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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Another Festivus Miracle

A week or so ago, I was trying to find a good series of stories to do for the blog that would provide some new content while the Dawgs (and I) were away for the holidays. I came up with the idea to count down the top 10 biggest stories of the season. I still like the idea, but as a few of you have been kind enough to point out, some of those stories don't exactly fit with the holiday cheer. I blame Nick Saban.

In this economy, I'm sure we all have enough to be bummed about (I'm looking in your direction, Andy Reid), so I don't want to simply add to your misery. So, for today, in the spirit of the season, here are 12 reasons to be happy you're a Bulldogs fan -- counting down 12 Days of Christmas-style. So get your Festivus pole out of the crawl space and enjoy!

12 more months until next year's national championship game. One thing this season taught us -- if healthy, Georgia has as much talent as anyone. Another this season has taught us -- a lot can happen in 12 months. Take it from a longtime Chicago Cubs fan; Nothing breeds hope better than next year.

11 players with diplomas. College is about academics, after all, and Georgia not only graduated some great players, but some great students this month, too. From Dannell Ellerbe, who probably wouldn't have imagined he'd leave UGA with a diploma when he arrived, to Mohamed Massaquoi, one of Georgia's truly inspirational players, it's good to see guys take a real interest in gaining the most from their time at Georgia, both on and off the field.

10 wins this season. That's where Georgia could be with a win over Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl. It would be the sixth time in the past eight years the Bulldogs reached that plateau. It might be a few Ws short of where they wanted to be, but still, 10 victories is nothing to sneeze at.

9 interceptions thrown by Matthew Stafford. I'm sure fans and Stafford would love to see a zero there, but it was one fewer than a year ago, while he threw three more touchdowns. It may be debatable as to whether Stafford is ready for the NFL, but he certainly showed this year that he was capable of being a very good college QB.

8 seasons under Mark Richt.
And 81 wins during that span. After some rough weeks, I can understand some of the anger at Georgia's assistants, but anyone who thinks Richt is the problem for the Dawgs is crazy. Georgia fans are lucky to have one of the nation's best coaches, who just so happens to be someone who cares a great deal about his players, his fans and his school, too.

7 links for today.
Haven't gotten around to posting any links in a while, so here's some reading materials for that post-turkey hangover... Deadspin looks back at the year's best sports injuries; Whether you're a BCS fan or not, this article from Yahoo's Dan Wetzel is a must read; the 49ers may not be any good at football, but they know mustaches!; Apparently it's not just in the SEC that the refs know how to tackle better than Reshad Jones; Corvey Irvin and Mo Massaquoi were invited to play in the Senior Bowl; Marc Weiszer has the lowdown on Georgia's prep for Orlando -- no, not for Michigan State, for their trip to Best Buy; and just in case you haven't gotten enough of it yet, remember: Nothing says Christmas like the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.

6 yards per carry for Knowshon Moreno. Well, not quite. It was 5.9, but for the purposes of this post, I rounded up. Knowshon may not be around next year, but Georgia fans should be thankful they got to watch him for two seasons. They don't come much better than the kid from New Jersey.

5 seasons of Jeff Owens.
The senior defensive tackle missed this year after tearing his ACL in Georgia's opener, but he announced last week he would be back for a fifth season in red and black, in part because he didn't want to leave after a loss to Georgia Tech. Fans have to be thrilled to have a top player back for another season, and I'm thrilled to have one of the Bulldogs' best quotes back again in 2009.

4 left tackles used. And yet Georgia's offensive line still managed to play well, keep Matthew Stafford standing and open up holes for Mr. Moreno. From Trinton Sturdivant to Kiante Tripp to Vince Vance to Clint Boling, the left tackle position never seemed quite settled, but Stacy Searels and company got the job done anyway. And boy will it be a wealth of riches when everyone is healthy next year.

3 sacks by Rennie Curran.
OK, maybe that's not the most impressive stat, but I needed a '3.' Rennie showed glimpses of greatness last season, but this year he came into his own. Just 20 years old, Curran has developed into one of the best leaders in the locker room while racking up 109 tackles this season. And as good as he was this season, you still get another two years of the Liberian Dream.

2 great receivers. Only one receiver in Georgia history had recorded 1,000 yards in a season. With some decent production in the bowl game, the Bulldogs could have two do it this year. From the outset, Mohamed Massaquoi took A.J. Green under his wing, and in turn, both flourished this year. From A.J.'s breakout game against Arizona State to Mo's masterpiece against Georgia Tech, the duo provided fans with enough highlights to last a long, long time. (Oh, and don't forget to read my story on Green in today's Telegraph.)

1 game left to play. Before we all start looking ahead to 2009, there's still the small matter of adding Michigan State to the list of defeated foes this season. Georgia has one game left to play, and fans might be getting their final chance to watch Stafford and Moreno in red and black. Now that's a great opportunity to take a step back from the concern over this year's shortcomings to instead appreciate how many great memories these Bulldogs have provided.

Hope this cheered you up a bit. Now I've got to get back to watching "A Christmas Story" for the ninth time today.

Merry Christmas to all of you, and thanks so much for reading all season. I'll be posting from Orlando starting tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

It's great to be a Georgia Bulldawg! Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

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