It is a busy time of year, on the field and off, for all of us here in Bulldog Nation, so we have been afforded little time to pause, catch our breath, and cast our gaze upon happenings other than those centered around Christmas and New Year's Day. As we move toward the culmination of football season and the dawn of 2008, therefore, we should take a brief moment to step back, survey the landscape, and take note of a few recent occurrences and upcoming events. These ought to hold you through the weekend:
- After being delayed by ongoing technical difficulties, the latest BlogPoll has been released, with Louisiana State occupying the top spot by a slim margin despite receiving fewer first-place votes (14) than No. 2 Ohio State (15). Fourth-ranked Georgia received four first-place votes and the additional No. 1 rankings were scattered among Hawaii, Oklahoma, and Southern California.
- The Diamond Dogs' 2008 season ticket drive is underway for a baseball campaign that kicks off with a weekend series against the Arizona Wildcats in the Classic City on February 22. I am expecting good things from David Perno's squad this season and we here at Dawg Sports will follow the Georgia baseball team closely throughout the spring.
Coach Perno's Bulldog squads are like "Star Trek" movies . . . the odd-numbered ones are bad but the even-numbered ones are good!
- On January 5, Suzanne Yoculan's defending national champion Gym Dogs will be hosting their annual "sneak peek" prior to the start of gymnastics season. The Georgia squad begins a grueling schedule with three meets in eight days, facing Utah in Salt Lake City on January 11, Stanford in Palo Alto on January 13, and Florida in Gainesville on January 18 before the season's first home meet against L.S.U. on January 26. The Gym Dogs put on an exciting and entertaining show of competitive gymnastics at the highest level, and, for you single college guys over in Athens, here's a tip: a gymnastics meet is a great date event.
- Georgia's defending national champion men's tennis team will participate in the S.E.C. Indoors in New Orleans beginning on January 18 before hosting East Tennessee State in Clarke County on February 2. The Georgia women's tennis team will take on the E.T.S.U. ladies in Athens on January 25, one week after hosting the Georgia Invitational.
Any mention of Georgia tennis must be accompanied by a photograph of Dan Magill, who is a better Bulldog right now than you and me put together will ever be.
- After winning the Brickyard Collegiate Championship tournament title in October, the Bulldog men's golf team is poised to begin participation in the Puerto Rico Shootout in late February. Their distaff counterparts, playing in the lady linksters' first season under new head coach Kelley Hester, recently lost the Hooters Collegiate Match Play championship to top-ranked Duke. The Georgia women's golf team will take part in the Lady Puerto Rico Classic at the same time as their male colleagues.
- Last, but by all means least, Paul Johnson has been introduced as the new head coach of the Ramblin' Wreck. Coach Johnson, who previously held the same position at Navy, has departed a service academy in order to coach at Georgia Tech, which discontinued its in-state series with the Red and Black after Georgia students accused the Golden Tornado of putting the "yellow" in "Yellow Jacket" by remaining home in Atlanta in 1917 and 1918 while all the Georgia men were overseas fighting the Great War. Prior to his stint at Annapolis, Coach Johnson headed up the football team at Georgia Southern, so, after having led the second-best college program in the Peach State, he now takes charge of the third-best. This is a step down for Coach Johnson, any way you cut it, but we extend to him the same welcome we extended to Chan Gailey upon his hiring: welcome home; now get used to losing.
When asked how it would have gone over at Navy had he done things as Gailey did things, Johnson replied, "Don't ask, don't tell."
That ought to load you up on the pertinent particulars heading into your weekend. I'll be back shortly with the latest round of bowl predictions.