August 30, 2014

A few quick gameday thoughts

About to head to the Classic City here in just a bit. A few quick thoughts:
  • It's finally here! And that makes me a very happy man! 
  • Getting revenge for last year's game has been one of my key points for this season. I was there in Clemson last year, and I really, really want us to return the favor. 
  • Looking forward to seeing the 2014 version of Todd Gurley. And the 2014 version of several other guys as well. Very interested to see what Isiah can do.
  • Obviously a lot of how we do this year will hinge on the performance of Hutson Mason. Some are more nervous than others with him. I feel pretty good. I think he's going to be quite capable and pretty darn solid. And that's all he needs to be. 
  • Definitely question marks with the secondary, but man, I think our front 7 might be good enough to carry things the first couple of games. With that said, I think our secondary is going to be a pleasant surprise. 
  • As everyone else has mentioned - special teams. Gotta be better this year, right?
  • Ditto on forcing turnovers. 
  • And how about that SC/A&M game? Wow! 
Can't wait to get up there and hang out with some good friends, enjoy the atmosphere, and see another great game "between the hedges." Go Dawgs! 

July 1, 2014

UGA Football Next Month!

And I'm feelin' good! Of course, today is July 1st and we're playing Clemson on August 30th, so it's really about two months away. But...we are getting pretty close and that makes me very happy.

It's the time of year where you start seeing all the college football mags hit the shelves, and while I've flipped through Steele's and Athlon, I have always been a Lindy's guy. I've been getting one every Summer for years and years. I'm familiar with it and have always enjoyed the writing and insights. Plus, they do the thing with the Cheerleaders, but maybe the other ones do that too...?

According to Lindy's, UGA is probably going to be good enough to compete in the East but they're thinking that we'll slip up to SCAR and end up as a strong 2nd with a possible 10-2 record. To me, that's sounds about right, although I think we'll have a very good shot at winning in Columbia.

A few surprises, though, as they've got Alabama winning the West! What's up w/ dat?! All kidding aside, it looks about like you'd expect. 'Bama with Auburn and LSU close behind in the West; our Dawgs and the Cocks fighting for the East. Lindy's does seem to think that Florida might surprise some folks and finish a strong 3rd in our division. I just don't know about that...

What would I like to see this season? In order of importance: beating Florida to give us 4 in a row in that series, getting payback vs. Clemson, finishing with 10 wins. That's about it. Last Summer I kind of jumped the shark (although who could have foreseen all of those injuries!), and I'm a little gun shy about replicating that. Beating Auburn would be really, really nice, but I'm just not sure. And as I properly predicted last year and will do again this year - watch out for the Vols. I think they are once again going to give us everything we can handle.

It's been awhile since I've posted, I know, but it's good to be back. I'll probably start posting about once or twice a week from now until the season starts and will then kick it back into regular season mode. And look for the return of The Sunday Treatment & A Trip Around the Dawgosphere" this weekend.


March 10, 2014

Will We Be Dancing Dawgs After All?

If someone had come up to you on January 3rd after our Hoop Dawgs had just finished a very disappointing 6-6 non-conference schedule and said the following - we're going to end up winning 2/3 of our SEC games and will have at least an outside shot at an NCAA bid - you would have thought they were crazy, right?

Well, that's exactly what has happened. Hell, even on Feb. 1st, after hitting a 3-game skid, most folks would have still thought you were crazy to think that UGA would finish the season on a tear with an 8-2 record. But that is exactly what has happened. I'll have to agree with Tyler Dawgden, Mark Fox should at least have some consideration for SEC coach of the year. And with this impressive turnaround, he is assured at least one more year in the Classic City. And that, I think, is a good thing.

But how likely is it that Georgia will make the Big Dance? Honestly, it's still a bit of a stretch. Our RPI and SOS numbers just aren't where they need to be; however, you couldn't have scripted our spot in the SEC tourney any better, in my opinion.

First off, since we did finish in the top-4 (3rd seed), we will be getting a double bye. Who might we play in our first game? Either Vandy, Miss. St., or Ole Miss. I'd prefer State, but it'll probably end up being Ole Miss, a team we did beat during the regular season.

So, let's say we get past that first game. Then, we'd be most likely looking at having to take on Kentucky without an outside chance of maybe LSU. But probably Kentucky. That would be a tough one, but I'd rather deal with that crowd than Florida. So, for the sake of argument, let's say we find a way to get past the Wildcats. We would then be 20-12 and our RPI and SOS numbers would be much improved. Chance are, we would lose to Florida in the championship game the next day and that would put us at 20-13. Would that be enough? It's hard to say since there will be so many moving parts (what other teams do that are on the bubble, what teams that we've lost to end up doing, teams we've beaten for that matter, etc. etc.)

My gut tells me that two SEC tourney wins barely gets us what may end up being the final spot in the field. But, we've got to win two. There's no doubt about that. So I guess we'll just see what we see. At worst, we would be a lock for the NIT and the Dawgs would enjoy their first post-season tournament appearance and first winning season since 2011. And it looks as if Williams will be the only guy we're losing after this year, so the future does seem fairly bright for the Hoop Dawgs. Can't wait til Friday night. GO DAWGS!

February 15, 2014

Another Big Win for the Hoop Dawgs

*via Sic'em Dawgs
Our Hoop Dawgs have been somewhat of a mystery this year. After a disappointing and unimpressive opening non-conference start, the Dawgs proceeded to win 4 of their first 5 SEC games only to then go on an underwhelming three game losing stretch. But now, with today's exciting 61-60 win over Ole Miss, UGA finds itself the owner of a 4 game winning streak and have now improved to 14-10 on the season (8-4 in SEC play).

The big question is this: have the Dawgs truly turned the corner. Is this team, like some of us thought they might be by this point in the season, a team that could finish with 18 or so regular season wins and have the ability to make a run in the SEC tourney? I think the short answer on that is...quite possibly.

Obviously our guard play is some of the best in the league: Gaines and Mann are just flat out ballin!" And while not having a true big man is hurts a bit, we are seeing really good forward play out of Thorton, Williams, and Djurisic. I still think this is a team that can accomplish some things as long as they can put the ball in the hoop. They seem to be doing better with that.

Sorry for the layoff here lately, but I'm back! Here's some recaps from the last few games by the ultimate UGA Hoops Dawg blog, Hoop Dawgs:

January 13, 2014

Be Careful What You Wish For... just might get it.

By now we all have heard the news that Todd Grantham has taken the DC position up at Louisville for motorcycle boy Bobby Petrino. This is what gives me pause: we have just witnessed an unprecedented deal for a coordinator in college football. Five years? Million per? Obviously, Petrino and company really wanted to make this happen. 

Naturally, part of that was being able to simply lure him away from what is generally considered a top-notch job, not to mention the fact that Grantham's contract was up for renewal next year. But again - five years?

Some of you may know that I was somewhat in the minority in the Dawgosphere for thinking that UGA had made the right decision to stick with Grantham for one more year. We had some young guys and we saw some growing pains. I felt like the D had made some improvements over the year, and had not, as many have said, shown no improvement from game 1 to game 13. But I get where folks are coming from...

I don't know...What I do know is that we've got to get it together and hire a really good coordinator (not to mention secondary and possibly D-line coaches) and we've got to do it quick. Signing day is barrelin' down on us.

January 12, 2014

The Sunday Treatment: 1/12/14

It's a beautiful day in Georgia! Hope all is well out there. I was hoping by this point in January to be back up to a least 2 or 3 posts a week but that has not yet happened. Hopefully soon. A few things to cover for the week that was...

How 'Bout Them Hoop Dawgs! 

Big, big win for our Hoop Dawgs last night: 66-58 over the Tide; huge games by Mann and Gaines. Perhaps not as big an actual game as our surprising and thrilling victory over MIZZOU earlier in the week, but because it now has us at 2-0 in SEC play, this one really means a lot. Gaines and Mann are both such ballers! Throw in guys like Thorton, Williams, and Djurisic and you've got the key components for a very good basketball team. We knew going in that it would take awhile before it all came together. I think it is coming together! But as a friend of mine who really knows his basketball said last night, there are some consistency issues with some of these guys. And let's not even get started on the foul shots (although that seems to be improving), but man, what a way to start league play! The Dawgs are now 8-6 overall. 

It's the End of Lakatos, and I Feel Fine

I'm inclined to agree with Tyler over at GA Sports Blog. But I'll take it a step further. I think it is a good thing he is gone. There were deficiencies that needed to be addressed. And while I don't think he was forced out, I think the "personal reasons" thing is not entirely accurate. And he himself has said that he expects to be coaching somewhere next year. I think there's more to this story that we probably won't know, but that's cool - as long as we get someone in that can coach up these DBs and safeties, that's all I care about. 

A Final Goodbye to the 2013 UGA Football Season

National Championship Game 

That was one hell of a game. My hat's off to FSU. Great team, great game. I tip my hat to Auburn as well. They really brought it. I was honestly surprised with how well they played.

A few thoughts:

  • After "Miracle on the Plains" versions I & II, many thought Auburn was a team of destiny. Monday night was a good reminder that things don't usually work out that way. College football, and life, has a way of reminding you of that.
  • Winston is one amazing player. He might be bat-shit crazy, but he's incredible.
  •   I still say that Jimbo Fisher is one weird dude. He's such a freak! 
  It's kind of a Catch-22 for us Dawg fans, I think. Sure as hell didn't want Auburn to win, but in terms of recruiting, a victory by a FSU team that runs a similar offense could be just as tough to overcome. There really was no good scenario. I was just glad that it was a good game. 

I'll definitely have some more thoughts later in the week. Hope everyone is having a good Sunday. 

January 2, 2014

A Fitting End to the Season

Well, dang. That sucked. As a friend of mine said yesterday, losing always sucks. End of story.

He had said that in response to what I had said, which was basically this: In the grand scheme of things, losing this game really doesn't mean much. We got the 15 extra practices, Mason got the extra reps with the starting O, the players got their swag bags, etc. But my friend was right - losing sucks. End of story.

But, in a way, this game was an encapsulation of the season and really was a fitting end to the 2013 UGA football campaign: major highs and lows; terrific individual plays and some that weren't so much; great coaching decisions and the obligatory head-scratchers; moments of sheer joy, and moments of absolute disgust, etc.

I was proud, however, that our boys fought hard to the very end. They never showed any quit at any time this season. It would have been easy for them to have mailed it in on this one, but they didn't. On a final note, I hate it for Artie Lynch. His superb UGA career should not have ended that way. But then again, Aaron Murray's shouldn't have either. Nobody said life was fair, I guess. Arthur Lynch and Aaron Murray are both DGDs. They have both forever endeared themselves to the hearts of the Bulldog Nation.

So...goodbye 2013 and to hell with ya! I'm glad we've gotten that one out of the way. Such a weird and crazy season. On top of the mountain after the month of September, going through that awful stretch in October with all of the injuries, the heartbreaker against Auburn, and now this. But, I remember that feeling walking out of Sanford Stadium after we dispatched USCe and especially after the LSU game. I remember the pride we all felt after beating the dreaded Gators for the third year in a row. And hey - we beat Tech. Again.

Highs and lows. And my mind turns to the one and only Jerry Jeff Walker:

Pickin' up the pieces wherever they fall
Just letting it roll, letting the high times carry the low
I'm just living my life easy come, easy go

I'm pumped about 2014. I think we're gonna be real good. This just might be the year we've been waiting for, right? I think A. Pope had it right. "Hope Springs Eternal."

Today, as is the case everyday, is a damn fine day to be a Georgia Bulldog.