Georgia-Florida Key To Victoy: Turnover Margin

Georgia Bulldogs Lead the Nation in Turnover Margin
Turnovers have been the spark that has ignited the 2014 Georgia defense under Jeremy Pruitt. UGA is currently the top team in the nation when it comes to taking the ball away from the opposing offense.  The Bulldogs turnover margin is +13.  As for the Gators, Florida is nowhere to be found in the top fifty.  In fact, UF is currently tied for 59th best in the country when it comes to turnover margin.

Gator Offense Sinking in The Swamp
The quarterback position has been a revolving door for the Gators in 2014.  True freshman Treon Harris seems to be the favorite to get the start for Florida this afternoon, as fourth-year junior Jeff Driskel cannot seem to get out of his own way.

Bottom Line: Provided Georgia can avoid unforced errors, they will extend their win streak over Florida to four for the first time since the ’80s.

The video below is from the YouTube Channel of Saturday Down South.  The content focuses on UGA shutting out Missouri on the road a few weeks ago.



Tray Matthews Dismissed from UGA

Dawgs Putting Discipline Back in Defense
According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, UGA head coach Mark Richt dismissed Tray Matthews from the team earlier this week.  Matthews started six games at safety for Georgia, however his off the field problems left the Bulldogs with no alternative but to remove him from the program.

During what the AJC termed an exclusive interview, Tray Matthews stated that his unruly classroom behavior was the final straw in his dismissal.

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Hopefully Nick Saban is giving our beloved coach a discipline tip. Or two.

Fret not, Bulldog Nation, for Tray Matthews says he was planning to leave anyway.  Apparently, he had been waiting for the right time to inform the media.  Matthews clearly has some growing up to do, and here’s hoping a change of scenery helps facilitate that.

As far as what is next for the troubled sophomore, Tray Matthews has expressed a desire to continue his college career at either Auburn or Louisville.

Task Getting Tougher for Jeremy Pruitt
Tray Matthews was not a difference maker on defense during his time in Athens.  Still, there is no substitute for experience.  UGA possesses the talent level to compete with any team in the country, but a lack of depth on defense is going to make a quick turnaround very difficult.

Georgia Sending a Message to Student Athletes
In the midst of another turbulent offseason for the Georgia Bulldogs, Mark Richt says the football team “is trying to make room for guys who want to do things right.”  Tray Matthews is the third player who played a significant role in 2013 that has left the program this offseason.  Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has his work cut out for him preparing for his first season between the hedges.

Discipline issues are a fact of life in big time college football.  The key to success is whether or not a team establishes a no nonsense standard of handling and overcoming issues, while working together to be successful on and off of the gridiron to breed success in all facets of college.

Games Cannot be won in June (Though they can Certainly be Lost)
June is a fairly absurd time to make big predictions about the upcoming season.  Even so, 2014 promises to be a pivotal year for Bulldog Nation.  It has been nearly a decade since Georgia won the Southeastern Conference, and expectations will be high for a lot of new faces to make a championship level first impression.

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.

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.



UGA 41 GT 34 – Dawgs Survive Jackets in Overtime

uga_gtGutsy Performance From Hutson Mason
A determined Hutson Mason led the Bulldogs to victory in Atlanta.  The redshirt junior engineered a 20 point comeback against the Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech, culminating in an overtime win.  Making his first career start for the University of Georgia, Mason completed 22 out of 36 passes for 299 yards. The unfamiliar quarterback seemed far more comfortable in a hurry-up offense where the Bulldogs dictated the pace.

When Bulldog Nation found themselves in a 17-0 hole at the end of the first quarter, UGA seemed resigned to end the regular season on a low note.  Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson threw the Dawgs a curve ball with an aerial assault.

Dawgs Hunker Down Again
The Georgia defense hunkered down in the second half, leaving the door open for Bulldog Nation to make a comeback.  After allowing four scoring drives in the first half, UGA surrendered just one touchdown during the remainder of regulation.  Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense went to the passing well a little too often, as GT quarterback Vad Lee threw a costly interception that swung the momentum in Georgia’s favor.

The Final Frame/Overtime
Georgia seized victory on the power and determination of Todd Gurley.  The Bulldogs’ leading tailback scored on consecutive possessions in OT, allowing Bulldog Nation to crush the hopes of Georgia Tech once again. TGII wrapped up the afternoon with 122 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.

Dawgs Finish 8-4. Gators Sink in Swamp.
Their win in week 14 means UGA finishes the regular season at 8-4.  Due to the adversity and injuries the team had to overcome, eight wins is a number to be proud of.  Dawg alum Will Muschamp can attest to that.  The 4-8 Gators will not go bowling.  Although this matter is off topic, I cannot taking a shot at Florida.

Where Will Georgia Go Bowling?
According to CBS Sports, Georgia is likely headed to the Music City Bowl in Nashville on December 30. If this prediction comes to fruition, the Dawgs will play Boston College before closing the book on 2013. On paper, one may think this paring favors Georgia. To quote the immortal Lee Corso, not so fast, my friend!

The Eagles are led by the nation’s top rusher, Andre Williams.  Utilizing his dangerous combination of speed and power, Williams has become a legitimate Heisman candidate.  UGA gave up nearly 600 yards rushing in their final two games of the regular season.  Sounds like a recipe for a highlight reel.

Below is a preview of what may await Bulldog Nation.  I hope the Dawgs do face Boston College. It would be interesting to see how the defense matches up with Andre Williams.



Upon Further Review…
UGA’s post season destination is uncertain. The Red and Black reports Georgia is likely going to the Gator Bowl against Michigan. If this occurs, Bulldog Nation should expect a recurring theme of a ton of points without much defense.

Georgia Versus Georgia Tech – November 30, 2013

mark_richt_paul_johnsonNeither Team has Bigger Fish to Fry
The 109th renewal of the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry has lost some of its luster for the 2013 edition.  These two major college football programs from the Peach State have combined for eight losses this season.  How is this possible, you ask?  Any number of reasons come to mind, including an inability to stop the opposition, injuries, and untimely buffoonery.

Is Paul Johnston Still a Genius?
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has earned the right to be called a genius dating back to his time coaching the Naval Academy.  He achieved even greater success during his first two seasons in Atlanta.  However, since 2010, the Yellow Jackets have struggled to rise above mediocrity.  Georgia Tech’s inability to win big games in the past few years has left some fans in Atlanta wondering if their head coach is too smart for his own good.

Oh Yeah, Both These Teams Are Bowl Eligible
The contest known as “Clean Old-Fashioned Hate” signifies the conclusion of regular season UGA football.  Unfortunately, neither the Dawgs nor the Jackets are participating in a conference championship game, meaning a lackluster bowl game is all that separates these two teams from a long offseason.

Aaron Murray’s Injury
When Dawg Post tweeted a picture of Aaron Murray leaving Sanford Stadium to go to the hospital for a Saturday night MRI, the prognosis did not look good.  Sadly, the worst fears of Bulldog Nation have been realized Aaron Murray’s Georgia career is over.  He will have surgery to repair his ACL on Tuesday.  So ends his 52-game start streak, along with his decorated college career.

Don’t Cry for Aaron Murray
Aaron Murray’s injury does not signify an end.  Rather, it marks the beginning of his next chapter. #11 had arguably the greatest career of anyone to ever quarterback the University of Georgia.  He will get the opportunity to play in the National Football League.

Based on the grit and determination he has shown throughout his time between the hedges, Aaron Murray will make an NFL team start him on Sundays sooner rather than later.  Don’t cry for Aaron Murray, bark louder than ever.

The Hutson Mason Show
Hutson Mason’s time has come.  Any Georgia Tech fan who believes the sudden change at QB means the Jackets will win has not been paying attention.  Hutson Mason has been in the Georgia program for nearly four years.  He has yearned to start a game for the University of Georgia since he was 18 years old.  November 30th represents a chance for Hutson Mason to send a message to the rest of college football.

On behalf of all of Bulldog Nation, Hutson Mason’s arm is going to pronounce 2014 as the year of the Dawg.  The defense is going to reinforce the statement by keeping the Yellow Jackets from buzzing.  Todd Gurley has been unstoppable when healthy.  He is sure to make his presence felt as well.

Georgia-Georgia Tech, Picking a Winner
This Saturday is the final stop on the Bulldogs’ regular season calendar.  The 2013 UGA football season will not go down in the history books in the way that Bulldog Nation had hoped, but Georgia fans and players alike should be proud that passion did not waiver no matter how many obstacles got in the way.  Coach Richt has owned Georgia Tech during his time in Athens, expect that trend to continue.

UGA 31, GT 20.  GO DAWGS!

College Football Week 13 – State of the Georgia Bulldogs

aaron_murray_2013With two games remaining, the Dawgs’ roller coaster campaign is almost over.  2013 has been a challenging year for Bulldog Nation. Georgia has lost four games this year.  Each defeat has been riddled with injuries, a lack of execution, and bad luck.  In spite of the adversity UGA has faced this season, it is always great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Aaron Murray Leaves a Legacy to be Proud of
This past weekend’s game against Auburn was a microcosm of Aaron Murray’s career between the hedges.  No matter how many rushing yards the defense gave up, (323) or how big of a lead the Auburn Tigers built, the Georgia quarterback refused to let his Dawgs roll over and play dead.

The senior UGA signal-caller led the Dawgs to a 17 point fourth quarter comeback in Auburn.  The end result will not be discussed on this blog, but the effort should be commended.

Georgia-Kentucky: Basketball Season Has Begun
The majority of Wildcat faithful will be too busy slurping John Calipari flavored Kool-Aid to make the trip to Athens.  Mark Stoops has notched two wins in 2013.  Patience is a virtue for Stoops, who is in his first season as a head coach.  The good news for the youngest stoops brother is his success on the recruiting trail.  However, the Bluegrass State revolves around college basketball.

The Aaron Murray Farewell Tour Begins
Aaron Murray has two regular season games left on his farewell tour. The fifth-year signal caller is a combined 6-0 against Kentucky and Georgia Tech.  The Dawgs welcome the Wildcats into Sanford Stadium on Saturday night, before traveling to Atlanta for a date with the Yellow Jackets. The SEC’s all-time leading passer has left it all out on the field for UGA.  It is a shame Murray does not have a championship to show for it.

Georgia should beat Kentucky by three touchdowns.  Emotion will be running high between the hedges for Aaron Murray’s final home game, while the Wildcats are dead last in the SEC East with a Southeastern Conference record of 0-6.

Dawgs 49, Cats 17.

Georgia Versus Auburn – November 16, 2013

georgia_auburn_2013The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry             
Georgia and Auburn square off for the 117th time this weekend.  The series is deadlocked, as the Dawgs and Tigers have each won 54 games and played to eight ties.  UGA began playing Auburn in 1892. The Dawgs have been victorious in their last two meetings with the Tigers.

The Auburn Tigers Have Been Running All Over the Opposition
For Georgia to pull off the upset, they must find a way to slow down Auburn’s running game.  The Tigers rank third in the nation, averaging 322 yards on the ground per game.  The Bulldogs have had some success stopping the run this season, UGA’s rush defense is fourth in the Southeastern Conference.

Aaron Murray’s Last Big Stage?
Barring a minor miracle in the SEC East, week 12 marks Aaron Murray’s final game against a top-ten opponent.  ESPN notes Aaron Murray has played brilliantly against the Tigers.  In three career starts, Murray’s completion percentage against Auburn is 67.1.  The fifth-year quarterback is 2-1 against the Tigers, throwing for a total of 705 yards with ten touchdowns. Murray has yet to throw a pick to the War Eagle. Hopefully I did not just jinx the Dawgs.

The Dawgs Must Make Nick Marshall Throw
Current Auburn QB Nick Marshall began his college career in Athens as a cornerback.  According to All Alabama, the Georgia coaches thought Marshall would be a future All-SEC defensive back in Athens.  Unfortunately for both sides, Georgia head coach Mark Richt dismissed Marshall from the program after he violated team rules.

Now the starting quarterback for the Auburn Tigers, Nick Marshall’s athletic ability is obvious.  In the six games that Marshall has attempted to throw the ball more than ten times, his completion percentage has only exceeded 60 twice.  Still, teams have struggled to keep the Auburn QB in the pocket.  Marshall has run for over 100 yards in four of Auburn’s last five games.

Georgia 83, Auburn 7.
Bulldog Nation has rebounded from a rough October.  UGA is ranked in the top 25, bringing a record of 6-3 into Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers are 9-1, with aspirations of playing Alabama in a winner-take-all game in the Western division at the end of the regular season.  Considering the Dawgs have tamed the Tigers by a combined score of 83-7 over the past two seasons, planning ahead does not seem wise.

Georgia Needs to Focus on Winning Out
Despite the inconsistency in Athens, a victory over Auburn would give the Bulldogs three victories over teams ranked in the top ten in 2013. UGA should be focused on finishing 9-3 and sending their seniors out victorious in a bowl game.  If the Dawgs can win their two remaining SEC games, Missouri would have to lose their final conference contests for the Bulldogs to end up in Atlanta.

Will Muschamp – Old Dawg New Job

florida_georgia_rageThe Pressure is on Former Bulldog Will Muschamp
Due to what the Bleacher Report calls “The Cocktail Party Curse,” Florida head coach Will Muschamp is winless against his alma mater.  Muschamp succeeded Urban Meyer after Meyer “retired” at the end of 2010. Coach Muschamp is 0-2 against UGA, the school at which he played college football.  During his playing days as a Dawg from 1991-1994, Georgia went 0-4 against the Gators.  It seems Will Muschamp cannot win for losing Hopefully the trend continues in 2013.

Coach Muschamp has an Impressive Resume
Jabs aside, Will Muschamp has a wealth of experience in coaching.  Muschamp held four different assistant jobs before he got the opportunity to be the head man in Gainesville.  Still, it is critical that Muschamp begin to turn the tide against the Bulldogs.  Before his arrival, Urban Meyer won five out of six against UGA.  Even Ron Zook took two out of three from the Dawgs.

This weekend is not just another conference game for coach Muschamp.  It is a critical opportunity for the big Gator to catch his first Bulldog.

Jacksonville has Been a Rough Trip for Georgia Fans
As long as we are crunching numbers, it is only fair to look at one of our own.  Even with Georgia’s recent success, Mark Richt is just 4-8 against Florida.  Even as a loyal member of Bulldog Nation, I never know what to expect against the Gators.  Predicting a win in Jacksonville generally leads to disappointment.  A third straight victory against the Gators would soothe some of the pain Bulldog Nation had to endure in October.

In May of this year, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Will Muschamp proclaiming the Bulldogs current two-game win streak would not last long.  If the ramblings about coach Muschamp being on the hot seat are true, there is no time like the present.