Nightmare in Nashville
Georgia’s trip to Vanderbilt resulted in pure terror for Bulldog Nation. The encounter between the Bulldogs and Commodores turned disastrous in the fourth quarter, as the Dawgs gave up a 13 point lead in the final frame. UGA fell to Vanderbilt by a final score of 31-27.
Sex appeal to ease the pain of a 1-2 record in October.
Special Teams Miscue Recapped
Georgia’s special teams woes continued to haunt them in week eight. The Bulldogs were leading by three with less than three minutes to go in the football game. The Dawgs were forced to punt, but the punter never got an opportunity to kick the ball away. For the second time this season, a botched special teams snap contributed to UGA losing.
Aaron Murray: Countless Records, Zero Championships
The worst part of Georgia’s lackluster performance against Vandy was the season altering implications attached to it. When Georgia finished September 3-1, Bulldog Nation was poised to compete for a championship. The month of Halloween has altered the course of Georgia’s voyage completely. Instead of sailing towards the SEC championship, the Dawgs are 1-2 in October. The Bulldog boat is barely afloat.
With the injury list mounting, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray had one of the least productive outings of his Georgia career. The fifth-year signal caller managed only 114 yards through the air, and did not throw a touchdown pass. The silver lining for the senior Bulldog is he surpassed Tim Tebow for the most total yards in Southeastern Conference history.
Dear Georgia Coaching Staff, Hire a Special Teams Coach, Now.
On the first day of 2013, SB Nation reported the Bulldogs would not hire a special teams coach for the 2013 season. Furthermore, Georgia head coach Mark Richt stated he would educate himself more on the fundamentals of kicking, to help out with that aspect of the game.
Allow me to pose a question. Does the long snapper hiking the football back to the kicker constitute fundamental? If so, UGA’s head coach needs to go back to the drawing board.
I love Coach Richt, and my faith in Georgia football will not be shaken. However, it is time to hire a special teams coach. The Dawgs have had bad snaps, blocked kicks, and an overarching issue with the kicking game all season long. If I were UGA athletic director Greg McGarity, hiring a special teams coach would be a demand, not a request.
Mercifully, the Dawgs have an extra week to get up off the mat. Following the bye, Georgia will travel to Jacksonville for a game against the equally reeling Florida Gators.
Faith Testing Defeat
Georgia’s 15 point loss at home to Missouri during week seven of the 2013 college football season put an end to the Dawgs’ national championship aspirations for the year. However, it is still great to be a Georgia Bulldog. Aaron Muray and the UGA offense nearly led Georgia to a comeback victory over the Tigers. It was not to be, as mistakes put the Dawgs down midway through the fourth quarter.
Whether Georgia rebounds and finishes 10-2, or stumbles to an 8-4 season, the support of Bulldog Nation will remain. Now that allegiance has been pledged, it is time to vent a little frustration.
If last year’s defensive effort against the Tigers of Mizzou was grown-man football, this past Saturday’s defense can only be described as pee-wee football. The Georgia Bulldogs missed tackle after tackle, while being consistently outplayed by Missouri’s potent offense. Credit must be given to Mizzou quarterback James Franklin for playing an outstanding game. It is unfortunate he is out for the remainder of the regular season with a separated shoulder. The versatile Tigers will miss him dearly.
There is no excuse for giving up 28 points in two quarters of football. Almost two months into the season, Georgia’s defense has shown only minor signs of improvement. Last week, I wrote patience is a virtue, but it is difficult to be patient when your team struggles to execute basic fundamentals. The reason for the highlights below below begins about 46 seconds into the video. At the 6:10 mark in the second quarter. Cue the Benny Hill music.
The Georgia D adjusted, and played better in the second half, but they cannot expect to only show up for the final two quarters and still be able to win a football game. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham needs to get more out of his personnel.
To be fair, QB Aaron Murray coughed up the football to end the previous series, which Missouri promptly picked up and returned for a touchdown. The error left the Bulldogs in dire straits, as Bulldog Nation found themselves in a 28-10 hole they could not climb out of. UGA committed four turnovers in the contest, Missouri did not give away the ball.
Dawgs Prepare to Hunker Down Against Vanderbilt
Georgia remains in contention for a third straight SEC East crown. If the Bulldogs plan on making it to Atlanta, Mark Richt and company must find a way to right the ship. Coach Richt believes injuries are no excuse for losing, but they sure do make it more difficult to achieve victory. Georgia’s Southeastern Conference fate likely rests on the ankle of tailback Todd Gurley.
The Dawgs and Spartans meet in a rematch from 2008.
The Georgia Bulldogs will play the final game of their 2011 campaign on the second day of 2012. The Dawgs face the Spartans of Michigan State in the Outback Bowl on Monday afternoon. Momentum is key for Bulldog Nation as a new year is on the horizon between the hedges. A victory for the Bulldogs will likely mean a top 15 finish and a possible spot in the top ten at the beginning of next season. With all the talent that Georgia has coming back, a strong showing in the Outback Bowl is critical for the Bulldogs to build on their success going into next season.
However, beating Michigan State will be no easy task for Georgia. Both the Dawgs and the Spartans come into the bowl match-up with a 10-3 record, but Michigan State was four points away from representing the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. Sparty is lead by their senior quarterback Kirk Cousins, and everyone involved with the Michigan State football program is well aware that the Spartans have not won a bowl game since 2001.
As for the Bulldogs, Georgia does not need to look any further than New Years Eve 2010 for inspiration. Georgia lost 10-6 to the University of Central Florida Knights in the Liberty Bowl last year. Other than the homecoming loss to Vanderbilt in 2006, last year’s bowl debacle was the low point of Mark Richt’s tenure at UGA. Both Richt as well as Bulldog Nation will have waited over a year for the opportunity to get that terrible taste out of their collective mouths. Continue reading →
Georgia looks to end the 2011 season where it began
The third Saturday in November brings an opportunity for redemption for the Georgia Bulldogs.The Dawgs host the Kentucky Wildcats with a birth in the SEC Championship game hanging in the balance for Georgia. The Bulldogs have everything to gain with a win, but plenty to lose if they overlook the Wildcats. Sanford Stadium will be packed for Georgia’s final home game of 2011, as the Bulldogs look to punch their ticket back to the Georgia Dome.
Elsewhere in the Southeastern Conference, the regular season is beginning to wind down. Teams such as LSU and Alabama are looking to bring the SEC a sixth straight BCS National Championship, while teams like Vanderbilt are trying to get bowl eligible. The Commodores travel to Neyland stadium to face their in-state rival Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee is 4-6 on the season, and in last place in the SEC East in year two under Derrick Dooley. While the son of the Georgia coaching legend deserves more time to turn things around, the final two games of the Vols’ regular season could go a long way in determining how much longer Dooley Jr. gets.
In other parts of the country, teams are jockeying for position in the Bowl Championship Series standings. #4 Oregon hosts USC in Eugene, and Chip Kelly’s Ducks will be looking to win with style as they audition for the role of the best one loss team in college football. If Oklahoma State or LSU loses before bowl season, the best one loss team is likely to claim a spot in the national championship game.
As for the other team in Oklahoma, The Sooners visit Baylor on Saturday night. The game is Robert Griffin III’s best chance to get back in the Heisman race. “RG3″ has been spectacular this season. However, he does not have enough help to beat the Oklahoma Sooners. Boomer Sooner will eat the Bears.
As for the pro game, The Atlanta Falcons are coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to their NFC South rival New Orleans Saints. Atlanta is just 1-2 against their division this season. In order to repeat as the NFC South champion the Falcons need to own their division down the stretch. Cue the “Rise up” video.
This week the Falcons host Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans. Atlanta is currently fourth in the NFL against the run, but that stat is misleading given the success that opposing teams have had through the air against the Dirty Birds. Atlanta faces an elite running back for the next two weeks. (Adrian Peterson next week) It is critical that the run defense lives up to their ranking, because it will be tested in the next few outings.
Other Sunday grid iron offerings include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trying to beat the streak as they face the Packers at Lambeau Field. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers may be public enemy #1 for what he has done to Atlanta lately, but it is hard not to admire the astonishing numbers he is putting up this season. Green Bay is 9-0 and a strong candidate to repeat as super bowl champions.
Picks– College Football
USC travels to Eugene, Oregon to face the quack attack. The Ducks will pound the Trojans into submission. This one will be closer than the final score indicates. Oregon 38, USC 21
Arkansas beats Mississippi State, setting up a showdown with LSU next week. Arkansas 34, Mississippi State 13
Tennessee desperately needs to win at home to salvage some sort of pride in a season gone horribly wrong. The Volunteers are 0-6 in conference play. Conversely, things are looking up for the Commodores since Jordan Rodgers became the starter. Vanderbilt wins because they really want to go bowling. Vanderbilt 21, Tennessee 17
Oklahoma goes bear hunting at Baylor Saturday night. Robert Griffin is very talented and may have a future on Sundays. However, Baylor is giving up 36 points per game on defense. Oklahoma 64, Baylor 28
Georgia will clinch the SEC East with a win at home against Kentucky. The Wildcats have been tame, and Kentucky will need to find a quarterback in the off-season to be competitive in the SEC going forward. The Dawgs will win big and complete their road to redemption. Georgia 42, Kentucky 10
The 5-4 Atlanta Falcons host the 5-4 Tennessee Titans in a rare 4:15 Georgia Dome kickoff. Falling to 5-5 in front of a loud Atlanta crowd would be disastrous for the Dirty Birds. Falcons win to stay in the thick of the crowded NFC playoff race. Atlanta 28, Tennessee 17
Tampa Bay Travels to Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers is playing quarterback better than anyone else I have ever seen right now. The Packers will take their win streak to double digits. Let the quest for perfection begin. Green Bay 31, Tampa Bay 21
The Redskins and Cowboys renew their rivalry this week. “America’s team” is struggling to live up to high preseason expectations as they sit at 5-4. Tony Romo has to find a way to come up big if the Boys’ are going to make a playoff run. Cowboys beat the Redskins. Washington needs an actual quarterback. Dallas 35, Washington 17
The Giants face the Eagles Sunday Night. G-Men win. Giants 27, Eagles 20
Finally, Kansas City travels to New England on Monday night. Tom Brady’s bunch wins. New England 35, Kansas City 14
Week seven of the college football season is in the books. A quick summary–two ranked teams were definitively exposed as overrated, (Michigan and Georgia Tech) while Clemson continues to play to the level of their competition. Giving up 45 points to Maryland should alarm Clemson Tiger fans but, they continue to pile up victories. Clemson has a legitimate shot to finish the regular season unbeaten.
The top eight teams in the country remain undefeated and there seems to be a real gap between those teams and everyone else. The Bowl Championship Series standings come out tonight, as LSU and Alabama both have a strong case for #1. Luckily for college football fans, the debate between the two teams will be settled on the field November 5th. Let’s face it, not even Watson is a smart enough computer to predict this collision course. (more on this later)
As for the Georgia Bulldogs, they narrowly avoided a trip to the dog pound. I am going to have nightmares about that blocked punt with 15 seconds to go. That was the single scariest moment I have ever experienced as a fan. One has to wonder if Mark Richt’s Georgia tenure flashed before his eyes as the play unfolded. (Mark Richt is a great coach but a loss in that manner would have been earth shattering.)
Kudos to Jordan Rodgers, younger brother of reigning Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, for one of the gutsiest efforts in Vanderbilt football history. While he only completed four passes out of 19, he carried the ball 11 times for 80 yards. The Commodores scored 21 second half points, and every time they needed a third down conversion he made a play to get it. Vanderbilt has found their quarterback for the future and, while it was scary to watch Georgia struggle, it was fun to watch Jordan Rodgers play well.
Alabama and LSU meet in 20 days. Barring an unforeseen circumstance, both will be undefeated and a trip to the SEC championship game will be on the line. Each team has made highlight reel statements over the last few weeks as if they are sending a message to each other. Trent Richardson’s 76 yard touchdown run rang loud and clear. He has proven why Tide fans did not expect a drop off at the tailback position when Mark Ingram went to the NFL. SEC commissioner Mike Slive needs to see if Michael Buffer is available on the first weekend of November because LSU and Alabama will be ready to rumble.
The Georgia Bulldogs visit Tennessee for the second week in a row as they face the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday night in Nashville. A victory is obviously the Dawgs’ top priority but they must also avoid further injury going into the bye week. Tailback Isaiah Crowell was able to play through the discomfort in his arm as he helped lead Georgia to a 20-12 victory in Knoxville against the Volunteers. However, emerging wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell was not so lucky. All indications are that he will be ready to go following the bye week.
As for Saturday’s opposition, Vanderbilt is 3-2, (1-2 in the SEC East) and the ‘Dores were blanked by Alabama last week. Vanderbilt has failed to score a touchdown in their last two games. Georgia cannot afford to overlook Vanderbilt though because a sleepwalking Bulldog team will be exactly what the Commodores are hoping for.
Georgia should view this game as a tune up game for the Gators. With all due respect to Vanderbilt, Georgia learned their lesson in 2006. The Bulldog defense needs to keep flying to the football and playing the way they have the last few weeks. As for the offensive side of the ball Aaron Murray has an opportunity to get his timing down with the other receivers since Malcolm Mitchell is out. If Murray had been able to hit Tavarres King on deep routes last week Georgia would have been more impressive in beating the Vols.
Upon getting his 100th career victory last Saturday night, it is apparent how much Georgia football players love playing for coach Mark Richt. As long as Georgia can continue to win, future Bulldogs will have the opportunity to play for Richt as well. Positive results on the field ensure that Bulldog Nation keeps barking while the fair-weather fans can stay where they belong–in the dog house.