No playlist today, as I find myself with spotty interwebbery, which makes streaming video like sculpting The Venus de Milo with a baseball bat. Feel free to suggest musical accompaniment of your own choosing in the comments.
Just so we're clear, Mark Richt is aware that some have labeled Saturday's matchup in Oxford "The Hot Seat Bowl" and thinks that a Kindergartner could have come up with that name. Nevertheless, to reuse one of the most overused phrases in sports writing, it is what it is. The head coaches in this game both really need a win. But it might be more accurate to say that Mark Richt needs to not lose.
Because winning this game, even in ugly fashion, would be an upward departure from recent results. This Georgia team has come to remind us of some of South Carolina's teams from the first decade of the 21st century. There's talent all over the place. But when the chips were down against Boise State (and Central Florida before them) the heads on the sidelines started hanging. You could read the "Oh no, here we go agains" splashed across players' faces.
This team really could stand to win an ugly game (think Vanderbilt 2007) just to prove to itself that it can do it. Sure, I'd like to see a crisp effort culminating in a blowout of an Ole Miss team that, as Tankertoad pointed out during and after the Vanderbilt game last week, is just plain bad. Red Cup Rebellion's JUCO All-American already acknowledged as much in this space and elsewhere. The question is whether this Georgia team can beat a bad team if that bad team plays a good game. If they can, then Mark Richt's seat cools down some and Houston Nutt's will heat up even further.
So as you're waiting to see which head ball coach gets the better of this matchup, I think you should enjoy a Hot Seat Toddy, Gosh Almighty!
Fresh ginger root
1 fresh lime
2 canned pear slices in heavy syrup
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) syrup from can of pears
2 ounces (1/4 cup) bourbon (Not the good stuff. Not for this.)
Start by peeling the skin from a piece of ginger root and finely grating it. Do not overdo it. A quarter of a teaspoon is generous. Juice one lime and pour into a martini shaker. Add two pear slices to the martini shaker. Add ginger and muddle ingredients together.
Pour syrup from canned pears into shaker. Fill shaker with ice and add bourbon. Shake vigorously 10 times and strain into chilled martini glass, making sure to keep solids out of the glass. Garnish with a slice of the pear if you want.
And after you enjoy a couple of those, I expect you'll see the following:
1) 2nd and 5. The Ole Miss defensive line is athletic, but not terribly deep. By contrast their young linebacking corps has not played downhill very well so far this season, often meeting opposing ball carriers 3 yards across the line of scrimmage. I think Isaiah Crowell will have plenty of opportunities to make solid gains on 1st down.
2) 3rd and Bobo. The big question for the Georgia offense will be how Mike Bobo handles things after 1st down. Against Boise State the playcalling on 2nd and 3rd down was sometimes nonsensical. Against South Carolina things looked a lot better. Some of that was the playcalling, some of it was simply better execution. But if we start lining up in the shotgun and running draws on 3rd and 3 I may very well finally and fully lose my stuff.
3) Interceptions. Ole Miss starter Zack Stoudt has already thrown 5 of them. Last week was the first time this season that Aaron Murray hasn't thrown one. How do we get Stoudt to continue his generous ways? I think we need to get to him early and from every angle. When Vandy put pressure on him off the blindside you could see his feet get a little quicker. And with one more week of having Shawn Williams in the middle I think Todd Grantham's in a position to have done some unique things in terms of pressure. Let's hope that's what he's been doing.
4) Vanderbilt linebacker Tim Fugger. Actually no, you won't see him because he'll be busy chasing Stephen Garcia. But I did want to point him out to you. The 12 year old in me just couldn't help it. He's a quick little Fugger. Resourceful, too.
5) UGA 34, Ole Miss 24. When you get right down to it this is a game that Georgia should win. If the 'Dawgs don't win, it will be clear to me that the losses we saw early in the season last year were part of the rule and not the exception. That will be bad news for Mark Richt. But I think this Georgia team is better than its record indicates. Not a top 10 team, but better than a mess of a squad from Oxford. Until later . . .