Sunday, October 1
Once inside, I couldn't believe my eyes . . .
I'm guessing this was painful.
College football is the kind of thing that lends itself to being interpreted through all kinds of lenses. Not long before last season started, Ian of Sexy Results! started a trend with his now-legendary post comparing D-IA teams to rappers; shortly after Nathan from Golden Tornado matched up the teams of the ACC with Smurfs, I bogarted Ian's idea and matched a bunch of teams with "Simpsons" characters. Then Ian took his idea back by reviewing the 2005 season through "Simpsons" quotes; Brian at MGoBlog launched a "South Park" character comparison; TrojanWire busted out the "Action News Pac-10 Power Rankings"; and round and round we go. So with all that on the books, it's perhaps not surprising that I had different quotes from "Office Space" running through my head throughout the entirety of the Georgia-Ole Miss game Saturday night -- though it was a little unsettling:
"Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, I use the side door -- that way Lumbergh can't see me, heh -- after that I sorta space out for an hour."
"Wha, wha -- 'space out'?"
"Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too. I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual work."
For the second week in a row, Georgia basically spotted the other team an entire half. It says something about Ole Miss's competitiveness that they only spun this into three points at home, whereas Colorado managed to pull ahead by 10 at the half at Sanford Stadium, but it certainly says more about Georgia, the fact that they'd just been very nearly embarrassed the week before and still couldn't come out of the box with any more fire than they did in Oxford. Ron Franklin and Ed Cunningham made the point that Matt Stafford, at least, did a lot better when Richt unshackled him from Joe Cox and let him run the show all by himself, but he still finished 7-of-18 for 91 yards, so we're not talking about an iffy-to-outstanding transition here, we're still struggling up from lousy to mediocre.
As with last week, though, the more troubling flatness was exhibited by the defense. How did BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who was held to just 48 yards on 12 carries last week against the apparently juggernautesque Wake Forest Demon Deacons, roll up 135 yards against Georgia, you ask? Well, the fact that the Rebels fed him twice as many carries due to the fact that they weren't getting blown out by three TDs this time around had something to do with it, but then you still have to explain how he jumped from a 4.0 yard-per-carry average to a 5.6. And that's when you have to start answering some very difficult questions about how our front seven was getting pushed out of the way almost as easily as they were against Colorado, and how are you letting that happen when you know Ole Miss's O-line is run-blocking almost exclusively because they can't complete a pass to save their lives? Thorny questions indeed, but you see, all I'm trying to do is get a feeling for how people spend their time at work.
"I'll get you another copy of that memo."
Surely a memo has been passed around the SEC hinting that a delayed handoff to the fricking fullback is no way to convert a third-and-long. So why do we keep doing stuff like that? I've complained about this at length before, but our coaches still seem to be under the impression that one of these days, somebody, somewhere is going to commit so completely to a pass play that we're going to be able to run someone under the coverage and get a first. Well, I can forgive them for thinking Ed Orgeron would be the one to get outsmarted in such a manner; if you'd asked me a few days ago, I would've told you that outsmarting Ed Orgeron would probably be within the skill sets of most eight-year-olds, even the autistic ones. But even Unfrozen Cave Man Football Coach didn't bite on it, and Brannan Southerland got stuffed after maybe two yards. I think it's time to permanently remove "run it and pray" from the third-and-long repertoire, kids.
"You haven't even been showing up for work, and you got to keep your job."
"Actually I'm being promoted."
I hope you Georgia fans out there are honest enough with yourselves to admit that that was one of the most atrociously officiated games we've ever played. Even if you take out the bizarre holding call on the blocked punt, you had penalties being missed all over the place and refs taking so long to review plays you could go back into the bedroom, have a conjugal visit with your significant other, come back in the kitchen and cook yourself up one of those Freschetta rising-crust pizzas (which are delicious, by the way) before the refs would finally come to a decision. And about that blocked punt . . . yeah, I thought Franklin and Cunningham went on too long about it too, but if you can find the holding offense that wiped out Ole Miss's first blocked punt, you're way more attentive than I am, and even if the holding had occurred, it wouldn't have even remotely had anything to do with the fact that they blocked it. We got lucky, Bulldog Nation, and don't you forget about it.
And now that we've covered the first blocked punt . . .
"Mother! . . . Shitter! . . . Son of a . . . ass! I just . . . "
That, of course, is the impotent string of expletives unleashed by Samir behind the wheel of his car during the opening credits. It also approximates the impotent string of expletives I unleashed when Ole Miss blocked their second punt of the night, and then launched something else off my balcony. Which is something I'll go into another time.
One of the few passes that was missed for a reason other than someone dropping it.
"I looked into it more deeply and I found that apparently what happened is that he was laid off five years ago and no one ever told him, but through some kind of glitch in the payroll department, he still gets a paycheck."
"So we just went ahead and fixed the glitch."
This is obviously not a fire[insert coach here].com site, and I pride myself on not being one of those kinds of fans. I never called for Jim Donnan to be fired; I never even called for Kevin Ramsey to be fired, if only because his job as D-coordinator was so completely gone as soon as the '99 season was over that any actual calls for his ouster on my part would've been carrying coals to Newcastle. But I really, really think it's time to "fix the glitch" and send WRs coach John Eason on his way. We're dealing with an epidemic case of the dropsies that started with Terrence Edwards letting a potential national-title shot slip through his hands against Florida in 2002 and has gotten progressively worse ever since, to the point where we're now driving our QBs down into Reggie Ball territory in completion percentage based on dropped balls alone. Mohammed Massaquoi was supposed to be our leader in the receiving corps this year, yet he dropped two potential first-down catches in a row in the second quarter that forced us to punt from our own 15. I'm real glad that Martrez Milner's dropgasms have ceased, but everyone else still seems to be having them, and eventually someone on the coaching staff is going to have to make the uncomfortable declaration that things overall aren't getting any better and chop a head for it.
"I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that's on the worst day of my life."
"What about today? Is today the worst day of your life?"
"Wow, that's messed up."
The Colorado game was bad; in many ways the Ole Miss game was worse, because all the problems from Colorado repeated themselves -- the first-half flatness, the dropsies, the inconsistent run blocking -- without the appearance of a whole lot of improvement in any area. At least in the Colorado game we had the excitement of a furious fourth-quarter comeback; against the Rebels, we were never down by enough to feel like things were getting severely out of hand, and all Georgia needed was one touchdown to get a lead that was more or less insurmountable by the standards of the Ole Miss offense. Which meant we were pretty well assured of spending the rest of the game alternating between Lumpkin grinding down the clock and Brent Schaeffer tripping over his own feet.
Ole Miss was hardly what you'd describe as a mighty team -- it's entirely possible they won't beat a D-I team for the rest of the year -- but it was a big game, or rather needed to be a big game, for us. We needed to roll up 25 or 30 points on them, at least make noise like we were going to cover 18, to show that Colorado was a fluke, an uncharacteristic hiccup. It's one thing to get caught ridin' dirty against the Buffs, because Georgia always has a near-bedshitting game early in the season, usually either an OOC game or Vanderbilt; unfortunately, we got tested by frickin' Ole Miss too, and now the godawful game against Colorado looks less like an isolated bedshitting and more like the signature of a team that's going to be walking around with its Oops! I Crapped My Pants filled to exploding on a regular basis.
Our defense, assuming they don't pull any more of their first-half snoozeroos, is good enough to win games over Vanderbilt, Missy State, and Kentucky pretty much all by itself, but that still leaves four games in which the offense is going to have to add something to have a chance to win. Before the season started, I figured that we'd have an excellent chance of splitting those four games. Now, I don't know, but I will say this: When I put in my next Blogpoll ballot tomorrow, all four of those teams will be sitting above Georgia. What happens after that is anyone's guess.
I can only pray that Georgia won't be playing the part of the fax machine.
The world in my eyes:
· As if to compound my misery, Georgia Tech was the fucking mad skills on Saturday, horsewhipping Virginia Tech in a fashion that . . . well, that we usually don't see VaTech getting whipped in until much later in the season, I guess. It almost looks like even Chan Gailey's not gonna be able to drag this team down to 7-5, not with the short bus that the bottom half of the ACC has been this year.
· On the other hand, GT needed three quarters to put away Troy, while UAB needed considerably less time to accomplish the same task.
Birmingham Bowl, here we come! And we don't even have to travel that far!
· As for the marquee SEC matchup of the day, Florida-Alabama (which I'll just refer to as "Florabama," after one of the greatest dive bars in the country): Ehh, the only thing notable about it was that Alabama ever led at all, but I did like the throwback unis Florida was rocking, and I think that's something more schools should try. Whatever keeps them out of those nasty-ass off-color-shoulder uniforms that Nike was throwing at everybody last year.
· As a mid-level Big East game being played on a Friday night it probably got lost in the shuffle, but let's not ignore what a big deal it was for Rutgers to go into Tampa and beat South Florida. Here's Rutgers, ranked for the first time since well before any of the players were born and being hyped about as much as any #23 team could be, so there's plenty of opportunity for distraction and full-of-oneself-ness; on the other side of the line, there's USF, who's only lost one home game since 2004 and who helped themselves to a 45-14 ass-beating of a similarly hyped Louisville team last year. Here's a shocking statement for you: Rutgers now has a better chance of being undefeated than Louisville does when they face off in Piscataway on November 9.
Rutgers alum Kristin Davis. See, Kyle's not the only one who can do this shit.