The Georgia Bulldogs are back on the practice field, the season opener is 30 days away, and I, for one, am ready for some football. Here is this evening’s rundown, to get you up to speed on events of note in Bulldog Nation:
- All right, you’re jacked about it, so let’s go ahead and start with the news from the first day of fall practice. The short version is that Isaiah Crowell looks healthy, John Jenkins looks big and bad, and (for the benefit of the replace-Mark-Richt-with-Gary-Patterson crowd), Coach Richt yelled at Malcolm Mitchell.
- We now know the newcomers’ jersey numbers, and, as Seth Emerson notes, it’s intriguing that Nick Marshall is listed at "athlete" rather than at "defensive back." I won’t be surprised to see Marshall get some snaps on offense; in fact, I’ll be annoyed with Mike Bobo if he doesn’t. If we’re going to throw out of the Wild Dawg, there are worse players than Marshall into whose hands to put the pigskin.
- As you’ve seen, the preseason coaches’ poll has been released, and the ‘Dawgs face five teams ranked in the top 25, including four in the top 20. Three of the Red and Black’s first four Division I-A opponents appear in the poll. We’ll know soon enough what kind of team we have this year, though some folks think we can skip ahead to Georgia’s loss to Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
- You probably saw the link DavetheDawg posted and the comments that followed, but it is worth emphasizing that Coach Richt said he didn’t know whether the pregame warmup music in Sanford Stadium would be changed. I find this encouraging, as it suggests Coach Richt isn’t focused on ephemera. If he’s concentrating on football, it means (a) he’s not concentrating on uniform gimmicks, and (b) Greg McGarity really has taken extraneous responsibilities off of the head coach. If that declaration was more than mere lip service, maybe the other claims that changes have occurred were true, too.
- Speaking of McGarity, the Georgia athletic director has made it clear that he intends to keep arranging dates with Division I-AA schedule fodder between the hedges, and, in addition to the usual quadrennial outings against Georgia Southern in presidential election years, he’s lined up a deal to get the Southern University Jaguars into Sanford Stadium. I’m cool with the move---the halftime show will rock---but Ben Moore thinks the ‘Dawgs should host the Georgia State Panthers instead.
Now, I am all for renewing the series with Mercer, and I could even live with playing Kennesaw State (though I know it would give Vince Dooley one more game in which to root against Georgia), but there is one situation, and one situation only, in which I would find a Georgia-Georgia State game acceptable; namely, if Bill Curry was no longer the head coach of the Panthers. Coach Curry is a condescending Bulldog-basher from way back, and I have no desire whatsoever to support any program that employs him. If Georgia State wants an invitation to play football in Athens, it needs to wait for Coach Curry to retire, or fire him. Firing him, by the way, wouldn’t be a bad move; as the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets both learned in the early ‘90s, hiring Bill Curry, firing Bill Curry, and waiting three years is an established method for winning a national championship.
- In other scheduling news, we now know that Mark Fox’s Hoop Hounds will face California in next season’s CBE Classic, with the winner advancing to take on the Notre Dame squad that beat the Bulldogs in last year’s Old Spice Classic. The Golden Bears fielded a less than stellar basketball team last season, but they bring everyone back, so the Red and Black will have their hands full.
- Finally, your feel good quotation of the day comes from an unexpected source. Take it away, Year2:
Georgia’s 417 points for and 287 points allowed compute to a Pythagorean win percentage of .708. Across 13 games, that projects to 9.20 wins, giving Georgia a luck factor of -3.20 for 2010. That’s the worst luck score of any team since 2000.
The only other team to crack -3 was 2009 Oklahoma, which had luck of -3.16 over 13 games and improved from 8-5 to 12-2. I’m not saying Georgia will go from 6-7 to a BCS bid, but UGA should have a better record this year.
Of the 19 teams since 2000 to post a luck score of -2.25 or worse, 16 improved their records the following year. Those that didn’t started an injury-prone freshman quarterback (‘10 Nebraska), switched to a freshman quarterback (’05 Purdue) or were breaking in a new coaching staff (’08 SMU).
You may now consider yourself fully briefed this Thursday evening.