Georgia Football 2018: Predictions and Prognostications

I have now been writing posts to this blog for over 3 years now, and this will be the 4th time that I am writing a post to predict the Georgia football season.  As many of you know, my intentions for this blog were to post only articles on real estate.  However, I quickly realized that I needed to branch out a little and make it  more fun if anyone was going to read it.  On the other hand, I was very frustrated with Georgia football during year one of this blog, and that may have lead me to write more football posts as that season went down the drain.  I am planning to write a post about Zillow from a broker’s point of view in case you have any interest in a real estate topic, but for today I will focus on Georgia football.

First, let me get some bragging out of the way.  If you read this blog, you may recall my predictions from last year.  In August of 2017 yours truly called for the Dawgs to go 11 & 1 with a difficult loss to Auburn which proved to be exactly right.  I took a little ribbing from my friends for such a positive and totally homer prediction.  One friend from Toccoa found the prediction to be hilarious even if he was hopeful that I would be correct.  But he predicted 10 and 2 so what does he know about it anyway?  At the end of the day, I am not Chip Towers or Jeff Danzler. These posts are riddled with grammatical mistakes because I am real estate broker and not a sports writer.  But I do know Georgia football and I have an opinion to share. So why hell not?

UGA vs Austin Peay Sept 1st– Obviously, games like this aren’t hard to predict.  Georgia should win this one easily, but there will be a lot of interest in how this one goes down. Oddly, they are going to kick off at 3:30 here in Athens, and all the talk will be about Justin Fields.  It is funny how the Freshman QB is always the toast of the town until he throws that first interception.  That being said, I expect Jake Fromm to have a good day and sit out the 4th quarter.  (1-0)

UGA vs South Carolina Sept 8th– If you ask any SCAR fan they will tell you how good their team is going to be and how they will beat Georgia in Columbia this year.  Trust me these folks are fired up for this one, and the stadium will be rocking.  SCAR is well coached on defense, Jake Bentley is a very good quarterback, Debo Samuel is going to be healthy, and the game is early in the season.  All signs point to an upset right?  I respectfully disagree with that thinking.  South Carolina is good, but the depth chart will play a big role in this one.  It will be hot over there and come the 4th quarter SCAR’s 1st team players will be tired of Holyfield, Swift, & James Cook.  That’s right James Cook and not Zamir White.  Georgia wins this one in similar fashion to last year’s match up.   (2-0)

UGA vs Middle Tenn State Sept 15th– This is another one that Georgia should and will win easily, but this is a critical point in the season.  It is critical because the team will need to be clicking by this point or the season could go South.  The next five weeks after this game will be crucial for a successful year.  Georgia wins it big. (3-0)

UGA vs Missouri Sept 22nd– This game scares me more than most people.  I am hoping this one is a night game and not a 12pm start.  The game is at Missouri, and that stadium can be a little flat for an 11am local kick.  Their quarterback is very good, and they will take some chances in the passing game.  However, they have a new offensive coordinator and I hate to say it, but Mr. Dooley may not be the right hire for the position. Dawgs win by 3 touchdowns.  (4-0)

UGA vs Tennessee Sept 29th– This game sure was fun last year.  I watched it from a bar in Birmingham before a good friend’s wedding.  During the game a homeless man outside the bar struck a waitress in the face and then wrestled a bouncer along with the police before ultimately being arrested on numerous charges. That homeless man put up way more of a fight than Tennessee did that day.  Tennessee will be better coached this time around, but they just don’t have enough talent at this point.  Dawgs win big again.  (5-0)

UGA vs Vandy Oct 6th– This game use to scare me from time to time during the Richt era.  Our team was always liable to look past Vandy which could still happen with LSU looming the week after, but I think this one goes as expected with Georgia winning big at home.  (6-0).

UGA vs LSU Oct 13th– Well here comes the first hiccup on the schedule.  Well at least that is what some people think, and the people that think this way don’t really know LSU quarterbacks.  Don’t get me wrong, this game will be hard, and that stadium will be rocking come nightfall, but here is my thinking.  LSU has a hard schedule this year.  They play Miami, Auburn, Mississippi, and go to Florida the week before playing Georgia.  I personally think they catch Georgia at a bad time and could be in for a disastrous season.  Georgia wins a close one in a great atmosphere, and Ed Orgeron will be fired come December.   (7-0)

UGA vs Florida Oct 27th–   The real blessing in this game will be the bye week Georgia has between LSU and Florida.  I think the game against LSU will be a very close physical one, and without a bye week Georgia could easily lose.  Florida will be better this year for sure.  Hell, they get back 12 or more players from that embarrassing credit card scandal.  They will be hungry and looking for revenge on Georgia.  Nevertheless, I don’t think they have enough players to get it done.  Furthermore, their new Defensive coordinator is Todd Grantham who has been burned badly by Georgia offenses since leaving Athens.  Just look to Grantham’s defenses at Louisville and Miss State.  Dawgs win, and then I will belly flop into a pool somewhere on St. Simmons Island later that evening. (sort of a tradition) (8-0)

UGA vs Kentucky Nov 3rd– Kentucky has some real talent these days, but this isn’t basketball.  I don’t see their roster beating Georgia unless UGA gets hit hard by injuries.  Dawgs win another one.  (9-0)

UGA vs Auburn Nov 10th– Well here we go again.  Georgia is an undefeated 9 and 0, and prime to lose to Auburn just like last year.  Auburn will be picked by many for an upset in this one. Especially after losing to Georgia in the SEC Championship.  No doubt that Georgia can lose this game against Auburn’s formidable defense.  However, this one will not be played in Jordan Hare but in Sanford Stadium.  Georgia wins this one in front of ferocious home crowd.  (10-0)

UGA vs UMass Nov 17th– Do you know the last time Georgia was 10-0?  It was 1982, and I just predicted it to happen for the first time in 36 years which is laughable to many of you. Well call me crazy if you want but Georgia will be 11-0 after this game.  Dawgs Win!  (11-0)

UGA vs techies Nov 24th– The sum of all Georgia fan fears could be realized on this Saturday in November.  That fear being an undefeated Georgia team losing to Ga Tech at the end of the season.  Can you imagine how horrible that would be for the fans and team.  These are the kind of games that can make that horror a reality.  Tech runs the triple option which helps them play with better teams. It will be a scary, scary morning for me and all other Georgia fans, but Dawgs will win another one.  (12-0)

HOLY MOLY!  I can’t even believe it myself.  I am honestly predicting my beloved Bulldogs to go 12 and 0 for the first time since 1980.  I must be out of my d@mn mind.  What the hell am I thinking?   Alabama doesn’t even go 12 and 0.  I know this prediction may seem crazy to many of you because it is so hard to win them all but look at the schedule.  South Carolina is good but not great.  LSU is in the same situation with a much more difficult schedule before playing Georgia.  Florida and Tennessee have year one coaches.  Auburn has to play in Sanford Stadium this year, and Tech is Tech.  The only reason people think Georgia will lose one or two games is because of history.  For 38 years, Georgia has not been 12 and 0, and that seems like a long enough period of time to end the streak.  The current team certainly lost some leadership from last year, and it will be hard to replace Roquan, Sony, and Chubb.  But if any team in Georgia’s history could it might be this one.   The last four recruiting classes rank as follows:  6, 11, 3, and 1 nationally.  This current team could very well be the most physically gifted Georgia team EVER!  The roster is bigger and stronger than it has ever been in my lifetime.  So, keep your fingers crossed, and hope they avoid the injury bug because this year could be a lot of fun.  Go Dawgs!

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Evaluating SEC Coaches from a Bulldog’s Viewpoint

SEC Media Days has been taking place this week over in Atlanta.  I personally enjoy this week because it is a sign that football is getting closer and cooler weather will eventually return.  I doubt anyone reading this blog doesn’t know what SEC Media days are about, but in case you don’t here is what you need to know.  It takes place over the course of four days before the season and gives every coach a chance to address the media, answer questions, and bring along a few players as respresentatives for their respective teams.  It usually brings about a little trash talk and some quotable radio fodder for all the talking heads to discuss while nothing else is going on in college sports.  This event wasn’t as interesting in the Mark Richt era to us Georgia fans because we just didn’t stir up much buzz on media row.  Maybe that is a compliment to Richt, but in all honesty he was usually fielding questions about arrests that took place over the summer and not about a quarterback controversy.   These days Georgia is viewed in a little different light than in past years.  But I must give Kirby credit because he has done a good job of making Georgia a non-story for off the field issues, and he now handles the media like a seasoned pro.  On the other hand, Georgia and its former players have still been a big story in other ways this week.

For example, former Georgia Quarterback, Aaron Murray, decided to share his thoughts on new Tennessee head coach, Jeremy Pruitt.  Aaron basically explained that in his experience at UGA Pruitt did not demonstrate the characteristics required to be the head man.  He was a good coach, but lacked maturity and people skills the job required, and in the past, he was disrespectful to Coach Richt along with other members of the staff.  If that wasn’t enough, David Pollack and Hutson Mason decided to jump on board and continue the Pruitt bashing. This created some buzz, but thankfully it was not from one of the current players.   Lastly, the Florida Gators can’t help but be themselves even when they are losing.  One of their players not only predicted they would beat Georgia this year, but even went on to say last year’s game was closer than the score reflected.  If you recall, that game was 21 to 0 in the 1st quarter and was easily one of the biggest A-S-S whippings handed out in the SEC last year with a final score of 42 to 7.  At the end of the day, if Gator players are having to discuss our team this early in the season that is a good thing.

It didn’t take me long to get off track here today.  What I really want to do is discuss the current coaches in the SEC as of today.  I often play a game with friends that are fans of other teams.  Basically, I would ask them in their opinion what coaches they would want to stay or go from their rival schools.  I am fairly certain Jeff Danzler plays the same game and may have invented it.  If so, good for Danzler because the answers are quite revealing.  For example, do you think a Georgia Tech fan wanted Mark Richt to stay or go?  I bet they wanted him gone.  As another example, Georgia fans were sad to see Chan Gailey be fired as the Tech head coach.   So now that you understand the game, we can look at the current coaches and ask the same question from a Bulldog point of view.   Should They Stay, or Should They Go? (Clash reference intended)

SEC WEST:

Gus Malzahn at Auburn-STAY:   Everyone thinks this guy is such a great coach, but I am just not buying him and never really have.  I have seen his offense play poorly too many times, and other than one game his teams have performed badly against UGA.  I personally want the GUS BUS to stay in Auburn a long time.  He makes Auburn a good win, but not real good real often.  Sorry War Eagle that is how I see it from Athens, GA.  No one loved his contract extension more than me.

Saban at Bama-GO to HELL:  This goes without saying. This guy has done a tremendous job, and much like a Sith Lord his departure will restore balance to the force.  Good for Bama.  They should enjoy it as long as they can.

Ed Orgeron at LSU- STAY:  This coach is a good guy and an authentic Cajun Tiger, but at this point he doesn’t really scare anyone.  Now I could be singing a different tune come this fall after they play Georgia.  But for now, I think he is doing a good job but not a great one.

Jimbo Fisher at Texas A & M-STAY for Now:  Hard to make a call on these new coaches, but he brings another good name to our league.  I am not sure how much success he will have there, but I like him where he is for now.

Rest of the SEC West- All are Welcome to STAY:  Ole Miss is still recovering and Arkansas along with Miss State have new coaches.  So, for now we are calling for these coaches to stay.

 

SEC EAST:

Dan Mullen at Florida-STAY for Now:  The fact that Dan Mullen is the new coach at Florida is generally a good sign for us Bulldogs. Don’t get me wrong, I think he is a good coach, and he could be a dangerous hire in Gainesville.  But only time will tell, and I think this has about a 50/50 chance.  For example, he and his players are already trolling Georgia with comments and braggadocios remarks meanwhile the current team has accomplished nothing.  Personally, I like it when I see one of Florida’s best players having to answer questions about a Georgia loss from last year.

Will Muschamp at SCAR-GO:  Some of you that know me may find this one surprising, but I must give Muschamp some credit.  I think he is doing a real good job in Columbia, and if given more time he could become dangerous.  A lot of this depends on the success of his opponents.  For example, if Georgia and Clemson remain good his job is difficult enough, but what if Tennessee and Florida turn it around?

Jeremy Pruitt at TENN-STAY:  He hasn’t coached a game, but he has his work cut out for him.  This one could be fun to watch if it turns bad.  But you never know, he may just surprise us all and do a great job.  I know one thing for certain, their defense will get better immediately.

Rest of the SEC East-All are Welcome to STAY:  I am not trying to diminish the job that any of the coaches are doing at Vandy, Mizz, or Kentucky, but they just aren’t real threats in the league at this point.  Maybe that will change but for now they can stay.

Other Notables:

Dabo Sweeney at Clemson-GO:  This guy is good and has made Clemson a real power in college football again.  For recruiting purposes, they are located too damn close to Athens, GA.

Paul Johnson at TECH-STAY Forever:  I know he has had some success against Georgia, but this guy is perfect for us.  He makes Tech good every once in a while, which can make beating them a little bit more relevant. Granted, we don’t’ gain as much by beating Tech as Florida, Bama, and South Carolina do with their in- state rivals.  But running the triple option is openly admitting that you can’t compete with the big boys.  So, they run a chicken sh*t high school scheme and chop block the defense.  He will never attract quality defense players running that scheme in my opinion.

That makes only two coaches I want gone in the SEC and three if you count Clemson.  I know things could change, but this a good sign for Georgia football in the years to come.  Go Dawgs!  43 DAYS!

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The Ghosts of UGA’s Past

As the great comedy writer Larry David says, “pretty…., pretty…., pretty good”, is exactly what most Georgia fans are feeling on this Tuesday before the Tennessee game. 

But not this Dawg fan.  In fact, I feel a great deal of anxiety for my beloved Bulldogs this week.  Yes of course I had a great time Saturday watching them thoroughly handle the bizzaro bulldogs from Mississippi.  You may even recall that I did predict this team to go 11 and 1, and so far I am looking much wiser than many thought only 4 weeks ago.  I still believe that record should be the eventual outcome of the season, but this Saturday the game in Knoxville truly has a chance to signify a drastic change in the football culture at UGA.  Most of you reading this should already understand why, but for those of you who don’t let me explain.

I was born almost three months after Georgia won its last national title in football.  Since then my life as a Dawg fan has been filled with great times, great friends, and great memories.  But it has also been filled with great disappointment.  And these great disappointments have come right after some of the really great memories.  That has sort of been the life of Georgia fans for the past 36 years or so.  Don’t get me wrong, I would not change being a Georgia man for any other team or school in the entire country.  I don’t want a degree from a different university, and I don’t want to live anywhere other than Athens.  Long and short, I am all in when it comes to the school and the state of Georgia.  I know this team is good, and I know the new coaching staff was brought here to change things for the better.  But I still have reason to worry.  I hate to be a “Negative Nancy” or a “Debbie Downer”, but allow me to remind you of a few big games followed by some tough losses from the ghosts of UGA’s past.

  • The first two games I have to lump together because I was so young. After rolling through the SEC in 1981 and 1982, Georgia lost two Sugar Bowls to two schools from Pennsylvania.  81’ to Pitt and 82’ to Penn State. Both games likely cost Georgia a national title.  Keep in mind these games were played after beating Florida, Auburn, and Tech to close out the season.  These games were heart breaking, but they are not examples of Georgia playing poorly.
  • The first big letdown game I can recall was Georgia vs. Auburn in 1997. Jim Donnan appeared to have Georgia over the hump with a 37-14 win over Florida.  The joy of that victory was short lived because Dameyune Craig and the Auburn Tigers beat Georgia solidly at Sanford Stadium in the very next game.
  • The next one came just a year later. Georgia went on the road to beat LSU with Quincy Carter in 1998.  Bulldog fans then dared to think their team would beat Tennessee the following weekend.  Well the joke was on us because the Bulldogs lost 22 to 3 in Sanford, and no one called Quincy Carter “ice water” ever again.
  • In 2004, Georgia dismantled the defending national champs, LSU, 45 to 16. We all felt great about ourselves.  Every fan was certain Georgia was on its way to the BCS.  But then Tennessee came to town the very next week with an upset win.  This one stung badly at the time.
  • Here is a list of other games in the last 15 years that hurt Georgia’s chances to have a special year: Florida 2002, Auburn 2005, Tenn. 2007, Bama 2008, Tech 2008, SCAR 2012 just to name a few. Trust me there are more.

So here is my point, this Tennessee game is the typical trap game.  Just about the time that the fan base starts to feel good, the team goes out and losses one they shouldn’t.  This has become a defining characteristic of Georgia Football for 20 years or more.  But here is an opportunity to change that perception with a win over Tennessee this Saturday.  I don’t care how they get it just as long as they win.  Have you also considered that Florida is already 2 and 0 in the SEC?  I know they don’t deserve to be, but regardless of a comically bad off season they are still 2 and 0.  If Georgia loses this weekend, they are already behind the 8 Ball in the SEC East. So in my opinion, the season starts Saturday in Knoxville, and Florida is already a win ahead of both Tennessee and Georgia.

So I hope all you Bulldog fans out there feeling “pretty good” about your team realize that nothing has been accomplished, and there is a long ways to go.  So don’t book a room in Atlanta just yet.  On the other hand, I think our head coach and new staff understand this all too well, and that should help the team keep their head out of the clouds this week.  All this being said, I am going to stand by my predictions for the year.  Dawgs win Saturday and the culture around the program improves a little more with each coming week.  Go Dawgs!

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A Message to Bulldog Fans in South Bend

Today is only Thursday, but it already feels less crowded here in Athens except for the Chick-Fil-A on Alps road of course.  I am trying to recall a game in my lifetime with as much excitement and fervor to make so many UGA fans travel as this week’s match up against Notre Dame.  Sure, there have been some big games here in Athens and Atlanta over the last 15 or so years.  LSU 2004, BAMA 2008 & 2012, along with some trips to the Georgia Dome come to mind.  However, I think you have to go back to 2002 when Georgia returned to the Sugar Bowl as the SEC Champion.  In 2002, Georgia fans were itching to get down to New Orleans to watch their Dawgs play Florida State.  I was one of them of course, and I had a blast even though it wasn’t that great of game.  If you recall, FSU that year was a little beat down, and an underdog to Georgia.  I think Anquan Boldin had to move from receiver to quarterback for that one game.  In the end, Georgia fans weren’t as excited about the match up in 2002 as they were about the trip.  And I worry that too many fans feel the same way about this trip to Notre Dame.

Granted, I have never been to South Bend, but I am pretty damn sure it is not equal to New Orleans.  Nevertheless, it does have appeal thanks to Notre Dame

Lou Holtz

and their football team.  There is not much reason for me to go into Notre Dame’s historic program.  Truth be told, I was not alive for much of their dominance.  I can recall Tony Rice, Rocket Ismail, and a kickoff return against Colorado while Lou Holtz spat on the sidelines with every word he shouted. (Suffering Succotash!)  To be very honest, most of what I remember of Notre Dame is Ron Powlus, Bob Davey, Tyron Willingham, and a dreadfully slow linebacker that believed he was dating a make believe girl on the internet.  None of these memories are good for Notre Dame by the way.   In the end, most people under 30 might be unaware of Notre Dame’s long history.  Sadly, the same can be said for UGA.  For many fans this is  for certain a big game .  But on the other hand, this is simply a fun trip for a lot of fans .  And yes it should be fun.  Fans can visit Chicago, see a Cub’s game, stare at Lake Michigan, eat deep dish pizza, and yes visit South Bend to watch Georgia play. I truly hope all of the Bulldogs enjoy the trip, but I also hope they know that this game means something.

I fully understand that this is NOT an SEC game, and a loss here doesn’t affect the standings in the SEC eastern division.  But do you know what a win in South Bend on Saturday night would mean?  It would mean a return to relevance.  That’s right Dawg fans. Georgia has not been relevant since 2012.  And they weren’t relevant in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016 either.  Yikes!  The truth hurts.  Some of you may disagree with me on this point of view because you may define relevance differently.  For me, being relevant is defeating a Top 10 team or even winning a game as the underdog.  I know Georgia beat Auburn last year in Sanford, but that one doesn’t count for me.  I think the last big game Georgia won away from Sanford was Florida in 2012, and even that game was on a neutral field.  I could be wrong, but I think the last time Georgia had a big upset was 2006 against Auburn which was a 12 noon kick off on the plains.  Now I know that Notre Dame isn’t ranked in the Top 10, but the game airs at 8pm on NBC for all the world to see.  Georgia is currently the underdog, and if they can win this one then they are relevant at least for a few weeks anyway.  On the other hand, if they lose they could still have a great year.  But winning in South Bend at night with a freshman quarterback could make a statement for this team and coaching staff.  And that’s what they were hired to do here in Athens.  Winning this game could change the tune or narrative of Georgia Football from what it has been over the last 10 years.  So have fun up in South Bend and be sure to keep it classy.  But if you get into that stadium, scream your head off for your Bulldogs because this one is more than a vacation dawg fans.  Go Dawgs!

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Georgia Football 2017: Predictions & Prognostications

I have been posting these articles or blogs for about two years now.  Even so, I have not kept a real steady schedule or even been consistent on writing about real estate.  I quickly realized that always writing about real estate could become a little boring or even redundant because good real estate topics don’t emerge every week.  On the other hand, Georgia football is always a welcome discussion in our neck of the woods.  Therefore, I try to write a couple of posts each year depending on available time and my current feelings about the state of the program.  For example, in 2015 my feelings quickly went from good to terrible in what was ultimately Richt’s final season.  For better or worse those feelings were well

David Putty’s Classic 8 Ball Jacket

documented on this blog.  Nowadays, I am pretty d@&n optimistic about the “Smart Era” of Georgia football as you will see as you read through my predictions about the Bulldogs this year.  So now let me put on my magic 8 Ball jacket and gaze into the crystal ball.

UGA vs App State Sept 2nd– This is the typical game that happens every year where people want to talk up an underdog that is going to beat UGA, and this year it happens to be Appalachian State.  Long & short people are talking about how they upset Michigan in 2007 and almost beat Tennessee last year.  Well so what!  Tennessee was not a good a football team last year, and neither was Michigan in 2007.   The dawgs are going to win this one by 14 to 17 points.  1-0

UGA vs Notre Dame Sept 9th– Chicago and South Bend have no idea what is coming to town in less than two weeks.  I am not talking about the football team.  I am talking about the Bulldog fan base.  There is going to be a sea of red and black

Hey Chicago! What’s That Coming Down the Tracks?

swarming around up there.  Now I could be wrong, but I bet some of those Dawg fans do a little drinking while they are in town. I am sure the fan base will keep it classy unless the Bulldogs lose badly or even worse lose a heart breaker.  But that is not going to happen.  This game is going to be about Georgia’s defense.  I like Georgia in a close one.  2-0

UGA vs Samford Sept 16th– JUST STAY HEALTHY!  Seriously, get the win and get some people some playing time.  Dawgs Win! 3-0

UGA vs Miss State Sept 23rd– Miss State will be the SEC opener, and probably the first game that brings a big game crowd to Athens.  Plenty of people are already pointing to this game as a hiccup for the Dawgs.  Not because Miss State is that good, but because Georgia always does this once or even twice a year.  But you know what?  We hired Kirby to stop this trend, and I think he will get it done sooner than later.  Dawgs win by 17.  4-0

UGA vs Tenn Sept 30th– Someone I know well is getting married this weekend and I will be in attendance at the wedding.  I am already stressing about the wedding & reception time vs the kick off of this game.  I really hate to miss watching this one.  You know why?  It is going to be fun.  Knoxville is a hard place to play, but Tennessee does not have the talent or the coach to win this game.  I hope the Volunteers enjoyed the two year run over Georgia because it is over.  They will be trying to hire a new coach come December of this year.   Dawgs Win! 5-0

UGA vs Vandy Oct. 7th – Boy this one sure did hurt last year. Georgia has definitely lost too many games to Vanderbilt over the last 20 years or so.   But the year after a loss to Vandy has historically been good to Georgia, and this year will be no different.  I do like their coach, but I have been surprised by Vanderbilt fans of late.  In fact, I don’t really care for them anymore.  No reason to give you details, but I will say some recent experiences are reminiscent of a Duke fan.  GROSS!  Dawgs win again.  6-0

UGA vs Missouri Oct. 14th– This one was a close one last year, and if you recall, it was a big moment for Jacob Eason.  I think that if Mizz couldn’t beat Georgia last year in their own stadium then they won’t be able to do it to this Georgia team in Sanford.  I don’t even like this one to be close.  Dawgs Win! 7-0

GEORGIA vs Florida Oct. 28th– This one will always matter to both fan bases regardless of either team’s record.  Florida doesn’t seem to have a quarterback yet, and they have had a ton of off field issues.  I think 8 players may be suspended for the first game.  Florida will be the trendy pick for this one, and all the talking heads will be calling for Georgia to lose this one in Jax.  It will be close and Florida always seems to show up for this one, but I really believe Georgia pulls this one out.  Probably a low scoring game.  Dawgs Win! 8-0

UGA vs South Carolina Nov 4th– Historically, this is the letdown game for

Muschamp Keeping His Cool in Columbia

Georgia right?  I mean if I am correct and Georgia is undefeated after the Florida game then typically Georgia would lose. But like I said earlier, I don’t think that is going to happen this year.  Georgia pulls away in the 4th quarter to win by 10 or more.  9-0

UGA vs Auburn Nov. 11th – Last year this game proved to be Kirby’s first big win as a head coach.  In fact, Georgia has been dominating Auburn as of late.  Sadly, this domination will come to end on the plains just before 8pm.  Auburn pulls this one out and breaks our hearts.  9-1

UGA vs Kentucky Nov. 18th– Kentucky will probably be pretty good again this year.  At the time, last year’s win in Lexington was actually a really good one for Georgia.  However, this year the Wildcats are going to run into an angry Bulldog team in Athens.  35 to 14 Dawgs Win!  10-1

UGA vs techies Nov. 25th– No reason to even bring up last year with this game because this year is going to be so much fun.  I think Tech is in for a bad season.  A real bad one in fact.  Granted, they will always give Georgia a fight because of the rivalry, but there sting won’t be strong enough this year.  Dawgs Win 11-1

So there you have it.  My prediction for Georgia’s 2017 season.  Pretty optimistic right?  I think Vegas has the over/under on Georgia wins at 8.5 which means I am probably a complete moron or maybe I am just a homer.  In the end, Georgia’s season depends so much on an improved offensive line.  If this area gets better it will really help Eason and the entire offense.  With this in mind, let me rant about Eason for a little bit.  It seems to me that fans are giving this guy a bad rap a little too early.  He played very well at times last year for a TRUE FRESHMAN.  Does anybody remember Stafford’s freshman year?  If you do then you might recall it was worse than Eason’s, but I will say that Stafford showed improvement at the end of his freshman year.  My point is to say, give this guy a chance to be good because with a better line he just might be great.

Moving on, it seems every year in college football there are surprise teams that win more than the experts predict.  So why not Georgia?  The schedule seems manageable to me, and programs in their second year of a coaching change tend to do well.  Especially here at Georgia. Just look at Jim Donnan’s team in 1997 and Mark Richt’s in 2002.  Two great teams both in the head coach’s second year.  Furthermore, Georgia is one of only 10 teams in all of college football that have over 50% blue chip prospects on their roster.  Did you know that every single national champion since the 90s has had over 50% blue chip players?  If that holds true again it means only 10 teams have a chance to win it all.  Now I am not saying Georgia will win it all, but I do think they will win a lot of them.  Go Dawgs!

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Georgia Football 2017:  What are Realistic Expectations?

Another summer has come and gone in Athens, GA.  The students are back, and even now as I sit in our office on Milledge the soon to be sorority girls are parading up and down Milledge for formal rush.  This is always a fun time in Athens for many reasons.  The return of students breathes new life into our town each year and as always college football is soon to follow.  It has been so long since I have written a

Formal Rush in Athens

post on anything let alone Georgia football, so please excuse my grammatical mistakes as I am sure they will be plentiful in today’s post.  That being said, it seemed like a good time to write a football blog since fall practice has begun, and we are only 22 days away from the Appalachian State game.

Last season was a disappointment in many ways, but I do feel like there was some progress made as well. The 2016 season started off strong with a good win over UNC, but it quickly derailed with bad performances, an embarrassing loss to Ole Miss (cheaters), a heart breaker to Tennessee, and how can we forget Vanderbilt and Tech.  In fact, without wins over Auburn and TCU the season could have been a complete failure.  But was it really a failure or were our expectations a little too lofty?  I was guilty of expecting a 10 win season myself.  And with wins over Vanderbilt, Tech, and Tennessee which seemed reasonable to expect the 10 wins could have happened.  I don’t believe that any Georgia team should ever lose to Vandy, and a loss to Tech is acceptable about once every ten years.  But when I look back at what UGA had to overcome the record seems more realistic than I previously thought.  Think about it for a minute.  Georgia had a first year coach, a dismal offensive line, a freshman quarterback, slim receiving corps, and a weak kicking game.  How does that equal a good year?  So what the hell was I thinking?  Obviously, like most I was blinded by red and black glasses along with my unabashed love for all things UGA.  So if my expectations were unrealistic last year, what would be realistic for this football season?  Why should Georgia be any better?  Well, I bet I can come up with a few reasons to think so.

  • The Offensive Line Can’t Be Worse– Last year was bad, and I believe that wasn’t the current staff’s fault. They were undersized without much depth. I don’t want to take away from their effort at all. They played hard, and I believe they got better.  And instead of criticizing Tyler Catalina,  I want thank him for coming down and trying to help where help was apparently needed.  I don’t think the line will be world beaters, but they will be bigger overall and one more year under Coach Pittman will help.
  • The Defense Has to Be Even Better– Last year the defense was a bright spot on the team, and I think this year that side of the ball has a chance to be dominant. Coach Smart and Mel Tucker have already made their mark on the program in this area.  I think the future is bright for Georgia on the defensive side of the ball.
  • Improvements on Offense – I really do believe we will see better offensive production for many reasons. Eason will be improved, but how much only time
    Jacob Eason Fall Practice

    will tell.  At least he got a hair cut. The receiver corps seems to be deeper and may include freshman talent.  Isaac Nauta is probably the best tight end in the SEC already, and the running backs could be as well.  Sure we will miss McKenzie’s big plays, but offenses tend to take big strides in year two of a regime change.  Look at UGA in 1997, 2002, and even the Falcon’s success last year.

  • The Kicking Game– This one remains a bit of a mystery. But the coaching staff has made strong efforts to improve in this area. The kicking competition will continue with fresh young talent to add into the fold.  Kirby even added a new kickoff return specialist from California with the 85th scholarship.  It is apparent that special teams are important to this coaching staff.
  • The Schedule is Manageable– Thankfully for Georgia, the SEC east is not exactly a murderer’s row. There are no national championship teams on the schedule or at least we don’t think so.  Even a pessimists could take a look at the schedule and declare, “it’s possible for Georgia to beat any of the teams on their schedule.”  The issue recently is that Georgia never does it.  Regardless, the schedule could help this team significantly in year two.

In closing, maybe last year’s expectations are better suited for this year’s team. I am not ready to pick a record or the specific games, but I have to be honest.  I feel pretty damn optimistic about 2017.  Then again I guess I always do.  GO DAWGS!

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Athens Real Estate is Booming:  Will it Last?

If you live in the Athens area then you probably know our real estate market is booming.  Granted, there are a few pockets and price points that have not performed too well, but in general the market is thriving.  I recently wrote an article about Athens home buyers where I described the current frustrations of home buyers in this seller’s market.  Over the last several months, I have had many people ask me what I think is driving our market and how long do I think it will last.  In reality, no one knows for sure, but when asked I try to give an open and honest opinion based on what we see in the market on a daily basis.   This morning I find myself in the office looking out the window while Athens is under a tornado watch and flash flood warning.  This being the case, it seems like a good use of time to write a post and share my thoughts on this topic.

For many of us, the past mortgage crisis and real estate bust is ever present in our mind, and that influences our caution or even pessimism about the future.  Nevertheless, it doesn’t’ mean we are heading that way once again.  A wise man once said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.   With that in mind, I think it would be smart to consider the Athens market before the last recession.  I began my career in real estate here in Athens right after graduating from UGA.  It was the early 2000s and the real estate market was strong.  It is fair to say I was pretty green when I started, but with a little hard work along with some help from others I was able to find a little success and make a living.  Nowadays, I am a little older, a little heavier, and a lot wiser.  And I have found that my experience of living through the recession has really helped and given me a good perspective on where we are now in Athens real estate.  I am sure many of my colleagues feel the same way.  That being said, what was going in real estate before the bust?  And how does that compare with what we are seeing now?

Well I can only speak to my personal experience during this time with regard to what I saw in Athens real estate from 2003 to 2009.  At this time rates were not too high but they definitely were not this low.  In some cases, prices were even higher than they are now.  I saw condos finance with ease at prices that have still not returned.  I saw numerous people move towards Watkinsville for schools, more land, and 3,000 plus square feet.  While 5 Points was still very desirable it was nowhere near as popular as it is right now.  In fact, many areas of 5 Points were heavy with rentals for students.  As for Normaltown and Boulevard, they were also filled with rentals and prices per sq. foot much lower than the $175 to $200 we see today.  I often heard clients refer to 5 Points as overpriced and out of date.  To quote a past client, “Why would we pay $300,000 for a 1950s kitchen and no closet space?” Overall, it seemed more and more Athenians were moving out and into newer subdivisions.  We all seemed to think real estate values could never go down, and most folks outside of our industry had never heard of loan terms like sub-prime, no doc, stated income, and the dreaded adjustable rate.  Lastly, it seemed every builder believed “if you build it they will come”.  Looking back I did a lot sitting in neighborhoods asking myself, “Where in the hell I am going to find all the people needed to buy these houses?”  So what is different between then and now?  The major difference between then and now is the Supply and Demand. Back in those days I never saw anything that resembled what I am seeing today.

Many things have changed since the “Great Recession”.  First of all, we all know low interest rates have helped and they continue too.  While we should expect rates to increase, I don’t think we will see anything drastic in the near future.  Interest rates aside, I think the major difference seems to be the demand for housing in our area.  While the University has not grown significantly, people’s desire to live and work here has increased greatly.  In 2005, if a client asked me to find them a home in Athens under $250,000 the options would greatly exceed what you find today.  There would even be feasible options in 5 points and Normaltown.  In the end, the supply was slightly ahead of the demand back then.  Not much but a little.  Nowadays, we have a scarcity of affordable in town housing, and sadly I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  This demand has been created by numerous factors.  Athens as a whole has become a retirement destination to people in Georgia and across the country.  We have a vibrant college town that offers great food, better music, and a good quality of life. Thanks to technology more folks are able to work away from their office in Atlanta which has brought even more people into our area.  I personally have worked with 4 clients in the past year that work inside I-285, but have chosen to reside here in Athens.  Furthermore, our in town neighborhoods just have more to offer now than they did in 2005.  You can walk to dinner and drinks in many areas, and the shopping is better from the Eastside clear across to Epps Bridge.  As I have mentioned before, HGTV shows have influenced numerous people over the years and have helped create many remodels in our area.  While these remodels and tear downs are not always popular with everyone they are a sign of strong local market where demand is way out in front of supply.  To further this point, just look to the recent moratorium on new development in Oconee County which could have a similar impact on the housing climate in Watkinsville .  I do not have a crystal ball, but I think our residential housing market will remain strong in the near future barring any unforeseen national crisis or drastic jump in interest rates.   As for our student housing market, well that is probably better discussed in a future post.  In closing, the market is strong and shows no signs of weakening at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can buy anything anywhere.  You still need to consider all the factors to purchase wisely.

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Georgia Football:  Growing Pains Hurt

I am not going to rehash the events of last Saturday.  We all know what happened, and it was a real tough pill to swallow.  It was just one of those games that someone had to lose, and it was our day to lose.  Sunday was awful for me, and I am sure it was hard for most Georgia fans.  I couldn’t even watch one college football highlight, and Saturday night I ignored the Clemson game totally.  It was all I could do to listen to the Bulldawg brunch Sunday morning.  Thankfully, the Ryder cup was on TV to offer a wonderful distraction.  But today  is a new day, and I am over it.  There is a lot to still be excited about this season, and I want to make sure our fans understand this to be true.  Please allow me to expound on the positives of Saturday and Georgia’s outlook moving forward.

 

  • The Team Showed Resilience– This team lost a bad one in Oxford two weeks ago. They were obviously able to put it behind them and focus on the future.  They came out, and played a good game with drastic improvements in many areas
  • Jacob Eason Keeps Growing– Yes he threw an interception, and he fumbled in the end zone. But quarterbacks throw interceptions especially freshman quarterbacks.  But you know what he can do?  He can make a big throw when everything is on the line.  I am really excited to keep watching him.
  • The Running Game Showed Up – I love Nick Chubb of course, but Sony Michel is20161001_uga_ten_055 a hell of a good football player.  We need to make sure he gets the ball as much as possible.  Maybe even put him in the slot as receiver from time to time.
  • The Future is Bright at Running Back – We have the running backs. All we need to do is improve some on the line, and things we will be great in the Smart Era
  • Tennessee is Not Great – They are currently the best team in the East, but they just aren’t that great. Regardless, several Tenn. fans have already acted arrogant to me this year.  I find it funny because while they should be happy to be undefeated they have no reason to be so confident.  I hope they keep Butch Jones awhile, and beating Georgia & Florida this year might ensure his job in Knoxville for few more years.  Tennessee better soak it in this week because they are about to drop two SEC games in a row.   I would love to see Tennessee go to SEC Championship with two losses because they will likely get a third loss in Atlanta.  Besides once Dobbs departs they will be the third best team in the SEC East which would should be next year.

 

Lastly, I want all our fans to realize that Georgia can still have a fantastic year.  No I don’t expect any championships, but I never did.  And you shouldn’t have either.  10 Wins would be fantastic for a new staff with this team.   It all starts this Saturday in Columbia, SC.  If the Dawgs pull this one out Saturday night you better look out because they just might win out.   Seriously, they could end up favored in every game moving forward.  Not to bring up old stuff, but I predicted this to happen in my preseason prognostication blog (link included).  Georgia doesn’t have any world beaters left on the schedule.  South Carolina, Vandy, Kentucky, Auburn, GA Tech, and of course the loathsome Florida Gators.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think any of these teams are great.  Not one damn team, and Georgia can beat every single one of them.  Will they be hard games?  Yes, of course!  But they are winnable. And if Georgia can pull it off it would be a0692dc6113c5828de0da05974cfd6004cd8a34744dccf9f86a088da3184e38ae great year.  It could even lead to a great bowl game.  Especially, if they don’t have to go to the Georgia Dome and get beat by an SEC West team.  We can let the “Hail Mary Heroes” of last Saturday enjoy themselves this year, and I sure hope they enjoy their trip to Tampa for the Outback Bowl.  So keep your heads up Bulldog Fans, and try to remember the old saying, “No Pain, No Gain”.  Go Dawgs!

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Georgia vs. Ole Miss: Can Georgia Win?

Yes, you read the title correctly.  I don’t know if the Dawgs can win this Saturday.  It pains me to say this for numerous reasons.  First of all, I am unabashed Georgia fan that will pull for Georgia no matter what.  Second, I hate admitting that Ole Miss’s roster appears to have more talent.  Third, I am not positive that Ole Miss’s best players were recruited honestly.  Lastly, there are a surprising number of Ole Miss people running around Athens, GA.  That’s right!  Athens is full of Ole Miss fans.  Even my oldest son, Walker, wears Ole Miss T-shirts, and claims that Ole Miss is his 2nd favorite team.  Honestly, it drives me absolutely crazy.  I guess we will see how much he really likes Ole Miss if they beat his beloved Dawgs this weekend.  If that happens, I bet he doesn’t handle it too well.  For example, I claimed to be a Yankees  growing up, and then they beat the Braves in the 1996 World Series, and I have hated the Yankees ever since.

So why does Athens have so many Ole Miss Fans?   Well I think there are several reasons.  The obvious reason is that some people in town went to Ole Miss.  I think Oxford is an attractive place for a lot of people that grew up in Athens.  ItOle Miss vs. TexasOle Miss vs. TexasOle Miss vs. Texas offers a great college experience, and they have never really been a rival to Georgia.  So you can grow up in Athens, and attend Mississippi without feeling guilty.  Additionally, Ole Miss has been easier to pull for over the years when compared to Alabama, Auburn, and LSU.  In the end, one of the biggest reasons may be that it is so hard to get in UGA these days.  Therefore, we are seeing more and more Georgia folks go out of state to other SEC schools.  All Ole Miss fans aside, I have been thinking about the game all week, and I am really glad it is not my job to game plan this one for Georgia.  I think Kirby has his hands full this week, but I have now decided there is hope and a chance for Georgia to pull this off.    And here’s how it can happen:

  • 11 AM Local Kick– Early kick offs almost always favor the visiting team. It is just hard to get motivated for a big game so early.  Most of Georgia’s upsets in the last 20 years were early kick offs.  For example, Tennessee in 2001 and Auburn in 2007.
  • Turnovers– Turnovers are always key, and with Ole Miss’s love for RPOs (Run Pass Option) you just know Chad Kelly is bound to throw a couple.
  • Sony Michel– I am convinced that we will see Michel have a big game. Likely catching some passes more than running the ball.  Someone has to step up and help McKenzie in the passing game. Michel could be another good option out of the back field.  Especially, with against an aggressive defense.
  • Fed Up Offensive Line – These boys have been called out and told that they aren’t playing well. It is just a matter time before they get mad and have a good game.  Tomorrow would be an ideal time for this to take place.
  • Georgia Plays 4 Quarters– If Georgia can keep it close they have a shot. With only three games played they have shown they are fighters. They have come back in every game so far, and that is good to see.  I think Georgia has got a shot if they can keep it a two score game heading into the 4th.

So there it is folks. My optimistic outlook on a game I predicted Georgia would lose.  But they play the games for a reason and that’s because the outcome is never certain.  So pull the Dawgs through wherever you are this weekend.  Go Dawgs! GATA

Eason to Start? Who Cares? Either Way Football is Here!

Finally, college football is here, and in 5 short days Georgia will face off with North Carolina in the Georgia Dome.  The first week of college football is truly great because everyone’s team is undefeated, and most fans still have hope for a great year.  I know I am full of hope for the season, but for a type “A” person like me that hope soon turns to worry, and I will expound more on that later.  First, let’s address all the gossip surrounding the starting quarterback. jacob-eason-greyson-lambert-georgia-starting-quarterback-question-2016-1024x609 Apparently, if you believe everything you read than Jacob Eason has been secretly named the starting quarterback.  Maybe he will get the start, but it would still surprise me.  Let me be clear, I feel certain that Eason will play on Saturday, but I just haven’t bought into the fact that he will take the first snap.  It just seems like a risky move for such a young player.  It will be an awful big stage for any freshman, and especially for a quarterback. But you know what?  I really don’t have a clue who will start, and I don’t think anyone is going to tell me. However, I feel certain that whatever decision the coaches make it will likely be the right one.  They are the ones that run practice, evaluate film, and call the plays.  So I am not going to worry anymore about who will play QB because there are other areas of concern heading into Saturday.  Please allow me to share these concerns with you, and fill you with anxiety heading into the game.  Here are My Top 5 Concerns:

  • Nick Chubb’s Return– The big story in this game is not the damn quarterback. It’s Nick Chubb who is one of college football’s most talented running 0804_masp_uga_practice_0407backs.  Of course, I do not know him personally, but he appears to be a great kid with an excellent work ethic.  We all saw him suffer a brutal knee injury in Knoxville not even a year ago.  If this team is going to have success early in the season they need Chubb back on the field at 100%.  I truly hope he runs for 150+ and has the triumphant return he deserves.  I hope he proves to be superman, and looks like he hasn’t lost a step, but I know that could be a lot to ask.
  • Containing Ryan Switzer – Kickoff coverage always scares me, but it really scares me when the new head coach mentions it as an area of concern at the Touchdown club.  Kickoff and Punt coverage have been an issue for Georgia in42a09d5af33447002823101580020324 recent years, and North Carolina has a very talented return man named Ryan Switzer #3.  He is the kind of guy that take one back a few times in a game.  So trust me Dawg fans, the less you hear or see from Ryan Switzer on Saturday night the better.
  • Georgia’s Offensive Line – All football games are won or lost in the trenches, and we just don’t know much about the offensive line. I know that North Carolina’s defense did poorly against the run last year, but can UGA capitalize on that weakness?  I sure hope so because the offensive line will be crucial to the success of Nick Chubb, and whoever the hell is going to play Quarterback.
  • The UNC Offense – Despite scoring just 13 points in the first game last year, North Carolina’s offense averaged 40 points and almost 500 yards of offense a game. Granted, they lost to South Carolina, but they really came to life after that game.  If you recall, they damn near beat Clemson and won the ACC last year. Long and short, the Georgia defense better be in shape and ready to play.  Otherwise, it could be a bad night.
  • UGA’s Dreaded Dome Record – That’s right folks! Georgia has a bad record in the Georgia dome.  To my recollection, UGA is Four and Six in the Georgia Dome-PLdyShH since it was constructed.  The Dawgs have lost to Virginia, Alabama, twice to LSU, and let us not forget Boise State.  Did I mention the loss to West Virginia in the “faux” Sugar Bowl post Katrina?  This record needs to improve a little before they tear it down, and Saturday night would be a good start.

Well are you a little worried now?  I hope so because Georgia can easily lose this game.  All that being said, please allow me to go back on everything and act hypocritical because I still think Georgia wins a good one.  Despite all my worries and concerns, I think it will be a 34 to 30 Georgia win over the Heels.  Go Dawgs!

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