra Battle to Ray Gant. Everyone. They attacked Auburn from the initial snap and showed great desire and effort. Gang tackling. Running to the ball. Showing some swagger.
All in all, it was obvious that this team was having fun Saturday and I am extremely happy for them that they were able to put it all together in such dominating fashion. I hope they will go into the Tech game focused on attacking and having fun. If they do, it will be a good day to be a DAWG.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
First, I want to say that my thoughts and prayers are with Mario Raley and I hope that he will be fine. I do not know the extent of his injury, but I just hope that it is not serious.
Regarding the game... well, I am one that always tries to stay positive, but this was the final straw for me for the 2006 abortion of a season. After removing the rose-colored glasses, the thing that is now painfully obvious is not that we played poorly for the 7th time in 10 tries. What is now obvious to me is that our team - players, coaches, schemes, effort and motivation are all on par with the lower half of our conference. We have not lost to two inferior teams in Vanderbilt and Kentucky, we have been beaten by better teams. Better players who are better coached. I don't care how many stars our players had from recruiting gurus/nerds, the players from Vanderbilt and Kentucky proved that they are better. That is just it in a tidy nutshell.
Either we have restocked our cupboard with guys who only look good on paper, or they just have not been well-developed. Either way, this team has been beat in all phases of the game by everyone we have played except Western Kentucky, UAB and South Carolina. I can no longer accept that we are just young and haven't gelled or have just had crucial mistakes at the worst possible times. You know what you call teams that always, always make crucial mistakes at the worst possible times? You call them a bad football team. That is all there is to it.
I believe in the cyclical nature of most things and I hope that this is a short down cycle, but the evidence no longer leaves any reasonable doubt that this is just an incapable group and the coaches are not able to solve the puzzle.
I won't single out any individual players because outside of my three readers, nobody really gives a shit about what I have to say anyway. But, the underclassmen on this team have got to improve dramatically if they ever wish to compete for the SEC Championship. None are excepted.
I really don't want to hear ESPN and others exclaiming that Kentucky pulled a big upset today. The team with better players who were better-coached won this game and it wasn't Georgia.
Where to go from here? Well, I am now reasonably certain that we will get hammered by Auburn. We will give Tech fits, but then will lose in the final minute. Probably will be a fade route to Calvin that beats us. Then we will end up in an embarrassing Tech-like bowl game that we may or may not win. But, look at the bright side, women's gymnastics starts up soon.
So much for finishing strong. It won't happen. This team does not have the character to right the ship. It makes me sad, but, admitting that you have a problem is the first step to getting help.
Friday, November 03, 2006
WEEK 10 PREDICTIONS AND PREDELICTIONS
NAVY at DUKE: I am going to go out on a limb and say that this game features the highest cumulative IQ of all college football matchups in Division 1-A this year. That doesn’t necessarily translate into great football however. Navy has been on a skid since starting QB Brian Hampton went down on the first series against
Ok ladies, that is all for this week. Have a great weekend.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
I am impressed with both West Virginia and Louisville this season. Both have won in blow-outs and both have shown resilience in games that tried to get close. The winner of this game will be in position to either play in the national championship game or to blow up the BCS system if they get snubbed. Obviously, this assumes that tonight's winner runs the table - which is likely, Rutgers, whom I like in a Cinderella kind of way, notwithstanding. In my opinion, the MNC Game will feature the winner tonight against the Ohio State-Michigan winner. The SEC Champ, Texas and perhaps Cal will complain in vain. But this is how it will go down in the desert.
Now, on to the game tonight...
Louisville gets a little help for being at home tonight, but I happen to believe that West Virginia will outrun Louisville in this horserace. Louisville will definitely score a lot of points against the 'Eers, but Slaton, White and Co. will score just a few more.
WEST VIRGINIA 39 - LOUISVILLE 35.
Oops. Missed another Thursday Night Game. It is automatic. Louisville looked great. Next week they get undefeated Rutgers in the Garden State. Again, on Thursday night.
STUCK IN IRAQ
If only they could have been born with a silver spoon in their mouths and learned to serial-marry millionairesses. Poor bastards. Until this week, they did not know that they were so stupid. Now, the genie is out of the bottle.