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Sports Then and Now



Florida & Georgia Meet in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party 1

Posted on October 29, 2015 by Jim Hurley
Treon Harris has played well since moving into the starting lineup for the Florida Gators. His toughest test will come against Georgia.

Treon Harris has played well since moving into the starting lineup for the Florida Gators. His toughest test will come against Georgia.

After two seasons in mediocrity, the Florida Gators are ready to make a splash onto the national stage again. Florida is 6-1 overall and getting ready to for its annual rivalry game with Georgia on Saturday afternoon (3:30 PM ET, CBS). The Gators have blown out Ole Miss, played competitively in a night game at LSU and are in control of their destiny in the SEC East.

If Florida wins this game, they’re all but certain to be in the conference championship game come December. And if they keep winning out, they’re all but certain to get a ticket to the College Football Playoff. It’s a welcome case of a program climbing off the mat.

Following their Sugar Bowl season in 2012, Florida came crashing to earth. They had a losing season in 2013 and only qualified for the Birmingham Bowl in 2014. It got head coach Wil Muschamp fired and it cost Florida’s backers in Las Vegas some money, as the Gators went 10-13 against the spread (ATS).

No one ever disputed Muschamp’s ability to coach defense. It was offensive ineptitude that did him in and that was reflected in the totals line. In the awful 2013 season, Florida was 4-8 straight-up and also played just four games to the Over that season. This season, even with the defense still being strong and ranking #19 in the country, Florida has gone to the Over four times in seven.

The improved offense comes in spite of quarterback Will Grier being suspended for the balance of the season. Grier was posting solid numbers, with a 66% completion rate, 7.48 yards-per-attempt and a 10/3 TD-INT ratio. When he was suspended, Florida was written off a serious SEC title threat. Read the rest of this entry →

Saturday Will Tell If Clemson and Georgia Are Contenders Or Pretenders 1

Posted on October 01, 2015 by Jim Hurley
Saturday's game against Notre DDame wiill tell if Dabo Swinney and Clemson have a chance at reaching the College Football Playoffs.

Saturday’s game against Notre Dame will tell if Dabo Swinney and Clemson have a chance at reaching the College Football Playoffs.

Georgia and Clemson are long-time rivals on the field, but they have one thing in common off the field and at the betting window—they have a tendency to play below expectations. Whether it’s aggravating their own fan bases with a crushing loss just when a corner seems to have been turned, or playing just well enough to win, but not cover the number, the Bulldogs and Tigers have a knack for pulling the rug out from under you.

Now, both programs in the national spotlight on Saturday, each undefeated and each with showcase home games. Georgia hosts Alabama (3:30 PM ET, CBS) and Clemson will get a visit from Notre Dame (8 PM ET, ABC) in the day’s two best games that you can watch back-to-back. Will the home teams finally meet their moment?

Let’s begin by giving some context of the last two seasons, because I want to make clear I’m not implying these programs can’t play good football. They can. Clemson is 19-5 over the last two regular seasons and has bowl victories over Ohio State and Oklahoma. Georgia is 17-7 in that same timeframe, and if we go back one year earlier to 2012, the Bulldogs were one play away from winning the SEC title and likely converting that into a national championship.

But each team has been consistently been overrated by the oddsmakers. In the same two-year period where Clemson was winning 19 regular season games on the field, their bettors in Las Vegas only cashed 11 pointspread winners—against 13 losers. With Georgia, that 17-7 straight-up record becomes 10-13-1 when we measure it against Vegas expectations. That’s the roundabout way of saying that Clemson and Georgia have spent two years being bad bets.

Now each team steps onto a big national stage for this first Saturday of October. Over the first month of the season, there’s reason for cautious optimism with Georgia, but guarded skepticism with Clemson.

Clemson is 1-2 against the spread thus far. On a recent Thursday night appearance against Louisville, the Tigers barely survived a very young Cardinal team 20-17, failing to cover as a five-point favorite. Sophomore quarterback DeShaun Watson is talented, but has his inconsistencies. He threw two interceptions against the Cards and failed to generate much in the way of a downfield passing attack.

The rush defense was exposed in an earlier game against Appalachian State, giving up over 200 yards on the ground and allowing 4.5 yards per carry. With Notre Dame and its physical offensive line leading the way for C.J. Prosise, that’s a problem. Read the rest of this entry →

College Classic Rewind: LSU Knocks Off Dawgs in SEC Slugfest 6

Posted on November 29, 2011 by A.J. Foss

On September 20, 2003, the #7 ranked Georgia Bulldogs traveled to Baton Rouge to take on the #11 LSU Tigers in an early SEC showdown.

The Bulldogs were the defending SEC champions as they ended a 20-year drought of not winning the SEC title, thanks to head coach Mark Richt, quarterback David Greene, and SEC player of the year, defensive end David Pollack.

Greene, Pollack, and several other key starters returned for the 2003 season and helped led Georgia to wins in their first three games of the season.

Even though they would be playing in one of the toughest environments in all of college football, the Dawgs were confident as they had won all nine games played in opponents’ home stadiums since Richt became the coach in 2001.

LSU also entered the game with a 3-0 record as they had won those three games by a combined score of 143-27.
The Tigers were led by head coach Nick Saban, who had LSU to a surprising SEC championship in 2001 and was in his fourth season in Baton Rouge.

LSU was looking to rebound in 2003 following a late-season collapse in 2002 in which the Tigers dropped five of their last six games to lose their grip on the SEC Western Division title and finish the season with an 8-5 record.

The main reason for that collapse was the loss of starting quarterback Matt Mauck, who broke his foot in the sixth game of the season and was lost for the rest of the season.

Mauck had become a folk hero in the eyes of LSU fans as he had come off the bench to lead the Tigers to a 31-20 upset over Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game.

Mauck returned to Baton Rouge for his senior season and was at the helm as the Tigers faced off with Georgia in what turned out to be a preview of that year’s SEC Championship Game.

Both teams traded punts until the Dawgs drove to the LSU 16-yard-line where they had to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Billy Bennett to give Georgia a 3-0 lead with 6:20 left in the first quarter.

On the Tigers’ ensuing possession, Mauck was picked off by Georgia safety Sean Jones, to give the Dawgs the ball at the LSU 40-yard-line.

Two runs by running back Michael Cooper gained 22 yards and the Dawgs were in prime position to expand their lead as they had a 1st-and-10 at the Tigers’ 18-yard-line.

Following a one-yard-loss by Cooper, Greene scrambled ten yards and was poised to get the 1st down when he was hit by LSU defensive end Marcus Spears at the eight-yard-line, forcing a fumble which Spears recovered, ending the Bulldog scoring threat. Read the rest of this entry →

College Classic Rewind: Walker’s 4TDs Carry Dawgs To Win Over Gators 28

Posted on October 26, 2011 by A.J. Foss

In 1980, the greatest moment in the rivalry between the Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators occurred when Georgia quarterback Buck Belue connected with Lindsay Scott on a 93-yard touchdown pass in the final minutes to give the Bulldogs a 26-21 victory over the Gators and helped propelled Georgia to the national championship.

One year later, Florida looked for a shot at redemption as they met the defending national champions in Jacksonville.

The Gators entered the game with a 5-3 overall record and 2-2 in the Southeastern Conference. Florida was led by third-year head coach Charley Pell, who had turned around the Gators following a 0-10-1 season in 1979 to a 8-4 season in 1980 and a win in the Tangerine Bowl.

While Florida is trying to become a consistent winning power, Georgia was in the hunt for a second straight national championship despite an early season loss to Clemson.

The Dawgs were the #4 team in the country with a 7-1 record on a team that featured only nine returning starters from the 1980 championship team.

However, three of the returning starters were the two heroes from the 1980 Florida game in Belue and Scott, and superstar running back Herschel Walker.

Though the first eight games of the 1981 season, the sophomore had gained 1,309 yards on 265 yards and scored 11 touchdowns as he rushed for more than 100 yards in every game to this point.

In the Dawgs’ showdown with the Gators, Walker put together one of his finest performances as a Georgia Bulldog.

Florida got the ball to start the game and drive from their own 24-yard-line to the Georgia 20-yard-line until Peace was sacked twice, knocking the Gators out of field goal range.

The Gators drove to the red zone again in the second quarter but Peace was intercepted by Tim Bobo at the Dawgs’ two-yard-line, to kill another scoring opportunity for Florida. Read the rest of this entry →

Zultan’s Fearless College Football Forecast: Week 3 4

Posted on September 13, 2010 by JA Allen

Zultan predictions for Week 3 of the college football season.

For Big Ten Plus

Finally order has been restored in the college football world.

Zultan would be as perfect as the Iowa Hawkeye defense were it not for the losses endured by Golden Gophers and the Fighting Irish.

These two teams conspired both weeks to trip up the mighty one.  Perfidy!

This week these two teams continue to try to stymie the All-Seeing One as he ponders the depths with his crystal ball.

The cloudy images of upcoming football clashes displayed in vivid but runny colors will come into focus once the last whistle blows on Saturday. It is Zultan’s innate power that allows him to read the indistinct images and predict the college football future.

Last week Zultan nudged perfection at 10-2.

There were a lucky 13 of you who managed to outguess the mighty one with 11-1 records. These super prognosticators will be listed at the end of the article so as not to distract from the important task at hand, picking the winners in Week 3.

Is this your week to surpass Zultan? Are you ready to step out on the lucky limb of chance?  If so click here and make your picks.  We shall see who has the superior powers.  Get ready to feel a sense of loss as you go against the power of mighty Zultan.

Read the rest of this entry →

Cup of Joe: This is College Football Country Y’all! 4

Posted on September 08, 2009 by Joe Gill

Cup of Joe-mainThat is the theme in the football hotbed of the South.  You better pledge your allegiance to the Gators, Vols, or the Dawgs in the state of Georgia. The Atlanta Falcons? The NFL who?

This is college football country y’all!

Time to paint your faces! Slap that sticker on your SUV! Buy your pet a shirt sporting your favorite team’s logo (yes my friend’s roommate bought a Georgia Bulldogs shirt for two of her cats)!

As I mentioned in my previous blog, NCAA Football=Not Competitive At All Football, I am not a diehard fan by any stretch, but damn these fans are rabid!!

I went to Atlanta for Labor Day Weekend to visit my displaced Yankee buddy. Little did I know, the city was hosting ‘Bama-Virgina Tech at the Georgia dome. The train was packed with fans. Hotels for a 10 miles radius were sold out. The city was under siege for the first time since Sherman arrived.
Read the rest of this entry →

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