Georgia Versus Appalachain State, Two Marquee Games in Week 11

The Bulldogs Face a Cupcake on Homecoming
Georgia’s homecoming date with the Appalachian State Mountaineers leaves many college football fans looking elsewhere for a Saturday gridiron fix. The Mountaineers are a long way from the squad that shocked the college football world by beating Michigan six years ago.

App State has won two games in 2013. For UGA, the key to success this weekend is to focus on beating the Mountaineers and not look ahead to Auburn next week.

Prediction: Georgia 45, Appalachian State 17.  Now, on to more exciting games.
oregon_stanfordOregon-Stanford
Oregon travels to Stanford Stadium to take on the Cardinal on Thursday night.  The Ducks are favored by 10.5 on the road.  New Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich has helped make the transition from former head man Chip Kelly seamless.  The Ducks are quacking like a well-oiled machine.

Oregon ranks in the top twenty in the nation in passing yards, they average 55.6 points per game, boasting a ground attack averaging more than 300 yards per contest.  The Ducks are 8-0 with no signs of slowing down.

As for Stanford, the Tree has fallen from the ranks of the unbeaten.  The Cardinal has been inconsistent on offense as a result of their struggle to develop a reliable aerial attack. Stanford is currently 96th in the nation in passing, and they lost to an unranked Utah team.

All signs point to Oregon’s speed killing Stanford in week eleven.  The quack attack is out for revenge.  Their loss to Stanford in 2012 knocked them out of national championship contention.

Prediction: Oregon 35, Stanford 24.
alabama_lsu_2013Alabama Faces LSU – Nick Saban Too Damn Old to Coach Anywhere Else

Despite the rumors of Nick Saban’s interest in coaching Texas, the Crimson Tide football program remains focused on their showdown with LSU.  The Bayou Bengals are wounded, having already lost two games.  LSU’s most recent stumble came on the road in Oxford against an Ole Miss team the Tide had already rolled over.  Still, the Tigers would love to spoil Alabama’s undefeated season.

Bama is the two-time defending national champion and the Tide are the number one team in the country.  Even so, the LSU tigers have won two of their last four meetings against coach Saban and company.

The last time a team won three straight national championships was over 80 years ago.  Nick Saban has four national titles to his credit, and is in the conversation of greatest college football coaches ever. Alabama senior quarterback AJ McCarron is the leader on the field for the Crimson Tide.  A third BCS title would certainly etch his name in Alabama lure.

Prediction: Alabama 28, LSU 17.

Georgia or LSU – Which Team Will ESPN College GameDay Pick?



Bulldog Nation is well aware of how this pick turned out…

So, Which Team Will Lee Corso pick? The Georgia Bulldogs, or the Tigers of LSU?
My ESPN College GameDay viewing prowess tells that Corso enjoys getting under the skin of the home team’s fans, especially when predicting a match-up that could go either way.  Last time I checked, Georgia was favored by three points.  Let’s face it, this game is a toss up.  Betting odds tend to favor the home team in this scenario.

That is why I believe Lee Corso will pull one of his favorite tricks to try and hoodwink Bulldog Nation.  He will put on the ‘Hairy Dawg” mascot head, only to throw it away in favor of the “Mike The Tiger” mascot head.

Prediction: Lee Corso picks the LSU Tigers.  Bulldog Nation boos at the top of their lungs in response as GameDay goes off the air.

What Does Georgia Need to do to Beat Alabama?

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The Dawgs will battle the Tide for Southeastern Conference supremacy.

Georgia Plays Alabama for the 2012 SEC Championship
Following the upset heard ‘round the college football world against Johnny Manziel and the Aggies of Texas A&M, the Alabama Crimson Tide are expected to put the Auburn Tigers out of their Southeastern Conference misery on November 24 to clinch the SEC West. Conversely, the Georgia Bulldogs dominated the aforementioned Tigers by a final count of 38-0 this past weekend. The victory earned Bulldog Nation a trip to the Georgia Dome to represent the East in the SEC title game for the second straight year.

The Bulldogs Are Not Satisfied With Just Winning the SEC East
Alabama will finish the regular season with a record of 11-1 when they punch their ticket to Atlanta. Led by head coach and master motivator Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide will be hell bent on making the strongest possible case to defend their national championship crown.  Meanwhile, Bulldog Nation is determined to attack the wounded Tide, and secure a spot in a Bowl Championship Series game.  Let us examine what Georgia must do to catch Alabama coming in, as opposed to trying to hang on to the Crimson Tide when they are rolling out.

Avoiding Turnovers Will be Critical for Georgia
For Georgia to have a chance to defeat Alabama, the Dawgs must avoid turning the ball over. In the 2011 SEC Championship against LSU, Georgia doomed themselves by committing three costly giveaways, along with errors on special teams that translated to easy points for the Tigers. Alabama is the top ranked one loss team in the country for a reason, and the Bulldogs must avoid giving the talented Tide football team easy scores.



Georgia Has to Protect Quarterback Aaron Murray
Less than two weeks ago, the Bulldogs gave up five sacks in the first half against Ole Miss. No slight against the Rebels, but if Ole miss found a way to exploit Georgia’s offensive line, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and company will be frothing at the mouth at the chance to hit the UGA signal caller early and often.

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The offensive line must be stout against Alabama.

UGA Needs to Be Balanced on Offense to Keep Alabama Guessing
Texas A&M was able to defeat Alabama as a result of mixing up run and pass play calls. The Aggies had 253 passing yards, and over 150 yards on the ground. Aaron Murray is not quite as mobile as Johnny Manziel but he can certainly move around well enough to avoid being a sitting target. Furthermore:

  • The Bulldogs must avoid negative plays on offense. If Alabama’s aggressive defense can force Georgia to be one dimensional it will be a long game for Bulldog Nation.
  • Todd Gurley must lead the Georgia rushing attack by being physical and picking up critical yards after contact.
  • Aaron Murray must make all the right decisions with the football. Stephen Garcia is the last quarterback from the SEC East to defeat Alabama, as the South Carolina Gamecocks knocked off the Tide in October of 2010. Garcia completed 17 out of 20 passes for 201 yards in that contest. Those would be ideal numbers for the UGA QB to duplicate.
  • Georgia must keep drives alive by converting on third down. Texas A&M was 11 out of 18 on third-down conversions.
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Jarvis Jones is saving his best for the Crimson Tide.

Defense is Essential to Georgia’s Success
Jarvis Jones is the heartbeat of a Georgia defensive unit that appears to be peaking at the right timeJarvis Jones must lead the Georgia defense and wreak havoc against the Tide.  A dominant performance from Jones will give other players the opportunity to put pressure on Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron. In addition:

  • No big plays. UGA’s defense needs to make Alabama go the length of the football field.
  • The Bulldog defense must cause as many three-and-outs as possible so that they are able to finish Alabama in the second half.
  • It is critical that Georgia forces A.J. McCarron to beat them throwing the football. When Alabama has to pass, they suddenly become a predictable football team. This observation is not questioning the talent of the Alabama QB, but the Bulldogs will increase their chance to win if Alabama has to abandon their potent running game.

A Win for the Bulldogs Over Alabama is Critical to the Future of Georgia Football Regardless of the Bowl Championship Series rankings, the Georgia Bulldogs have to beat Alabama to legitimize themselves as a championship contender. Consider this: Georgia’s signature win thus far in 2012 is beating a Florida team that nearly lost to Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend at the swamp. The Bulldogs do not need to try to impersonate Texas A&M, but they must be victorious in Atlanta. 

SEC Weekend Winners (Week Two) September 8, 2012

Week two of college football may go a long way in bringing more intrigue to the SEC East.  With the exception of Tennessee, the Eastern portion of the SEC had a pretty quiet opening weekend of sub-par performances. The Georgia Bulldogs take center stage on Saturday night, as they head to Missouri to introduce the Tigers to Southeastern Conference football. Georgia must play better as the Dawgs have a second chance to make a first impression. A strong performance from the Bulldogs would go a long way in relieving some of the anxiety that is permeating between the hedges. Above all else, Georgia must be ahead of Missouri when the clock hits zero in the fourth quarter.

Elsewhere in the East, the Florida Gators travel to College Station to welcome the other new addition to the Southeastern Conference into the fold. The Texas A&M Aggies have a new coach in Kevin Sumlin, as well as a redshirt freshman quarterback (Johnny Manziel) making his first career start after the Aggies opener was postponed. Florida has quarterback questions of their own, but Gator head coach Will Muschamp has committed to Jeff Driskel as the starter for this week. If the quarterback position is as much of a revolving door for the Florida Gators as it was last week against Bowling Green, Texas A&M may find a way to win.

LSU gets a slight upgrade in competition in Baton Rouge this weekend as the Tigers welcome the Washington Huskies. Tiger quarterback Zach Mettinberger completed his final eight passes in the opener against North Texas, and the Bayou Bengals look to keep rolling. As for Washington, head coach Steve Sarkisian has an opportunity to get a career making win if his Huskies can pull off a monumental upset. Continue reading

Georgia Bulldogs 2012 Schedule Preview – Postseason Edition

Bulldog Nation is rabid for a national championship.

As the college football regular season is mere hours from getting started, the point of final prognostication is upon us. When we last left the Georgia Bulldogs, they were riding high after finishing the regular season unbeaten at 12-0. As for which team from the SEC West will be awaiting the Dawgs in Atlanta, the slight edge goes to LSU.

The western portion of the SEC features three teams with a realistic opportunity to contend for the conference title. Arkansas (interim) head coach John L. Smith is playing with house money, because with the exception of Razorback faithful, there are not many folks who expect the Hogs to live up to the hype. Arkansas will be impressive on offense with senior quarterback Tyler Wilson at the controls, and they get standout tailback Knile Davis back from injury. Even so, the Razorbacks do not have enough on defense to stand up to the two-headed monster of Alabama and LSU. Prediction: nine regular season wins for Arkansas.

Alabama is coming off a national championship victory in 2011 and the Tide is certainly high in Tuscaloosa. However, the defending champions of college football lost a lot of talent to the NFL draft, along with some other players who graduated, which will likely leave the Tide on the outside looking in at the BCS championship picture this season. Alabama has a brutal road schedule as well, including a showdown with LSU in Baton Rouge. Nick Saban’s boys will contend for another title again soon, but it would be flat out scary for the rest of college football if Bama is able to defend their college football crown in 2012. Prediction: ten regular season wins for the Alabama Crimson Tide. (No team has ever repeat in the Bowl Championship Series era.) Continue reading

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

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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

Alabama-LSU – The Rematch for the BCS National Championship (January 9, 2011)

BCS trophy

The Southeastern Conference continues to dominate college football.

The BCS reaches its epic conclusion on Monday night, as the LSU Tigers take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2012 All State BCS National Championship Game. The regular season match-up was a great movie with a forgettable ending. Now that the much hyped sequel has arrived, it will be up to these two juggernauts to deliver in the Bowl Championship Series’ grand finale.

National Appeal?
There is an interesting subplot developing for tonight’s all SEC West Championship showdown. Television ratings. Thebiglead.com reports that TV ratings for this year’s BCS games are noticeably down. If Monday night’s game continues that trend, it may put an end to any possibility of a no other conference allowed title game. Alabama and LSU are clearly the two best teams in college football this season, but there is no denying the polarizing nature of this contest around other parts of the country.

May the best team win
Regardless of how many people watch, the game should be fantastic. Nick Saban has had two months to stew over his defense having trouble with the option. On the other side, it would be quite a feather in the purple and gold cap of Les Miles to get two wins over tricky Nicky in one college football season. The focus of the night will be on the special teams for each squad, as well as the total amount of points scored during the game. Continue reading

The 2011 College Football BCS Controversey – Much Ado About Nothing

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The BCS debate rages on

This season’s conference championship week is causing experts and fans alike to speculate about how this weekend’s games could change the face of college football. With the exception of the LSU fan base, college football fans everywhere are pulling for the Georgia Bulldogs to be giant killers when they face the mighty LSU Tigers Saturday afternoon.

The Bowl Championship Series is facing another round of what-if scenarios, and many college football followers are hoping that this is the year that the BCS wall begins to come tumbling down. While theoretical situations often make for a fun debate history has shown that very little is going to change in the whacky world of the BCS, regardless of who wins and loses on Saturday.

Big Red Goes Down

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Nebraska still played for the national title

2011 marks the ten year anniversary of former Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch winning the Heisman trophy. In 2001, Crouch led the undefeated and #1 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers into the Big 12 Championship Game to face off with the #14 Colorado Buffaloes. Colorado had two loses coming into the match-up, the first coming in week one against a non conference opponent. The Buffaloes were led by their star tailback Chris Brown, and they were determined to take down unbeaten Nebraska. Brown ran for six touchdowns in the game as Colorado stunned the Cornhuskers in a 62-36 upset. The Buffaloes were the Big 12 Champions in 2001.

As for Nebraska, they were left to wonder what hit them as their undefeated dream season was seemingly turned into a nightmare after the Blackshirts gave up 62 points in the conference championship. However, Big 12 runner-up Nebraska still played for the national championship because they only had one loss, and the BCS considered them to be the second best team in the country. The Cornhuskers would go on to lose in the national championship game to the Miami Hurricanes by a final score of 37-14.

History Repeats
The exact same scenario happened to another Big 12 team in 2003. The Oklahoma Sooners were ranked #1 and undefeated going into the Big 12 Title Game. The Sooners were being hailed as one of the best teams ever in college football history. (Sound familiar?)

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That's why they play the game.

Oklahoma got a reality check from the number 13 Kansas State Wildcats who came into the contest as a huge underdog. Darren Sproles and K-State lowered the boom on the Sooners in a 35-7 win. Oklahoma was still considered to be the second best team in the country, and they went on to get decimated by the USC Trojans 55-19 in the most lopsided title game in BCS history.

In a perfect world, a playoff system would be the satisfying conclusion that college football fanatcs have been asking for. However, since 1998, the Bowl Championship Series debate has become the centerpiece of big time college football. That fact will not change until at least 2013, when the television rights to the BCS National Championship game are up for grabs again. Rumors of the demise of the BCS have been greatly exaggerated. If the Tigers go undefeated and cap off their season with a national championship the argument for the Bowl Championship Series will be stronger than ever.

Georgia LSU- 2011 SEC Championship Game

Bobby Petrino could do nothing but watch and shout obscenities as he witnessed his Razorbacks get decimated by a clearly superior LSU team. The #1 ranked Tigers proved that Arkansas’ number three ranking this past week was for national television hype only as they mauled the Razorbacks by a final score of 41-17. LSU now heads to the Georgia Dome for a match-up with the second hottest team in the country, as the Georgia Bulldogs look to spoil the Tigers’ undefeated season.

The 2011 regular season comes full circle for the Bulldogs.

The LSU Tigers have largely dominated the competition throughout their 2011 campaign. In fact, the Tigers have been in such control that some are speculating that LSU will play in the BCS National Championship Game even if the Dawgs pull off the upset in Atlanta on Saturday. Other than the clash with the #2 Alabama Crimson Tide, the Tigers have beaten every opponent this season by at least 13 points.

Georgia’s journey to the SEC championship was not without adversity. After starting 0-2, the Bulldogs have barked, bit, and pawed their way back to the top of the SEC East by winning ten straight games. Georgia reigned supreme in the yearly rivalry with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in week 13 by a final score of 31-17. Now, the Bulldogs must figure out how to catch the Tigers by the tail, and send shock-waves throughout college football.

The key component for Georgia to pull off an upset against LSU is by controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. On offense, Georgia needs Isaiah Crowell to gain enough yardage to keep the Bayou Bengals honest. Carlton Thomas and Brandon Harton are likely to see action in the Dawg backfield, but Crowell is the key to success for Georgia’s rushing attack.

If LSU is able to stuff the run, and then pressure Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray with the front four on their defensive line it will be a long afternoon for Bulldog Nation. The Dawgs must block the Tigers and force LSU to blitz in order to get to Murray. Pressure from LSU will allow Georgia’s signal caller a chance to get the ball out quickly to the young Bulldog receivers which will give the Dawgs a chance at moving the football.

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has thrived this season bringing pressure. The Dawgs’ dominant defense needs to make LSU uncomfortable and force turnovers in order to make the Bulldogs’ job on offense easier. It is crucial that Georgia’s defense keep the Dawgs in the game early so that Mike Bobo and company can figure out how to beat the fast and furious Louisiana State Tiger defense.

LSU’s biggest asset on offense is versatility. The Tigers run a pro-style offense, but Georgia must be prepared for both Jordan Jefferson and Jarret Lee at quarterback. Jordan Jefferson has been the Tigers’ starter since November 12th, after he relieved Jarret Lee who was struggling against Alabama. With Jefferson as the starter LSU will spread the field at times to make their opponents defend the option. Georgia must also be ready for five different running backs, as the Tigers have five players with at least 27 rushing attempts in 2011.

The Bulldogs’ special teams need a banner outing this weekend. LSU is the most talented team in the country, and Georgia can not afford to give the Tigers any help. Georgia’s special teams has given opposing teams gifts throughout the season: including missed field goals, favorable field position, and kick returns for touchdowns

On the other hand, Georgia kick returner Brandon Boykin has been dangerous all season. However, he will be returning punts from LSU punter Brad Wing who has been a weapon in his own right for the Tigers. LSU head coach Les Miles is known as the “Mad Hatter,” so Georgia must be on the look-out for fakes in the kicking game.

Bulldog Nation should embrace the underdog role while bearing in mind that they have the talent to tame the LSU Tigers. In their first trip to the Georgia Dome in the 2011 opener, it was clear that the Georgia Bulldogs were not ready for prime time. The second time around the Bulldogs are confident, young, and hungry. UGA is eager to prove that they are once again a force in the Southeastern Conference. Georgia will have to play mistake free football, but there could very well  be sugar falling from the sky onto the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday night.

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The Bulldogs may bust the BCS.

Maddawg’s Play of The Day November 20, 2011– Looking at Georgia’s running back issues

The biggest story of the college football weekend unfolded under the Friday night lights. #2 Oklahoma State fell into Iowa State’s trap, as the Cyclones left the Cowboys’ head spinning. While this development is not likely to bother many outside of Stillwater, the horrific off the field circumstances surrounding Oklahoma State’s loss are tragic. Hopefully the Oklahoma State community can rally the Pokes to their first at large Bowl Championship Series bid. A BCS bowl appearance may be on the line in two weeks when the Cowboys face the Sooners in the Bedlam game.

As for LSU, the Tigers walloped the Ole Miss Rebels by a final score of 52-3, strengthening their grip on the #1 ranking. LSU and Arkansas each have a short week before the two teams meet in a Friday afternoon showdown in week 13. The Tigers have a long way to go before they can play for the national championship, but for now LSU is unquestionably the best team in the nation. It is expected that Arkansas will be the new #3 in the upcoming BCS standings. Friday’s game between the Razorbacks and Tigers is must see for college football fans, as Arkansas could steal the SEC West with a win.

Will Carlton Thomas ever learn from his mistakes?

For the Georgia Bulldogs, Saturday’s game against Kentucky was not one for the highlight reel. However, the Georgia Bulldogs are the SEC East champions of 2011. The Dawgs got their all-important ninth win in a row beating the Kentucky Wildcats 19-10.  Now, Georgia has some issues to address as they begin preparing for Georgia Tech. The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that Georgia running back Carlton Thomas broke another rule. Thomas has already been suspended twice this season. The Georgia Bulldogs are paper thin at the tailback position, and they desperately need positive contributions from the junior ball carrier if the Dawgs hope to continue their win streak.

However, how many chances should one player get? Carlton Thomas has been in trouble three times in 2011 alone. He was suspended once for a violation of team rules before the season, again for the homecoming game, and he missed the crucial victory against Kentucky. As of this writing, Thomas’ absence from the week 12 contest has not been termed a third suspension.

Much to the chagrin of Bulldog Nation, freshman sensation Isaiah Crowell never got a chance to get going against Kentucky. Crowell left the game hurt following his second carry when one of his own teammates landed on top of his ankle. The AJC reports that Isaiah Crowell is questionable for next week against the Yellow Jackets.  Whether Crowell attempts to come back against Georgia Tech, or the Dawgs decide he needs to take a week to heal, Georgia needs Isaiah Crowell at full strength to have a chance at upsetting the LSU Tigers in the SEC Championship Game. (or whoever comes out of the wild SEC West)

Maddawg’s Play of The Day goes to the season altering upset that may have won the Heisman Trophy for Robert Griffin III. With all due respect to Matt Barkley and the Trojans’ tremendous victory over the Oregon Ducks, Baylor had never beaten Oklahoma before last night.  “RG3″ had his “Heisman moment” as Baylor was trying to get into field goal range to upset Oklahoma. With 17 seconds left, Griffin III took the snap and threw a pass that will go down as one of the biggest plays ever in the history of Baylor football. The game winning touchdown toss gave the Baylor Bears a 45-38 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners.

Following his spectacular performance, Robert Griffin III has 33 touchdown passes and 5 interceptions. His numbers are comparable to anyone in the nation. There is not a player in college football this season that has done more with less than “RG3.” The Heisman vote will have to wait, but Robert Griffin III is the first two time award winner of Maddawg’s Play of The Day.