Monday, September 25, 2006

Kennel Cough

Before wading into the political stuff this week, I wanted to reflect a bit on college football--specifically, the near-catastrophe my Georgia Bulldogs suffered against winless Colorado between the hedges in Athens on Saturday. In case you missed it, the Dawgs were trailing the Buffs 13-0 late in the fourth quarter until their third-string quarterback, redshirt freshman Joe Cox, saved their bacon with two late touchdown drives.

Georgia fans shoulda known their boys were ripe for an upset when the big pre-game buzz around Athens wasn't about their opponents, but about Colorado's half-ton mascot, Ralphie IV, who made a rare road appearance. Last Wednesday, the Atlanta papers did a long piece on the big critter with this interesting excerpt:

Ralphie already has a Georgia connection. Longtime Atlantan and CNN founder Ted Turner, who has raised and promoted bison, donated the Montana-born Ralphie IV to Colorado after reading an article in "Bison World" magazine about the school's search for a replacement for Ralphie III.

"Bison World" magazine? Who knew?

In any event, the Dawgs might be forgiven for underestimating the Buffs, after they lost their home opener to Ralphie's homies from Montana State, continuing the collapse into total ineptitude they displayed late last year. But during the first half, Colorado totally dominated the game, rolling up over 200 yards of offense on Georgia's vaunted defense and holding the Dawgs to, well, nothing.

In the end, after watching his wunderkind true freshman QB Matthew Stafford repeatedly drill Sandy-Koufax-fastball passes through the hands of his receivers, Coach Mark Richt finally put in the little-known Cox, who was calm and very effective. Despite two failed fourth-down plays in the Red Zone, Georgia survived an embarassing outcome, with the help of a particularly ill-timed Buff fumble. According to the Voice of the Dogs, Larry Munson, who added yet another apoplectic performance to his long and brilliant career, Ralphie was already over at the UGA vet school getting loaded into her custom trailer for the long trip home to Boulder when the deal went down.

Though they remain in the Top Ten, it's increasingly clear Georgia has benefitted tremendously from its schedule thus far. Two wins were against Western Kentucky and UAB. Another was against a South Cackalacki team that subsequently strugged against the vicious Terriers of Wofford. Then they performed more poorly against Colorado than did Montana State. Next week they go on the road to play one of the worst Ole Miss teams in decades.

Let's hope they get their stuff together before the orange-clad hordes of Tennessee come into Athens on October 7, doubtless seeking redemption for their earlier Big Choke against Florida at home.

I think Georgia can be for real this year, and I'm glad the Dawgs coughed but did not choke on Saturday.

P.S.--Since I didn't blog about it at the time, I wanted to mention a ha-larious comment by the Georgia broadcast team last week, after Steve Spurrier did a press conference and claimed his South Cackalacki team lost to the Dawgs because the refs missed a bunch of Georgia holding calls. I'm not sure who came up with the bon mot (maybe Lauren Smith), but one of them said: "Yeah, but the refs also didn't make an obvious call on Spurrier for Failure to Coach."
-- Posted at 2:13 PM | Link to this post | Email this post

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