Saturday Morning Dawg Bites

I was out of town for most of Wednesday and essentially all of Thursday, attending the annual continuing legal education seminar sponsored by the Henry County Bar Association at Jekyll Island, where I taught a session on probate law.

Whenever attorneys are mentioned on a football weblog, the reference must be accompanied by a photograph of Lawyer Milloy. (Photograph from Sports Illustrated.)

Because I was away for a couple of days, there were some items I needed to report, to which I was unable to attend before now. These are they:

The Rakes of Mallow have released the latest Maxwell Pundit standings. The Rakes are doing fine work and I hope readers are finding the voting as edifying as I am; I know that when, say, Sunday Morning Quarterback calls my attention to a player with whom I am unfamiliar, I make a mental note to be sure to give that player a look.

My one criticism is that we have to find a way to establish uniformity of usage. Is there a space between the "Maxwell" and the "Pundit" or isn't there? I'm not lobbying for one over the other, but we need to make this consistent.

Why be Heisman Dumb when you could be Maxwell Smart? (Sorry about that joke, Chief.)

This week's BlogPoll has been released and Georgia is down a spot, dropping to No. 11 behind second-ranked Auburn, fifth-ranked Florida, and ninth-ranked L.S.U. Tennessee checks in at No. 15, one spot behind Notre Dame.

The 'Dawgs tied for the highest standard deviation---that is, people disagree a lot about where to rank the Red and Black---and four residents of the Dawgosphere finished among the top five contenders for the Straight Bangin' Award, which is presented to the weblogger who ranks his own team the lowest, relative to the rest of the poll. My ballot came in fourth in that category, but the title went to our good friend Doug.

Where I finished first was in the running for Mr. Manic-Depressive. As reported by The Lawgiver:

Mr. Manic-Depressive is Kyle at Dawg Sports, who managed to find a way to wildly flip his ballot around in a week where a lot of things almost happened but none actually did. Iowa, omitted last week, is #13. ASU and BC, #14 and #15 a week ago, plummet entirely out of the poll. Everyone else moves at least a bit.

Brian wasn't calling me out and he didn't demand an explanation, so, obviously, no recriminations are called for, but I would like to offer a brief justification, nevertheless.

As I acknowledged, omitting Iowa was an oversight, which I attempted to correct. At this early juncture in the season, we are still trying to sort out which teams are better than which and there has been considerable movement on my ballot each week as I make an honest effort to let preseason prejudices give way to established facts.

For instance, I evidently gave these fellows a tad too much credit.

Following last weekend's action, I dropped eight winning teams (Southern California, Louisville, Florida, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Georgia, Notre Dame, and Boise State) for looking less than impressive in victory because their performances did not appear to me to deserve rankings as high as the ones I had awarded them previously. Obviously, the Sun Devils and the Eagles proved to me that they were overrated, as well.

Once again, Brian wasn't giving me a hard time or anything, but I wanted to provide a word of explanation, for whatever it was worth. As the season continues and the evidence mounts, I am sure my ballot will start to stabilize, but, judging by what I've seen so far, the movement, while considerable, has been justified.

While we're on that subject . . .

After Thursday evening's Auburn-South Carolina game, do the Plainsmen deserve to be dropped on my next BlogPoll ballot?

I know full well how tough it is to win in Williams-Brice Stadium, but do the Tigers deserve credit for surviving or demotion for having to survive? I mean, the 'Dawgs lost their starting quarterback on the first series of their game against South Carolina and had to put a true freshman under center for his first significant collegiate action and the Red and Black still beat the Gamecocks by 18 points. If Auburn's claim to a top two ranking is legitimate, shouldn't the Plainsmen have beaten the Palmetto State Poultry by at least as large a margin?

I hate Auburn.

As long as we're discussing pre-Saturday college football, please permit me to reiterate that you should never go for two unless you have to go for two! Friday evening's Rutgers-South Florida game featured an exciting conclusion only because Greg Schiano made absolutely the worst call of his coaching career.

In case you missed it, the Scarlet Knights were trailing, 14-13, in Tampa when the State University of New Jersey scored the touchdown that made it 19-14 with almost the entire fourth quarter yet to be played. Kicking the extra point---the highest-percentage play in football---would have made it a six-point game, so that two field goals could only tie it. Going for two---among the lowest-percentage plays in football---would have made the lead seven points.

At that point, with so much football left to be played, there was no reason to think the two teams had only one score left between them. The smart move was to kick the P.A.T., as I exhorted Coach Schiano to do through my television.

Rutgers went for two and didn't get it. Later, the Scarlet Knights kicked a field goal to make it 22-14. In the final seconds of the contest, the Bulls scored a touchdown to make it 22-20. U.S.F.'s two-point conversion attempt failed . . . barely . . . but it never should have mattered.

Had the visiting team kicked the extra point, as they should have, the lead would have been 23-20 instead of 22-20 and a two-point conversion attempt by South Florida wouldn't have made any difference. It was a bonehead call by an outstanding coach.

Rutgers alumna Kristin Davis, while ordinarily hesitant to second-guess Coach Schiano, believed it was too soon to go for the two-point conversion. (Photograph from Style.com.)

Really, this is neither here nor there, but I found this out and I thought I should share it.

The amount of time it took me to drive from the I-75 exit nearest my home to the Jekyll Island Club Hotel was almost precisely the amount of time it took me to listen to the Drive-By Truckers' Gangstabilly, Pizza Deliverance, Alabama @$$ Whuppin', and Southern Rock Opera (Act I). The amount of time it took me to drive from the Jekyll Island Club Hotel back to my house was almost precisely the amount of time it took me to listen to the Drive-By Truckers' Southern Rock Opera (Act II), Decoration Day, The Dirty South, and A Blessing and a Curse and Crooked Fingers' Reservoir Songs E.P.

Do with those data what you will.

Go 'Dawgs!

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