College Football Week 11 – Georgia Faces Florida

georgia_florida_2014Angry Dawgs Face Desperate Tigers
In preparation for Georgia-Florida week, embattled former Dawg turned Gator head coach Will Muschamp said he is adopting a bunker mentality for the rest of the season.  Memo to coach Muschamp; if you do not make a bowl game, be on the lookout for friendly fire.  Still, if Muschamp is looking for a war, his Gators are certainly in for a fight this weekend.

All of Bulldog Nation has been waiting with baited breath to hear back from the NCAA regarding the eligibility of star tailback Todd Gurley.  While the outcome was not favorable as it relates to week ten, UGA will get Gurley back in time for a showdown with Auburn. It should not matter come Saturday afternoon, as Nick Chubb gets the opportunity to leave his sizable paw print on the Gators’ backside.

Briefly Addressing Todd Gurley
The National Collegiate Athletic Association has many issues to address related to the profit made on the back of amateurism, and the issue of player likeness, but it is fortunate that Todd Gurley’s eligibility will be restored at all.  Given the statement released by the NCAA, the punishment certainly could have been worse.

Muschamp Faces Must Win
At present, Georgia faces a dysfunctional Florida team coming off of an abysmal 42-13 loss at home to the Missouri Tigers.  The Gators have lost two straight, with three conference loses already on their record, the Florida faithful (if there is such a thing) are ready to chomp Will Muschamp.

History Lesson: When is the Last time Georgia Beat Florida Four Times in a Row?
Prior to their current roll, the last time Georgia won three straight games in this rivalry occurred from 1987-1989, Should the Dawgs extend their UF win streak to four, it would be their longest string of consecutive victories in the series since 1978-1983, when Bulldog Nation took six in a row from the hated Gators.

The fallout from a fourth straight loss to UGA would be more than enough reason for the Gators to go head coach hunting in the offseason.   Personally, I hope Florida retains their current head man.  Competing with Florida is fun, beating them is so much sweeter.

Georgia Versus Florida.  Picking A Winner Using the Transitive Property
Based on the transitive property, since Georgia beat Missouri by 34 points, and the Tigers turned around to maul the Gators by 29 the very next week, UGA will defeat UF by 63 points.

As much fun as the above prognostication was, in reality, 2014 is likely to be a very heated chapter in the Georgia-Florida story.  The Gator coaching staff is fighting for their jobs with every single down, while UGA seeks to represent the SEC East in the Georgia Dome. So long as the Dawgs do not beat themselves, Bulldog Nation will start the month of November with a victory.

Prediction: Georgia 27, Florida 17. Bonus Pick – Coach Muschamp Will be Angry



UGA Mauls Missouri – Georgia Bulldogs Earn Historic Shutout

georgia_missouri_hutson_mason34-0: Offensive Line Manhandles, Defense Dominates
Georgia’s road trip to Missouri resulted in a 34-0 mauling of the Tigers.  The shutout was a combination of a sound defensive game plan, precise execution, and UGA’s ability to take full advantage of Mizzou miscues. Credit must also be given to sensational freshman Nick Chubb.  Chubb was the centerpiece for the Bulldog offense, touching the ball a whopping 42 times.

Hutson Mason played his role of game manager perfectly.  Normally, I shy away from labeling any player but the Dawgs are built to push people around and run the football.

The contest was far from a thing of beauty, but Georgia reminded skeptics football is a team sport which does not revolve around one player.  With 38 carries, Nick Chubb turned in 174 yards, announcing to the college football world that the time is now for the true freshman tailback.  While the immediate future of Todd Gurley as a student athlete at UGA is clouded in uncertainty, Georgia fans can rest easy knowing the Dawgs have a plethora of talented ball carriers.

Good Dawgs do not Beat Themelves
Much has been made of Hutson Mason’s apparent unwillingness to throw the ball down the field. Much to the chagrin of the Show Me State, Matty Mauk and friends turned the ball over a whopping five times, some of which can be credited to the Bulldog D, but sloppy play certainly played a role as well.  If Hutson Mason is able to get the ball downfield with any regularity, Georgia is the favorite in the SEC East with or without Todd Gurley.

Georgia Defense Makes History
The goose egg laid by the Tigers marks the first shutout ever for Georgia Bulldog football against a ranked opponent.   The University of Georgia has been playing football since 1892.  Basic math skills tell UGA has been playing with a pigskin for more than a century.  Given all the talented defenses the program has had, it is both encouraging and surprising that the 2014 Dawgs accomplished something previously unachieved.

Immediate Future Hangs in the Balance
Whether Todd Gurley plays another down in a Georgia uniform or not, this team has no excuses as far as achieving a ten-win season and representing the East in Atlanta.  Georgia is now back in the top-ten, but Bulldog Nation needs Gurley available in order stake their claim as a legitimate contender.

College Football Week 5 – Georgia Faces Tennessee

todd_gurley_tennesseeRocky Top Calling The Bulldogs
Bulldog Nation plays host to the Tennessee Volunteers this weekend.  UGA is coming off their most lopsided win in more than five decades, while Butch Jones and the Vols seek to prove they can be competitive in the Southeastern Conference.  The contest is the conference opener for the Vols, whereas the Dawgs need a win to get back to .500 in SEC play.

2013: Georgia won the Battle, the War Took A Toll
Last year, the trip to Knoxville was a nightmare averted for Georgia.  Though they left Neyland Stadium with an overtime victory by a final score of 34-31, the 2013 Bulldogs were never the same.  In fact, Georgia lost their next two games following the close call in Rocky Top.

Dawgs Running Free
Georgia’s rushing attack ranks among the most lethal in the country this year.  Led by Todd Gurley, the Bulldogs have run over and through the competition.  In an era where the no-huddle spread offense is dominating college football, the Dawgs pro style, run first approach is a breath of fresh air.

Under Pressure – Bulldogs must bite Justin Worley
Georgia’s secondary has had trouble finding the football throughout the first month of the season.  To make matters worse, injuries have caused the defensive backfield to become a revolving door of healthy bodies.  While Tennessee is a young team, their most experienced player is at quarterback.

Bulldogs and Volunteers Hurting at Receiver
According to Sports 24/7 UGA head coach Mark Richt has stated pass catcher Malcolm Mitchell will not return this weekend.  In addition, Jonathon Rumph is still dealing with a hamstring issue, and Justin Scott-Wesley remains suspended For Tennessee, the Kingsport Times is reporting the Volunteers are preparing to be without at least two receivers between the hedges.

Volunteer head coach Butch Jones has indicated both wide outs in question are dealing with a high ankle sprain.  Junior-college transfer Von Pearson is not going to participate in Saturday’s contest, but fellow Volunteer Josh Smith is still hoping to suit up.

Georgia – Tennesee: Picking a Winner
Bulldog Nation has won the last four contests in this storied rivalry.  Tennessee football has yet to recover from their quick hook of Phillip Fulmer, which should serve as a reminder to those UGA fans who seem to want a new head coach every time the wind blows in the wrong direction.

As with most pigskin parties, this game will be won at the line of scrimmage.  If Georgia succeeds in imposing their will at the line of scrimmage, this one could get ugly.  On the other hand, if Justin Worley is allowed time to throw, Tennessee has just enough talent to mount a balanced offensive attack.   Prediction: Dawgs 31, Tennessee 21.

South Carolina 38, UGA 35 – Bulldogs Suffer Bitter Defeat

hutson_mason

Georgia’s championship hopes may rest on the arm of Hutson Mason.

Georgia Train Wrecks Right On Schedule
It is hard to find more staunch supporters of Georgia football and Mark Richt than us here at UGAMADDAWG.  Still, there was a disheartening sense of familiarity in Georgia’s performance on Saturday night.  UGA has a developed a laundry list of signature losses, which make this past weekend’s disappointment more difficult to swallow.

If it Were not for bad Luck…
The above is not intended to blame Georgia UGA head coach Mark Richt.  Coach Richt did not advise Hutson Mason to redefine intentional grounding in a single play.  Coaching had nothing to do with Marshall Morgan missing two critical field goal attempts.  Sometimes if it were not for bad luck, Georgia would not have any luck at all.

There are a lot of people that would take issue with the argument above.  After all, if a team executes properly, they need not concern themselves with luck.  The fact is, Bulldog Naton had ample opportunity to leave Carolina with a win and they could not.  Still, faith in the Dawgs must never waiver and Georgia pride is not based on wins and losses.

Unintended Intentional Grounding
Bulldog signal-caller Hutson Mason made a terrible mistake resulting in him getting flagged for intentional grounding on first and goal from the four yard line.  There is a lot of football left to be played, but Hutson Mason needs to step up if he does not want his Georgia career to be remembered for the game changing gaffe he made last night.  While I cannot speak to the accuracy of the call in question, the less left up to referee’s discretion, the better.

Pruitt Serves up Prune Juice
I have no doubt Jeremy Pruitt will succeed in his mission to rebuild UGA’s defense.  With that said, week three was a harsh reminder of how far the Dawg defense has to go.  With the exception of one big play, the Bulldog D was nothing short of terrible. Still, growing pains are to be expected.  Jeremy Pruitt has been the defensive coordinator at the University of Georgia for two games.  Practice makes perfect, but there is no way to simulate game speed.

Todd Gurley led an impressive Georgia rushing attack again.  TGIII carried the ball 20 times for 131 yards and a touchdown.  If the zebras had not made a very questionable holding call, Gurley would have run for nearly 200 yards.  The Bulldogs have the pieces in place to be special, but now they must work to improve every time out.

Steve Spurrier Strikes Again
The college football calendar is not yet a month old.  Bulldog Nation always has cause for concern when the Ole’ Ball Coach comes calling, because coach Spurrier won his 16th game against Georgia this past weekend.  According to the AL, this total marks the most wins against Georgia by any coach.

The Bulldogs welcome Troy between the hedges this weekend.  In all likelihood, the game will serve as a tune-up before the Bulldogs resume Southeastern Conference play in week five.

UGA SEC Opener 2014: Dawgs Face Gamecocks

mark_richt_steve_spurrierGeorgia – South Carolina – Expectations Versus Hope
Bulldog Nation expects to contend for the Southeastern Conference Championship.  The Gamecocks hope the past two weeks were not a harbinger of things to come.  After giving up 52 points at home in the SEC opener, Steve Spurrier and South Carolina enter week three with their backs against the conference wall.  Still, the Ole’ Ball Coach has made a living turning Bulldogs into bad Dawgs.

Bulldog Nation – Maintain Momentum
Sanford Stadium featured a raucous crowd firmly behind the home team, leading UGA to a convincing week one win over Clemson.  Now, the Bulldogs must visit South Carolina to face a desperate conference foe.  The Dawgs must not give Cocky and company anything easy early, as Georgia has the talent to pull away late.

Feed the Beast – Embrace the Heisman Hype
Todd Gurley leads the way with regard to early Heisman Trophy hype.  After scoring four touchdowns in the first game of 2014, the eyes of the college football world are on TGIII.  Bulldog Nation has a stable of running backs in its arsenal.  TGIII leads the way, but running backs such as Keith Marshall, Nick Chubb, and Sony Michel have proven able to contribute when called upon.

Jeremy Pruitt Makes Immediate Impact in Athens
Georgia’s biggest move this past offseason occurred off the field when the Dawgs hired Jeremy Pruitt to be their defensive coordinator.  In 2013, Pruitt’s FSU defense dominated college football.  At present, the Bulldogs appear poised to bring defensive dominance back between the hedges.  Let us not get ahead of ourselves though, two great quarters only represents progress, not a finished product.

South Carolina’s Secondary Sucks
Georgia’s running game was special in week one.  However,  the Gamecock’s biggest weakness is found in their secondary.  After giving up more than 500 yards through the air against the Aggies of A&M, Carolina gave up 321 more passing yards to East Carolina last week.

If one puts their ear to the crowd anywhere in the college football universe it is almost possible to hear the Georgia bandwagon piling up.  From a fan standpoint the hype is a lot of fun, but it will be interesting to see whether UGA can manage expectations.  As for the opposition, Steve Spurrier’s mouth is the only thing crowing right now in Carolina.

Prediction: Georgia Bulldogs 31, South Carolina Gamecocks 17.
Other than Steve Spurrier’s propensity to make life miserable for Georgia, there is not much to indicate the Gamecocks can keep up with the Bulldogs.  South Carolina has looked average at best, while UGA is in pretty much every early College Football Playoff bracket.  If South Carolina is victorious Saturday afternoon, it will speak far more about Georgia being overrated than the fighting Spurrier’s being underrated.

For what it’s worth, Steve Spurrier has a record of 15-6 coaching against the University of Georgia. Even so, five of those losses have come during his tenure in Carolina.  The father of the “fun n’ gun” offense may not have much fun in 2014.

UPDATE: Urgent Memo to Georgia – Be on the lookout for fake punts.

Tray Matthews Dismissed from UGA

Dawgs Putting Discipline Back in Defense
According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, UGA head coach Mark Richt dismissed Tray Matthews from the team earlier this week.  Matthews started six games at safety for Georgia, however his off the field problems left the Bulldogs with no alternative but to remove him from the program.

During what the AJC termed an exclusive interview, Tray Matthews stated that his unruly classroom behavior was the final straw in his dismissal.

richt_saban

Hopefully Nick Saban is giving our beloved coach a discipline tip. Or two.

Fret not, Bulldog Nation, for Tray Matthews says he was planning to leave anyway.  Apparently, he had been waiting for the right time to inform the media.  Matthews clearly has some growing up to do, and here’s hoping a change of scenery helps facilitate that.

As far as what is next for the troubled sophomore, Tray Matthews has expressed a desire to continue his college career at either Auburn or Louisville.

Task Getting Tougher for Jeremy Pruitt
Tray Matthews was not a difference maker on defense during his time in Athens.  Still, there is no substitute for experience.  UGA possesses the talent level to compete with any team in the country, but a lack of depth on defense is going to make a quick turnaround very difficult.

Georgia Sending a Message to Student Athletes
In the midst of another turbulent offseason for the Georgia Bulldogs, Mark Richt says the football team “is trying to make room for guys who want to do things right.”  Tray Matthews is the third player who played a significant role in 2013 that has left the program this offseason.  Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has his work cut out for him preparing for his first season between the hedges.

Discipline issues are a fact of life in big time college football.  The key to success is whether or not a team establishes a no nonsense standard of handling and overcoming issues, while working together to be successful on and off of the gridiron to breed success in all facets of college.

Games Cannot be won in June (Though they can Certainly be Lost)
June is a fairly absurd time to make big predictions about the upcoming season.  Even so, 2014 promises to be a pivotal year for Bulldog Nation.  It has been nearly a decade since Georgia won the Southeastern Conference, and expectations will be high for a lot of new faces to make a championship level first impression.

The SEC Network Problem

sec_networkDriving Up The Cost of Cable
The price of cable television is becoming so outrageous that some people are cutting the cable cord.  Were it not for my love of live sports, I probably would have joined the growing crowd.

Exclusive Networks are a Needle in the College Football Haystack
Growing up in Athens, Georgia, has been very conducive to my love of UGA football.  I am fine with missing out on an occasional west coast showdown, as long as I get to see the Dawgs play every down.  The SEC Network launches on August 14, and it is shaping up to be another hoop for college football fans to jump through.

SEC Network – Distribution Fight at the Line of Scrimmage
According to Awful Announcing, the fight for SEC Network distribution rights is getting worseESPN is partnering with the SEC to broadcast this wonderful new network, however, as is the case with most every new network these days, this will not equate to free viewing for consumers.  At present, DISH Network and AT&T U-verse are the only television providers that have a deal in place to air the network.

The SEC Network will Feature Every SEC Football team
CBS Sports reported that every Southeastern Conference team will appear on the SEC Network this fall.  Set to broadcast approximately 45 college football games in its inaugural season, avid watchers of SEC football should be somewhat concerned with how this new network may change their viewing experience.

If cable companies such as Charter, Comcast, and Direct TV cannot agree to the terms necessary to carry the SEC Network, there are going to be a lot of unhappy folks down south in a few short months.

Money Talks: Solving the SEC Network Issues
The posturing between cable providers and the ESPN led SEC Network will be solved when the money is right.  Common sense says this issue will be resolved before a pigskin is ever tossed around, because the demand for SEC football is so high.  Still, with so many viewing options readily available, everyone involved with the shiny new network has an obligation to make it available to the widest possible audience.

Georgia Versus Nebraska – 2014 Gator Bowl

georgia_nebraska_2014
Not Exactly the Rematch Bulldog Nation Hoped for
The Georgia Bulldogs started off 2013 with a bang, beating the Nebraska Cornhuskers by a final score of 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl.  Unfortunately for both sides, these two teams will meet again on New Year’s Day in 2014.

As for a more interesting subplot, the 2014 Gator Bowl marks only the third football game between the two schools.  Nebraska defeated Georgia 45-6 in the 1969 Sun Bowl.

No disrespect to Nebraska, but this is a bowl rematch nobody in their right mind wanted to see when the season began.  Time did not do much to build anticipation.  According to the Kansas City Star, Husker fans are not wild about playing the Dawgs, either.

No Aaron Murray Or Taylor Martinez in 2014
The Hutson Mason era is in full effect in Athens.  Georgia’s new starting quarterback led a triumphant comeback against Georgia Tech at the conclusion of the regular season.  It would have been nice for Aaron Murray to start four postseason games in four years, but his torn ACL turned the page on Georgia’s quarterback situation two games ahead of schedule.

On the plus side, Hutson Mason gets another start under his belt before the long offseason begins.

Taylor Martinez’s father does not expect his son to play college football again.  Martinez has dealt with a number of injuries during his senior campaign, the worst of which involved significant damage to his foot.  The Nebraska QB started a school-record 39 games, and ends his Nebraska Cornhusker career as their all-time leader in total offense.

Georgia Defense Trying to Finish in the top Eighty
The Dawgs are currently ranked 82nd in the country in terms of points given up per game.  As long as Taylor Martinez is not calling signals for Nebraska on January 1, Georgia will have a chance to finish in the top eighty for that category.

The young Georgia defense must use the time before the Gator Bowl wisely.  UGA needs to force the opposition to punt more often if Bulldog Nation is to be a factor in the national picture moving forward.

Georgia and Nebraska: Similar Paths to Redemption
At the start of the 2013 campaign, both the Dawgs as well as Big Red had aspirations of winning a conference title. The dreaded combination of injuries and bad luck derailed those hopes, leaving the two universities hobbled and battling to go bowling.  At present, each team is focused on the future while trying to finish the year with nine wins.

UGA 41 GT 34 – Dawgs Survive Jackets in Overtime

uga_gtGutsy Performance From Hutson Mason
A determined Hutson Mason led the Bulldogs to victory in Atlanta.  The redshirt junior engineered a 20 point comeback against the Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech, culminating in an overtime win.  Making his first career start for the University of Georgia, Mason completed 22 out of 36 passes for 299 yards. The unfamiliar quarterback seemed far more comfortable in a hurry-up offense where the Bulldogs dictated the pace.

When Bulldog Nation found themselves in a 17-0 hole at the end of the first quarter, UGA seemed resigned to end the regular season on a low note.  Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson threw the Dawgs a curve ball with an aerial assault.

Dawgs Hunker Down Again
The Georgia defense hunkered down in the second half, leaving the door open for Bulldog Nation to make a comeback.  After allowing four scoring drives in the first half, UGA surrendered just one touchdown during the remainder of regulation.  Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense went to the passing well a little too often, as GT quarterback Vad Lee threw a costly interception that swung the momentum in Georgia’s favor.

The Final Frame/Overtime
Georgia seized victory on the power and determination of Todd Gurley.  The Bulldogs’ leading tailback scored on consecutive possessions in OT, allowing Bulldog Nation to crush the hopes of Georgia Tech once again. TGII wrapped up the afternoon with 122 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.

Dawgs Finish 8-4. Gators Sink in Swamp.
Their win in week 14 means UGA finishes the regular season at 8-4.  Due to the adversity and injuries the team had to overcome, eight wins is a number to be proud of.  Dawg alum Will Muschamp can attest to that.  The 4-8 Gators will not go bowling.  Although this matter is off topic, I cannot taking a shot at Florida.

Where Will Georgia Go Bowling?
According to CBS Sports, Georgia is likely headed to the Music City Bowl in Nashville on December 30. If this prediction comes to fruition, the Dawgs will play Boston College before closing the book on 2013. On paper, one may think this paring favors Georgia. To quote the immortal Lee Corso, not so fast, my friend!

The Eagles are led by the nation’s top rusher, Andre Williams.  Utilizing his dangerous combination of speed and power, Williams has become a legitimate Heisman candidate.  UGA gave up nearly 600 yards rushing in their final two games of the regular season.  Sounds like a recipe for a highlight reel.

Below is a preview of what may await Bulldog Nation.  I hope the Dawgs do face Boston College. It would be interesting to see how the defense matches up with Andre Williams.



Upon Further Review…
UGA’s post season destination is uncertain. The Red and Black reports Georgia is likely going to the Gator Bowl against Michigan. If this occurs, Bulldog Nation should expect a recurring theme of a ton of points without much defense.

Georgia Versus Georgia Tech – November 30, 2013

mark_richt_paul_johnsonNeither Team has Bigger Fish to Fry
The 109th renewal of the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry has lost some of its luster for the 2013 edition.  These two major college football programs from the Peach State have combined for eight losses this season.  How is this possible, you ask?  Any number of reasons come to mind, including an inability to stop the opposition, injuries, and untimely buffoonery.

Is Paul Johnston Still a Genius?
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has earned the right to be called a genius dating back to his time coaching the Naval Academy.  He achieved even greater success during his first two seasons in Atlanta.  However, since 2010, the Yellow Jackets have struggled to rise above mediocrity.  Georgia Tech’s inability to win big games in the past few years has left some fans in Atlanta wondering if their head coach is too smart for his own good.

Oh Yeah, Both These Teams Are Bowl Eligible
The contest known as “Clean Old-Fashioned Hate” signifies the conclusion of regular season UGA football.  Unfortunately, neither the Dawgs nor the Jackets are participating in a conference championship game, meaning a lackluster bowl game is all that separates these two teams from a long offseason.

Aaron Murray’s Injury
When Dawg Post tweeted a picture of Aaron Murray leaving Sanford Stadium to go to the hospital for a Saturday night MRI, the prognosis did not look good.  Sadly, the worst fears of Bulldog Nation have been realized Aaron Murray’s Georgia career is over.  He will have surgery to repair his ACL on Tuesday.  So ends his 52-game start streak, along with his decorated college career.

Don’t Cry for Aaron Murray
Aaron Murray’s injury does not signify an end.  Rather, it marks the beginning of his next chapter. #11 had arguably the greatest career of anyone to ever quarterback the University of Georgia.  He will get the opportunity to play in the National Football League.

Based on the grit and determination he has shown throughout his time between the hedges, Aaron Murray will make an NFL team start him on Sundays sooner rather than later.  Don’t cry for Aaron Murray, bark louder than ever.

The Hutson Mason Show
Hutson Mason’s time has come.  Any Georgia Tech fan who believes the sudden change at QB means the Jackets will win has not been paying attention.  Hutson Mason has been in the Georgia program for nearly four years.  He has yearned to start a game for the University of Georgia since he was 18 years old.  November 30th represents a chance for Hutson Mason to send a message to the rest of college football.

On behalf of all of Bulldog Nation, Hutson Mason’s arm is going to pronounce 2014 as the year of the Dawg.  The defense is going to reinforce the statement by keeping the Yellow Jackets from buzzing.  Todd Gurley has been unstoppable when healthy.  He is sure to make his presence felt as well.

Georgia-Georgia Tech, Picking a Winner
This Saturday is the final stop on the Bulldogs’ regular season calendar.  The 2013 UGA football season will not go down in the history books in the way that Bulldog Nation had hoped, but Georgia fans and players alike should be proud that passion did not waiver no matter how many obstacles got in the way.  Coach Richt has owned Georgia Tech during his time in Athens, expect that trend to continue.

UGA 31, GT 20.  GO DAWGS!