Per our usual schedule, this is Free Form Friday, a vaguely ordered hodge-podge of pop culture, college football, wine, women and song designed to tide (or in the case of visitors linking in from Roll 'Bama Roll, taaahhhhhddddd) you over until college football begins. It's like a weekend open comment thread, only with more italic intros, less butter, and a close approximation of the distilled intensity created by putting Todd Grantham and Stacy Searels in the same booth at the Varsity with a triple order of onion rings. Free Form Friday is produced before a live studio audience, which does not include Coaches Grantham or Searels, neither of whom has time to read it because they are busy turning Akeem Dent and Josh Davis into ruthless killing machines. God bless them.
I had intended to post a recruiting piece yesterday evening, until I came to the site and saw Kyle's fine article on the fate of the 2004 BCS National Championship. While my coauthor makes an excellent argument, I'll simply say that I have no problem with the notion of there being no 2004 BCS Champion. Seriously, this is the kind of messy outcome which makes college football unique, and I for one find some enjoyment in the notion of Oklahoma and Auburn fans debating this one for the next 20 years.
I also, however, have to give some credence to Pete Holliday's succint analysis in the comments. Auburn was not deemed by the appropriate arbiter of such things to be even one of the top two teams when the lineup for the championship game was set. While Oklahoma lost convincingly to USC, that matchup was a nullity. Void ab initio, as lawyers like to say. To do otherwise is to award the BCS an unprecedented mulligan. Perhaps 2004's voters, both animate and Intel-powered, should have put Auburn into the ring for a national title bout. But they didn't. If we must award a 2004 championship, let's award it to the squad that 2004's voters acclaimed as good enough to even play for the 2004 crystal football in the first place.
By now you've probably heard that Washaun Ealey was arrested last night for driving without a proper license (dumb, but happens to even the best of us) and failure to obey Georgia's "duty upon strike" law (even dumber, shouldn't happen to anyone not driving Mudcat Elmore's Oldsmobile). I foresee one game of lost playing time with a sprained brain.
As Southern Dawg noted this morning, this should also put us alone atop the Fulmer Cup standings over at our SBNation sister blog EveryDayShouldBeSaturday. Many of the urbane and cultured commenters over on the AJC website will take this opportunity to label our program out of control, call our players thugs, etc. etc. ad nauseum. You're likely immune to that by now.
And while I know you wouldn't do this (because you all are also resplendently urbane and cultured**) don't give Orson a hard time about his scoring in the FC. The guy enjoys tailgating in Athens, adores Larry Munson, craves Chik-Fil-A on Sundays and sports the requisite hipster facial hair. These combined attributes have convinced me that O is the first recorded "trans-fanned" member of the blogosphere. He's a Bulldog fan trapped in a Gator fan's body. But I digress. Swindle's made clear on multiple occasions that Georgia's point tally is more a testament to the A-CCPD's collective obsessive compulsive tendencies than our football team's lawlessness. The bottom line is that we've earned the Fulmer Cup fair and square, with an avalanche of college-aged stupidity that you can find on any campus. If our players will stick to underage drinking and "failure to give middle name" I'll be content. But I concur with Kyle. New Athletic Director Greg McGarity needs to sit down with Mark Richt and ask, quite directly, "Vehicle licensing. What's the story with that?"
In actual football news, Darryl Gamble has earned the starting outside linebacker spot opposite Justin Houston that many (and by "many" I mean "the guy typing this") thought would go to Cornelius Washington. Coach Grantham made clear that Washington will still see plenty of snaps. But I have to admit I like the prospect of Gamble getting the start here. He's been an under-appreciated anchor on our defense for some time, a hard worker who's played wherever asked to, and the pass-picking goblin who will always haunt Jarrett Lee's nightmares.
There's also a change in the starting lineup for Bulldog Radio Network broadcasts, as Loran Smith with be ceding the sideline reporting duties to Chuck Dowdle. With Larry Munson's retirement no one should be particularly surprised that the other half of that dynamic duo is changing assignments. Loran will continue on the pregame show, but I suppose we'll no longer get live reports from the field on Charles Grant's love of boiled peanuts, and our souls will all be the poorer for it. Nothing against Chuck, who's done good work on the Mark Richt Show, but he ain't Loran. What we may gain in coherence we will almost certainly lose in mystique.
As Kyle hinted recently, the upcoming 1st Annual Dawg Sports Sacrificial Goat Roast will have a charitable component. I'll have more details in the coming weeks, but I think it's a cause we can all get behind. No, it doesn't involve punching Paul Johnson right in the face. If you do that you're on your own. But pictures would be nice.
Finally, thanks to each of you for your contributions to Free Form Friday this offseason. Since it's been so fun, and several of you have made suggestions for musical selections, I thought I'd take this opportunity to roll out one of our inseason features here at Dawg Sports. Friday's "5 Things" preview will now be part of the "Friday Tailgate", in which I'll actually discuss the upcoming Saturday of Bulldog football. But more importantly, starting now, you can send your choices for Friday's tailgate music to me at "macondawg" followed immediately, with no spaces, by the "at" symbol, then followed by "gmail.com" for inclusion in the weekly post***.
The only rules are these: 1) It has to be available on Youtube or other similar sites with embeddable video, 2) it has to be rated G to PG-13, since my mother reads the site, and yours probably does too and 3) it has to get the crowd here ready for some football. Simple enough, right? If your suggestion is selected, you'll have the adoration of your fellows, the envy of the masses, and the thanks of a grateful nation.
Free Form Friday is once again finished for the offseason, folks. This is the end:
Until later, don't harm the chickens (unless you're in Columbia) and . . .
* Even at the crack of dawn, I can still manage to crack on those mouth-breathing troglodytes.
**I actually mean it this time. There's no other group of people I'd rather engage in ritualistic public livestock sacrifice with.
***Cryptic yes, but I hear enough from the folks at goladymall without being contacted by them directly.