Okay, so we've still got about 11 hours to go before Mizzou kicks off. LET'S THREAD IT UP. (After the jump, see Dawg Sports' A's to my Georgia Q's.)
11:00 a.m. CT
UCF at No. 14 Ohio State (ESPN2)
Miami at No. 21 Kansas State (FX)
Auburn at Mississippi State (ESPN)
Penn State at Virginia (ABC)
Maryland at Temple (ESPNU)
New Hampshire at Minnesota (BTN)
N.C. State at UConn (ESPN3)
11:21 a.m. CT
East Carolina at No. 9 South Carolina (SEC)
11:30 a.m. CT
Ball State at No. 12 Clemson (ACC)
2:00 p.m. CT
Southern Utah at California (Pac-12)
Eastern Washington at Washington State (Pac-12)
2:30 p.m. CT
Western Kentucky at No. 1 Alabama (SEC)
No. 2 USC vs. Syracuse (ABC/ESPN2)
No. 11 Michigan State at Central Michigan (ESPNU)
Air Force at No. 19 Michigan (ABC/ESPN2)
Purdue at No. 22 Notre Dame (NBC)
Missouri State at No. 23 Louisville (ESPN3)
No. 24 Florida at Texas A&M (ESPN)
Iowa State at Iowa (BTN)
South Florida at Nevada (CBS Sports)
Rice at Kansas (FSN)
3:00 p.m. CT
No. 13 Wisconsin at Oregon State (FX)
1. You wake up Sunday morning reflecting on a 14-point Georgia win. First of all, how did the game likely play out in that scenario? And second, would such a result change your expectations of the season as a whole?
vineyarddawg: We won? HOLY CRAP GOOOOOO DAWGS SIC 'EM WOOF WOOF WOOF!! Seriously, any kind of win would make me immensely happy right now. I go into tomorrow's game hoping to win, but probably not really expecting to.
If we won by such a large score, then it would mean that our defensive line kept contain on James Franklin all night and pressured him into making poor decisions and throws, and also that we probably got a pick-6. Also, it means that our offensive line managed to block effectively for Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, who superbly rose to the occasion in their first SEC road games as true freshmen RB's.
So, uh, yeah... like I said, that scenario is pretty unlikely. If it does happen, though, the nutjob contingency in our fanbase will start making hotel reservations in Miami in January. It will mean that we've merely cleared our first huge hurdle, however... and we will have another "tune up" game before our next big challenge against Tennessee. Some people will be automatically chalking that up as a W if we beat Mizzou, but if there's one thing you can't count on the SEC, it's being able to consistently beat any team at any time. You have to bring the wood every single week.
2: The flipside: you're reflecting on a 7- or 10-point Georgia loss. How did that play out, and how does that affect your season expectations?
FIRE MIKE BOBO NOW DAMMIT. But seriously, it probably means that we had turnovers that gave Mizzou great field position, which we really did a lot last season, and that our patchwork offensive line just couldn't get it done in their first big test on the road. Also, it probably means that our defensive backfield just couldn't make up for the loss of our 3 best defensive players due to suspension, which led to loss of contain on Franklin and big runs. Then, those big runs set up even bigger passes later in drives for touchdowns.
As usual in the SEC, our fanbase will overreact to "losing huge" to Mizzou (and believe me, any loss by more than a friggin' field goal will be played off by the media covering UGA as a "huge loss), and will predict doom and gloom for our season. People who were predicting us to win a national title two weeks ago will now be predicting us to go 7-5. In reality, this will have been a predictable setback early in the season, but hopefully one the team can rebound from to defeat Tennessee and Vanderbilt in the weeks to come to set up a showdown with South Carolina.
3. On a scale of 1-10, rate your confidence in Mark Richt. At this stage in his tenure, have your expectations of him gone up or down at all? Do you think he is capable of building the program to a point where a national title is possible?
Well, see, you're probably asking the wrong guy. I'm as big a Mark Richt supporter as it is possible to be without being blind to the down spots he's had in his 11 years in Athens. At this point, my confidence in his ability to lead UGA's football program is a 9.5.
To me, and to many Dawg fans, the ultimate measure of his ability when he came on board in 2001 was to win an SEC title, which we hadn't done in 19 years. One year later, he did just that, and three years later, he did it again. He's had a couple of down years recently, especially in 2009 and 2010, but Georgia still wins 10 games with regularity. I think most fans still expect to win SEC championships, and he's proven that he can at least take us back to the SEC Championship game, as he did last year. He's the man for the job in Athens, and I don't want anybody else for a long time.
And I would argue that Richt has already built the program to a point where a national title is possible. Georgia should have been the one playing in the BCS National Championship Game in 2007 instead of LSU, and if we'd been playing Oklahoma instead of the Bayou Bengals, I don't think the result would have been any different. Also, in 2002, Georgia was the best 1-loss team in the country, but we just got unlucky and happened to be the 1-loss SEC Champion in a year with two major undefeated teams in Miami and Ohio State. We were preseason #1 in 2008, which ultimately was a disappointing season, but have been consistently in and near the top in perennially. If you keep the level of your program at an elite top-10 level, eventually you'll get your chance in the BCS Championship Game.
4. As a flock of Dawgs descends on Columbia, what is something Missouri fans should know in advance? What should they say to get along? What shouldn't they say?
Offer us booze and rub our bellies and tell us what good boys and girls we are, and we'll be your friends for life. :-)
But seriously, most Dawg fans are friendly and genial, and all you have to do is nod in our direction and say, "Welcome to Columbia!" and we'll strike up a warm conversation about how you guys will probably win because you're just too dang good, and hey, welcome to the SEC, bros. We have a few jerks and nutjobs in our fanbase, but please don't let them give the rest of us a bad name. In general, we try to police our own and tell them not to be jerks, but we probably won't catch 'em all, so I apologize in advance for that random guy standing in front you that will scream about how stupid your Tiger looks and how your colors are Tech colors and Tech is dumb.
In general, our fans also trade good-natured jibes pretty well. Talking about our former AD's panty habits, for example, will probably elicit a laugh, then a sigh. Likewise for a comment about how Mark Richt has lost control of something, or how you hope we fare about as well in this Columbia as we fared in the last Columbia we visited.
The only subject you should never, EVER, joke about with a Georgia fan is Uga, our live dog mascot. (It's pronounced "UH-guh," in case you didn't know.) I know people like to joke about how "all our dogs die every game" on the interwebz, but we are remarkably lacking a sense of humor on this topic in real life. Seriously. Don't joke about it in front of a Georgia fan. At best, you'll get a cold icy stare and a turn-and-walk-away. After a few beers have been imbibed, you might just see an incoming fist. Some of us love that dog more than we love our wives and children, and when the dogs die, it ain't no joke.
Overall, though, Georgia fans just like to have a good time and party. If y'all like to have a good time and party and wish each other good luck, then we'll get along just fine.