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.

Fact or Fiction: Georgia Bye Week

Nine weeks into the college football season and Bulldog Nation has been reduced to the following math equation:  Questionable targeting calls + a loss at Vanderbilt = the following image…

fair_weather_uga_fanThe Georgia Bulldogs get a week off before their annual gridiron war with the Florida Gators.  According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, what is normally a pivotal SEC East game has become the “World’s Largest Outdoor Pity Party”. Georgia and Florida have combined for six losses before the end of October.

As a result, it is time for a round of fact or fiction to ease the pain.

The Winner of the Georgia-Florida Game is Still a Factor in the SEC East.  Fiction.  No matter which team wins in Jacksonville, the Florida Gators still have to play the South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Georgia Bulldogs must contend with the Auburn Tigers.  New Auburn head coach, Gus Malzahn, has the Tigers at 6-1, and they beat Texas A&M in week eight.

 Alabama Will Earn Their Third Straight BCS National Championship.  Fact.  Nick Saban has proven discipline leads to dominance.  There is not a team in college football more consistent than the Crimson Tide.  Alabama does not have many more hurdles to overcome to get to Pasadena, California.

Ohio State Will Challenge the Tide.  Fiction.  Ohio State is a great offensive team, however, the Buckeyes do not have much of a defense.  Even if Ohio State gets through the regular season undefeated,  Buckeye fans must root for both Florida State and Oregon to lose.  Keep an eye on Urban Meyer folks, he is likely to start beating the opposition by as much as possible to rack up style points.

Florida State is Back.  Fact.  The Noles destroyed Clemson, and left the Tigers laying in Death Valley.   Quarterback Jameis Winston may not be ready for the BCS stage yet, but Florida State is talented enough to beat anyone, including Alabama.  Unfortunately for FSU, if they do play Alabama for all the marbles, Nick Saban will have plenty of time to prepare for Famous Jameis.

Long Live the BCS!  Fiction. The notion that anyone will miss the Bowl Championship Series is almost as ridiculous as the claim that a playoff would adversely affect a student athlete’s ability to study for an exam.  The playoffs will make money, the television ratings will be phenomenal, and the passionate fans of college football will finally get the finale we deserve.

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.

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.

Georgia Will Win The SEC East in 2013

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Will this be the year that Georgia wins it all?

The Third Time is the Charm
Georgia will win the SEC East for a third straight year.  The Bulldogs are led by fifth-year senior signal caller Aaron Murray, and the Dawgs look to have a bad bark on the offensive side of the ball. With five starters returning on the offensive line and three more lineman with college football experience, Georgia figures to have one of the best lines in the country.

Furthermore, we are entering year number two for the dominate rushing duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall who together ran for 2,144 yards last season. It is safe to assume that Georgia will have no trouble putting points on the board.

 An Examination of the Competition (In Order of Projected Finish)
The final SEC East standings will look exactly the way they did in 2012. Florida will finish second because Will Muschamp will give his roster nightmares with his terrifying glare if the Gators lose too many games. An example of this (hilariously) horrifying look can be seen in the video below.  Along with the motivation of the Muschamp death stare, the Florida Gators have a very talented defense that will leave the opposition afraid to enter the swamp.



Nothing to Crow About
Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks will finish third, because the Ole’ Ball Coach will not have enough bullets for his fun n’ gun offense. Despite welcoming back the fearsome Jadeveon Clowney,  South Carolina will be without Ace Sanders and Marcus Lattimore, who are now both in the National Football League.

Vanderbilt is Improving
The Vanderbilt Commodores finished 2012 with nine wins, which is the Dore’s highest total since 1915.  The Commodores may very well open the season ranked in the preseason polls. Even so, Vanderbilt simply does not have the athletes to defeat the top teams in the Southeastern Conference. James Franklin is a good coach, not a miracle worker.

The Tigers Have Been Tamed
The Missouri Tigers attempted to make a splash in the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers were roaring when Sheldon Richardson called out Georgia for playing “old man football.” But, after a 2-6 finish in Southeastern Conference play, the Tigers have yet to make a ripple in the SEC pool. The Tigers figure to have another sub-par campaign this year, as the transition from the Big 12 has proved difficult. Missouri finishes fifth in the East, and the biggest question in the “Show Me State” this year may be whether or not Gary Pinkel keeps his job beyond the upcoming season.

Tennessee is Going to Hit an Iceberg
New Tennessee head coach Butch Jones is about to set sail on his maiden voyage as the captain of the Volunteer ship. But the boat has taken on water before it can even leave the dock. The leak that I am referring to is Tennessee’s schedule this year. The Vols play Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Oregon in a six week stretch that may be one of the most difficult schedules in recent memory.  The folks in Rocky Top have not had much to sing about on the gridiron lately, and that will not change in 2013. Tennessee will finish sixth in the SEC East.

Another Rebuilding Year in Kentucky
Finally we come to the bottom of the barrel in what is a very top heavy division. The Kentucky Wildcats have brought in Mark Stoops from Arizona, but the new head coach inherits a team that lost ten games in 2012. Mark Stoops is the brother of the Oklahoma Sooners head coach nicknamed “Big game Bob.” That pedigree will not save him from the Bluegrass blues.  Kentucky is a basketball school now and forever.

Hail to Georgia.



Jadeveon Clowney: Aaron Murray is Scared

jadeveon_clowney_aaron_murray

Clowney is one of the most explosive players in college football.

Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Gamecock?
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that South Carolina defensive end, Jadeveon Clowney, thinks Georgia starting quarterback Aaron Murray is scared of him. Clowney also included Clemson starting quarterback Tajh Boyd, as well as former Arkansas signal caller Tyler Wilson on the list of quarterbacks he claims share the same fear. Aaron Murray is a decorated fifth-year senior who has faced tough competition in the Southeastern Conference throughout his time in Athens.  It is hard to believe that a college athlete as accomplished as Aaron Murray would be afraid of any opponent.

Jadeveon Clowney has Earned the Respect of the Opposition
Jadeveon Clowney is roundly regarded as a top five pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, assuming he decides to turn pro, of course. Clownery has put together a highlight reel of hitting the opposition, and he possesses an extraordinary ability to shift the momentum of a game with one snap of the football. Minimizing this dangerous defensive ends’ effectiveness at getting to the quarterback will be crucial to Georgia’s success against the South Carolina Gamecocks this season.

Numbers Never Lie
Jadeveon Clowney has faced the Bulldogs twice in his South Carolina Gamecock career. He has sacked Aaron Murray three times in those two games, including twice in 2011. Clowney’s presence has wreaked havoc on the Dawgs, who have not been able to avoid critical errors against the Steve Spurrier led squad, leading to three straight signature losses against a bitter SEC rival.



Georgia is The Team to Beat in the SEC East
Despite one Gamecock crowing about Aaron Murray being scared, Georgia is looking to win the SEC East for the third straight season. Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution believes that the Bulldogs will accomplish that goal.

Closing With an Observation From the Head Rooster
The Ole’ Ball Coach seems to get his jollies from using his quick wit to insult the opposing team.  However, sometimes his verbal jabs may leave even his own players wondering about how strongly their head football coach believes in them.  After soundly defeating the Clemson Tigers by a final score of 34-13 in 2011, Steve Spurrier quipped, “We aren’t LSU, and we aren’t Alabama. But we sure ain’t Clemson.”

Five Keys: UGA – South Carolina Football 2012

Wear them down, Georgia.

Well…it’s here. The battle of the titans, as the University of Georgia Bulldogs face the South Carolina Gamecocks on October 6, 2012 in Columbia.  We believe there are five keys that will determine the outcome of this SEC rivalry between UGA and South Carolina.  Frankly, the five keys are fundamental, and certainly not visionary revelations, but…watch for these keys during the game:

1.  Georgia’s ability to protect Aaron Murray and open holes for the tailbacks.
South Carolina’s defensive line, led by defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, is stout…fast, big, and active.  UGA’s offensive line has been steadily improving and it is hard to argue with a Georgia offense whose scoring echoes the left coast Oregonians.  Georgia must protect Aaron Murray, which leads to…

2.  Aaron Murray’s ability to make sound decisions.
South Carolina will most definitely try to pressure Murray, as the Dawgs’ quarterback has shown deft precision when given time.  Conversely, as a sophomore, Murray demonstrated a disturbing tendency to make poor throwing decisions when pressured by the defense.  Murray must be willing to take a sack, throw the ball away, be patient.  By the way, I don’t sense that Murray necessarily forces the ball under pressure…it is almost as if he just doesn’t see the field as clearly.

3.  Force Conner Shaw to beat us with his arm.
It is crucial that Conner Shaw not be allowed to run wild.  Lattimore is may slowly beat UGA into submission, but Shaw is the greater danger.  In games this season, Conner Shaw is very quick to pull the ball down and run (almost as if he prefers to run).  The Gamecocks quarterback demonstrated beautiful passing downfield against Missouri, but Missouri’s defense is highly suspect.  It is imperative that the front seven for the Georgia defense contain Conner Shaw.  Which leads us to the play of the UGA defensive backfield…

4.  UGA’s defensive backs must play an inspired game.
Georgia’s front seven will have their hands full trying to contain Conner Shaw and Marcus Lattimore on the ground.  In pass situations especially, I would expect a fast spy on Conner Shaw (probably Jarvis Jones).  It is highly likely that UGA’s defensive backs will have one-on-one coverages, and the safeties and cornerbacks must rise to the challenge.

5.  Special Teams Play/Turn-overs.
These are self-evident to anyone who has watched UGA play football recently. Simply put, UGA must win on turn-over ratio and play well on special teams.  Game-changing special teams plays (returned kicks for touchdowns, blocked punts, etc.) by UGA would be nice, but really, in this game I reckon playing conservatively and smartly will be enough.

Georgia Bulldog Football in 2011 and Beyond

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The long wait begins again for a Saturday in Athens.

As the college football calender shifts to bowl season, the 2011 Georgia Bulldog football campaign has been a memorable one. From those horrendous power ranger Nike Pro Combat Uniforms to winning the SEC East, this year has been a roller coaster ride for Bulldog Nation. Georgia improved from 6-6 in 2010, to 10-3 in 2011. The Dawgs will have a chance to add to their 4 game improvement against the Spartans of Michigan State on January 2, 2012. Continue reading

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.