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Have You Kicked the 'Dawgs Today?: Answering the Georgia-Bashers

It is a great time to be a Georgia fan, just as long as you don't care what other folks say about you.

South Carolina fans will root for any other S.E.C. team except the Bulldogs. Big Ten fans hate us, think we're a media darling, and ask of us favors we would not so much as consider granting.

Alabama fans rank the Red and Black behind Kansas and consider putting U.S.C. ahead of Georgia because the Trojans "won (well, split) their conference and Georgia didn't even win the SEC East." (Arizona State and Southern California finished the regular season tied for first place in the Pac-10 with identical 7-2 conference records. Georgia and Tennessee finished the regular season tied for first place in the S.E.C. East with identical 6-2 conference records. Southern California won its conference championship. Georgia didn't win its division championship. Cognitive dissonance is a wonderful thing.)

Sort of like believing it was worth paying this guy four million dollars to erase the shame of a 6-6 regular season, a loss to Auburn, and an Independence Bowl berth.

Florida fans, as usual, are snarky about the 'Dawgs, offering such snide observations unburdened by reality as cracks about Georgia's class and predictions of future losses to the Evil Genius while interjecting a backhanded attempt to "[g]ive Georgia credit because they were able to lose to South Carolina and Tennessee, which kept them away from LSU and a possible third loss."

Right. Because the Bayou Bengals' performance in the S.E.C. championship game was so impressive that the Bulldogs, playing the way they played in November and in January, likely would have struggled mightily in December against a team Georgia has beaten by a combined margin of 79-30 in the last two series meetings. Sure.

Finally, Michael Adams's recent remarks have provoked all sorts of negative reactions. Personally, while I have tremendous respect for those fans who are open-minded enough to give Dr. Adams the benefit of the doubt, I tend to agree with Vince Dooley that the university president's calculated campaign comes at a moment that is more than a little odd. Many Georgia fans favor a playoff (although, as I said before and I have said again, I am not among them . . . and, not very long ago at all, neither was the man who now holds the office Fred Davison once used to good effect against overbearing N.C.A.A. authority, not for it), but Dr. Adams's decision to rip on the Rose Bowl seems particularly ill-timed so soon after Bulldog Nation was positively pumped about the prospect of playing in Pasadena.

Playing in the Granddaddy of 'Em All or making James Carville happy? Not a tough call.

In the midst of all of this negativity, though, there is a ray of something that supposedly is sunshine. As noted by Senator Blutarsky and by Quinton McDawg, Stewart Mandel has Georgia as his preseason No. 1 team for 2008.

Well, I guess it's good to know that, apparently, the Sugar Bowl was aired in Montana and some fictitious ranchers in big sky country took the time to e-mail Sports Illustrated to let Bulldog Nation's favorite professional sportswriter know that they recognized our helmets and everything, but I'm sorry to say, Stewie, that you've arrived a little late to this party and admission is by invitation only, pal. The Bulldog bandwagon is all booked up and Mandel is flying standby. That's the price you pay for being a no-talent buffoon with nothing better to do than spew nonsense solely for its shock value.

For future reference, Stewart-come-lately, here is what a real Georgia man, the aforementioned Dr. Davison, had to say about the Bulldogs' 116-year-old gridiron tradition:

Athletics and primarily football at the University is the one focal point that gives cohesion to all of our members, both students and alumni; it brings them back home; it's a kind of celebration in which we all have a common cause. So psychologically it has great impact, and it's not just on the alums; it creates a sense of pride on the part of the people of the state of Georgia.

That it does, Dr. Davison . . . so much so that even government reform proposals sometimes draw their inspiration from college football. We in Bulldog Nation have been catching a lot of flak since demolishing Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl, but such, I suppose, are the perils of being a national power.

Go 'Dawgs!