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Georgia 45, Western Carolina 16

Ordinarily, I like to do a full-fledged writeup of the previous day's game each Sunday, but, really, there is very little to report about Georgia's win over Western Carolina yesterday.

The score was about what you would have expected and there rarely is anything meaningful to take away from a glorified scrimmage such as this. What worked well may have as much to do with the inferiority of the opposition as with the proficiency of the home team; what fared poorly may as easily be attributable to an understandable lack of focus as to some fundamental flaw.

On a day noteworthy mostly for the fact that it made Uga VI the winningest mascot in Georgia history (Uga IV's mark of 77 career victories was eclipsed yesterday afternoon when the current mascot recorded his 78th win), there was very little over which to get either overly excited or overly concerned. This was a good thing, especially since the pastor at my church was out of town this weekend and I, as one of the several lay speakers in the congregation, was scheduled to deliver the sermon at both of this morning's services. Accordingly, I was grateful that the Bulldogs easily dispatched this weekend's opposition, enabling me to save my voice for higher purposes.

First in football, first in the offseason, and first in the hearts of Bulldog Nation.

The game went essentially as it was supposed to go. The Red and Black never trailed and, unlike Wisconsin in the Badgers' tussle with The Citadel (in which Wiscy was tied at the half), Georgia was not deadlocked with its Division I-AA victim after two minutes and change had elapsed in the second quarter.

Despite running only three more offensive plays than W.C.U. (60 to the Catamounts' 57), Georgia tallied 362 net yards, averaging six yards per snap and earning equal numbers of first downs on the ground and through the air (10 apiece). The 'Dawgs converted six of 12 third downs and two of two fourth downs.

The Classic City Canines ran the ball only once more than the visitors (34 to Western Carolina's 33), but gained over twice as many rushing yards (140 to the Cats' 63). Following a rough start, Matthew Stafford ended up with 14 completions on 20 attempts for 174 yards and two touchdowns, with Mohamed Massaquoi hauling in three passes for 47 yards.

Knowshon Moreno picked up 94 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, for the benefit of those of you who took the under. Brannan Southerland continued to demonstrate the disutility of statistics, as his yards per carry remain low yet the impact of his touches remained large in terms of first downs gained and points produced. Akeem Dent, Reshad Jones, and Brandon Miller tallied six tackles apiece.

In short, this game was not particularly noteworthy, which is just what the doctor ordered. Now the Red and Black must turn their attention to the biggest challenge of the young season, traveling to Tuscaloosa to take on an Alabama squad that came back to beat Arkansas in dramatic fashion last evening.

Those, though, are concerns for later in the week. In the interim, here are a few random reflections on yesterday's college football action:

  • Losing to Mississippi State got Ron Zook fired. Losing to Mississippi State got Mike Shula fired. In how much jeopardy is Tommy Tuberville following yesterday's loss to the Western Division Bulldogs? Can you name a coach in the S.E.C. who would have less job security following a two-game skid than Coach Tuberville has after having gone 36-5 in the preceding 41 games? (Yes, you can---his name is Houston Nutt---but he's the only one. Get the plane fueled up, boys; it's time to pay us a visit to Steve Kragthorpe! Except, uh, maybe not.)
  • At what point does Charlie Weis's claim to the title "genius" become open to dispute in the mainstream news media? The Golden Domers have lost five straight games by scores of 44-24, 41-14, 33-3, 31-10, and 38-0. The Surrendering Irish do not appear to be the handiwork of a master craftsman, either in terms of talent or of execution. For the record, Coach Weis's ledger at Notre Dame stands at 19-9 after 28 games. At the same point in his career in South Bend, Tyrone Willingham was 17-11. I guess that seven-point win over a five-loss Michigan team in 2005 and that four-point win over a five-loss Georgia Tech team in 2006 really made the difference between Charlie being an incompetent dolt in desperate need of being fired and being the brilliant savior of the most storied program in the sport, huh?

Maybe the "genius" label refers to his impeccable fashion sense.

  • I've been taking a crack at crafting a BlogPoll ballot that won't get my sanity called into question and I am hampered by the simple fact that there aren't that many teams out there that are any doggone good. Reasonable football fans may differ as to the order, but the top four teams in the country are glaringly obvious. After that, there is a significant drop-off from No. 4 to No. 5, from No. 5 to No. 6, from No. 6 to No. 7, from No. 7 to No. 8, from No. 8 to No. 9, and from No. 9 to No. 10. A game played on a neutral field between my No. 10 and my No. 24 would be a toss-up. (Actually, my No. 10 will host my No. 24 on October 6 and I have no idea which way I'll be leaning in that game.) Outside of the top four, every team has real problems. Outside of the top six, every team has serious problems. Any team can beat any other team on any given Saturday, and that is not a compliment.
  • When I asked, "Which team will be the best 'mid-major' of 2007?" I thought it was a legitimate question. The fact that Hawaii garnered 56 out of 146 total votes cast attests to the fact that the other contenders (Boise State, Brigham Young, Southern Miss, and Texas Christian) all have their flaws, some of which have been exposed in dramatic fashion. I am almost certain that the real answer is "none of the above." In any case, a much more meaningful poll question now has been put before Bulldog Nation.
Go 'Dawgs!