Before I begin any semblance of “coverage” or “reporting” from the Press Box at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on the banks of Lake Lorna Doon, I want to wish a very happy birthday to DadYouCrazy. For as long as I can remember we have been threatening to join the media and cover sports full-time. I still have and appreciate my real job, but as far as hobby writing goes this is about as good as it gets. But, it’s only about as good as it gets because I wish my best friend was up here with me.
If you had a better son maybe he could have figured out a way to sneak you into the Press Box. I should have learned more from your creative maneuvering around ticket ushers at the Georgia Dome as we snuck down to court-side seats at various NCAA basketball tournaments – like we owned the place. Maybe if I had paid closer attention when we snuck into the Xavier Alumni tailgate, you would be here.
But, your dedication to your faith, your family and your work is not lost on me. And I am more thankful for those teachings than any others.
I promise to sneak you into one of these someday (although such a promise may have just doomed my own future in media-only areas). In any event, I owe you one – OK, maybe two!
Happy birthday, dad! I love you. I’ll call you after the game with a game plan for next year’s Bowl.
Now, some thoughts on the pre-game action in the Press Box.
This morning a hopped on the media shuttle from the hotel to head to the stadium around 9:30. Ironically several members of the media knew where to go, but the driver somehow did not. Nevertheless, we eventually made it and the time that was filled with sports guys chatting about the Fiscal Cliff was simply…unforgettable.
Once we arrived at the stadium we were ushered in through a wide open gate and found our way to the elevators up to the Press Box. For once, I got to go through one of these guarded gates without acting like I was on the phone and my hands were too full to find my ticket/badge. It was kind of a letdown.
I considered popping in here and doing a little coaching, but decided better of it.
I found my name on the seating chart…
And then found some extra crispy bacon…
And I settled in for a nice little breakfast with a half-way decent view.
Playing the Field
After carbing up (I hit the hash browns pretty darn hard) I made my way down to the field where did my best to avoid being interviewed by Samantha Steele.
Todd Grantham followed closely behind with a pretty impressive man-purse.
Then I caught Mark Richt and Mike Bobo talking trash.
And later Mark Richt got arrested. Juuuuuust kidding.
And Marlon Brown played the old “tap your coach on the opposite shoulder and make him look the wrong way” trick on Mike Bobo.
Hey guys, dance if you love DudeYouCrazy!
When Jarvis Jones smiles, world hunger is cured.
I popped a squat with Michael Bennett, Chase Vasser and the other injured folk and had the best seat in the house.
As always, thanks for following DudeYouCrazy.net. Your official Capital One Bowl headquarters.
That’s all I got/
I don’t know that an X’s and O’s preview would carry much weight at juncture. Despite the hoopla that comes with a major Bowl atmosphere (and this is still – as the largest non-BCS Bowll – a major bowl), this is very much not what Georgia wanted this season. The Bulldogs’ improvement since that fateful game in Columbia, South Carolina in early October is beyond admirable, but the sting of the SEC Championship remains with this team. I’ve noticed this week that it remains with the fanbase. As I pointed out way back in 2012, if the Dawgs had known 11 regular season wins was in the cards this year, then the Capital One Bowl would have been deemed as a disappointment. And with all due respect (and for once I actually sincerely mean that) to the Capital One Bowl, am still a little disappointed too.
My one personal regret regarding the Bowl is that I didn’t get down here earlier. Every event that I have (or the DudeYouCrew has) attended has been great. Check-in was largely seemless, the hotel accommodations are centrally located to all the good stuff (and even some of the bad), the Press Conference yesterday was a success as was the luncheon that followed it. By all accounts the pep rallies for each team were smashing successes; I even got a photo of Bo Pellini wearing cargo shorts. There’s a concert this morning and a football carnival of sorts going on near the stadium and the half-time show promises the crowning of the Capital One Mascot Challenge and more live music from Dierks Bentley. From top-to-bottom the Bowl has been a blast.
But the Bowl is not in Miami, Florida, and the game today will not crown a National Champion. So, it remains a bit of a disappointment and I still don’t know what to predict from the Georgia Bulldogs. If it was a regular season game then I’d expect a winning effort. After all, the Bulldogs have won 21 of their last 22 regular season games, and the Huskers don’t stand out in that crowd of competition. If it was a big game with a transcendent (and permanent) value to it, I’d feel fantastic as Georgia has recently dismantled Florida to claim the SEC East and played with Alabama to a frighteningly close degree.
Alas, those factors are not at play. So, to come back to a point I began three paragraphs ago, I don’t know that the X’s and O’s matter. If they did, I’d say that Nebraska’s chances of stopping Georgia’s offense pale like a redhead in winter in comparison to Georgia’s odds of stopping the Cornhuskers. If this game really mattered on one of those levels, I’d comment on Georgia’s ability to move the ball – possibly at will – against Nebraska, and the fact that Georgia’s defense should be able to make plays when they actually matter. If this was a regular season game or a BCS Bowl game, the 8.5 point spread given in favor of Georgia would seem laughable. Frankly, I think in either of those circumstances Georgia would be at least 14 points better than Nebraska.
But this is a Bowl game, and that doesn’t necessarily engrain confidence in this Georgia fan. And that is not so much an indictment of the Capital One Bowl as it is of the Georgia Bulldogs’ football program’s recent history. Georgia’s junior signal-caller Aaron Murray might leave after this game. He has never won a Bowl game. Georgia was the better team in each of his two Bowl appearances. But the finale on the scoreboard disagreed.
Ultimately there are plenty of motivations for Georgia to show up and win. The Dawgs are playing for a top-5 BCS finish. They’re playing for a 12-win season that would mark just the third in the program’s storied history (joining the 1980 National Champion 12-0 team and the 13-1 SEC Champs from 2002). But it’s that Bowl win that matters. It’s that Bowl win that Coach Mark Richt stressed in the Capital One Bowl Kickoff Luncheon Press Conference. And at the end of the day, I think that will be the victory cry.
The Georgia Bulldogs will win this game, because Richt has them prepared to do so. Any other extra-curricular successes or dominance is up to the players. On one hand I hope those are superfluous. On the other hand I’d be OK with guys like Aaron Murray and Kwame Geather feeling the need to come back after a lackluster, but winning, final performance.
So maybe, in a weird way, we should be rooting for just a little bit of disappointment today.
But even with that in mind and even with the generally friendly demeanor of all these Nebraska fans, I still want a statement game from the Dawgs. They don’t owe it to me. But I think they owe it to themselves. And in that regard, I do expect a dominating performance.
We’ll see what we get.
In the meantime, check back starting around 10:30 for some live updates from the Press Box.
That’s all I got/
Mike Bobo’s offense has been on fire this season. The really, intentionally awesome, explosive kind of fire.
Here are Georgia’s single season records in several categories accompanied by what Georgia has already accomplished and what an average game from the Dawgs today would yield as a final total.
|Total Yards||5,719 (set in 2011)||5,958||6,416|
|First Downs||296 (set in 2011)||274||295|
|Most Points Scored||450 (set in 2002)||484||521|
|Points Per Game||37.2 (set in 1946)||37.2||37.2|
Say what you want about Honey Bobo Child, and I’ll probably continue to moan begrudgingly when he calls a draw play on third-and-long, but that’s mighty fine output.
That’s all I got/
Here are a few completely random notes (wth audio at the end) from the Capital One Bowl Kickoff Luncheon Press Conference:
- In attendance: Jeff Schultz from the AJC, Seth Emerson (one of my favorite beat writers), Chuck Dowdle – the legend, Greg McGarity and many others. A laid back room.
- Richt opened by saying that he thought Jarvis Jones’ got things right regarding the Dawgs’ need to prepare in the midst of all the outside activities going on. In general he felt Georgia did a good job of practicing when they needed to practice and having fun when they needed to have fun, but ended with, “We’ll see if we did enough.”
- Richt identified the need to end a bowl leasing streak as a major motivator.
- Despite the 70-point allowance to Wisconsin Richt feels Nebraska has a solid defense and is aware of what a Bo Pellini defense can be (Pellini was the man at LSU in 2005).
- Richt says, “A good back can’t be knocked down,” in reference to wrapping up.
- He stressed, “We’re not losing everybody,” on defense and alluded to the athleticism and speed of the returning talent on that side of the ball. Also mentioned that Georgia has similar questions regarding the offensive line this year, and that worked out fine.
- Richt is very concerned with the 37 minute period between the pregame warmup and the actual kick-off. Typically that period is 20 minutes. He says it’s hard to gety hyped up and maintain that energy without fatigue setting in. The alternative is coming out flat.
- Also of note: the Special Teams coach topic was talked about at length, but Richt didn’t allude to any major changes in philosophy.
That’s all I got/
Just before the Capital One Bowl Kickoff Luncheon today, the head coaches of Georgia and Nebraska held a press conference. Here are some photos with quotes and audio to follow later this afternoon.
Before things begin…
A group of 50-60 people hang around and wait for the coaches to take the stage. Mark Richt was up first and the pressure was more than this distressed gentleman could handle…
Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity was there enjoying a Diet Coke while DudeYouCrazy got everything settled.
I number of other gentlemen were there trying to intimidate me with the size of their cameras. I wasn’t intimidated.
Mark Richt was the first coach to speak. He wore a suite and fielded questions for about 20 minutes.
When he was done Bo Pellini came out and the few met for about 90 seconds to tell secrets.
They then made their way onto the stage…
For a photo op. I took advantage.
After the Richt-ing…
Mark Richt then left the stage. As he did so, he walked hard.
After he was done, Bo Pellini fielded questions for no more than three minutes (not his fault – nobody asked him anything) before I got a chance to take a photo of the trophy.
Check back in a few minutes for more details on the press conference itself.
That’s all I got/