As Doug Gillett has reported already, Bloggerpalooza '08 was a complete success, if by "a complete success" you mean "confined to the parking deck in a miserable drizzle, attended by half a dozen people, and featuring foodstuffs and beverages which, while undeniably tasty, did nothing to benefit the blood sugar levels of the mildly hypoglycemic."
Still, Doug Gillett, Ann Gillett, Dave Akins (I'm assuming "DAve" is a typographical error rather than an attempt to distinguish himself like SanDeE* in "L.A. Story"; if I am mistaken in that surmise, I apologize most profusely), Scott and Meimi Hartman, and I were there, so we definitely put the "blogger" in "Bloggerpalooza," even if the "palooza" was somewhat open to debate.
We've come a long way since Bloggerpalooza '06. Well, O.K., we've moved up to a higher level of the parking deck, at any rate.
As Doug noted already, the inclement weather kept my family away, so I traveled to the Classic City alone, joined the Bloggerpalooza crew on north campus, and accompanied them to the G-Day game. We were in the general vicinity of the 50 yard line on the student side and, on our way in, we passed Paul Westerdawg, who seemed to be saving a section of seats for a good 60 or 80 of his closest friends. Honestly, though, knowing Paul, that seems about right. (Westerdawg's G-Day breakdown is up at the Georgia Sports Blog, as well.)
I have little of substance to add concerning the day's events beyond what has been said by Doug, Paul, and the reporters and commentators to whom they have linked. I would, however, share the following random observations, in no particular order and of no particular importance:
- By far the area in need of greatest improvement is the dance team. Those girls were missing kicks, skipping steps, and generally looking like they just rolled their tap shoes out there and expected to win a halftime show. You can pull that kind of bush-league stuff at G-Day, ladies, but, if you don't bring it better than that come autumn, you'll be lucky to get past Central Michigan. Quite frankly, we looked like a Division I-AA dance team out there on Saturday. The solo baton twirler, though, brought her "A" game.
- Two carries into Caleb King's G-Day career, the message-board meme already was in motion. The latest emerging star in the Bulldog backfield was fairly well bottled up on his first couple of rushes and I could hear the two sides dividing between the "Caleb King is overrated!" crowd and the "Herschel got shut down pretty good in practice, too" camp. Fortunately, King---we're no relation, by the way---showed enough stuff thereafter to cause optimism ranging from the cautious to the enthusiastic.
- Am I right in thinking I saw a marriage proposal on the scoreboard? If so, I have to say, in all candor, that I was unimpressed. I'm pretty sure the whole asking-a-girl-to-marry-you-via-the-scoreboard-at-a-sporting-event bit is fairly well played out, anyway, but, if you're going to do it, you have to go all in and do it up right. If you're going to pop the question on the jumbotron, do it during a blackout beatdown of your biggest rival. If you're going to propose at the spring scrimmage, you might as well give the gal an engagement ring made of cubic zirconium.
Nevertheless, we'll forgive you as long as you don't get married during football season!
- I'm beginning to wonder whether, after his comeback against Colorado, we shouldn't have just frozen Joe Cox in Carbonite and propped him up in a display case in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall with a plaque reading "If we can't score two times, we don't deserve to wear Gs on our helmets." You have to love the kid, but, honestly, it seems like his moment has passed and he is merely the placeholder on the depth chart providing additional incentive to Logan Gray to apply himself. (Oh, by the way, a word of advice for backup quarterbacks . . . don't sling a guy to the ground out of bounds in anger after you threw a bad pass while wearing a non-contact jersey; it will come back to haunt you.)
- I ain't going to lie to you; I could have done with crankin' me some Soulja Boy on Saturday.
- I'd be much more worried about the kicking game if I thought the 'Dawgs were going to be doing a lot of punting and kicking a lot of field goals next fall. Fortunately, I'm feeling pretty good that the special teams are going to get a lot of work on extra points and kickoffs in 2008.
- Aside from the gold-plated trophy, the six-figure award stipend, and the hand-embroidered smoking jacket, the most noteworthy benefit to winning a College Football Blogger Award is the cavalcade of blog groupies. Don't let Doug fool you; when Orson Swindle wrote that a photograph "of all the bloggers we know covered in baby oil" would serve as "effective birth control," Doug described himself as "a BYJWTBFW (a Blogger You Just Want To Be Friends With)." (I had rather a better opinion of myself than that.) We're sitting there in the stands, minding our own business, when up comes an enthusiastic fan of Doug's, who saw him, thought she recognized him, and just had to come over and speak. She used her camera phone to snap a picture of herself with Doug, which I'd bet you a dollar is up on a MySpace page right about now. Later, she came back, cell phone again in hand, and asked if he would be willing to speak to her mom if she called her. Doug was a trouper, taking the time to talk to the girl's mother and to discuss John Edwards's presidential campaign with her. During the break between the first and second visits by what I am sure is but one of Doug's many devoted female fans, Scott wryly asked me, "Kyle, does that ever happen to you?" Uh, no.
Really hoping that works out well for you, there, Doug.
- Randomterrace wonders why Georgia hasn't retired David Pollack's number 47. I'm wondering why Knowshon Moreno was wearing the number 26. Does anyone know the story behind that? Was it a conspiratorial attempt to disguise his presence from any opposing coach who got a copy of the game film with no sound or was it like Junior swapping number 8 for number 88 when he switched sponsors, thereby compelling us all to buy more merchandise?
- I agree with Paul that there is only so much that can be read into a spring scrimmage, but both Michael Moore and Israel Troupe looked good in the receiving corps. Moore's second touchdown catch was bookended by two encouraging throws; the first was the pass from Logan Gray and the second was the clipboard immediately thereafter tossed into the air by Willie Martinez. Other than an injury-free afternoon, the best possible outcome to G-Day probably is the sight of Mike Bobo trotting off the field wearing a smile and Willie Martinez getting in everyone's face and yelling, which is exactly what we got. Mark Richt rightly receives credit for the way he has grown into his job as head coach, but Coach Martinez gets too few props for the manner in which he has matured as a coordinator after a rocky road in the early going that had yahoos like me calling for his head. Coach Martinez, you were right and I was wrong, which is why I show you the respect of addressing you by your title; you earned it.
- The foregoing photograph, made by Meimi and swiped from Doug, depicts, from left to right, Dave in a red cap (doing his best impersonation either of an antiwar demonstrator or Winston Churchill), me, Ann, and Doug. Two things should readily be apparent, both regarding me (because, hey, Doug already got his moment in the sun with that whole blog groupie thing). First of all, underneath my red rain slicker, I am wearing a black sweatshirt. What Doug regrets about this picture is the fact that you can't see the red pants he was wearing; in my case, I regret that you can't see the black pants I was wearing. After last year's Auburn game, the Sugar Bowl, and, heck, even the S.E.C. gymnastics championships, I am in full Johnny Cash mode, emphasizing the latter half of "Red and Black." Maybe it's just me, but I've started to come around to the line of thought that, once you go blackout, you never can back out. Secondly, beards are making a comeback in Bulldog Nation. Maybe it's the whole "Evil Richt" theme and the corresponding image of the Spock-like goatee, but I'm putting out the call: Bulldog Nation, if you have a Y chromosome and you're clean-shaven, get to work; I want to see every man in Sanford Stadium sporting a beard, van dyke, moustache, or, at a minimum, a Wolverine-style (X-Man, that is, not Maize and Blue) set of sideburns by Labor Day weekend. Trust me.
- If I never see the Bulldogs run another bubble screen, it will be too soon. It worked maybe once out of every six or eight tries after Champ Bailey went to the N.F.L., but Jim Donnan persisted in running it right up to the bitter end. I know Coach Bobo played for Coach Donnan, but, honestly, can we rip that page out of the playbook? Please? For me, the bubble screen is like the black stripe down the middle of the helmet . . . it's a reminder of a time I have earned the right to forget.
- You know what we need more of at tailgates? Food in the shape of a football. As Doug mentioned, Meimi made some confectionary treats fitting that description for Bloggerpalooza and they unquestionably were the highlight of the pregame festivities, if only because the inclement weather made it impossible for drunks to climb trees. If you prepare a food item shaped like a football and either wrap it in bacon, top it with bacon, or otherwise transform it into a bacon-delivery system, and you send me an e-mail telling me so and letting me know your tailgating location, I will visit your tailgate.
- Last but by no means least, the entire college football blogosphere---Iowa and Florida fans included---sends its best wishes to Larry Munson for a speedy and complete recovery.
Get well soon.
Those are my thoughts from the G-Day game. Feel free to share yours in the comments below.