Bonus Key: From Old-Man Football to Grown-Man Football to Old-Time Football

We’re gonna hit ‘em hard boys. And yes…the referee is wearing a tie.

Yesterday, we identified five keys to the upcoming match-up between UGA’s Dawgs and the USC Gamecocks.  Kirk Herbstreit at College Gameday (prior to Lee Corso putting on a giant cock head) discussed the importance of ball control and long drives.  Herbstreit is absolutely correct in his assessment.

Nick Saban fears that football is turning into a track meet, and frankly, I am inclined to agree with him…but not that we should change rules to slow the game down.  However!  When it comes to Georgia and South Carolina today, long drives will be an investment in a dominant fourth quarter.  Watch time of possession carefully in this one.

University of Georgia vs. South Carolina: What is a Gamecock?

Steve Spurrier as Foghorn Leghorn…I say, I say, keep fanning me walk-ons.

A gamecock is a scrappy rooster whose temperament lends it to cock fighting.  Cock fighting is illegal.  Still, South Carolina seems inordinately proud that their mascot is a chicken. Foghorn Leghorn is not a gamecock.

Wikipedia:  A gamecock may undergo physical conditioning in preparation for a fight. The conditioning process is sometimes referred to as a “keep” and is designed to, among other things, tame the cock so that he can be handled during a fight.

The most famous gamecock in contemporary times is Little Jerry Seinfeld, the gamecock featured on a notable (and hysterical) episode of Seinfeld.

Kramer: “Just because big Jerry is a has been doesn’t make little Jerry a never was.”

Ultimately, what else is there to say about gamecocks? They seem to be angry birds who run around trying to fight and f**k everything they see.  I leave you with this:

 

UGA and South Carolina: A Classic Battle of SEC Wills

See those guys with their hands on the ground? Those are lineman, and they will determine the outcome of the game.

Earlier, we touched on the five keys for Georgia in their upcoming match-up with bitter rival South Carolina.  The truth, however, is fundamental: The Georgia Bulldogs and South Carolina Gamecocks (I believe) will essentially run the same gameplans on each other.  This is a classic example in the making of SEC football…what are these qualities…what similarities do these two opponents, UGA and South Carolina, share? Read on:

  • Ultimately, the battle will be one of attrition, of wearing the other team down through a combination of speed and a bruising ground attack.
  • If the defensive fronts of each team cannot contain the run, then defensive backs will be forced to assist, opening up play action.
  • Both teams will run straight ahead between the tackles in an attempt to wear down and weaken the resolve of the defenses.
  • Both offenses will move sideline to sideline to wear the other team down.
  • Both teams will double team key defensive players (Clowney, for USC, and Jones, for UGA, will receive a lot of this treatment).
  • Both teams will rely on their quarterbacks to spread the field and make plays.
  • Both teams will attempt to deliver punishing hits on key players…both for intimidation, and let’s be honest, to get opposing players off the field.  Play it clean, but this is a war of attrition.

In the end, there are some stylistic differences, yes.  But in the SEC in general, and this game in particular, the team whose line play is superior will win.

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.

SEC Drug Policies (Steve Spurrier is a Hypocrite and a Whiner)

steve spurrier drug policies at south carolina

Rodney Dangerfield Spurrier: I get no respect I tell ya.

Tomorrow night, Georgia and South Carolina meet in a gridiron battle that will go a long way in determining SEC East supremacy. However, before the Bulldogs and Gamecocks ever step on the field, the Ole’ Ball Coach must be addressed.

In light of our recent   Completely Unofficial (but Accurate) SEC Drug Testing Rankingswe could not help but remember a joke that Steve Spurrier made during an interview with ESPN:  South Carolina Head Grouch Spurrier joked that, “I don’t know. I sort of always liked playing them (UGA) that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.”

That is an easy shot to take when your school, the University of South Carolina, does not suspend players for violating drug policies on the first (and barely on the second) violation of said “drug policy”…if one can call it that.

First drug test failure by a University of South Carolina football player:
A warning. (how many warnings did Stephen Garcia – more on this in a bit – get before one of his five suspensions?)

What kind of douche makes wisecracks about Georgia having a few players suspended when afore-mentioned douche heads a program with a joke of a rulebook when it comes to drug abuse on the football team? Meet Coach Steve Spurrier.

More…If a South Carolina player were facing discipline for a second violation of the Gamecock drug policy, said player would still only miss three games. By comparison, any player on the Georgia Bulldog roster who violates the University of Georgia football team’s drug policy a second time faces a half-season suspension.

Mr. Credibility, ie Coach Spurrier, would probably still have quarterback Stephen Garcia around if Conner Shaw had not risen to take the lead at QB.  Yes, I realize that Garcia was a senior in 2011, but if Spurrier could play him in 2012 and win…Spurrier would find a way (alcoholic-based redshirt for 2011 anyone?). This coach, Steve Spurrier, “suspended” Garcia five times and yet did Garcia (I’m not even gonna look it up) ever even miss a game?  On and on it goes.

Next Week:  The Worse of the Worst: The University of Florida is even more lenient toward drug use on their football team. We will examine the tawdry goings-ons in Gainesville and a most lenient (so understanding and forgiving) drug policy for University of Florida football players.

Maddawg’s Monday Bowl Picks (January 2, 2012)

BCS_ugamaddawg

The BCS bowls are finally here.

The 2012 Bowl Championip Series gets underway on Monday after a plethora of forgettable bowl games to end 2011. But first, Capital One Bowl Week comes to a close featuring three afternoon games. The Georgia Bulldogs face Michigan State in the Outback Bowl, the Florida Gators get salt rubbed in their year old Urban Meyer wound against Ohio State in the Gator Bowl, and the South Carolina Gamecocks play the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Capital One Bowl.

Following the afternoon pigskin party, the BCS begins with two match-ups on Monday evening. The Wisconsin Badgers and Oregon Ducks kickoff the BCS double dip in the Rose Bowl Game. Wisconsin won their first six games in 2011, before losing two in a row and then winning out to capture the Big Ten Conference championship. On the other side, the Ducks nearly laid an egg in losing their opening game to LSU. However, Oregon rebounded by winning 11 of their next twelve football games to earn the Pac-12 Conference title. Look for Oregon to badger the Badgers.

In the nightcap, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are the lone BCS representative from the Big 12 as they take on the Pac-12 runner-up, Stanford. The Cowboys have a much more explosive offense than the Andrew Luck Crew. The Cardinal will need to control the time of possession, and take care of the football to have a chance to win.  If the Cardinal defense can not get consistent pressure on Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden then Stanford will have a difficult time keeping up with the Pokes. Continue reading

Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary November 11 – 13, 2011)

In the aftermath of one of the most talked about games in the history of regular season college football between LSU and Alabama the eyes of the SEC will be watching Sanford Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Georgia Bulldogs welcome the Auburn Tigers between the hedges. If Georgia is able to add just two more wins to their current seven game win streak, the Dawgs will represent the SEC East in the conference championship game on December 3rd.

What a revival it has been for the Georgia Bulldogs and head coach Mark Richt. Richt began the 2011 campaign on the hot seat, and some Bulldog fans were already calling for this season to be Richt’s last when Georgia opened 0-2. However, since the middle of September Georgia has arguably been the hottest team in college football outside of Louisiana State University. The LSU Tigers are almost a shoo-in to represent the SEC West in the aforementioned title game.

Kudos to coach Richt for ignoring the naysayers while adding another winning season to his lofty resume. If Georgia can “finish the drill” he will be able to add a fourth trip to the SEC title game to his name as well. I have been a staunch coach Richt supporter during his tenure in Athens, but it will be fun to watch the bandwagon fill up again.

In other SEC action, championship game scenarios make strange bedfellows as the Florida Gators could play a huge role in helping the Dawgs get back to the Dome. Florida travels to South Carolina and if the Gators can find a way to win on the road Georgia will be in position to clinch the SEC East against Auburn.  Florida is just 1-3 on the road this season though, and they have yet to beat a ranked opponent.  Georgia is likely to know what is at stake in “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” just before they take the field on Saturday.

The college football match-ups with potentially big SEC implications extend much further than the southern states this weekend. Alabama is currently third in the BCS, and they will be observing with great interest as the #4 Stanford Cardinal host the #7 Oregon Ducks. If Andrew Luck and  friends are victorious than it is widely expected they will move ahead of Alabama in the BCS. However, if the quack attack can defeat the Cardinal than the Tide will roll right back into the middle of the BCS picture.

For those that do not want to see a Pac-12 shootout on Saturday night, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its debut on national television on FOX at 9PM EST. The only fight on the UFC FOX debut is a world heavyweight title bout between Cain Valasquez and Junior dos Santos. UFC president Dana White has been trying to negotiate a big television deal for a while and if Saturday night is a success the UFC could soar to even greater heights.

As for Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons welcome a familiar foe inside the Georgia Dome as they face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon. Wide receiver Julio Jones is questionable once again after aggravating his hamstring injury. The first round draft pick pass catcher would certainly be an asset for the Dirty birds after his 3 catch, 131 yard performance on the road against Indianapolis last week.

Atlanta’s defense has been much improved as of late, since they have given up only 13 points per game on average in their last three games. If the Falcons can beat the Saints on Sunday it will be a big step toward a second straight NFC South title for the Dirty Birds. Falcons Rise Up.



Picks– College Football

Steve Spurrier’s old team visits his current place of employment as Florida heads into South Carolina. Current Gator head man Will Muschamp is desperate to finish strong and he needs a signature win. No such luck this week. South Carolina 17, Florida 13

Texas Tech looks to shake up the BCS again as they host Oklahoma State. The Cowboys learned from Oklahoma’s mistakes. Lightning will not strike twice in Lubbock, Texas. Oklahoma State 48, Texas Tech 31

TCU travels to Bronco Stadium and Boise State’s blue field. The Broncos are seemingly a forgotten variable in the BCS formula, as they continue to be the Rodney Dangerfield of college football. I’ll give them a little respect. Boise State 41, TCU 24



Oregon and Stanford will be high scoring. The Ducks are still in search of redemption after they got pummeled by LSU in the opening week of the season. Stanford’s luck runs out. Oregon 44, Stanford 38

Finally, the Dawgs host Auburn as they try to bring glory back to old Georgia. Bulldogs keep their eyes on the prize and win convincingly in front of a packed crowd. Georgia 35, Auburn 17

NFL quick picks

The Lions will be too cold to eat any Bears in the “Windy City.” Chicago 27, Detroit 20

Pittsburgh will knock Cincinnati out of first place in the AFC North.  Pittsburgh 34, Cincinnati 20

San Francisco will play the role of giant killer. San Francisco 27, Giants 17

Jets fly over the Patriots. Jets 24 Patriots 20.

The Falcons will “defend the dome” and send the saints marching back home. Atlanta understands the difference between 6-3 versus 5-4 and they will get a critical win at home. Atlanta 34, New Orleans 31  Enjoy the weekend. GO DAWGS!!!

Maddawg’s Play of The Day – College Football Week 10 (November 5, 2011)



The college football forecast for week ten was accurate, as a tidal wave hit Tuscaloosa. The result, depending upon your allegiances, left something to be desired. LSU and Alabama played a hard hitting, well executed football game, with only a few critical errors.  Alabama’s special teams woes may have cost them the game, but LSU and Les Miles deserve all the credit for getting a season defining win in a hostile environment.

However, the contest felt like a great movie with a mixed bag of an ending. It was a suspenseful affair with twists and turns, highs and lows, and overtime as well. But at the conclusion of the game the same essential question remains for many college football fans: Who is the better team? Alabama missed four field goals, and they had 61 more total yards than LSU. Neither team was able to score a touchdown as the final score read LSU 9, Alabama 6. The moral of the story is that the Tigers capitalized on their opportunities…the Tide did not. There does not appear to be any feasible scenario where the two teams could meet again this season.

The problem with such a conclusion lies in its after effect–The Oklahoma State Cowboys stand to be #2 in the BCS after this week. Oklahoma State survived a 52-45 shootout with the Kansas State Wildcats in week ten. The Cowboys give up 26.5 points per game (an average that will go up), and they are the second best team in the country?  It is true that games are not played on paper, but no one outside of Oklahoma State’s fan base believes the Cowboys can win a national title this year. If Oklahoma State does not lose before December 3rd, hopefully the Oklahoma Sooners can make this a moot point.

Other Saturday happenings included a South Carolina loss to Arkansas. As a result, the Georgia Bulldogs are finally in first place in the SEC East all alone. While this is certainly a “ding dong the witch is dead” type of moment for Bulldog Nation, there is still the matter of taming the Auburn Tigers next weekend. Georgia must make sure the witch is truly dead by winning their next two conference games. As for this week, the Georgia Bulldogs celebrated homecoming with a 63-16 pounding of the New Mexico State Aggies.

Though a lopsided outcome was to be expected, it was good to see the Dawgs maintain their focus playing a lesser opponent. Georgia’s 63 point outburst came despite being without their top 4 running backs against New Mexico State. The three suspended individuals need to come back strong in order to help this team continue to build momentum.

Maddawg’s Play of The Day is the outcome of the Arkansas Razorbacks and South Carolina Gamecocks. The fighting Petrinos did Bulldog Nation a big favor with their 44-28 thumping of South Carolina. Now, the Georgia Bulldogs have the four turnover reprieve they have been hoping for since the second week of the college football season (how ironic). The Auburn Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats are all that stands in Georgia’s way in the Dawgs season long road to redemption.



Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary (November 4 – 6, 2011)

ugamaddawg_lesmiles

The "Mad Hatter" looks to stay on top Saturday night.

With the World Series wrapping up last week, and the National Basketball Association embroiled in a lockout, the eyes of the sports world are firmly fixed on the gridiron for the first weekend of November. College football is expecting an epic tidal wave when LSU and Alabama clash in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night. As for Georgia, the Dawgs have a proverbial cheap date for homecoming, as they host the Aggies between the hedges.

In the pros, the Falcons are coming off of a bye-week as they travel to Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have not won a game as they have been unable to strike it rich at home, or anywhere else, without franchise quarterback Peyton Manning. Indianapolis would gladly settle for hunting the Dirty Birds, but the Falcons get Julio Jones back this week as they prepare to make a playoff push. It should be an easy weekend for both Dawgs and Falcons alike.

The most important game of the weekend for Georgia football fans will not directly involve the Dawgs or the Falcons. As painful as it is to cheer for Bobby Petrino, it has never been more appropriate. Bob-O and his Razorbacks host the South Carolina Gamecocks in that other Saturday night top ten match-up. If Arkansas can win, Georgia will be in first place atop the SEC East all by themselves with just two conference games to play. No matter which team is victorious, I hope there is a camera man constantly trained on Petrino and Steve Spurrier to catch all the red faced, yelling, and visor throwing goodness that is sure to ensue in this pivotal match-up.



Now for the Saturday Night Main Event–LSU and Alabama finally meet in a #1 vs #2 showdown that the college football world has been waiting for. Both of these teams have been destroying the competition thus far this season. LSU’s closest game was a 13 point win over Oregon. The margin was 20 until the Ducks scored a touchdown with 13 seconds left. The tide has also been rolling as well. with their slimmest margin of victory coming in week two with a 16 point victory against Penn State.

While Trent Richardson is the best offensive player on the field, the Tigers will be up to the task of keeping the Alabama tailback in check. Jarret Lee has made Tiger fans forget his early struggles at LSU, as he has thrown just one interception this year. However, that stat could be a jinx if the senior quarterback is not careful on Saturday night.

Still, I’m going with the visiting Tigers to pull off the upset. LSU currently sits as a five point underdog, but they are a little more well balanced on offense than Alabama. Jordan Jefferson can provide a good duel threat option under center if the Tide swallows Jarret Lee. Alabama and LSU seem to be a notch above everyone else at this point. It is a shame for college football fans that these two juggernauts only get one shot at each other.

Picks–College Football

Georgia will be without any of their usual options at running back for Homecoming against New Mexico State. Even so, The Dawgs will smoke the Aggies. (pun intended). Georgia 42, New Mexico State 13

Vanderbilt heads to the Swamp where the Gators are desperately looking for something to eat. Jordan Rodgers is fun to watch at quarterback, and no amount of Florida suffering is enough. Poor Will Muschamp– I wonder if he is beginning to long to be back with the Longhorns?  Sadly, the Gators will get a much needed win. Florida 24, Vanderbilt 17

The #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys host the #14 Kansas State Wildcats. Oklahoma skinned the Cats last week. The Cowboys will pick up where the Sooners left off. Oklahoma State 48, Kansas State 27

The Razorbacks host the Gamecocks in a contest that is potentially as important to the Georgia Bulldogs as it is to either team playing in the game. Arkansas wins, somewhat soothing the Dawgs’ wound from the four plays of doom. Arkansas 28, South Carolina 24

The “Game of the Century” emanates live from Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Saturday night. The time for talk is over. The Tigers win in a battle that is likely to be remembered as the college football game of the year even after the bowls are over. LSU 24, Alabama 21

NFL quick picks

Falcons win on the road at Indianapolis. Atlanta 31, Colts 10

The Giants and Patriots get it on in a Superbowl XLII rematch. Behold– David Tyree’s catch from that game.



New England 28, New York 17

Denver got a glimpse of how far Tim Tebow has to go in his development as a quarterback against Detroit last week. Tebow is very likeable but that won’t help him bounce back against the Bengals. Oakland 34, Denver 14


The Sunday night game is the best NFL game of the week on paper as the Ravens play on the road at Pittsburgh. The game caps off two great nights of football.  Pittsburgh 24, Baltimore 20

Finally, Philadelphia hosts the Monday night game. The Eagles beat the Bears to even their record on the year.  Philadelphia 31, Chicago 21

Enjoy the weekend. GO DAWGS AND HOGS!