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.

Tennesee Football Finally Does the Right Thing for Phillip Fulmer

phillip_fulmer Phillip Fulmer’s Volunteers Won the First Ever BCS National Championship Trophy
The Tennessee Volunteers won the inaugural BCS National Championship Game with Phillip Fulmer at the helm in 1998.  A decade later, coach Fulmer agreed to step down after a 5-7 season in 2008. Tennessee won ten games the year prior to his dismissal. Especially with the benefit of hindsight, it is clear the University of Tennessee was too quick to pull the rug out from under Phillip Fulmer.

Since his departure, the Volunteers have been dwelling in mediocrity.  With the exception of 2009, Tennessee has not had a winning season since they fired Fulmer.  ’09 was the infamous year of Lane Kiffin in Knoxville, and he left ole Rocky Top as soon as the University of Southern California came calling.  One can justifiably surmise USC now wishes Kiffin did not answer the phone.

Derek Dooley Tried, but the Rebuilding Work in Rocky Top was too Much
Derek Dooley went 6-7 and took the Volunteers to a bowl game during his first season in Knoxville in 2010.  Unfortunately for Barbara Dooley’s baby boy, it was all downhill from there.  The junior Dooley notched only one conference victory per year during ’11 and ’12.

Derek Dooley was fired following the 2012 campaign, on the heels of back-to-back 5-7 seasons. The highlight of coach Dooley’s three years in Knoxville may have been the win that wound up being a loss against LSU in 2010.

Butch Jones: Rebuilding Tennessee Football one Burned Bridge at a Time
According to Bleacher Report, Tennessee coach Butch Jones invited Phillip Fulmer to football practice a little over a week ago.  The article notes that coach Jones also requested that the once proud Volunteer speak to the team.

No matter how Jones fares at Tennessee, his invitation to Fulmer was a classy move that had been long overdue.  Neither Derek Dooley nor Lane Kiffin afforded Fulmer the chance to associate with the program that he coached for 16 years.

Legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson called Phillip Fulmer “Tennessee to the core.” Coach Fulmer is in the College Football Hall of Fame, and it is nice to see that Tennessee is finally making an effort to honor a man who put his heart and soul into the University of Tennessee.

Closing thought: Maybe Butch Jones can invite Lane Kiffin back in a few years?  I doubt Hell will ever get that cold.

Herschel Walker Debuts Against UT 1980 (Look at the Blocking)

Below is a wonderful video highlighting Herschel Walker in his debut against the Tennessee Volunteers in 1980.  Really well done, as I was thinking about Herschel after seeing him at the 2012 Tennessee game in Sanford Stadium.  Herschel was indeed impressive, but note the holes that open as the Georgia line pushes the UT defense around…a nice contrast to what happened in Columbia this past saturday night.

Georgia must have strong offensive line play.

Georgia Bulldogs 2012 Schedule Preview – Part Two

The second installment of this three part series picks up right where the first left off, with the Georgia Bulldogs at 4-0, ready to pounce on the Tennessee Volunteers to round out the first month of the college football season. Tennessee may very well enter Sanford Stadium undefeated as well if they can get by the Florida Gators in the third week of the season.

Whether it is justified or not, Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley is likely to spend the 2012 season on the hot seat. A victory in Athens would be the signature win that he has been looking for since his arrival in Knoxville. The junior Dooley has been close before when his Volunteers attempted to play the role of giant killer against LSU in 2010. The inexplicable conclusion of that game remains among the strangest things I have ever seen in college football.

Unfortunately for Barbara Dooley’s baby boy, the Bulldogs should be getting all of their starters back at this point in the season and Bulldog Nation will be gearing up for a clash with South Carolina the following week. Tyler Bray and company will provide a stern test but the Dawgs will not get caught looking ahead. Georgia wins. Continue reading

Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary (December 9 – 11, 2011)


Washington D.C. is the perfect location for Army-Navy.

College football has one regular season match-up left on the schedule this weekend, as Army-Navy takes center stage on Saturday afternoon in Washington, D.C. Many involved in the game of football could learn from the sportsmanship, pride, and passion that goes into the yearly rivalry between the two teams.

Both of these service academies have struggled to win football games in 2011. Navy has four victories this season, while Army is 3-8. Each team runs the triple option offense with an eye on ball control to keep the other team off the field. The Black Knights lead the NCAA in rushing but that has not translated to a lot of points. On defense Army has not been able to keep opposing teams out of the end-zone often enough. As for the Midshipmen of Navy, they rank fourth in the nation in rushing and have lost five games this season by a touchdown or less.


“RG3″ deserves to win the 2011 Heisman Trophy.

The 2011 Heisman Trophy presentation is on Saturday night. The winner may very well come down to conference reputation versus most deserving in the eyes of the voters for the second straight weekend. Robert Griffin III should win the 2011 Heisman Trophy. This blog observed a few weeks ago that there is not a single athlete in college football who has done more with less than “RG3.” The other finalists have had great seasons but Robert Griffin III has made Baylor Bears football relevant. Continue reading

Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary (October 7 – 9, 2011)

The second weekend in October brings about classic rivalries and intriguing games in college football. The cream is starting to rise to the top in college football as there seems to be a real separation between the top eight teams and everyone else. (For examples see: Oregon-LSU, Wisconsin-Nebraska, and Alabama-Florida.) All of these games were one-sided with the strong surviving.

Fast forward to this week: The Red River Rivalry takes center stage in Dallas, Texas at noon. Following that, the Florida Gators (without starting quarterback Jeff Brantley) must face the AP #1 LSU Tigers. Finally, in  the nightcap my beloved Georgia Bulldogs face a huge roadblock in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Baseball is also heating up with a pair of game 5′s Friday night.  It would be nice to see the Milwaukee Brewers make a deep post-season run since Prince Fielder has already said he is going to test the free agent market. It could have been fun to see the Yankees make it to the World Series only to lose, because I get a chuckle out of watching the Yankees debate the future of their skipper (Joe Girardi) after making it all the way to the World Series. Sorry Mr. Girardi, but the yearly evaluation of your future is underway much sooner than you would have hoped.

Getting back to America’s new pastime on the pro side, the Falcons have a put up or shut up game against the Packers in Week 5. The Dirty Birds gave up 319 yards through the air courtesy of Tarvaris Jackson while barely getting by Seattle last week. With Aaron Rodgers and the Super Bowl champion Packers coming to town it is critical that the Falcons defend the Dome.

Last week, I picked 8 winners and 2 losers. The NFL selections were stellar, (5-0) but the Saturday predictions were just above average (3-2.) Texas A&M needs to figure out how to hold a lead. As for the Clemson Tigers, I have been fooled two weeks in a row now. Shame on me.

College Football Picks

The Red River Rivalry defines Oklahoma and Texas during the regular season. Bragging rights are at stake in a feature match-up in the Big 12. The difference will be the quarterbacks. OU has Landry Jones and Texas is still trying to figure out who their main man under center is. That spells trouble for the Longhorns.

Oklahoma 41, Texas 24

Next up, Georgia Tech takes on the Terrapins of Maryland. Maryland has been an enigma, beating Miami on a Monday night, but then getting decimated by Temple. It will be close but the Jackets will keep on buzzing.

Georgia Tech 26 Maryland 21

The game between Florida and LSU has lost a lot of luster since Jeff Brantley is unable to play due to injury. The Gators do have other weapons, but with an inexperienced quarterback they are going to struggle against the Associated Press #1.

LSU 38 Florida 14

The fighting Bobby Petrinos got a reprieve from the Alabama loss after beating Texas A&M last week. They are already back in the Top 10 one game removed from being rolled by the Tide. Now, they host the Auburn Tigers who are fresh off a win against the Gamecocks. (Thank you Auburn) However, Bob-O and company win a close one at home.

Arkansas 38 Auburn 35

A hobnail boot encore:

Georgia and Tennessee renew their rivalry in an all-important SEC East clash in Knoxville Saturday night. The Dawgs are narrowly favored on the road and the line is likely to be even by kickoff.

Georgia 34 Tennessee 24

Onto the NFL.

Usually, I’m a homer, but I wouldn’t pick the Falcons this week– unless the Packers’ bus breaks down. Maybe Aaron Rodgers strains an oblique during warm ups. If he plays all 4 quarters he may throw for 500 yards.

Packers 42 Falcons 21

Philadelphia gets a much needed win against the Bills.

Eagles 30 Bills 23.

Patriots beat the Jets who are reeling from last week.

Patriots 41, Jets 20

The Bears won’t be able to tame the Detroit Lions.

Lions 38 Bears 14

Lastly, the Saints won’t march, but they will squeak by Cam Newton and the Panthers. New Orleans wins on the road.

Saints 34 Panthers 31.









College Football Week 6 – Next Stop Rocky Top – (Georgia – Tennesee 2011)

Isiah Crowell Georgia Dawg FootballThe Georgia Bulldogs are coming off their best showing thus far in 2011, a 24-10 beat down of Mississippi State between the hedges. Georgia’s defense made life miserable for Mississippi State quarterback Chris Relf with five sacks. On the other side of the ball, Georgia’s offense executed a textbook two minute drill going into halftime to keep the pressure on the visiting team.  As the Dawgs prepare to travel to Neyland Stadium in an attempt to vanquish the Volunteers under the Saturday night lights, there is reason to have faith that the regular season will end where it began for Georgia–in the Georgia Dome.

Crystal ball conjecture notwithstanding, Georgia must take things one step at a time. This week, UGA faces a Tennessee Volunteer team with an ultra talented sophomore                  quarterback in Tyler Bray. Bray currently sits at the front of the line in the SEC in terms of yards per game (332) and passing efficiency. The Dawgs will need to hit Bray early and often to ensure that the road trip to Knoxville is a successful one.

Unfortunately, getting pressure on the Vols signal caller has become more of a quandary for Georgia since Cornelius Washington found himself in trouble over the weekend and he will now miss both games in the State of Tennessee at minimum. What is wrong with Mr. Washington? He is a young man who is going to make mistakes. But, to get suspended for driving drunk at this point in the season (or at any other time) is especially selfish. The defensive captain of the Georgia Bulldogs should know better. Remember, “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.” (Clip is from one of my favorite films: Remember The Titans.)

The Vols are dealing with their own adversity as they continue to work at overcoming the 6’4″ hole left by the season-ending injury to Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter. Georgia’s secondary still has to worry about Tennessee’s other wide out, Da’Rick Rodgers who is more than capable of making the Dawgs pay for lapses on defense. He is a playmaker even when facing solid coverage. The bulls-eye on Rodgers will be even bigger in the mind of Bulldog Nation, as he spurned UGA during his recruitment and is now a focal point of the Vols offensive attack.

Neyland Stadium will be filled to capacity as bitter SEC rival Tennessee looks to bring Georgia’s momentum to a halt. The Dawgs must take the crowd out of the game early by executing on both sides of the football. Derek Dooley is still looking for a signature win in his second year as Tennessee head coach and Saturday night against his daddy’s favorite school is a great opportunity. Even so, Georgia should get an important win as long as they do not make many critical mistakes on the road. The Georgia Bulldogs are a team on a mission and the next chapter unfolds on Saturday night.

Georgia Football Memories – Herschel Walker and Bill Bates

herschel walker red pants

Dig the red pants! UGA vs. Tennessee, September 6, 1980

September 6, 1980. Herschel Walker introduces himself to Mr. Bill Bates and the rest of the Tennessee Volunteers.  I was a youngster, living in Dublin, Georgia.  To many people outside of Atlanta, especially those of us in small rural towns, Georgia football was everything.  I’ve lived in large cities (Chicago, Atlanta), travelled all over the world, and to this day, I just don’t think people who haven’t lived in a small town can truly understand friday night high school football or how deeply the love of college football is ingrained into the psyche of small town life.  In many communities across America football is everything.

Hershel Walker went to school in Johnson County, just a hop, jump, and skip from Dublin. Anyway, I don’t remember watching the game on television (perhaps it wasn’t televised)…what I remember is listening to Larry Munson announcing on the radio.  That 1980 season, I don’t know, it just seems now in hindsight that somebody somewhere (maybe even up there) decided this was Vince Dooley’s year.  So many important moments, but for most of us it started with the Tennessee game.  Down 15-2 at half-time (and by the way, the legendary Johnny Majors was still head coach at Tennessee, with a younger Phil Fulmer as an assistant coach by his side), Vince Dooley brought the young freshman into the game. What followed was stunning and a precursor to the career of the finest running back of the modern college era.