Earlier this week I noted that I feel not an ounce of shame over the fact that the Georgia Bulldogs are back in the SEC Championship Game. Sure, South Carolina beat every single squad in the SEC East, including ours. Sure, if SEC football eschewed divisional play, as SEC basketball has, then one could envision a BCS-derived tiebreaker in which Alabama played LSU again for the conference title. Also, if frogs came equipped with parachutes they might not bump their asses when they hopped.
Rather, a system has been in place since 1992 which designates how teams are selected to play in Atlanta. According to that system, we earned it. Therefore I intend to have a real good time at the SEC Championship Game sponsored by Dr. Pepper because, by golly, it's been a while since we played in one of these and I don't know when we'll play in another one. Could be next season. Could be 2018. Could be never. If the 2009 and 2010 seasons taught me anything, it was that success in college football, as in other aspects of human endeavor, is not guaranteed. Sometimes success is fleeting. So I'm going to be loud and obnoxious and maybe even slightly inebriated. And I'm going to enjoy every second of it win, lose or draw.
I'll admit, I do not have a great deal of confidence in a positive outcome on Saturday. LSU is as talented as we are just about everywhere on the field, and deeper too. While Garrison Smith certainly filled in admirably for Deangelo Tyson last weekend, we really need Tyson and Smith and a lot of other guys to play well for this thing to go our way. We need Isaiah Crowell to lace up his big boy cleats and play through the pain which LSU's defense will most certainly inflict. Because there's plenty of time to heal up between now and the Sugar Bowl. And as a Georgia fan who became so before the advent of the BCS's lazy susan on turf BCS rotation, playing in the Sugar Bowl never, ever gets old.* I like our chances in front of a crowd that should be squarely behind us, especially if we can jump on LSU early. I don't know that they've played an offense as balanced as ours, and if Mike Bobo is having one of those out-of-Bobo experiences in which he floats above himself in the booth and calls totally unexpected plays at the right times, we may be able to get to 30. I'm thinking that's about where the line is on this one. One team will get above it, one won't.
Nevertheless, I could easily imagine a game that's close at the half, but which LSU assumes control of and dominates by the fourth quarter. That's the thing about this LSU team that's really impressed me all season. It's not that Les Miles is putting on more steam in the 4th quarter against the likes of Bobby Petrino. It's that he's the only one with coal left to shovel into the firebox by that time. I don't really care if Mark Richt blows out an engine, just so long as he doesn't leave anything in the tank at the end. Much like in 2003, if we lose in the Dome to the eventual national champions I just don't think I can be upset about that.
Even if we don't emerge victorious I have pledged to enjoy this experience. And if you're going to watch a football game with that sort of attitude you should probably do so while enjoying the most ain't give a damn of American spirits: applejack. To wit:
There are few compounds that are more sinful than the applejack of New Jersey. The name has a homely, innocent appearance, but in reality applejack is a particularly powerful and evil spirit. The man who intoxicates himself on bad whisky is sometimes moved to kill his wife and set his house on fire, but the victim of applejack is capable of blowing up a whole town with dynamite and of reciting original poetry to every surviving inhabitant.
– "A Wicked Beverage," New York Times, April 10, 1894
Via The Cocktail Chronicles. Yes, I have it bookmarked.
I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the quotation, but I can wholeheartedly vouch for the sentiment. And as you already know, we here at Dawg Sports are huge fans of poetry whether original, derivative, sacred or profane. Applejack is what our ancestors drank when they couldn't get their hands on good whiskey, which I find apropo given that Mark Richt's team is being treated like the applejack of the SEC this week. I hope we give those bastards a vicious hangover. Apple jack is pretty hard to find, but apple brandy makes a reasonably good substitute. If you don't want to drink the stuff straight (and you probably don't) may I suggest trying this concoction, which I have not yet christened, but which I have no doubt you folks will name both humorously and fittingly in the comments:
Add 2 and 1/2 oz. apple brandy to a cocktail shaker along with 1 and 1/2 oz. orange juice, 1/2 oz. lemon juice and 1/2 oz. of maple syrup (darker is better here as darker syrups tend to have more maple flavor). Shake with ice then strain into a glass.
If we win, have two. If we lose, have three. Either way, Georgia is back in the SEC Championship Game. I had to write that again just to make myself smile. Until later . . .
Not to mention the deliciousness of the University of Georgia being not only a party to NCAA vs. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, et al, but also the school responsible for assuring that the inevitable combatants in the BCS national title game aren't even conference champs. If you're going to dynamite the whole town you might as well do so in poetic fashion.