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



College Football Week 7 2014: Georgia Versus Missouri

georgia_missouri

Thankfully, Georgia has more depth at running back in 2014.

Showdown in the Show Me State at Noon
Georgia travels to Missouri for a date with the Tigers this weekend.  The road team has won the first two games in the series as this new conference rivalry remains in its infancy.  In 2013, Missouri stunned Georgia between the hedges, defeating the Bulldogs 41-26.  The Tigers went on to win the SEC East, while injury riddled UGA struggled to an 8-5 season.

SEC East Destiny
Thanks to the Kentucky Wildcats, Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks would need a miracle to get back in the conference race.  The Dawgs are once again in control of their own destiny, but they must find a way to win on the road this weekend to avoid falling two games behind the Tigers.  Missouri’s lone blemish this season came in a non-conference tilt against Indiana.

Will the Real Hutson Mason Please Stand up
The Hutson Mason era has not gotten off to the smooth start Bulldog Nation was hoping for.  In defeating Vanderbilt 44-17 last Saturday, the fifth-year senior quarterback shared a few snaps with Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta.  Star tailback  Todd Gurley even found time to complete a pass when he was not running over the commodores.  These shenanigans are cute for a highlight film, but Georgia needs a consistent quarterback if the Dawgs are to realize their potential this season.

Todd Gurley Show may not Last a Full Season
The Todd Gurley show has become must-see television for college football fans.  Regardless, one has to wonder whether his spellbinding contributions can last a full season giving his current work load. Since he is clearly the big Dawg,  Bulldog Nation must continue to feed the beast, while making sure Gurley does not bite off more than he can chew.

UGA Must Contain Matty Mauk
The young Georgia defense is in another unenviable position this Saturday.  The Missouri Tigers have a balanced spread attack, led by trigger man Matty Mauk.  Mauk’s athleticism allows him to extend plays, which spells trouble for a Bulldog secondary that has had trouble covering the opposition.  Jeremy Pruitt’s defense has shown noticeable signs of improvement, but a shootout with Mizzou seems inevitable.

Georgia – Missouri by the numbers
Statistics dictate the Bulldogs will continue their run first approach.  In losing to the Hooseirs of Indiana Missouri gave up more than 230 yards on the ground.  While the Dawg secondary has been vulnerable, they have picked off at least four passes this season.  When a turnover opportunity knocks, Georgia needs to answer the door.

With games against Florida, Auburn, and dare I say the Kentucky Wildcats looming, UGA cannot afford to be two games behind the Missouri Tigers.  The #13 Bulldogs are likely to be favored, but Mizzou represents a huge roadblock back to the top of the division.  Look for Georgia to win a hotly contested game on the road.

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

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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.

Kickoff 2014 – Dawgs Maul Tigers: UGA 45, Clemson 21

keith_marshall_todd_gurley_ugaGeorgia Pummels Clemson in the Second Half
Georgia versus Clemson was a tale of two halves.   The first act was altogether unimpressive.  UGA gave up 254 yards on defense, resulting in the game being tied at 21 as the teams headed to the locker room.  During the final two frames, Georgia not only tamed the tigers, they slayed the tigers.  Bulldog Nation pitched a shutout in the second half while outscoring the Tigers 24-0 in the last 30 minutes of the game.

Dawgs Run Wild Between The Hedges
Having options at running back is nice, but Todd Gurley is clearly the big Dawg in Sanford Stadium.  His production on Saturday night, including 293 all-purpose yards, proves the Dawgs carry a championship level bite when #3 is able to shoulder the loud.  TGIII finished the opening contest with 198 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

Wearing #27, Nick Chubb had a 47 yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to break the will of the Clemson defense.

jeremy_pruitt_mark_richtA Damn Good Dawg Debut
On the other side of the ball, Jeremy Pruitt’s defense settled down nicely after giving up 13 first downs in the opening quarter quarter and turned in an impressive performance against Clemson.  If the starters can stay healthy, coach Pruitt should expect to continue his meteoric rise through the coaching ranks.

The Bulldogs came out even on the turnover ratio in week one. The fumble charged against Georgia was questionable, as what was originally ruled an incompletion to Michael Bennett turned out to be a fumble upon further review.  Thankfully, the mistake turned out to be nothing more than a blip on the radar.

Will Georgia’s Bite Be Worse Than Their Bark?
There is reason to be excited in Athens.  Georgia possesses a seemingly endless stable of running backs, led by a fifth-year senior signal caller.  As long as Hutson Mason is able to make big throws when the running game opens up the throwing lanes, the sky is the limit for the UGA offense.

Defensively, linebacker Leonard Floyd is poised to continue wreaking havoc on the Southeastern Conference.  Selected as a preseason All-American by ESPN, Floyd is the face of coach Pruitt’s defensive unit.  Pressuring the quarterback will be the key to the Bulldogs’ season.

What A Difference One Game Makes
UGA issued a resounding statement on opening night and the Dawgs now find themselves in the championship conversation.  Following a bye-week, Georgia will look to build on their success in a pivotal Southeastern Conference contest against a wounded Gamecock squad that laid an egg against the Aggies in week one.  Steve Spurrier has been a constant thorn in the Dawgs’ paw, but this year’s South Carolina squad found out that the hard way that it takes a lot more than a mouthy head coach to win a title.

Trends UGA Must Reverse in 2014

hedges'Defense Doomed Dawgs in 2013
Todd Grantham left Georgia earlier this year for the opportunity to work with Bobby Petrino at Louisville.  The question remains whether the new Cardinals defensive coordinator wanted to leave Athens, or was he simply getting the hell out of dodge?

Athlon Sports notes Georgia gave up a school record for points last year, allowing the opposition an average of 375.5 yards per game.  This total is the highest per game yardage given up by the Bulldog defense since coach Richt has been in Athens.

The Football Must Bounce Georgia’s way (Good Luck Would be Nice)
The Dawgs’ negative turnover margin (-7) kept them from building momentum last season.  UGA lost games in agonizing fashion, and four out of their five defeats were by less than six points.  Had Georgia been able to stay even remotely healthy, 2013 could have been a banner year for Bulldog Nation.

Avoid the injury Bug
The University of Georgia had a rash of injuries throughout last season.  The Bulldogs played multiple games without their top two running backs and three best receivers.  Eight wins may be considered a disappointment on the surface, but in reality it was a minor miracle.

A More Favorable Schedule
In 2013, Bulldog Nation made the trip to Death Valley in week one. This year, the Dawgs welcome the Tigers in the first game of the 2014 campaign  before traveling to South Carolina. Without former quarterback Tahj Boyd, Clemson should beware of Dawg in just over 90 days.

The Bulldogs drop LSU, add Troy, and get a bye-week before heading to Jacksonville on November 1.

College Football Playoff Changes the Dynamic of Winning a Championship
Next season signals the beginning of the highly anticipated College Football Playoff.  The Dawgs are among a select few legitimate threats from the Southeastern Conference which have a quarterback with starting experience on their roster.  The new postseason format means earning a national championship will be even more difficult, but Georgia’s winning tradition means they are always in title contention.

Transfer Trouble for UGA Football?

jeremy_pruitt_bcsTransfers May Cause Depth Issues on Defense
Bulldog Nation has plenty of reason to be excited about new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.  A proven winner, Pruitt has the experience needed to put the bark back into the bite of the Georgia defense.

Still, a coach is only as good as the talent he is instructing.  With the recent news that UGA defensive back Shaq Wiggins decided to transfer, only one member of the Bulldogs secondary has started more than a single game.

Wiggins’ decision to continue his college experience elsewhere is unfortunate.  With that said, Bulldog Nation wishes him the best of luck.  The Dawgs have no use for an athlete who lacks the desire to play between the hedges.

Jeremy Pruitt Rebuilding UGA, Not Reloading
Jeremy Pruitt’s ability to coach up a defense will be tested this fall.  Coach Pruitt certainly has the championship experience to warrant his new position, but, as Pruitt recently told the Macon Telegraph, his defense is getting back to basics. “There’s some good, there’s some bad, but all of it we control”.  He also stressed the importance of lining up correctly, knowing what to look for, and having proper technique.

CBS Sports notes the Bulldog defense finished number 11 in the Southeastern Conference in defensive pass efficiency.  Shaq Wiggins led the team in interceptions in 2013.  Wiggins’ team leading total of two picks speaks volumes about the team struggling to create turnovers as opposed to his individual ability.

Give Bulldog Nation a Reason to Bark Again
Winning cures everything.  It is unreasonable to expect a team to compete for a national championship every year, but five losses did not set well with anyone in Bulldog Nation.  The Dawgs’ new defensive coaches are tasked with bringing consistency back to a Georgia defense that appeared lost by the end of Todd Grantham’s tenure.

Upon his introduction as Georgia’s defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt revealed that he had been hoping for the chance to work with Mark Richt at UGA for more than a decade.  Now that his wish has come true, coach Pruitt must make the most of it.

Hutson Mason – One Year Legacy

hutson_mason_uga2014:The Year of Hutson Mason
Hutson Mason has started two games at the University of Georgia.  After leading an injury riddled Bulldog offense to a thrilling overtime victory against Georgia Tech his first time out, the 2014 Gator Bowl did not have a happy ending. UGA’s  depleted roster, coupled with too many mistakes resulted in the Dawgs coming up short against Nebraska by a final score of 24-19.  UGA finished this past season with five defeats.

Hutson Mason Finally Plays with a Full Deck
The Georgia starting quarterback will get the opportunity to play with a full supporting cast when the 2014 season rolls around.  Injuries were an epidemic for Bulldog Nation from start to finish in 2013, so it is likely better health alone will translates to more consistent results on the field.

According to Dog Bytes, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo felt Hutson Mason had a great spring.  Bobo remarked in part, “I thought Hutson had an outstanding spring, really stepped up in the leadership department.”

Bobo also noticed the Georgia signal caller working to make the most out of each play even while the skill level around him is not yet at full strength.

Taking the Pressure off of Gurshall
Priority number one for Hutson Mason is to keep teams honest, and prevent them from stacking the box against the Dawgs.  This task seems simple enough, considering he has coveted the opportunity to be the starting quarterback at UGA for more than four years.

Learning From the Past
In recent years, there have been three starting quarterbacks who have been afforded a single season to leave their paw print on the Georgia program.  Of the three names about to be discussed, this strategy only worked out heavily in Georgia’s favor on one occasion.

D.J. Shockley (2005)
D.J. Shockley led Bulldog Nation to a ten-win season during his lone year as the starter in 2005.  UGA finished 10-3, won the SEC title and appeared in the 2006 Sugar Bowl.

Joe Tereshinski III (2006)
The kid known as “Joe T” never really had the opportunity to take root as a starter between the hedges.  After stepping in for an injured D.J. Shockley against Florida in 2005, Tereshinski came into 2006 as the head signal caller. However, Joe  T injured his ankle during the second game of his final campaign.  Upon returning to the field, his lack of success proved to be his downfall.  Following an embarrassing homecoming loss to Vanderbilt, Tereshinski was benched in favor of Matthew Stafford.
joe_tereshinski_matt_staffordJoe Cox (2009)
Much like Hutson Mason and Joe Tereshinski III, Joe Cox had to be patient for his   opportunity to lead the Dawgs. Cox provided flashes of brilliance during 2009, guiding the Bulldogs to eight wins. Even so, far too many turnovers combined with a young supporting cast spelled mediocrity in Athens.  The 2009 Georgia Bulldogs went 4-4 in Southeastern Conference play.

Striving to get Everything Right
In an interview with ESPN, Hutson Mason made it clear that his goal is to win as much as possible. “When you get one shot, you get one opportunity, you want to make sure that you do everything right. You want to make sure that you don’t have any regrets because I don’t get four years.”

The year of Hutson Mason begins on Saturday, August 30, at home against Clemson.

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.

Aaron Murray – Damn Good Dawg

aaron_murray_dgd
Aaron Murray, Bulldog for Life.

Spring is in full swing between the hedges, but college football remains in limbo remembering this past season and looking ahead to the fall of 2014.

The future is now for UGA.  Bulldog Nation had extra time to prepare for the departure of their former four-year starting quarterback as a result of Aaron Murray tearing an ACL during the final home start of his Georgia career.

Even though his time as a Dawg did not end the way he envisioned, Aaron Murray loved being the starting quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs.  So much so that when it became clear his college football career was over, Aaron Murray tweeted he wished he could go back to being a freshman.

“Would do anything to go back and start playing as a freshmen again.  These 4 years have gone by way too fast.  I am a Dawg for life!” – Aaron Murray

Even Without a Championship, Aaron Murray Cemented his Legacy
Aaron Murray is the all-time passing leader in the Southeastern Conference.  He threw for more yards, and tossed more touchdown passes than anyone in the history of UGA football.  #11 finished his Georgia career as the third Georgia quarterback to ever defeat the Florida Gators three times.  At his peak,  Murray came within ten yards of leading Bulldog Nation to their first national championship appearance in a quarter century.

NFL – UGA  Connection?  A.J. Green and Aaron Murray
Sports Illustrated
recently reported on the possibility of Aaron Murray being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.  If this comes to fruition, Murray would be reunited with former Dawg teammate AJ Green.  Cincinnati has drafted several UGA players in the recent past, including tight end Orson Charles, and defensive end Geno Atkins.

Wishing #11 All the Success in the World
I will never forget the thrills Aaron Murray provided on Saturdays in Athens.  Even though some of his most heroic comebacks came up short on the scoreboard, the Georgia QB always put on a clinic in heart and determination.

Aaron Murray’s passion for leading the Dawgs to victory was unsurpassed by anyone to line up under center for The University of Georgia. Aaron Murray is a Damn Good Dawg

The heart wrenching video below is from the YouTube Channel of user fgruber7.  This particular tribute to Aaron Murray chronicles his heroics on the field, without lamenting the fact that his career did not end the way he had hoped.  For those of you looking to become emotionally invested in the National Football League, I recommend rooting for whichever team gives Aaron Murray the opportunity he deserves.