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Free Form Friday Is Mixing It Up.

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I began compiling recipes this week for the coming season's Cocktail Thursdays, when it hit me: this will be the the 5th year of Cocktail Thursday first at MaconDawg's Blawg and now here at Dawg Sports. I have no idea how that happened. I have also noticed a problem with the whole enterprise that simply must be remedied.  It's not that I'm running out of recipes. Oh, there are still plenty of new and different Bulldog-centered ways to combine spirits, mixers and accents. And that's before we even consider the times when a good old American beer will do the trick on gameday. I think we're good on cocktails through at least 2034. And that's assuming that we don't sign a tailback named Jack Daniels or a linebacker named Smirnoff Jenkins.

Instead, the problem is that over time it's gotten more difficult to make sure that I'm not recycling a cocktail, except when it's on purpose. I have a recurring nightmare in which I post a cocktail recipe on Wednesday night for it to appear in the wee hours of Thursday morning, only to spill my morning coffee after reading the comment "Hey moron, you posted that one last week."

So, I hit upon an idea. I am going back through the previously posted cocktails and making a definitive list, so I don't screw that up. It was in doing this that it occurred to me: a list of recipes is, like, a cookbook (or mixology book as the case may be). And that's when idea number two hit: if I'm making a list of Thursday Cocktails, somebody else might even want to look at the collated product. So, for those of you coming to this fall's first ever Dawg Sports get together, I will have copies of the definite list of Thursday Cocktails, assuming you want it. Of course, my recipe for a mint julep isn't anything revolutionary, but you could be the only person on your block with the recipe for _____. So there's that. Plus it's free. And as all college football fans know, the only thing better than free booze is free recipes for mixing your own booze.

Speaking of odd mixtures, this whole conference nonrealignment thing sure has made for strange bedfellows. Doc Saturday already told you about the Big East's affectionate gesture to Big XII Commish Dan Beebe. But the one that really gets me is the seeming new alignment of everybody on Earth against Texas. Now, as a general principal, I've always been kind of a Texas fan and like Kyle have in the past championed scheduling the Longhorns in football. Peter Bean and the rest of the folks at Burnt Orange Nation write a great weblog and have been very good to us here. Mack Brown has always been one of my favorite major college football coaches, a guy whose style I've admired since his days in Chapel Hill.

But I find myself now torn between those sentiments and the apparent wheedling that went on behind the scenes over the past few weeks. I cannot blame Texas for trying to get as much money as possible out of whoever is willing to give it up. Business decisions are business decisions. But UT decisionmakers have made one thing abundantly clear from this whole thing: they may be the dictators of the new Slightly Smaller XII Conference (tm), but they danged sure are not benevolent. 

And you know who else is mixed up? Reggie Bush. It seems that after roughly 4 years of stonewalling, he now wants to talk about the USC investigation that, let's be honest, began with him. Perhaps, Reggie,  the time to have an open and honest relationship with your alma mater was back when you were taking cash and prizes under the table to play for them. While there's certainly some room for disagreement about how much knowledge (actual or constructive) the USC Athletic Department had about Bush's supplemental income, there's no doubt that the NCAA's report made ample mention of Bush's refusal to cooperate. Was that used against USC? Maybe not. But Reggie had the chance to exonerate USC, to help show that they were as innocent as anyone else (except he and his family, who were apparently brazenly taking money hand over fist), and he explicitly refused to take it. Repeatedly. Over a course of years. That couldn't have helped the Trojans.

Speaking of Pac-Whatever football, Stanford secured a verbal commitment yesterday from the top linebacker recruit in the state of Georgia, Tucker's James Vaughters. Vaughters was one of the first players offered by Georgia for the class of 2011, but for the past few months it was pretty obvious that he was looking to leave the state, either for Palo Alto or for Ohio State (both of Vaughters's parents are from Ohio). Jim Harbaugh was so excited he tweeted the type of tweet that Lane Kiffin would if he actually knew how skirt NCAA regulations successfully in 140 characters or less.

Vaughters would have been a great pickup at outside linebacker for the 'Dawgs, but I bear him no ill will. Stanford is, after all, one of the most prestigious schools in the country. As Tucker coach Franklin Stephens noted, even if Vaughters were to follow a successful college career with a long NFL career, he'll still find himself at 35 years of age with a lot of time on his hands, and may want a new occupation. If that's the case, a degree from Stanford will open a lot of doors for the 4.0 student. Good for him.

This is also a good chance for me to iterate that the 2011 recruiting cycle presents some unique challenges for Georgia's coaches. As a group, several of the top 10 or so players in Georgia have reason to matriculate somewhere other than Athens. Top tailback Isaiah Crowell from Carver-Columbus comes from a school that, until recently, seemed closed to Mark Richt like a Chick-Fil-A on Sunday. Top Valdosta tight end Jay Rome is the son of a Clemson standout. Thomas County-Central defensive end/linebacker Ray Drew lays his head down at night a lot closer to Tallahassee than Athens. All of these guys have been hearing from Nick Saban, who not only has a statue on the way that will make people believe he's over 5 feet tall, but has a freshly minted national championship ring to boot. While it's looking like a great class is coming to Athens, there's still a lot of hard work to be done, and I predict that in the end we are going to miss on some guys that Bulldog fans really want. Be prepared.

One of those likely will not be Watts Dantzler of Dalton, an offensive lineman whose late father Danny played at Georgia in the 70's. Danny passed away last year after a battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease, but he fought long enough to help make sure his son was on the path to making the best decision for his future. Watts will be announcing his choice of colleges between Auburn and Georgia on Sunday. That's Father's Day. These things are never certain until the signature's on the dotted line, but if the son of a deceased Georgia letterman chooses Father's Day as the date to announce he's going to Auburn, the next round at the War Eagle Supper Club is on me.

Finally, I've noticed a trend in recent FFF Youtube clips. They've tended decidedly toward the current rather than the classic. So starting this week I'm going to try to mix in more songs that every reader of this blog (who's not a North Korean spy trying to understand our culture and use it against us) knows by heart. Actually, even the North Koreans know from Mick Jagger. So go nuts, comrades:

Here's a question for the group. Which is the more entertaining aspect of this video, the fact that Mick Jagger is jumping around like a rock star while dressed for a round of golf at Bushwood Country Club, or the fact that Charlie Watts absolutely, positively has to be on horse tranquilizers? I'm seriously torn. Until later . . .

Go 'Dawgs!!!

P.S. If you're really into mixing things up and living dangerously, feel free to click through the jump for additional auditory intermingling. (Parental Warning: Explicit lyrics and  employment of the fair use doctrine included.)