Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mississippi State and Georgia have a big weekend

What a weekend. I am out doing stuff for one weekend and come back to find -- more upsets, more weirdness more ... well, just more.

First of all, home stuff. My UK Wildcats got drubbed by a Mississippi State team that is beginning to show signs of relevance in the SEC East. That makes two (2!) ranked teams that have been Croomed this year in the SEC, Auburn and UK. I'm thinking the Bulldogs are doing something right, and it's beginning to show. Yes, Kentucky had numerous offensive skill players out and had to run most of the second half with a fifth-string halfback, but part of being a good football team is finding ways to win when you have injuries.

MSU proved that while UK may (I say may -- I have a few more doubts now) be a good football team, they sure can suck in a given game. But lest we be guilty of the false assertion that MSU was handed the game by UK, let me point out that the Bulldogs played outstanding, smash-mouth football and beat the Wildcats in every way possible. It was a big win for the Dawgs, who now are only one game away from bowl eligibility, and a big loss for the Cats, who have justifiably dropped precipitously in the polls and limp into their bye week loosing 3 of their last 4.

The Wildcat Fan Report wonders what happened to the Cats:

The Kentucky offense, on the other hand, seemed like they were just meeting one another for the first time. Woodson threw several passes behind receivers and apparently thought Derrick Locke could catch a ball with his ankles as that’s where he threw at least three screen passes. And Joker Phillips astute play calling was on display late in the game on 3rd-and-2 in two down territory when he lined Woodson up in the shotgun and called a draw to Moncel Allen that went nowhere and then put Woodson back in the shotgun on 4th-and-2 only to see a collision between Woodson and Allen result in a turnover on downs. Why are you running a draw and trying to fool the defense when you have two downs to get two yards? Line up and go off tackle twice!
I also felt like I was watching a team from the twilight zone, somehow stuck in a 1992 time-warp and through the magic of a space-time discontinuity, manifesting itself in the bodies of current UK players. Well, who said the Universe makes sense?

Georgia had no such issues with Florida in the Cocktail Party, though. I had a feeling the Dawgs were due, and they punched the Gator's ticket to 3 SEC losses yesterday. Welcome to the world of getting smacked in the puss by a bye-week team, Gators. You did it to Kentucky, now Georgia showed you how it feels to be on the wrong end.

GatorPilot at Orange and Blue Hue is suffering from some vapors -- of the equine excrement variety:

Congrats to Georgia, the better team on this night. May God have mercy on the souls of Gator Nation. This is the kind of loss that makes a Gator fan’s heart explode.

Tonight I dream dark, cloudy, troubled dreams… and I’ll wake up screaming on 3rd and short every time.

Which is horseshit.

I know just how he feels, but probably don't feel it as sharply. At Kentucky, we have just figured out that losing a game is actually a bad thing, not something that should be expected. It will take a lot more success for our hearts to start exploding, I'm afraid.

What is interesting is that both Kentucky and Florida seemed to lose the game almost the same way -- an unsatisfactory defensive effort compounded by futility on the offensive end. Sacks of your previously-Heisman-contending quarterback, fumbles, interceptions, oh, my!

Mergz at Saurian Sagacity had this to say:
We were out coached, outplayed, and just plain beaten, which is made all the more the shame by the fact the ticky-tacky antics of the Georgia coaches should have allowed us to beat them silly. The same group of players that stamped on Vandy’s logo thought is somehow advisable (assumedly with the nod of the coaches) to all run on the field after the first TD. There is an old saying about “acting like you have been there before” when you score a TD. Instead, the entire Georgia team acted as if it was the first TD they hade ever seen. If the Gators did that, I would be embarrassed beyond belief.
Well, I sense frustration with the Dawgs' antics. Since I didn't see the game, I'm going to look to some Bulldog blogs for an explanation (an doubtless, a defense). David Ching of the Georgia Bulldog Blog had this contemporaneous post expressing incredulity:
Rushing the field after that touchdown is either the smartest thing Mark Richt has ever allowed or the dumbest. We're going to find out shortly.
Given the implied criterion of outcome here, I'd say David's a firm vote for "smartest", as his follow up post suggests. Over at Dawg Sports, a diarist named randomterrace addresses this article by Terence Moore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution blasting the Bulldogs for conduct unbecoming a football team. Dawg Sports makes several points athwart those of Moore, but concludes thus:
Mr. Moore - your column was stupid. You are a fool. But it's hard for me to stay mad at you, because I know you didn't mean it. I suggest your editors shove your computer off your desk, get in your ear about lazy, self-serving contrarian columns, and demand something more from you, something the AJC can be proud of. In short, they should follow the estimable example of Mark Richt.
Undoubtedly, this was a stunt designed to inspire the Dawgs who have played anything but inspiring football this season. But the apparent domino effect on Georgia was that it had multiple personal fouls called for everything from facemasking to unsportsmanlike celebration.

Kevin Brown of the Bleacher Report condemns Richt for allowing the celebration, suggesting that it could have provoked a bench-clearing brawl, while Mike Bianchi, a notorious Gator homer writing for the Orlando Sentinel, applauds the move as "brilliant."

In the final analysis, it probably wasn't Richt's finest moment, nor the Bulldogs when it comes to sportsmanship. This is a symptom that we are seeing more and more often -- the idea that winning is more important than what happens along the way. But Urban Meyer has no cause for outrage. That last-second time out against Auburn in their home loss earlier in the year is an example of how a coach can do something totally unsportsmanlike and get applauded for it. I think, in the end, it was karma from that action that got repaid in kind on Saturday.

Yeah, Georgia was wrong. But Florida deserved it, Urban Meyer in particular. So if you want to take some high ground, Gators, try earning it with your actions. That way, condemning others who act classlessly will ring a bit less hollow.


Kurt said...

Correction: Ole Miss had a poor weekend, losing 17-3 to Auburn.

Perhaps you were thinking of Mississippi State, not Ole Miss, that defeated Kentucky?

A little insulting considering that Ole Miss is State's biggest rival.

BestofSEC said...

OOps. I make that stupid mistake all the time.


Kurt said...

You'd be surprised at how often I have to remind people. Ha. Thanks for the hard work.