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Georgia utility man Richard Samuel will miss at least four weeks after undergoing ankle surgery Tuesday, Mark Richt announced.
As the dust settles by the St. John's River, it's time to take a deep breath and ponder what the Dawgs' sixth win of 2011 means.
SB Nation's college football mothership has broken down four major bowl projections, and three out of four prognosticators trying helplessly to guess at BBVA Compass Bowl agree: Alabama will beat LSU this Saturday and "advance" to the BCS National Championship on January 10 (Oklahoma State is the favorite opponent this week, but Stanford looms).
There's absolutely no doubt among the projections that the game's loser will fall to the Sugar Bowl as an at-large - if a re-match scenario can't take place, of course (tip of the tinfoil hat to the SEC loyalist). Because of the current rule prohibiting one conference from sending more than two teams to the BCS, Arkansas is screwed, and if an Eastern Division winner were to pull a miracle upset in Atlanta, either the Tigers or Tide as well.
Everything after the Bama/LSU consensus is cloudy - the SEC's top non-BCS bowl is the Capital One, which usually takes the SEC Championship's loser, but given the Hogs' dominance relative to the entire east, Phil Steele, ESPN's Mark Schlabach and Scout have the Hogs in Orlando.
While Georgia has been red hot since starting 0-2, they've still yet to catch South Carolina in the Eastern Division with only two conference games (Arkansas, Florida) left for the Gamecocks. The most common assumption is that USC drops one or both games, and UGA is able to beat Auburn and Kentucky, pushing to Cocks to the Outback Bowl against either Nebraska or Penn State.
So where's Georgia in all this? If the Hogs finish with only a loss to LSU and Dawgs win the East but lose in Atlanta, most pundits assume the bowls will favor geography over conference standings, and put Georgia in the Cap One and Arkansas in its backyard at Jerryworld.
The mid-tier is a clearer picture - Auburn to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and Florida to the Gator. As for the bottom? Shuffle Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt randomly among the Liberty, Music City and BBVA Compass (Birmingham).
For more on bowl projections, visit SB Nation's college football news hub.
The races atop both SEC divisions remains tight with Alabama and LSU in the West and South Carolina and Georgia in East trying to earn a spot in the SEC Championship game.
Week 10 of the BCS Standings is out and the top five teams remain unchanged prior to next week's showdown between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama. Oklahoma State checks in at No. 3 while Stanford (No. 4) and Boise State (No. 5) round out the top five.
Arkansas (No. 7) and South Carolina (No. 10) give the SEC four teams in the top 10 of the BCS while Clemson and Virginia Tech check in at No. 11 and No. 12 representing the ACC. Fresh off of its victory over Florida, Georgia checks in at No. 18 while Georgia Tech is at No. 22.
Here is a look at the complete BCS rankings for Week 10:
|BCS||Harris Poll||USA Today||Computer Rankings|
Georgia's depth at offensive line took a hit on Saturday when sophomore guard Dallas Lee broke his the fibula in his right leg. When reports first surfaced about the injury, it was thought that it would likely end Lee's season. However, Mark Rich says that it may be possible for Lee to return in time for a bowl game this season.
"I don't know if it's season-ending," Richt said. "It's regular-season ending. I would think he'd have a very good opportunity to play in the bowl would be my guess."
Lee has started every game at guard this season except the Bulldogs' season opening loss to Boise State. Kenarious Gates replaced Lee on Saturday and is expected to move back into the starting lineup. Richt also said that freshman David Andrews is now the sixth man on the offensive line.
For more on Dallas Lee and Georgia Football, be sure to check out Dawg Sports.
This week's edition of the AP Top 25 poll has familiar faces LSU and Alabama at the top once again with quite a bit of shuffling behind. Oklahoma State, Stanford, and Boise State round out the top 5.
In addition to LSU and Alabama, the SEC is well represented with Arkansas (No. 8) and South Carolina (No. 10) in the top 10. Georgia is quietly inching up the rankings after its sixth win in a row at No. 18. The Bulldogs have another crucial SEC match up in two weeks against Auburn who joins the poll at No. 25.
Clemson tumbles to No. 11 after its upset loss to Georgia Tech. Virginia Tech is No. 12 while the Yellow Jackets jump back into the poll at No. 22.
Here is a look at the full AP Top 25:
Georgia Tech re-enters the USA Today Coaches Poll this week at No. 23, while the Georgia Bulldogs rise to No. 21.
Georgia is expected to be ranked No. 18 in the latest BCS rankings projections and Georgia Tech should sneak in at No. 25
Georgia Tech and Georgia are both expected to go bowling this year.
In one of the sloppier games in a traditionally sloppy series, the Georgia Bulldogs beat the Florida Gators, 24-20, to reach 6-2 on the season. UGA's now win six in a row, while Florida's dropped four straight.
Eighteen penalties, 14 of them by Florida. Three fumbles and an interception. Three fourth-down conversions. Two kick returns of more than 60 yards. Three missed field goals. 68 pass attempts, 27 completions.
And none of that means a thing, because the Dawgs just established themselves as the SEC East favorites, broke a portion of a curse and definitively shut down Mark Richt's hot seat.
Offensive game balls go to Chris Conley (37 yards and a clutch catch), Tavarres King (44 yards and a TD) and Isaiah Crowell (80 yards), while Jarvis Jones (four sacks and a forced fumble) should have something named after him in Athens. Richard Samuel, who bulled his way for a touchdown and produced the clinching first down, should also get recognition.
Game balls all around.
The Florida Gators won the first half against the Georgia Bulldogs, but so far the Dawgs appear to have found themselves in the second. With starting defenders Shawn Williams and Kwame Geathers taking the field for the first time, the Dawgs' D forced another turnover, which led to a fourth-down touchdown pass from Aaron Murray to Tavarres King.
Of course, that was immediately followed by a 63-yard Andre Debose kickoff return . Special teams has been, as always, a problem. That's the second huge kick return for the Gators, the first being a 99-yard touchdown. This led to a field goal, and now it's 20-17, Gators.
Still, another win for Georgia's defense, and another ANYTHING out of the UGA offense. If special teams could get its act together, the Dawgs would be in good shape.
Wide receiver Michael Bennett might be the Georgia Bulldogs offensive MVP so far. He made a tough catch of a 20-yard Aaron Murray pass late in the half to cut the Florida Gators lead to 17-10 just before the half, and made another great grab for a first down earlier. He has ... well, all of 25 yards.
A Chris Rainey fumble set up Georgia's first touchdown of the game. It's a wonder that one score could narrow Florida's advantage so much, considering those two UGA turnovers and that Blair Walsh missed field goal. But Florida's missed a field goal of their own, so here we are.
The injured John Brantley has been peppered with violence throughout. Five sacks already. If he can hold up, he should still pose a problem for Georgia's defense. With 226 yards already, his slightly surprising presence has made a major difference in this game.
A 43-yard Florida field goal followed a 99-yard Jeff Demps kick return, and now it's 17-3, Florida Gators, over the Georgia Bulldogs in the first half of the Cocktail Party. Just to give you a sense of how will this is going: both Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson have referred to Aaron Murray as Joe Cox. Murray is five-of-nine for 43 yards.
If not for kicking game difficulties on the part of Florida, it could be much worse. Florida's missed one field goal and been forced to go for it on fourth earlier (then again, they scored a 31-yard touchdown, so maybe not).
Georgia's pass rush has actually looked excellent, sacking John Brantley four times and harassing him throughout. That and Isaiah Crowell's 32 yards are the brightest spots -- but Crowell also let a ball bounce off his helmet for an interception earlier in the game.
If the Dawgs are going to break a piece of a curse in this game, they're gonna have to rally.
Fourth-and-19 from the 31. Pretty good situation for the Georgia Bulldogs defense, you'd think, but Florida Gators quarterback John Brantley was still able to find Jordan Reed up the seam for a first down, and more. It's 7-0 Gators after the astounding breakdown by UGA's secondary. Bacarri Rambo appeared to be the guilty party.
It could be much worse, in fact. A 72-yard catch-and-run by Jeff Demps earlier set up a missed field goal. Brantley's completed only half of his 12 passes and has been under pressure, but when two of your passes make for 103 yards, you don't need to complete very many.
That's without Chris Rainey for that drive, too, who's testing his ankle on the sideline after leaving due to injury.
Florida Gators weapon Chris Rainey suffered an injury in the first quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs. He went down hard while getting twisted up by Brandon Boykin in the backfield, and was holding his right knee while lying on the ground.
He walked off the field gingerly, but without assistance. No update as of yet on his condition or status for the rest of the game, but I'd expect him to at least miss some time in this game. We'll update once we know more.
He was set on a trainer's table and surrounded by medical staff. If he's unable to return, Florida will just have to rely on Jeff Demps, who's probably even faster and has already had a 72-yard play in this game.
After the Florida Gators sent out John Brantley for pregame warmups, it was presumed by many that he might actually make the start after all. Now just moments before game time, Brantley's not among the quarterbacks on the field. Observers from both the Florida and Georgia Bulldogs side are leaning toward Jacoby Brissett as the starter.
Playing against Brissett would mean a huge advantage for the Dawgs. They'd still have to contain Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps, not to mention find ways to score minus Malcolm Mitchell and various other receivers, but this could change the entire game.
Did Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp outsmart everyone who assumed he wouldn't really name John Brantley his starter before he really had to? Or is he presently outsmarting everybody right now by having Brantley warm up on the field even though he's not going to start? Oh, the overthinking!
After opening as a slim one point favorite against the Gators, Georgia now has a "comfortable" three point cushionheading into today's game in Jacksonville. It's been seven years since the Bulldogs have been favored in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, when UGA was actually favored three years in a row ('02-'04) during the Ron Zook era.
The Cocktail Party has been a fickle game for oddsmakers, and neither team has been a lock against the spread this season (Florida: 3-3-1, Georgia: 4-3). Florida has won 18 of the last 21 in the series, but has often failed to cover. The Dogs are 10-12-1 against the spread at neutral sites in the last ten years. But if you're a Georgia fan looking for a hopeful stat, Mark Richt's two wins against Florida are matched by Florida head coach Will Muschamp's 2-3 record against the Dogs as a coordinator at LSU and Auburn. As a walk-on safety at Georgia from 1991-'94, Muschamp's Bulldogs never beat Florida.
Georgia will be without its leading receiver against Florida on Saturday. The Athens Banner-Herald's Marc Weiszer reports that Georgia says Malcolm Mitchell, its leading receiver, did not make the trip to Jacksonville with the Bulldogs, and will not be playing against Florida.
Mitchell had been doubtful for most of the week after re-aggravating a hamstring injury in practice on Monday. That hamstring injury kept Mitchell on the sideline against Vanderbilt.
But while the Dawgs were able to make up for his lost production against the Commodores, Mitchell's absence is likely to be a significant loss for Georgia's passing attack against Florida. He leads Georgia in both receptions (25) and receiving yardage (438), and has hauled in three touchdowns from Aaron Murray. Without him, the Bulldogs are likely to turn to tight end Orson Charles more often, and hope that wide receiver Marlon Brown, who had four catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns against Vanderbilt, can provide production on the outside.
Our dueling personalities square off to debate the outcome of a game that's had only one personality for the past two decades: very, very angry at the Georgia Bulldogs.
Georgia's 0-2 start is almost a distant memory: After the Bulldogs found their defensive footing and rode freshmen Isaiah Crowell and Malcom Mitchell through a five game win streak (including four consecutive SEC wins), head coach Mark Richt's perpetual "hot seat" has seemingly cooled. Right? Not really, if you trust Mr. College Football (and we do). Tony Barnhart said this week that another Cocktail Party lost (Richt is 2-8 in his last ten games against UF) would be "the last straw:"
There is a nagging sense from some Georgia people that Richt's time has come and gone. The SEC East is as weak as it has been in a generation with new coaches at Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, and with Spurrier having some issues at South Carolina. There is an opportunity for somebody to step up and become the dominant program in the division. Richt has to make the case that he is capable of getting Georgia back into that position.
So Richt needs to win against a Florida team that is limping into Saturday's game. It doesn't matter how good or bad Florida is. It's Florida. Richt can't go to 2-9 against the Gators. He just can't.
Game date, time: Saturday, October 29, 3:30pm ET
Location: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
Radio: WSB AM 750
Georgia Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt told AM 680 The Fan in Atlanta that wide receiver Malcom Mitchell is doubtful for Saturday's Cocktail Party against Florida with a hamstring injury. Mitchell re-aggravated the hamstring during practice Monday, and didn't participate on Tuesday.
Through six games this season, the freshman from Valdosta leads Georgia in receiving yards with 438 yards on 25 receptions and three touchdowns. Junior Marlon Brown helped fill in production when Mitchell sat out the Vanderbilt game, grabbing 121 yards and two touchdowns.
Mitchell, along with injured freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell (wrist), were both considered massive recruiting hits for Richt in the offseason, and have instantly found feature features in Georgia's offense.
While Georgia and Florida take the 3:30pm ET CBS center stage on a SEC weekend almost entirely overshadowed by a game that's not even being played for another 10 days, desperation is setting in across the conference for everyone not named Alabama or LSU. Auburn and South Carolina started strong but have major concerns, while teams like Mississippi State and Tennessee are just trying to stop the bleeding long enough to become bowl eligible.
Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas (12:15pm ET, SEC Network) James Franklin is refusing to talk about the Commodores bowl chances, but for only the second time in football's modern era, Vandy could be playing in a bowl. Upsetting the Razorbacks would the program's biggest win in decades, but chances are Bobby Petrino's team got the scare out of the system down 17-0 in Oxford a week ago.
Auburn vs. Ole Miss (7pm ET, ESPNU) Gene Chizik says Ole Miss is the best 2-5 team in college football, and Gene Chizik knows mediocrity when he sees it. The Rebels haven't won a SEC game in 13 months, while the Tigers have finally reverted to their predicted 2011 form after an early season surge. A loss for Ole Miss would snuff out what tiny bowl hopes they might still dream of. A loss for the Tigers would gear up the rational, sensible fans of that state to its steady "fire everybody!" hum.
Kentucky vs. Mississippi State (7pm ET, FSN) Kentucky staved off the absolute embarrassment of a potential FCS upset by thumping Jacksonville State in front of a "sparse" home crowd. Now they'll host a Mississippi State team looking for its first SEC win. The Bulldogs entered the season as a dark (dark-dark) horse candidate to win the SEC West and repeat their nine-win 2010 campaign. Now they're desperate to stay bowl eligible in Dan Mullen's third season.
Tennessee vs. South Carolina (7:15pm ET, ESPN2) The Gamecocks still control their destiny to Atlanta, but without starting quarterback Stephen Garcia (dismissed) and running back Marcus Lattimore (knee) for the rest of the year, even a single loss could keep South Carolina from holding off rejuvenated Georgia or even Florida. 6-1 USC still has the Gators, Arkansas and undefeated Clemson after this weekend's game against the Vols, who are desperate to end a three-game losing skid.
An existential crisis in Fayetteville, an unplanned birth in Baton Rouge and more acrimony in Nashville: just another wild week in the nation's most soap-operatic football conference.
When the odds for Saturday's Georgia-Florida game came out the Bulldogs were a 1.5 point favorite. The line continues to slant in the Bulldogs favor as they have grown into a three point favorite in rather peculiar fashion.
Consider that Florida's starting quarterback John Brantley is expected to return to action after missing the last two games with an injury. Georgia has two defensive starters, Shawne Williams and Kwame Geathers suspended for the first half due to their actions in the win over Vanderbilt. Finally, freshman wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell's status is in question after he reportedly tweaked his hamstring injury in practice on Monday.
Never mind that the Gators' three game losing streak came against No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Alabama and No. 24 Auburn which has to be one of the toughest stretches on a schedule in college football this season.
Things aren't looking good for Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell's return to the field against Florida on Saturday. One day after appearing to re-tweak his hamstring during practice, Mitchell missed the portion of practice on Tuesday that was open to the media. There has been no firm announcement regarding his status but if he is going to make it back into the lineup you would think that things would have to improve significantly soon.
If Mitchell is unable to return to the field, the Bulldogs will need junior wide out Marlon Brown to build off of the big game he had against Vanderbilt. Brown finished that game with four catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-28 Georgia win. Coming into that game, Brown had just five catches for 40 yards prior to his outburst against the Commodores. If Mitchell can't go, then Georgia will need Brown to once again come up big as one of Aaron Murray's primary targets.
Florida quarterback John Brantley is expected to make the start for Florida in Saturday's match up against Georgia. If Brantley is unable to return from injury, then the start will likely go to Jacoby Brissett who is the No. 2 quarterback for this week. Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis says that Brissett is "slightly ahead" of Jeff Driskel for the back up position.
Brissett has appeared in two games this season and has completed 13 of 24 passes for 139 yards. He has thrown one touchdown and three interceptions on the season. Brissett's best effort of the season came against LSU when he completed 8 of 14 for 94 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Jeff Driskel has appeared in five games for the Gators and has completed 16 of 34 passes for 148 yards. The freshman has no touchdowns and two interceptions on the season.
The University of Florida announced on Tuesday that tight end Gerald Christian and wide receiver Robert Clark were transferring from the program. Both players expressed a desire for more playing time as their reason for the move in written statements released by the school.
Both players are true sophomores and will have to sit out the 2012 season if they transfer to another Division 1 program. Christian has four catches for 72 yards and a touchdown this season while Clark has not touched the ball this season other than a muffed punt at the end of the Gators' 17-6 loss to Auburn.
Alligator Army writer Andy Hutchins sums up what the departures mean for the Gators:
The translation, here: Christian, a tight end, and Clark, a wide receiver, likely said something like "I want more playing time" to Muschamp, who said something like "Uh, that's not happening." And so Florida's anemic passing game loses two more little-used options, Florida's "You can play from Day One" pitch to recruits gets a little more potent, and the beat-up, depleted Gators lose more of the precious little depth they have.
The Bulldogs (5-2) are preparing for their annual rivalry matchup with the Florida Gators (4-3) and they didn't receive good news regarding one of their top players and possibly best offensive player in Macolm Mitchell following Monday's practice. Mitchell is still recovering from a hamstring injury and head coach Mark Richt said that Mitchell wasn't doing well at practice on Monday.
It would be a huge blow for the Bulldogs if Mitchell wasn't able to play against the Gators on Saturday. He still has a few days to get healthy before he'd have to step out on the field but things aren't looking good right now. Mitchell leads the team with 25 receptions and has 438 yards and three touchdowns for Georgia this season. The Bulldogs will need some other guys to step up if Mitchell doesn't progress and is unable to play this weekend.
For more on Malcolm Mitchell and Georgia, be sure and check out Dawg Sports
The Georgia Bulldogs head into their annual match up with the Florida Gators as 1.5 point favorites. Since starting the season 0-2, the Bulldogs have climbed back into contention in the SEC East with five straight wins. Florida enters Saturday's contest trying to snap a three game losing streak falling to Auburn 17-6 last time out.
Georgia has won just two of its last 13 games against Florida and is 4-9 in those games against the spread. The Bulldogs are 4-1 against the spread in its last five games and 4-3 overall this season. Florida is 1-3-1 in its last five against the spread and 3-3-1 overall on the season.
Georgia and Florida are have gone over the total number in four of the last five match ups between the two teams. The total number for Saturday opens at 47.5. The Bulldogs have been held under in three of its last five games.
Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell returned to normal status today at practice but could still be feeling the effects of the hamstring injury that he suffered against Tennessee. Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald tweeted that Mitchell may have tweaked his hamstring injury again in today's session as he was checked out by trainers on the sideline.
Marlon Brown stepped up in Mitchell's absence in Georgia's victory over Vanderbilt. However, Georgia's passing game will be missing a vital cog if Mitchell is not 100 percent against Florida. Mitchell has emerged as a playmaker in his freshman season for the Bulldogs and has racked up 25 catches for 438 yards and three touchdowns. Against the Volunteers, Mitchell had three catches for 126 yards.
For more on Malcolm Mitchell and Georgia, be sure and check out Dawg Sports.
After breaking a bone in his foot in the first quarter of Georgia's opening week 35-21 loss to Boise State, sophomore linebacker Alec Ogletree is ready to get back on the field for the Bulldogs annual showdown with Florida:
"I’m very anxious to get back out there in a game and get going again. I’ve been out so long, right now I’m just trying to work on my conditioning and trying to jell back with the defense. I just want to help my team the best I can."
Georgia's coaching staff was expecting big things for the former five-star recruit, who had been dominating the line of scrimmage in practice after being moved from safety to inside linebacker in the off-season.
At 6'3 240, he combines the size of a traditional linebacker with the athleticism of a defensive back, making him a versatile weapon capable of combating both the traditional pro-style offenses of teams like Alabama as well as the newer spread offenses that Urban Meyer brought to the SEC earlier in the decade.
Ogletree indicated that he didn't know how the coaches would divide up the snaps in his first game back, but his return will be a welcome addition to a defense that gave up 70 points against South Carolina and Boise in the season's first two weeks.
You are not surprised to learn Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp is saying John Brantley will likely play against the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday. He's been hopeful regarding Brantley's status for a while, but updated the state of affairs on Monday:
Florida coach Will Muschamp says John Brantley is not ready to play as of today, but he sees no reason why he wouldn't progress to play Sat.
Muschamp also added that the No. 2 spot on the depth chart is unclear, with both Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel preppring to take over if needed. If you're just now joining us, Brantley was injured against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Since then, Brissett and Driskel have struggled against OHHH just the two best defenses in the country.
Cornerback Jeremy Brown is Florida's only scratch due to injury so far.
While Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp has said he expects injured quarterback John Brantley to play this Saturday against the Georgia Bulldogs, that's not quite good enough for Vegas. A line for the WLOCP has yet to be set.
Kind of have no idea who ends up favored here. It's a neutral site venue that Florida's completely owned -- alternate histories aside -- and while Brantley's questionable, the Dawgs will be without two of their most significant defensive starters for the first half.
But Georgia has the better overall record and a much better conference mark. But it got that status by playing Vanderbilt and Mississippi State instead of Alabama and LSU. See? This isn't easy.
Expect Vegas to go out on a limb at some point, since Mark Richt concedes it might not be until Saturday that Brantley's status is clear.
Georgia-Florida has turned into an annual ritual of hopes being raised, then dashed. Can you even call it a rivalry anymore?
LSU and Alabama are still tops in the SEC while Georgia heads into its annual match up with Florida in Jacksonville trying to keep pace with South Carolina in the Eastern Division.
As expected, Georgia Bulldogs nose tackle Kwame Geathers has been suspended for the first half of the team's next game, which is a reasonably important one. Safety Shawn Williams has also been ruled out of the first half against the Florida Gators. Both players were dinged for combative behavior that occurred during a testy game in Nashville against the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Both players are starters. Geathers has seven tackles, while Williams is third on the team in tackles and has added a pair of picks and tackles for loss.
Details on each suspension from the SEC's statement (and here's video of the Geathers play):
Upon review of game tapes of the football game between the University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University, played in Nashville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive has announced that Vanderbilt sophomore center Logan Stewart, Georgia sophomore defensive lineman Kwame Geathers and Georgia junior defensive back Shawn Williams have been suspended for the first half of their team's next football games...
Geathers' action was in violation of NCAA Football Rule 2-32-1-a for fighting. By NCAA Football Rule 9-5-1-b, the penalty for violation of the rule in the second half includes suspension for the first half of the team's next scheduled game....
Williams' suspension is the result of a flagrant personal foul which occurred at the 2:08 mark in the third quarter. The action is in violation of Rule 9-1-4 of the NCAA Football Rule Book, which reads, "No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder."
Take a look below at a prime example of why Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin got their holler on after the Bulldogs' win in Nashville on Saturday night: Bulldogs' nose guard Kwame Geathers throws a solid jab at prone Commodore center Logan Stewart after Stewart clipped Geathers on a rushing play early in the fourth quarter.
Dirty pool from Stewart? No doubt. Stupid reaction by Geathers? Indeed. The difference? Upon review by the SEC, Stewart could be suspended for part or all of Vandy's game this week against Army, while Geathers and safety Shawn Williams (two personal fouls, including fisticuffs) would be subject to suspension after the bye week, i.e., the Florida game.
Take a guess as to which potential suspension could hurt the respective team more.
Todd Grantham's Georgia defense is expected to receive a boost for the Florida game with the return of inside linebacker Alec Ogletree from a broken foot. Ogletree was injured way back in the season opening loss to Boise State. Athens Banner-Herald writer Marc Weiszer notes that Mark Richt revealed on a radio show that Ogletree would be 100 percent for Tuesday's practice.
Mark Richt said on radio show ILB Alec Ogletree will be "100 percent go" when team practices Tuesday. He's been out with foot injury.
Ogletree was expected to be one of the most talented defenders for the Bulldogs coming into the season. He made the switch from safety to inside linebacker during the off season. Ogletree recorded one tackle before being injured in the first half against the Broncos. Michael Gilliard got the start in Ogletree's spot against Vanderbilt.
In 2002, finally freed from the tyranny of Steve Spurrier, Georgia went down to Jacksonville hoping to make a statement that things had changed in the Georgia-Florida rivalry . . . and lost an ugly game to Ron Zook. Three years later, a Bulldog team heading toward an SEC title returned to Jacksonville to face a Gator team struggling with the transition to the spread offense . . . and lost an ugly game to Urban Meyer. Time and time again, the Dawgs have had a chance to reverse their inexplicable recent fortunes in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, only to screw it up and hand another victory to the hated Gators. Now, with Florida being led by a first-time head coach (a Georgia grad, no less) and the Gator program in a bit of disarray, Georgia has a chance again . . . but will they take it?
BETTER KNOW THE GATORS
Coach: Will Muschamp, first year
Last season: 8-5, 4-4 SEC; finished 2nd in the SEC East
Returning starters for 2011: 13 (seven offense, six defense, zero special teams)
Key returners: RB Jeff Demps, WR Trey Burton, DT Omar Hunter, QB John Brantley
Key losses: C Mike Pouncey, CB Janoris Jenkins, WR Carl Moore, OG Maurice Hurt
Best-case scenario: Aaron Murray heads an uprising against the depleted Florida defense and leads the Dawgs to an emphatic victory, signaling a shift in what has been a one-sided rivalry for two decades now. Last season excepted, one of the common threads running through Georgia's string of losses in Jacksonville is that they just can't seem to score any points. This year, though, Florida returns only two starters in the back seven, and probably their best defensive player, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, was just kicked off the team for a third marijuana arrest. Granted, Florida still has an incredibly physically gifted stable of athletes back there, even if they're not the most experienced, and a Will Muschamp defense is never something to be taken lightly. But with the Florida offense adding a total overhaul under Charlie Weis' pro-style scheme to their list of recent upheavals, the time is right for Murray to show there's a new sheriff in town.
Worst-case scenario: The running game continues to struggle, the entire offense has another one of its familiar Jacksonville mental meltdowns, and Muschamp's defense dooms the Dawgs to their third loss in their last 22 tries against the Gators. It's become a depressingly familiar script by now, but the fact is the Gators have had a mental hex on the Dawgs for a while now, one that Murray and the coaching staff will have to prove they can break. No question, the Gators are a team in transition at the moment, but that didn't seem to matter against the Dawgs in 2002 or '05, and those were two of the best teams Mark Richt has fielded in Athens. A squad coming off a 6-7 season and still struggling to put the right pieces in place on defense simply can't take anything for granted here.
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