Thursday, August 31, 2006

Gameday Recap

(Second time through - THANKS, Firefox. Ass.)

Just a reminder to everyone - I did this last year. This year the show is longer and my tolerance for ignorance is shorter, so my recaps will be briefer.

Why do I do this? The show wields a lot of power in college football. The sport is broadly spread out, so much so that nobody can really be an expert on all 119 teams. A filter is necessary, and ESPN pretty much is all there is. Coverage on Gameday sets the tone for how teams are perceived, and there is a direct correlation between favorable coverage and poll position. This show may affect who gets to play for the national title. For that, I think the pundits on the show need to be held accountable for how they present the teams and games. So I watch and repeat what they say.

There was a preview show, so here it goes. Chronologically instead of pundit-by-pundit.

  • Rece Davis is hosting, so we might get some information instead of smarminess.
  • New song, if this is the new song, kind of blows. Boring soccermom radio rock. At least Big n Rich were memorable, if shitty.
  • Everyone thinks the title chase is wide open.
  • Corso thinks good teams will lose conference title games. (Really bold prediction)
  • Davis: Every piece is in place for Texas to repeat, except QB (didn't a few good DBs graduate, like a top 10 pick?)
  • May: Losing Vince Young won't affect Texas at all. (direct quote - stunningly moronic)
  • Herbie: North Texas is worse than a Texas intra-squad game. (I disagree)
  • Corso: Repeating is hard because of banquets. Actually, Corso is the only one to really talk about how special Young was. (Corso is insane, but sometimes he's a Shakespearean fool, presenting the closest thing to real information and correct analysis - seriously. He's right way more often than May or Holtz) Texas will not win the title.
  • First time in a decade that 6 teams have gotten 1st place votes in the initial AP poll.
  • Corso: Ohio State needs to win shootouts. Won't win the title because of inexperience on defense. May agrees about the D but focuses on the O. Herbstreit defends the D (stunning), says they're just as athletic, and the D Line will be as good as any in football (bold).
  • That's a long string of troubles for the USC program... but Pete Carroll is well-media-trained.
  • Corso: the talent losses at USC will "devastate" them. USC won't win the MNC because of the offense. NSFMF! broken out, and the rare unprovoked NSFMF!
  • Herbstreit still likes USC because of coaching and schedule. Pete Carroll puts more pressure on USC QBs in practice than any defense they'll see all year. (At first I thought that was a bold statement, but it isn't really)
  • May: Because Leinart replaced Palmer, USC will be fine. Everyone concurs with the idea that USC has talent, and then Corso says "A lot of football to be played, sweethearts." And that's why they call him the Godfather.
  • Is Adrian Peterson still the Heisman frontrunner, they ask. (Was he ever? Everything I read says Brady Quinn.)
  • Doug Flutie comes on to talk about the Heisman. (Where did Desmond go?) His Heisman choices: 5. Drew Tate, Iowa; 4. Brian Brohm, Louisville; 3. Adrian Peterson, OU; 2. Troy Smith, OSU; 1. Brady Quinn, ND.
  • To win the Heisman - get off to a quick start, play well in big games, have a moment late.
  • Corso whines about not talking. Then he says that Oklahoma won't win because of QB "disaster." Will Corso say that every single team can't win the MNC?
  • Herbie likes to use the "athletic" euphemism, it seems.
  • May climbs up on soapbox to slam Bomar and Quinn at OU. Not that they don't deserve it, but there's nobody more sanctimonious on this show than May.
  • Last 7 times ND has been ranked in the top 20, 5 times they finished unranked. Interesting.
  • Oh great. Lou Holtz comes on to talk about the Irish. And he's appropriately fluffing with a delightful shit-eating grin. Thinks ND wins 11 this year. "Definitely believe this is the year for the Irish."
  • May thinks ND wins 10, not in MNC picture.
  • Corso owns up to picking ND to struggle last year. This time he's level, offers pros and cons. But he doesn't think they'll win the MNC because of their D gives up too many points. Thinks they'll win 9 games.
  • Herbstreit thinks the D will improve at ND. 12 wins for the Irish.
  • Whoa. Holtz just called Michigan's offense last year "great". (Any team coached by Lloyd Carr on offense probably shouldn't be called that)
  • Holtz calls ND one of the top 25 defenses in the country. May can't believe it. Herbstreit says something about top 10. May suggests that ND must've taken "speed pills". I think those actually exist, but I don't think the Irish should take them.
  • Gameday will be in Atlanta this weekend.
  • Urban Meyer gets all Rumsfeldian, asking himself 4 questions and answering them with yesses and nos.
  • Florida's schedule is brutal, says Davis, but the chart doesn't even mention FSU.
  • Herbie: Tebow won't replace Leak, but will get reps.
  • Corso: FSU is overrated! (Believe it! He actually said it!)
  • May: Miami has lost their swagger.
  • Best team in Florida? May says FSU, Herbie says Miami, Corso says Florida.
  • May: Quinn wins the Heisman. Herbstreit agrees. Corso thinks Troy Smith wins it (Davis agrees).
  • Most intriguing Game? May: WVU-Louisville. Corso: USC-ND. Herbie: USC-Cal. (Apparently the guys aren't intrigued by the SEC or Ohio State-Texas)
  • Coach under pressure? May: Lloyd Carr - 10 games or else. Corso: Coker, but it's crazy. Herbstreit: Franchione (I like that pick - dude needs to win now).
  • Big East: May: WVU. Corso: WVU. Herbie: Louisville. And do they ever promote that the game between them is on ESPN.
  • I'm mad that the little kid in the pee wee league Under Armor commercial is far more ripped than I'll ever be.
  • Big XII: Corso: Texas, but be careful in the title game (really?). Herbie: Texas over Nebraska. May: Texas.
  • ACC: Corso: VT because of schedule, but watch out for title game. Herbie: Miami, one of best Ds in the country, over Clemson. May: FSU and he's high on Weatherford.
  • Pac-10: Corso: Cal because of D and RB. Herbie: USC because of coaching. May: USC (and May seems to be sucking up to Herbie here).
  • SEC: Corso: Florida over Auburn in rematch. Herbie: Florida and LSU are most talented teams, but neither in title game. Auburn over Tennessee. May: Auburn over South Carolina. (and he's really kissing ass now - even Davis calls him on it.
  • Big Ten: Corso: Iowa. Herbie: Ohio State, and he tries to call Corso out for logical inconsistency. May: Iowa.
  • BCS Title Game: May: WVU because of talent, coaching and schedule against Texas. Texas wins. Herbie: Notre Dame against Miami. Miami wins. Corso: Cal against WVU because neither plays a conference title game. Cal wins.
All together a pretty good show. No filler. All info. This one could've gone two hours, easy. It'll be interesting to see if the format continues when it's normal Gameday. I'd prefer less May because I don't think he adds much other than annoying sanctimony and unnecessary hyperbole. Less Holtz would be better. I prefer Rece Davis to Fowler. Corso seems lucid, which is a good thing. In any event, I'm finally feeling really excited about the season. Here it comes.


Book Report

Last week I finished Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile. An excellent read and an important book. It's a little repetitive and the chronology is a little screwy, but all together it's still very good. I was a little surprised at how it wasn't exactly filled with direct correlations between the Afghan-Soviet war and recent history. Yes, there are references and characters whose names are common today play roles in the early 80s, but it's not a book about "how we got here" like I might've been expecting. But it's good for what it is.

One particular passage caught my eye. I'm not exactly a military historian, so I didn't know this. It was about the Katyusha rockets. The USA bought a large allotment of them from Egypt and funnelled them through Pakistan to the Mujahideen. The point was that the mujahideen could only use weapons that could be traced back to the Soviet Union. The Katyushas made headlines all summer for the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict - Hezbollah fired these Katyushas, obtained via Syria or Iran, constantly and causing fear in Israel. I wasn't exactly sure why the Katyushas were so important to the conflict this year, but then I read this passage (pp 319-20) dated in the fall of 1984 on a weapons-buying junket to Egypt:

The agency had been looking for a rocket with a range of over 10 KM that could not be traceable to the US or NATO, and they found it in one of Mohammed [Abu-Ghazala, Egypt's Defense Minister]'s warehouses - the Katyusha. During World War II, at the siege of Stalingrad, this 122mm rocket had made the difference. A huge, screaming artillery round, it chilled the Wehrmacht with its terrible noise and striking power and had been immortalized in such Soviet patriotic songs as the "Staling Organ." "We didn't think we could ever find the fucking thing," says Gust [Avrakotos, CIA agent, star of the book and a tremendous badass]. But after spotting 54 of them in a warehouse, he had the Egyptians test fire one, and he still remembers the terror. "If you've ever heard one of these come at you, there's no way you wouldn't crap in your pants. I was three miles away from where it hit and I was scared. It was a frightening experience, like being in a minor earthquake. You just can't imagine what it would be like to be within 50 feet of one of those things."

Gust bought every one of Mohammed's Katyushas at tens of thousands each, and soon the Mujahideen were blasting away at the airport near Kabul, creating holes the size of football fields as far away as the city's outskirts. The French ambassador reported that although the rocket had landed 17 blocks away, it had cracked the foundations of his Kabul embassy. The Russians were mortified. Ultimately, terrorizing the Soviets and making them leave was the name of Avrakotos's game. The discovery of the Katyusha at that point in the war was just what the doctor ordered. Gust didn't care that the rocket wasn't accurate. He wanted to frighten and demoralize the 40th Army, the KGB, and all those Communist Party bastards ruling the roost in Kabul. The Agency had already started trying to "turn the lights out" in the occupied capital by having the Mujahideen blow up electricity pylons. The night always belonged to the Mujahideen, but particularly when there was no light. And if a screaming Katyusha could be added to the mix, well, that was just the perfect twist of the psychological danger.

[The CIA then got Egypt to start producing the Katyushas]

One last quote: "They sound like thirty freight trains coming in all at once."

Just a strange, somewhat ironic history of this weapon. You have a weapon that got its start at perhaps the most pivotal battle in turning back Nazism, a battle that in some ways led directly to the creation of Israel. That same rocket is then later used by those who would wish to destroy the state of Israel. And what are the chances that Hezbollah fighters firing the rockets from Lebanon may have first used a form of Katyusha in Afghanistan, as a Mujahideen from abroad? If nothing else, now I have a better idea of why those rockets were so terrible - not necessarily for the destructive nature and despite the inaccuracy, but because of the terror created.

In any event, it's a very good read and I recommend it.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I'm back.

Bar the door and open the liquor cabinet.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Computer problems remain

Might be another week or so before semi-regular posting can resume. We'll see. Haven't forgotten about this place.


Flick the Button

Backlog. And I really haven't seen a good one in a while. Hope I'm not forgetting any.

Shopgirl: The wife picked it out. I was kind of bored with it and read for most of it. Martin's narration bothered me. Can't remember much more about it, which I think is kind of a bad thing. You're Fired.

Kicking & Screaming: The Will Ferrell one, not the Noah Baumbach one (which I really really really liked). This gives a bad name to the title, and to the sport of soccer. Wishy-washy: it didn't know if it wanted to be a sweet kid's comedy or a slow burn Ferrell explosion get-off-the-shed comedy. And it ended up neither. Waste of Duvall and Ditka. Just another stupid sports movie. I'm pretty sure the pitch included the words "montage" and "Smash Mouth song" in the same sentence somewhere. Avoid it. You're Fired.

The Family Stone: Another wife's pick. Another movie that didn't know what it wanted to be - touching, heartfelt dusfunctional family drama or madcap comedy - and it ended up being nothing at all. The thing about this movie was that it reminded me of when I write something really fast, and just hit publish or turn it in to someone without re-reading it, and there's some ridiculously obvious errors. That's what this movie's like. I mean, did the director or screenwriter not realize the evident creepiness of a dude wanting to propose to one woman, then hitting on her sister over the course of the same day? Not funny, except unintentionally. And I actually laughed my ass off when Sarah Jessica was getting dressed down by Coach. Just another piece of crap studio picture. DO NOT WATCH THIS WITH YOUR FAMILY THINKING IT'S FUNNY. I cannot stress that enough. You're Fired.

Date Movie: When I was a kid, I loved Airplane and The Naked Gun movies. Scratch that. I still love those movies. But I wonder if I grew out of sight-gag comedy or if it just wasn't as funny as it used to be. Probably more the latter, but this movie (and I saw some of one of the Scary Movie movies a while ago and it's the same thing) isn't really sight-gag, either. It's simply recognition humor. Oh... they're making fun of Wedding Crashers here. Oh... now it's Napoleon Dynamite. Oh. The jokes themselves aren't funny, they just reference something that might've been. This wasn't funny, except for one scene (the use of 50 Cent as a romantic troubador worked). The most surprising thing about this movie to me was how the core spoof was of My Big Fat Greek Wedding". Hadn't that movie left the national consciousness like 3 years ago? Can you even do a parody on something like that? You're Fired (yeah, get used to it).

Madagascar: Slapped together. Could've been funny (and yeah, the Penguins were good). But it just seems lazy. The last scene where they reveal the moral of the story felt like the end of an episode of the Simpsons where Homer tells us what we learned, only without Lisa reminding us that we didn't really learn anything and everything Homer just said is inane and moronic. It wasn't even a pretty-to-look-at animated movie. You're Fired.

The Aristocrats: One might think that this would've been right up my alley. But one would be wrong. I appreciate blue humor as much as anyone, but the problem is that my own sense of humor, unfortunately, is far more depraved than most of the people interviewed in this doc. The worst part about it is how so many of the comedians' jokes are so similar - same piss and shit, which just isn't as shocking to my senses as maybe someone else. The Sarah Silverman joke was at least really dirty, but it didn't live up to the hype I'd heard. In fact the only real laugh I had was about something Bob Saget did, but not his version of the joke. The movie might've worked better had it been a stage event - some kind of symposium where comics can riff off each other. As is, it didn't work that well for me. You're Fired.

Kingdom of Heaven: A failure. The first 45 minutes is totally useless - exposition that leads to nothing, character development for characters that disappear as quickly as they arrive. Bloom probably can't carry a film. Yet another movie that might've been good - there's probably something about the Crusades that could make for a good film. But this wasn't exciting, enlightening, or even all that interesting. There are a couple of nice looking battle scenes, I guess, but nothing to get all that worked up about. It wasn't even campy like Troy. You're Fired.

Darwin's Nightmare: Not really about ecology, and not really something I was all that interested in. Globalization can be bad for the lowest classes. OK. Not that much new there. And the second half's constant harping on whether the planes flew illegal arms in (when there didn't seem to be much evidence of it) was forced. Also, it didn't offer any solutions to the myriad problems. If the goal is to draw attention, fine. But this was a kind of boring movie, so it didn't keep my attention much. And I'm extremely sympathetic here. The movie didn't do the job it might've, could've or even wanted. You're Fired.

Amistad: I like Spielberg. A lot. But this did not work at all. The acting was kind of bad, save for Honsou. It was about an hour too long, especially for a pretty simple story. The scenes on the ship are powerful, but everything around it seems like filler. And there's something else about this movie that kind of bothered me: the religious angle. Had Mel Gibson directed it, I think most critics would've panned the hackneyed scenes with missionaries and the part about the guy learning to read via a Bible. But it was Spielberg, not Gibson. I'll call it what it is: a hack job. Did something bad happen to him in 1997? Because his two worst movies of all time were that year (this and the second Jurassic Park). You're Fired.

Star Wars - Episode III - Revenge of the Sith: Of the newer, first three installments, most people liked this OK and panned the crap out of the others. I actually didn't loathe Episodes I and II all that much, so I kind of had high hopes for this one. Didn't meet them. There's too much jammed in, but they take too long on the wrong, less interesting things. It's a little less serious than the others (or at least I hope so), but not quite as thrilling. Yes, it's kind of cool to see how things match up. The NOOOOOO! is funny (I watched it like 15 times). But for some reason the dialogue and bad acting bothered me more here than in the others (and there was bad acting and dialogue there too, I just wasn't as annoyed). I just didn't like it that much, and now I wonder if wanting to like the others affected my view. I wanted to like this too, but it didn't happen. Oh well. You're Fired.

Hostage: I liked this better than any of the above, but it still kind of sucked. It's stupid and mindless, but watchable. Ben Foster made a surprisingly creepy villain - I was stunned to be as put off by his character as I was. The little kid is scrappy, just like you'd want him to be. It pushes no buttons that hadn't been pushed before, and doesn't even pretend like there's another outcome other than the one you'd guess. But I kind of liked it. Of course, not enough to drag it out of the bad category. It is what it is. You're Fired.

If you're keeping score, that's 11 You're Fireds this time around. But I did see a few decent movies too...

Syriana: Looking back, this is probably the best movie I've seen in months. And I'd only say that it's pretty good. I like the casting, especially Wright and Plummer - pitch perfect. The plot isn't as convoluted as some reviews suggest. In fact, I thought it was pretty easy to follow. I read the book, but it had pretty much nothing to do with the film. It's a big movie, but it doesn't overreach - which is the best part about it. In some ways, I think this is superior to Gaghan's other multithread epic, Traffic. The scenery is exceptional, and it does tell a story that hadn't been told enough. I'm a little surprised by this film - it's not that sensational, but that makes it better. In choosing not to make it sensational, it probably cost the film publicity, and therefore viewers and revenues. But it's a better picture for it. Steak Knives, but this movie has gotten better in my head with time. Upon a second viewing, I might elevate it.

House of Flying Daggers: Last year I panned Hero, and I still think that movie kind of sucked. While watching this movie, I felt like I was taking a new approach to this kind of movie. I'm not an expert on martial arts films, but I've seen a few of them. I'm sure someone else has hit on this before, but now I'm starting to think that I should critique a martial art film as if it's porn. The plot doesn't matter (and in some instances the more ludicrous it is, the better), and all that matters is camera work, set design and the moves. If you've got that, it's all you care about. I liked the scenes in this movie quite a bit, especially the dance sequence and the bamboo forest scene. This movie didn't blow my mind, but I liked it. And Ziyi Zhang is a looker. Steak Knives.

Breaking the Waves: Perfectly cast. Exceptionally acted. Beautifully shot. And the tunes during the interludes were the jam too. And I can do nothing but respect a filmmaker that attacks questions about sex, religion and mental illness with the fierceness of Von Trier. But the question is... did I really like it? And I'm not so sure about that. I respect it, and I'm glad I saw this, but I don't think I liked it. Maybe Von Trier didn't want me to like it, just to think about it. In that case, mission accomplished. A film deserving of credit. I know the Oscars aren't always perfect, but how on earth did Katrin Cartlidge and Stellan Skarsgaard not get nominated that year? I mean, Lauren Bacall in The Mirror has Two Faces? James Woods in Ghosts of Mississippi (and Cuba Gooding won that year!) One last thing... the ending... yeah... not how I'd have finished it (the very very very end). Steak Knives.

One Day In September: A good companion piece to the flawed but decent Munich. This had everything I like in a documentary - it told me something I hadn't seen before, showed me a different perspective of things, personalized actions, and made it seem just real. Time well spent, and I already knew a good amount about Munich '72. Steak Knives.

There you have it... my last four months or so in movies. And nothing that I thought was really great. Might see Talladega Nights this weekend. Here's hoping...


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Back to the Lecture at Hand, Perfection is Perfected so I'm a Let 'em Understand

Not back yet entirely, still having computer issues. But had one (and another in a day or so) off-season football post I needed to get out there before the... y'know... season started.

So a ton of time is spent among college football bloggers comparing member sizes and whatnot over schedules. Much handwringing and lecturing goes on about it. I commented about scheduling a while ago here. I made this blanket statement in comments at CFR:

I think most teams should follow a 7 home games one year / 6 the next system and
schedule better opponents - at home and away.

I stand by it. I also stand by this statement, made way back when discussing Kyle King's push for Michigan-Georgia (and I'm kind of cherry picking for space purposes, so go ahead and read the whole post if you want reasoning):

...ideally, I'd like to have home and home games against both Clemson and
Georgia Tech (when we're at home against one, we travel to the other), play one
home game against a mediocre to decent team (Conference USA teams, not Sun Belt
or 1-AA schools), and play one other decent to excellent team (Colorado,
Louisville, up to Michigan)...

[Then I say why the ideal is impossible because of the neutral game in Jacksonville and because major programs will set the market at at least 13 or 14 home games over 2 years, not 12 or fewer]

...My suggestion would be that we play Clemson 6 out of every 10 years (3 home,
3 away), and for the four years in every decade when we do not play Clemson, we
substitute for the Tigers a top quality opponent (by that, I mean an
upper-echelon BCS conference team - like Michigan).

[Basically, I say we should play Tech every year H/H, Clemson or a good to great BCS team H/H every year, and two other home OOC games - I think the math works out for a 7/6 home game system under current scheduling, but if it doesn't make sense, well...]

But, aside from the list of good programs at the bottom of my above cited post, I think I should go on record as to what teams Georgia should be scheduling to fill those OOC games?

Of course, the rivalry with Georgia Tech should remain home and home. Clemson is our closest (as the crow flies) rival, and we've played Clemson 62 times, which is our 6th most frequently played opponent (according to CFBDB, and without respect to disputes over WWI and WWII games, Auburn is at 109, Tech at 100, Florida 83, Vandy 66, Alabama 63, [Clemson], Kentucky 59, South Carolina 58, Ole Miss 41, Tennessee 35). I think 4 or 6 times out of 10 games would be fine. I said top teams would be great in the Michigan post, mainly because I'd love to have the excitement of a big game - it'd make the ticket prices easier to pay and would just get us all fired up.

But then I thought about another motivation for scheduling, and one that fits within current scheduling scenarios.

I can't remember where, but I remember reading a story about how there are only 5 teams in history that Notre Dame has played but not beaten - University of Chicago, Indianapolis Light Artillery, Oregon State, NC State and Georgia. It got me thinking that Notre Dame fans probably don't like that statistic. They'd probably prefer to say "If we've played them, we've beaten them."

And as a Dawg fan, I think I'd like to say the same thing. I'm tired of looking at the media guide and seeing that there are teams that Georgia has never beaten. That zero in the loss win column kind of pisses me off. What to do about it? I say we push to schedule the teams Georgia has never beaten as OOC opponents and then we beat them. Let's look at the list and how we could fit it in...

CATEGORY I: Not gonna happen

It is unfortunate, but there are three teams Georgia has never beaten that, for at least the foreseeable future, the Dawgs won't have a chance to make right.

St. Mary's College (CA): The Dawgs didn't lose to the Gaels, but they didn't beat them either. In 1950 in San Francisco, Georgia tied St. Mary's 7-7. This was a pretty weak result, and one the Dawgs should've been embarrassed by. Georgia ended up going 6-3-3 that year and played in the Presidential Cup Bowl. St. Mary's, on the other hand, only went 2-7-1 and the Gaels weren't even officially classified as Division I (when the NCAA eventually classified SMC, they began at D-III). A poor result for the Dawgs, who must've been enjoying the good times in San Francisco too much. Sadly, that draw will likely forever remain on the record books. St. Mary's College discontinued their football program in 2003. In the 1990s, they moved up from D-II to 1-AA. The Gaels weren't that terrible, posting an 8-2 mark in 1995 and a few seasons around .500. In 2003, when the axe dropped, the Gaels went 1-11. Perhaps someday St. Mary's will return to the gridiron, but probably not at a level where Georgia could possibly schedule them. The 1950 Draw and the 0 in the win column will probably remain there forever.

Cumberland College/University (TN): This is an embarrassing stain on Georgia's all time record. Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee is a school plenty of college football historians recall almost automatically because of their ignominious place in the history books. Cumberland College suffered the worst defeat in college football history in 1916, a 222-0 defeat by, yes, those Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets coached by John Heisman (an aside, I have to say it's kind of dickish for GT and Heisman to have forced Cumberland to even play that game when the school had discontinued the football program before the season). The Cumberland team that lost to Tech in 1916 was a former team manager and his Kappa Sig brothers. The Cumberland Bulldogs that defeated Georgia in 1905 in Athens by a score of 39-10 was an actual varsity team. Nonetheless, it appears pretty shameful that the example of Georgia Tech's all time historic dominance (one game against amateurs who didn't want to play to begin with) also coincides with a team that Georgia never could beat. It appears pretty clear that Cumberland dropped football in 1916, but I can't seem to find out when they brought it back. In any event, Cumberland's current football team is not the kind of team Georgia should be considering, even for revenge reasons. Cumberland currently plays in the Mid-South Conference of the NAIA. Last year they went 2-8. I'd love to have the Dawgs erase that blemish in the record book, but scheduling an NAIA team wouldn't look too good. Perhaps if Georgia still had a JV team???

University of Chicago: The defeat suffered by Georgia to Chicago is one I can actually swallow. I mean, even Notre Dame never beat the Maroons, right? The University of Chicago was actually a powerhouse in football in the early part of the 20th century. They were one of the original members of the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives, which was also known as the Western Conference, and which for many decades was informally known as the Big 10 Conference (only officially in 1987). From 1892 to 1932 the Maroons were coached by the legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg, whose name still graces the field (and where the first nuclear reaction took place). In 1935, Chicago halfback Jay Berwanger was the first recipient of the Heisman Trophy, and the following year he was the first ever pick in the first ever NFL Draft (though he never played professionally). Chicago definitely had a great tradition in football in the early days, so the 20-0 loss by Georgia in 1922 shouldn't be too upsetting. That 1922 Chicago team went 5-1-1, while the Georgia team, coached by Stegeman, went 5-4-1. In 1939, the University of Chicago discontinued their football program, choosing to emphasize academics instead. In 1969, alumni and students returned football to Chicago and the Maroons have played in Division III since 1973. They didn't have a winning season until 1985, but have played a little better recently, winning their conference last year. Still, if Georgia takes grief from fans, writers and pollsters for scheduling 1-AA teams, they really can't schedule a D-III team. Not too worrisome for me though.

CATEGORY II: Well, If We're Gonna Schedule Scrubs Anyway...

I'm not very happy that Georgia schedules Division 1-AA opponents. It's not all that frequent (only 3 times in the last 10 years, 4 if you count Western Kentucky this year, and two of them were pretty good Georgia Southern teams where there was significant in-state pressure to schedule... but enough excuses), but it still should be avoided at all costs. But in the event that the Dawgs can't find a 1-A opponent and are scrambling to fill a date with anyone, regardless of division, why not pull up a 1-AA opponent with whom Georgia has a score to settle?

Fordham University: Like the situation with St. Mary's, Georgia has never beaten Fordham, but they also haven't lost to them. In 1936, Georgia traveled to New York City to play the Rams and left with a 7-7 tie. Now, to most Southern fans of the sport, this would seem an embarrassment. But shall we look a little deeper? Fordham was actually a pretty major power in early football. In fact, when counting Division 1 and 1-AA wins, Fordham ranks 15th all time, with 722 according to the NCAA (ahead of Georgia, believe it or not), and that should be a little more impressive considering that Fordham scrapped its program in 1954 and didn't return until 1970. In the first half of the 20th century, Fordham was one of the better teams in the country - so popular that the NFL franchise the Cleveland Rams (later the LA Rams, now the St. Louis Rams) supposedly took their name from Fordham. And it just so happens that the 1936 team Georgia played was considered one of the best Fordham teams of all time (surpassed only by the 1937 team). The 1936 team's strength was the O line, which featured All-American tackle Ed Franco and future NFL All-Pro Center Alex Wojciechowicz. The line was called the "Seven Blocks of Granite" and it also featured another senior lineman who turned out to be pretty important to the game of football - a guy named Vince Lombardi. The 1936 Georgia team ended up 5-4-1, while the Fordham team ended up 5-1-2. The result in that game was actually pretty decent for the Dawgs. Fordham did drop football for a while, but returned to Division 1-AA in 1989. They play in the Patriot League, along with Bucknell, Colgate, Georgetown, Lafayette, Lehigh and Holy Cross. While by no means a powerhouse, Fordham did advance to the 1-AA playoffs in 2002. They'd be a pretty weak opponent for the Dawgs to schedule (weaker than Western Ky or Ga. Southern), and I don't consider that tie (some probably considered it a moral victory) too bad a mark on the record. So for now, Fordham, we've got bigger fish to fry.

Harvard University: In 1921 the Dawgs fell 10-7 to the Crimson in Cambridge. That Harvard team ended up 7-2-1, but was coming off pieces of the National Title in 1919 and 1920. Georgia also ended up 7-2-1 that year. Harvard was a strong football team in the early days, winning at least a share of 7 (or maybe 8) national titles. In 1982 Harvard and the rest of the Ivy League dropped down to Division 1-AA. Lately they've been getting better, winning 2 of the last 5 Ivy League titles. If Harvard were to agree to play a 1-A opponent (they haven't since 1991, when they played Army) Harvard wouldn't be a terrible opponent for Georgia (if forced to settle for a 1-AA opponent) because (a) they aren't completely terrible; (b) revenge for the 1921 game - and we never got the return end of a Home/Home; but most importantly (c) because it is Georgia's ancestral tradition to hate and beat Harvard whenever possible. As most Dawg fans know, the University of Georgia's founder, Abraham Baldwin, was a graduate of Yale University and attempted to model UGA after Yale. Yale was the first guest of the Bulldogs in Sanford Stadium. And above all else, the English Bulldog mascot itself is modeled after Handsome Dan, the Elis' mascot. It is in our blood to hate Harvard, and that perfect record Harvard has against Georgia must be corrected. Bring on the Crimson!

College of the Holy Cross: No team has owned Georgia more than Holy Cross. Probably the first and last time that sentence will ever be written. But it's true: Holy Cross is 3-0-0 against the Dawgs, as good a record as anyone has ever had. And unlike most matchups, this one was actually played on level playing fields. The first matchup was in 1937 on a neutral field (sort of) in Boston. Holy Cross won 7-6, and that team went on to go undefeated 8-0-2 while the Dawgs went 6-3-2 in Harry Mehre's last season. In 1938, the teams met on the Crusaders' home field in Worcester, but Holy Cross swamped the Dawgs, 29-6 en route to a 8-1 season. In 1939 the teams met in Athens, where the Dawgs should've had an advantage. But it wasn't to be, as Holy Cross won that one 13-0 in Wally Butts's first season between the hedges. Holy Cross ended up 7-2, Georgia ended up 5-6. These three games seem to have taken place in a lull for Georgia football, but at the same time as a Golden Era of Holy Cross football. Indeed, only the late 1980s-early 1990s (with "Heisman Candidate" Gordie Lockbaum) even come close to the mid 1930s for the Crusaders' on-field success. Sort of a shame for the Dawgs. Holy Cross plays in the Patriot League alongside Fordham, but hasn't had much success lately. Holy Cross has scheduled 1-A opponents recently (Army in 2002), so they might be willing to come on down if we were pressed to find a 1-AA opponent. The problem is that they aren't very good. Revenge is a good enough reason for me. Also, if Holy Cross were to play Georgia, maybe we could get Bill Simmons on down to Athens for the game and maybe he'd finally see what he's been missing out on by focusing so much on pro sports. Bring 'em on!

CATEGORY III: We Could Probably Get These Teams Without a Return Game

Miami University (OH): What is this? A MAC team that has dominated the Dawgs? Well, yes, it appears that way. The Dawgs and the erstwhile Redskins met in the Tangerine Bowl in 1974. Georgia was a mediocre 6-5 going into the game, while Miami was going into the game on a 22 game unbeaten streak. Miami won 21-10, the second of their three straight Tangerine Bowl wins (each against teams now in the SEC East, interestingly enough). So one of the worst teams of the Dooley Era loses to one of the best teams in MAC history. Not that big a deal (and Kyle King discussed further here). At the same time, I think Miami would be a pretty good OOC opponent. They've had success recently, probably wouldn't demand a return date (a 2-for-1 at worst) and they're a team, like Boise State last year, that would probably enjoy a trip down south. As strange as it seems, I actually knew about 10 people from my high school in Atlanta who went to Miami, and most came back. This would be a good matchup - at least as good as the Cincinnati matchup on the future schedule for the Dawgs. Let's bring them on down and correct that blemish on our all-time record.

United States Naval Academy: Navy owes the Dawgs a home game. Georgia and Navy have played twice before, with Navy winning them both. In 1916 in Annapolis, Navy beat Georgia 27-3. Navy finished that year 6-3-1, while the Dawgs finished 6-3. In 1957, at a "neutral" site in Norfolk, VA, Navy beat Georgia 27-14. That year Navy finished 9-1-1 and beat Rice in the Cotton Bowl, while Georgia limped to a 3-7 mark. Navy owes us a home game, by my count. I think an OOC game against Navy would be a very well received game in Athens. Georgia has several naval installations, and a home football game is the least the Navy can give Athens after taking away the Supply School from Normaltown. Plus, the head coach at Navy has ties to Georgia, since Paul Johnson arrived at the Academy from Georgia Southern. In fact, Johnson has coached between the hedges before, in his National Championship 2000 season at Southern. This is a realistic matchup, would provide an interesting game (Navy's option is fun as hell to watch) and a chance to have revenge on a team that has owned us. Bringing Navy to Athens should be a top priority.

Rice University: Originally, I wasn't all that surpised to see that Georgia had never beaten the Owls of Rice, since Rice has a decent tradition of football back in the day when oil money could buy a solid lineup. But the year Georgia played Rice wasn't one of those times. And Georgia had the home field advantage. 1936, Rice came to Athens and beat the Dawgs 13-7. Georgia went on to go 5-4-1 (that's the same year we tied the big boys at Fordham). Rice went 5-7. Rice's only other wins that year were Texas A&M-Kingsville, Sam Houston State, George Washington and a 2-6-1 Texas team. We got beat on our own field by a weak team from Rice? That will not stand. Rice now plays in the OOC-friendly Conference USA Western Division. I think Georgia has an eye for making inroads into Texas for recruiting, and the Dawgs have played Houston and Texas Tech OOC recently. This seems like a pretty reasonable matchup. Rice's coach has played Georgia before, too - Ken Hatfield beat the Dawgs in Athens in 1991 while coaching at Clemson. Hatfield's not the coach anymore, and Georgia won in 1991, but lost to Hatfield's Tigers in 1990. Rice is a good choice for a home OOC game.

CATEGORY IV: We'd Need a Home/Home, but a Decent or Respectable Opponent

These are teams that I'd categorize along with Colorado, Arizona State, Oregon State, or any of the other solid programs that Georgia should be scheduling. Going back to the introduction, I'd consider these teams a decent matchup instead of home/homes with Clemson.

University of Arizona: This team belongs in a category with Fordham and St. Mary's, since we didn't lose to Arizona, we just didn't beat them. This was the 1985 Sun Bowl and it finished in a 13-13 tie. The teams were relatively even, as Arizona finished 8-3-1 and the Dawgs at 7-3-2. It was the third tie in Sun Bowl history. Arizona has had some hard luck lately, as it sure appears like John Mackovic really put a hurt on the program. At the same time, Arizona seems to be a program on the rise. Georgia has already agreed to home/homes with Arizona State and the Oregon teams, so there probably wouldn't be reluctance to schedule Arizona. And Arizona plays LSU this year, so they're not afraid of the SEC. Set it up, so we can take their name off the list, Damon.

University of Pittsburgh: Of all the teams we've never beaten, Pittsburgh is probably the one that we most need to take care of. Two of the Dawgs' losses to Pittsburgh were in big, national title affecting games. Pitt is 3-0-1 against Georgia. The first one was a 7-7 tie in Athens in 1973. Georgia ended up at 7-3-1, Pitt at 6-4-1, but with a star freshman running back named Tony Dorsett. Two years later, Pitt beat Georgia 19-9 in Athens, led by Dorsett. As if Georgia hadn't had enough of Dorsett, Pitt again pounded on the famous "Wonderdawgs" "Junk Yard Dawgs" (thnks Diggler) team of 1976 in the 1977 Sugar Bowl. Pitt won 27-3 to clinch the national title and Dorsett had 202 yards rushing. The final meeting between Pitt and Georgia was in the 1982 Sugar Bowl. This time, however, Georgia had their own Tony Dorsett, in the form of a sophomore named Herschel Walker. Didn't matter though. Pitt won 24-20 in a matchup of top 10 teams. Georgia had some exceptional teams during this time, but couldn't beat great Pitt teams. Pitt has, in a word, owned Georgia. I think Georgia needs payback, perhaps as much as toward any team on this list. And now is the time to do it. Wannstedt is the coach, so we'd have a huge advantage. We've recruited the northeast a decent amount lately. A home/home (or maybe a 2-for-1) would be a good idea, and it'd bring Georgia attention up north. Revenge for the '76 and '81 teams would make it even better. Set it up. We need to beat Pitt.

Stanford University: This was close, as I thought seriously about putting the Cardinal in Category III. I don't think Stanford would come all the way down to Athens without a return game (though maybe a 2-for-1). Georgia and Stanford met in the 1978 Bluebonnet Bowl, with Stanford winning 25-23. This was Bill Walsh's last game before heading off to coach the 49ers to Super Bowl wins. Georgia wasn't too bad that year either, going 9-2-1. This win showed how talented a coach Walsh was, and the good seasons on the Farm led the way for a top recruit named John Elway, who arrived the next fall. Not the worst loss Georgia has ever suffered, but... I mean... come on! This is Stanford! You're telling me that the University of Georgia has never beaten Rice or Stanford or Chicago or Harvard???!!!! We've made a living out of pounding the nerds from Tech, but we can't beat these Ivory Towers? Why do I feel like Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds right now? Come on. Invite Stanford on down. Lord knows, we'd get good coverage from Ivan Maisel. Let's pound them and get back our manhood these nerds have taken.

Syracuse University: Yes, they sucked royally last year, but Syracuse actually has a very good tradition, and they have played quality football over the years. The one game between Syracuse and Georgia was in the 1989 Peach Bowl, and Syracuse won 19-18 with a 26-yard FG with 25 seconds to go. This was Ray Goff's first season with the Dawgs, which finished at a perfectly and appropriately mediocre 6-6. A close game, but it's still a loss. And that 0 in the win column must be filled. Syracuse has come south plenty of times recently (Auburn, FSU, Tennessee, UNC, etc...) and probably wouldn't mind coming back. Georgia could expand their national appeal with a game in the NYC market, and might draw some attention from the provincials in Bristol. This could be a good matchup. Make it happen. Let's get revenge.

West Virginia University: Yes, the last game the Dawgs played adds the couchburners to the list. 38-35 loss in the Atlanta Sugar Bowl was the only time Georgia and West Virginia faced off. It might be too soon to want a revenge game scheduled, as we all know revenge is a dish best served cold. I also seem to remember Kyle King wanting to schedule another game against WVU, to get the taste out of his mouth or something, but I can't find the link. Hopefully, we'll face off against the Mountaineers in another BCS bowl this year or something. If not, we should go ahead and set something up with them for down the road anyway. West Virginia fans are excitable and eager to cheer their team. Their team appears to be on the upswing. They'd be an attractive matchup if they stay good, but at the same time, there isn't that much talent in the state - they might be a team whose reputation is better than the roster by that time. I could be wrong though, but to me it seems like WVU is great about once every 15 years or so, and decent to pretty good the rest of the time. Set them on the calendar way down the road.

CATEGORY V: Clashes of the Titans, as in We'd Need ESPN/ABC's Help to Set This Up

There are three more teams that Georgia has played but never beaten. These three are among the best traditional programs in the country. If we played any of them, under traditional circumstances, it'd be a Gameday-is-coming event. Each would need a return game, and each would be among the list of "Great Intersectional Games" the national writers love to harp on. Each would have the chance to be a "tell the grandkids game" because each of these programs will probably be great 40-50 years from now, just like they were 40-50 years ago.

University of Nebraska: The last 2 years have been mediocre. But let's not get too far down on them. In the 1980s and 1990s, was there any team you'd want to beat more? Maybe Florida State? Nebraska would be an incredible road game. And their fans would love the trek to Athens. This is a game that could have people really fired up, especially once Callahan gets canned and Paul Johnson reintroduces the option to Lincoln. And the Dawgs would have revenge on their minds as well. 1969 was not one of the best Georgia teams of all time, but somehow they got matched up in the Sun Bowl against an 8-2 Nebraska team that shared the Big 8 title. Nebraska wasn't gentle. The 45-6 defeat to the Huskers was and is the worst defeat Georgia has ever suffered in 41 bowl appearances. It was the most points ever given up in a bowl game. Just a total whipping. Revenge is upon us. Mark Richt likely has a fond place in his heart for Nebraska too - his first personal national title was a win over the Huskers in 1993, and his alma mater won their first national title over the Huskers in 1983 (just after Richt left). I think this would be a great matchup down the road. And Nebraska isn't afraid to schedule tough opponents OOC - in recent years they've played Penn State, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Michigan State, Cal, Washington, and this year, USC.

Pennsylvania State University: One of the great programs of the last 40 years, Penn State has only played Georgia once, but what a time that was. In fact, the 1983 Sugar Bowl is my earliest memory of watching a college football game, believe it or not. I recall the situation very precisely - and I was told to root for Penn State because I have an Uncle who went there and was pulling for the Nittany Lions. Undefeated Georgia, with Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker in the backfield met 10-1 Penn State with the National Title on the line. Penn State was led by Todd Blackledge at quarterback and Curt Warner at tailback. The Nittany Lions held Herschel to just over 100 yards, an incredible job for them. The Dawgs came back in the game and cut the deficit to 4 with just under 4 minutes to go. But Penn State held on by converting key 3rd downs. For a while there (pretty much until the recent Ohio State and Texas titles), this was one of the best National Title bowl games of all time. And Georgia needs to right the wrong and make this series level. Penn State and Georgia should have played each other again in 1999 in the Outback Bowl. However, for some moronic and biased reason the bowl officials instead selected a 7-4 Kentucky team that lost to the 8-3 Georgia team. Penn State has opted to come down south for series against Alabama (and I think they have one on the future schedule right now). In recent years, since the Big Ten and SEC have so many bowl matchups, the two conferences have been reluctant to schedule OOC games. Perhaps with some shifting tie-ins, this will change. It's quite possible that Georgia and Penn State could meet in a Citrus Bowl or an Outback Bowl in the next few years. I'd love to see Penn State and Georgia play home and home though. I'd bring my Uncle, and I'd go to Happy Valley too.

University of Southern California: The last of all teams that Georgia has played but never beaten. The holy grail. Also, USC is tied with Holy Cross for beating Georgia 3 times without a tie. Unlike Holy Cross, the USC defeats weren't even close. All three matchups were held in Los Angeles (aside - why won't USC schedule outside their region???). The first game was in 1931. A Georgia team that would end up 8-2 faced off against the inevitable national champion Trojans. It wasn't pretty. USC pounded Georgia 60-0. To date, this is the single worst defeat in the history of Georgia football. Two years later, another Georgia team that would end up 8-2 went to LA and faced a USC team that would end up 10-1-1. USC again pounded Georgia 31-0. Almost 30 years later, Georgia again returned to USC, in 1960. A third time, Georgia left a loser, though this time it was closer, 10-3. Three games, a total score of 101-3. This entire post has been about teams that have owned Georgia and getting back at them. No team has shown complete and unmitigated domination over the Dawgs quite like Southern Cal. Now, there is a reason (definitely not an excuse) perhaps for the third game. USC integrated their roster in the 1950s (sort of - Brice Taylor, a player of African American descent who was born without one hand played for USC in the 1920s and made All American honors, though the team was again all white until the 1950s). Georgia did not until 1971 (after USC whipped Alabama). Again, this is not an excuse, but an unfortunate reason - to think of how good Georgia would've been as an integrated team throughout history is mind blowing. The first two blowouts, however, had no excuse. USC was just simply better. But would they be today? I would have loved to have seen UGA and USC play in 2002, when they finished 3-4 in the final AP poll. I consider USC to be the best program of the decade so far. But I'd also consider Georgia to be right there. In fact, when CFN puts out their program rankings, I expect UGA to be in the top 5 just below USC. USC has come down south recently (Auburn), and I think they would again. A Georgia-USC matchup should be almost as big as Texas-Ohio State. And it could be a great game for bloggers to argue over. And Georgia needs to do something about those three prior games against USC. It is an ugly mark on our all-time record. It's time to fix it. Start a new movement - to get CBS, ABC and ESPN to put together all their resources to set up a home and home OOC matchup between USC and Georgia. Let me guess... the networks would rather have it be Florida... typical..

Anyway, that's my take. I want the Dawgs to be able to say "if we've played you, we've beaten you." I don't want any other team to say that every time they've played Georgia, Georgia hasn't won. Some of these matchups should be no-brainers, like getting Rice or Navy instead of the palooka of the year Directional Louisiana team. Others might take an effort, but would be more interesting than existing matchups, like Pittsburgh or Syracuse instead of Cincinnati. And some would be transcendent, national attention garnering games that if the opportunity presented itself, would just be too good to pass up, like Penn State, Nebraska or USC. To sum up, if all things are equal and we can choose revenge against a team we've never beaten or just another OOC game, I say we go for revenge.

Edited 8/10 for multiple corrections.