Georgia Bulldog News - The Blawg House

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4 Bowl Picks for Friday's Bowl Games

Alrighty Dawg fans, how are you doing on your bowl picks? If you've been following along with The Blawg House, you should be winning your pool because you should be 12-2!

Florida State's victory over Notre Dame and Baylor's win over Washington put us on a big 10-game streak. So, with 4 games on Friday, hopefully we can go 4-0 and give you some good cushion going into the 1/2 way point for your bowl pool.

Without further adieu, here are the picks for the 4 December 30th games:

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces BowlFriday, December 30th, 2011 - 12:00pm EST - ESPN

Armed Forces Bowl

BYU Cougars (9-3) vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricanes (8-4, 7-1 C-USA)

Preview: The way BYU finished its season, you would think that they'd be the favorite in the game. 9 wins vs. 8 wins. BYU should be the favorite. But, nope, they're not. With their independent schedule, BYU captured victories over some very hapless teams and lost to every decent team on their schedule. Tulsa, on the other hand, has a very potent offense, and played some very good teams this year. 

Pick: This game is tough to pick because they are two different teams who play two very different schedules. However, I like Tulsa's offensive attack - they have a good QB in Kenne and two 800 yard rushers in Douglas and Watts. With the competion they've played and the experience in big games, I like Tulsa by a hair in this game.

Tulsa - 27 / BYU - 24

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Friday, December 30th, 2011 - 3:20pm EST - ESPN

Pinstripe Bowl

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (8-4, 4-3 Big East) vs. Iowa State Cyclones (6-6, 3-6 Big 12)

Preview: Had Iowa State not beat Oklahoma State, the Cyclones wouldn't even be in the bowl picture and the Cowboys would be in the BCS Championship Game. However, that Friday night, Iowa State knocked off Oklahoma State and the rest is history. Rutgers, while 8-4, did not play near the schedule that Iowa State played. Only 1 opponent of Rutgers was ranked in the top 25 and they lost that game to West Virginia.

Pick: I've got this as one of my lowest confidence picks, but, I really like Iowa State. I love the freshman QB, Jared Barnett, and could see him having a big game against a team that rarely sees a Big-12 type offense. I like Iowa State in the upset.

Iowa State - 28 / Rutgers - 17

Music City Bowl
Friday, December 30th, 2011 - 6:40pm EST - ESPN

Music City Bowl

Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-6, 2-6 SEC) vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-6, 5-3 ACC)

Preview: Talk about getting into a bowl game by a narrow margin, that would be MSU and Wake. The Bulldogs made their elligibility by winning all 4 of their out of conference games, while Wake won 5 games in the ACC and only won 1 of their OOC games. So, the question is... which is better? Although Wake did better in their conference, MSU plays in the SEC and played tough all year - they just weren't the team everyone thought.

Pick: In the first SEC game, I'm definitely going with the SEC team. I like Dan Mullen's ability to game plan against a team that got blown out by Vandy. Look for Vick Ballard and MSU's offensive line to take over the game and win by 2 scores or so.

MSU - 24 / Wake - 10

Insight Bowl
Friday, December 30th, 2011 - 10:00pm EST - ESPN

Insight Bowl

#14 Oklahoma Sooners (9-3, 6-3 Big-12) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5, 4-4 Big 10)

Preview: Oklahoma was thought to be a lock for the BCS National Championship in the preseason. The preseason #1 team, however, had trouble late with two good teams and suffered their 1st loss against a pretty terrible Texas Tech team. Iowa, however, seemingly putted along - but did get a win against Michigan. The question for both teams is which team will show up.

Pick: With bowl games, you usually go with the team that "wants" it more, or the team that is just obviously the best team. In this case, Oklahoma may have wanted a bigger bowl, but, regardless, they are definitely the better team. Look for Landry Jones to add to his over 4,000 yards passing on a defense that is not that good. Iowa will keep it close early, but, Oklahoma will pull away late.

Oklahoma - 49 / Iowa - 28

OVERALL BOWL RECORD - 12-2 or 11-3 (depending on outcome of Baylor/Washington)


NFL Draft - More UGA Juniors Looking to Leave?

Are More UGA Defenders Looking to Jump to the NFL?

As the deadline for the draft inches closer, we will start to hear more and more from potential players considering leaving for the NFL. Here is the latest round of "Who Will Leave Georgia?"

Add two more names to the list of Georgia underclassmen contemplating an early jump to the NFL. 

Junior nose guard John Jenkins and junior cornerback Branden Smith confirmed Wednesday they had applied for an NFL draft evaluation and are giving serious consideration to turning pro.

“Yes, I’m considering it,” said Jenkins, a first-year junior college transfer who started six games this season. “I did the NFL evaluation. I don’t know what’s going on from that point. I haven’t gotten my evaluation back. Right now I’m just focusing on the game.”

Smith, who also returns kicks and plays some offense, said he is not thinking about the NFL at the moment.

“I’m just worried about this game right now,” Smith said. “I’m going to wait until after the season to be worried about the NFL.”

My opinion, as I have stated all along, is that we have 3 potential guys leaving: Orson Charles, Bacarri Rambo, and 1 miscellaneous Dawg. Charles is probably the most "ready" Georgia player to be drafted, as he has achieved a lot as a TE at Georgia. Rambo is another guy that could definitely go because he considered it last year - and had a great year this year. I always say 1 Georgia player will surprise us and leave for the NFL for some reason or another, and will could get drafted - usually that happens due to depth issues and playing time for the next year.

I'd say I'm about 60% on Rambo leaving and 50% on Charles leaving. I've heard both sides from multiple sources. The key will be what happens when they get their grades back from the NFL. Are they first round picks? Are they early 2nd round picks? The way the new CBA is drawn up, rookie contracts are very limited after the 1st round, so, players need to move up to get that guaranteed money. 

My guess is that - actually - we only have that 1 miscellaneous Dawg leave us. I think Rambo, Charles, Jenkins, Smith, etc - they all return to make a run in 2012. We have a very good chance at having a very good team, and I think that is appealing to a group of guys who have struggled outside of one good year this season. To be the seniors that put another National Championship banner up will definitely play a big part in what happens come late January.

Again, if I had to guess, I'd only see one going - and its none of the guys we'd actually think.

2012 SEC Schedule Analysis and Thoughts

The 2012 SEC Schedule Makes for Good Talk

So, it is out. The 2012 SEC Schedule is out for public opinion and scrutiny - mainly against the University of Georgia. Why, you say? Well, just look at the Dawgs' schedule for 2012:

  • September 1st - vs. Buffalo 
  • September 8th - at Missouri 
  • September 15th - vs. Florida Atlantic 
  • September 22nd - vs. Vanderbilt 
  • September 29th - vs. Tennessee 
  • October 6th - at South Carolina
  • October 13th - Open 
  • October 20th - at Kentucky 
  • October 27th - vs. Florida (Jacksonville) 
  • November 3rd - vs. Ole Miss
  • November 10th - at Auburn
  • November 17th - Georgia Southern 
  • November 24th - Georgia Tech

Going into 2012, barring any mass exodus, Georgia should return 17 starters from their 2011 SEC East Championship team and should be favored in every game on the schedule. Another reason people will be critical of Georgia - they miss LSU, Arkansas, and Bama for the 2nd straight year.

However, what people don't realize is that no one is playing a tremendously tough schedule this year... well, except for Ole Miss... God speed, Hugh Freeze! When you talk big out of conference games, here are the only "tough" games for SEC teams this year:

  • Sept. 1st - Alabama vs. Michigan (Dallas)
  • Sept. 1st - Auburn vs. Clemson (Atlanta)
  • Sept. 8th - LSU vs. Washington
  • Sept. 15th - Ole Miss vs. Texas
  • Sept. 1st - Tennessee vs. NC State (Atlanta)

Again, it is not like there is a schedule like LSU's this year where they play a ton of top 10 teams. Now, in regards to the not playing the "Big 3" from the West argument, all I have to say is this: South Carolina fans, did you ever hear us complain all those years when Arkansas SUCKED??? No! We have played Auburn EVERY year for over 100 years. They are a good team about 90% of the time. Just because 2012 just happens to be a year when they are down is NOT our fault.

The other side of the argument is how do you know how those teams from the East will be vs. the teams from the West. Just because "on paper" the East looks "weak" compared to the West, does not mean that in 2012 the East will definitely be worse than the West. Just think about that first game for Georgia vs. Mizzou away in Columbia! Mizzou's first SEC game - at home- against the SEC East Champ - that game will be a championship atmosphere.

My point is this... sure, our schedule looks "easy" right now compared to others. Yes, it is convenient that we don't play any of the big 3 from the West. However, at the end of the day, the best from the East will play the best from the West. If Georgia makes it to the SECCG, they'll play one of those teams. If they lose, they lose... but if they win... does the schedule still "help" them out? No. They'll have won because they were the best.

So, cheers, Gamecock fans... next time, beat Auburn. 

Another Bowl Pick Post

Ok, peeps, are you following along? You should be. After the Toledo squeeker and Texas' victory, The Blawg House picks are standing at 10-2. If stupid FIU and SDSU won (like they definitely should have), we'd be at 12-0. But, in these bowls, I'll take 10-2.

Here are my picks for Thursday's Bowl Games:

Champs Sports Bowl
Thursday, Dec. 29th, 2011 - 5:30pm EST - ESPN

Champs Sports Bowl 

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-4) vs. Florida State Seminoles (8-4, 5-3 ACC)

Preview: The Champs Sports Bowl is definitely the "Over Rated Bowl" when you look at where these teams ended up vs. where these teams were predicted to be. Both ND and FSU were thought to be headed to BCS games, but losses throughout the season left both these teams looking to salvage a mediocre season with a win over a decent team. Regardless of the record, I like the match-up. Two historic teams playing in a Florida bowl - just what we college football fans love. 

Pick: The easy pick is to say the game will come down to EJ Manuel vs Tommy Rees - however, I'm thinking the game will come down to defense. Who can stop the opposing offense. FSU is only giving up a little over 15 points per game, so I feel like the 'Noles defense will be the difference in the game. Look for the Garnett and Gold to create some turnovers and give EJ short fields for easy scores.

FSU - 31 / ND - 17

Valero Alamo Bowl
Thursday, Dec. 29th, 2011 - 9:00pm EST - ESPN

Alamo Bowl

Washington Huskies (7-5, 5-4 PAC-12) vs. #12 Baylor Bears (9-3, 6-3 Big 12)

Preview: What is not to love about RG3? The kid is outstanding! He is an amazing talent on the field, his football IQ is at elite levels, and he represents himself and his university with class and character. However, he is the Heisman winner and we all know how Heisman winners do in bowl games. They usually stink it up, and RG3's stink will kill Baylor because he plays such a critical role in the Bears' offense.

Pick: NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND! RG3 will have a BIG day against Washington. The Huskies' defense ranks 116th vs the pass, and RG3 will look to have a big day. I really think Baylor rolls in this game.

Baylor - 52 / Washington - 24



OFFICIAL 2012 Georgia Football Schedule

Ok, folks, here it is, the 2012 Georgia Football schedule:

Sept. 1 Buffalo
Sept. 8 at MISSOURI
Sept. 15 Florida Atlantic
Oct. 13 Open
Oct. 20 at KENTUCKY
Oct. 27 vs. FLORIDA (Jacksonville)
Nov. 10 at AUBURN
Nov. 17 Georgia Southern
Nov. 24 Georgia Tech

* Home Games in Bold

Alright, so, like we've said, those have been the 12 games. The difference is the open date is flipped. The good news is Florida will be playing the week before GA/FL as well, so, nothing lost. Actually, they'll be playing South Carolina, so that's a good thing.

The schedule - while it may be the most boring home schedule ever - is set up for a championship run.

Here's to hoping we pull it off!

Bowl Practice Day 1 - Updates from Tampa

Is Malcolm Mitchell going to be the next Champ?

Georgia's practices have gotten underway in Tampa for their January 2nd match-up with Michigan State and there have been a ton of stories coming in from all areas. 

Mitchell to Cornerback?

First, apparently, Georgia's stud freshman WR, Malcolm Mitchell, may get some looks at cornerback this off-season.

“It’s another opportunity to make more plays,” said Mitchell, who leads the Bulldogs in receiving yards with 614. “I wouldn’t mind it happening. But that’s just something I’m going to have to sit down and talk to the coaches about. I don’t know too much about it right now. If that’s an area that they feel like I could help in, I would love to play it.”

Mitchell actually first made a name for himself at Valdosta High as a defensive back. He was ranked among the best in the country after his junior year. But he became an elite prospect on offense when he was switched to wide receiver full time as a senior and piled up more 1,400 yards receiving.

“If I think that it will help us win and he can function and do that, I’d be for it,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “We have guys play a little bit both ways. We do try to focus on the one position Year One and, if they’ve got enough of a comfort level knowing what to do, then we can begin to share a little bit. I wouldn’t be against it, as long as he’s helping Georgia win.”

Coming out of high school, Mitchell was definitely a better defensive prospect. I believe 'Bama was even recruiting him as just a CB early in his recruitment. With the need for a playmaker at WR, Mitchell came out and blew up SEC secondaries. 

I think this is just another example of how Todd Grantham & Mark Richt have changed philosophies on personnel. They are going to put the best 11 athletes on the field to help them win. If Mitchell can help Georgia on defense, he's going to play. 

For lack of a better term, Georgia may be looking to go "all in" for 2012.

Running Back Update

Georgia is still looking for their starting running back. It could be a good thing... it could be a bad thing.

Tailback Isaiah Crowell is “feeling under the weather,” according to coach Mark Richt, and was standing on the sidelines and not participating, at least for the open part of practice early on. His left ankle apparently is not an issue and he will be able to play in the game.

Richt said Ken Malcome enters the week No. 1 on the tailback depth chart but that it’s “a highly competitive situation” with Richard Samuel (ankle) coming back and Crowell and Carlton Thomas healthy. “I hope Ken hangs on,” Richt said. “That’d be good for him.”

So, is it time to throw Isaiah under the bus again? NO! More than a few of the guys came down with a holiday bug during the break, so this will be a non-issue.

However, the competition for the starting running back spot is an issue. Competition breeds excellence - period. The key point about the Georgia running back situation is that we have the players. Samuel was a 5-star recruit. Crowell was a 5-star recruit. Malcome and Carlton are very good backs. We just need them to compete. We need them to want to be the starting running back for Georgia - and to understand how precious that position is. Having Samuel back is huge. He will play a big part in having the right mental attitude going into the bowl game.

My thoughts? Georgia comes out punching with the run. They'll need to against that stout MSU defense.

2012 Schedule Update

So, some more rumors/leaks have come out about the 2012 schedule. It is pretty much confirmed that Georgia will be dropping Bama, playing Mizzou in the 2nd game, and moving the USC game to October. Seth Emerson puts together his 2012 Georgia Football schedule based on the information we've gathered throughout the process.

Sept. 1: Buffalo
Sept. 8: at Missouri
Sept. 15: Florida Atlantic
Sept. 22: Vanderbilt
Sept. 29: Tennessee
Oct. 6: at South Carolina
Oct. 13: at Kentucky
Oct. 20: Open
Oct. 27: vs. Florida in Jacksonville
Nov. 3: Ole Miss
Nov. 10: at Auburn
Nov. 17: Georgia Southern
Nov. 24: Georgia Tech 

That schedule is similar to the one I posted last week - with the differences being that Vandy & UT are played in Sept and USC is in Oct. I thought Kentucky would be later, like they usually are, but it looks like Ole Miss will be after Florida.

Again, regardless of how it shakes out, those 12 games are very favorable for Georgia. If the entire defense can come back and Georgia solidifies some question marks, the Dawgs could make a huge run in 2012.