For the love of Georgia

Welcome to BIG HAIRY BLAWG 2012. After being recognized as the #2 “Fastest-Growing Blog” on all of WordPress in 2010, the largest blog host site in the world, I contemplated going commercial and getting advertisers like so many of my peers.

You know what I came to realize, as I watched the Bulldogs limp to a sub .500 record that season and cared about the team as much as ever: I am in this for the love of my University. Could I use the money? Sure. I have worked as a professional writer (author/journalist/poet/blogger) since 2005. I sell articles to magazines and newspapers and have a full-length travel memoir book and an award-winning full-length poetry book for sale. I like the stuff I write articles about; I’m a fan of modern art and American culture and transportation and travel and food. But not to the level that I am a fan of the University of Georgia Bulldogs. I have written about and will continue to write about the Dawgs seasonally, where I have reached and will reach hundreds of thousands of readers. Readers who love Georgia.

Sincere congratulations to Coach Mark Richt and the 2011 team on winning the SEC East outright for the fourth time and for the first time in his career sweeping our four biggest rivals: Florida, Tech, Auburn, Tennessee.

But let me be real here, like I always am when it comes to the status of our program. We are not there yet. Georgia underachieved in the second halves of their last two football games and is currently on a two-game losing streak. While we won ten games in a row, we did so against teams that finished the year unranked. We started the season and ended the season dropping consecutive games – no way to bookend a championship campaign. Kellen Moore and Boise State outclassed us in our own state, and we gifted a game to longtime nemesis Steve Spurrier and the opportunistic, upstart South Carolina Gamecocks in our own stadium. They have now beaten us in two consecutive seasons. Georgia pushed SEC champion LSU around for a half without scoring much and then completely fell apart mentally, especially on special teams and at the quarterback position. UGA led Michigan State 16-0 at half behind the superior all-around talent of the now departed Brandon Boykin, before succumbing to the mental pressure to close out a good team. As the season came to a close in that bowl game, a kicker who had missed a third of his field goal attempts as a senior was prematurely hurried onto the field to become the sport’s all-time highest scorer. It did not happen. A few plays later, the University of Georgia had lost a football contest to an active member of the so-called Big Ten for the first time in school history. The team and our great fans were left with a sour taste to end the season, just as in the previous year’s bowl, a pathetic loss to UCF.

Aaron Murray set the single season school touchdown mark, but he threw fourteen interceptions and fumbled at very key times and has not beaten a truly high-quality opponent in two full seasons at the helm. Crowell, the SEC Freshman of the Year, was just kicked off the team for felonious thuggery, and several notable defenders on what was last season the number five unit in the nation face suspensions. Our offensive line is again patchwork, seemingly an annual issue in the Classic City.

Yet, we will have a good year. Mark Richt has averaged over nine wins per season, while coaching UGA for eleven seasons. He will get the job done this year, and he will beat his average and win at least ten games. Georgia will be in the Top 10 and back in Atlanta before heading back to a big bowl. This time we will be ready…won’t we?