Washington D.C. is the perfect location for Army-Navy.
College football has one regular season match-up left on the schedule this weekend, as Army-Navy takes center stage on Saturday afternoon in Washington, D.C. Many involved in the game of football could learn from the sportsmanship, pride, and passion that goes into the yearly rivalry between the two teams.
Both of these service academies have struggled to win football games in 2011. Navy has four victories this season, while Army is 3-8. Each team runs the triple option offense with an eye on ball control to keep the other team off the field. The Black Knights lead the NCAA in rushing but that has not translated to a lot of points. On defense Army has not been able to keep opposing teams out of the end-zone often enough. As for the Midshipmen of Navy, they rank fourth in the nation in rushing and have lost five games this season by a touchdown or less.
“RG3″ deserves to win the 2011 Heisman Trophy.
The 2011 Heisman Trophy presentation is on Saturday night. The winner may very well come down to conference reputation versus most deserving in the eyes of the voters for the second straight weekend. Robert Griffin III should win the 2011 Heisman Trophy. This blog observed a few weeks ago that there is not a single athlete in college football who has done more with less than “RG3.” The other finalists have had great seasons but Robert Griffin III has made Baylor Bears football relevant. Continue reading →
This season’s conference championship week is causing experts and fans alike to speculate about how this weekend’s games could change the face of college football. With the exception of the LSU fan base, college football fans everywhere are pulling for the Georgia Bulldogs to be giant killers when they face the mighty LSU Tigers Saturday afternoon.
The Bowl Championship Series is facing another round of what-if scenarios, and many college football followers are hoping that this is the year that the BCS wall begins to come tumbling down. While theoretical situations often make for a fun debate history has shown that very little is going to change in the whacky world of the BCS, regardless of who wins and loses on Saturday.
Big Red Goes Down
Nebraska still played for the national title
2011 marks the ten year anniversary of former Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch winning the Heisman trophy. In 2001, Crouch led the undefeated and #1 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers into the Big 12 Championship Game to face off with the #14 Colorado Buffaloes. Colorado had two loses coming into the match-up, the first coming in week one against a non conference opponent. The Buffaloes were led by their star tailback Chris Brown, and they were determined to take down unbeaten Nebraska. Brown ran for six touchdowns in the game as Colorado stunned the Cornhuskers in a 62-36 upset. The Buffaloes were the Big 12 Champions in 2001.
As for Nebraska, they were left to wonder what hit them as their undefeated dream season was seemingly turned into a nightmare after the Blackshirts gave up 62 points in the conference championship. However, Big 12 runner-up Nebraska still played for the national championship because they only had one loss, and the BCS considered them to be the second best team in the country. The Cornhuskers would go on to lose in the national championship game to the Miami Hurricanes by a final score of 37-14.
The exact same scenario happened to another Big 12 team in 2003. The Oklahoma Sooners were ranked #1 and undefeated going into the Big 12 Title Game. The Sooners were being hailed as one of the best teams ever in college football history. (Sound familiar?)
That's why they play the game.
Oklahoma got a reality check from the number 13 Kansas State Wildcats who came into the contest as a huge underdog. Darren Sproles and K-State lowered the boom on the Sooners in a 35-7 win. Oklahoma was still considered to be the second best team in the country, and they went on to get decimated by the USC Trojans 55-19 in the most lopsided title game in BCS history.
In a perfect world, a playoff system would be the satisfying conclusion that college football fanatcs have been asking for. However, since 1998, the Bowl Championship Series debate has become the centerpiece of big time college football. That fact will not change until at least 2013, when the television rights to the BCS National Championship game are up for grabs again. Rumors of the demise of the BCS have been greatly exaggerated. If the Tigers go undefeated and cap off their season with a national championship the argument for the Bowl Championship Series will be stronger than ever.
Bobby Petrino could do nothing but watch and shout obscenities as he witnessed his Razorbacks get decimated by a clearly superior LSU team. The #1 ranked Tigers proved that Arkansas’ number three ranking this past week was for national television hype only as they mauled the Razorbacks by a final score of 41-17. LSU now heads to the Georgia Dome for a match-up with the second hottest team in the country, as the Georgia Bulldogs look to spoil the Tigers’ undefeated season.
The 2011 regular season comes full circle for the Bulldogs.
The LSU Tigers have largely dominated the competition throughout their 2011 campaign. In fact, the Tigers have been in such control that some are speculating that LSU will play in the BCS National Championship Game even if the Dawgs pull off the upset in Atlanta on Saturday. Other than the clash with the #2 Alabama Crimson Tide, the Tigers have beaten every opponent this season by at least 13 points.
Georgia’s journey to the SEC championship was not without adversity. After starting 0-2, the Bulldogs have barked, bit, and pawed their way back to the top of the SEC East by winning ten straight games. Georgia reigned supreme in the yearly rivalry with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in week 13 by a final score of 31-17. Now, the Bulldogs must figure out how to catch the Tigers by the tail, and send shock-waves throughout college football.
The key component for Georgia to pull off an upset against LSU is by controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. On offense, Georgia needs Isaiah Crowell to gain enough yardage to keep the Bayou Bengals honest. Carlton Thomas and Brandon Harton are likely to see action in the Dawg backfield, but Crowell is the key to success for Georgia’s rushing attack.
If LSU is able to stuff the run, and then pressure Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray with the front four on their defensive line it will be a long afternoon for Bulldog Nation. The Dawgs must block the Tigers and force LSU to blitz in order to get to Murray. Pressure from LSU will allow Georgia’s signal caller a chance to get the ball out quickly to the young Bulldog receivers which will give the Dawgs a chance at moving the football.
Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has thrived this season bringing pressure. The Dawgs’ dominant defense needs to make LSU uncomfortable and force turnovers in order to make the Bulldogs’ job on offense easier. It is crucial that Georgia’s defense keep the Dawgs in the game early so that Mike Bobo and company can figure out how to beat the fast and furious Louisiana State Tiger defense.
LSU’s biggest asset on offense is versatility. The Tigers run a pro-style offense, but Georgia must be prepared for both Jordan Jefferson and Jarret Lee at quarterback. Jordan Jefferson has been the Tigers’ starter since November 12th, after he relieved Jarret Lee who was struggling against Alabama. With Jefferson as the starter LSU will spread the field at times to make their opponents defend the option. Georgia must also be ready for five different running backs, as the Tigers have five players with at least 27 rushing attempts in 2011.
The Bulldogs’ special teams need a banner outing this weekend. LSU is the most talented team in the country, and Georgia can not afford to give the Tigers any help. Georgia’s special teams has given opposing teams gifts throughout the season: including missed field goals, favorable field position, and kick returns for touchdowns
On the other hand, Georgia kick returner Brandon Boykin has been dangerous all season. However, he will be returning punts from LSU punter Brad Wing who has been a weapon in his own right for the Tigers. LSU head coach Les Miles is known as the “Mad Hatter,” so Georgia must be on the look-out for fakes in the kicking game.
Bulldog Nation should embrace the underdog role while bearing in mind that they have the talent to tame the LSU Tigers. In their first trip to the Georgia Dome in the 2011 opener, it was clear that the Georgia Bulldogs were not ready for prime time. The second time around the Bulldogs are confident, young, and hungry. UGA is eager to prove that they are once again a force in the Southeastern Conference. Georgia will have to play mistake free football, but there could very well be sugar falling from the sky onto the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday night.
Week 13 of the 2011 college football season means “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” for the state of Georgia. Before the Georgia Bulldogs challenge for the SEC title in a little under two weeks, a bitter rival awaits them in a pit stop in Atlanta before the Dawgs head to the Georgia Dome. Georgia must avoid looking ahead to December 3rd in order to secure another ten win season for Mark Richt. Overlooking the Yellow Jackets could mean a long afternoon for Bulldog Nation.
There will not be many other mysteries to solve against Paul Johnson’s team. Georgia Tech runs the triple option, and when Johnson gets frustrated with his option game he has his quarterback throw the ball to try to catch the defense off guard. Yellow Jacket quarterback Tevin Washington has 60 completions this season, with more than half of them going to either Orwin Smith or Stephen Hill. Hill stands at 6’5″ and is the go-to receiver when Georgia tech decides to pass the football.
Throwing the football worked very well for the Georgia Bulldogs against Tech in 2010. Aaron Murray threw the ball just 19 times in the game, but he racked up 271 yards on 15 completions. Murray finished the game with 3 touchdown passes and no interceptions in Georgia’s 42-34 win a year ago.
What a difference a year has made for the Georgia Bulldog defense. Todd Grantham’s 3-4 struggled the first time around against Tech, as the Yellow Jackets stung the Dawgs for 411 yards on the ground last year on their way to putting up over 500 yards of offense in the game. This year the Bulldogs have been dominant on defense, especially during their ongoing nine game win streak. The Dawgs are ranked highly in every defensive statistical category and have been phenomenal against the run. Last week, Georgia held Kentucky to a mere 23 yards rushing on 21 attempts.
Saturday’s match-up promises to be more challenging for the Bulldog defense. The Georgia Tech rushing offense is ranked second in the nation. Georgia’s defense will need to play disciplined football again this week and set the edge to prevent the Jackets from having many big plays with their option attack. If Georgia can force a few quick 3 and outs to take the crowd out of it, the game could get ugly in a hurry if Aaron Murray is on his game. Georgia Tech’s defense is giving up 25 points per game so it will be important for the visiting Bulldogs to have a fast start at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Paul Johnson once said of playing the Georgia Bulldogs, “We’ve got bigger fish to fry.” The statement rings true this year as well, but only from the Georgia Bulldog perspective. Georgia Tech is 8-3, and they are not a factor in the ACC title race this year. For all the bravado, Johnson is just 1-2 against the Bulldogs and Georgia Tech has not beaten Georgia since 2008.
Meanwhile, Georgia Bulldog head coach Mark Richt is sporting a 9-1 career record against the Yellow Jackets. Georgia is now the team hoping to get a chance to fry the biggest fish in the college football sea. The latest chapter of this storied rivalry should be a good one for the Dawgs. The team is young and hungry, and the Bulldog defense is far too athletic to fall victim to Georgia Tech’s one dimensional offense. Thanksgiving will be a day to be thankful for a banner year between the hedges. Afterward, Georgia will have Yellow Jacket leftovers in Atlanta on Saturday.
The biggest story of the college football weekend unfolded under the Friday night lights. #2 Oklahoma State fell into Iowa State’s trap, as the Cyclones left the Cowboys’ head spinning. While this development is not likely to bother many outside of Stillwater, the horrific off the field circumstances surrounding Oklahoma State’s loss are tragic. Hopefully the Oklahoma State community can rally the Pokes to their first at large Bowl Championship Series bid. A BCS bowl appearance may be on the line in two weeks when the Cowboys face the Sooners in the Bedlam game.
As for LSU, the Tigers walloped the Ole Miss Rebels by a final score of 52-3, strengthening their grip on the #1 ranking. LSU and Arkansas each have a short week before the two teams meet in a Friday afternoon showdown in week 13. The Tigers have a long way to go before they can play for the national championship, but for now LSU is unquestionably the best team in the nation. It is expected that Arkansas will be the new #3 in the upcoming BCS standings. Friday’s game between the Razorbacks and Tigers is must see for college football fans, as Arkansas could steal the SEC West with a win.
Will Carlton Thomas ever learn from his mistakes?
For the Georgia Bulldogs, Saturday’s game against Kentucky was not one for the highlight reel. However, the Georgia Bulldogs are the SEC East champions of 2011. The Dawgs got their all-important ninth win in a row beating the Kentucky Wildcats 19-10. Now, Georgia has some issues to address as they begin preparing for Georgia Tech. The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that Georgia running back Carlton Thomas broke another rule. Thomas has already been suspended twice this season. The Georgia Bulldogs are paper thin at the tailback position, and they desperately need positive contributions from the junior ball carrier if the Dawgs hope to continue their win streak.
Much to the chagrin of Bulldog Nation, freshman sensation Isaiah Crowell never got a chance to get going against Kentucky. Crowell left the game hurt following his second carry when one of his own teammates landed on top of his ankle. The AJC reports that Isaiah Crowell is questionable for next week against the Yellow Jackets. Whether Crowell attempts to come back against Georgia Tech, or the Dawgs decide he needs to take a week to heal, Georgia needs Isaiah Crowell at full strength to have a chance at upsetting the LSU Tigers in the SEC Championship Game. (or whoever comes out of the wild SEC West)
Maddawg’s Play of The Day goes to the season altering upset that may have won the Heisman Trophy for Robert Griffin III. With all due respect to Matt Barkley and the Trojans’ tremendous victory over the Oregon Ducks, Baylor had never beaten Oklahoma before last night. “RG3″ had his “Heisman moment” as Baylor was trying to get into field goal range to upset Oklahoma. With 17 seconds left, Griffin III took the snap and threw a pass that will go down as one of the biggest plays ever in the history of Baylor football. The game winning touchdown toss gave the Baylor Bears a 45-38 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners.
Following his spectacular performance, Robert Griffin III has 33 touchdown passes and 5 interceptions. His numbers are comparable to anyone in the nation. There is not a player in college football this season that has done more with less than “RG3.” The Heisman vote will have to wait, but Robert Griffin III is the first two time award winner of Maddawg’s Play of The Day.
Georgia looks to end the 2011 season where it began
The third Saturday in November brings an opportunity for redemption for the Georgia Bulldogs.The Dawgs host the Kentucky Wildcats with a birth in the SEC Championship game hanging in the balance for Georgia. The Bulldogs have everything to gain with a win, but plenty to lose if they overlook the Wildcats. Sanford Stadium will be packed for Georgia’s final home game of 2011, as the Bulldogs look to punch their ticket back to the Georgia Dome.
Elsewhere in the Southeastern Conference, the regular season is beginning to wind down. Teams such as LSU and Alabama are looking to bring the SEC a sixth straight BCS National Championship, while teams like Vanderbilt are trying to get bowl eligible. The Commodores travel to Neyland stadium to face their in-state rival Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee is 4-6 on the season, and in last place in the SEC East in year two under Derrick Dooley. While the son of the Georgia coaching legend deserves more time to turn things around, the final two games of the Vols’ regular season could go a long way in determining how much longer Dooley Jr. gets.
In other parts of the country, teams are jockeying for position in the Bowl Championship Series standings. #4 Oregon hosts USC in Eugene, and Chip Kelly’s Ducks will be looking to win with style as they audition for the role of the best one loss team in college football. If Oklahoma State or LSU loses before bowl season, the best one loss team is likely to claim a spot in the national championship game.
As for the other team in Oklahoma, The Sooners visit Baylor on Saturday night. The game is Robert Griffin III’s best chance to get back in the Heisman race. “RG3″ has been spectacular this season. However, he does not have enough help to beat the Oklahoma Sooners. Boomer Sooner will eat the Bears.
As for the pro game, The Atlanta Falcons are coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to their NFC South rival New Orleans Saints. Atlanta is just 1-2 against their division this season. In order to repeat as the NFC South champion the Falcons need to own their division down the stretch. Cue the “Rise up” video.
This week the Falcons host Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans. Atlanta is currently fourth in the NFL against the run, but that stat is misleading given the success that opposing teams have had through the air against the Dirty Birds. Atlanta faces an elite running back for the next two weeks. (Adrian Peterson next week) It is critical that the run defense lives up to their ranking, because it will be tested in the next few outings.
Other Sunday grid iron offerings include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trying to beat the streak as they face the Packers at Lambeau Field. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers may be public enemy #1 for what he has done to Atlanta lately, but it is hard not to admire the astonishing numbers he is putting up this season. Green Bay is 9-0 and a strong candidate to repeat as super bowl champions.
Picks– College Football
USC travels to Eugene, Oregon to face the quack attack. The Ducks will pound the Trojans into submission. This one will be closer than the final score indicates. Oregon 38, USC 21
Arkansas beats Mississippi State, setting up a showdown with LSU next week. Arkansas 34, Mississippi State 13
Tennessee desperately needs to win at home to salvage some sort of pride in a season gone horribly wrong. The Volunteers are 0-6 in conference play. Conversely, things are looking up for the Commodores since Jordan Rodgers became the starter. Vanderbilt wins because they really want to go bowling. Vanderbilt 21, Tennessee 17
Oklahoma goes bear hunting at Baylor Saturday night. Robert Griffin is very talented and may have a future on Sundays. However, Baylor is giving up 36 points per game on defense. Oklahoma 64, Baylor 28
Georgia will clinch the SEC East with a win at home against Kentucky. The Wildcats have been tame, and Kentucky will need to find a quarterback in the off-season to be competitive in the SEC going forward. The Dawgs will win big and complete their road to redemption. Georgia 42, Kentucky 10
The 5-4 Atlanta Falcons host the 5-4 Tennessee Titans in a rare 4:15 Georgia Dome kickoff. Falling to 5-5 in front of a loud Atlanta crowd would be disastrous for the Dirty Birds. Falcons win to stay in the thick of the crowded NFC playoff race. Atlanta 28, Tennessee 17
Tampa Bay Travels to Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers is playing quarterback better than anyone else I have ever seen right now. The Packers will take their win streak to double digits. Let the quest for perfection begin. Green Bay 31, Tampa Bay 21
The Redskins and Cowboys renew their rivalry this week. “America’s team” is struggling to live up to high preseason expectations as they sit at 5-4. Tony Romo has to find a way to come up big if the Boys’ are going to make a playoff run. Cowboys beat the Redskins. Washington needs an actual quarterback. Dallas 35, Washington 17
The Giants face the Eagles Sunday Night. G-Men win. Giants 27, Eagles 20
Finally, Kansas City travels to New England on Monday night. Tom Brady’s bunch wins. New England 35, Kansas City 14
Week 12 of the 2011 college football season marks the final regular season conference match-up for the Georgia Bulldogs. To the delight of Georgia players, as well as Bulldog Nation, this game is for all the marbles in the SEC East. If Georgia wins, the Dawgs will represent the SEC East in the Southeastern Conference championship game on December 3rd.
First things first, the Kentucky Wildcats come calling on Saturday in Athens looking to spoil the Bulldogs’ championship aspirations. Kentucky is just 4-6 on the season and 1-5 in conference play. However, that fact will not deter head coach Joker Phillips from trying to trick the Bulldogs into sleeping on his Wildcats.
Georgia was wide awake last week during their 45-7 dismantling of The Auburn Tigers. The Dawgs are playing with a sense of focus that has largely been missing between the hedges during the past three seasons, and they are not showing any signs of slowing down. Georgia continues to get better as leading receiver Malcolm Mitchell returned to the starting line up after missing three games, and picked up where he left off with three catches for 85 yards and a touchdown last week against Auburn. It will be equally as important for fellow freshman Isaiah Crowell to have a turnover free afternoon against the Wildcats this week as he looks to build confidence as the feature running back at UGA.
As for Kentucky, a letdown by Georgia is the Wildcats’ best chance to pull out a win. The Wildcats have been anemic on offense as they are ranked 115 in the nation in scoring, averaging just 17 points per game. Kentucky has just one conference win this season, (against Ole Miss) and they are coming off a 38-8 road loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores. Georgia’s special teams must be aware of the possibility for a fake punt, or fake field goal early in the game as Kentucky tries to generate offense.
Georgia’s defense has been lights out during the Dawgs’ eight game win streak. They are among the top 15 defenses in the country in terms of points per game on average. The Bulldogs’ stingy unit is allowing opposing teams just 18.6 points per game. Georgia’s offense averages 35.8 points per game. These numbers translate to UGA winning convincingly on Saturday.
Even so, anything is possible in college football. The Georgia Bulldogs can not afford to look past the Bluegrass State in favor of the Georgia Dome artificial turf that awaits them if they are victorious at home on Saturday. Georgia must keep in mind that the game against Kentucky is the most important football contest they have played in the last three years. This is the final stop on the road to redemption for the Georgia Bulldogs.
The Georgia Bulldogs are finally back on top of the SEC East.
Week 11 of the college football season means that “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” will be renewed this Saturday when the Georgia Bulldogs host the Auburn Tigers in Athens. For Georgia this game is about much more than a tussle with the Tigers. The Dawgs are a mere two conference wins away from ensuring that the 2011 campaign comes full circle. If Georgia can tame the Tigers this weekend, the Bulldogs will be one victory away from winning the SEC East for the first time since 2005.
The Dawgs have been victorious in four out of the last five meetings with the Tigers. However, Auburn would love to trim Georgia’s hedges, as well as derail the Bulldogs’ SEC East victory celebration before it even begins. In order for Georgia to take care of business at home they have to be completely focused on grabbing the Tigers by the tail. The line on this match-up was 12 and a half points on Monday morning. The only significance of that is bulletin board material for Auburn head coach Gene Chizik.
Georgia must concentrate on the task at hand in order to get a crucial win in front of a rabid Bulldog Nation this Saturday. The Bulldogs can ill afford to look ahead to the Georgia Dome (or those more fearsome Louisiana Tigers). Georgia must continue to fight and keep playing the way they have been to make sure that their hot streak continues against Auburn.
After a one game suspension, Isaiah Crowell looks to come back and prove himself again. For Crowell, there is no better way to make amends with Bulldog Nation as well as his coaches than for him to have a big day in the most important game of Georgia’s season to date. Quarterback Aaron Murray needs to get in rhythm early to keep the much maligned Tiger defense at bay. After his record tying five touchdown performance against New Mexico State, the sophomore quarterback is poised to write his own chapter in the Georgia record books.
Receiver Malcolm Mitchell is expected to make his anticipated return to the field after a three game absence due to injury. His presence should add to Aaron Murray’s comfort level against the Tigers’ below average defense. Mitchell is still the Bulldogs’ leading pass catcher in terms of yardage.
The defending national champion has not had much success stopping opposing teams from getting in the end zone this season. The Auburn defense has given up a whopping 27.7 points per game on average in 2011 (including 38 points to the visiting Utah State Aggies in the Tigers’ home opener). Georgia is averaging 34.8 points per game, so the Georgia offense is certainly capable of making sure Auburn leaves Sanford Stadium with their tail between their legs. If Aaron Murray can avoid adding to his eight interception total, the Dawgs should have a big day.
The Bulldogs have been phenomenal on defense in year two of the 3-4 under Todd Grantham, and they are a big reason why the Bulldogs find themselves atop the SEC East. The hunting Dawg defense needs to corral Michael Dyer and make the Auburn Tigers one dimensional. Forcing Auburn to throw the ball would give Georgia a big advantage because Auburn is still trying to find the right fit under center after Cam Newton was the #1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
Auburn’s current crop of quarterbacks has made the Tigers miss last year’s Heisman Trophy winner all the more. Barrett Trotter began the season as the starter. He has completed just 54% of his passes and has recently been benched in favor of sophomore signal caller Clint Moseley. Moseley is making only his third career start this weekend and he has just 44 career pass attempts. The Tigers are ranked 108th in the nation in terms of throwing the football and the big, athletic Georgia Bulldog defense will look to turn up the heat on the young quarterback. Georgia needs to be careful though, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn makes big money to take advantage of over aggression.
Georgia’s mindset for Saturday afternoon should echo the great Al Davis, “Just win baby.” The Dawgs’ special teams need to have a short memory, because both Blair Walsh and Drew Butler are capable of kicking footballs on Sundays when their Georgia careers come to an end. As long as Georgia does not beat themselves Bulldog Nation should have a lot to celebrate on Saturday night.
However, the contest felt like a great movie with a mixed bag of an ending. It was a suspenseful affair with twists and turns, highs and lows, and overtime as well. But at the conclusion of the game the same essential question remains for many college football fans: Who is the better team? Alabama missed four field goals, and they had 61 more total yards than LSU. Neither team was able to score a touchdown as the final score read LSU 9, Alabama 6. The moral of the story is that the Tigers capitalized on their opportunities…the Tide did not. There does not appear to be any feasible scenario where the two teams could meet again this season.
The problem with such a conclusion lies in its after effect–The Oklahoma State Cowboys stand to be #2 in the BCS after this week. Oklahoma State survived a 52-45 shootout with the Kansas State Wildcats in week ten. The Cowboys give up 26.5 points per game (an average that will go up), and they are the second best team in the country? It is true that games are not played on paper, but no one outside of Oklahoma State’s fan base believes the Cowboys can win a national title this year. If Oklahoma State does not lose before December 3rd, hopefully the Oklahoma Sooners can make this a moot point.
Other Saturday happenings included a South Carolina loss to Arkansas. As a result, the Georgia Bulldogs are finally in first place in the SEC East all alone. While this is certainly a “ding dong the witch is dead” type of moment for Bulldog Nation, there is still the matter of taming the Auburn Tigers next weekend. Georgia must make sure the witch is truly dead by winning their next two conference games. As for this week, the Georgia Bulldogs celebrated homecoming with a 63-16 pounding of the New Mexico State Aggies.
Though a lopsided outcome was to be expected, it was good to see the Dawgs maintain their focus playing a lesser opponent. Georgia’s 63 point outburst came despite being without their top 4 running backs against New Mexico State. The three suspended individuals need to come back strong in order to help this team continue to build momentum.
Maddawg’s Play of The Day is the outcome of the Arkansas Razorbacks and South Carolina Gamecocks. The fighting Petrinos did Bulldog Nation a big favor with their 44-28 thumping of South Carolina. Now, the Georgia Bulldogs have the four turnover reprieve they have been hoping for since the second week of the college football season (how ironic). The Auburn Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats are all that stands in Georgia’s way in the Dawgs season long road to redemption.
As the 2011 college football season enters November, Georgia fans everywhere are just beginning to come down from cloud nine after an emotional win over the Florida Gators. Homecoming week figured to be a long victory lap for Georgia, as well as fans who did not make the trip to Jacksonville. Halloween is over, but unfortunately just when the Dawgs thought it was safe to go back in the doghouse, trouble has burrowed its way between the hedges again.
Richard Samuel’s 2011 campaign comes to a close just two days afterhelping Georgia run over Florida. While the circumstances are unfortunate, here’s hoping that Samuel heals up and comes back stronger than ever. He has been the ultimate team player in switching from tailback to linebacker, and back again, over the past few seasons.
As for the other three rock runners, the timing could not be worse. Georgia is trying to end a five year SEC East drought. These young Dawgs need all the experience and in game reps they can get. Whatever policy the three of them violated, it extends beyond a homecoming date with the New Mexico State Aggies. A lack of rhythm may not bite the Bulldogs this week but it could be a factor when the Auburn Tigers come calling next Saturday. For Georgia, being out of sync at the wrong time could spell disaster for their conference hopes.
This suspension shows a lack of focus from the individuals involved. Georgia already had to get rid of two bad dawgs, (Washaun Ealey and Caleb King) so it is even more frustrating for Bulldog Nation to see most of Georgia’s current halfbacks making similar errors in judgment.
Isaiah Crowell has been hailed as Georgia’s next great running back. Upon further review, he is entering his fourth month on campus, and he has already been suspended twice. To be fair, this is Carlton Thomas’s second suspension of the season as well, but any contribution from Thomas that is not a fumble is looked at as a bonus after he fumbled twice in this years G-Day game.
While Isaiah Crowell should be given some time to grow into the role of lead Dawg, he needs to grow up quickly, or Bulldog Nation needs to lower their expectations. After all, high expectations did not exactly lead to big things for the aforementioned Caleb King. The first suspension for one half of the Vanderbilt game was apparently a warning. Hopefully the second one will be his wake-up call.
As for the actual game this Saturday, the Dawgs should be fine even without many backfield options. Aaron Murray is the unquestioned leader of Georgia’s offense and that should be enough against New Mexico State. Even so, this could be an opportunity for offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to come up with gadget plays to trick future opponents.
The infraction committed by Georgia’s three tailbacks should be forgiven and forgotten. The most important thing for the Bulldogs is that the three young men learn from their mistakes, and that no one involved with this team tries to make a mountain out of a molehill. This is just a speedbump for Bulldog Nation as we hope to help the Dawgs get back to the Georgia Dome.