Where Should Fans of the Georgia Bulldogs Turn if the Decline of Their Football Team Forces Them to Change Religions?

As I informed you at the start of the week, we are shelving "Don’t Bet On It!" for the moment and focusing instead on the topic occupying everyone’s thoughts. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that I believe Mark Richt should be and will be the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs in 2011; I believe Mike Bobo, like Willie Martinez before him, was and is a capable position coach who was promoted past his level of competence; and I believe Coach Bobo should be retained as the Bulldogs’ quarterbacks coach, but, even if he keeps the title of offensive coordinator (a post Neil Callaway also nominally held), Coach Richt should take over the play calling duties again. No, this isn’t a set-up, but, to repeat, no one should mistake the postings in this series as an indication that this is the sports weblog equivalent of Lyndon Johnson losing Walter Cronkite on Vietnam.

However, this is what Bulldog Nation is discussing, so let’s have the discussion. If the time has come for changes to be made, what form should those changes take? In the initial posting linked to above, I looked at possible new offensive coordinators to replace Mike Bobo, and I subsequently identified which prospective head coaching candidates should and should not be considered as possible replacements for Mark Richt, as well as which potential strength and conditioning coaches should be considered as suitable successors to Dave Van Halanger.

Discussing the prospect of men who serve the University of Georgia losing their jobs is never pleasant. Although I was on board for firing Willie Martinez in 2006 and I built the case for jettisoning the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator in 2008, I nevertheless was heavy-hearted when the axe ultimately fell. We should never be casual about calling for good people to join the ranks of the unemployed, even when it is reasonable to believe they are not fulfilling their job descriptions satisfactorily.

Accordingly, in an effort to lighten the mood a bit, I have elected to take a humorous look at one other change we might make. Please note that I am kidding; if you don’t happen to find this funny, it’s because I made a poor joke, not because I was serious. It may be the end of the world as we know it, or we may stand in the place where we are, but I am not genuinely losing my religion. Nevertheless, the Red and Black’s 1-4 record under a devout Christian coach raises questions whether the meek will inherit the earth (or, at least, the SEC). If that is the case---and we must consider every possible option in identifying what ails us---perhaps Bulldog Nation should think about converting. Here are our possible religious options:

Judaism. This is one of the world’s great religions, and the New Testament presents itself as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, so, really, this is just getting back to fundamentals, so to speak. Personally, I’m down with the premises of Judaism---here are the rules; follow them, and you’ll be rewarded; disobey them, and you’ll be punished---because they more or less guide me as a lawyer and as a father, anyway. There’s a problem, though: pork products are forbidden. I have to say, when it comes to choosing a religion, a ban on bacon, ham, and barbecue is a dealbreaker.

Islam. This one could be tricky, as Islam probably is the major world religion with which most of us in Bulldog Nation are least familiar, so we’d have to be careful about picking our particular denomination. However, I don’t think we even need to get that far, because Muslims also observe the prohibition on pork products, and they obey an edict against alcohol, as well. Dude, I was at the Blind Pig Tavern for the First Annual Dawg Sports Sacrificial Goat Roast; I can tell you from firsthand knowledge that any religion that ixnays barbecue and booze is not the faith for the Bulldog faithful!

Buddhism. Stay with me here, because I think we can make this work, albeit with a uniquely Georgian spin. Tibetan Buddhism recognizes the current Dalai Lama as the rebirth of his predecessors. Can we make that work with dogs? Because there’s something to be said for recognizing a "Dalai Uga." Also, if our offensive coordinator could achieve enlightenment as to the wisdom of running a 170-pound tailback into a nine-man front, or if our offensive line could establish a state free from obstructions to the liberation of said 170-pound tailback, it definitely would enable me to attain a state of continuous bliss.

Hinduism. We might be able to make this one come together, since Hinduism’s stance on the slaughter of cattle dovetails nicely with the "eat mor chikin" position of the Chick-fil-A cows. What does Hinduism have to say about using the spicy chicken sandwich as a sacrament? This deserves further study.

Zoroastrianism. I know absolutely nothing about this religion, except that "Zoroastrianism" is the coolest name for a religion ever. I’m pretty sure we couldn’t go this route, however, because following any philosophy based on the teachings of Zarathustra probably would obligate us to play the "2001: A Space Odyssey" theme before football games, and South Carolina already has that market cornered.

Norse mythology. The timing on this one is good, what with the recent release of "Iron Man 2" on DVD reminding us of the final post-credits scene showing the hammer of Thor in the Arizona desert. I like the idea of the Einherjar finding a place in Odin’s hall, as it is easier to think of Herschel Walker and David Pollack as being in Valhalla rather than on ESPN and in the MMA, respectively. Also, you have to admit that thinking of Urban Meyer as Loki is an appealing notion.

Agnosticism. Perhaps it is time to withhold faith until we are sent a sign. A victory would be a nice start.

Saban worship. No, that is not a typo. Not Satan, Saban. Every time we think we need to replace someone on the Georgia staff, we look to current or former Nick Saban assistants, so why not make our zeal consistent? After all, we often claim football in the South is a religion, and, besides, deifying the Armani Bear (complete with a dash of idolatry) sure seems to be working out well for Crimson Tide fans. Let’s join the winning team!

All kidding aside, I think Mike Bobo should stick to coaching quarterbacks and Mark Richt should go back to calling plays. If we’re going to talk about changes, though, let’s not just stick to temporal changes; let’s go all-out for making eternal changes! (Not really, though.) As always, your thoughts (and, I suspect, at least one quotation of a Drivin n’ Cryin lyric) are welcome in the comments below.

Go ‘Dawgs!

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