Monday, August 29, 2011

Are These Underdogs WonderDawgs?

In 2005, Boise State came to Athens as the underdog and fashionable upset pick among the football talking heads. D.J. Shockley and company sent the Broncos home looking more like minidonks after a 48-13 woodshedding. However, you can toss that piece of information out with the morning coffee grounds because the 2011 Boise State team is coming to Atlanta as favorites and again they are the fashionable pick among the football talking heads. So Georgia is the underDawg in this contest and nobody but nobody expects Little Georgia to beat Mighty Boise. Do you realize how utterly ridiculous that last statement is and yet it is true. And you can even imagine Larry Munson saying it with a straight face.

Boise comes in ranked #5 in the AP Poll while Georgia is at #19. Las Vegas has Boise as a 3.5 point favorite despite the game being played 2172 miles from Boise in the Georgia Dome. Since their embarrassing loss to Georgia in 2005, the Broncos have fared very well in openers against major conference foes like Oregon (twice) and Virginia Tech. Meanwhile, since the Dawgs dominated Boise in 2005, Georgia has managed to lose to Oklahoma State, Colorado and Central Florida. The roles are clearly reversed from that game 6 years ago.

If you will recall, when Oklahoma State came to Athens in 2007, the Dawgs handled them fairly easily. But when we went to Stillwater in 2009, we had a lackluster performance and lost. I believe that our team felt that by just showing up, they could beat the Cowboys and after marching the length of the field for a touchdown on the first possession, they mailed it in and failed to play much for the remainder of the game. I bring this up because I think that particular reversal of fortunes should be instructive for our team as we prepare for Boise. Though none of our current roster was on the team when Boise came to Athens, the memory of that game is still fresh in the minds of Dawgnation. It may create a tendency for fans to be overconfident or to underestimate Boise State, but there can be no way that our team is taking them lightly or will be overconfident. There should not be another Oklahoma State (2009) or Colorado performance this coming Saturday. By the same logic, however, all Boise State's Coach Chris Petersen has to do to get his player's attention is to point to the results of the 2005 game. I do not believe we can expect that team to come into the Dome overconfident and under-prepared. No, this will be a game in which both teams have tons of motivation and much to prove. Georgia wants to show that they have gotten the ox out of the ditch and Boise wants to show yet again that they can compete with teams from the automatic qualifier conferences.

I think the 3.5 point spread in favor of Boise State is fair. I am glad we are playing them in the Georgia Dome. This is the perfect opportunity for the Dawgs to announce that they are back... if in fact, the Dawgs are back. Are these underdogs WonderDawgs?

On Game Day, I will be visiting a couple of tailgates. One is the TweetGate being organized by Ludakrisi for our Dawg Tweeps. And the other is the Shepherd Spinal Center S.H.A.R.E. tailgate with proceeds benefiting a program that provides rehabilitation and community-based care to U.S. military service members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I look forward to seeing my fellow Dawgs before, during and after the game. Between now and Saturday, I will have more to say about our team and the game. But for now, I am fired up that we are merely days away from live action. Remember to Spread-the-Red this Saturday. Go DAWGS. GATA!

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