Monday, October 22

Bye Week Mystery Meat: NOBODY expects the Vanderbilt Commodores!

Our chief weapon is a stifling front seven . . . and a running quarterback . . . our two chief weapons are a stifling front seven and a running quarterback . . .

Georgia had a bye this past weekend, so I get to decry the ineptitude of some other teams for a change. Remember this comment from Mark Richt in the wake of the Tennessee game that pissed me off so much?

“It’s not that surprising to see Tennessee’s D-line handle our guys like that,” coach Mark Richt said Saturday.

Well, we have a new frontrunner in the race for Most Ridiculous After-the-Fact Sandbagging Award, and it is . . . none other than Steve Spurrier. Take it away, Garnet and Black Attack:

"I'm not shocked at losing to Vandy. They're a good team. They were obviously a lot better than us today. We knew all along that we were sort of living on the edge at 6-1. We're not clobbering anybody, but we certainly played better against Kentucky and Mississippi State than we did today. We had our chances today. We had our chances and went backwards and couldn't score a touchdown. It's as simple as that."

Yup, sixth-ranked, 6-1, controlling-their-own-destiny-in-the-SEC-East South Carolina loses at home to Vanderbilt, and the Ol' Ballcoach says he's "not shocked." Apparently Spurrier's hobbies include alchemy, four-leaf-clover cultivation, and unicorn riding, because you've got to be a pretty jaded individual to sustain your first loss ever to the Commodores and not be shocked by it.

Pick your jaw up off the floor, son, Steve's got a whole stable full of these.

It's possible Spurrier meant his comment in a "In this crazy season, nothing's shocking" sort of way, but it certainly doesn't seem that way from the (admittedly limited) context. At any rate, I'm just glad some other team's fan base is tearing their hair out at the roots this morning.

The Vandy upset felt like the only SEC game I didn't get to see any of Saturday. The day started with Alabama-Tennessee at 11:30 a.m. on Lincoln Financial, a marriage that felt about as natural as plucking Richard Petty out of his #43 car and making him race go-karts with a bunch of kids at the beach, and while I did have a grand old time living vicariously through the Crimson Tide and sending gleeful text-message updates to an Alabama friend of mine who was imprisoned in a wedding for the first three quarters or so, my overall feelings on that game are doused with a generous helping of a sentiment beautifully expressed by Senator Blutarsky yesterday:

I know it’s a good thing for Georgia that UT lost this one. But I kept getting angrier and angrier watching it. How does Georgia get blown out by a team that lost to Florida and Alabama by a combined score of 100-37? Richt ought to lock Bobo and Martinez in a room with the game film of this one.

No shit. Looking back on Tennessee's body of work minus the Georgia game, you've got a team that got shelled by Florida, a currently not-so-great Cal team, and an Alabama offense that had barely been able to get out of its own way over the past few weeks; they also struggled a lot more than they should have in wins over Southern Miss, Arkansas State, and Missy State. This is an average team at best, which just makes it all the more infuriating that we went up there and played like the Keystone Kops on two doses of Tylenol PM. Whatever; I'm not gonna think about it, not gonna think about it, not gonna think about it . . .

Oops: I just thought about it.

One other thing I noticed about that game was that whenever the UT marching band started up a rousing rendition of "Rocky Top," which I remain convinced is the only song other than maybe "Rock & Roll Part I" in their repertoire, the Million Dollar Marching Band would start playing something over it. That seems like pretty sound strategy to me; if we're not doing this at UGA, we need to start next year.

So once Bama-UT was well in hand, baby sis and I saddled up and drove up to Somerville, where a recently engaged Auburn couple I'm friends with was having a big crawfish boil to celebrate the Auburn-LSU game. The celebration lasted about a half; even when LSU was down 17-13 and driving, there were murmurs circulating around the room to the effect of "We're fucked." Turns out they weren't, not once Auburn scored a touchdown to go up 24-23 with three and a half minutes left, but then somebody made the singularly boneheaded decision to squib-kick back to LSU -- I repeat, with three and a half minutes left -- so that LSU could start their final drive within a couple first downs from Colt David's field-goal range.

Now, everybody's been going on about Les Miles's insane decision to go for a touchdown pass at the end of the game instead of kicking a not-all-that-lengthy FG and winning anyway, but that was just Les being Les; he probably got all excited and forgot he even had that third time out in his back pocket. The most boneheaded decision of the day still belongs to whoever ordered the squib-kick. If LSU's offense has been owning you the entire second half -- and they had been, 290 yards to 127, 74 of Auburn's yards coming on their last-gasp TD drive -- what possible good can come of letting them start off at their own 42? Looking back over the play-by-play, it turns out that had actually been Auburn's KO strategy all day -- kick it short and preclude the possibility of a big return -- and it resulted in LSU starting drives at their own 17, 41, and 35 yard lines in the first half; none of those culminated in LSU scores. But LSU had only gained 137 yards the entire first half, and now they'd made some kind of halftime adjustment to where they were eating Auburn's lunch offensively. If their offense is already clicking like that, why make their lives easier for them?

And by the way, Virginia is now 7-1. Say it out loud: Seven and one. The team that could only come up with five first downs against Wyoming is now atop the ACC's Coastal Division.

Al Groh can't quite believe it himself.


Erik Tylczak said...

Fuck the squib even more. If you're so damned fucking fearful of the return, kick that shit out of bounds. For God's sakes, man.

Anonymous said...

So if I got this right, you watched the games with your sister and Georgia didn't loose. Granted they didn't play but that's not the point. Apparently your suspicions from last week are somewhat confirmed.

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking that CMR lost the UT game on purpose. I know it sounds crazy, and we don't normally think of CMR as being devious, but think about it: if Fulmer lost that game, he was gone. UT then might hire someone good, and CMR is so smart he knew this was going to be a year when two conference losses was going to be enough. I fully expect us to win out, now.