George F. Will is one of my favorite writers. I think this is because he's so good at describing the common social experience and the angst of sport, particularly baseball, through the eyes of a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan. In his book A Nice Little Place on the North Side, he shares the last line of a famous Robert Frost poem, "The Lesson For Today."
I would have written of me on my stone:
I had a lover's quarrel with the world.
As Will notes, his quarrel isn't with the world, and neither is mine. In Will's example, it is with the Cubs. He loves them, but they break his heart. Sports, and the team you love the most, will break your heart. Tonight, I had a lover's quarrel with the Georgia Bulldogs. I love you, but you broke me. I want to leave you. I know I never will.
Here are some thoughts, with a little help from our friends from post-game comments, which are every bit as good as mine, if not better.
You can say all you want about holding calls that happened but shouldn’t have, holding calls that didn’t happen but should have, and the questionable spot of the final first down.
But, when push came to shove, the offense didn’t capitalize on the defense, the defense sure as hell didn’t capitalize on the offense, and Morgan didn’t capitalize on anyone. - HannibalBarca
1. When you are on the road, you cannot settle for field goals, especially deep in enemy territory. If you do settle for field goals, you damned sure better make them. We left at least 13 points on the field. At least.
2. Credit South Carolina's early pass blocking and later, their run blocking. It was exceptional all night long. Our highly touted pass rush got only 1 sack the entire night because of a linebacker blitz. Otherwise, even though Carolina was often in full max-protect, we still got gashed by the throw over the middle for the first half of the game and then the timing route later. It was very hard to watch.
3. We have a talent gap at certain positions, particularly in the defensive secondary. Carolina did not do anything especially exotic. They just found the soft spots underneath protection for a good chunk of the night and we never adjusted. It really looked as if we were waiting on something deep that never really came, and conceded the short and mid-range stuff.
We have a HUGE talent problem right now – especially in the secondary. We have some insanely good players committed and have a great chance to finish with 2-3 more elite corners and an elite safety. We will probably get a fast, rangy ILB. We have an UNBELIEVABLE DL class coming. Give Pruitt a couple years and we will have the best defense in the country. It wasn’t going to happen in 8 weeks the season we kicked off 3 starting DBs.
Just look at this class. It will almost definitely be the best defensive class ever under Richt. There’s a reason Grantham was leaving. We had a few OLBs, some DL depth, and 2 or 3 ILBs. Everyone else is shaky.
This. Pruitt will get us there. How long will it take? I dunno...
Scoring 35 doesn’t mean you’ve crossed a magic threshold where you’ve held up your end of the deal. He (Mike Bobo) massively screwed up with the game on the line. The defense was bad the whole game, but we all know it’s a work in progress that Pruitt is slowly improving. - Swarles_Barkley
4. I hope this defeat does nothing to influence Todd Gurley's Heisman chances. Twenty carries, 131 Yards, 6.6 yards per carry average., 1 touchdown. This would have been much more if not for a phantom holding penalty on his 54-yard touchdown jaunt. This game was full of would'a, should'a, could'a.
5. Having said that, the 54-yard touchdown that was called back was typical and predictable SEC Officiating bull$**t that we have come to know and accept. Kind of like cockroaches. Crappy calls and bugs are a fact of life.
6. If I told you prior to kickoff that we would put up 35 points, would you have taken this? This series is no longer a defensive one, until someone decides to play defense.
7. All week long, I was uncomfortable about this game. Recent history dictates this, but all the post-Clemson hype was so typical of how the media works today - social and mainstream - that a Cult of Georgia was rapidly constructed...after a single home game against a team that lost much themselves. Now, the deconstruction has commenced. That little funny feeling in my gut was not Thursday's bad burrito. It was my intuition which rarely fails me.
8. What are your thoughts on early season bye weeks? I do not like them and this has nothing to do with yesterday's result. A bye week this early in the season just seems frivolous.
9. CBS really needs to retire Lundquist after this season. I like Verne, I really do. But he's is no longer an accurate broadcaster, misidentifying player after player to the point of viewer distraction. (However, if CBS were to hire Jesse Palmer, I'd beg for Pat Summerall...and he's dead.) I won't even discuss Gary Danielson because I'll surely be banned from my own blog.
10. Quarterback play was sufficient, but I'm not exactly convinced going forward. Hutson Mason has issues with a wet football - be it from high humidity or rain. I'm not going to be overly critical right now because his play should have been enough to win if our defense had anything to add. He doesn't seem to be throwing the ball at times. He's trying to guide the thing. Just wing it, son. We need to get some other guys some reps. I'm not suggesting a change in the starter, by the way. Ask me again after Tennessee.
11. I cannot say enough about our freshman backs and skill players. They are going to help us win many football games in the future.
12. Will that be the best offensive line we face the rest of the season? I think it might be.
13. Welcome back, Quayvon Hicks. This kid is a weapon. I suggest we use him (like, around the goal line after an interception late in the game. I digress...).
14. Playing in Columbia is about as tough a venue as there is in the Conference. Add in the weather delays - a problem for both sides, but a problem nevertheless - and a coach who just knows how to diabolically coach 'em up on the other side and you have a witches' brew of football angst. I am still proud of the team because they still were in position to pull out a win when they had no business of winning. They had the elements against them, a hostile crowd and typically terrible officiating. Ultimately, it's on us. Too many gaffes in the special teams. Carolina's last touchdown was set up by a horrible contain failure and a Marshall Morgan touchdown-saving tackle. Ironically, it was his highlight of the game. We probably should have been blown out. We could have won it. What a strange game we all love.
15. What would life be like if we had a full compliment of receivers? Does it matter given the limitations of our quarterback? I'd sure like to find out. Will Jonathon Rumph ever take a meaningful snap at Georgia? The World Wonders.
Cliche of the week/day/hour: There is still much to play for. We aren't as bad as we look (twitches), or as good as we thought (cringes). The SEC East looks like a bizarre heap of confusion at the moment. It's winnable, but Kentucky suddenly looks like trouble down the road. Or, is Florida still really that bad?
The road is only slightly harder. I don’t know why people want to argue that this team can still go places. I don’t like rolling around in misery. Acknowledge the problems and fix them. Complain about Bobo, and choking, etc all you want. But we can still do great things.
My goal for UGA is to win the SEC title. I’ll be happy with that, playoffs or not. - Mark Mandingo
Got get back up, folks. Have a good Sunday.