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Late Night Dawg Bites: Random Thoughts Unrelated to Urban Meyer

Georgia
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This is a busy time of year, personally and professionally as well as athletically, and that set of circumstances lends itself to random half-formed thoughts. Sometimes, this causes me to make dated references and mathematical errors in the midst of instantaneous reactions; other times, it leads me to share a collection of nuggets such as these:

  • It is no secret that I am no fan of the Heisman Trophy, but college football’s most overrated award occasionally lurches uncontrollably into the correct result by anointing the student-athlete who actually has a credible claim to being the most outstanding player in the sport that year. It appears this will be one of the years in which the Heisman Trophy actually goes to the person whose performance on the field merits the accolade. That being the case, why are we engaging in the pretense that there are four “finalists” for this award? LaMichael James, Andrew Luck, and Kellen Moore have front-row seats to see Cameron Newton win the award he deserves to win. The only drama will be whether he breaks O.J. Simpson’s record for biggest landslide victory in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Cam Newton is the most outstanding player in college football this year; his receipt, vel non, of this award will not make the foregoing statement any more or less true, but ESPN’s silly hyping of this sillier award is unseemly. Recognize the guy for his achievements, but cool it with the dog and pony show, all right, Worldwide Leader?
  • An inconsequential math error in the final BCS standings has caused a bit of an uproar, resulting in descriptions of the situation as “dumbfounding,” questions whether the computer polls could “be intentionally manipulated,” and this claim by the fellow who caught the mistake: “The BCS owes us an entire system that is open, accountable and verifiable.” Why is this so? The deliberations of the NCAA Tournament selection committee are not open, accountable, and verifiable; neither are the deliberations of trial juries, grand juries, or the U.S. Supreme Court. Plenty of widely accepted and implicitly trusted results come to us from systems that lack openness, accountability, and verifiability from start to finish; in fact, rare is the system that provides those features throughout the process. Many perfectly reasonable college football fans dislike the BCS; I am one of them, in fact. The notion that we are “owe[d]” a wholly open system, though, is ludicrous, and the claim that we are entitled to any such thing is utterly hypocritical coming from anyone who does not make similar claims about much more important matters, or even about other NCAA-sanctioned sports. It was a minor math error that affected absolutely nothing. Fix it, forget it, and focus on the actual matter at issue.
  • In games decided by seven or fewer points, Central Florida went 1-2 in 2010, whereas Georgia went 0-3. In games decided by ten or fewer points, Central Florida went 2-3, while Georgia went 1-3. In the last four Liberty Bowls, the SEC representative has beaten the Conference USA champion by eight or fewer points, as the margins have gotten closer year after year. Something’s got to give.
  • Finally, friend of the blog Josh D. Weiss sent me some of his photographs from Tuesday night’s Georgia-Georgia Tech basketball game, three of which are visible below and the rest of which may be seen here:

Go ‘Dawgs!


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Who wants a pan of brownies?

Georgia
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Ok folks so here’s the deal.

I am willing to bake a pan of my brownies and ship them to you.  Since I don’t usually make you this offer, you might guess there is a bit of a catch.  I’m not going to make a pan of brownies for each and every one of you.  I’m only making 1 pan of brownies here.  So that means y’all are going to have to work for it. 

I’m using the term “work” pretty loosely here.  In order to have a shot at the brownies – you have to help out that sweet little boy that needs a Service Dog.  Yep – you’ve got to contribute to A Dog for Deeds.  Then you have to tell me about it – so here’s how you do that – either use your Dawg Sports screen name when you donate, or let me know in the comments below.  I don’t care how much you donated, or how often you donate – the only requirement here is that you donate.  Donate .50 if that’s all you can do – fine by me.

I’ll put everyone’s name in a hat and then contact the winner for an address.  Brownies will come straight from my kitchen to your mouth. 

I admit to stealing the contest idea from Real Salt Lake and you may or may not think their prizes are better – but hey – you still get a shot at a pan of brownies.

So hurry up and donate and let’s get a very special dog for a very special boy.


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What Urban Meyer’s Retirement as the Florida Gators’ Head Coach Means for Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia
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You’ll have to pardon me if I’m a little bit gun shy here; I bid a respectful farewell to Urban Meyer last December, after all, and he made me regret that show of decency . . . repeatedly. This time around, therefore, I come to bury Coach Meyer (metaphorically, of course), not to praise him.

In case you’ve been under a rock since around 2:30 this afternoon, Urban Meyer has resigned as the head coach of the Florida Gators. Yes, again, although it sounds a lot more real this time. Last year, Coach Meyer made his decision in the midst of a health scare, which can cause anyone to react erratically; this year, he seems to have realized the toll coaching has taken on him and responded appropriately after careful consideration. Going 7-5 will do that to a guy.

Jeremy Foley spoke of Urban Meyer as a guy who wanted to spend more time with the family that he loved. I could be crass and roll my eyes at such a statement after the infamous reversal following the “I got my daddy back!” exclamation of a year ago, but, if, after putting football ahead of faith, family, and health last December, Urban Meyer has re-ordered his priorities this Christmas, I say good for him, and better late than never.

This all could have ended very, very badly. After being taken to the hospital at the end of a pressure-packed 2009 season, Urban Meyer quit abruptly before reversing course just as quickly, and that decision ultimately could have sent his health into a downward spiral that concluded in a tragic denouement. Fortunately, if belatedly, he saw the light before allowing that to happen, and all we can do is wish Urban Meyer well. 2010 was his worst season as a head coach, but it did little to diminish the extraordinarily successful career preceding that disappointing, but not more than merely disappointing, ending.

Now it is time to look to the future.

I agree with Year2 that Dan Mullen will succeed Urban Meyer in Gainesville and Gus Malzahn will succeed Dan Mullen in Starkville. While Kirby Smart could prove to be the wild card that reshuffles the deck in that scenario, I strongly suspect that Jeremy Foley will be making a trip to Jacksonville to entice Coach Mullen back into the Florida fold while Coach Meyer’s former offensive coordinator is in town for the perhaps presciently named Gator Bowl.

There is no denying Coach Mullen’s credentials—I believe he should have been named the SEC Coach of the Year, given what he did with what he had—but it is hard to believe that anyone could be more successful than Coach Meyer was. Granted, it was hard to believe when Urban Meyer was hired at Florida that anyone could be more successful there than Steve Spurrier had been, but the recent resurgence of the Florida State program makes this a tough time for the Sunshine State Saurians to be in transition. The Gators could take a step back, however slight; given the fact that six of the last nine series meetings in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party have been decided by margins of seven or fewer points, a slight step back by Florida may be all the steps back we need.

If all goes according to Year2’s sensible prediction, that will send the SEC’s hottest coaching commodity, 2010 Broyles Award winner Gus Malzahn, to Mississippi State. If, as many suspect, Coach Malzahn is the true power behind Gene Chizik’s throne, the most exceptional autumn in Auburn history could be followed by the winter of the Tigers’ discontent, as Cameron Newton goes pro, the architect of the Plainsmen’s impressive offensive attack bolts for cowbell country, and the NCAA investigation continues. One small step back for Florida could be one giant leap to the rear for Auburn.

In short, it is too early yet to know for sure, but there is the distinct possibility that two of Georgia’s three biggest rivals are about to get worse . . . and Mark Richt is 9-1 all-time against the third. Skeptics have asked, somewhat sensibly, how the Bulldogs will be better in 2011. To that reasonable inquiry, I now respond simply: we don’t have to be better, as long as everybody else is worse.

We send our best wishes to the Meyers, congratulating Urban Meyer on a stellar career and hoping this Christmas season brings joy to his family and him as they begin this new chapter of their lives together. As we bid Urban Meyer farewell, though, we in Bulldog Nation should look ahead to a future that now appears just a tiny bit brighter . . . and we should appreciate the fact that it may not be entirely coincidental, after all, that Santa Claus wears red and black.

Go ‘Dawgs!


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Urban Meyer stepping down as Florida’s coach, sources tell FanHouse. Press conference this evening…

Georgia
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Urban Meyer stepping down as Florida’s coach, sources tell FanHouse. Press conference this evening to announce decision

I absolutely cannot vouch for the validity of this, but it’s out there, for what it’s worth. Personally, I’ll believe it when I see it. Actually, no, after last year, I won’t believe it until the new head coach is introduced.

Go ‘Dawgs!


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Instantaneous Ill-Informed Roundball Wrapup: Georgia Bulldogs 73, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 72

Georgia
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In a series notable for offering an overwhelming home court advantage, Mark Fox’s Bulldogs went on the road and claimed a 73-72 victory over in-state rival Georgia Tech in Alexander Memorial Coliseum. In many respects, the game was as even as the score indicated.

Both teams shot 44.3 per cent from the field, with each squad sinking 27 of 61 two-point shots. Georgia and Georgia Tech garnered ten fouls apiece, and the Yellow Jacket bench contributed 18 points, just four more than the Bulldog reserves added to the tally.

In other facets, though, the game was a mismatch. The Engineers dominated the boards, pulling down 43 rebounds to the Red and Black’s 30, and the home team hit ten of twelve free throws (83.3%) while the visitors struggled to go seven of 15 from the charity stripe (46.7%).

The Bulldogs benefited from twelve-of-22 shooting from beyond the arc (54.5%) as the Golden Tornado managed to get just eight of their 20 three-point tries to drop (40.0%). Perhaps most significantly, Georgia Tech turned the ball over twice as frequently as Georgia (14-7), and the Red and Black turned those steals into 15 points, more than offsetting the ten ticks put on the scoreboard by the Ramblin’ Wreck off of takeaways.

Despite their slow start, the Hoop Dogs overcame a 35-29 halftime deficit and stormed back to score 44 points in the second half, led by Trey Thompkins’s and Dustin Ware’s respective 21-point performances. Thompkins hit four of five free throws, while Ware went seven of nine both from two-point range and from three-point range.

Ware’s symmetrical shooting performance was a nice touch, as it allowed the fans of the home team to drown their sorrows with mental pictures of Jeri Ryan while the Red and Black faithful did what Bulldog fans do; namely, celebrate yet another victory over Georgia Tech in yet another sport.

Go ‘Dawgs!


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Georgia Bulldogs at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Basketball Game Night Open Comment Thread

Georgia
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Mark Fox’s Hoop Dogs go on the road to a venue I recently visited for the purpose of squaring off against in-state rival Georgia Tech in a battle for Peach State bragging rights that could benefit the Bulldogs in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament selection committee. (Although, really, the selection committee’s machinations make the BCS seem coherent and transparent by comparison.)

If you can’t be at the Thrillerdome, join in the conversation in the comment thread. Your participation is welcome, so that it doesn’t wind up being just one guy talking to himself . . . not that such a thing would ever really happen, mind you.

Go ‘Dawgs!


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[Georgia Tech's] longest win streak against the [D]ogs was 10 games stretching from 1958-1961. As a…

Georgia
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[Georgia Tech's] longest win streak against the [D]ogs was 10 games stretching from 1958-1961. As a member of the SEC from 1932-1964, Tech dominated the [D]ogs with a 57-31 overall record. Since joining the ACC, Tech has actually posted a 15-20 record against the [D]ogs. The ACC era included a particularly brutal stretch where the [D]ogs defeated Tech 7 times in a row (Dominique Wilkins’ college tenure was right in the middle of this run). Paul Hewitt has yet to amass a winning streak against Georgi[a]. The last time Tech posted a winning streak against the [D]ogs was 1992-1994.

As usual, I had to correct their spelling and capitalization, but these are some interesting statistics on the hoops rivalry between Georgia and Georgia Tech.

Go ‘Dawgs!


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Week 14 BlogPoll Ballot: Championship Weekend Produces Only Incremental Changes in College Football Top 25

Georgia
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College football’s championship weekend is a bit of an oddity, as few teams are playing games yet most of the games that are played carry more than merely ordinary consequences. Only 15 of my top 25 teams were in action this past weekend, including just two of my top nine and just five of my top 16, so, when assembling this week’s rankings, I started from last week’s BlogPoll ballot and adjusted where circumstances warranted. These are the rankings thereby produced:

Here, in a nutshell, are my reasons for ranking the teams as I did:

  • Absent a reason to move a team relative to the squads around it, I left a team alone. For instance, the Sooners leapfrogged the Badgers because Oklahoma’s wins over No. 11 Oklahoma State and No. 19 Nebraska trumped Wisconsin’s win over No. 10 Ohio State.
  • There is still no comparison between Auburn’s resume and Oregon’s. Both teams went 9-0 against conference opponents, with the Tigers carding a thirteenth victory to set alongside the twelve collected by the Ducks. The Plainsmen beat No. 5 Arkansas, No. 8 Louisiana State, No. 14 Alabama, No. 20 South Carolina (twice), the Gator Bowl-bound Mississippi St. Bulldogs, the Liberty Bowl-bound Georgia Bulldogs, the Meineke Car Care Bowl-bound Clemson Tigers, and the BBVA Compass Bowl-bound Kentucky Wildcats, while Oregon defeated No. 9 Stanford, the USC Trojans, the Alamo Bowl-bound Arizona Wildcats, the Holiday Bowl-bound Washington Huskies, and the Music City Bowl-bound Tennessee Volunteers. The Ducks may well get the better of the Tigers in Glendale on January 10—I hope they do, as a matter of fact—but any blogger who’s still voting Oregon No. 1 at this point isn’t Addicted to Quack, he’s addicted to crack.
  • Yes, I continue to allow logic to dictate the sequence in which I have the three 11-1 Big Ten co-champions ranked. The Badgers, the Buckeyes, and the Spartans all have identical ledgers, both overall and in conference play, and none of them has a meaningful win against a team from outside the league. All other things being equal, Michigan State’s win over Wisconsin gets the Spartans ranked ahead of the Badgers and Wisconsin’s win over Ohio State gets the Badgers ranked ahead of the Buckeyes.
  • I considered ranking the Fresno St. Bulldogs after Pat Hill’s squad defeated the bowl-eligible Illinois Fighting Illini, but, since the West Coast FSU finished 8-4 and lost at home to the Hawaii Warriors, who went 10-3, I couldn’t very well include the Bulldogs in the top 25, and I wasn’t about to rank the Aloha State Islanders after they lost to the Colorado Buffaloes, so the idea of a third WAC entrant into the top 25 was a non-starter.
  • With Fresno State and Hawaii thus eliminated, the spot in the top 25 vacated by the Northern Illinois Huskies very nearly went to the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks, who upset NIU in the MAC Championship Game to run their record to 9-4. Unfortunately for Miami (Ohio), the Mid-American Conference champions’ 45-3 road loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats disqualified them from inclusion, so the last spot went to Connecticut, an 8-4 Big East co-champion bound for the most undeserved BCS bowl berth ever. Yes, I’m just as embarrassed about that ranking as you are.

As always, I welcome your constructive criticisms in the comments below, where I will be happy to answer any questions. I still have time to adjust my ballot in the event anyone states a persuasive case why I should do so.

Go ‘Dawgs!


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Please Lend a Helping Hand to a Fellow SB Nation Blogger

Georgia
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Please Lend a Helping Hand to a Fellow SB Nation Blogger

Jeremy Mauss runs Mountain West Connection. He is a highly regarded colleague who has always been available to lend assistance when called upon to do so, and now he needs our help in a very personal and meaningful way this Christmas season.

Please click on the above link and read how you can help Jeremy’s son get a service dog. Thanks in advance for whatever aid you are able to offer.


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Georgia Bulldogs to Meet Central Florida Knights in Liberty Bowl: Who Are These Guys, Anyway?

Georgia
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Our mindset going into the Liberty Bowl, and you can see that from the season we’ve had, is we’re going to win it. We’re not just going to a bowl game and going to play an SEC school. We’re going to win this game.

Central Florida Knights defensive end Bruce Miller (December 4, 2010)

Miller seems rather sure of himself in the wake of UCF’s Conference USA championship campaign, in which the Knights tied a school record with ten wins in a single season. I can’t help but admire the young man’s confidence, especially since Central Florida has never in its history won a bowl game and the SEC has gone 4-0 against Conference USA since the Liberty Bowl began pairing representatives of the two leagues.

In 2010, the Knights have gone 10-1 against teams from Division I-AA, Conference USA, and the MAC while posting a ledger of 0-2 against teams from automatically-qualifying BCS conferences. George O’Leary’s club fell to the N.C. State Wolfpack by a 28-21 margin in Orlando and dropped a 17-13 decision to the Kansas St. Wildcats on the road. However, Central Florida outgained N.C. State but finished at minus-five in turnover margin, and Kansas State needed a go-ahead touchdown with 24 seconds to play to beat UCF in a game featuring a weather delay of almost 90 minutes.

In short, the Knights are no pushovers, but they have gone 0-11 against major conference opposition since upending N.C. State by a two-point margin to start the 2007 season. Since moving up to Division I-A status in 1996, Central Florida has gone 1-13 against the Southeastern Conference, falling to the South Carolina Gamecocks in 1996, 1997, and 2005, to the Mississippi Rebels in 1997, to the Auburn Tigers in 1997, 1998, and 1999, to the Mississippi St. Bulldogs in 1997 and 2007, to the Florida Gators in 1999 and 2006, to the Georgia Bulldogs in 1999, and to the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2001, but beating the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2000, when the defending SEC champions went 3-8 in Mike DuBose’s final season at the Capstone.

Go ‘Dawgs!


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