In which we take a quick look at how our 2011 opponents fared the preceding week
Before we get into our brief – and I mean brief – recaps of the Georgia Bulldogs’ opponents’ weekend outings, I have just a few words about our own weekend.
Word One: I wrote a couple of weeks ago that those of us going to Athens on 9/10 should count our blessings and that I wish I could take the rest of you with me. After reading through some of the game thread and post-game vent comments, I really wish I could have taken some of you with me. I am not going to tell anyone (well, not any of you, of course) the correct way to be a fan, and the way some of you enjoy your sports may have precluded your having the truly positive experience that I had on Saturday. But after reading Kyle’s impressions, which were pretty nigh identical to mine, it’s difficult not to conclude that being at the arena made a big difference. Moral victories, finding a way to lose, costly mistakes at the most inopportune times, and so forth. But from where I
sat stood, there was more heart in our team and our crowd than I’ve seen in a long time. So there's that.
Word Two: After the game, I went downtown to hang with friends, one of whom was a designated driver to give me a ride back to Atlanta. Jealous? Related word: This will not be the last time I mention this, probably, because it occurs to me on most game days as I observe our visitors enjoying Athens. I am a staunch proponent of keeping the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville. But if it ever is moved, it must not ever be a home-and-home series. The price for beating my team as many times as the Gators have beaten the Bulldogs lately (yes, I think I'm old enough to refer to the last 20ish years as "lately") is never, ever again enjoying the best college town in the conference. It’s not sufficient consolation for the series record in my adult life, but I feel very strongly about it. I wish we could get the series in other sports moved somewhere else, too. No Gators in Athens.
Word Three: I am hoping to convince a friend to contribute a couple of paragraphs after each home game in a series entitled, "The Game Day Portrait Norman Rockwell Forgot to Paint" based on actual scenes witnessed. If I am successful, I expect the first installment to be called, "Girl Too Drunk to Go to the Game". In oil. Let me know in the comments if that sounds interesting at all. If my friend won’t do it, I’ll take it on, but it was his idea, so I’ve got to give him the chance first.
And now a whirl ‘round the schedule.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (2-0, 0-0 Big South) defeated Catawba 20-3. Once again, Coastal’s quarterback, Aramis Hillary (seriously, how can you not love that name?) had a solid day, passing for one touchdown and rushing for another. But this was against Division II Catawba. Still, the Indians managed to limit the Chanticleers to 13 rushing yards. I really don’t know what else to say about this one, except that I’m trying to push past the jokes about our last and next opponents’ mascots.
Ole Miss Rebels (1-1, 0-0 SEC) defeated Southern Illinois 42-24. Ole Miss really did roar out in this one, taking a 21-0 lead in the second quarter on a pair of rushing touchdowns plus a third on a 67-yard punt return. The Salukis made a game of it before all was said and done, accumulating more rushing and passing yards, holding a slight edge in time of possession, and faring much better on third and fourth down conversions than the Rebels. But S. Illinois also committed four turnovers. This just in: turnovers sometimes cost you games. Our friends in Oxford were spared the shame of losing to an FCS team for the second year in a row.
Mississippi State Bulldogs (1-1, 0-1 SEC) lost to Auburn 34-41. I watched maybe five total minutes of this game, cumulatively – as much as one can take in while waiting at the bar for the next round before heading back outside into the beautiful Athens sunshine. But based on a look at the stats from this game, the score is ka-razy. Mississippi State had 150 more total yards, 10 more first downs, 10 fewer penalty yards, seven more third down conversions, an equal number of turnovers (1), but seven fewer points. I could take the time to ponder on all of the teams’ position strengths and matchups and the angle of the sun at various points of the game and the officiating crew’s background, but I’ll just go Occam’s razor: pact with Satan.
Tennessee Volunteers (2-0, 0-0 SEC) defeated Cincinnati 45-23. So. Tyler Bray. 34-41 (that’s about 83%, y’all), 405 yards (9.9 average), four touchdowns, no interceptions. Sure, but it was against Cincinnati. Listen. I know of an SEC program that has lost every single game they’ve ever played against a Big East opponent. As far as I’m concerned, the Big East is the scariest conference in the country. Even so, I’m not really sure we know anything meaningful about Tennessee, but we may find out a few things this coming Saturday when they go to Gainesville. Rocky Top Talk has some observations about the Quiet Confidence developing in Knoxville. "Quiet confidence" among Tennessee fans still seems really strange to me, but that's what happens when you let somebody like Lane Kiffen do a hit-and-run on your program. I look forward to the day when someone can characterize the mood in Athens as a "quiet confidence." So good for them. For now.
Vanderbilt Commodores (2-0, 0-0 SEC) defeated UConn 24-21. I’m telling you, people, the Big East is scary. So that means Vandy is scary.
Florida Gators (2-0, 0-0 SEC) defeated UAB 39-0. First of all, Chris Rainey is a beast. Second, as a team, Florida rushed for a perfect 300 game. But here’s the thing that makes no sense: the Blazers had only 71 rushing yards. I realize Florida is superior competition, but when your program has the kind of OL coaching tradition that UAB has, it has to count for something, right? RIGHT? [deep breath]
New Mexico St. Aggies (1-1, 0-0 WAC) defeated Minnesota 28-21. Nice WAC victory over a Big Ten team. However, as MaconDawg noted in his To Do List, Minnesota coach suffered a seizure on the sidelines. We’re all pleased to hear that Coach Kill is doing all right and expects to be back to work this week. The Aggies’ D made a tough red zone stand at the end to preserve the seven-point victory.
Auburn Tigers (2-0, 1-0 SEC) defeated Mississippi State 41-34. Yes, the Faustian deal continues on the Plains. Except, you know, Faust was a scholarly man, and the Tigers’ deal ain’t gonna last 24 years – I promise –so the analogy goes only so far.
Kentucky Wildcats (2-0, 0-0 SEC) defeated Central Michigan 27-13. Last week, the Wildcats gained more than half of their total yards in the fourth quarter and got the win. This week, Kentucky got behind early but took a seven-point lead with seconds to go in the third quarter and outscored the Chippewas 7-0 in the fourth. Based on the season so far, one might conclude that defenses who flag a little bit late in games might have a hard time with Kentucky. I’m just sayin’.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-0, 0-0 ACC) defeated Middle Tennessee State 49-21. Tech ventured into the famously hostile territory of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and shocked the Blue Raiders at home before an MTSU-record, sell-out crowd of 30,502. Kudos for the Jackets for their willingness to travel such a distance for an out-of-conference game in such an intimidating environment. Tech quarterback Tevin Washington amassed over 200 yards passing. Still keeping an eye on that.
Boise State Broncos (1-0, 0-0 MWC) were off this week. They return to action on Friday, 16 September 2011, against Toledo, who gave Ohio State a bit of a scare Saturday.
Thanks for tuning in, folks. Take care, and