First off, let me start by apologizing for the lack of a chat session today. There were some miscommunications, some technical difficulties and, bottom line, we just didn't execute.
Afterward, my editor said he considered putting in a younger sports writer for next week's chat -- maybe one of those guys from the Red & Black. But despite my screw-ups, the management at the Telegraph voted unanimously to keep me the chat host for the remainder of the season noting that it was important to the whole newspaper that we finish up on a high note.
In any case, we'll get in the film room a bit more, work hard this week, and next week, I'm promising better execution of the chat. Sorry for the let-down.
To make it up to you, however, I'll answer some questions in a mailbag for tomorrow's blog. If you have a burning Bulldogs question, send it to me via email by CLICKING HERE.
Also, before we get to the links, Virginia Tech plays another Thursday night game this week, so Dan insists we make a prediction -- as if our insight this year has been remotely helpful. But his point is that there are probably a lot of readers who count on being able to do the opposite of our picks and that, in this tough economy, we shouldn't take away their meal ticket. It's a good point. So, here's your bonus Thursday pick...
Virginia Tech (-13) at East Carolina
Dan: What a disappointing Thursday night last week. Virginia Tech’s offense again laid an egg in the first half, scoring a grand total of 0 points. This after spending the entire first quarter on the opposing team's side of the field. So frustrating. Here is what I do not get: VT played two complete games this year -- one vs. Miami and one vs. Boston College. In both games they seemed to thrive when they would roll out the QB and give him the option to either pass or run. This way it gave the defense more to think about. But they haven’t been doing that lately and the offense has stunk. Period. And then you have the defense that is getting run over this year. In the past years, the one thing we could always rely on was that teams could not run on Tech. Not this year. Definitely a year of transition for the Hokies.
The last time VT had one of these “transition years” was 2003, and I was a young lad throwing back Jager shots three times a week. Pretty similar circumstances, too. VT started off the year ranked high rising all the way to No. 3. They registered a huge victory over a highly ranked Miami team and a Big 12 team (Texas A&M), before then falling apart ending the year 8-5. That team also could not play defense, although they did have an offense.
This week we play a game which is a lose-lose situation for Tech. You travel to face a feisty East Carolina squad which you are expected to beat and the game is at their place on Thursday night. Do you not think their fans will be fired up? Lose or win ugly, and it looks bad. This is the same ECU team that you lost to last year to open up the season.
I honestly do not know what to expect. I think we’ll see what we saw in the Duke game and we’ll grind out an ugly win… Virginia Tech 27, East Carolina 22.
Dave: You sound like a Georgia fan right about now. Of course, if Georgia played in the ACC, fans would probably have less to complain about because the Dawgs would be 6-2 by now. (Burrrrrrn!)
Anyway, last week I went against your thought process on Tech. I figured they were too good for North Carolina's bumbling offense to keep pace with, but I was wrong. I was way wrong.
This week, I couldn't agree more with your analysis. Road game, Thursday night, small-conference opponent who sees this as its biggest game of the year, VT coming off a loss… it's all the signs of an ugly performance by the Hokies. You may want to make sure you have some Jager handy, just in case… East Carolina 23, Virginia Tech 21.
Now, some links to get you through your afternoon...
-- I have a story in today's Telegraph looking at the frustrations being felt by Georgia's offense this season.
-- Damon Evans weighs in with the (dreaded?) vote of confidence that Mark Richt has what it takes to lead Georgia "through this adversity."
-- There's been a healthy dose of reaction to a column in the Red & Black criticizing the attitude of Georgia's players. As someone who's been there, I tend to cut a young writer a little slack. They're all still trying to find their voice and don't always know quite how far to push the envelope. Hey Jenny Slater, on the other hand, takes the tough love approach and offers a stern but fair critique of the piece.
-- The Coaches Hot Seat Blog goes ALL CAPS on Mark Richt's strength and conditioning staff for how poorly the Dawgs appear to have prepared for the season. (h/t GTP)
-- David Paschall talks to Logan Gray about how last week's struggles in a bad situation might affect his performance this week.
-- Dan Magill says Drew Butler should be in consideration for All-American honors.
-- Buck Belue isn't thrilled with all the criticism coming from fans about this year's Bulldogs.
-- I've heard (and even written) a good bit of criticism that Georgia's coaching staff hasn't changed with the times, and that's a reason for its failure this year. The Grit Tree points out that might be true when looking at the ugly public-relations failures of Mark Richt & Co., too. EDIT: Sorry... screwed up on the link for The Grit Tree. Here's the good one . (Honestly, I didn't have any coffee this morning and I've been a disaster all day.)
(And by the way, if you're a little perturbed by some of the double standards and doublespeak The Grit Tree mentions now, you won't be happy with some info I'll have for you later. In the business, we call that "a tease.")
-- USA Today calls Florida a bunch of drama queens. OK, they didn't actually call them that. But I read between the lines.
-- Here's a link for all you lascivious nerds out there -- a photo from the set of "Empire Strikes Back" of Princess Leia and her stunt double sun bathing in bikinis. EDIT: I'm an idiot. That's from Jedi. I was confused by the lack of Ewoks.
-- An image of Jesus has appeared in the driver's side window of a pickup truck in Tennessee.
-- And finally, you may remember last week I used some of my favorite "30 Rock" quotes to help make my college football picks. Well now Tina Fey is weighing in with her favorite moments from the show, too. Sadly, no football picks from her though.