I want you to GATA.
Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies..
- Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Redemption
It’s understandably easy to be pessimistic before any UGA football season lately. Since the 2008 preseason #1 announcement things have continued, frankly, to go straight to hell. And we have become so paranoid about jinxing things we don’t want to say anything positive, which is completely understandable. After I was positive how we were going to have a good year a while back, Damon Evans got arrested with a lady of the night and a DUI charge. Then AJ Green got suspended for selling his own clothes. People said, at various points over the last years, "It can’t get worse." But then it does. We lost all our starting RBs for a game. We are losing all our DBs for the first few games this year. Yea, it can get worse. But July and August, particularly when summer camp gets close, gives us all a rightful time to be excited about the upcoming year. And when it’s this dadgum hot, being excited is as good as anything else to do.
UGA has a pretty darn good football team right now, and frankly, with about 2-3 more solid O linemen, I would feel really, really good about our year. Sure, it would be good if our star RBs weren’t freshmen. Again. But we tend to be passing oriented anyhow for big plays and scores. We have enough rotation at RB to keep fresh legs in even without as much experience. What we need out of them is to hold onto the rock.
I’ll tell you what though, you know who’s good at winning ten games? That guy in the picture named Mark Richt. He’s the boss of it. And that other guy with him? That’s Aaron Murray, who is in the prime position to be the leader of this team. And that’s what we have really needed. Not more stars, not more players, not more discipline. We need leadership from the upperclassmen. And Aaron Murray’s got that. It’s his time. That’s the missing "it" that the Bulldog Football team has needed. The difference between disaster this year and 10+ wins is simply the leaders being leaders. And I got hope that can happen.
Winning ten games means losing 3. And I’m sorry to say I already assume we lose three. But that still means we win 10. In fact, that means we can lose to Auburn, Florida and UT, go to a crap bowl and win, and come out 10-3. We could beat 1 or 2 of those 3 and still go to a crap bowl, lose, and have a 10 win season. It’s not that improbable this year. We got 4 gimmies right now (mid tier, lower division teams and I’m counting Ole Miss, sorry Ole Miss). We got Tech’s number. That’s 5 wins right there. So we just got to pull 5 wins out of Mizzou, Vandy, UT, SC, UK, UF, AU and the bowl. 5 out of 8. That’s not an impossible feat. This is what I expect: We will win 5 of that 8, but we will lose 2 of them in a completely unpredictable mind exploding fashion. Which is the Georgia way. But I dare say we can beat Vandy and UK, leaving us at 7 wins, meaning we just have to pull 3 out of Mizzou, UT, SC, UF, AU and a bowl. And I haven’t even thrown in any SEC Championship Game possibilities in all this. Let’s add in some other positive factors: Coach Grantham will have a large part of the season to prepare for SC, and SC will have a large part of the season to implode. We usually get them at their prime at the start of the season, and now they get us in stride on the back half of our season. UT and UF are a pretty big mess – the only thing stopping us in those games is our own mind. Can UGA do an excellent job of getting in own way? Sure, but we also can go stomp UT and UF into the ground this year if we want to bad enough. We got more talent in virtually every single position and coach than they do. Now, unfortunately, UGA and Auburn like screwing up each other’s so that’s always a tossup; I can’t give you any warm fuzzies on that one.
I know a lot of people are worried about Mizzou. Unfortunately, I have had the displeasure of watching more Big 12 football than most of you Bulldogs, including Mizzou. I can absolutely assure you of this, they have never, ever faced a front 7 like UGA has this year. They will be so physically dominated that although it may be a scratchy 3 quarters we should "out physicality" them by the 4th Quarter. They are weak on D against pretty much everything we are good at on O. Sure, their deep ball threat against our bubble gum and string secondary is there, but they got to have a QB that can get off a pass. Their only hope would be the 5-10 yard quick passes, but I believe ole Grantham is going to be much more ready for that than against BSU. And MIzzou’s surgical passing is now where near BSU’s last year. It’s hard to want to throw and catch when you’re scared to heck of being pulverized. And we can hit them very, very hard.
It’s good to have hope this time of year. I don’t practice it all that well, but I certainly support it! If we didn’t at least have hope and excitement it wouldn’t be any fun at all. And regardless of the season as a whole, UGA is still going to beat up on a rival or 3, and that’s where’s it at in my book. Sure, we have had a lot of off field drama with guys getting the boot or leaving, but I would rather have 50 that want to be Dawgs than 85 that don’t care. We needed the cultural change with this football team. It’s a change that is a work in progress. And those type of changes take a few years. So, feel free to be realistically positive, have hope, be excited, after all we are knocking on the door of Georgia Football!
And if that doesn’t work, there’s always a goat and The Arch.