The regular college football season is officially over now that Army-Navy game has concluded; the annual event which may be the last pure bastion of college football. I've got a few thoughts...some looking forward and some looking back. It's all good.
1. Last night was the 8th night since our collective hearts were broken in the Georgia Dome. I am certain that I have awakened at least 6 times in the middle of the night since the clock ran out on our dreams, ruminating about what could have been. Not necessarily playing back the last :15 seconds, but imagining a different outcome. And when I do, I get a surge of adrenaline that only comes with winning. Then, I realize that my nocturnal hyperactive brain waves are just playing a trick on me because nothing will ever change. At this point, I'm left with my thoughts and the mid-night adrenaline rush that guarantees that any attempt to fall back to sleep will be in vain. I have been up before 4 A.M. all week long. The last couple of evenings have been better, but this loss-despite my overwhelming pride for our team-has still not left me. Anyone else experience this?
2. We've still got a game to play on January 1. Bowl games are always tricky. Some people feel you have to win to completely "validate" your season. I used to be in this camp, but not any longer. However, this season I do believe the Captial One Bowl against Nebraska is a very important game to win. I hope our players, particularly those who are considering the jump to the NFL, feel this way. If they do, there is no way Nebraska can hang with us for more than a half. We've got a shot at a 12-win season. I hope the players show no mercy down in Orlando.
3. Jarvis Jones was named the permanent captain of the 2012 Georgia Bulldogs at the annual Gala. Jarvis, I don't know if you read Dawgsports, but I want to thank you for everything you did for us. You are the best defensive player in America, certainly the best linebacker and it ain't even close. Good luck in the NFL.
4. On that note, we are going to lose a lot of talent of defense. Perhaps, the most talent that has ever been assembled on that side of the ball in Georgia Football history. I am completely confident in our coaching staff and our roster to be able to step up and play with fire and determination next season. If I could ask for one wish; just one thing for this team going forward, it is this: No suspensions in 2013. None. Begin the season with chemistry, continuity and cohesiveness. If we can do this, I believe we won't miss much of a beat defensively. There is still a to of talent coming back. With a little luck, one or two guys who are considering the draft might even want to stick around for a possible SEC Title (and National Championship).
5. When I think about our offensive potential next season, I can't sleep...for all the right reasons. Our offensive line returns totally intact, with depth. Not Alabama kind of depth, but more depth than we've had in years. This is where it all begins.
5a. Todd Gurley. Just stay healthy, young man. It's a shame his performance in the SECCG is basically overlooked by the national media. He had a magnificent game. Keith Marshall will come back with added strength next season. How many yards can these two combine for? 2,000? Nearly did it. 2,500? It could happen.
5b. Memo to self: Refill Ambien prescription.
6. My only concern offensively, and it's not huge, is depth at wide receiver. We've still got play makers, and by all accounts Michael Bennett will be back as good as new. This is huge.
7. Our kicking game needs to improve in 2013. There are two Georgia coaches that I miss the most from days-gone-by: Erk Russell and Bill Hartman.
8. Now that Reuben Foster is "back in play", there is a lot of debate about whether we should really go after the long-time Auburn recruit. I've got some reservations, and I'm not talking about 8:00 dinner, either. What do you think? His talent cannot be denied, but it seems to me we are bringing in some quality talent at linebacker. I know we will most likely lose Alec Ogletree and perhaps Foster can contribute immediately, but we've been down this road before and it's full of pot holes. Am I wrong? Is it truly a risk, or is this young man simply misunderstood? If we sign him, I welcome him with open arms for I trust our coaches.
9. Offensive linemen. Can't recruit enough of 'em, I say. One thing is for certain: The last few months of recruiting will be wild. Same as it ever was. This class could be as large as 36! Should we sign the maximum, or leave a spot or three open for 2014?
10. Congratulations to Johnny Manziel. He certainly deserves his Heisman Trophy. He also should be the 2nd Freshman to ever win it.
11. I wonder how patient Tennessee will be with Butch Jones? He's got a 6-year contract. Tennessee is in a full-rebuild which will take 3-5 years. Their fans had better realize it. Next season, Tennessee will still have a horrible defense without an offense that can light up a scoreboard. Good luck (not really).
12. I wonder if Gus Malzahn is hoping that purging the rest of Chizik's staff will somehow appease the NCAA as they continue to dig around the Auburn program? Things have been eerily quiet on that front for a few weeks now. They say the artillery shell that gets you is the one you don't hear...
13. When Bama beats Notre Dame by 4 touchdowns, I believe history will kind to the Dawgs. The National Championship game was played on December 1.
14. I haven't bought a thing for Christmas yet. This is why Al Gore invented on-line shopping.
15. Fifteen Thoughts will return briefly after we whip Nebraska on January 1. I'm going to have to come up with a different weekly feature. Anyone interested in Crock Pot recipes? I got lots of 'em.
This has been an incredible season. One more thought:
16. Pay Mike Bobo. I blame Mike Bobo for deserving to get paid...