GONE BOWLIN’

One way to think of it would be an early retirement-like, second-tier type final job, getting out of the SEC pressure cooker and either it works out big at Miami or it doesn’t but, dude, you are from Boca. Half the country would love to empty nester old-age-it-up somewhere in the Sunshine State, and you are only a decade from traditional American retirement age.

Look at the number of bowls played below our state border if you want a glimpse at the draw of Florida, and look at the huge and growing total population. And “The U” honestly has a modern championship heritage we simply lack. 1980 growing away into history. 1942, flitting further. Even 2002 and 2005…

Mr. Mark Richt, sir, coach, you did a GREAT job at Georgia and I deeply appreciate you.

It’s a new era in GEORGIA Football. Been awhile since we had a Georgia Man at the helm.

Longest bowl streak in the SEC continues as Bryan McClendon, interim head coach, leads our beloved Dawgs into a program rematch with the foe of the 1982 national championship game. Then-#2 Penn State edged undefeated, favored #1 Georgia in Heisman winner Herschel Walker’s final collegiate contest at the Sugar Bowl on the night of 1/1 of 1983.

It’s not all about New Year’s Day anymore though, as the powers that be have given us a really nice wall of competitive football to watch every single day from December 29th through January 2nd this season. The bowls get it started with six games on 12/19 and go forty deep, with nine full quiet days between the 2nd and the national championship, played in Glendale, Arizona. For the first time ever, the biggest bowls will be played on New Year’s Eve.

Dawgs ranked in final coaches poll of regular season. Georgia (#25) gets yet another trip to sunny Jacksonville, facing PSU at noon Saturday (1/2/2016). Recall, Dooley had his last game in the stadium and contest then-called Gator Bowl (same bowl game, currently called Taxslayer Bowl). Mark Richt will be the long length of the state away; instead of any swan song, his farewell was that last thumbs up in Atlanta, that awkward departing press conference.

Fitting location, Richt record-wise owned all other rivals yet won only a third of his Cocktail Party games (5-of-15) and took a bowl loss there to cap the generally successful Aaron Murray era. Gurley was back off injury but still banged up, we had a bad record and Murray was hurt and done. So was coach. A play away from a national championship game the year prior, it was another subpar season and he’d never get close again. Nobody should celebrate losing a successful coach like Richt. It’s a program failure.

We had early season highly-ranked teams each of the past four years but failed to play for a league title three straight times. It fell apart. Great football coach Mark Richt lost his job only after losing his best football player for a big bulk of three years running (Gurley, Gurley, Chubb). This his final UGA senior class can reach 40 wins, while avenging the single most painful loss in school history.

We all want to go to back to our alma mater in one way or another.

I’m halfway finished with a new book on GEORGIA during the Richt era and will be recording my 4th annual bowl show soon, as episode of Southern Sports Roundup. Bubba will join me in the studio this year, as we pick and analyze every game of the season in a TV simulcast radio show from Atlanta, the world capital of college football.

Happy Holidays and thanks for reading,

HAN

Twitter: @hanvance
Facebook: Big Hairy Blawg