Monday, October 12, 2015

Tennessee 38 UGA 31 Recap: I Guess Because I Have To

I am writing this because I have to... and probably the most telling point is this the least enthusiastic I have been about writing something about the Dawgs in the past few years. I've been the most sunshine pumping person at times, and I'm far from that now. I've said at times it's just easier if you assume a 10-2 season but I am getting downright tired of having to try to feel comfortable with that statement at the midway point in the season. It's happened too many times in the past few years.

I was madder than hell the whole because having to watch that happen to Nick Chubb just isn't fair. I care way too much about winning sometimes, but winning just doesn't even register when I see crap like that. I bet that's how SC fans felt when it happened to Lattimore. It's just not right for that to happen to a kid who works his tail off, carries himself the right way, and is a spectacle to watch. Selfishly, even aside from winning, it deprives us of watching greatness. As a human being to have to sit there and watch a seemingly invincible man suppressed by pain, fear, and the like all at once is just miserable. Through this whole season I would always say "get up Nick" when he was down. I never knew how bad it would hurt when he didn't.

There's really not much to the game. It was just an awful way to lose. The obvious points...

-The 14 point deflation before the half
-Special teams fumble
-Special teams missed FG
-Not being able to tackle
-Allowing 519 yards and 90 plays of opponent offense
-Having absolutely no offensive production when it mattered
-Scoring only 2 real touchdowns
-The Reggie Davis drop... I usually never yell out of frustration, but I was out of my chair for that one
-The snafus in personnel at the end of the game

There were bright spots like Floyd's TD and Reggie Davis stepping up, but these were all erased by the negative.

What pains me the most is the way we are losing. The last two years every loss has been pretty much just downright awful...

-Complete mismanagement at the goal line vs. SC
-Embarrassment versus a far inferior Florida team
-Special teams implosion versus Tech
-Program reset versus Bama
-Doing almost everything wrong versus Tennessee

At some point this week I'll sit down and I guess figure out how I feel about everything. It's just painful to think about where to go from here. I'm all in on CMR for as long as UGA lets me. I've said before I hope he's the guy, but again I find myself writing that it's getting tougher to say that. This mythical feeling of him hoisting a glass object over his head seems very distant at this time. The problem is I'm not quite sure what steps we take to make progress towards it.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Food (Numbers) For Thought For Tennessee

Sure hope Greyson Lambert isn't forced to win this one:

Tennessee Rush Defense Yards Allowed


Arkansas: 275
at Florida: 109
Western Carolina: 189
Oklahoma: 161
Bowling Green: 124

Average: 171.6 Yards Per Game


Iowa (Bowl): 244
at Vandy:123
Missouri: 180
Kentucky: 94
at S. Carolina: 248
Alabama: 183
at Ole Miss: 180
Chattanooga: 105
Florida: 156
at Georgia: 289
at Oklahoma: 146
Arkansas St.: 141
Utah St.: 100

Average: 168 Yards Per Game

Week 6 ATS Picks

14-7-1 on the year, and coming off a 5-0 should probably just pick against these 4 because they're bound to be doomed.

App State -15.5 at Georgia State

Saw the Neers play at Clemson, and they're my wife's team. Also follow GA State a little bit since they're local. App State has far superior athletes and weather won't be a concern.

GA Tech at Clemson Over 54

Georgia Tech couldn't stop a high school team right now, but has an offense that will create points. Sprinkle in some turnovers. GT Overs have been hitting all year.

Northwestern at Michigan Over 35

Anytime you throw an over 5 TD performance at me I'm taking the sucker pick and taking the over. It's also later in the day (I have a running theory on Big 10 12:00 unders). In an awful 20-16 game you win!

Florida at Mizzou Over 39.5

Here's another one Vegas thinks should be ugly and low scoring, potentially overvaluing both defenses. Mizzou will muster up some sort of points at home in a night game, and I expect Florida to move the ball on the Tiger. Mizzou has been playing awful games (9-6 vs. UConn, etc.) so I think this is the week to take advantage of a low number.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Thursday Throwback: At Tennessee 2005

My buddy Kramer high atop Neyland, the recipient of the fated phone call.
For a rebound roadtrip to Knoxville... In 2005 I was a sophomore in college, and the upcoming Tennessee game in Knoxville was my first real road trip. I had been to away games the previous year.. at Florida, at Auburn, etc., but for those games we had hotels, friends to stay with, and the like. This was first time we were going on the road where you sit around your apartment on Wednesday knowing you are going, but with absolutely no clue how you are going to get there or how you are going to get tickets. Remember back in the day when $300 hotel rooms and $150 tickets seemed like the last thing in the world you wanted to be a part of. We may not have had a logical way to partake, but dad gummit if we weren't going to see the 4-0 Bulldogs defend their record.

This is where the beginning of two dumb things that happen in college started. One being going way too far in trying to plan a cheap way to find lodging, and two the beginning of the art that became the stadium sneak in.

For lodging, not being able to capitalize on corporate travel hotel points or saying you know what splitting at $300 / night hotel room between 4 guys over two nights really isn't that bad we somehow landed on camping out for the game. That's right we found a campground that could house 12 of us and we figured after long day of tailgating and attending a game the last thing we would want is a shower and a legitimate bed. So it was decided. We'd pack the car with tents and simply park next to the stadium and drive to the campground 15 minutes away to hunker down for one night.

The second problem was buying tickets. $150 to attend a game seemed a little hefty. So we started googling ways to sneak into the game as only about 25% of our group had legitimate tickets. We hadn't perfected this art of the sneak in yet (which is so much easier than you'd think), but this was our first big experiment.

So we set off early Saturday morning for an afternoon kick in Knoxville. First thought upon entering Knoxville is that it's really kind of a bland town. It's full of dull browns and orange hues that make you reminisce of what life must have been like in rural Tennessee in the 1980s. We wouldn't enter the campground until after the game, so for now it was all about tailgating. We found some random parking lot and began our journey. Flash forward to game time.

Everyone goes their separate ways to find a path into the stadium. Some guys had early success. One group simply blended in and walked into the stadium without a ticket (this is the easiest method ever if you want to try it... be confident and just cruise on in). One guy entered through a media gate with CBS trucks acting like he was part of the action and actually ended up finding his way to the tunnel. He'd later recall getting so far into the depths of Neyland he actually was in the tunnel with the Dawgs getting ready to take the field. I on the other hand had no luck and lacked the confidence to press it. I actually didn't find a way in despite trying to sweet talk the CSC contingent, passing a $20, or the like. After a while (about the 2nd quarter), I realized that no one really cares about an non-drunk kid trying to get in the stadium. After numerous laps around the fortress I found a small fence that led up to the spiral tunnels to the upper deck. My friends were already in and texting me to come to some far way 300 section. I mustered up the courage, hopped the fence, and started my fast paced walk up the ramps not having the courage to turn around and see if anyone was chasing me. What was the worst that could happen? Of course once you blend into the commotion of people in the concourse you're home free. I continued on and eventually found the desired section and reuniting with my friends was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life as I entered into a vast sea or orange and white (tucked in our little upper deck section of red and black).

As far as the game goes it saw UGA jump out to an early lead under the reins of DJ Shockley. Suddenly as the 2nd half went on Tennessee came up with a big TD answer to make it 13-7. The Dawgs got a huge stop and led to one of the greatest plays I've ever experienced in an opposing stadium. With about 9:00 to go in the 4th, the Vols punted to Thomas Flowers he made one cut and was off to the house. The ensuing dogpile that happened in our little contingent of away fans, hugging your friends and people that had become your friends over last 2 hours was an awesome feeling that made me addicted to attending road games to this day. (skip to 4:00 in the video below).

A little side note was we had a friend who doing his true boyfriend due diligence was on a date night in Auburn with his high school sweetheart (missing the biggest game of the year). I envision he was a little perturbed having to miss such a great college road trip and story. One of my favorite memories of college was him calling our buddy as he sat on the bus to dinner to check in on the game. As luck would have it this was the exact moment Tennessee was punting to us. Through the phone all he heard was "we're up 13-7 in the 4th and their punting to us....we've got a return going..." then pure static. The phone was a complete blur as I'm sure all he heard sounded like a zombie attack from The Walking Dead. I'm sure it hit him right there that the last place he wanted to be was on a bus to an Auburn datenight, but would rather be at the bottom of that dogpile that was occurring high in the upper reaches of Neyland. Don't think he didn't get ragged on for that one, actually to this day.

The Dawgs went on to seal a 27-14 victory and march on to 5-0. We all got in the stadium one legitimate or illegitimate way to enjoy the show. So now having nowhere to stay but our campground we packed up and headed to sleep in a tent. In true college fashion after a dinner in Knoxville we sat around the campfire and 4 of us eventually decided that sleeping in our own bed was better than utilizing a $10 campground entry fee to sleep on earth. So we mapped it out...only 3:45 back to Athens with minimal traffic. A few coffees later we were on our way to a late night right with friends that I would kill for these days. A couple lessons were learned...

-A hotel or friends house is always worth it.
-Knoxville is a strange place.
-If given the opportunity to attend a road trip, despite logistics, you never decline.
-Not having a ticket is not an excuse not to go.
-Sneaking into stadiums would soon become a staple of college life.
-If you skip a game for a datenight in another town, you're going to ensure an epic win by the Dawgs.

Somewhere some sophomores are plotting something similar this week. Go Dawgs.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wednesday Is Going To Be My Last Day of Pouting Over Bama

Saturday hit me real hard. I don't need to expound on the reasons aside from the most confused looking underwhelming performance (again) in a huge spot. I'm usually the most Disney guy amongst my friends arguing the sunshine part of the debate. I'm not abandoning the program or arguing major change, but Saturday made me hit the reset button on expectations for this team. I'm going to wallow in it for one more day.

What I'm not going to do is turn the page and go back to the "but wait, if the Dawgs win x we can still get to y" debate. This does remind me of 2012 and the SC debacle, but the problem is that this reminds me of 2012. It gets old having to start calculating your destiny halfway through the season based on not going out and grabbing something for yourself. Anyone can look at the schedule and see there's a path, but looking too far down that path is dangerous at this point. Based on Saturday I'm not ready to talk about potential December things. We can do that if there is still a "1" in the loss column after a trip to Jacksonville.

Until then, we're taking this one game at a time. It's still a good team, that somehow has to turn the corner to become a great team (the seemingly continuous spiral we annually fall into). I'd say peg me somewhere between sunshine pumper and doomsday dawg. I'm in neutral with chances to go up over the next three games.

We're not as bad as we were versus Bama and we're not as good as we thought we might have been before Bama. Greyson Lambert should be our quarterback. He may not be the best in Athens in last decade (obviously), but he's the best we got... and I can confidently say that after Saturday. This team is what it is and the only thing it can do is improve. No major overhauls are going to happen, and the worst thing you can do after a loss is not learn anything. The personnel can't change but simple things like learning how to get a punt off, doing a quarterback merry-go-round, or turning 1st and goal into 40 yard field goals can.

So on that note, I'm going to wallow once again tomorrow. After sitting in the monsoon filled 5 TD down 3rd quarter last week it's warranted for me. Then starting Thursday I'm going to put back on the red and black because my allegiance doesn't change from win to win or loss to loss, and get ready for Tennessee. It's going to be a fight. Get a W, move on to Mizzou. Get a W, move on to redemption against Florida. We can't change anything about Saturday other than learning from it. Unfortunately the opportunity to improve has presented itself, but fortunately it is an opportunity. I don't care about "if x happens y can happen", I care about getting any sort of W in Knoxville and taking the necessary steps each game.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bama 38 Georgia 10 - Hit the Reset Button (Again)

We are not a bad football team, but we are not a great football team right now.

I haven't felt that deflated watching a UGA game in Sanford Stadium in a long long time, well probably since the last time we got taken behind the woodshed by Alabama. Even in terrible losses like SC' 11 and Mizzou '13 at Sanford we were somewhat in the fight or had numerous injuries hurting us. Yesterday was purely getting beaten up and down the field. I think Jeremy Pruitt said it best stating "emotion can't beat execution". When I say hit the reset button I'm not talking about firing coaches or making QB changes, but more so lowering expectations of how good we thought we might have been as well as returning to a pre-season goal of just making the Dome. We're also returning back to the mindset of "well if..., UGA can still..." instead of going out and taking control of things for ourselves which is another deflating example for another consecutive year.

Just because you can get in another team's face before the game, doesn't mean you'll beat them...

Here's a little notion: if you turn the ball over 4 times, have a huge special teams miscue, and can't execute when forcing the right scheme, Alabama is going to beat you.

Some of the problems stemmed from the sideline, but to me this was woeful execution when given the opportunity on the field. This was exemplified in the very first play of the game. Coaches call up a big play where Malcolm Mitchell beats his defender and Lambert can't deliver what would have been a big gainer if not a touchdown. Later, Alabama gives you a gift turnover early in the game and you can't capitalize. Over the course of the whole game, Jake Coker and the Alabama offense out executed the UGA secondary. Coming into the game everyone said "put it on Jake Coker". Heck even Bama fans jokingly said that to UGA fans. Well guess what, on a rain soaked slippery day Jake Coker and his receivers beat us over the top, over the middle, and out to the sides. We schematically did somewhat stop Henry and force it on Coker, we just got outplayed by a guy who wondered if he would even keep his starting job.

I knew the turnover game was coming. We had been doing so well in that facet that you knew it had to end. I was just hoping it would be versus Mizzou or someone similar.

The rest of this is probably just going to be lamenting over random things from yesterday.

First of all while the rain was a nuisance, it didn't have a huge impact on the game. By the time it was raining seriously and we "needed to throw the ball" we were down by 5 touchdowns.

The first quarter seemed like we might have a great football game. Lot's of defense, back and forth, field position jostling, 3-3. Then within 5 minutes the game imploded. TD Henry, blocked punt, TD over the top. Boom. 24-3.

Speaking of the blocked punt how awful was that. It was a strange formation it seemed, but more that one guy blew threw the hole. Our players were visibly walking off the field with their arms up in confusion. Special teams has been a concern a little bit this season, and today it hurt us in a big way.

I don't understand the Lambert / Ramsey switch. OK maybe it was fine right before the half with 1:30 to go giving Lambert a chance to sit down and talk while Ramsey made a couple handoffs. Lambert was struggling, but I thought we had established at this point he gives the best chance to win. Why not give him a chance to reset at halftime and see what happens. It's also not like Ramsey came in and started turing the momentum. What he did start turning was the ball over that resulted in a pick 6. Listening to the CMR interview on the way home he said something Richtish about Ramsey throwing the wet ball better in practice or something. It was strange.

The screen game was noticeably absent yesterday. When we did try to hit the RBs out of the backfield it seemed very obvious (3rd and long, etc). I guess when you can't get the RBs going through the box it makes it tougher to be versatile.

The defense actually did an OK job with Derrick Henry. Look he's a physical specimen who is going to get his (much like Fournette, Chubb, etc over 20 carries). They actually did a really good job of putting the ball in Jake Coker's hands... unfortunately he torched them. The defense honestly only gave up 3 TDs.

The offense was anemic all day. It seemed Alabama was ready for everything and when they weren't we didn't execute.

I have no comments on the crowd. Even with the rain they showed up early and were loud. They were ready for a great day. Most of them were headed to the exits in Q3. I'll admit I didn't make it far into the 4th quarter. It was absolutely pouring, I was getting madder by the second, and traffic was getting worse. It hurts me to say that, but it's true. The booing, well, that's pretty weak.

I think I would have been ok with a hard fought loss, but it's always just a gutpunch when you get abused like that. Obviously you could go up and down and highlight tons of errors. The biggest error is that once again, for another season, we are left with the same age old questions. We fell flat on our face on a national stage, gave Alabama the shot in the arm they needed, and have more questions than answers. I'm not going to try and pump some Disney version of how there's still a lot to play for. Honestly anything less than the Dome would be a huge disappointment with your greatest challenger now looking like Florida. I'm still behind the Dawgs, I'll still support them always, but man this feeling is getting way too old.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Week Five ATS Picks

Houston @ Tulane Under 81.5 

Later in the day you get the biggest total of all time (TT / Baylor), but for only 7 points less you can have a huge total that starts at 12:00 with less potent offenses.

Purdue @ Michigan State Under 54

This is purely a Big Ten play hoping that Purdue can't score on MSU and MSU just magoos their way along to a boring 17 point win.

Kansas State at OK State Over 49.5

OK State has been hitting numbers vs. totals pretty good this year for their share, and my thought is K State gets their backdoor points to help out.

Texas A&M -5.5 vs. Miss State

Overvaluing the letdown against Arky (the line has even moved more towards Miss State) gives you a good opportunity to see the Aggies run up and down the field at home. 

Why not bet on the TT / Baylor Over / Under? Biggest total in history. I'd take the over. In past 18 games over 80 the over 12-6. Plus you get to root for points with overtime as a bonus.

UGA / Bama - now a pick'em. Don't freaking touch it. You've got enough on the line tomorrow.