Before we get to this week's list, I wanted to say a few words. I've gone on record on more than one occasion admitting that the WLOCP is the game that I most want the Georgia Bulldogs to win, year in and year out. That's why losing this game, year in and year out, is the one thing that really sends me over the moon into irrational rageaholic fan land. For those of us who came of age as Georgia football fans below the gnat line during the 1990's, this is the game that matters most. It's one of history's cruel ironies that it is the one which we win the least.
When we lose to Florida, it crushes me. There's no way around that. It's just how I'm wired as a fan. As a result, some of the below is pretty depressive stuff. I think what we saw on Saturday was a Georgia squad that was clearly more talented than its opponent gack up a game that it should have won, perhaps going away. A 4:1 turnover ration is the quickest way to lose at any level. End of story. The fact that at least 2 (depending on your notion of how badly thrown the tip ball interceptions were) of the turnovers were directly attributable to the freshman quarterback who I feared all week might end up playing like a freshman for the first time made it maddening. The fact that we literally gave away 2 more that will never show up on the stat sheet by not falling on the football next to/in the pile (as opposed to in the open field where this would have been permissible) just made me nauseous. This was, and I am speaking literally here, the first time in years a Georgia football loss made me physically nauseous. Anyway, I've got a funk to wallow in before I have to go to work and be productive. Until later this week, I hope you'll join me in accomplishing some of the following:
11. Gratulate Urban Meyers. His team came in riding a 3 game losing streak and desperately needing a win. They found one. That's not an accident. Winners find a way to win. I'm not going to whine about Chris Rainey. If he played for Mark Richt he would likely have been kicked off the team long before Saturday, and I'm glad for that. But I'm not using that fact as crutch. We found a way to lose, Florida found a way to win, that's the story of the game. As a 32 year old Georgia Bulldog fan, this has sadly also become the story of my fanhood, and quite frankly I'm tired of it. I'm becoming more and more certain that there's nothing Mark Richt can do about it. I'm angry at him for that. I don't like to lose to South Carolina. Losing to Tennessee ticks me off. But heck, Jim Donnan won 20% of his games against Spurrier-coached Florida. Mark Richt has won 20% of his as well. This dubiously misleading statistic is submitted without further comment.
10. Punch the next cockeyed optimist who tells me "it's always darkest before the dawn!" square in the nose. I thought it was darkest last year. Turns out the sun never really shines in Jacksonville, and the strict empiricist in me has no reason to believe it ever will again.
9. Build a time machine so that I can fast forward to the next three trips to Jacksonville. Despite my built-in empiricism inherent in #10 above, I have a feeling we may have just seen Aaron Murray play his worst career game against Florida. Wonder how we'll manage to squander all those sterling efforts. Because, Mark Richt as my witness, we will squander at least 2 of them.
Get really, really tired of congratulating this team on showing a lot of fight in coming from behind only to fall just short. You know who else shows a lot of fight? The chickens down at the slaughterhouse. Those little suckers put up a shrieking, pecking, clawing fight. It doesn't usually change the end result.
7. Try really hard to get excited about watching Idaho State between the hedges on Saturday. Fail miserably, realize that the team will likely sleepwalk through that one the same way I will. Briefly consider the conflagration resulting from a loss or near loss in that situation. Proceed to next item on to do list.
6. Curl into the fetal position and cry like
Urban Meyer a little girl. Repeat until Monday morning.
5. Prepare to watch many of the best high school football players from Georgia's class of 2011 play their football in Tuscaloosa and Tallahassee for the next 4-5 years. Hope it's not the beginning of the slow talent suffocation that led to Phil Fulmer's eventual demise in Knoxville. Seriously, Mark Richt and Rodney Garner have some tough work to do to avoid losing as many as 8 out of 10 of the top players in the state in what may be one of the best years for instate talent this decade. If ever there was a year when we couldn't afford to not seal the borders this was it. That was the impetus for the "Dream Team" we haven't heard a word about since August, remember?
4. Corner Mark Richt and say "Hey. Answer the question. What does it take to beat these guys?" If no actual answer is forthcoming after 10 years, I'm not sure we should ever expect one. Oh, yeah. Our new Athletic Director has one. That's interesting. Greg McGarity is right when he says that the Bulldogs come in year after year too focused on this game. They play tight. They play not to lose, and that's from the head coach on down.
Dread going to Auburn in the 11th game of an 11 game slog that cannot end soon enough.
Wonder how Florida managed to get a Brantley sack which would have created 3rd and 17 nullified by a false start that, as the replay showed, quite clearly wasn't. Wonder why the deity of one's choosing seems to despise Georgia football. Wonder if we made some sort of Faustian deal by beheading a red velvet cake goat. State out the window and just wonder.
Get up. Walk outside and take a deep breath of cool air. Try to forget this ever happened. Fail miserably, at least for the foreseeable future.
That's it. That's the list. I'll crawl out of my hole in time for Cocktail Thursday. Maybe. Until then . . .