(I'd insert a photo of this weekend's game if I had any that weren't uniquely depressing)
Both OBJ and I were in Jacksonville this weekend for the epic shellacking. There's really not that much to take solace in; and, I don't really feel like analyzing the game, or making any kneejerk generalizations about the coaching staff and their intensity, focus, motivation, etc. etc. I will say this though: I felt UGA played well on both sides of the ball for the first half, but as is the case against good teams, if you cant execute in the red zone and on special teams, you are screwed.
One note re: the failed onside kick early in the second quarter...that was definitely a hindsight/20-20 call on Richt's part. It probably wasn't the most calculated risk, even moreso since Blair Walsh has been largely ineffective the last couple of games, but it's one of those plays where if it works well, Richt is praised with having Miles-esque cojones. I came to this conclusion at 4:30am Sunday morning outside my hotel as a group of 10-15 Georgia fans argued for damn near a half hour over the merits of the onside kick, neither side willing to budge an inch saying it was a good/bad call.
Either way, enough about that crapfest. Let's use this remaining space to go over the chances of the remaining championship contenders as we rank them in the Mumme Poll.
1. Alabama- Classic SEC trap game against a SunBelt opponent, and they still beat Arky State 35-0. As an undefeated SEC team in November, they clearly control their own destiny and are in the driver's seat for the BCS title game. It's possible that not even a loss on Saturday in Baton Rouge could completely derail their chances at making the title game.
2. Texas Tech- Very nice win, very nice. I kept thinking they'd collapse; and even when that did happen, they were able to improbably claw back. I'm also convinced that Michael Crabtree is not just a product of the TexTech offense, but would be a legit stud in any system, in any conference. Color me impressed...and yet, I can't see them beating both Oklahoma schools in the next two weeks. As with Alabama though, they win out and they're in the title game.
3. Penn State- As long as there are three undefeated teams, the Nittany Lions will be the odd men out. I'm not exactly convinced they're a better team than the next three teams ranked below them, either. If any of those teams win out, we could see a one-loss team jump a undefeated Penn State team, as aided by the computers. Chaos will ensue, and it will be glorious.
4. Florida- They're arguably playing better than any team in the country right now, and it seems like they're still only using half their playbook. Their young defense and running backs are getting better exponentially, and if you don't mind I'm going to slam my head into my desk a few times before going any further.
5. Texas- The Longhorns could still sneak into the title game if they win out, get a little help from one of the Oklahomas, and defeat Missouri in the Big 12 Championship. They have the schedule strength to fall back on, and a loss at Texas Tech shouldn't hurt too bad by the end of the season. Down, but not out.
6. Oklahoma- I didn't really want to drop them two slots, but how could Texas Tech and Florida not jump the Sooners after everything that happened this weekend? The Sooners defense looks porous at times, which could haunt them vs. the Red Raiders, but between that matchup and their end of the year battle vs. the Pokes, Oklahoma will get every opportunity to put themselves right back in the national title picture. It's going to be an interesting few weeks coming up in the Big 12. Best conference in the sport this year, hands down.
7. USC- They are not going to be in the BCS Championship Game. Hallelujah.
8. Oklahoma State- Everything said about Oklahoma applies to OSU. Most likely, too little too late, but a strong enough resume where if some crazy shit goes down, ala last year, they're right back in it.
9. Ohio State- That USC loss was bad, but as it has been mentioned, the Bucks are a fairly different team now. If UGA has to go the Outback/Capitol One Bowl route, I hope they get to play the Bucks. Not only would it be an entertaining matchup between the preseason Top 2 with tons of star power, it would allow Georgia to restore some order to this season with another hopeful beatdown of Ohio State by an SEC school to ring in the new year.
10. Missouri- I struggled with what "2-losses-to-Top-10-teams" squad to put here. Mizzou's loss against Texas was about as bad as Georgia's loss to Alabama, but at least it was on the road. Struggled against Baylor, yes, but at this point, you can find significant flaws in just about every team from here on down.
Mumme Poll Final Two:
11. Georgia- C'mon, as bad as they were on Saturday, do you see TCU, Boise, Utah, BYU or any of the ACC two-loss-team-du-jour beating the Dawgs on a neutral field?
12. Utah- This spot goes to the winner of Thursday's TCU-Utah showdown. For now, the Utes can hold on despite Saturday's nailbiter against New Mexico.
Couple more notes on the awful weekend that was in college football:
Regarding Urban Meyer using up those last two timeouts in the final seconds of a 49-10 domination: I don't care. He had them, it's legal, he used them. End of story. It was a bitchy move by a douchebag of a coach. Wasn't suprising or interesting in the least.
While not exactly lighting up the scoreboard or wins column, Bobby Petrino has the Hawgs playing much better football the last four games, coming off a home win against Tulsa. Anytime an overranked, undefeated, non-BCS school gets beaten by the 9th best team in the SEC, well, there's a pretty good chance it's going to get mentioned on this blog.
Georgia Tech takes the firing range position in this week's ACC Championship roulette following an impressive victory at home vs. FSU that was aided by a last second fumble recovery in the end zone. Take UNC this week, fellas.
Finally, that's enough college football for the day, and probably the week. It usually takes a few days/weeks/months to decompress following a bad UGA loss, specifically one that assures a New Years spent with a 1pm kickoff in central Florida rather than a primetime battle a week later in Miami. OBJ might stop by later with some more thoughts, but let's just say the NBA season just got a little more attention in my household (AI to Pistons? WHAT?!?).
Oh, one more thing...
Finally, pour one out for the fat man in the orange suit. Fulmer struggled once the Richts, Sabans and Meyers of college coaches started growing on trees in the southeast, but at the end of the day, he was a guy who loved his team, coached his whole life at his alma mater and won a title in the process. Overall, a excellent career. I'm thinking he will be revered in Knoxville for eternity and I've enjoyed the way he seems to have handled his inevitable fate with all the dignity and resignation of Al Pacino's character in the final scene of Donnie Brasco. Whoever follows Fulmer will be held to the highest of standards because of the bar he set there, and whatever non-SEC BCS school hires him as a coach will be fairly pleased with the results, if I had to surmise.