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.

Steve Spurrier’s Career Versus UGA – Looking Back and Ahead

steve_spurrier_mark_richtSteve Spurrier: Head Dawg Catcher Since 1963
Stephen Orr Spurrier began his collegiate football career at Florida in 1963.  He was the starting quarterback for the Gators from 1964-1966, and won the ’66 Heisman Trophy.  During his four years as a player in Gainesville, Florida had two wins and two losses against the Georgia Bulldogs.

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Vintage Spurrier.

1979: The Ole’ Ball Coach Could Not Sting the Dawgs as a Yellow Jacket
Steve Spurrier was the quarterback coach at Georgia Tech in 1979. During his lone season coaching the Tech quarterbacks in Atlanta, the Georgia Bulldogs beat the Jackets 16-3.  Bulldog Nation’s rivalry with coach Spurrier went on a ten-year hiatus after that, as the ole’ ball coach spent the next ten college football seasons at Duke.  He began his time with the Blue Devils as an offensive coordinator in 1980 and ’81, until he was named head coach in 1982.

1990: The Gator Went Home to His Swamp
December 31, 1989 would turn out to be an ominous day to be a Georgia fan because it was the date that Steve Spurrier was hired as the new head coach of the Florida Gators. Coach Spurrier was hot off of leading Duke to an Atlantic Coast Conference title in 1989, and he brought his healthy disdain for Georgia with him back to Gainesville.

Steve Spurrier spent 12 seasons at the helm in Gainesville making life miserable for Georgia fans everywhere.  He compiled an 11-1 record against the Bulldogs while on the sidelines at Florida.  During one particularly horrible encounter in 1995, Spurrier and his Gators ate the Bulldogs alive by a final count of 52-17.  When asked his reason for hanging “half a hundred” on UGA, Spurrier crowed,  “We heard no one had ever done that before.”

1997: The Bulldogs Finally Beat Steve Spurrier
Entering the 1997 season, The University of Georgia faithful had endured seven straight years of losing to Steve Spurrier and Florida.  As we summarized in an article on the history of the Georgia-Florida Classic, the Bulldogs got the better of Steve Spurrier as a coach at long last on November 1, 1997, when Georgia defeated Florida 37-17.  The win was undoubtedly Mike Bobo’s biggest victory as a player at UGA.

Coach Spurrier would go on to build a new four-game winning streak against Georgia before he departed for the Washington Redskins and the National Football League. After two seasons as a head coach in the pros, Spurrier would quickly opt to return to the college game.  Spurrier’s rough NFL stint is quickly summed up by the video below.



2005-2012: Spurrier Takes South Carolina To New Heights
Steve Spurrier was announced as the head coach of the South Carolina Gamecoks on November 23, 2004. Since his arrival in Columbia, Spurrier has led the Gamecocks to an SEC East title, beaten a number one ranked Alabama squad, and garnered multiple top ten rankings for the previously mediocre South Carolina football team.

2013: The Latest Chapter Unfolds
The ole’ ball coach has  continued to be the bane of Bulldog Nation’s existence.  South Carolina has  beaten Georgia four times in the eight years that Spurrier has been the head coach at USC.  If the Gamecocks can fight off the Bulldogs for a fourth straight season, they will be the early front-runner to win the SEC East this year.

The Georgia Bulldogs Cannot Afford to Start 0-2
When Georgia began the season with two straight loses a couple of years ago, the Bulldogs began the campaign ranked number 19 in the 2011 preseason polls after a 6-7 season in 2010.  At present, the Bulldogs’ goal is to win a championship.  For UGA to have a chance to earn a championship of any kind in on the gridiron in 2013, the Dawgs must defeat Steve Spurrier this weekend.

The task is easier said than done.  Steve Spurrier has a record of 15-5 against the Georgia Bulldogs since he put on his head coaching visor.  It may be too early to pronounce the Bulldogs’ season on the line in week two, but this game could not be more important to the immediate future of Georgia football.