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GP THE GEORGIA PLAYBOOK

SIXTH ISSUE DECEMBER AARON MURRAY

UGA’s star quarterback talks confidence and preparing for the SEC Championship game against LSU

SEC HOOPS ANALYSIS

Get on the ball and up-to-date on each SEC basketball team’s strengths, weakness, and not so hot moments We take a look back at Georgia’s past SEC Championship trips.

ARE YOU GEORGIA?

Learn a thing or two about some under the radar UGA greats.

JOKE’S ON LSU

We expose faults of the LSU Tiger’s players and fans

+ Han Vance of BigHairyBlawg.com

shares a special ode to the late, great Mr. Larry Munson.


contributors

Contents

JUSTIN GAYMON Creator/Graphic Design

6. THE RUNDOWNS Highlights of all in-season UGA sports

A.J. PAPPAS, SENIOR COPY EDITOR

18. AARON MURRAY UGA’s star quarterback talks confidence and the SEC Championship game against LSU

HAN VANCE, SENIOR WRITER BigHairyBlawg.com Ode to a Legend Basketball Rundown Football Rundown JONATHAN BRANCH A Look Back: Georgia’s SEC Championsip Trips MR. SANCHEZ OF SPORTS AND GRITZ 2011 SEC Hoops Analysis BROOKE LANE The Tune of Tradition TAYLOR FRASER, PROMOTIONS LEADER Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Volleyball Rundowns SHELBY REIMER, PROMOTIONS LEADER Soccer Rundown All photos and Gym Dog Legacy interviews courtesy of Georgia Sports Communication

20. A LOOK BACK A look at Georgia’s SEC Championship past and future 26. JOKE’S ON LSU Some truths, and couple white lies about the LSU Tigers 28.2011 SEC BASKETBALL ANALYSIS Mr. Sanchez of Sports and Gritz talks SEC basketball strengths, weaknesses, and not so proud moments 34. THE TUNE OF TRADITION A history lesson on the battle hymn of the Bulldog Nation 38. ODE TO A LEGEND Han Vance of BigHairyBlawg.com shares a special ode to the late great Mr. Larry Munson

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DECEMBER 2011

Editor’s Letter A Georgia Tech fan walks into a bar with a dachshund under his arm. The dog is wearing a Tech jersey and helmet, and festooned with rambling wreck pom-poms. The bartender says, “Hey! No pets are allowed in here! You’ll have to leave!” The Tech fan begs him: “Look, I’m desperate. We’re both big fans, the TV is broken, and this is the only place around where we can watch the football game!” After securing a promise that the dog will behave, the bartender relents and allows them to stay in the bar and watch the game. The big game begins with Tech receiving the kickoff. They march down field, get stopped at the 30, and kick a field goal. With that the dog jumps up on the bar and begins walking up and down giving high-fives to everyone. The bartender says, “Wow, that is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen! What does that dog do if Tech scores a touchdown?” The owner replies, “I don’t know, I’ve only had him for 3 years.” Go Dawgs! You can get more on me and my travels as a professional track athlete at my blog www.justingaymon.tumblr.com Justin Gaymon


THE RUNDOWNS Catch up on everything UGA sports by reading The Rundowns. They cover all inseason UGA sports, keeping members of the Bulldog Nation up-to-date with everything Bulldog related.


FOOTBALL RUNDOWN Our vote for National Coach of the Year would certainly go to Mark Richt. UGA had a far from perfect five-loss campaign after two national Top 10 finishes, and then last year happened. The perfect storm of our best player suspended for multiple games as we started a freshman at quarterback, a new defensive coordinator implementing a 3-4 defense that our players struggled to grasp, and questionable team chemistry. UGA dropped below .500 for the first time since Jim Donnan’s first as head coach. When UGA faced top-ranked teams to start this season, the unnecessarily aggressive

scheduling backfired. At 0-2, many called for Coach Richt’s job. Did he panic or surrender? The Bulldogs own the 3rd-longest active winning streak in college football, trailing only our SEC Championship game opponent LSU and the undefeated Conference USA Houston Cougars. Tech and Auburn fell as our other two biggest rivals (Tennessee, Florida) had earlier in this suddenly remarkable season, only one of those four big wins Between the Hedges. Georgia is the outright SEC East Champion for the fourth time in Richt’s eleven seasons as head coach - longest tenure in the SEC.

Grantham’s defense finished year two near the top of the national rankings as UGA led the nation in limiting opponents to plays of twenty yards or more. UGA was first in the SEC in sacks and second in turnover differential. As we at The Georgia Playbook went to press for the December issue, UGA was set to face #1 LSU as underdogs in the Georgia Dome for a third time. Last time around, DJ Shockley shocked them for Richt’s second SEC ring. Regardless of outcome this year, the Georgia Bulldogs and Mark Richt always place number one in our hearts.


MEN’S BASKETBALL RUNDOWN Led in scoring by true freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, UGA men’s basketball sits slightly above .500 with a record of 4-3 as the first month of the season comes to a close. Early NBA exits by star players Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins clearly required Coach Mark Fox to restructure the team in year three, and the Hoop Hounds have struggled against top competition. UGA jumped into a 3-0 record by outclassing lesser programs: Wofford, Bowling Green and South Dakota State. Georgia suffered its

first setback of the season against ranked Cal at the CBE Classic Tournament in Kansas City. In game two of the tournament, UGA bounced back nicely with the biggest win of the season to date over Notre Dame. Next up was a doomed trip to Cincinnati to face perennial NCAA Tournament team Xavier, ranked in the Top 15. Finally, Georgia traveled to the Rocky Mountains to face a Colorado program that felt the sting of defeat in Athens last year. When it came time for so-called bubble teams to make the Big Dance last season, many had Colorado as the last team out and Georgia as the last team selected. Colorado, apparently,

had not forgotten, and the Buffaloes played their best basketball in the second half to barely win the close game. The first three games scheduled in December are also against national programs. The always tough Cincinnati Bearcats visit Athens first, followed by a Georgia Tech program that has not won in Athens since the schools agreed to move the series to a straight home-and-home and quit playing neutral sites. UGA travels west to face USC mid-month, and then the going gets easier until SEC play begins on January 7th versus Alabama.


WOMEN’S BASKETBALL RUNDOWN The Lady Bulldogs started their season with a five game winning streak before losing a close battle to Georgetown, 64-56. They rebounded with a couple of wins against Northeastern and South Carolina State. The team’s strongest performance came against the horned frogs of TCU on the November 11th season opener. 5,000 fans were in attendance and watched Georgia dominate on both sides of the ball. The Lady Dawgs started the game with hustle and enthusiasm, jumping

out to an early 8-0 lead and scoring 10 points in the first 3:30 of the game. Junior Anne Marie Armstrong led the team offensively, scoring 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field. In total, four different Lady Bulldogs scored in double-figures, including Khaalidah Miller, who recorded 17 points. Meredith Mitchell recorded 10 points and 12 rebounds and Jasmine James posted 14 points. The Lady Dawgs were 30-72 (.417) from the field, made nearly half of their three point attempts, 13-30 (.433) but could have done a little better with their shooting from behind the free throw line as they shot 10-15 (.667.)

Defensively, the Lady Dawgs out rebounded TCU and recorded 21 steals. The Frogs did, however, get into an offensive rhythm, scoring on their first three possessions of the second half, combining to go on a 13-0 run between the two periods, which made the score 45-36 early in the second. But the Lady Dawgs never relinquished the lead. The Lady Dawgs finished the game with a barrage of three pointers, ending the contest 83-60. They finished November ranked 10th in both the AP Top 25 and ESPN/ USA Today coaches polls.


SOCCER RUNDOWN The Lady Dawgs’ soccer team ended this season in the second round of the NCAA Tournament finishing 13-7-2 overall. The Georgia team, seeded #5, headed to Orange Beach, Alabama on November 2nd to face the fourthseeded Florida team in the SEC quarterfinals. The Gators defeated the Dawgs (2-0) for the second year in a row in the conference tournament, leaving Georgia with 6-3-2 in the competitive SEC league.

The Lady Dawgs went on to reach the NCAA Tournament for their eighth time and traveled to Lawrence, Kansas on November 13th for the first round. There they won against the Kansas Jayhawks (2-0). Senior, Ashley Miller and sophomore, Alexa Newfield, scored the winning points. Moving on to the second round against the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils, the Lady Dawgs played a great game with nine saves from

goalkeeper, Ashley Baker. In the end, Georgia fell to Duke 3-1 with Nicole Locandro putting Georgia on the board in the 81st minute. The team’s seniors have year won 50 games in their careers and made three NCAA appearances. Georgia will return 23 players and eight regular starters next season in hopes of making it to another NCAA Tournament in 2012.


VOLLEYBALL RUNDOWN The Lady Bulldogs have encountered a tough season but have pulled through like champions. With tough competitors such as South Carolina, where they fell 3-1, and Auburn, falling 3-0, the Lady Bulldogs have rallied to end the season with an 11-19 record and a 7-13 SEC record. They have fought to place themselves in a three-way tie for sixth place, along with Mississippi State and Ole Miss; a step up from their

last season’s standing of eighth place.

former for the Lady Dawgs with 12 kills against South Caroline.

With four seniors on the team, the Lady Bulldogs stand to lose some great players such as Carla Tietz, who gained a season high of 19 digs against South Carolina, placing herself as second of all-time at the University of Georgia with 1,475 digs in four years. The stillgreen sophomore, Kathleen Luft also proved herself as a top per-

To add yet another accolade to the team’s showcase, senior setter, Kathleen Gates was chosen to be apart of the 2011 SEC Volleyball Community Service team along with nine other SEC athletes. This is Gates’ third time being chosen, placing her among only five players in the history of the SEC to achieve that feat.


MEN’S TENNIS RUNDOWN The men’s tennis team started November winning two doubles and three singles matches to complete a successful three-day tournament in the UGA Bulldog Scramble. The team went a combined 5-1 with Nathan Pasha/Will Reynolds and Hernus Pieters/Eric Diaz teaming up to earn 8-6 and 8-3 doubles victories. In singles, Pieters handled Georgia Tech stand out Dusan Miljevic 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-2, Pasha defeated Steve DiValerio 4-6, 6-0, 7-6(1), and Oliver battled for the 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(10) win over GSU’s Ismael Lahlou in the final match of the day. Piet-

ers was named the tournament champion after going undefeated in singles and doubles on the weekend. Team leaders Wil Spencer and Saudio Doumbia missed the Bulldog Scramble to attend the ITA National Indoors Singles & Doubles Championships, site of the US Open, in Flushing, N.Y. There, Spencer who has been dominant all year, defeated teammate Saudio Doumbia in the final round to take the championships singles title. Spencer rose to the top of

the 32-player field after reaching the finals of the 2011 ITA All-American Championships and winning the Southern Intercollegiate Championships earlier this fall. This upcoming December, 8-11 Wil Spencer will be representing The United States among six other America collegians in the Master’U BNP Paribas. At the event in Rouen, France, Wil will be competing against athletes from nine different nations in a best-of-seven format with two singles matches, one doubles match, and one mixed doubles match.


WOMEN’S TENNIS RUNDOWN In early November, Georgia sophomore Kate Fuller and freshman Lauren Herring claimed another doubles victory at the Mission Hills Desert Classic.

are an identical 11-4 in singles. This tournament features players from UCLA, Washington and Pepperdine and runs through Sunday. This marks the final event of the fall season.

The 20th-ranked Fuller/Herring pairing cruised to an 8-1 win over Samantha Smith and Julija Lukac of Washington. In singles, Fuller posted a 6-4, 6-2 win over Washington’s Julija Lukac. However, Herring fell 7-5,6-3 to McCall Jones of UCLA.

Later in the month, Senior Chelsea Gullickson and Sophomore Lilly Kimbell represented UGA at the ITA National Indoors Championships. Gullickson, the reigning 2010 NCAA singles champion entered the tournament ranked 9th. She fought her way through to the second round, but fell to Joanna Mather of Florida in a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 decision.

The Fuller-Herring tandem improved to 13-6 in doubles this fall, and they

In ITA National Indoors consolation doubles, Gullickson and Kimbell dropped an 8-4 decision to Alexa Guarachi and Mary Anne Macfarlane (Alabama). The Bulldog duo concludes the fall with a 5-2 mark. The team will take December off, but looks forward to playing Kansas State, Troy, Georgia Tech, Missouri, Fresno State or FIU, and Florida International in January. With the exception of the Georgia Tech meet, all of those matches will take place in Athens.


MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY RUNDOWN For the Georgia men’s cross country team, the road to the NCAA Championship has been one that it has fought for long and hard. After the team’s strong performances at the Bulldog Invitational and the Crimson Classic, the men eagerly took on the NCAA South Regional Championship in Tuscaloosa last month. This championship was the only obstacle that stood between the team and the NCAA Championship. The men finished in third place at Regionals, with 94 points combined, with Matt Cleaver running a time of 31:15.5 to finish sec-

ond from the Southeastern Conference. Brandon Lord followed Cleaver with a time of 31:42.6 and also received the All-Region Honors. After being picked as one of 13 atlarge men’s cross country teams, the team traveled more than 500 miles to Indiana State to participate in the 2011 NCAA Championship. Georgia’s appearance at the Championship marks the third time Georgia has participated and they were sure to make it worth their while. The team finished 29th

overall seating itself at the top of the Southeastern Conference competitors, most notably Florida. Three of the Georgia Dawgs broke the top 200 with Matt Cleaver finishing with a personal best of 31:08.5 in 149th overall, and 4th within the SEC. Brian Detweiler and Luke Baker finished 187th and 195th respectively, with Detweiler clocking 31:35.5 at his first national meet. Georgia competed fiercely to finish out a strong season and make its national mark, as they are now gearing up for the Indoor track season.


WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY RUNDOWN This season has been a struggle for the Lady Bulldogs as top performing senior Katie Krueger struggled with injuries for most of the season. But the ladies have not allowed adversity to bring them down. The road to the NCAA South Regional Championship was filled with dedication and strong finishes. With the Lady Bulldogs coming off of

their fourth place finish at the SEC Championship meet, the women were pumped for the NCAA South Regional Championship. Top performers at the NCAA South Regional Championship included Leslie Boozer who received the All Region Honors, coming in 24th with a time of 21:28.1. Hadley Ferguson,

Anna Bowles, and Ashley Shriver all broke into the top 55 with times of 21:49.9, 21:58.0, and 22:04.6 respectively. Due to her injuries Krueger was forced to watch from the sidelines as the remainder of her team clinched fifth place with 208 points, ahead of Auburn, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech.


MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING RUNDOWN The men’s swimming and diving team went head-to-head in meets against Auburn and Emory during November. The team fell to Auburn 156-87, but turned things around against Emory, winning the meet 144-88. Against Auburn, Martin Grodzki captured two events for the Bull-

dogs, winning the 500 freestyle in 4:26.84 and the 1,000 freestyle in 9:07.69. Jameson Hill won the 200 freestyle in 1:37.54 and Nic Fink took the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:00.51. In Emory’s pool, the Dawgs won all but two of the day’s 13 events. The Bulldogs’ 400 medley relay

of Jared Markham, Brett Roberson, Michael Arnold and John Simmons took first with a time of 3:25.84. Will Freeman was a double winner for the Bulldogs. He took the 1,000 freestyle in 9:06.18 and the 200 butterfly in 1:51.67. Owen Blank also won twice, winning the 1-meter springboard with 324.15 points and the 3-meter springboard with 300.00 points.


WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING RUNDOWN The women’s swimming and diving team defeated Auburn one day before Mark Richt’s squad, 133110. Wendy Trott edged out teammate Amber McDermott for the 500 freestyle win. The race was a close one with the two clocking times of 4:44.07 and 4:44.94. Trott and McDermott went on to place first and second again in the 1000 yard

freestyle, 9:38.88 and 9:41.93. Melanie Margalis racked up a pair of wins as well, taking the 200 individual medley in 1:59.04 and the 200 breaststroke in 2:13.56. The ladies went on to defeat Emory a week later, 141 to 96. They won nine of the days 13 events. The win was the team’s 76th con-

secutive home meet victory, tying the school record set between the 1968 and 1972 men’s tennis team. The women’s team ended November undefeated, 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the SEC. After losing only one of their last 51 competitions, it’s easy to see why this team is ranked number one in the country.


G E O R G I A

Q U A R T E R B A C K

AARON MURRAY

TA L K S C O N F I D E N C E A N D S E C C H A M P I O N S H I P S

COMPARED TO A YEAR AGO “I think [I have] a lot more confidence right now. Not only confidence in myself, I think the coaches have a lot more confidence in me. I think Coach Bobo trusts me a lot more with the playbook and opening things up: ...I think we’ve done a great job all year of that. We’ve got multiple receivers with 30 or more catches: ...It really makes it hard for defenses to figure out where the ball’s going.” THIS TIME AROUND THE GEORGIA DOME “It’s a whole different mood. I think we have some very loyal fans at Georgia, I think some of the best fans in the country, but there was some unhappiness going around. You could tell not just only in our team and our coaches, but fans walking around campus. There really is just a different mood walking around campus: ...It is a great feeling right now being in Athens. We’re just happy we’ve been so successful towards the end of the season.

LSU’S STRENGTHS A lot of speed. There’s speed all over the SEC when you face those defenses, but LSU takes it to another notch. They’ve got a bunch of guys who can move around, make plays, a very athletic defensive line: ...And then probably the best group of corners and safeties we’ve faced all year, and some of the best in the countries. They just make plays; they’re playmakers. When the balls in the air they go after it and have great ball skills. You know, It’s a huge challenge for us and we’re excited for it. IMPORTANT ASPECTS BEHIND THIS YEAR’S TURNAROUND I think turnovers. That South Carolina game we gave the ball up a lot and then didn’t protect it. The rest of the season, we’ve had this little deal with Coach Richt that if we win the turnover ratio we don’t have to shave. And we’ve won the turnover ratio every single game we’ve won this year, 10 weeks in a row: ...Our defense has done a great job all season of giving us the ball back in graet field position and getting turnovers for us.


A LOOK BACK: GEORGIA’S SEC CHAMPIONSHIP TRIPS

BY JONATHAN BRANCH

The University of Georgia football team finds itself in a familiar spot at the end of the 2011 regular season. For the fourth time in the last 10 seasons, the Bulldogs will travel to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game.

While the two teams did not meet in the 2011 regular season, in Georgia’s last three SEC Championship appearances – including this season – the Bulldogs have met the Tigers from Baton Rouge.

Fans and critics alike doubted Georgia’s chances to make two visits to the Georgia Dome in the 2011 season, especially after the first visit ended with a 35-21 loss to Boise State. Still, Mark Richt & Co. rattled off 10 straight victories to win the SEC East and set up a showdown with the top-ranked LSU Tigers.

Having been six seasons since the Bulldogs made the postseason trip to Atlanta, the Georgia Playbook looks back at Georgia’s previous SEC Championship appearances and its road to each, as well as the 2011 matchup with the top-ranked team in the country.


2002: GEORGIA 30, ARKANSAS 3 Mark Richt entered his second season as the head coach of Georgia with a talent-rich squad, ranked 8th in the country and led by sophomore quarterback David Greene and All-American defensive end David Pollack. The Bulldogs rattled through a schedule consisting of Clemson, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn. Entering the annual matchup with Florida, Georgia was 8-0 and ranked 5th in the NCAA. The Gators bested the Bulldogs 20-13, the sole blemish on Georgia’s record.

The Bulldogs finished the regular season 10-1, drubbing Georgia Tech 51-7 in the season finale, a deficit that remains the worst defeat in the rivalry’s history. The Bulldogs then faced the Arkansas Razorbacks, who finished in a threeway tie for second place and won the tiebreaker in the SEC West. Alabama, who actually won the SEC West in 2002, was on probation and not allowed to play in the postseason. The Bulldogs thumped the No. 22 Razorbacks 30-3 in the SEC Championship and earned a shot to play in the 2003 Sugar Bowl

against Richt’s former team, Florida State. The Bulldogs handled the 16th-ranked Seminoles 26-13 and finished ranked No. 3 in the country with a 13-1 record at the end of the season. 2003: LSU 34, GEORGIA 13 With the departures of leading rusher Musa Smith and leading receiver Terrence Edwards, the Bulldogs entered 2003 ranked 11th in the country, behind only one SEC school - Auburn. Again, the Bulldogs leaned on Greene’s passing and Pollack on defense. The No. 7


Bulldogs were 3-0 before a trip to Baton Rouge to play 10th-ranked LSU. Georgia only mustered one touchdown on a long screen pass to Tyson Browning and suffered a 17-10 defeat in front of the energetic crowd at Tiger Stadium. Following the loss to the Tigers, the Bulldogs slid to 8th in the polls but quickly returned to the top five, rattling off four straight victories before another showdown with Florida. The No. 23 Gators defeated LSU just three weeks after the Tigers toppled Georgia, and the Bulldogs were looking to avenge their only

loss in 2002 at the hands of Florida. However, the Gators again escaped Jacksonville with a 16-13 victory, and the Bulldogs’ hopes of winning the SEC East were in jeopardy. The Bulldogs defeated Auburn and Georgia Tech to finish 10-2 in the regular season. Richt’s crew was 6-2 in the SEC. Florida and Tennessee also finished 6-2 in conference play. Florida beat Georgia. Georgia beat Tennessee. Tennessee beat Florida. The three-way tie was determined by each team’s ranking, and the 5th-

ranked Bulldogs were crowned victors, finishing two spots ahead of Tennessee and six spots ahead of Florida. Unfortunately for Georgia, an SEC East title meant a rematch with LSU in the SEC Championship. In the rematch, the Bulldogs found themselves outmatched by the No. 3 Tigers who were riding a six game winning streak. LSU boasted the top-ranked defense in the country, entering the matchup allowing an average of just 10 points per game. The Tigers, led by tailback Justin


EORGIA VS LSU GEORGIA VS LSU *Rankings reflect those at the time each game was played.


Vincent and defensive lineman Chad Lavalais, rocked the Bulldogs 34-13 on their way to the Sugar Bowl. After losing to the eventual BCS National Champions, Georgia went on to defeat Purdue, led by quarterback Kyle Orton, 34-27 in the Capital One Bowl. 2005: GEORGIA 34, LSU 14 After finishing sixth in the coaches’ poll in 2004, the Bulldogs opened the 2005 season ranked 13th in the nation. D.J. Shockley took the reins at quarterback, replacing Greene, who ended his career with more wins than any quarterback in NCAA history. Led by Shockley and AllAmerican safety Greg Blue, Georgia walloped No. 19 Boise State in the opener 48-13. The victory was the first of seven straight, including a 2714 win over 7th-ranked Tennessee. Entering the Florida game, the Bulldogs were undefeated. A win over the Gators would clinch the SEC East title, but Georgia lost Shockley to injury just a week before against Arkansas. Led by Joe Tereshinski III, the Bulldogs lost to Florida 14-10 and needed a win the next week over Auburn to clinch the East. However, with six seconds left, Auburn’s kicker John Vaughn booted the game-winning field goal, and the Dogs left Auburn with a 31-30 defeat. The following week, Georgia whipped Kentucky to finally punch its ticket to the SEC Championship game.

After a 14-7 road win over No. 24 Georgia Tech, the No. 13 Georgia Bulldogs traveled back to Atlanta to play the familiar LSU Tigers, ranked third in the country. The Bulldogs wasted no time in the rematch of the 2003 conference title game, with two of Shockley’s first three passes going for touchdowns. Twenty-two minutes into the game, the Bulldogs had become just the second team to score 20 points against the Tigers all season. After an injury to LSU quarterback Jamarcus Russell, the Bulldogs cruised to a 34-14 victory and earned a bid to the Sugar Bowl. The Sugar Bowl trip would be Georgia’s third visit to Atlanta in as many games after Hurricane Katrina forced the bowl game to be relocated to Atlanta from New Orleans. The No. 8 Bulldogs were stunned by 11th-ranked West Virginia 38-35 to finish 10-3 on the season. 2011: No. 14 GEORGIA VS. No. 1 LSU The 2011 season has been anything but scripted for the Georgia Bulldogs. Two early losses, by a combined 17 points, to Boise State and South Carolina had even the most faithful of fans wondering if this season would be a replay of 2009 and 2010 when the Bulldogs posted a combined 14 wins. However, a schedule in which Georgia escaped the Big Three of the West (Alabama, Arkansas, and LSU) allowed the Bulldogs to enjoy a successful 10-game winning streak. During the streak, Richt’s squad defeated its four biggest foes – Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech with three of those wins earned on the road.

As battle-tested as this Georgia team may be, the LSU Tigers have been through the gauntlet week after week in 2011. The Tigers have defeated a 3rd-ranked team twice (Oregon and Arkansas) by a combined 37 points. Not including a 9-6 overtime victory over thenand-now No. 2 Alabama, the Tigers average margin of victory in their other 11 wins is just less than 30 points. This includes a 45-10 whipping of No. 20 Auburn, 47-21 trouncing of No. 16 West Virginia, 41-11 dismantling of No. 17 Florida, and 19-6 defeat of No. 25 Mississippi State*. Analysts predict that not even a loss to Georgia would keep LSU out of the BCS National Championship game, an all-but-guaranteed rematch between the Tigers and Alabama. Knowing that, it’s in LSU’s best interest to get an early lead on Georgia so that Les Miles can pull his starters to prevent injury. However, if the Bulldogs can minimize mistakes, especially on offense, Georgia may matchup better than any SEC squad not named ‘Alabama.’ If the Bulldogs turn the ball over, expect LSU’s topranked defense to set its offense up with a short field and quick scores. A win for the Bulldogs would mean a trip to the Sugar Bowl, while a loss likely means a trip to Florida to play in the Outback Bowl or Capitol One Bowl.


JOKE’S ON LSU

A COLLECTION OF TRUE STORIES Q : How do you come to own a small business? A : Start a large business and put a LSU grad in charge of it.

to apologize, when the LSU linebacker pipes up: “You stay out of this mister, I’m talking to the smart ass little fella on your knee!”

If two married LSU grads get a divorce, are they still cousins?

A man is sitting at a park bench when another man sits next to him and they engage in conversation. Shortly after, the second man says, “So, I bet you’re a LSU fan.” The first man says enthusiastically, “Why yes I am. How did you know? My intelligence? My wit? My good looks?” The second fellow says, “No. I saw your class ring when you were picking your nose.”

A young ventriloquist is touring LSU and stops to entertain at a bar near campus. He’s doing his usual stupid Redneck jokes when a LSU Linebacker in the audience stands up and says “I’ve heard just about enough of your smart ass redneck jokes; we ain’t all stupid here in LSU.” Flustered, the ventriloquist begins

The LSU football team can do almost everything with the ball except sign it. Q: What is the difference between a LSU cheerleader and a catfish? A: One has whiskers and smells; the other is a fish. Q: What do you get when you put 32 LSU cheerleaders in one room? A: A full set of teeth. Q: What are the longest three years of a LSU football player’s life? A: His freshman year.


DUSTIN WARE AND JOAKIM NOAH’S DANCE MOVES 2011 SEC HOOPS ANALYSIS BY MR. SANCHEZ OF SPORTS AND GRITZ GEORGIA STRENGTHS A senior backcourt of Dustin Ware and Gerald Robinson, to go with arguably the Dawgs best incoming player since Dominique Wilkins in McDonald’s All-American Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Georgia will only go as far as those 3 can carry them this year because….

ARKANSAS STRENGTHS New coach Mike Anderson will have this team playing up tempo and aggressively in a very attractive brand of basketball. They’ll press, they’ll shoot 3s, their games will have lots of points, and everyone who buys a ticket will walk away feeling they got their money’s worth.

WEAKNESSES Their weakness is being weak. They lack much talent inside, and that weakness around the paint will allow most SEC teams to bang away and beat them up. Also, if the early season results are any indication, the Dawgs are horrible rebounders, again allowing opposing SEC teams to work them with superior power inside.

WEAKNESSES His roster is pretty weak right now and will take time to rebuild. It’ll take time for Anderson to get the athletes he needs to run his style effectively after John Pelphrey’s disastrous reign.

EMBARRASSING How many points for a 3 pointer? Jim Harrick, Jr’s notorious test is easily the worst thing to happen to Georgia basketball in its long, embarrassing history that spans from playing on a dirt floor in a horse barn to Dennis Felton and his reign of ineptitude.

EMBARRASSING Anderson’s former boss, Nolan Richardson, brought the 40 minutes of hell style to fame, and won a national title as well as making 3 Final Four appearances with the Razorbacks. Things went from bad to worse at the end of his time, with the cowboy Richardson claiming fans shot one of his horses. And equine homicide is probably on the sane side of the scale for angry Arkansas fans.


TENNESSEE STRENGHTS Bruce Pearl left some talent around, so new coach Cuonzo Martin should have some decent players and some hard workers willing to fit in to his Gene Keady molded system. WEAKNESSES But Pearl also left little depth, and some NCAA issues at their feet, so it should take Martin a couple years before putting together some solid rosters. Keady has a pretty strong coaching tree, and the Vols have had several successful runs on the hardwood, so they should return to prominence soon. EMBARRASSING Google Bruce Pearl body paint. Although it’s probably NSFW (not safe for work).

FLORIDA STRENGTHS C Patric Young is a bull inside, while Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton are two of the best perimeter players in the league. Those two Gs will put up a lot of points, and talent wise, they are capable of being a top 10 or 20 team all year long. WEAKNESSES Billy Donovan has, aside from those 2 national title runs, underachieved on a regular basis considering the amount of talent he’s brought in. If he can get out of their way, they win. Otherwise, expect another talented team to fall short come March, just like Donovan’s crews always do. EMBARRASSING Just search youtube for Joakim Noah’s dance moves. It’s a contest between that, and Teddy Dupay’s gambling issues.

OLE MISS STRENGTHS They aren’t bad, and if you’ve seen their football team, that’s saying something. But really, they are mediocre often. Andy Kennedy is a good coach, not great. They have some good players, not great. And can win some games, but not a lot. WEAKNESSES See their strengths. They aren’t a bad team, but are never as good as you think they can be, often looking on the verge of getting better but staying on that even mediocre keel. EMBARRASSING Like with Auburn, they’ve never really done enough to have embarrassing moments, which is embarrasing in itself.


SLICK RICK, MEDIOCRITY , AND 4O MINUTES OF HELL 2011 SEC HOOPS ANALYSIS BY MR. SANCHEZ OF SPORTS AND GRITZ KENTUCKY STRENGTHS Talent. They have multiple future NBA lottery picks. PF Terrance Jones is a leading candidate for SEC Player of the Year, and his chief competition will be freshman teammates Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, and Anthony Davis. WEAKNESSES With their roster, there really is none. They have arguably the best front court in the country, and several talented athletic guards roaming the perimeter. Aside from the future NCAA issues he’s always leaving behind, and routine failures to win national titles, John Calipari is about the only thing close to being a weakness for the Wildcats. EMBARRASSING Like you’re almost sure to see when Calipari leaves, Kentucky has had NCAA problems. Most famously, former NBA SF Chris Mills transferred to Arizona after a FedEx package to his father broke open, and several large dollar bills fell out.

MISSISSIPPI STATE STRENGTHS Rick Stansbury recruits talent. Senior G Dee Bost is one of the best in the conference, while wing Rodney Hood and big man Renardo Sidney have NBA first round pick talent. WEAKNESSES They’ve underachieved the last several years dealing with various off the court issues. If they’ve gotten things focused, this team is the favorite for the SEC West, so not many weaknesses at all outside of a penchant for shooting their own foot off. EMBARRASSING Being in Starkville, anything embarrassing never gets out to the public, so there isn’t much to go on here. Slick Rick has had a big question around him for years, but never had NCAA issues. Maybe it’s a matter of time, or maybe he truly is slick enough to let it slide right off his back.


LSU STRENGTHS Head coach Trent Johnson led them to an SEC title and a lot of wins two years ago, does that count? WEAKNESSES Everything right now. They aren’t talented, and lost to Coastal Carolina already. After that first season, Johnson’s teams have generally been the worst in conference, and it’s about time the LSU faithful start demanding more from what has long been the SEC’s second best program. EMBARRASSING Losing to Coastal Carolina for the second consecutive season. That’s embarrassing enough.

SOUTH CAROLINA STRENGTHS Intentionally left blank. WEAKNESSES Like Trent Johnson, Darrin Horn had a pretty successful debut season in Columbia, SC. Like Trent Johnson, since then his teams have been among the worst in conference. They have some talent, but not much, and are likely to be feeding at the bottom again this year. Horn has a little time to turn it around, but not much more. EMBARRASSING They lost to Elon already, after losing to Furman last year. Their only recent history greatest claim to fame is back to back NIT titles.

ALABAMA STRENGTHS Their best strength is, well, strength. Senior big man JaMychal Green and wing F Tony Mitchell lead the way for the team, and are both likely All-SEC honorees at year’s end. Coach Anthony Grant is a rising name who recruits well, and generally has strong defensive teams. WEAKNESSES Their guards are young, and Grant’s offenses are generally iso heavy, have little movement, and are rarely pretty. EMBARRASSING Their schedule is usually pretty bad, and has led to multiple 20-win seasons without NCAA bids.


CHARLES BARKLEY, JOHN JENKINS, AND A LITTLE CASH 2011 SEC HOOPS ANALYSIS BY MR. SANCHEZ OF SPORTS AND GRITZ VANDERBILT STRENGTHS Kevin Stallings has steadily built the SEC’s second most consistently successful program over the last decade, and he has arguably his best team yet. G John Jenkins is one of the best shooters in the country and capable of leading this team deep in to March. WEAKNESSES In spite of their solid teams of late, they’ve consistently underperformed when March arrives. This team is talented enough for a Sweet Sixteen or deeper run, but will they finally capitalize on their abilities this year? EMBARRASSING That arena configuration with benches at the baselines instead of the sidelines. They are the only place in the country with that setup, and it looks awful as well as being a horrible situation for visitors to deal with. Why the NCAA or SEC won’t make them put the benches on the side like everyone else is beyond me.

AUBURN STRENGHTS Being Auburn, we’ll guess their biggest strength is payroll. Seriously though, coach Tony Barbee is a former Calipari assistant, and his teams play a style similar to Arkansas and Kentucky that is up tempo and high scoring. He’s slowly building some talent there, and they just might be a threat this coming season and going forward. WEAKNESSES They are still getting over the hangover of Jeff Lebo, who their most famous hoops product Charles Barkley would describe as “Turr-bull”. Because of that, they are steadily building talent, which can come with one or two good recruits in hoops, but with Auburn’s lack of history and often subpar facilities, it’ll take time. EMBARRASSING They have never really tried at basketball before, so maybe that’s embarrassing, but it’s a big blank page of nothing aside from the Round Mound of Rebound.


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THE TUNE OF TRADITION: BATTLE HYMN OF THE BULLDOG NATION BY BROOKE LANE

The traditions of the University of Georgia run deep. A rich cultural heritage is embodied throughout the institution, from infamous arch and 19th centutry architecture that occupy north campus to the tales of its past. And of course, Saturdays spent between the hedges are rooted in tradition, as well. Universities across the nation begin home football games with some ceremonial tradition – inspiring fans and players alike. These traditions do not only include cheering on players as they take the field, but unique events that identify a fan culture. Auburn, for example, has their war eagle circle the stadium (even though their mascot is a tiger?), whereas Florida showcases their gator couple, Albert and Alberta. Then there is Georgia. We kick off with the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation. Georgia’s time-honored tradition began with the Red Coat Band, and its playing of “Glory Glory to Old Georgia.” Former band member and future head of the Music Department, Hugh Hodgson,

composed the song as a model after “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The original battle hymn referred to the 1859 song about the abolitionists who took over the U.S. arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Va. The battle hymn today is a patriotic song, which is sung at a variety of American military ceremonies. The tune itself transcends feelings of pride and excellence – hence why it was ideal for the Bulldog Nation. Just minutes before a game, the masses of red and black within Sanford Stadium rise to their feet, take off their hats and point to the trumpet-player at the upper deck of the southwest stands. The trumpeter begins a gut-wrenching solo to somber tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic. The Redcoat marching band later joins in, and the voice of former announcer Larry Munson fills the stadium with the proud memories of Georgia’s “unbridled excellence” and excitement to “rally behind the men who now wear the red and black.” For the Bulldog Nation, the battle hymn keeps a longstanding football tradition alive.


ARE YOU GEORGIA? Sure, you can list the rushing yards of Herschel Walker (13,484) and can recite Larry Munson quotes for days, but we’ll introduce you to some Georgia greats that you may or may not know as much about. These UGA Circle of Honor inductees have earned the school’s highest tribute for former athletes and coaches. Their profiles match their photos from left to right. ALEC KESSLER Played for UGA’s basketball team as a power forward/ center from 198690. Left Georgia as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,788 points.

BRENT NOON Threw shot put for UGA’s track & field team from 1991-94. Three time NCAA Champion and 1995 USA Outdoor Championships gold medalist.

CINDY SCHREYER Was the 1984 NCAA women’s golf individual champion. She was the first to capture a UGA golf national title.

DEBBIE FERGUSON Won four individual NCAA titles and was women’s track SEC athlete of the year in 1998 and ‘99. Three time Olympic medalist.

KIM ARNOLD ARENAS Twelve-time AllAmerican, NCAA allaround champion, and Honda Award recipient, given to the nation’s top gymnast, 1997 and ‘98.

FOREST “SPEC” TOWNS First Georgian Olympic athlete in state history. 1936,110 meter hurdle Olympic champion and broke the World Record in the event three times. The University of Georgia track is named in his honor.

JANET HARRIS First in NCAA women’s basketball history to reach 2,500 points and 1,250 rebounds. UGA’s only Four-time basketball AllAmerican led her 1982 team to a bid to the first-ever women’s NCAA Tournament.

DAN MAGILL Coached two NCAA Men’s Tennis Team Champions. The 1980 National Coach of the Year’s former press box seat at Sanford Stadium reads, “Dan Magill Legend.”

SHELIA TAOURMINA The only woman to ever compete in three Olympic sports: swimming, triathlon, and modern pentathlon. Took gold in the 1996 games in swimming’s 4x200 meter freestyle relay.

DOMINIQUE WILKINS SEC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year,1981. Nine-time NBA AllStar, and one of the best dunkers in NBA history, earning the nickname “The Human Highlight Film.”


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ODETOA LEGEND BY HAN VANCE OF BIGHAIRYBLAWG.COM

My God, Larry Would You Look At The Stupid Clock It Says Forty-Two That’s How Many Beautiful, Bountiful Years You Gave To The Fair Institution Though No Man Can Be An Island You Are One, Yourself Heck If You Ain’t A Legend Blue, Forty-Two Set, Hut…Touchdown! And The Tears Stream As I Dream Of You How Can One Man One Self-Effacing Gravel-Voiced Gloom-And-Doom Radioman Mean So Much Mr. Munson, Sir You Are The Greatest You Are The Greatest You Are The Greatest That Ever Lived


GYM DOG LEGACY

COURTNEY McCOOL Courtney and I were from different places, but SHARING A CONNECTION we read our Bible when we were there, and that’s when we really started to connect.

Former UGA gymnastics greats Courtney McCool and Courtney Kupets talk about the bond they still share and filming for NBC’s 2011 Progressive Skating and Gymnastics Spectacular, airing on Jan. 8, 2012

COURTNEY KUPETS In the arena on the podium with the silver medal and our flag going up, it wasn’t necessarily a gold medal, but to us it was a big deal because we had worked so hard: ...We had gone through so many ups and downs and to be able to accomplish that and be able to say that we would always have that was an amazing feeling.

TEAMMATES AND FAMILY

I basically learned how to live life because of the people I was blessed to spend every day with. I realized that it was more of a family environment and we more so grew as women, and a family and as sisters and influenced each other in so many more ways than just gymnastics.

Coming into Georgia gymnastics, I learned very quickly that it’s about the team and it makes it more fun and you actually end up doing better because you’re focused on everyone else.

BEST THINGS ABOUT UGA

I love the program; it changed my life. So I would love to continue to help to change all the girls that come in.

I think the best part is being in an environment with people like Carla (Williams) and Glada (Horvat) and Rhonda (Kilpatrick); they have such a big influence on the school and yet they are so good at what they do and they are still nice. Even if they have a lot of work going on and they might be stressed: ...they just kind of handle it. And I think that’s almost one of the most beneficial things for me to see.

FILMING FOR NBC

The great thing was that they loved it, the people who brought us in to do the show, so we felt like we had done what we were asked to come and do... I think God has a plan for us. We’re the closest we’ve ever been really. I think it just shows the real close friendships

After we did our first event, which was beam, we nailed it. It felt so good. We went to the hallway and we were just jumping up and down, highfiving, smiling, laughing, running down the hallway because to have that feeling again was great. I haven’t had that in a long time and it was really fun.


N EXT ISSUE

SETTING THE PACE


The Georgia Playbook December Issue