2013 – 2014 Bowl Game Thoughts

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Photo is from 2013.  Result resembles 2014.

24-19: The Dawgs Choke on an ear of Corn
Since the heart of this blog is Georgia football, I feel obligated to discuss the 2014 Gator Bowl. The Bulldogs turned in a slippery and sloppy performance, losing 24-19 in their season finale.  The Nebraska Cornhuskers deserved to win.  For Bulldog Nation, the Gator Bowl left one more stain on a season which started with so much promise.

Excuses and injuries notwithstanding, the Georgia Bulldogs have a long offseason ahead.  Mark Richt and company must work towards getting better on the field without getting in trouble off of it. On a positive note, The University of Georgia won eight games this season.

The Dawgs remained competitive despite an overwhelming number of injuries and bad breaks.  History may not smile on this particular team the way they had hoped, but the 2013 Bulldogs continued the winning tradition associated with Georgia football.

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Too Many Mediocre Bowls

There are too many bowl games.  The 2013 bowl slate featured 35 bowl games.   Despite ESPN’s promotional insistence, Capital One Bowl Week is far from the most wonderful week of the year.  Even die-hard college football fans must have trouble getting excited for the mediocrity that ensues early in bowl season.

Johnny Football is Money
The debate about Johnny Manziel’s off the field conduct may never end.  Still, there is no questioning his will to win. Manziel’s highlight reel performance against Duke resulted in a 52-48 win for Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.  By erasing a 38-17 deficit,  the Aggie comeback capped off an unforgettable two year run for “Johnny Football” at A&M.

The former Heisman Trophy winner will be a top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.  No matter which team selects him, Manziel is expected to be a franchise quarterback.  Love him or hate him, the legend of Johnny Football continues to grow.

The Bowl Championship Series Goes out With a Bang
With the 2014 BCS National Championship Game in the books, the Bowl Championship Series is no more.  Thanks in part to intriguing match-ups, the BCS went out in style. BCS festivities began with the 100th playing of the Rose Bowl game, which gave college football fans a 28-24 slug fest between Michigan State and Stanford on New Year’s Day.  That same night, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl culminated in a 52-42 shootout between UCF and Baylor.

The Orange Bowl produced another high scoring battle between Ohio State and Clemson.  Clemson picked up the victory while Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes finished the year with back-to-back losses.

Major college football has needed a playoff for some time.  With that said, certain aspects of the Bowl Championship Series will be missed.  The Rose Bowl will maintain some of its luster as a marquee athletic event, but I hate to think the Tournament of Roses will not be quite the spectacle when it is part of the playoff puzzle.

The Streak Ends
Congratulations to the Florida State Seminoles for winning the 2014 National Championship Game.  My disdain for the Auburn Tigers would not allow me to pull for the SEC’s streak of championships to continue.  As a college football fan, I am pleased the better team won. Luck finally ran out in War Eagle country.

College Football Thoughts – Conference Championship Week

ohio_state_urban_meyerUndefeated Ohio State Should be Ranked Ahead of one Loss Auburn
If the Buckeyes can best the Spartans on Saturday night, Urban Meyer and company deserve to play for a national championship.  The Ohio State University has won 24 football games in a row dating back to 2012.  On the contrary, Auburn needed back-to-back Christmas miracles to make it into the SEC Championship Game.

Should Sparty stun the Buckeyes this weekend, the winner of the Southeastern Conference title showdown between Auburn and Missouri will likely play Florida State for college football’s ultimate prize.  Even though anything can happen in college football, I feel confident FSU will defeat Duke.

The Targeting Rule Needs to be Amended, but it is not Going Anywhere
Safety is the number one priority at every level of football.  The changes to the targeting rule are representative of the emphasis on protecting players from concussions.  As far as properly enforcing the rule, referees have been pretty hit or miss.

There have been some excruciatingly bad targeting calls this season, along with cases where obvious fouls went undetected, such as in Navy versus San Jose State.

Wave Ryder is the Midshipmen defender at the center of the play in question, apologies in advance for the low-quality of the video below.  Searching for Wave Ryder highlights brings up a variety of topics in Google.



One aspect of the targeting rule in need of further examination is the 15 yard penalty assessed regardless of whether the ruling is upheld.  Logic dictates this penalty serves as incentive for defenders to go low when attempting to make a stop.  Still, it is unfair to impose an automatic first down on an overturned targeting infraction, because doing so can change the complexion of a contest.

Todd Grantham Will Coordinate Georgia’s Defense Until his Contract is up
The unrest in Athens continues to grow due to UGA’s inability to get the opposition off the field consistently.  Do not hold your breathe for a change on defense.

As current associate head coach and defensive coordinator of the Bulldogs, Todd Grantham is not going anywhere until the end of his current contract. Unless, of course,  he receives a better job offer.  The former NFL assistant stands to make $850,000 a year for the next two years.  His contract expires at the end of 2015.

This season has been about dealing with injuries and breaking in new players.  While Grantham’s aggressive 3-4 defense can be frustrating to watch, having a negative turnover ratio certainly does not help.  According to Sports Illustrated, coach Richt is adamant his coaching staff will remain intact.  As a loyal Dawg, I hope Todd Grantham does not spend his offseason waiting by the phone for job offers.  Still, if he wants to leave, adios.

Picking Winners
The 2013 college football campaign has been filled with twists and turns. Conference championship weekend should be no exception.
Predictions (Automatic Qualifier Conference Championship Games Only).

ACC: Florida State 34, Duke 13.
Big Ten: Ohio State 34, Michigan State 21.
Pac-12: Stanford 31, Arizona State 17.
SEC: Missouri 35, Auburn 28.

Georgia Versus LSU – September 28, 2013

les_milesThe Face of LSU Football
Les Miles has been the head football coach at LSU since January of 2005.  The grass eating Michigan man has had his fair share of critics during his time in Baton Rouge, and the NCAA is currently investigating his old team, (Oklahoma State) but Les Miles continues to find ways to win.

The Dawgs Will Have Home Field Advantage
SB Nation reports that ESPN College GameDay will be in Athens this weekend.  The hedges will come alive with the national television spotlight squarely on Athens, Georgia.  This stage offers a great opportunity for Georgia to regain the momentum they lost on opening night in Clemson, South Carolina.

The LSU Tigers have let the good times roll to four straight victories to begin 2013.  Conversely, the young Georgia team  has had trouble stopping the opposition on a consistent basis. The Bulldogs pass defense is a particular concern heading into this weekend, having  given up 238 yards through the air to North Texas.

Welcome Home, Zach Mettenberger
Zach Mettenberger is likely salivating at the thought of playing the inexperienced Dawg secondary.  Mettenberger has inserted himself into early Heisman chatter by tossing ten touchdowns and only one interception this season.  In addition, he has thrown for 1,026 yards.

CBS Sports is reporting that UGA head coach Mark Richt has given Zach Mettenberger’s mother the week off to “Enjoy this time of year.”  If the Bulldog defense does not shore things up, Mrs. Mettenberger will be one of the only Georgia residents who delights in Saturday’s presentation.

The Georgia Defense Must Grow Up Now
Georgia cannot afford to get into another game of who has the ball last with a top-tier Southeastern Conference opponent.  The Bulldogs need to be able to make occasional stops on defense in order to take some of the burden away from the offense.  Failure to get the Tigers off the field will result in a long afternoon in Athens.

This is the Litmus test for Georgia football
Georgia came into 2013 with sky-high expectations.  If the Bulldogs can manage to overcome LSU, the path to Atlanta will become very clear.  If they come up short, the Dawgs will fall back to the pack in a messy SEC East.

Bulldog Nation possess the talent to beat LSU, but UGA will need to have their best outing of the season to turn back the Tigers. The Advocate reports that Louisiana State University’s defense may be peaking at the wrong time for Georgia fans. The Tigers gave up 49 total yards in the first 17 and a half minutes of the game against Auburn.  LSU also forced three turnovers against those other Tigers.

Georgia has been telling everyone who will listen they are primed to win a championship.   If that statement is accurate, losing to the Bayou Bengals is not an option.

Paying Tribute to Larry Munson – Part II



Larry Munson Calls the Dawgs
In 1966 Larry Munson was working in West Palm Beach, Florida, covering spring training for the Atlanta Braves.  According to Wikipedia, Munson was browsing the Atlanta Journal, (now known as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) when he noticed a blurb about Georgia Bulldog radio play-by-play man Ed Thilenius leaving The University of Georgia to take a broadcasting position with the Atlanta Falcons.

Larry Munson seized the opportunity and called the UGA athletic director to express interest in being the new voice radio voice of Georgia football.  He was quickly hired.  Despite the location of his new job, Munson continued living in Tennessee to maintain his Rod & Gun Club television show.  Larry Munson resided in Nashville until 1978 when he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to work as a reporter for the Georgia Radio Network.

A Match Made In Bulldog Heaven
Larry Munson’s distinct voice set the tone for UGA football for over 40 years.  Former Georgia sideline reporter Loran Smith told the Gwinnett Daily Post that Munson was cut from a different mold than the sportswriters of today.  Larry Munson was a master at his craft while openly rooting for Georgia, which is one of the many reasons Munson will forever be revered by Bulldog Nation.

Larry Munson’s Favorite Calls of All-Time
Rather than opining about personal favorite Larry Munson moments, it is best to track down Munson’s fondest bellows according to the memoirs he left behind.  The historic memories that follow can be found in an ESPN Insider CFB Nation article written by David Ching on November 21, 2011.

Larry Munson’s ten favorite calls are chronicled in the article, which is written according to Munson’s autobiography, “From Herschel to Hobnail Boot: The Life and Times of Larry Munson. For the purposes of this blog, his top five calls are remembered.

5. Sugar Falling From the Sky/Hunker Down!
Larry Munson’s work on the Georgia/Auburn game in ’82 has likely been brought up during every UGA football season since it occurred on November 13, 1982. The Dawgs put on their rally cleats to stage a comeback and grab the from the Auburn Tigers.  Munson made it sound as if the Bulldogs were hanging on for dear life.

I know I’m asking a lot, you guys, but hunker it down one more time!” UGA responded by stopping Auburn on fourth down, which led to an observation which will live forever in Georgia football lure. “Look at the sugar falling out of the sky.”  Hear the call at larrymunson.com.

4.  My God a Freshman
I regret that I was not conceived yet, so that I could at least lay claim to being alive in some form when Herschel Walker announced his arrival in Athens. It was on September 6, 1980 and the Dawgs found themselves trailing the Tennessee Volunteers.

Enter freshman running back Herschel Walker. Larry Munson’s rousing reaction to Herschel’s heroics soon followed. “He’s running all over people! Oh, you, Herschel Walker.  My God almighty, he ran right through two men. They had him dead-away inside the nine. Herschel Walker went 16 yards. He drove right over orange shirts, just driving and running with those big thighs. My God, a freshman!“  Hear the call.



3.  An Olympic Effort
Florida Gators football is nauseating.  From the obnoxious Gator chomp celebration, to the ridiculous statue of Tim Tebow, everything about the swamp sucks. In 1975, the Bulldogs used some trickery to pry a win from the jaws of the Gators. With Georgia in a 7-3 hole, UGA head coach Vince Dooley called a reverse pass.

To the delight of UGA fans, Larry Munson roared during the ensuing touchdown which propelled Georgia to a 10-7 victory over UF.  “Washington caught it, thinking of Montreal and the Olympics, and ran out of his shoes right down the middle 80 yards! Gator Bowl rocking, stunned, the girders are bending now. Look at the score!”  Hear the call.

The final two calls will be remembered in part III of our tribute to Larry Munson. We will also share a bit of personal recollection on what impression the Bulldog legend left on every Georgia fan who heard him call a football game.

Georgia Bulldogs 2012 Schedule Preview – Part Three

(NOTE: For anyone who wants to look back, here is part one of the series, and here is part two.)

This crystal ball is not a homer, but it has been known to produce very accurate results.

The third and final look at the upcoming Georgia Bulldog football regular season begins with the homecoming game against Ole Miss on November 3. With all due respect to the Rebels, the only way this contest stays close is if it is played right after the Dawgs go to a homecoming party. Ole Miss won just two games in 2011, resulting in the departure of then head coach Huston Nutt. Hugh Freeze is the new face of Mississippi football, but I suspect hell would have to freeze over for Georgia to lose this one.

The Bulldogs hit the road for the final time in the 2012 looking for lucky win number ten in what could be a big time trap game in Auburn. The Bulldogs mauled the Tigers in 2011 by a final score of 45-7 during arguably the most impressive performance in Aaron Murray’s young career. Auburn will certainly be looking for revenge but it is hard to consider this Auburn team a serious threat based on last year. The coach Chizik era may end up being the biggest one hit wonder in the history of the BCS. The Dawgs get the victory by two touchdowns.

Following the conclusion of conference play, Georgia heads home for the conclusion of the regular season against a pair of in-state opponents.. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, the Golden Eagles of Georgia Southern and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets each run a similar offense, so Georgia should not be caught off guard by the triple option. Georgia Southern is a Football Championship Subdivision powerhouse, but they do not have enough to give the Dawgs a scare. Georgia continues their pursuit of perfection. Continue reading

Isaiah Crowell – Too Early To Make a Stray Dawg

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Isaiah Crowell is still just a puppy.

Isaiah Crowell, who was just named SEC freshman of the year on Monday, is the hot topic of discussion among Bulldog Nation.  Some fans are questioning his desire to compete, while others wonder about his character off the field. However, the best thing that Georgia supporters can do for Isaiah Crowell is to leave him alone.

Isaiah has some maturing to do, but he is still a true freshman. This time last year he was a senior in high school who was contemplating playing his college ball between the hedges. Georgia fans must be supportive of a kid who needs to learn how to be a young man instead of treating him as if he were a highly paid NFL running back who failed to meet expectations.

Keith Marshall, a highly touted tailback, has chosen to come to the University of Georgia to play football. Here’s hoping that Marshall was not watching the SEC Championship Game this past Saturday. Hearing the boos directed at Isaiah Crowell could make any standout recruit considering Athens re-think their decision.  “Will fans turn on me if my first season does not live up to their unrealistic fantasy numbers?”

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Cam Newton had a rough first year of college. Things turned out pretty well.

Cam Newton and the Florida Gators is a perfect example of a fan base giving up on a young man too quickly. During his (medical) redshirt sophomore year at Florida, Cam had all kinds of off the field issues. Gator Nation got fed up with him following an arrest after he threw a stolen laptop out of his dorm window. After the fall of 2008,  Newton decided to transfer to Blinn College before ending up at Auburn two years later. Florida’s loss was Auburn’s gain, as a mature Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy and then the national championship in his only season with the Tigers last year. As for Florida, they finished 2010 with eight wins (including a bowl victory) and Urban Meyer “retired.”

If Isaiah Crowell does not adjust his attitude then he does not belong at the University of Georgia. However, that decision must be left up to the coaching staff and Isaiah himself. A lot of young people have difficulty adjusting to expectations in college. The only difference is that Crowell’s every move is under a mass media microscope. The young man should have the opportunity to grow mentally and physically this off-season and learn how to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Maddawg’s Play of The Day – College Football Week 11 (November 12, 2011)

Week 11 of the 2011 college football season was a time for weeding out pretenders in the Bowl Championship Series standings. As a result, three undefeated teams remain, but only two of them are in contention to play for the national title. The unblemished Houston Cougars have cracked the top ten for the first time this week, but their lackluster schedule will prevent them from being in the national championship picture. On the contrary, the target on the #1 LSU Tigers and #2 Oklahoma State Cowboys grows even larger as the two squads try to maintain their respective places atop the BCS mountain. Alabama is lurking at #3 but they need more help to get that rematch the Tide faithful are praying for.

The Georgia Bulldogs won convincingly at home, dominating the Auburn Tigers by a final score of 45-7. Georgia Quarterback Aaron Murray picked an opportune time to have the best game of his young career, as the Dawgs had to win to stay in first place in the SEC East. Murray was on fire Saturday afternoon, as he finished the game 14 out of 18 throwing the ball with 4 touchdown passes and no interceptions. Georgia’s running game was equally impressive, as the biggest offensive line in football allowed both Carlton Thomas and Isaiah Crowell to run for over 100 yards. The Georgia Bulldogs were cooking on all cylinders, as the result of the game was never in doubt after Georgia broke the 7-7 tie before the end of the first quarter. Georgia’s defense shut down Auburn’s offense following their initial scoring drive. The Dawgs never let go of the Tigers’ tail, as they held Auburn under 200 total yards of offense. The 4-6 Kentucky Wildcats are all that remains between the Dawgs and the Dome.

Perennial BCS buster Boise State had a bad case of Horned Frog fever Saturday afternoon, and they are undefeated no more after losing at home to TCU. While that is technically not a good thing for Georgia it was gratifying to see the Broncos finally lose on that ridiculous blue field. Saturday marked Boise State’s first home conference loss since 1998. The Broncos have opened the door for Case Keenum and the aforementioned Houston Cougars to possibly crash this year’s BCS party.

Elsewhere in college football, Oregon went up and down the field on Stanford as the Ducks handed the Cardinal their first loss of 2011. Oregon put fifty points on Stanford for the second year in a row as the Ducks never trailed in the contest. Highly regarded Cardinal signal caller Andrew Luck was average as he threw three touchdown passes and two picks. The Stanford stand out has a bright future, but the team around him does not have enough fire power to contend for a BCS title.

The previously mentioned #1 LSU Tigers and #2 Oklahoma State Cowboys each looked strong in victory. The Cowboys embarrassed Texas Tech as they roped,and then hogtied the Raiders by a final score of 66-6 in Lubbock. LSU appeared disinterested throughout the first half of their match-up with Western Kentucky, but they followed that up with a 28 point second half as the Tigers roared to a 42-9 win.

Maddawg’s Play of The Day belongs to Georgia’s main man under center Aaron Murray. With his four touchdown performance on Saturday, Murray set a new single season record for passing TD’s at the University of Georgia with 27. The previous mark was held by Matthew Stafford who threw 25 touchdown passes in 2008. With a victory this Saturday against Kentucky Aaron Murray and the Dawgs will have a chance to bring the SEC title back to Athens. The 2011 Georgia Bulldogs have already ensured that Mark Richt will remain the head coach for the foreseeable future. They have also given Bulldog Nation a bite that is as rough as our bark. An SEC title along with a birth in a BCS bowl would be a remarkable finale to a fantastic season.



Maddawg’s Play of The Day – College Football Week 10 (November 5, 2011)



The college football forecast for week ten was accurate, as a tidal wave hit Tuscaloosa. The result, depending upon your allegiances, left something to be desired. LSU and Alabama played a hard hitting, well executed football game, with only a few critical errors.  Alabama’s special teams woes may have cost them the game, but LSU and Les Miles deserve all the credit for getting a season defining win in a hostile environment.

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.