Lucky Number Seven for the Southeastern Conference

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Alabama Will Defend Their BCS Championship Crown
The Alabama Crimson Tide collides with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame tonight as Nick Saban’s bunch look to claim a second straight national championship.  The Tide rolling over Notre Dame would also mean an unprecedented seventh straight BCS championship victory by the SEC. To round out the championship implications for Alabama, another crystal ball would be their third in four years.

A Players Only Meeting Will Awaken the Tide
CBS Sports reports that certain members of the Alabama football team called for a players-only meeting late last week. That is all I need to know to be assured that Alabama will not overlook Notre Dame in anticipation of another coronation. While the Fighting Irish are technically higher ranked, Notre Dame was a missed field goal away from losing to Pitt. The Irish also struggled to beat the same Max Wittek led USC Trojan team that lost to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.

Notre Dame is No Fluke
Brian Kelly has done an exceptional job leading Notre Dame back to prominence, but Alabama has been a dominant force in college football for the better part of the last five years. Last season when Nick Saban was hoisting a crystal ball, Brian Kelly and company had already capped off an 8-5 season by losing to Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl.

Alabama Will Run the Irish Into the Ground
Alabama is fresh off racking up 350 yards on the ground against Georgia. With all due respect to Manti Te’o and Notre Dame, the Irish have not faced a team nearly as big, fast, or athletic as the opponent that awaits them this evening. I fully expect Alabama to control the line of scrimmage for four quarters while Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon carry the will of the Irish on their back to the end zone.

Prediction: Alabama 31, Notre Dame 17
Notre Dame has had a remarkable year, capped off by an undefeated regular season. Even so, the Irish will have to save their best for last, and have the luck of the Irish to stay close to Alabama for the whole game. Nick Saban has coached discipline and completing the process since the day he arrived in Tuscaloosa. Washing over the Irish is the only thing that stands between the Crimson Tide and finishing the ultimate goal in college football.

We leave you with a somewhat strange video of Nick Saban getting a Gatorade bath.



Aaron Murray Should Enter the NFL Draft

See you next year Alabama…or not.

Introduction
University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray faces a pretty big decision in the next two weeks of his young life.  Fresh off yet another impressive win in the Capital One Bowl versus a tenacious but ultimately outmatched Nebraska Cornhusker team, Murray is left to ponder whether or not to enter the NFL draft.  Should Murray turn pro?  We will examine the reasons why his choice should be a resounding moderate ‘yes’.

What Is Left to Accomplish By Coming Back?
After a 12-2 season and a top five finish in the polls, really there are only two hills left for Murray to climb, one personal and the other team-based.  The idea of coming back to shatter a ton of Georgia, SEC, and national passing records has to be appealing, and clearly Murray seems the kind of guy to return for the possibility of a national championship.  However, those two hills I mentioned earlier?  One is a mountain and its name is Alabama.  With the defense in complete rebuilding mode for 2013, I would wager this reality may keep Murray from even believing he can lead Georgia to a national championship…even with what is shaping up to be a dynamic and incredible UGA offense for 2013.

New Horizons/Fresh Opportunities
Aaron Murray has earned multiple diplomas at UGA, as well as leading the Bulldogs heroically through flush and fallow times.  At some point, any athlete is ready to grow to the next level of their chosen sport.  Murray, I am sure, is no exception.  The question remains, of course, whether the erstwhile Bulldog signal caller will feel that in leaving, his business at Georgia was not complete (Murray didn’t ‘finish the drill’).  While this is compelling stuff, the lure of millions of dollars and the national stage of the NFL may prove more compelling.

Dollars, Dollars, and More Dollars
Word is Murray’s initial NFL evaluation has him as a second or third round draft pick.  Considering the relative weakness for quarterbacks in this year’s NFL draft, this year may be Murray’s best opportunity to cash in big.  Is it possible by staying another year at UGA, Murray could improve his draft status?  Most certainly, especially given his reputation for falling short in big games (and Clemson, South Carolina, and LSU in the first four weeks of the 2013 season certainly provide a plethora of big game opportunities), but the possibility remains that Murray could become injured and the Bulldogs 1-3 before next year’s season is a month old.

Many pundits recommend Murray stay in school, finish his degree, enjoy the greatest years of his life, blah blah blah.  Who among us would have the discipline and restraint to not follow millions of dollars now, as opposed to later?

Richard Samuel: Unselfish Georgia Bulldog

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Sometimes Statistics Do Not Tell the Whole Story
Richard Samuel had only 18 carries in his final season at the University of Georgia. The senior Bulldog fullback was once a five star recruit and a Parade All-American in high school. In his last two years of high school football, Richard Samuel rushed for a total of 2,771 yards and scored 43 touchdowns. In addition, Samuel recorded 160 tackles and five sacks on the defensive side of the ball. With those statistics in mind, it would be easy to consider Samuel’s time between the hedges as a disappointment. After all, Richard had just 214 career carries at Georgia for a total of 833 yards and four touchdowns. These numbers are not at all indicative of what has defined Samuel’s contributions to the UGA football team.

Richard Samuel Made Sacrifices for the Good of Georgia Football
Richard Samuel should be remembered as a Damn Good Dawg. Samuel was mister unselfish at Georgia, as he was always willing to switch positions to help his team, and his teammates, get better. According to the Macon Telegraph, Richard Samuel and Jarvis Jones formed a potent linebacker combination at Georgia football practice in 2010. However, Samuel never played a snap on defense in Athens because injuries at the running back position dictated that he move back to offense.

UGA Running Back Richard Samuel Wanted to Contribute More on the Field
Richard Samuel does not have any hard feelings about how his time between the hedges played out. The Macon Telegraph reveals that Samuel is a little bothered he did not make a bigger impact on the field for the Georgia Bulldogs, but he does not blame anyone involved with UGA football for the way his college career turned out. Samuel says, “It’s been bits and pieces, here and there. I don’t feel like I’ve done anything consistent to help the team.”

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Richard Samuel always does what is best for Georgia football.

Richard Samuel is One of the Finest Guys to Ever Come to the Georgia Program
If Richard Samuel is concerned about leaving a lasting impression, he needs only to consult coach Richt. Mark Richt told the Macon Telegraph, “I can’t say enough good about Richard Samuel. He’s a very valuable part of the team, and he’s one of the finest guys that’s come through the program.”  Richard Samuel’s days as a Bulldog have been marked by his immense talent and character, because he has put the needs of his team ahead of his own personal goals.

Richard Samuel enrolled at Georgia at the very young age of 16. If I were in his position at that age I would have failed out by the age of 18, and that is without the daily grind of major college football. As far as his accomplishments on the gridiron, I will most remember #22 for carrying Gators on his back as he helped Georgia defeat Florida in 2011.  As for what the future holds for Richard Samuel, if he wants to try his hand at the next level he will likely be able to get his foot in the door of an NFL training camp. If pro football is not in his plans, Samuel certainly has the character and work ethic to succeed in life after being a Georgia Bulldog.