Thursday, September 30
Manic-Depressive Preview: Climbing down into the crevasse.
It should not come as a surprise to any of you that the median mood of our manic-depressive football previewers has shifted somewhat closer to the "depressive" end of the spectrum since Georgia got humiliated in Starkville last Saturday night. However, Manic managed to coax Depressive off of a ledge with a bag of those Almond Joy pieces and a new Lego set, so the duo has survived intact to bring you their thoughts on Georgia-Colorado. (Be gentle, obviously, with Depressive Doug. It's been touch-and-go.)
Manic Doug: How you holdin' up, bro?
Depressive Doug: I ate the whole bag of Almond Joy pieces. And look! It's the Wampa cave from "The Empire Strikes Back"!
MD: Awww, hey, that's great, buddy! You, uh, ready to talk a little football for the people out there?
DD: I want another Lego set.
MD: Oh, come on, dude, don't do this. You're gonna make me be the grown-up here? You can't honestly think any good is gonna come of that.
DD: I'm sorry, but I just don't have a lot to offer here. We just played one of the worst teams in the SEC, and not only did we let them pound the ball down our throats, we couldn't get in the frickin' end zone until it was long past mattering. Seriously, what's my motivation here? What possible reason could I have to get excited about this weekend?
MD: A.J. Green's back! Wooooooo!!!!! . . .
MD: OK, I gotta say, I was really expecting a more exuberant reaction there.
DD: OK, fine, it's great that we're getting A.J. back. I mean that. But he's not gonna be able to help us pass-protect, and he's not gonna make much of a difference in the running game, either.
MD: He will if his presence as a deep threat keeps Colorado from stacking the box against us like everyone else has been doing.
DD: You really think he's gonna make that much of a difference? For all their problems lately, Colorado's run defense is ranked seventh in the nation. They're barely allowing more than 70 yards per game.
MD: Yeah, dirty little secret there? They built that up against Hawaii and Colorado State, who just happen to be the two worst rushing teams in Division I-A right now. As in 119th and 120th out of 120. I know Washaun and Caleb have been a bit of a disappointment this season, but you gotta believe they'll be better than that.
DD: OK, that I did not know, but I'm still skeptical. I just don't think A.J.'s gonna be able to completely turn this team around on his own.
MD: Hey, I'm not saying that either. But he'll provide a bit of a spark. And call me overconfident, but this is one of those situations where I don't think we'll have to score that many points to pull off the win.
DD: It almost sounds like you're fixing to tell me how our defense is gonna suddenly rise up and get it together better than they have at any point since the opener against Lafayette, and if that's the case then I'm gonna have to cut you off right there.
MD: OK, if you keep running your mouth like that I'm gonna buy you another box of Legos and make you swallow 'em. Let's review: What did South Carolina have on offense that we just couldn't stop?
DD: A big-ass running back who never went down on first contact.
MD: Colorado's starting tailback is 5'6" and weighs 175 pounds. What did Arkansas have that we couldn't stop?
DD: Ryan Mallett, a 6'7" behemoth with an RPG launcher for an arm.
MD: Yup. Colorado's quarterback, on the other hand, has a career 13/15 TD/INT ratio and a 113 QB rating. Now, what did Mississippi State have that we couldn't quite get a handle on?
DD: Another rugged running back, and a big, mobile QB.
MD: The running back I've covered; Hansen, meanwhile, has a career per-carry average of less than two yards. See? Look, I'm not gonna act like our defense doesn't have any weaknesses, but so far Colorado hasn't proven the ability to exploit any of them.
DD: But we didn't think Mississippi State did, either, and yet we couldn't get them off the field in the second half. Their running back might be little, but it's not gonna matter if he can get outside the way Chris Relf and Vick Ballard did. They're not going to be sending him up the middle anyway.
MD: Maybe, but he's all they've got. The only guy they've got behind him is a junior who's barely any bigger than he is and has 205 career yards.
DD: Look, here's the thing: I know we've got a talent advantage here. Pass around that petition, and I'll sign it twice. But we had just as big a talent advantage in Starkville last week, and a fat lot of good it did us. The problem here isn't in the talent or in the statistics; it's in the motivation and the coaching. At a time when everybody and his brother is talking about how our program is doomed, we're playing yet another must-win game, and we gotta go all the way out to Colorado to do it. Where the air is thinner and where the crowd will be geeked up because they'll be honoring the 1990 co-championship team at halftime . . .
MD: Heh. Boy, I'll bet that pisses the Tech fans off.
DD: Be that as it may, it's a daunting situation for any number of reasons. Mississippi State was a less talented team who beat us because they just wanted it more; can you honestly say you're not worried that Colorado is gonna be the same kind of team?
MD: Worried? Maybe. A little. But not nearly enough to make me think we're gonna lose. Getting A.J. back isn't just gonna be a shot in the arm from a game-planning standpoint, it's gonna be an emotional lift for everybody on the roster. However geeked-up they are, this is the week we finally get up off the mat and match it.
DD: All right then, sunshine, tell me how it's gonna go.
MD: OK, first of all, the sarcastic nicknames are my department, Cowboy Woody. Second: Yes, getting A.J. back totally flips the script for us. Gives the team an emotional boost and lets us open up the offense the way we've been talking about doing for weeks now. Colorado's pass defense is very beatable, and if they try to double-cover A.J., that's just gonna open up the short game so that we can maybe start throwing to the tight ends for once.
DD: Yeah, that would be nice.
MD: We managed to put together some nice sustained drives in the first half last week before everything went completely to shit; we do that again, and manage not to fumble on the goal line this time, we'll score some points and keep our defense fresh enough to not get ambushed by Rodney Stewart. I think Colorado will come out fairly amped-up, it'll be a close game for a half or so while we kind of try to feel them out, but we pull away in the second half and win 30 to 13.
DD: Well, that's a pretty nice scenario you've drawn up there . . .
MD: And completely plausible. Come on, dude, pick the win. Feel the win. You know this losing streak can't go on forever. The time is right. The stars are aligned. Go with your heart . . .
DD: When you get that close to my face like that, it kind of scares me.
MD: Sorry. I promise I totally wasn't doing it in a gay way.
DD: OK, good, because it kind of felt like that. (pause) (hurriedly) Not that there's anything wrong with that.
MD: Oh, no, no. I mean, it's just that . . . yeah, go on. You were saying? You're going with your heart, and . . . ?
DD: And . . . I just don't see it.
MD: Uhhhhhhh. You're killing me, Smalls.
DD: The offense will look a little better, and I bet A.J. gets behind their secondary for at least one touchdown. But he can't save the team singlehandedly, and our inability to run is gonna come back to bite us even with him in the game. I think it's another close, low-scoring, fairly ugly affair for most of the game, right up until the last few minutes when Colorado puts together a sustained drive, we can't tackle Stewart, and they punch it in the end zone to win 23-20.
MD: Wow. You're really predicting that we'll come home from Colorado with a 1-4 record.
DD: I don't like it. In fact, I kind of hate it. But that's where I'm at emotionally right now, dude.
MD: Well, I've got a couple pieces of good news. First is that even with your dire, spirit-crushing prediction factored in, our predictions still average out to a 25-18 win for the Dawgs.
DD: Well, hey, if that's what ends up happening, so much the better for us. What's the other piece of good news?
MD: We still have the Associated Hottie to get to! And here she is: Casey Parker.
DD: OK, she's cute. What is she, an actress? What's she been in?
MD: Hustler and Barely Legal, for starters.
DD: Well. How proud the University of Colorado must be.
MD: Hey, we've all got a porn connection whether we know it or not. Did you know we share a birthday with two Playmates and Jenaveve Jolie, star of "18 and Full of Sin" and "Three's Cumpany"?
DD: You will be shocked to find that no, I did not know that.
MD: It's a small world, man.
DD: You know, on the one hand it's taking every ounce of muscle control I have not to roll my eyes at all that, but on the other hand I'm actually kind of impressed that it took you five whole games into the season to pick a porn star for the Associated Hottie slot. In a way, I guess that means you're growing up.
MD: Perhaps. But don't get excited, it won't last.
DD: No, I expect not. Speaking of which, I seem to recall you saying you were taking Georgia and the points last week. So are we gonna be able to eat this month, or do we need to have a talk about this?
MD: Heh, uh, actually, like I said, I was kind of drunk last week, and I accidentally put the money on UAB plus the points against Tennessee.
DD: Honestly, sometimes I don't know how you manage to pull this shit off.
MD: Don't knock it, dude, that's where your Legos came from.