♫ Just left Faurot Field, dressin’ up formal ♫
In Case You Missed It...
- Apart from Chad Bailey, who is still questionable for the trip to Athens, Eli Drinkwitz says everyone else is healthy. That includes Cody Schrader, who has been playing through a pulled quadricep for several weeks.
- Drinkwitz and defensive ends coach Kevin Peoples talked about their strategies on the recruiting trail at this week’s Tiger Talk. Peoples also mentioned that Darius Robinson and Nyles Gaddy are coming into their own and practicing better as defensive ends.
- Georgia is dealing with a few injuries of its own, including to a starting safety and some rotational offensive linemen. They’re also still without Brock Bowers for the next few weeks.
- The University of Georgia alumni page is a who’s who of famous people, but I’m most drawn to just how many indie bands or indie band members have emerged out of Athens. A non-exhaustive list: The B-52s; Danger Mouse; Pylon; several members of The Whigs; the lead singer of Widespread Panic; drummers for Turing Machine and LCD Soundsystem; and the keyboardist in of Montreal. Apparently it’s a hub for cool, emerging music! Who knew?
The University of Georgia also gave prolific entertainers like Wayne Knight, Kyle Chandler and the co-creator of Homestar Runner.
- The “Bulldog” is the most popular college mascot in the country, and 42 other schools also sport the name “Bulldogs.” And I thought “Tigers” was basic!
- Uga XI is the snorty dog currently operating as Georgia’s mascot, and this is his first season at the helm. Seems like the opportunities ripe to make sure he disappoints the ancestors, no? Also, did you know all of the previous Ugas are entombed in a mausoleum at Sanford Stadium? Wild.
Time to get back to basics, folks. After a bye week that saw us venture into the high-falutin territory of expensive French liquers and Italian amaros, we need a hard reset. We can’t overthink things going into Athens. We need a clean, straight-laced, well-executed recipe.
BUT! We also need something a little surprising. Too basic won’t work against Georgia. After all, they’ve perfected the art of “basic.” Sheldon Richardson once accused the Bulldogs of playing “old man football,” and while the moniker was roundly used to mock Mizzou in the SEC’s early days, he wasn’t wrong. Georgia still plays “old man football” but they’ve perfected it: Amazing defense, great rushing attack, enough of a passing attack to get by. So Mizzou needs to throw a changeup or two in order to pull this thing off. That’s how they did it in 2013, anyway.
So for this week’s cocktail recipe, we’re going with something tried and true... but with a little twist. Let’s make a Ward Eight in hopes that Mizzou nabs that eighth win.
1.75 oz rye whiskey, 0.75 grenadine, 0.5 lemon juice, 0.25 orange juice
Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into chilled coupe.
The traditional Ward Eight specs are different than this, as I used the re-spec courtesy of Educated Barfly by way of a bartender in San Francisco. These call for quite a bit more grenadine, a little less rye and less orange juice. I like the traditional Ward Eight, but I’m curious to see how upping the grenadine and knocking back the orange juice works.
Let me first admit that I made a major error here in that I did not used freshly squeezed orange juice. Fresh orange juice is bright and sweet and just the slightest bit tart, whereas the “freshly squeezed” juice I used was harshly acidic and syrupy. Rookie move on my part.
I also don’t think this is the recipe to use Switchgrass’s 100-proof rye, a whiskey that has worked well in other cocktails I’ve made. Combined with the acidic OJ and unbalanced grenadine — seriously, where is there so much in this cocktail? — it’s a harsh drink that doesn’t work all that well.
Bummer. Hopefully this isn’t a bad omen for Saturday’s trip to Athens. If you’re going to make one of these, use the original specs for the Ward Eight or repeat my recipe and use fresh orange juice and rye on the less spicy side.
How was your bye week? Enjoyable, I hope! How did you end up spending all that extra time you had on your hands?
Josh Matejka, Deputy Site Manager: Watched my Gunners beat up on Sheffield United and generally enjoyed the day putzing about St. Louis. I kept up with a few CFB games here and there, but it was nice to get a weekend away from the rigamarole.
Quentin Corpuel, Staff Writer and first person to beat Parker on getting Pregamin’ questions in this season: Slept in, cleaned my room, hung up my wall decorations that all fell down last week and watched college football. I’m not going to say I told y’all to watch out for Arizona, but I told y’all to watch out for Arizona.
Parker Gillam, Beat Writer who let Quentin have this victory for JUST this week: Watched my Ducks absolutely steamroll Utah (man, that rematch with UW needs to happen), took in the rest of the CFB weekend, won an intramural basketball game and made vegetable soup for a cooking class. Riveting stuff.
Sammy Stava, Staff Writer: I just watched other college football games knowing that it was a stress-free Saturday without Mizzou on.
Name one thing you hope Mizzou accomplished during its week off.
Josh Matejka: I’m hoping that this “bring referees to practice” bit has continued. Mizzou is still getting penalized too much, but they’ve actually gone under their season average in both games since Drinkwitz started having zebras around. Hopefully, that number continues to trend downward.
Quentin Corpuel: Getting healthy, which I actually think happened. After numerous key players had been dealing with injuries heading into the bye week, it was encouraging to hear Eli Drinkwitz say during Tuesday’s media session that Chad Bailey was the only starter questionable for Saturday. This is the time of year where everyone seems to be dealing with something; to hear words that entailed good health was very positive.
Parker Gillam: Health is the biggest thing I look at, but I’d also hope that the staff developed a plan to involve some more running backs within the offense. I’ve been a Cody Schrader advocate throughout his career in CoMo, but the Tigers need another face to emerge in the backfield if they are to move the ball effectively against some tough defenses down the stretch. Whether that be Nathaniel Peat, Jamal Roberts or Tavorus Jones, Mizzou needs a change of pace to spell Schrader when he needs it.
Sammy Stava: Hopefully just rest and getting healthy for the most part.
Mizzou winning in Athens would be, without question, one of the biggest wins in Mizzou Football history. What’s the biggest sporting win (Mizzou or otherwise) you’ve ever witnessed in person?
Josh Matejka: Watching Mizzou win the Cotton Bowl in 2014 was a wild experience. It’s hard to describe how wild that place went when the Sam-Ray scoop-and-score happened.
My non-Mizzou answer is easy. I saw this happen live.
I watched as the Cardinals returned to the World Series for the first time in 20 years in 2004. I saw them win it all in 2006. I was at the final St. Louis Rams home game.
Nothing, and I repeat nothing, will ever top Game 6.
Quentin Corpuel: Mizzou-wise? The Kansas State game a month and a half ago. I’d never witnessed a field-storming with my own eyes, and that win really helped propel the Tigers to where they are now.
Non-Mizzou related? While this wasn’t necessarily the “biggest” game in terms of stakes, the only Knicks game I’ve ever attended at Madison Square Garden was the biggest game in terms of how big it was for me at the time. It was in 2012 against the Bulls, the one where Carmelo Anthony hit a game-tying three to send the game to overtime, then hit a game-winning three in OT with eight seconds left. I’ll never forget how loud the Garden roared.
Parker Gillam: Same as Quentin for the Mizzou answer.
For non-Mizzou, I had the privilege of watching Oregon score 59 unanswered after falling behind to Tennessee 7-0 in 2013. With my ties to both schools, I was an even split in terms of attire (Oregon shirt, UT shorts, Oregon socks, UT shoes, Oregon hat), and Tennessee’s on-field play reflected how hideous that outfit looked. It wasn’t necessarily a major win for Oregon in terms of its national implications, but it was the only time I was able to watch Marcus Mariota (GOAT) in college.
Sammy Stava: The biggest Mizzou win that I’ve witnessed in person was the SEC East clincher against Texas A&M.
Non-Mizzou related? I’ve seen a couple of Blues and Cardinals playoff wins in person — but not to the magnitude of a Stanley Cup Final or World Series.
Let’s talk Georgia. What do you make of them this year?
Josh Matejka: Two weeks ago I would’ve said, “gettable.” Now I’m not so sure.
Losing Brock Bowers seems to have steeled their resolve, and they’re back to looking like the team that has run roughshod over the rest of the country for the better part of three years. I think this is the weakest iteration of their college football behemoth... but is Superman still Superman when he’s got a sore hammy? I’d guess so.
I can’t imagine Georgia being ranked No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings will make things any easier for Mizzou. You’re telling me the team that hasn’t lost in three years is worse than a team that can barely get by Wisconsin? OK.
Quentin Corpuel: Their mortality seems higher than the previous two seasons. If most college football teams are around sea level, Georgia’s been in the clouds for the past two seasons and is simply descending towards mountaintops.
However, even without Brock Bowers, the Bulldogs are still most definitely a national title favorite. Again, this isn’t the NFL factory of recent years past, but they still have a truckload of talent and several elite weapons on both sides of the ball.
Parker Gillam: A team that is coming into its own. Early on, Mike Bobo was fairly conservative and vanilla with his play-calling as Carson Beck settled in, but it is safe to say that he is more than settled at this point. The defense is not up to par with that of the past two years, but it is still among the nation’s best at every position. The receiver room has a phenomenal duo in McConkey and Lovett, the offensive line is strong yet again and Daijun Edwards has emerged as a quality option in the backfield.
All in all, the rumors of Georgia’s demise early in the season were oversaturated and unfounded. The Dawgs are either 1A or 1B in the country right now, and if Beck continues to play at this high of a level, then they will be the team to beat nationally.
Sammy Stava: I think Georgia is somewhat “gettable”, but Mizzou is going to have to play a near perfect game to win this one — especially on the road. They’re still the best team in the country until proven otherwise because they have too much talent and so many weapons. It’s going to take a Herculaneum effort for an upset.
I get it... Mizzou going to Athens and winning is a long shot. But if they get it done... what do you think is the ceiling for Eli Drinkwitz and the Tigers?
Josh Matejka: When you beat the team that nobody has beaten in the regular season since 2020, the ceiling’s off, my friends. Does that make it any more likely that Mizzou will run the table and clean house in Atlanta? No. Does it mean they’re guaranteed to topple another top 4 team in the College Football Playoff? Of course not.
But when you beat the best, there’s no limit to what you can do. You gotta beat the best first, though.
Quentin Corpuel: I want to say something really outlandish along the lines of “there will be no ceiling” or something like that. While that wouldn’t be the case even if the spirits of L’Damian Washington and Michael Sam show up in Sanford Stadium again, and SEC Championship game appearance would likely become the expectation. The ceiling would probably be a Playoff appearance, because there aren’t too many mountains harder to climb than beating Georgia.
Parker Gillam: The ceiling is getting into the playoff...but not winning a game. If you can beat Georgia, you can beat Alabama/LSU in the SEC title game, although that brings in a whole new argument of those programs being far more experienced and well-equipped in championship game scenarios.
If Mizzou was to find itself in a playoff semifinal, it would likely be as a No. 2 or No. 3 seed. That would pit them against a team like Florida State or the Pac-12 champ (I’m banking on the Big 12 champ being left out, although the Pac-12 will probably try its best to do so as well). Frankly, I just don’t think that this program is ready to step into that kind of environment and play at a high-enough level to win a playoff game. I would love to be proven wrong, but Mizzou is still building towards that point of national relevance. Drinkwitz and Co. are not quite there... yet.
Sammy Stava: I would say the ceiling is getting to the College Football Playoff because if you can beat Georgia on the road there’s no reason they can’t run the rest of the table — but the SEC Championship Game would present quite the challenge. If they somehow manage to pull off the upset on Saturday — the baseline would become a New Year’s Six bowl (and I’d say a NY6 bowl is still possible even if they lose).