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.

College Football Week 13 – State of the Georgia Bulldogs

aaron_murray_2013With two games remaining, the Dawgs’ roller coaster campaign is almost over.  2013 has been a challenging year for Bulldog Nation. Georgia has lost four games this year.  Each defeat has been riddled with injuries, a lack of execution, and bad luck.  In spite of the adversity UGA has faced this season, it is always great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Aaron Murray Leaves a Legacy to be Proud of
This past weekend’s game against Auburn was a microcosm of Aaron Murray’s career between the hedges.  No matter how many rushing yards the defense gave up, (323) or how big of a lead the Auburn Tigers built, the Georgia quarterback refused to let his Dawgs roll over and play dead.

The senior UGA signal-caller led the Dawgs to a 17 point fourth quarter comeback in Auburn.  The end result will not be discussed on this blog, but the effort should be commended.

Georgia-Kentucky: Basketball Season Has Begun
The majority of Wildcat faithful will be too busy slurping John Calipari flavored Kool-Aid to make the trip to Athens.  Mark Stoops has notched two wins in 2013.  Patience is a virtue for Stoops, who is in his first season as a head coach.  The good news for the youngest stoops brother is his success on the recruiting trail.  However, the Bluegrass State revolves around college basketball.

The Aaron Murray Farewell Tour Begins
Aaron Murray has two regular season games left on his farewell tour. The fifth-year signal caller is a combined 6-0 against Kentucky and Georgia Tech.  The Dawgs welcome the Wildcats into Sanford Stadium on Saturday night, before traveling to Atlanta for a date with the Yellow Jackets. The SEC’s all-time leading passer has left it all out on the field for UGA.  It is a shame Murray does not have a championship to show for it.

Georgia should beat Kentucky by three touchdowns.  Emotion will be running high between the hedges for Aaron Murray’s final home game, while the Wildcats are dead last in the SEC East with a Southeastern Conference record of 0-6.

Dawgs 49, Cats 17.

Georgia Versus Auburn – November 16, 2013

georgia_auburn_2013The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry             
Georgia and Auburn square off for the 117th time this weekend.  The series is deadlocked, as the Dawgs and Tigers have each won 54 games and played to eight ties.  UGA began playing Auburn in 1892. The Dawgs have been victorious in their last two meetings with the Tigers.

The Auburn Tigers Have Been Running All Over the Opposition
For Georgia to pull off the upset, they must find a way to slow down Auburn’s running game.  The Tigers rank third in the nation, averaging 322 yards on the ground per game.  The Bulldogs have had some success stopping the run this season, UGA’s rush defense is fourth in the Southeastern Conference.

Aaron Murray’s Last Big Stage?
Barring a minor miracle in the SEC East, week 12 marks Aaron Murray’s final game against a top-ten opponent.  ESPN notes Aaron Murray has played brilliantly against the Tigers.  In three career starts, Murray’s completion percentage against Auburn is 67.1.  The fifth-year quarterback is 2-1 against the Tigers, throwing for a total of 705 yards with ten touchdowns. Murray has yet to throw a pick to the War Eagle. Hopefully I did not just jinx the Dawgs.

The Dawgs Must Make Nick Marshall Throw
Current Auburn QB Nick Marshall began his college career in Athens as a cornerback.  According to All Alabama, the Georgia coaches thought Marshall would be a future All-SEC defensive back in Athens.  Unfortunately for both sides, Georgia head coach Mark Richt dismissed Marshall from the program after he violated team rules.

Now the starting quarterback for the Auburn Tigers, Nick Marshall’s athletic ability is obvious.  In the six games that Marshall has attempted to throw the ball more than ten times, his completion percentage has only exceeded 60 twice.  Still, teams have struggled to keep the Auburn QB in the pocket.  Marshall has run for over 100 yards in four of Auburn’s last five games.

Georgia 83, Auburn 7.
Bulldog Nation has rebounded from a rough October.  UGA is ranked in the top 25, bringing a record of 6-3 into Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers are 9-1, with aspirations of playing Alabama in a winner-take-all game in the Western division at the end of the regular season.  Considering the Dawgs have tamed the Tigers by a combined score of 83-7 over the past two seasons, planning ahead does not seem wise.

Georgia Needs to Focus on Winning Out
Despite the inconsistency in Athens, a victory over Auburn would give the Bulldogs three victories over teams ranked in the top ten in 2013. UGA should be focused on finishing 9-3 and sending their seniors out victorious in a bowl game.  If the Dawgs can win their two remaining SEC games, Missouri would have to lose their final conference contests for the Bulldogs to end up in Atlanta.

47 Days Left Until Georgia Versus Clemson

College Football is Less Than Seven Weeks Away
The countdown to one of the most highly anticipated college football campaigns in recent memory is on. The Georgia Bulldogs will travel to South Carolina to square off with the Clemson Tigers in an ACC versus SEC showdown on August 31.  Anticipation for the season opener has grown since the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins feels his Tigers will “beat the mess” out of Georgia.sammy_watkins_clemson
The Trash Talk Will be Settled on the Field

I am not going to offer a rebuttal to what Sammy Watkins said. On the contrary, I love it.  As a result of this bulletin board material, Bulldog Nation will be chomping at the bit to get a paw on Watkins and company come the final night in August. Sammy Watkins may want to avoid going over the middle, though, as Georgia may try to knock the mess out of him.

Georgia-Clemson is Most Expensive Ticket on Opening Weekend
According to Tiger Net, the clash between the Dawgs and the Tigers is currently the highest priced ticket of any game on the opening weekend of the 2013 college football season. While it is a non-conference game, it is still a pivotal match-up for two teams that both have championship aspirations.

Listening to Dabo Swinney Overreact is the Worst Part of Clemson Victories
My co-author Barrie constantly reminds me that I need to be emotionally prepared for the fact that Georgia could start the season 0-1.  I accept the fact that Clemson is capable of beating Georgia, but I loathe the idea of hearing the Tigers’ head coach Dabo Swinney crow after the fact. This is a man that cried after Clemson beat Auburn in 2011. What is he going to do if the Tigers defeat the Bulldogs? Week one of college football cannot get here soon enough.

Is his Name Really Dabo?

For those wondering, thank goodness coach Swinney’s name is not actually “Dabo.”  His birth name is William Christopher Swinney.  During the video below, the Clemson head  coach says the Tigers are a national championship team after they won the Chic-Fil-A Bowl.  Here’s hoping the Georgia Bulldogs give “Dabo” a reality check in Death Valley.



Georgia Bulldog Football – Pro Style Offense A Recruiting Asset.

Matthew Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards in 2011.

Players like Matthew Stafford do not come along very often. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper predicted that Stafford would be the first pick taken when he entered the NFL draft before Stafford even made his first start as a Georgia Bulldog. While Matthew Stafford’s father is a Georgia alum, Bulldog Nation possesses an X-factor that helps bring standout offensive players to Athens, the pro style offense.

Georgia’s offensive attack allows players to get a taste of what they will be expected to do if they make it to the NFL. The Bulldog offensive repertoire has helped springboard tremendous athletes such as Terrell Davis, Garrison Hurst, and the recently retired future NFL Hall Of Famer Hines Ward to playing on Sundays.

In an era of college football where fast paced, no-huddle offenses are en-vogue it is refreshing to see the University of Georgia staying with what brought them to the dance. While teams such as Oregon and Auburn have adopted a hurried approach to moving the football, Georgia rarely deviates from their playbook. Although when the Bulldogs do throw a curve ball it is usually effective. Such was the case last season, when defensive back Brandon Boykin scored Georgia’s first touchdown of 2011 on a 70 yard touchdown run.

With national signing day growing in spectator popularity each year there is more emphasis on where a particular athlete chooses to play college football than ever before. Quarterbacks who choose to come to the University of Georgia know they are likely to learn a system similar to what they could end up running if the NFL comes calling. Georgia is currently loaded at the signal caller position with starter Aaron Murry, while Hutson Mason, and Christian LeMay compete for the back-up role. Hutson Mason plans to redshirt in 2012, in hopes of having the opportunity to run the Georgia Bulldog ship when Aaron Murray’s UGA football career comes to a close.

Ultimately Georgia runs a pro style offense because it is what gives them the best chance to win. The Bulldogs are looking to get to the top of the Southeastern Conference, and the obvious way to do that is to be better than the competition. The pro style offense helps entice high profile recruits to enroll at UGA because they know that being successful in Athens will likely translate to a successful football career long after their Dawg days are over.

Former Atlanta Falcons and UGA Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder Heads To Auburn- Alabama Dominates LSU

nick saban

This must feel like forever ago to LSU fans.

There is a lesson to be learned from the Alabama Crimson Tide’s domination of LSU in New Orleans–Don’t bet against Nick Saban twice. It was a foolish thing to do, especially when one considers that the Alabama head coach had over a month to prepare for an LSU team that he was already very familiar with en route to his third national championship. Alabama blanked the Tigers in the rematch by a final score of 21-0, as the Tide earned sweet redemption for their only loss of the season. The victory gave the University of Alabama their second national title in three years.

Picking Up The Pieces
As for the Tigers, LSU seemed to believe they could win the game last night on hype alone. Once the game kicked off, the Tigers did not look anything like the team that finished the regular season unbeaten on their way to dismantling the Bulldogs in the Georgia Dome for the SEC championship. However, the Bayou Bengals now have an entire offseason to figure out what went wrong. Alabama and LSU will likely begin the 2012 season ranked #1 and #2 which spells trouble for the rest of the Southeastern Conference.

Dawg Days Ahead?–Brian VanGorder returns to the SEC
Georgia has aspirations of competing with Alabama and LSU for a championship next year. For what it’s worth the Bulldogs are ranked number six in Mark Schlabach’s Way Too Early Top 25 on ESPN.com. After Monday’s developments Bulldog Nation will have to face an old friend beginning next season as well. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports Brian VanGorder is the new defensive coordinator for the Auburn Tigers. Continue reading

Maddawg’s Play of The Day – College Football Week 8 (October 23, 2011)

In a season that had largely gone as expected, with very few upsets, week 8 of the regular season turned the college football landscape on its ear. Two big upsets were the order of the night, but before they occurred LSU proved they are the only true Tigers in the Southeastern Conference with a dominant performance over Auburn. #1 ranked LSU certainly looks like the best team in college football as they have a bye week before they travel to Tuscaloosa for an epic showdown with Alabama.



Many other teams did their part to hold serve as well. The aforementioned Tide rolled over Tennessee after giving the Volunteers a false sense of security in the first half. The game was tied at six when the two teams went to their locker rooms but Alabama came out swinging as they scored 31 second half points while blanking the Vols in the final 30 minutes. Elsewhere, Boise State was able to ground Air Force’s hopes of ending their undefeated season. The Broncos won 37-26.

Clemson also looked strong as they beat the tar out of the North Carolina Tar Heels. Next week’s game against Georgia Tech has lost nearly all of its luster as the Jackets have looked terrible in losing two in a row. The Clemson Tigers appear as if they will be immune to the sting of Georgia Tech, but as last night proved, anything can happen in college football.

BCS chaos is the lifeblood of a compelling college football season. It is fitting that in the first weekend of the Bowl Championship Series standings there would be two season altering outcomes. In a game that ended early this morning in the east, the Red Raiders of Texas Tech shocked the Oklahoma Sooners, 41-38,  in Norman. While it was tremendous to watch a stunning upset, it is also hard not to feel terrible for Oklahoma kicker Michael Hunnicutt, who missed two crucial field goals. Here’s hoping that Sooner fans can be reasonable human beings and leave the kid alone.

Now for Maddawg’s Play of The Day: Wisconsin had been steamrolling the competition through the first seven weeks of the college football season. The Badgers’ road trip to East Lansing was supposed to be a statement game as they found themselves at #6 in the BCS standings. However, somebody forgot to tell Michigan State. The Spartans fought hard all game, and, with 4 seconds left the game appeared to be headed for overtime.

What followed is the reason why I love college football more than any other sport. Michigan State won on a 44 yard Hail Mary that bounced off of two Badgers before Keith Nichol was able to catch the ball and score a touchdown. The play is arguably the most memorable play in the history of Michigan State football. The Bowl Championship Series is not perfect, but after last night, one would be hard pressed to argue that it does not produce tremendous results in the product on the field. In addition, Michigan State and Wisconsin could have a high profile rematch in the Big Ten title game on December 3rd.