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



Richard Samuel: Unselfish Georgia Bulldog

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Sometimes Statistics Do Not Tell the Whole Story
Richard Samuel had only 18 carries in his final season at the University of Georgia. The senior Bulldog fullback was once a five star recruit and a Parade All-American in high school. In his last two years of high school football, Richard Samuel rushed for a total of 2,771 yards and scored 43 touchdowns. In addition, Samuel recorded 160 tackles and five sacks on the defensive side of the ball. With those statistics in mind, it would be easy to consider Samuel’s time between the hedges as a disappointment. After all, Richard had just 214 career carries at Georgia for a total of 833 yards and four touchdowns. These numbers are not at all indicative of what has defined Samuel’s contributions to the UGA football team.

Richard Samuel Made Sacrifices for the Good of Georgia Football
Richard Samuel should be remembered as a Damn Good Dawg. Samuel was mister unselfish at Georgia, as he was always willing to switch positions to help his team, and his teammates, get better. According to the Macon Telegraph, Richard Samuel and Jarvis Jones formed a potent linebacker combination at Georgia football practice in 2010. However, Samuel never played a snap on defense in Athens because injuries at the running back position dictated that he move back to offense.

UGA Running Back Richard Samuel Wanted to Contribute More on the Field
Richard Samuel does not have any hard feelings about how his time between the hedges played out. The Macon Telegraph reveals that Samuel is a little bothered he did not make a bigger impact on the field for the Georgia Bulldogs, but he does not blame anyone involved with UGA football for the way his college career turned out. Samuel says, “It’s been bits and pieces, here and there. I don’t feel like I’ve done anything consistent to help the team.”

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Richard Samuel always does what is best for Georgia football.

Richard Samuel is One of the Finest Guys to Ever Come to the Georgia Program
If Richard Samuel is concerned about leaving a lasting impression, he needs only to consult coach Richt. Mark Richt told the Macon Telegraph, “I can’t say enough good about Richard Samuel. He’s a very valuable part of the team, and he’s one of the finest guys that’s come through the program.”  Richard Samuel’s days as a Bulldog have been marked by his immense talent and character, because he has put the needs of his team ahead of his own personal goals.

Richard Samuel enrolled at Georgia at the very young age of 16. If I were in his position at that age I would have failed out by the age of 18, and that is without the daily grind of major college football. As far as his accomplishments on the gridiron, I will most remember #22 for carrying Gators on his back as he helped Georgia defeat Florida in 2011.  As for what the future holds for Richard Samuel, if he wants to try his hand at the next level he will likely be able to get his foot in the door of an NFL training camp. If pro football is not in his plans, Samuel certainly has the character and work ethic to succeed in life after being a Georgia Bulldog.



University of Georgia – The History of the Sanford Stadium Hedges

It’s Saturday in Athens
Sanford Stadium has been the place to be for University of Georgia home football games for over 80 years. Having already discussed Georgia football traditions such as barking like a dog, holding up four fingers in honor of the fourth quarter and the team entrance anthem of Baba O’ Riley, we felt it appropriate to examine one of the most aesthetically pleasing characteristics of Sanford Stadium–the hedges.

The hedges add something special to Sanford Stadium.

Hedging Their Bet: UGA Officials Pick Hedges
According to Online Athens, Charlie E. Martin was the business manager for the athletic department at Georgia in 1929. Martin had attended the Rose Bowl Game, and as a result he had a desire to plant the hedges with roses. Horticulturalists at UGA were quick to inform Charlie Martin that roses would not flourish in Georgia. University officials decided to plant privet Ligustrum instead. The decision was made so close to the kickoff of the first game at Sanford Stadium that the hedges were brought in with trucks the day before the opener against Yale.

The Bulldogs Win Their First Game Between the Hedges
The University of Georgia’s unique privet hedges were first planted on October 12, 1929, reportedly only hours before the first Bulldog home football game at Sanford Stadium. The Dawgs won the first contest on their new home turf, defeating Yale by a count of 15-0. Dr. Steadman Vincent Sanford was the president at Georgia at that time, and he made it his mission for UGA to house “the best football stadium in Dixie.”

The Hedges Inspired Vince Dooley to Garden
The hedges have been a hallowed part of Sanford Stadium for over eighty years. Legendary former Bulldog coach Vince Dooley was not interested in the gardening aspect of Sanford Stadium until well after his coaching days were over. Dooley attended horticulture classes at UGA and became friends with Georgia horticulturalists Michael Dirr and Allan Armitage. According to ESPN, gardening became a passion for Vince Dooley because, he said, “I don’t play golf.”

The Hedges at Sanford Stadium Had to be Trimmed for the 1996 Summer Olympics
When Atlanta, Georgia was picked to be the home of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, men’s and women’s soccer required a venue worthy of gold medal majesty. Sanford Stadium certainly seemed like a perfect fit. However, because the required dimensions of a soccer field are longer than an American football field, the hedges around Sanford Stadium had to be removed

In preparation for this aesthetic dilemma, University of Georgia personal began to collect trimmings from the original hedges for three years prior to the Olympics. This process was kept quiet as the trimmings were nurtured and grown so that they would be prepared to replace the old hedges. Upon completion of the 1996 Olympics, the new Sanford Stadium hedges were brought in from R.A. Dudley Nurseries in Thomson, Georgia.

The Hedges Are Part of the Sanford Stadium Experience
The University of Georgia puts a lot of time and money into making sure that the hedges at Sanford Stadium are in pristine condition. As a result, trying to take a piece of the hedges as a souvenir is quite frowned upon. ESPN reports that, “The hedges are guarded by a state-of-the-art camera system. However, if one is fortunate enough to get by UGA’s security measures, back-up hedges are kept at a secret location.

A body can never be too careful around the University of Georgia hedges. Just ask former Georgia Bulldog tight end Aron White, who once got stuck in the famous hedges following a touchdown catch.



Mark Richt NCAA Violation – The Best NCAA Infraction In The History of College Football

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Jolly Old Saint Richt.

Mark Richt began his 2011 campaign as one of the most polarizing figures in Athens, Georgia. After a ten win season and a fourth SEC East division title, his public approval rating would be hard pressed to get any higher as the year comes to a close. However, following an NCAA violation the head coach of Georgia Bulldog football has again managed to enhance his nice guy reputation.

Chip Towers of The Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) reports that Mark Richt has incurred some secondary NCAA violations–for paying coaches and support staff members on his own football team. Richt felt they were not being paid enough by the University of Georgia for their contributions. Given the economic climate in this country over the past few years as well as the warm seat that Mr. Richt had been on this has to be considered the best violation in the history of University of Georgia athletics.

Here is an example from the AJC article that details Mark Richts’ generosity just in time for the holiday season.  “Richt paid former recruiting assistant Charlie Cantor out of his own pocket after determining that Cantor was underpaid for his position compared to comparable programs against whom Georgia competed.” The article notes that Richt asked UGA to give Cantor a raise first, and he then paid Cantor $10,842 over an 11 month period ending in 2011, after then athletic director Damon Evans denied his request.

The wonders of the National Collegiate Athletic Association never cease to amaze, as apparently Georgia was supposed to let a five year old child go hungry to avoid a secondary violation. The AJC notes that the University paid $21.33 for two meals for Tyriq Gurley, who is the five year old brother of 2012 running back prospect Todd Gurley. The Gurley family has reimbursed UGA for the expense.

So a five year old is supposed to see his older brother get something to eat on a family trip, but he is not allowed to have any of the food? Sure NCAA, that makes a lot of sense.  So Georgia bought the kid a few Happy Meals and an ice cream cone. Georgia was just showing their southern hospitality to the Gurley family. Refusing to buy a kindergarten age kid a few meals would have been heinous. Georgia should take that “violation” with a smile.

Santa Claus has nothing on coach Mark Richt this holiday season. Georgia’s head coach has proven that he rewards hard work not only with loyalty, but with compensation out of his own pocket as well. Hopefully the head coach has a national championship left somewhere in his bag of goodies.