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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Richt's Wrap-Up

Mark Richt held his end-of-season wrap-up teleconference this morning. He was at his most evasive when discussing -- well, almost everything -- but here are a few tidbits from the phone call...

-- Richt said he would not comment on the DC hire until a final decision was actually made, including about John Chavis. "I'm not taking any pleasure at all in what people might be going through out there, but the only comment I'll make on that is that, when I do have that decision made and it's ready for public consumption, we'll let everybody know. But my goal is to get the right man for the job and the timetable, I never set one. I gave a general idea. But the bottom line is that I'm not going to make any comments until the job is done."

-- Richt said he hoped the final two games of the year helped change the public perception of this season a bit, but on the program overall, he said he thinks the perception is still high: "People have a picture in their mind of what should be and we do too. We certainly don't want to say that 8-5 is the greatest season in Georgia football by any means. But I liked the way we finished and I liked the way the guys battled to the very end."

-- Richt on Rodney Garner as a DC candidate: "Rodney is not a candidate for the job and he knows that. We're just still in the search."

-- Richt on the battle for the starting QB job in the spring: "The things I'm going to be looking for are a guy who can hit his target, make great decisions, a guy I think can handle the pressure of the job. It's the same thing I'm looking for when we're going recruiting. Whoever wins that job has to have a very good respect for the football. … I think it's going to be a very difficult thing for these young men because in one sense they want to do something great to win the job but they also have to understand that the ultimate respect for the football and not being careless with it is a big part of the job description. That might be the biggest thing they've got to understand."

-- On Logan Gray: "I think he's trying to make a decision right now. I don't know for certain what he'll come up with but we want to respect what he wants to do. We didn't put a timetable on that either."

-- On other position changes: "I do think there's a possibility of a couple things but if I say it publicly it becomes a big issue and causes people to maybe be uncomfortable before they want that decision to be public. I'm not saying there's some certainty that there'll be some changes but there's going to be some thought about that as a staff. What you want to do at this point of the season, which is very young and brand new, is to get everybody in the right spot where they'll have the greatest chance of success… I think that conversation is going to happen after recruiting because we have to see what we've got at certain positions. Are we filling our needs with the recruiting process or will we possibly have to make a move within the program to get us as solid at every position as we possibly can. And again, is there a move out there that would possibly help a young man's future? Those are the things that will come into play, but that conversation really won't be done in ernest until after the signing date and we know who we have coming in."

-- Richt said he has spoken with Rennie and Reshad since the bowl game but didn't elaborate much beyond that. He also said he did not know of any other juniors or redshirt sophomores who are seriously considering the NFL. He did say, however, that he was sure some were "curious" while not seriously pursuing it, which is almost exactly what he said about Reshad last year.

-- The dead period for recruiting ends after Jan. 3, and Richt had originally said he hoped to have his new DC in place to make calls after that. Now, not so much. Richt said he'll be on the road or making some calls to a few players at that point, but he seemed more enthusiastic about having a DC in following the next dead period, which lasts from Jan. 7 through Jan. 10. He also backed off his "first week in January" prediction a bit.

-- Richt said no other schools have contacted him for permission to speak with any of his current assistant coaches regarding job openings.

-- Richt said he did not expect Trinton Sturdivant to participate in any contact drills this spring.

Picking the Winners: Bowl Season (Part 3... New Year's Eve Edition!)

Through 15 bowl games, the two of us have combined to pick winners at a whopping 27 percent clip. In truth, I'm mad at Kentucky for blowing a cover against Clemson and at North Carolina for covering by a point, thus killing my dream of a winless bowl season.

But no matter, more embarrassment awaits... On to the New Year's Eve and New Year's Day picks...


Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas): Air Force (7-5) vs. Houston
Spread: Houston (-4.5)

Dan: One of my favorite Web sites for gambling is a site called It is great. Not only can you talk sports and who you want to bet, but you can also talk stocks and investments, etc. Well what commonly happens on the college football page is that some crazy ending will occur and instantly a thread will pop up stating, “The fix is in, Team B was on the take!” Never was this more evident than the Air Force vs. San Diego State game earlier this year where I believe Air Force was giving 15.5. Air Force was up 26-2 when San Diego State scored with three minutes to go, then completed a 30-yard Hail Mary as time expired to earn the cover losing only 26-14. Of course everyone on Covers was on Air Force and quickly a thread popped up stating, “Air Force was on the take!” I politely entered the thread and stated, “This is unbelievable . . . do you not realize what you are saying! You are stating that the fine people who are protecting our country were on the take for the local bookies! Lol!” But they wanted none of it. It was decided by all that our Air Force is on the take and was on the take for that game. Gotta love people's reasoning. As for this game, take the Cougars as I am sure our Air Force will be on the take again… Houston 37, Air Force 28.

Dave: So these are our New Year's Eve and New Year's Day picks, which means we need to bring a theme of partying to the post today. And that can only mean quoting one movie… the best comedy of 2009… "The Hangover."

Alan: Gambling? Who said anything about gambling? It's not gambling when you know you're gonna win. Counting cards is a foolproof system.
Stu: It's also illegal.
Alan: It's not illegal, it's frowned upon, like masturbating on an airplane.
Phil: I'm pretty sure that's illegal too.
Alan: Yeah, maybe after 9/11, where everybody got so sensitive. Thanks a lot, Bin Laden.

Gambling? Who said anything about gambling? It's not gambling when you know my picks are gonna lose? After an 0-6 start in our Pre-Christmas post and a rather robust 2-7 mark in our Dec. 26-Dec. 30 games, I'm no gamble. I'm a sure thing. I pick 'em, you bet the opposite, they play 'em, you collect money. It's a simple process, destined for success. I promise losers and I deliver the goods, friends.

So, let's get started with our first sure-to-lose pick of the day… Houston 44, Air Force 20.

Sun Bowl (El Paso, Texas): Stanford (8-4) vs. Oklahoma (7-5)
Spread: Oklahoma -9

Dan: When I first saw this line I immediately wanted to jump all over Stanford. But then I saw Stanford’s star QB is out and I began to wonder how good the Pac-10 really is. Now I am left questioning what to do. So I will reluctantly lay the 9. The Pac-10 hasn’t impressed much so far this bowl season. I feel that Oklahoma will put 11 men in the box to stop Toby. Oregon State got spanked. Cal got spanked. USC beat a very bad BC team. So I think the hit list continues in El Paso… Oklahoma 38, Stanford 24.

Dave: "It's got, ah, Ted Danson and Magnum P.I. and that Jewish actor…"

This is, hands down, the funniest line in the movie because it's so perfectly subtle that if you aren't paying attention, you miss it.

Alan, Phil and Stu are walking outside the motel with the baby strapped to Alan's belly, and he's explaining the plot of "Three Men and a Baby" to the two other guys. The scene doesn't allude to the movie in any other way and just starts with them in mid-conversation and cuts off immediately after that. But if you were paying attention and you got the reference, it was easily the funniest part of the film. That's really the stuff that makes a good movie great, the little tidbits that make it funny each time you watch it, noticing new things along the way. (BTW, "The Big Lebowski" is the ultimate rewatchable movie. I've seen it maybe 10,000 times and I still pick up new jokes. "You ever hear of the Seattle Seven? That was me… and six other guys.")

Anyway, that's kind of how I feel about this game. On paper, it's a middling Pac-10 team vs. an underperforming Big 12 team that lost five games. But there are a ton of intriguing dynamics to this one. Landry Jones really made progress this year and has a chance to be a stud next season with the specter of Sam Bradford hanging over him. Stanford's QB is hurt, but may pull a Willis Reed. Both coaches have been mentioned for numerous job openings (or potential job openings in Florida's case) since their last game. Toby Gerhart got snubbed for the Heisman, and history says that's a much better sign for your bowl performance than winning the award is. Neither team has played much defense this season, so it could be a shootout. I love everything about this game, and the more I think about it, the more I find to like… Oklahoma 41, Stanford 38.

Texas Bowl (Houston, Texas): Missouri (8-4) vs. Navy (8-4)
Spread: Missouri (-9)

Dan: I do not know what Missouri is going to do with themselves when they see the Navy triple threat option. When you have not seen anything like this it is quite frustrating to stop. I think they’ll win . . . but barely.

On another note, why is Navy always good in football and Army stinks? When you get down to it, they each have the same recruiting philosophies, right? Air Force is usually good as well. I will never understand why this is the case. But Army continually stinks. Is it because if you go to the Army you may be more in harm's way than the Navy and Air Force? So Army gets the second-tier football player? This is one of my great mysteries that I will never understand… Missouri 31, Navy 28.

Dave: "I'm a steel trap. Whatever happens tonight, I won't ever ever speak a word of it. Seriously. I don't care what happens. I don't care if we kill someone."

Here's my problem with New Year's Eve… it never lives up to the hype. Everyone thinks you have to go out and do something absurd, then be a steel trap about it afterward because it was so friggin' huge. It's this day that, because it marks the arbitrary end of one unit of measurement before start another, you put all this pressure on yourself to go do something memorable, only you end up at a bar that charges an exorbitant rate for booze, then drinks so much that you can't remember the memorable thing you did, which in truth, is probably just that you vomited in the lap of a girl you'd met eight minutes earlier. As a holiday, it's a giant sham. I prefer the low-key holidays like Cinco de Mayo, the day before Thanksgiving and Arbor Day, where you do all those same things but don't feel the pressure to do them. It just happens organically. But maybe that's just me. I've never been one to enjoy living up to lofty expectations. Set the bar low, then stumble over it while downing a Crown-and-Coke, that's what I always say. (Well, in truth, I've never said that, but reading it now, it sounds humorous, so let's stick with it.)

Anyway, I have two things to note about this game: 1.) Teams theoretically should do better against the Triple Option when they have time to prepare for it, so bonus to Missouri. 2.) Navy kills clock and doesn't turn the ball over often, which means nine points is an awful lot to lay for this one. So… since those two balance themselves out, I'll go with the big-conference team… Missouri 30, Navy 20.

Insight Bowl (Tempe, Ariz.): Minnesota (6-6) vs. Iowa State (6-6)
Spread: Minnesota (2.5)

Dan: In 2006, Minnesota visited the Insight Bowl and was up four TDs at halftime. And I was furious. I had the Texas Tech money line in a parlay with a slew of other teams. So I turned the game off, cursed the TV and vowed to fight another day. And then a funny thing happened. Texas Tech rallied. In fact their rally was the biggest come-from-behind win in bowl history. And I cashed my ticket! Unfortunately for Minnesota, however, this cost Glenn Mason his job and they have not been the same program since. Mason had a knack for losing the big game. But you know what he was good at? He was good at winning a few games each year he shouldn’t and beating up on the lesser opponents. Minnesota does not have that anymore. This would be a typical beatdown if Mason was still coach. But he isn’t… Iowa State 27, Minnesota 23.

Dave: "Would you please put some pants on? I feel weird having to ask you twice."

That quote sort of sums up how I feel about this bowl game. I mean, yeah, it's two BCS-conference teams with at least some semblance of a football program. And sure, it's funny that after Gene Chizik left, Iowa State made a bowl game. But, seriously, I just don't like the idea of watching a game this crappy, and I'm not sure why other people are comfortable with it.

And since we're on the subject… here's a great Dan-related story to go with this quote.

A few year's back, a big group of us headed off to Baltimore for the annual Preakness horse races. This is always a good time, and always a drunken affair (at least until Pimlico stupidly banned kegs on the infield). I made the mistake of forgetting my cell phone that day, however, but I wanted to catch up with a friend of mine who was also going to be at the race. So I borrowed Dan's cell to try to make a few calls. Before doing so, Dan warned me: "Don't use it too long. I don't want the battery to die in case I get lost later." Of course, I spent about an hour on the phone that afternoon.

Anyway, after the race we made the mistake of going out for more drinks in Fell's point, and Dan ends up hitting on the friend of a girl I was out with. When the friend decides it's time to head home, Dan weasels his way into an invitation back to her place. So Dan, the girl and her roommate all hop into her roommate's car and head off into the night.

The next day, I wake up to a call on my cell (which I had recovered from a friend's house) from a strange number. I answered, and it was Dan, calling me from a cabbie's phone. He immediately starts berating me for killing his battery, but the story gets better. Apparently the girls had gotten back to their apartment complex the night before, but by this time, Rosa was virtually incapacitated. Now, we're not sure exactly what happened next, but in the morning, Dan woke up on a couch with just his boxer's on and a random guy standing over him with a quizzical look on his face.

"Who the hell are you?" the guy asked.

"I'm Dan," Dan said. "I'm here with… umm…"

He couldn't clearly remember the name of the girl he'd left the bar with, so he made a best guess.

"… Lauren?"

"I don't know any Lauren."

"Umm… Kelly?"



"Nope," said the guy. "You know, I think you'd better put your pants on."

So that's what Dan did, then rushed out of the house and into the street. What he quickly realized, however, is that he was no longer in Baltimore. He recognized nothing. He wasn't downtown. He couldn't even see the city skyline.

He started walking and came across some tennis courts where a couple of older gentlemen were off to a sporting Sunday morning.

"Um, excuse me," Dan interrupted, looking disheveled. "Where am I?"

The men, of course, immediately burst out laughing. Turns out, Dan was in Towson, which is a solid 15 minute drive from Baltimore, maybe farther. Luckily after walking for about a mile, he happened upon a cab and luckily the cabbie happened to have a cell phone. But sadly, many of the other details will forever remain unknown.

See… "The Hangover" really isn't that much of a work of fiction.

Oh, and my game prediction… Minnesota 24, Iowa State 17.

Chick-fil-A Bowl (Atlanta): Virginia Tech (9-3) vs. Tennessee (7-5)
Spread: Virginia Tech (-4)

Dan: Virginia Tech returns to Atlanta for a third time this year to face the Lane Train. Virginia Tech is currently 0-2 in Atlanta and this matchup will not be any easier. Tennessee is one of those teams that has gotten better as the year has gone on. Throw out the losses to UCLA, Florida and Auburn early. They went 6-2 down the stretch with one loss coming to Bama and the other a thumping at Ole Miss. This is a team that is getting better each week. On the flip side, you have my Hokies, who have basically beaten everyone they should have and lost to the teams they should have. Ho hum. I think Tennessee is a team they shouldn’t beat unfortunately.

In other news, I just got done informing my wife that the Hokies play on New Years Eve this year. She was less than thrilled about this news. She was asking what we would do for new years and my quick reply was Virginia Tech plays! Excited? Her answer … not so much. Ha. I think the last time she was this annoyed was when I was up at Penn State and she kept getting woken up by text messages from my friends talking about stuff they’d like to do to donkeys. Sigh. I need to grow up… Tennessee 24, Virginia Tech 20.

Dave: "I'm on your side! I hate Godzilla! I hate him too! I hate him! He destroys cities! Please! This isn't your fault. I'll get you some pants."

I see how it is, Dan. You spend all season bashing Lane Kiffin, and now all of a sudden you're throwing out complements left and right because you're worried about what the Vols will do to Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. "I'm on your side! I hate Urban Meyer, too! Hey, any coach can recruit two convicted rapists and then have three players knock off a convenience store! I'll get you some pants!"

Man up, dude. It's just Lane Kiffin. There's nothing to be afraid of. And better yet, this is his last chance to have Eric Berry on his side, too. So it only gets better from here… Virginia Tech 23, Tennessee 17.


Outback Bowl (Tampa, Fla.): Northwestern (8-4) vs. Auburn (7-5)
Spread: Auburn (-7.5)

Dan: Is Auburn really 7.5 points better than anyone? I do not think so. But Northwestern also lost to Syracuse. So what does that make them? I just don’t know. So when this happens you always take the points… Auburn 24, Northwestern 20.

Dave: "What do tigers dream of when they take their little tiger snooze? Do they dream of mauling zebras, or Halle Berry in her Catwoman suit? Don't you worry your pretty striped head, we're gonna get you back to Tyson and your cozy tiger bed. And then we're gonna find our best friend Doug, and then we're gonna give him a best friend hug. Doug, Doug, oh, Doug, Dougie, Dougie, Doug, Doug! But if he's been murdered by crystal meth tweakers…. well then we're sh*t out of luck."

Tigers… Auburn… Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

Eh, by the time this game comes on -- at 11 friggin' a.m. on New Year's Day! -- you'll be too groggy and hungover to appreciate good humor anyway.

OK, so I did some complaining about New Year's Eve, but New Year's Day is also always a disaster. And since I've already damaged Dan's reputation with a good story, allow me to give you my worst New Year's Day moment...

I went out in Philly for one of those open-bar NYE specials with a bunch of people from work one year. One of the work people so happened to be a girl I'd dated for a while. We had broken up, but it ended poorly, she was a bit of a loose cannon, and of course, we had to work together. All this went down in early October, and I was happy to have extricated her from my life for the most part. Until New Year's Eve.

Now those of you who read the blog regularly know that when it comes to free press box food, I can be a bit of a glutton. So you can probably imagine how I am at an open bar. When it's free, I need to make sure I'm getting my money's worth.

Anyway, bad decisions were made and to my dismay, I ended up un-doing all the good work I had accomplished with this girl during the past three months. She ended up crashing at a hotel room a couple of friends and I had rented for the night, too, so the problem was clear as day by New Year's morning.

So we get up the next day, and she assumes things are essentially back to the way they were pre-break-up. I am both literally and figuratively banging my head against the wall. Anyway, she needs a ride back to her car, and to make matters perfectly awful, she can't quite remember where she left it.

Now, another aside: If you've ever lived in Philly, you know of the traditional New Year's Day Mummers Parade. I hate the Mummers. First off, the people in the parade -- "The Mummers" -- are always an entitle, pompous bunch of buffoons who wake up waaaaaay too early on New Year's Day. Secondly, the parade makes everything problematic. It shuts down half the city, and even if you don't go out, you're subjected to watching highlights of the festivities on virtually every local TV station. (And as a kid who loved TV but grew up without cable until I was 17, this was truly life-altering.)

So, we spent the next three hours driving around Philly looking for her car, only 80 percent of the streets we needed to go down were blocked off because of the friggin' Mummers. At one point my buddy chimed in with, "What kind of car is it again?" Her reply: "Um, I think it's a Toyota… Or a Pontiac." Ugh.

We finally found it, parked just two blocks from where we had been that night, but of course the drama went on for weeks beyond that. It was a perfect start to a year that, as I recall, did not go particularly well.

Maybe I'm wrong, but there's a part of me that feels this game will be a reasonable comparison to that New Year's... Auburn 27, Northwestern 13.

Capital One Bowl (Orlando, Fla.): Penn State (10-2) vs. LSU (9-3)
Spread: Penn State (-3)

Dan: I recently took a trip up to Penn State to watch the Lions vs. VT basketball game. Tech won. It was great. Although I loathe Penn State and everything they stand for, I had a blast at the different drinking establishments we visited. Quite possibly my favorite place we went to had $7 Captain and Coke pitchers and half-priced ($6) Monkey Boys. If you have never had a Monkey Boy watch out. It is just a bunch of liquor in a pitcher. The following hit list occurred to people who had Monkey Boys: One friend could not speak or stand and was sending out nasty text messages from his phone. Another woke up with bruises up and down his arms. Two more couldn’t find their way back to hotel and a warm bed so instead opted for an apartment sofa. Yup… Monkey Boys. Monkey Boys, 1, my friends and I, 0.

As for this game I’ll take Penn State as they can’t possibly lose (insert reverse jinx here)… Penn State 24, LSU 18.

Dave: "Tigers love pepper. They hate cinnamon."

That's a special shout out to the LSU Tigers, who love pepper, but not nearly as much as they love corn dogs.

As for what Nittany Lions love? I have no idea. I don't even know what makes a Nittany Lion different from a regular lion, other than that they hang out at Philly-area bars and annoy the hell out of me.

I also want to take a moment here to discuss how much better it was to cover a bowl game in Shreveport this year than the Cap One Bowl a year ago. No, Shreveport wasn't perfect by any stretch, but the Cap One Bowl was downright abysmal later year. First off, I'm not a fan of Orlando. Yes, it's a bit more upscale than Shreveport, but everything's more expensive and it's much harder to navigate, all because of the rampant tourists. And while last year's game afforded us media folks a chance to tail the players through the amusement parks under the guise of doing stories, those trips were zero fun and requited more time and effort than they were worth. In Shreveport, they put a hospitality suite with free booze in a hotel with a casino. That's all I needed. The bowl reps were hospitable and helpful and all the events were at the stadium instead of making us drive six different places each day. All in all, it was a great time. And better yet, I'll be home for New Year's instead of trying to nurse a hangover with some gelatinous Salisbury steak in the press box in the gawd-awful Citrus Bowl. So, to sum up one of my favorite mid-way break in PTI commercials… Boo crappy Orlando bowl game… Hooray beer! (And Shreveport.)

Oh, and since Penn State is a.) from the overrated Big Ten and b.) has beaten no one, I think the pick here is obvious… LSU 21, Penn State 20.

And when it's over, John Chavis can announce he's coming to Georgia.

Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, Fla.): West Virginia (9-3) vs. Florida State (6-6)
Spread: West Virginia (-3)

Finally Bobby Bowden has agreed to step down. It is a much needed move. Funny thing about Florida State is that they continue to still get the same athletes that they’ve always gotten. If you look at their Rivals rankings you will see that they continue to pull in top 5 and top 10 classes. So that means one thing and one thing only… the coaching has gone downhill. So probably best for Bowden to move along. Of course ,what does that say about Jimbo Fisher? He has been there the last few years and they haven’t won, yet he will be the head coach? Who knows. As for this one I think that Florida State wins one for Bobby… Florida State 28, West Virginia 24.

Dave: "You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack. But when my sister brought Doug home, I knew he was one of my own. And my wolf pack... it grew by one. So there... there were two of us in the wolf pack... I was alone first in the pack, and then Doug joined in later. And six months ago, when Doug introduced me to you guys, I thought, "Wait a second, could it be?" And now I know for sure, I just added two more guys to my wolf pack. Four of us wolves, running around the desert together, in Las Vegas, looking for strippers and cocaine. So tonight, I make a toast!"

A toast to you, Bobby Bowden! Sure, you haven't added a coherent thought to your football team since Monica Lewinski jokes still seemed funny, but that's OK. We salute you for being our lone wolf, a guy who goes out on his own terms. OK, well, no you really didn't do that either. But at least you went out a winner! Well, OK, 6-6 isn't exactly a winner, I suppose. And those NCAA sanctions cost you first place on the all-time win list. So that's kind of a bummer. But at least you were able to dictate your way into a decent and totally undeserved bowl game on New Year's Day, and no one else can say that! Well, OK, I guess Auburn can. But screw it, let's go find some strippers and coke!… Florida State 24, West Virginia 23.

Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.): Oregon (10-2) vs. Ohio State (10-2)
Spread: Oregon (-3.5)

Dan: The nice thing about this column being several parts is you can re-think things. The bad thing is you can re-think things. If you asked me just two days ago who would win this game, I would say there is no way Oregon is losing. But then I saw Oregon State get WAXED by BYU in a game they were never in. Perhaps they were not motivated and perhaps BYU had more fans there. But it is still making me rethink things just a tad. I will reluctantly still take the Ducks in this one as I do not think Ohio State will be able to stop the spread offense… Oregon 31, Ohio State 20.

Dave: A special tribute to Ohio State...

Doug: "Tracy did mention we shouldn't let him gamble. Or drink too much."
Phil: "Jesus, he's like a gremlin. Comes with instructions and sh*t."

We've all had friends like Alan. At heart, he's a good guy. And he's sweet, so you feel obligated to be nice to him. And maybe part of you even secretly enjoys hanging out with him because, well who the heck knows what might happen? But in truth, he's like a gremlin. There are just certain things you can't do with him.

If you were to attribute those same characteristics to a college football team, it would have to be Ohio State, right? I mean, yes, the Buckeyes get to party with the cool kids, but does anyone really think they belong? Of course not! They're clearly going to show up and make a mess of things and then you're going to spend the rest of your bowl season apologizing for having invited Ohio State in the first place. And yet, at the same time, you almost take a sick sense of pleasure in watching the disaster that is Ohio State in a BCS game unfold. It's cathartic. In fact, it almost makes you feel a little better about yourself to see someone else so utterly inept. Like, hey, at least I'm not *that* bad.

To wit, Ohio State's recent bowl "success"…

2006: Florida 41, Ohio State 14
2007: LSU 38, Ohio State 24
2008: Texas 24, Ohio State 21 (perhaps the most embarrassing of all because afterward, everyone used the same phrase: "Hey, at least Ohio State didn't embarrass itself again.")

But take heart, Buckeyes fans. It could be worse. You could be Notre Dame… Oregon 34, Ohio State 21.

Sugar Bowl (New Orleans): Cincinnati (12-0) vs. Florida (12-1)
Spread: Florida (10.5)

Dan: (Editor's note: this was written before the Meyer announcement.) I am going to attempt to draw some comparisons to Florida with what is going on with USC. First, all of your offensive coordinators and defensive coordinators leave (USC lost Kiffin, the coach at Washington, Norm Chow). Then your decorated QB leaves (Leinert, Sanchez, etc). And then you start losing. So what is going on at Florida? They first lose the offensive coordinator to Mississippi State. They then lose the defensive coordinator to Louisville. Then they lose Tebow. Could a few down years be around the corner? I sure hope so! As for this game I will be taking the points… Florida 31, Cincinnati 21.

Dave: "Oh, you know what? Next week's no good for me... The Jonas Brothers are in town. But any week after that, it's totally fine."

A special quote for Urban Meyer who, you know, is busy with the family and the Jonas Brothers concert this week, but after that he should be totally fine to come back and coach.

Seriously, on the list of pissed-off wives, where does Urban's rank right now?

"Yeah honey, I know I told you and the kids I was quitting because I might die from coaching football and all, but, well, I talked to Timmy and he really thinks I should stay, so that's what I'm gonna do. … What?… Uh-huh. … Well, sure honey, but I already held the press conference, so, um, yeah, it'd kind of a done deal…. Yeah, that's right. … No, this is his last game. … No, I don't think he wants a roommate in the NFL. Why do you ask?"

I mean, she's not Elin Woods mad, but she's gotta at least be Cheryl David after Larry ignores her call from the airplane mad, right?

Anyway, I love how everyone thinks that Florida is going to win one for Old Urban (who, you know, isn't actually going anywhere) but is completely overlooking the fact that Cincinnati got snubbed by not one but TWO coaches in the past three weeks. And if that Georgia game taught me anything this week, it's that when players take ownership of their own success, it's a very good thing. That's exactly what Cincy is doing. They aren't trying to win for their coach. They're trying to win for themselves… Cincinnati 31, Florida 27.

Early Bowls: Dan 6-9, Dave 2-13.
Regular Season: Dan 59-70-3, Dave 57-72-3.
Overall: Dan 65-79-3 (.452), Dave 59-85-3 (.412).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Impact Players: This Year and Next

OK, I'm moving today, so a little pressed for time. But, here's a topic for discussion... who were your MVPs this season for the Dawgs?

Here's my quick list...

Offensive MVP: A.J. Green. I almost had to pass on the star receiver since he was essentially a non-factor in four of the final five games of the season. But he won the Arizona State game by himself, and if Georgia had lost that one, it's hard to say just how much of a disaster this year might have become.

Runner up: Washaun Ealey. The math is pretty simple: Ealey was on the bench and the Dawgs couldn't run the ball. Ealey starts to play, and the running game improves. Of course, I couldn't simply give this award to Ealey because it belongs to several other players, too. Clint Boling's move to left tackle changed the dynamic of the offensive line for the second straight year; Josh Davis' return from injury made Boling's move possible, and Caleb King not only helped rejuvenate the running game, not only markedly improved his pass blocking, and not only played through a broken jaw for the better part of a month, but served as the key mentor for Ealey throughout the freshman's first season in action.

Defensive MVP: Rennie Curran. The kid gave it all he had yet again, but the bigger problem was the production from the rest of the linebackers this year.

Runner up: Geno Atkins. It was a slow start for the senior defensive tackles, but Atkins was a monster throughout the latter half of the season. Of course, some of that may also have had to do with the improvement made by the defensive ends, Justin Houston and Demarcus Dobbs.

Special Teams MVP: Drew Butler. This is easily the toughest choice on the board as there's a good case to be made for four candidates: Butler, the All-American punter who kept Georgia's offense afloat early by swinging field position; Blair Walsh, who gets my vote as the best kicker in the country; Brandon Boykin, who returned three kickoffs for TDs; Mark Richt, for ensuring Jon Fabris won't be coaching the kickoff team next year. And you can even give special kudos to Bacarri Rambo, DeAngelo Tyson and A.J. Green, each of whom made special teams plays this year that probably decided games.

Runner up: Walsh... with all due respect to the work Boykin did.

Special teams LVP: Marc Curles. As much as I wonder how bad things might have gotten if UGA had lost to Arizona State, it's also fair to wonder how much better they might have been without Curles dooming the Dawgs' final kickoff against LSU with a B.S. excessive celebration penalty.

But... picking the best of this year wasn't too hard. What about the best of next year?

Here's my (very) early guesses at who will take home these honors in 2010:

Offensive MVP: Washaun Ealey/Caleb King. Yes, Green will be great again, but if Georgia is going to win the SEC East next year with a freshman QB, it'll be because the running game played well all year long.

Defensive MVP: Justin Houston. Losing three seniors in the middle just means the beast on the outside needs to be even scarier. I think he will be.

Special teams MVP: Walsh. The Groza Trophy will be his next year... and he'll be booting touchbacks with regularity, too.

A few other break-out candidates: Orson Charles (another big step forward), Aaron Murray, Abry Jones (who will be huge next season, mark my words), Jakar Hamilton and Bacarri Rambo (who finally gets a full-time gig).

So... who are your picks?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fleeting Thoughts: Independence Bowl Edition

I stopped at a gas station on my way back to the hotel after the game to pick up a six pack to unwind after deadline. The place I selected had three options for booze: 40s, double deuces and Arbor Mist. I think that perfectly sums up how enjoyable this trip to Shreveport has been. Just a great time all around.

And for Georgia's part, the Bulldogs made sure the trip ended on a high note with a decisive win over Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl, running Mark Richt's bowl record to 7-2 and giving UGA win No. 8 for the 13th straight season -- the longest such streak in the country.

It wasn't a good game. And I'm not even sure it was an entertaining game. But a lot happened. Here's some of what I noticed along the way...

-- I'm predicting Alabama wins the BCS title by a score of 106 to -3.

-- Seriously, A&M was bad when it came to the fundamentals across the board, but the special teams was an absolute disaster. I don't know why they ever tried to punt. Yikes.

-- That said, the A&M offense was for real. No, Jerrod Johnson wasn't perfect, but credit the Georgia D for forcing him into some mistakes. The pick by Reshad Jones was completely created by some great pressure from Demarcus Dobbs.

-- I know Georgia hasn't made a lot of big strides this year, but the improvement of the pass rush has been huge.

-- It's funny how the knock on Willie Martinez was that he employed a bend-but-don't-break defense with little success. That wasn't really true. The fact is, Georgia was 30th in total defense (i.e. yards allowed) but 70th in scoring defense. They were a break but don't bend group… until Monday. A&M racked up 471 yards but were effectively shut out for all but a 10 minute stretch at the end of the second quarter and start of the third.

-- The only real concern I had about the D's performance was the wide-open plays down the middle of the field -- both through the air and when Johnson decided to run.

-- Speaking of Johnson: 69 rushing yards (not counting sacks) and 362 passing yards. That kid is good.

-- I know my game picks have been brutal this year, but do I get some bonus points for predicting a huge year from Brandon Boykin? And he was both legitimately surprised and excited about tying the SEC kick return record.

-- And sad that Boykin came up just 12 return yards shy of 1,000 and Cox came up 1 TD shy of the passing TD record.

-- Slow return to action for A.J. Green, but he still made six catches. I spoke to him after the game and he was kicking himself for a couple "drops" on deep balls he thought he should have had and for not breaking tackles on those first two screen passes. Gotta love that kid's attitude.

-- Rushing yards in the first half for Georgia? 27. Rushing yards in the second half for Georgia? 181.

-- Great to see Sanders Commings get an INT. I really thought we'd see more of him this year, but if you're looking for ways to spin this game into next season, perhaps he's a good place to start.

-- Not one sack for Texas A&M. Clint Boling absolutely stoned Von Miller, the nation's leader in sacks.

-- I know a lot of people have been quick to criticize Vince Vance's performance, and I'm not going to tell you he played well. Bean Anderson got more PT in the second half and the Dawgs ran the ball better. As Willie would say, "bottom line." But... I talked to both Clint Boling and Mark Richt about this and both said that the first-half problems were all about scheme. A&M was doing things at the line of scrimmage UGA was not prepared for and unlike anything the Dawgs had film on. It was the halftime adjustments to that that made the real difference. And, while Bean played a lot more in the second half, Vance was on the field on several drives in the half, including Caleb's final touchdown.

-- After the game was over, Joe Cox was the last one off the field. He got a huge ovation from the Georgia fans still there, many of whom chanted, "Joe, Joe, Joe." You could tell how much it meant to him. It was nice to see. I have no doubt he'll be a very good coach. He's a stand-up kid with a lot of heart and just the right mind-set for handling the job. He takes it all a bit too seriously, but still gets the big picture.

-- Man, no one seems to want to 'fees up to coaching search details, but from the all-over-the-place answers, I'm guessing they all have an idea that something's up and are doing their best to avoid being pinned down on anything. I don't know what will happen, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if it happens soon.

-- I know most of the talk has surrounded Rennie & Reshad, but it'll be interesting to see if another name emerges the way Asher Allen and Reshad Jones did a year ago in regards to the NFL. I spoke with Clint Boling about it Monday and he said he didn't even submit his paperwork for the advisory board. Had Caleb King stayed healthy and put in a 1,000-yard season, who knows? But I'm about 99 percent certain he'll be sticking around. The only other potential early departure might be Justin Houston, who did have a fine season, who also had some off-field issues and who lost his position coach when Jon Fabris was let go.

-- I've been a bit critical of some of Richt's public relations stuff this year, and I'm sure some of it is personal -- I'd simply appreciate more info coming from him. But the Rennie Curran situation Monday seems to me to have been a time when Richt really needed to be a bit more forthcoming, at least with the local media. Rennie's first-quarter suspension was apparently something that stemmed from a minor miscommunication back in Athens, but it was never mentioned to anyone leading up to the game. So when Rennie wasn't on the field, it looked bad and we had litle explanation to offer. Instead, from what I'm told the TV announcers made it out to be a bigger deal than it was -- that Rennie skipped punishment, as if he was flaunting his indifference toward the rules, which many fans read as a sure sign he was bolting to the NFL. As it turned out, it was a non-story for the most part, but you wouldn't know that unless you read the postgame notes from one of the local beat writers. It makes Rennie look bad and all because information simply isn't shared. Considering it was a nationally televised game and Rennie's draft stock could be affected by negative stories like that, I just don't see how that's helpful. But again, maybe it's just me.

-- A few more points from our pal, The Real Texas Dawg:

1) the A&M cheers get old after a while
2) was it just me or did the Redcoats band dominate 4 qtrs?
3) military school + women are not a good mix - uga women are still the finest
4) the inevitable "SEC" cheer broke out with 11 min to go
5) I never saw #3 after the first qtr
6) praise God no more 3 or 23
7) Garner and the GA's deserve a bonus $$
8) 8-5 shouldve been 10-3 (lsu & ky)
9) 9 can't cover....but can lay the lumber!
10) hope it's another 20 yrs before returning to S-port

-- My replies:

1.) Watching their band at halftime made me dizzy.
2.) They were monsters. The A&M band was playing from the stands for a while pregame, and then from outside the stadium came a few notes from the Redcoats and the Georgia fans went nuts. It was pretty cool.
3.) Amen to that.
4.) Best question of the postgame news conference: "Coach Richt, with you and Clemson winning, do you think that really illustrates the dominance of the SEC?" Seriously, this is what I have to deal with on deadline.
5.) He was still in there, but he didn't play horribly.
6.) Prince laid out at least one great hit. He actually has had some nice moments the last few games.
7.) Abso-freaking-lutely.
8.) Yeah, but Arizona State and South Carolina probably should have been losses, so it works both ways.
9.) Perhaps sticking around another year and learning those coverage skills would help his future.
10.) The SEC ends its tie-in with the Indy Bowl after this year, so I think you're set.

-- You know, if Georgia doesn't blow that game to Kentucky, they would have ended the season winning six of seven, with the only loss being to Florida. If that had happened, I think most fans would be downright giddy about the future. And since that UK loss was really nothing more than a few fluke plays in a game the Bulldogs otherwise dominated, I'd suggest that fans still head into 2010 with a good bit of enthusiasm and excitement.

There's just enough coming back that the Dawgs could be very dangerous, and just enough questions that this should be an interesting offseason. I'm looking forward to it.

And as for the season past, I just want to say thanks to all of you for reading and providing so much great input and feedback. It's made the grind of a long year a lot easier for me.

I'm going to be traveling today and I'm in the process of moving and have to be out of my apartment by the end of the month, so we might be a little lighter on blogging for the next few days. But I will keep you up to date on any breaking news and get a few other posts in along the way.

Now, here's hoping I don't run into more snow in Dallas.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Post-Game Notes: Curran, Jones Still Undecided

(Note: My game story can be found HERE.)

From the seniors, it meant they could leave on a high note. For the underclassmen, it was an opportunity to get a jumpstart on 2010 while sending their older teammates out with a bang.

But for Rennie Curran and Reshad Jones, two juniors mulling an early departure for the NFL, Monday’s 44-20 win over Texas A&M only meant more questions.

Both were asked about their future plans following the game, and neither offered much in the way of specifics.

“I’m not leaning one way or the other,” Curran said. “The closer I get to the time, the harder it gets. It’s something I wish I didn’t have to deal with.”

Curran is the SEC’s leading tackler this season and is considered one of the top junior linebackers in the country, but his stature – generously listed as 5-11 in Georgia’s media guide – could harm his draft stock.

Jones, on the other hand, has all the physical tools, but scouts remain mixed on his overall performance. He considered leaving a year ago but changed his mind at the last minute, and he said he still doesn’t have a final decision on the future.

“I still haven’t made that decision yet,” said Jones, whose interception at the end of the third quarter Monday led to a Georgia touchdown. “I’m going to go home and talk with my coaches and talk with my family and see how things go, make the best decision for me and my family.”

That decision will probably wait for both players until Georgia hires a new defensive coordinator – something that could happen at virtually any moment.

Jones said he expected to make a decision within the next week, but also said he would definitely wait until a coordinator was in place. Still, he said he had no knowledge of exactly when that might happen.

“I heard he had some strong candidates and stuff, so I’m going to sit down and meet with the new defensive coordinator,” Jones said.

Waiting on the hire is something defensive line coach Rodney Garner said he has strongly suggested in numerous conversations with Jones in the past few weeks.

“We’re asking him to take his time, go through the process, look and see who Coach Richt hires and have an opportunity to sit down and visit with that guy and get a feel for his system, his scheme,” Garner said. “And if there’s a guy coming in here who can feature you like Tennessee does with Eric Berry, I think it would be very beneficial for him to come back.”

Garner said he hasn’t had significant conversations with Curran, but has recommended a similar course of action.

Both players said they are still waiting on the official results of their NFL advisory board review, but neither will let that be the lone determining factor in their final decision.

“I’m waiting and just spending the next couple days with my family trying to come up with the best possible decision,” Curran said. “Nobody’s putting an pressure on me at all, except for the fans. I love them to death, and I want to be able to give them a concrete answer, but I just can’t right now.”

Classes at Georgia begin again on Jan. 7, which Curran said provides an artificial deadline for them to make a decision, but the official NFL deadline is Jan. 15.

Last year, Asher Allen, Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno all left school early and Stafford and Moreno both were taken in the first round of the NFL draft – Stafford as the No. 1 overall selection.

Neither Curran nor Jones figure to go quite that high, which makes their decisions all that much more arduous.

For Jones, however, he said Monday’s game provides a strong sense of closure should he decide it’s time to move on to the professional ranks.

“I had a pretty good game,” he said, “so leaving on a good note would be good.”


Brandon Boykin ran his way into the record books with an 81-yard kick return for a touchdown in the second quarter against Texas A&M, helping Georgia to a 44-20 win over the Aggies.

Boykin’s return came after A&M took an early 7-0 lead. Boykin fielded the ensuing kickoff and ran virtually untouched up the middle of the field and into the end zone to tie the score.

“They kicked it short and the blockers did a great job of opening it up,” Boykin said. “It parted like the red sea. It was just a straight shot really, and I had two blockers in front of me. It was great, it was a momentum changer and I think we sparked off of that.”

Boykin already set the Georgia record for return yardage in a season earlier this year. Boykin fell just 12 yards shy of 1,000 return yards for the season.

The touchdown was the third of the season following a kickoff for Boykin, which moved him past Gene Washington for the school record for both a season and a career. It also tied Boykin with Tennessee’s Willie Gault for the SEC’s single-season record.

“That’s amazing to me,” Boykin said after he was informed of the record. “I wasn’t aware of that but it’s a great accomplishment and I can chalk that up to my blockers.”


Linebacker Rennie Curran didn’t take the field until the first play of the second quarter as punishment by the coaching staff for a rules violation.

Curran missed a morning running session last week in Athens due to a dentist appointment and head coach Mark Richt said that comes with an automatic suspension for the first quarter of play in the next game.

“It was not a huge deal other than he had an early morning run and our policy is that he will not get to play the first quarter of the game,” Richt said. “It was nothing big at all in any way, shape or form, but he did sleep in on a morning he was supposed to run.”

Curran had started every game this season and entered play as the SEC’s leading tackler. The junior is considering leaving school early to enter the NFL draft.

Despite missing the first 15 minutes, Curran still finished with eight tackles in the game, second among the Bulldogs defenders.

“I should have been at practice and Coach Richt didn’t think I communicated with him well,” Curran said.


Boykin wasn’t the only Georgia player to come up big on special teams in the first half – two others got in on the fun with crucial blocks.

Geno Atkins blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt by the Aggies early in the second quarter to keep the game tied at zero.

After Boykin’s big return tied the game at 7 late in the second, sophomore Bacarri Rambo got in on the act with a blocked punt deep in Aggies territory. The ball bounced on the turf and Vance Cuff recovered at the 2-yard line. Tailback Caleb King cashed in on the next play to give the Bulldogs the halftime lead.


Georgia right tackle Josh Davis didn’t play against Texas A&M after suffering an ankle injury in practice earlier in the month. He was replaced by Vince Vance to start the game.

Davis had started six straight games for the Bulldogs at right tackle, which so happened to coincide with Georgia’s revived running game. His absence was felt immediately as the Bulldogs mustered just 27 yards on the ground in the first half against the Aggies.

The tide turned in the second half, however, and Georgia’s running attack found its footing, rushing for 181 yards in the final two quarters.

“What we were doing in practice, they were changing up a lot, giving us a lot of different looks,” left tackle Clint Boling said. “It was kind of hard to pick up at the beginning of the game, but the coaches went in at halftime and really came up with a great plan and we stuck with it through the end of the game.”


A.J. Green started at wide receiver, his first appearance since injuring his shoulder against Auburn on Nov. 13. He made six catches in the game for 57 yards to lead the Bulldogs’ receivers, but it was a couple of plays he didn’t make – two screen passes that he nearly broke for big gains if not for shoestring tackles – that haunted him.

“I thought if I would have played one more game coming into this one, I’d have been alright,” Green said. “I dropped two deep balls I knew I could catch, too. But that comes with not playing in six weeks.”


Texas A&M defensive end Von Miller came into Monday’s game as the nation’s leader in sacks with 17, but he was no match for Boling.

Georgia’s left tackle stoned Miller throughout the game, holding the Aggies’ pass rusher to just four tackles and no sacks.

“Leading the nation in sacks is a big accomplishment, and if that’s the guy I’m going to be going against, I don’t want to let him get another one on me,” Boling said. “I took that as a challenge, and I’m just glad I could step up to it.”


Recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner isn’t sure what he’ll have to work with on defense next year – both in terms of his coordinator and the players. With Rennie Curran and Reshad Jones considering leaving for the NFL draft, a few more scholarships could open up for the Bulldogs, but Garner said he doesn’t see more than 25 or 26 commitments at the most for next year’s signing class.

“Obviously we have a lot of guys committed, but we have to do a good job of holding on to those guys that are committed,” Garner said. “In the next month, it’s going to be a critical month for us in the process. We need to hold on to the guys we’ve got committed and there a couple more guys out there we’re still targeting. We need to be able to close on those guys.”


Georgia was held without a point in the first quarter for the fifth time this season. In the Bulldogs’ last eight games against FBS opponents, they’ve scored a total of just 17 points in the first quarter… Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson became the fourth quarterback to throw for 300 yards against Georgia, but the first since Jonathan Crompton in Week 7… Georgia’s 44 points set a new bowl record for the team, eclipsing the old mark of 41 set two years ago against Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl…

Live Blog: Georgia vs. Texas A&M

Greetings from the Independence Bowl in balmy Shreveport, La. We're about a half-hour before kickoff, and the stands are still about 20 percent full... maybe.

Some early notes...

-- I'm probably being generous in saying it's 2-to-1 A&M fans. That number is probably closer to 3-to-1.

-- You know, it's not often you can say this, but this is hands down the biggest college football game in the country today.

-- The stadium here is very Vandy-esque. Pretty low-key. The elevator ride to the press box was a little scary. There was some creaking and cracking. I was glad I hadn't eaten a big breakfast. That might have put it over the edge.

-- No fun messages on Washaun Ealey's arms today... Just the letters G D S A. I have no clue what that means.

-- Speaking of food... the press box meal was not actually a press box meal. We had to leave the press box and go down to field level to get it. The room it was being served in had a sign on the door that said, "ESPN Meal." Ummm... you know, there are media here from other places, right? I was expecting to open the door and see Ron Franklin enjoying a feast by himself.

-- The food wasn't terrible, but it was pretty indistinguishable. There was something that resembled chicken covered in something that resembled old motor oil. But they had banana pudding which is always a big plus in my book.

-- There's a press box seating chart on the elevator. In persuing the list I noticed there are a whopping eight media members here for Georgia.

-- Even better, there are two scouts from the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos here for the game. I really think Joe Cox needs to give pro football a shot. Hey, Doug Flutie was a star in the CFL, right?

-- Here's some early thoughts from Marc Weiszer and Tim Tucker.

-- And a few intriguing links... A bashing of the passer rating stat and some info on the real profitability of bowl games.

-- Your YouTube clip of the day is.... Joe Kines!

-- Our predictions for the game: Joe Cox sets the school record for TD passes and the coachless Dawgs D pitches a shutout.

-- Seriously, how funny would either of those things be considering how this season has gone?

OK, back with more soon.


-- OK, so I think there's a real possibility that there are more LSU fans here than Georgia fans.

-- You can really just feel the enthusiasm as the Aggies take the field. Oh, no, that's not enthusiasm. I've just had too much caffeine.

-- A pretty hearty round of boos greet the Dawgs as they take the field.

-- I did see Russ on the field, which leads me to an important question: Which is more likely to happen...

Georgia's D plays great and Mitch Doolittle gets a full time job or...

Russ goes 2-0 and interim mascot and gets hired as the full-time Uga?

-- The Intergoogles have been a little spotty here, so we'll see how this goes. I supposed I should have anticipated this. One day, I'd like to think newspapers with tight deadlines will invest in wireless cards for their beat writers. I assume I'll be collecting medicare by the time that happens.

-- Hahaha... just kidding. Newspapers won't still be around by then.

-- Brandon Boykin deep to receive the opening kickoff and he does his usual acrobatics to set the Bulldogs up at the 33 yard line.

-- No Josh Davis to start the game as anticipated. Vince Vance in at right tackle.

-- A.J. Green with his first catch in a while picks up a first down to the UGA 48. Good to see A.J. back.

-- Another pass to A.J. and for the second time he was one tackle away from taking it to the end zone. OK, bold prediction time: A.J. gets to 1,000 yards today. He needs just 240-some yards.

-- Caleb can't pick up the first down and Georgia punts. Drew Butler comes in an drops a beautiful kick 42 yards and it's downed at the A&M 4. I don't think teams should punt in this game. It needs to be played like a game of Madden... just try to score every time.

-- A&M loses a yard on its first play. Doolittle for DC!

-- Three-and-out for A&M. I say hire Todd Hartley. It would be great for Georgia to have a DC that still gets carded at liquor stores.


-- Prince Miller fair catches a short punt from A&M and Georgia takes over at the Aggies' 43. Somewhere, Jon Fabris is shaking his fist and yelling at the TV that only Logan Gray can call for a fair catch. "What the heck are these dang GAs doing? Where's Logan! Hey you kids, stay off my lawn!"

-- The two quarterbacks in this game are Cox and Johnson. Hehehehehe. Ah, childishness is great.

-- Georgia gets its first penalty of the game, a false start on Boling. Or maybe Ben Jones. No one seems to be sure. I blame Josh Davis.

-- This is really turning into a defensive struggle. Man, Georgia needs to fire Mike Bobo, make Mitch Doolittle offensive coordinator and make Hartley the DC. That's the plan.

-- Another screen pass... this time to Chapas. And again, Georgia's punting from the A&M 41. Heck, let Blair kick from here.

-- Hey Darryl Gamble makes his first noticeable play (well, noticeably good anyway) of the year and makes a nice tackle to stop Johnson short of the first down for another three-and-out.

-- And good to see Logan Gray back out there. I assume Fabris texted Hartley between series to let him know how it's done.


-- Interesting fact texted to me from our pal Fletcher Page... McShay has Prince Miller rated as the No. 22 cornerback in the country. And he also rates Millard Filmore as the country's sixth-greatest president.

-- Jordan Pugh with the stop on Caleb King on second down. Markiri Pugh must be angry to hear his name being announced so often. "Oh, so that's what it would be like if anyone ever gave me some playing time!"

-- And the Drew Butler show continues... at least this time he can boost his average a bit.

-- Our buddy Dan who helps write my "Picking the Winners" column has some scratch on Georgia today. I've already gotten about six angry text messages.

-- Johnson finds a hole down the right side of the field and picks up about 13. Second-and-1. Of course a holding call goes against A&M and backs them up.

-- Johnson's shovel pass falls incomplete on third-and-10 -- after a few UGA players couldn't come up with the pick, you know, ball bouncing the other way and all -- and we get punt No. 6 of the game.

-- Updated stats: Punts 6, First downs 1, Fair catches by Prince 2, Fair catches by Logan 0. Who could have seen any of this coming?

-- Joe Cox hits Aron White down the middle. The refs call it incomplete. The Jumbotron flases the words "Great Catch!!!" I'm pretty sure the NCAA rule book suggests that Jumbotron graphics overrule the referee.

-- For all the talk of A&M's hurry-up offense, they haven't seemed too up-tempo so far. And remember all the trouble Georgia had adjusting to the hurry-up against Auburn? Doesn't seem to have been a problem today. What was Willie doing all this time?

-- And Drew Butler is on for punt No. 4. Josh Davis = Georgia's offensive MVP.

-- A&M takes over again at the 13-yard line. The over-under in this game was 67. We may have that many punts.

-- Christine Michael picks up A&M's first first down of the game on a five-yard run to the 24. He follows it up with yet another on a 14-yard run around the left side.

-- A&M is rolling now. Johnson hits Fuller for a 13-yard gain. The Aggies have finally exposed the holes in Mitch Doolittle's D!

-- I take back what I said about the tempo. A&M is moving fast now and it has Georgia off guard. Johnson runs for another first down. The middle of the field is wide open on every play.

-- Prince Miller with a nice tackle standing up Swope for a loss of one. McShay moves him up to No. 21 on his list.

-- That's the end of the first with your score... wait a minute, let me double check this... Um... Nothing-nothing?


-- So apparently Rennie didn't start as punishment for not running some laps he was supposed to run for disciplinary reasons. I'll mark that down as something I wouldn't have seen coming. But then again, Mitch Doolittle is a staunch disciplinarian. Anyway, Rennie is back in now.

-- Georgia blocks an Aggies' field goal attempt. Geno Atkins on the block. Georgia takes over at the 31.

-- I'm wondering if perhaps Mike Bobo was suspended for the first quarter, too.

-- Cox hits A.J. to midfield. So Green is working out well. The running game sucks again. Is it October again and I missed something?

-- Nice move by Mike Moore to pick up a first down to the A&M 38. If Moore's whole career was bowl games, he'd be an All-American.

-- Just a quick tidbit of info... the only other game this season that was 0-0 after the first quarter was the Tennessee game. We know how that ended.

-- Washaun Ealey is on the ground for a spell. He jogs off the field under his own power. Doesn't look too serious.

-- No need for Drew Butler on this one. Joe Cox throws a floater intended for Green to about the 10 that's picked off and returned near midfield. Just a horrific throw. On the upside, A&M flagged for a personal foul that backs them up 15 yards.

-- I can't wait to hear the Joe Kines halftime interview today.

-- Another wide open pass down the middle to Tanneyhill picks up 21 yards. Seriously, Georgia is aware that they can defend that portion of the field, right?


-- Georgia has failed to score in the first quarter in five of 13 games this year. They've scored seven or fewer points in the first quarter in nine of 13 games this year. South Carolina, Arkansas, Arizona State and Tennessee Tech were the only exceptions. In fact, if you take out the Tenn Tech game, Georgia has scored just 17 points in the first quarter COMBINED in its last eight games against D1 opponents.

-- Aggies pick up a first down after Bryan Evans decided to discipline himself by sitting out that play.

-- Third-and-10 for the Aggies at the 27 yard line of Georgia, but a penalty backs up A&M 5 more yards. This is seriously excruciating to watch.

-- Rennie breaks up Johnson's pass on third-and-15, and the Aggies consider going for it. In the end, they send out the kicking unit once again for a 49-yarder.

-- During halftime, Mark Richt should call Mike Leach and ask if he wants to call the offensive plays for the rest of the game. I hear Leach has some time on his hands.

-- These TV timeouts are really dragging down the pace of this uber-compelling game. Come on guys! They have a flea market scheduled here for 9 p.m.

-- Pooch kick! Easily the most exciting play of the game so far. I think my eyes are bleeding.

-- Cox falls down handing off to Ealey. He's still working on his footwork. Ealey healthy and back in the game though.

-- Another false start on Georgia. Seriously, it's like this team completely regressed to the way it played against LSU.

-- Michael Moore hauls in a pass from Cox for a 19-yard gain to the 27.

-- And Cox's third-down pass is incomplete. Tight coverage from A&M that has the Georgia sideline begging for a flag. Do you realize the Dawgs have a whopping three points in the first halves of their past two bowl games?


-- Harry Doyle couldn't spice up this game. I'm sure the dulcet tones of Ron Franklin have put most of you into a deep slumber. I wish I were so lucky.

-- You know what? I say pull Aaron Murray's redshirt for the second half. The kid needs the experience.

-- Mettenber, too. Just to be safe.

-- A&M turns a third-and-12 into a first down to Uzoma Nwachukwu. You know what would be a great name? Ndamukong Nwachukwu. The kid would be a junior in high school before he knew how to spell his own name.

-- OK, I'm looking around on the sideline to make sure Willie isn't here. Johnson runs for 10 yards on third-and-long to pick up another first down.

-- I meant to mention this before, but amid a litany of stupid questions asked in yesterday's news conferences with the coaches was this gem: "Um, Coach Sherman, you coached in Green Bay. How would you compare Jerrod Johnson and Brett Favre?" Seriously, Sherman's answer was, "Well, they're both quarterbacks." Great line. Anyway, Johnson just looked like Favre against the Georgia D, throwing between two defenders for a long completion to the UGA 15-yard line.

-- By the way, it was Prince Miller in coverage on that play. Todd McShay shakes his head in dismay.

-- And one play later we have the game's first score. Johnson hits Jamie McCoy in the end zone for the 15-yard TD. Texas A&M 7, Georgia 0 (9-75-2:04). Fire Mitch Doolittle!

-- Dowtin was in coverage on what must have been a ugly zone... he let McCoy get behind him and Boykin never came up to cover him. McCoy was wide open in the end zone. Just like Jancek drew it up?

-- Boykin taketh away, and Boykin giveth... He takes the ensuing kickoff and returns it 81 yards for the score... his third kick return for a TD this year. And for a little extra enthusiasm, A&M gets a 15-yard personal foul flag following the touchdown. Georgia 7, Texas A&M 7.

-- Boykin really wasn't even touched on that run back. He took it straight down the field, running behind big Derek Rich, who made a decent block at the end, but other than that it was all Boykin (or more to the point, all A&M's special teams).

-- Boykin's third touchdown on a kick return sets the Georgia career record... and he did it all in one year. That's two big special teams mishaps by A&M that have turned what should have been a 10-0 Aggies lead into a 7-7 ballgame. Boykin tied Willie Gault for the SEC record for kick returns for a score in one season, too.

-- Demarcus Dobbs sacks Johnson and strips the football. A&M recovers because... well you know the old story about the oblong ball and its haphazard bouncing.

-- I guess this note from Prince Lightfoot makes me feel a tad better: "Btw, David, by "wireless card," do you mean cellular data card and not wifi? Do any of your compatriots in the press box use those, successfully? 'cause I haven't been able to move data From the stands using AT&T in a stadium this year, and that's for games in the SEC, Big-10, and Pac-10. Official Wireless Sponsor, indeed."

-- Johnson overthrows his receiver on third down and Georgia blocks Epperson's punt on fourth down. Bacarri Rambo on the block, recovered by Vance Cuff at the 3-yard line. Interesting point in the press box: Boykin, Rambo and Cuff were all guys running stairs on Saturday.

-- Caleb King takes the handoff and piles into the end zone for the touchdown. Talk about a huge swing all on special teams. Georgia 14, Texas A&M 0 (1-3-0:07).

-- Brandon Boykin needed 119 return yards today to reach 1,000 for the season. So far, he has 107. A&M needs to score one more time to give him a chance to get it though.

-- Quintin Banks shaken up on the kickoff. Seriously, that poor kid has it worse than Samuel L. Jackson's character in "Unbreakable."

-- A&M marching down the field... first-and-10 at the Geogia 46 with 35 seconds left.

-- Geno Atkins with the sack of Johnson on second down. Georgia has had plenty of pressure but Johnson's athleticism is legit. Nice play by Atkins.

-- Johnson hits Fuller on third-and-16 for 18... the Dawgs just can't get off the field on third-and-long. They really are upholding the standard of the previous administration.

-- Tanneyhill wide open down the middle for another first down but A&M pulls a Les Miles and spikes the ball as the clock expires. Georgia darts off the field while Johnson argues his case. Mike Sherman tells the refs, "Come on, this is how it's done in the SEC!" And the boos from the crowd are the loudest the stadium has been all day.

OK, halftime... gotta do some real work.


-- I spoke to the scout from the Edmonton Eskimos, and he said the top talent scout in the CFL -- which I believe is Rick Moranis -- now has Prince Miller rated as the 36th top cornerback for the next Canadian Football Draft.

-- Some stats of note:

First downs: A&M 14, Georgia 4
Rushing: A&M 20-65, Georgia 14-27
Total yards: A&M 260, Georgia 99
Punts: 10
Jerrod Johnson: 15-of-26 for 195 yards plus 10 carries for 31 yards.

-- And despite not playing in the first quarter, Rennie still leads the team with five tackles.


-- Aaaaaand we're back. But as of right now, we're back without Internets.

-- And Jerrod Johnson is back, too. He completes his first pass for a 13-yard gain to the 40. Bryan Evans on coverage.

-- Michael runs around like a Roomba amid Georgia tacklers and still manages to pick up the first down. Somebody hurry up and register

-- Dowtin gives McCoy the Reshad Jones treatment... shoulder tackle that does little to slow the momentum. McCoy picks up the first down and Dowtin is down on the field.

-- Atkins had Johnson for a huge loss but couldn't bring him down. He had him by the jersey but I suppose that's the problems with trying to jersey tackle a 6-foot-5 QB.

-- Hey the Internets are working again! Way to use some Liquid Plumber on the series of tubes, Indy Bowl!

-- Kiante Tripp sighting!

-- Johnson hits Ndamuking Nwachukwu for a first down in the middle of the field... AGAIN. On the next play Michael goes down the left sideline for the touchdown. Hey, Georgia D. You just got scored on by a guy name Christine. Georgia 14, Texas A&M 14 (9-73-2:24).


-- So at least we'll get to see Boykin go over 1,000 receiving yards now. That speaks as much to the Georgia defense as anything though, right?

-- Some good insight from rbubp... "Dowtin had responsibility for the TE on their touchdown--it was man coverage. Dowtin stood there and let the TE get behind him when the QB rolled out to the sideline. As someone else wad rushing the QB--two players, even--that TD was all on Dowtin, not Boykin. Marcus froze like a Georgia LB looking at a...QB roll-out."

-- Seriously, Georgia cannot handle athletic QBs.

-- And they kick short so we don't even get to 1,000 for Boykin. Instead, it's Fred Munzenfaircatcher.

-- False start for Georgia. Seriously, I miss Josh Davis.

-- Caleb goes nowhere. I feel like I've typed that before. How could Josh Davis have been this important to the offense? Or is it that Vince Vance is that bad?

-- The screen pass finally goes somewhere. Cox hits Caleb King on a third-and-9 and Caleb goes 32 yards to the Aggies' 38.

-- Back-to-back runs by Ealey sets up a third-and-3 at the 31.

-- Prince Lightfoot's TV critique: "I am not at all impressed with Quint Kessenich's decision to work the sidelines sans a cute hat. He'll never get a camera in his hotel room peephole with an effort like that." So true.

-- Cox had A.J. Green but the throw was just a tick behind him. It was close and would have probably gone for a TD, but it was just a touch off.

-- Blair Walsh in for the field goal. Here's Marc Weiszer's commentary as the kick goes up: "Short? Wide? Good." He's not the best color man in the business for nothing, folks. Georgia 17, Texas A&M 14 (7-40-3:11).

-- Walsh's 49-yarder is the third-longest in Independence Bowl history. See, Blair... who needs a Groza award when you've got that on your resume?

-- In case you were wondering, the longest field goals: Adam Crossett (Missouri, 2005) and David Hardy (Texas A&M, 1981) both kicked 50-yarders.

-- First down count so far: A&M 20, Georgia 5.

-- The Aggies take over at their own 33 with an empty backfield. Johnson's pass is complete to McCoy to the 43 for a gain of 9.

-- Third-and-10 for A&M and Georgia jumps offsides. Aggies use the free play to go deep but Reshad has coverage. It'll be a third-and-5.

-- Johnson had Tanneyhill, but he couldn't haul it in. On comes the punting team. And Logan Gray deep to receive. The energy in the stadium right now is throught he roof.

-- The snap goes over Epperson's head and Cornelius Washington hauls him down at the A&M 24. Man, special teams are bailing the Dawgs out here.

-- OK, we're going to review the previous catch by Tavarres King. While we have some time... do you think there'll be a point in like 25 years that Urban Meyer is regaining coherence at his palacial estate somewhere in the deep south and sees one of his kids, asks his name, then has a catch with him, a la Dewey Cox? I'd like to think that's what he's looking forward to.

-- And the replay shows that TK didn't make the catch. A person in the Aggies suite next to us literally just yelled "whoop whoop." Texans are strange.

-- Question from Spencer: "David, how tall is Joe Cox really? Like Michael J. Fox short, or munchkin from Wizard of Oz short?" Ummmm... bigger than a breadbox?

-- Third-and-10 and -- oh my! -- Marlon Brown is on the field. This is what the coaching staff envisioned when they burned that redshirt.

-- Aron White may have gotten away with a bit of a push off, but no matter... it's a 24-yard TD catch. Georgia 24, Texas A&M 14 (3-24-0:27).


-- So Georgia's scoring drives today: 0 yards, 2 yards, 24 yards.

-- OK, Indy Bowl. If you already hadn't woven your way into my heart... you send an intern to DELIVER cookies to us. Well played.

-- Third-and-3 for A&M. If you're the Aggies, you go for it on fourth right? You can't possibly send that punting unit back out.

-- Doesn't matter. The Doolittle defense gives up another big play... Howard Morrow takes the short pass from Johnson and Boykin comes in with a bit hit. But Morrow falls on Boykin and never touches the ground, getting back up and darting down the sideline to the UGA 32.

-- And it's another third-and-long... right where A&M wants them. Johnson runs with it and it'll be close. Curran comes up and makes a big tackle that appears to have saved the first down. Fourth-and-1 from the UGA 23.

-- A&M goes for it, Johnson flushed out of the pocket and his heave is intercepted by Sanders Commings. And yes, Commings was also running stairs on Friday.

-- Point just made in the press box: If Texas had trouble beating A&M, is there any chance in the world they can hold off Alabama?

-- Posts on the Dawg Vent poted exactly one minute apart: "Dowtin is a stud, making every play" and "Congratulations Dowtin on quitting on the team."

-- The tight ends are coming up big. Another first-down grab by Orson Charles at the 35.

-- OK, I take that back. Charles drops a pass near the sideline.

-- "Charles is a stud. He's making every catch!"

-- "Congratulations Orson for quitting on the team."

-- Washaun finds a hole up the middle and goes for 19 yards... finally some real running success. That was all on Ben Jones who just stoned his block. That kid has improved by leaps and bounds this season.

-- On third-and-six, A.J. goes about 50 feet up in the air to knock down an overthrown ball by Cox. Not sure if that would have been picked, but it would have been close. Drew Butler boots a touchback.

-- Georgia has really dominated the line of scrimmage defensively in this game, but Johnson's athleticism has made it interesting.

-- I'd be a big fan of some running plays... I need some clock killing to make deadline.

-- And another first down on third-and-long. "Bottom line, we gotta get off the field."

-- Facemask on Jeff Owens gives the Aggies 15 yards to the Georgia 47. I'm going to guess Georgia will win this game, but they really have no business doing so.

-- Oh my... Johnson throws up a Joe Cox special... lobbed into double coverage. Prince Miller had a shot at the pick, but Reshad made the interception and returned it all the way to the A&M 28. Pressure from Demarcus Dobbs set the play up. Todd Hartley adds another line to the "accomplishments" section of his resume.

-- Cox connects with A.J. Green at the 12-yard line to end the third quarter. Georgia will set up shop with a first down at the 12 to start the fourth.


-- Johnson may have two picks, but he's already over 300 yards passing. See, Doolittle and Hartley have taken Willie's philosophy but made the bend-but-don't-break defense work.

-- You get me for about five more minutes and then I've got to write a game story. Deadlines!

-- Heck of a run by Washaun who breaks a few tackles making his way down to the 1. First and goal.

-- Von Miller made the tackle on that run by Ealey. That's the first time I've heard his name today. Nice work by Clint Boling to hold the nation's leader in sacks to a quiet day.

-- First two plays go nowhere. Third-and-goal from the 2 and A.J. is on the sideline. No matter, Cox hits Aron White wide open in the end zone for the touchdown. Cox is now one TD away from the passing TD record. Georgia 31, Texas A&M 10 (6-28-2:13).

-- OK, that'll do it for me for the remainder of the game. Gotta write my game story. Ideally, we avoid any epic collapses and Todd Hartley can submit his application for the open Florida defensive coordinator job.

Indy Bowl Links: 12/28

And here we are... the final game day of the year.

Of course, from the atmosphere around town, you might not exactly know it. It has been a quiet build-up to the festivities for sure. But all in all, I'm not knocking Shreveport.

First off, the bowl folks have been about 1,000 times better than the Cap One disaster last year. Information has been readily available, the bowl reps have been easy to find and the perks -- like Saturday's amazing media dinner -- have been a nice reward for missing Christmas.

Shreveport is certainly not the most entertaining town I've ever visited, but it hasn't been without its charm either. It's definitely not Vegas, and it's not even Atlantic City, but if I wasn't such a bad gambler, I'd have definitely been able to keep myself entertained for a while. There are some reasonable eating and nightlife options and the boardwalk served as a passable touristy shopping area.

All in all, Shreveport wasn't exactly a high-end bowl destination, but that's OK. It was sort of like a fun dive bar -- lacking some of the amenities, but if you just wanna go act like an idiot every once in a while, it's a great place to do it.

As for the actual game itself, I'm still on the fence as to the attitude of the team. Mark Richt and the players have continued to toe the company line, saying they're excited for the game, playing for the seniors, respecting the GAs, yada, yada, yada.


Of course, on the other hand, this is clearly not where they'd hoped to be at this time in the year, and while I don't think it was the biggest deal in the world, I do think the players missing meetings and activities earlier in the week was a little bit telling. And, perhaps coincidentally, they were all defensive players.

I can't help but think back to last year when there were reports of fights between players at practice and Richt was smiling ear to ear talking about the renewed physicality he was implementing for bowl season. This week certainly hasn't seemed like that. If anything, it's more business as usual.

On the other side, a reporter asked Mike Sherman yesterday if getting a win to finish above .500 (the Aggies are currently 6-6) was important. Sherman said his team had already exceeded expectations, and he wasn't worried about the actual record.

So does that mean A&M is just happy to be here?

Or does it mean they have nothing to lose?

While I'm on the subject of Texas A&M, I was flipping through their bowl media guide last night while watching Kentucky blow a game against Clemson and came across some interesting nuggets for you...

-- A&M has produced 101 plays of 20 yards or more this season.

-- A&M has used 18 true freshmen this year. That's a school record for the Aggies. The old record? Seventeen in 1980 -- which just so happens to be the last time they played Georgia.

-- A&M has had eight 100-yard receiving games this year. Guess Bryan Evans and Prince Miller might have one last chance to raise the stress level of fans.

-- Georgia hasn't won the turnover battle often this year. Meanwhile, the Aggies have won 15 of their last 17 games in which they were on the plus side of the turnover ratio.

-- Aggies freshman tailback Christine Michael's name is pronounced "Chris-tin" because his parents wanted a girl.

-- A&M is 6-0 when rushing for more than 200 yards this year. A&M is 0-6 when rushing for less than 200 yards this year. Georgia allows, on average, 127 yards per game on the ground and has allowed just two teams (Florida and run-heavy Georgia Tech) to top 200 in a game.

-- A&M assistant coach Jim Turner is from... wait for it... Delaware!

-- And this is easily the most interesting fact I learned: The Aggies are 0-6 this year in games that are on TV.

This is astonishing to me for two reasons: 1.) It's a pretty clear indication that A&M doesn't win big games, and looking over their schedule, that's true. Their second-best win this year is Iowa State and their third best win is probably UAB. 2.) They only played six TV games! Seriously, how is that possible in this day and age? Heck, their win over Texas Tech wasn't even on TV!

Anyway, consider that your pre-game primer.

And how about a quick mailbag?

TrboDawg writes: How is Rennie and Reshad talking to current NFL players about their options different than Dez Bryant talking with Deion? I don't want our players getting into trouble with the NCAA... Is it because Deion is registered as an 'agent'?

David: Pretty sure Dez was associating with agents and not just talking to friends in the pros. And what's more is, Bryant wouldn't have likely been suspended for that, but he lied to the NCAA during their investigation, which is what landed him in real hot water.

Anonymous writes: I was surprised that G.Blue(big hitter awful angles amplified vs. w.v.) was picked ahead of S.Jones, Anything surprise you D.H.?

David: Ah, our Dawgs of the Decade list... there was one thing that sort of jumped out at me on the list. First off, I thought that the voting overall was pretty good, although I think maybe there was a bit of a bias toward the current crop of O linemen over some of the more talented guys of past teams. I'd have had to put Kevin Breedlove ahead of Ben Jones -- at least for now. (Although, give Jones two more years and I could easily change my mind.) But what really stood out is how little the current crop of Bulldogs were represented on the All-Decade team. Only A.J. Green, Clint Boling, Ben Jones, Drew Butler and Rennie Curran made the list, and I think it would be a pretty easy argument to make that neither Butler (who has played just one year) and Jones deserved it.

And look at that list again -- Curran was the only defensive player on the All-Decade team from a signing class after 2005. Doesn't that speak volumes about the step back the defense has taken recently? And I'm not sure it's Willie Martinez's fault necessarily. I mean, Jon Fabris and Willie were coaching the guys before '05, too. But I think perhaps it's fair to say that the talent level has dipped by a decent amount since then. (Of course, you could also argue Willie & Co. were the ones recruiting those less-talented players...)

Anonymous writes: I am a dawg fan and hate UF and Meyer as much as anyone, but can't we give the guy a break here? He loves coaching and is really good at it, but it might kill him. So shouldn't we expect some ambivalence about stepping aside?

David: It's like me and beer. No, it's not good for me. But I like it so much!

I think the anger comes from two rationales...

1.) Most UGA fans realize that Meyer is a hell of a coach, and his presence in Gainesville can only make things harder for Georgia.

2.) He changed his mind so quickly, which seemed extremely disingenuous. Of course, that's not really our business. But if I were his wife... I'd probably be a little ticked.

Assuming what has been reported is accurate, then I think he probably made the right decision in the end -- even if he could have gone about it better.

But there's something about this whole story that just doesn't seem to ring true. I'm not in any way suggesting that Meyer is doing anything wrong here or comparing their actions, but doesn't this sort of remind you of the Tiger Woods story a bit? The first-blush information just doesn't seem to add up. It just feels like there has to be more going on here that we're not hearing about. I'd be very curious to hear what that might be.

(And again, to be clear, I'm not suggesting that Urban is nailing porn stars or that his wife attacked him with a golf club. Just that it seems like we're settling for a story with half the facts.)

Stan P writes: Has anyone heard John Chavis' name pop up for DC? Just heard the guy from say it on the radio...thoughts?

Anonymous writes: Chavis would be awesome! He has that sweet 70s 'stache, something missing on the UGA staff for sure

Trae writes: Rumors are circulating on LSU boards that Chavis, DC at LSU (which I am sure you are aware of) pretty ignorant of me to insert that, is going to be announced as UGA's DC after the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2. Is there any truth to this?

David: I'd love to confirm or deny this, but there's just not much I can add at the moment. From what I've been told, Richt has not formally offered anything to Chavis or even requested permission to speak to him from LSU, but that doesn't necessarily mean much. An "offer" is an arbitrary term when talking to coaches anyway. It's sort of like a "Do you like me, check yes or no" note from grade school. No offer is officially made until a coach already knows the answer.

Richt said Sunday that he has not worked on the coaching search while in Shreveport, but he almost said it with a nod and a wink. He's not giving any information on this so it's pretty much useless to take anything he says on the coaching front at face value.

I also found it interesting that Richt referred to making a hire in the first week in January "after the bowls are over" when, in fact, the bowls aren't over until the second week in January. Might that have been a Freudian slip -- that the bowl in question will be over the first week in January? That's probably reading a bit too much into things.

I will say that Chavis is a name I've heard from the beginning, but not from anyone I'd consider a reliable source. So no, it's certainly not out of the realm of possibilities, but I wouldn't call it a slam dunk at this point.

Papadawg writes: Hey, are you doing a Live Blog during the game today? It is today, right?

David: Well, you have to understand, with these deadlines and with as much time as they've taken throughout the season, the live blogs were really putting a lot of stress on me. I was going to just give them up altogether and focus on my health and my family.

But I gotta say... you guys have done such spirited reading this morning that... you know what? Screw it! I'm coming back!

So we'll have a live blog tonight for the game... and in the meantime, we'll also have just a handful of links...

-- My game preview looks at the vast difference in perspectives the two teams have coming into today's game.

-- Mark Richt says the lack of defensive coaches hasn't been a big deal for Georgia this week.

-- And the Red & Black says the D is ready to have some fun on the football field (which I suppose is better than having fun off it, then running stairs for 20 minutes before practice).

-- Bernie has his bowl game locker notes up.

-- Hey Jenny Slater's Doug Gillett chats with a Texas A&M site about the game.

-- GenXDawg is all for enjoying the final game of 2009 before turning the page to 2010.

-- Apparently the bowl game will be a boon to the Shreveport economy. Well, I suppose I have donated a bit of my income to the casinos.

-- Bubba N Earl offer their prediction for the game.

-- Marc Weiszer says it could (and probably should) be a shootout in the Indy Bowl today.

-- And finally, the Senator wraps things up with some relevant thoughts about today's game.

OK, I'm gonna get psyched up for some Indy Bowl action, and we'll be back later with the live blog.