Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I Rank 'Em Like I See 'Em

Hunker Down Dawg Blog CFB Poll – Pre-Bowl Edition

1.  Southern Cal - A team that has not lost since early in the 2003 season has earned this spot until beaten.  However, I am not sure yet if I will pick them to beat Texas.  We shall see.
2.  Texas at Austin – I know they can score, but how well can they stop the USC offense?  I cannot wait to find out.
3.  Penn State – Solid year for the Nittany.  One “last play of the game” away from creating a BCS controversy.
4.  Notre Dame – Does it matter if I have them one spot ahead of OSU since they get their chance to prove it in Phoenix?
5.  Ohio State – See # 4.
6.  Oregon – Even though I think the Pac 10 was down some, their 10 wins were impressive.
7.  Georgia – Yes we jump Auburn and West Virginia.  That is what happens when you be-otch slap LSU for 60 minutes.
8.  Auburn – Just beat Wisconsin, OK?
9.  West Virginia – Speed.  Looking forward to this match up.
10.  LSU – Stays above VPI because they lost to a much better team than FSU.
11.  Miami – One above VPI seems right.
12. VPI.  Was that FSU’s defense from 1994?
13.  Alabama – I am sure they are better than TCU.
14.  TCU – Maybe they should play Bama instead of Texas Tech.
15.  Louisville – Not really sure about them, but will see in the Gator Bowl.
16.  Wisconsin – Good match-up woth Auburn will be fun to watch.
17.  Florida – With a bowl win will end with a nice 9-3 season under new coach, having won against 3 biggest rivals.
18.  Texas Tech – High flying offense, meet immovable object in Cotton Bowl.
19.  Clemson – I really think they are a good team.
20.  Georgia Tech – When not being schizophrenic, they are pretty good.
21.  Boston College – Boy did they get screwed with the Smurf Bowl that is normally reserved for Tech.
22.  Florida State – Welcome back defense.  How was your slumber?
23.  Michigan – What are you doing down there?  At least you aren’t Tennessee.
24.  Iowa – Interesting rematch with Florida in Outback Bowl.
25a.  UCLA – I probably shouldn’t rank a team that loses by 47 points.  Quitters.
25b.  Navy – CIC Trophy for third straight year.  First to 50 victory over Army.

Assail away if you feel the need.  

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Dawg Bones Awards

Tonight I am awarding Dawg Bones for the SEC Championship extraordinary performances. I will assume that if you are reading this that you saw the game and you already know who got TDs, interceptions, sacks, etc. If you need that information, go here. You can read all about how Georgia took charge as the preeminent team in the SEC and made the following statement loud and clear: "We are BACK and we plan to stay here awhile!" I thought our team gave an extraordinary effort from the the opening kick until the final tick. When a well-coached group of outstanding athletes gives an extraordinary effort on every play, they will be nearly impossible to stop. The Georgia and Florida State defenses both demonstrated this principle last night. Many times an extraordinary effort does not directly make the play but it creates an opportunity for another player. It is in the spirit of extraordinary effort, that I will award my SECCG Dawg Bones.

Special Teams Dawg Bone - Ramarcus Brown gets a bone for his extraordinary effort on the punt that was blocked by Bryan McClendon. You may not know it, but the blur that came from the far right side was Ramarcus slamming into the outside blocker which allowed McClendon to go in untouched and block the punt.

Offensive Dawg Bone - DJ Schockley gets a bone for his extraordinary effort in selling the pump fake that caused LSU CB LaRon Landry to bite on the double-move route that allowed Sean Bailey to blow past him for his second touchdown catch of the 1st quarter.

Offensive Dawg Bone - Daniel Inman gets a bone for his extraordinary effort to stay on blocks as long as possible and drive his man until the whistle.

Defensive Dawg Bone - Tim Jennings gets a bone for his extraordinary contribution on several plays that I especially appreciated: (1) for holding up LSU WR Dwayne Bowe on the play that Tra Battled cracked the ball loose for a fumble that was erroneously not awarded to the Dawgs in the 1st quarter; (2) for his solo sack on Flynn for a loss of 12 yards; (3) for sealing the game when he jumped the out route and took an interception back for a touchdown.

Defensive Dawg Bone - Will Thompson gets a bone for his extraordinary effort to pressure the quarterback resulting in 2 sacks and one QB hurry. He was also responsible for flushing the QB out of the pocket several times and I think he was the player being held the one time LSU was flagged for holding.

And the STAT OF THE GAME: Zero. That is the number of interceptions thrown by DJ Shockley. He showed great poise, patience and maturity in throwing the ball away several times when he eluded the rush and could have tried to force something. DJ took care of the ball and never threw a dangerous pass. His great decision making prevented the talented LSU defense from creating any big plays that could have changed the momentum that Georgia had seized early on. DJ is a Superman in my book.

Way to go you hairy dawgs. Finish the drill by whipping West Virginia and end the season 11-2 and ranked no lower than 6.

By now, you know that the Dawgs absolutely laid the wood to LSU in Shock and Awe fashion, winning 34-14. And it wasn't even that close, as they say.

There are many great things that result from this big win in addition to the obvious SEC Championship and Sugar Bowl bid. Here is my Top Ten List of Additional Benefits From Bashing the #3 Tigers Like a Top Tier WAC Team (ie. Boise State):

10. Recruiting. The Dawgs made it look like so much fun last night, what kid would not want to play for the Red and Black? Could you feel the love?
9. We re-establish the Georgia Dome as home turf for the Dawgs, which will get reaffirmed on January 2.
8. We get to hear more stories about how DJ Shockley came back for this special season instead of stories about how LSU overcame all of the Katrina adversity (which I do not deny, but, hey, I live in Florida.)
7. No SEC team can finish the season with more victories than UGA with at least 10.
6. We replace Auburn as the "Hottest Team Nobody Wants to Play Right Now."
5. We can stop complaining about Sean Bailey's stone hands and start praising his big play potential.
4. We discovered the undeniable benefits of an occasional jail break blitz.
3. No SEC team can claim more SEC Titles in the past 10 years. No need to live in the past people!
2. As eloquently stated by Kyle King, "The 80's are over." The GLORY DAYS are here and now!
1. We will no longer have to hear the phrase "Tiger Meat" after a combined score of 79-30 in our last two meetings with the Bayou Bengals.

Saturday, December 03, 2005



That is my humble prediction. In previous posts this week, I have indicated what I hope to see from our defense and place kicker. In this brief post, I will offer my flawless advice to Coach Richt for the offense.

Throw the ball to Pope!

In addition to that permanent command, I would like to see Kregg Lumpkin get a heavy share of the rushing load if he is running hard like he did against Tech. Our O-Line will have to have their best game yet to make holes for our three-headed running back to find room to scamper. The line will also have to continue to provide DJ Shockley with the solid protection that he has received all season.

Obviously, we cannot afford to drop passes tonight, especially on third down. I expect DJ to look sharp and to use his legs a little more than he did last week. I promise you that DJ will lay it all on the line to win this game. He is a great competitor and this will be his signature, career-defining game. At the end of this game, we will all be flummoxed about how we could have ever had any concerns about DJ back in the summer.

Here is how the Dawgs will get their 23 points. Field goals of 33, 44 and 48 yards. A one yard TD run by Southerland or Lumpkin. A 22 yard TD pass to Pope on a z corner route.

The Tigers will kick one short field goal. One TD will be a long TD pass in broken coverage to one of their jetpack receivers. Maybe 65 yards. The other will be an 8 play, 71 yard drive ending with a TD by Russell on a sneak.

If you want more information, for example, too much information, please see Kyle King who projects the Dawgs to win 20-16. Yeah, Kyle!

There it is. My fearless prediction. Now I can go to bed and wake up for a great day of football and much rejoicing for Navy and Bulldog fans.

For the record, I do not expect any surprises in the other games. USC will pistol whip UCLA, Texas will run roughshod over Colorado, and VPI will mercifully euthanize the Noles by only beating them by 28 points.




Navy is going to the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego and that will be a sweet reward for a season with 6 wins. However, if my Middies do not beat Army today, the season will not be remembered as a success. That is how it goes when America’s favorite rivalry renews in the City of Brotherly Love for the 106th meeting. After 105 contests, the series record stands at 49-49-7. This year, the game is tabbed, “The First to 50.” The Navy team leads the nation in rushing, but Bobby Ross’s Army squad is on a four game winning streak and is looking to beat Navy for the first time since 2001. Meanwhile, the Navy seniors look to become the first group to beat Army all four years since the Class of 1977. (For the record, we were 1-3 during my 4 years at Navy.)

I love watching this game every year because I feel like I know every one of those kids out there playing. The names on the jerseys change over the years, but the type of men in the uniform does not. Many of my best friends in this lifetime all wore the Navy football uniform. I still see them when I watch the game. I know where their rooms are in Bancroft Hall. I know which table they eat at in King Hall. I even know where they park their cars out at Hospital Point. I know where they will be drinking beer Saturday night and the girls from surrounding schools who will join them. This is so much more than a football game to Army and Navy grads. It is the purest form of nostalgia. And damn if it doesn’t start to make me feel old to realize that the seniors on the field tomorrow were born the year I was a plebe on the scout team with a locker next to the great Napoleon McCallum.

I will have fun watching today knowing that Army’s offensive coordinator, Kevin Ross, was a classmate, friend, and fellow economics major and I will be hoping that he has a miserable day.

I will especially have fun watching this game knowing that one of Navy’s offensive linemen, Ryan Roeling, is at the Naval Academy because I encouraged his dad, Bill (a defensive end on the Tulane teams that played against the Dawgs in the 70’s), to steer him toward Navy and away from UCF and Tulane. This was in the spring of 2001. I had gotten Ryan’s information to Charlie Weatherbie in the summer and they had started recruiting Ryan – who was in school in Tampa. But Ryan was not high on Navy and was leaning toward Tulane. His grandparents lived in New Orleans and he had lots of ties to the Green Wave. However, after the 9/11 attacks occurred, Ryan told his dad that he wanted to go to Navy and fight for his country. Coach Weatherbie was fired that season and when Paul Johnson’s staff arrived in Annapolis, Ryan did not hear from them and assumed they were no longer interested. Upon checking into this, I discovered that former Bulldog, Brian Bohannon, had gone with Coach Johnson from the Georgia Southern staff. I had been acquainted with Brian when he was in Athens, so I sent him an email with all of Ryan’s info hoping that they would resume recruitment of this outstanding young man. Soon thereafter, Paul Johnson showed up at the high school in Tampa and assured Ryan that he was coming to Annapolis. Now, I am told that Ryan has loved his experience at Navy and his family is extremely proud of him. Here is a young man who went to Navy primarily as a result of 9/11 occurring during his senior year of high school. Indeed, all of the players on the field tomorrow will have volunteered to attend the service academies after the 9/11 attack. Think about that for a minute while you are watching the game. This is huge and I am so damn proud of these guys. Whew!

I am picking Navy to win 30-20. Oooh, aaaah. Whitewash the Black Knights.

Friday, December 02, 2005


This week's version of my Friday Random 10 is all Dawg related.

1. Oh Atlanta - Little Feat. The Dawgs won in Atlanta last Saturday over Tech. They are in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game tomorrow to beat LSU and will return to the Georgia Dome in January for the Sugar Bowl.

2. Superstition -Stevie Wonder. Like many fans, I am very superstitious and that is why I will be wearing the same pink and green boxers that I have worn for every game this year except Florida and Auburn. I will not be wearing the red "G-emblazoned" windshirt that I wore for the Florida and Auburn games.

3. Start Me Up - Rolling Stones. This is for the Dawgs Defense as encouragement for them to be ready for LSU on the opening drive and force a 3-and-out. Then "never stop" the whole night.

4. Takin' Care of Business - Bachman Turner Overdrive. For the O-Line, who need to win in the trenches so we can give DJ lots of time to throw and give the three-headed running back room to run.

5. Bad To The Bone - George Thorogood. Dedicated to the pass rushing bookends, Quentin Moses and Charles Johnson.

6. Atomic Dog - George Clinton. Can this be anyone other than Blue!

7. Hot Legs - Rod Stewart. IMHO, the difference makers for this game will be our kickers, Brandon Coutu and Gordon Ely-Kelso.

8. Superman - REM. DJ Shockley on the largest stage of his life so far!

9. Feelin' Alright - Joe Cocker. Dawgnation after the Dawgs beat LSU 23-17.

10. Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad - Meatloaf. Will be the record in the SECCG for Coach Mark Richt and any Dawgs players who were onboard since the 2002 season.


The incomparable Andrew Rothschild sent me a link this morning that is certain to help you waste up to 30 minutes of productivity. Have you ever wanted a fresh Pimpalicious nickname but are way too whitebread to create an authentic pimp name for yourself. Well, fret no more, the good people at Player Appreciate have solved your problem by creating a pimp name generator.

My favorites for myself are Fadeproof H. Fresh, Deacon Dr. Hamp Flow, Mack Master H. Love, and Silicon Sick Hamp Dazzle.

Don't be a hater, ease on over to Player Appreciate and pimpify yoself.

As the Commodores almost once sang, "I feel pimpified, say pimpified, say pimpified."



With the Georgia and LSU offenses and defenses looking quite evenly matched, will the key to victory lie with the kicking game? If so, the news is good for the Dawgs. While I generally defer to the masochistical statistical overload provided by Kyle King for going inside the numbers of upcoming Georgia games, I thought I would kick around these numbers and thoughts for your perusal.

The Georgia Dome has always been a kicker friendly venue (just ask Todd Peterson of the Falcons who has made all 9 of his field goal attempts and all 15 of his PAT attempts inside the dome this year.) The Georgia Bulldogs have recently been a kicking friendly program. When itty bitty Billy Bennett becomes the all-time leading scorer of the world, you are kicking a lot of field goals. Indeed, Billy scored 409 points on 87 field goals and 148 pats between 2000-2003. His field goal percentage was 79%. This year, Brandon Coutu has handled the kicking chores for the Dawgs with much aplomb. He has been outstanding in open-air stadia, so we will assume that he can kick indoors and will hold high expectations for him tomorrow night. On the contrary, the LSU kicking duo of Chris Jackson and Colt David (with a name like Colt, you would expect to have a strong kicking leg) have been less than spectacular.

Now, for the side-by-side kicker comparisons. . .

Coutu is 21-27 overall for 77.8% accuracy. Jackson/David are 10-19 overall for 53% accuracy. On field goals under 40 yards, Coutu is 12-14 (86%) while Jackson/David are 6-9 (67%). On field goals greater than 40 yards, Coutu is 9-13 (69%) while Jackson/David are 4-10 (40%). Coutu has made 2 kicks greater than 50 yards with a long of 58 yards. Meanwhile, the Tigers have not even attempted a kick greater than 50 yards and have a long of 48 yards.

If Coutu is feeling it Saturday night, the Dawgs could almost reach for 3 every time they enter Tiger territory. Presumptively, the Dawgs have a better than 50% shot at a field goal once they reach the LSU 40 yard line. On the contrary, the Tigers will have to penetrate to the Dawgs 23 to have a better than 50% chance of a successful field goal. While playing for field goals is a good way to get beat, in this contest against the nation’s 5th best defense, Georgia will need any points it can muster and conceivably one long field goal could be the difference.

I remember when Kevin Butler was kicking bombs for Georgia in the 80’s and every time the Dawgs crossed mid-field, you were almost assured of a field goal attempt at the very least and most of those were good for points. Saturday night, I think I will have that same feeling, knowing that Coutu has the leg of Gus the Mule and will be booting within the light air of the Georgia Dome.




The Georgia defense has played admirably this season considering the holes that needed to be filled after the departures of Thomas Davis, David Pollack and Odell Thurman, as well as Coach Brian Van Gorder. Piled on top of the attrition to the NFL has been several injuries in the middle – Tony Taylor, Kedric Golston and Gerald Anderson. Despite all of this, the Dawgs defense ranks 5th nationally in points allowed per game with 14.6. All things considered, one would have a tough case to make to say that Coach Willie Martinez has not exceeded everyone’s expectations this season with the performance of his defense thus far.

However, the Dawgs defense looked like swiss cheese against Florida, Auburn, Kentucky and Georgia Tech in the first quarter. Florida scored all 14 of their points on their first 2 possessions. Auburn scored easily on its first possession. Kentucky moved the ball well in the first quarter despite its inability to score more than 3 points. And Tech scored its lone touchdown on the first possession. In each of these games, it looked like the opponent marched down the field according to a pre-scripted sequence of plays and Georgia was helpless to stop them. In fact, the Dawgs have allowed a total of 34 points in the first quarter in 11 games - 31 of those came in the past four games. In all but the Auburn game, the defense slammed the door on the opponent after the first quarter. So, why have we allowed these teams to have so much success on the first possession? And more importantly, what do we do differently to stop LSU early, and hopefully often?

Without the benefit of meticulous film study of the Georgia games, but having seen them all twice, I believe that our defense has been predictable, strictly following tendencies in the first part of the games and teams have been able to scheme for this successfully. Clearly, our in-game adjustments have been successful and for that, we can credit the coaches and players. However, we simply cannot spot LSU 7 points before I finish my first gin and tonic Saturday night.

In my opinion, we will need to zig when LSU thinks we will zag and vice versa. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we did something revolutionary and bold, like blitzing on the first possession? What is the worst that can happen, a touchdown? Well, we are used to that by now, so it would not be so unusual. On the other hand, maybe we could confuse and surprise the LSU offense and force a turnover or an even more rare three-and-out. I frankly do not know exactly what our early tendencies have been that other teams have been able to dissect, but I wish we would treat the first possession as an opportunity to misbehave and take a few chances. You know, kind of like we did against Arkansas in 2002. Maybe a jailbreak on first down. Surely Jumbo Fisher will not have planned for something we have not done in the past 11 games. If it doesn’t work out, then we will have the rest of the game to try and play them straight up, mano-to-mano. But before we get into a toe-to-toe slugfest with this talented bunch of bengals, let’s please experiment with an element of surprise just for fun. After all, it is just a game, right?




I need some advice regarding MP3 players for a Christmas present to my ownself.  I want to get an MP3 player that is compatible with one of the music-to-go services. In the past year, I have subscribed to Napster, Rhapsody and Yahoo Music for the streaming service, but I have not yet tried any of their music-to-go services under which one may fill and refill an MP3 player with as many songs as you please.  I tend to like Rhapsody the best because it seems to have more music that I prefer.  I also like some of the features of Yahoo, but the Beta version of their music engine was a P.O.S. and was frustrating to use, so I got a refund and went back to Rhapsody.  I now hear that the new version of Yahoo Music engine is much improved.

While I am well aware of the IPOD world, I do not want to be married to iTunes forever and I really like the idea of the music-to-go.  Maybe that signifies that I am too cheap to buy the music outright.  Or it signifies that I can’t make up my mind about what I want to listen to on a consistent basis, so I like having a shitload of flexibility.  So that leaves me looking at MP3 players from Creative and Dell for the most part.  In addition to compatibility with the subscription service that I choose, the other key features I am looking for are: capacity (preferably 30+ gig), ease of use, reliability, accessories available and cost.

If anyone has any input regarding the Creative Zen Sleek, Zen Touch or Dell DJ, please enlighten me.  Thanks in advance.