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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Bulldog of an Opponent

Kyle over at Kyle on Football, a pro-Georgia blog, has proposed that the Bulldogs and Wolverines get together for an annual matchup. When I first read his post, I thought it was a pretty good idea. Since it appears teams will be playing a 12th game every year, it'd be nice to add an attractive matchup against a team we don't usually play.

After a bit of a period of malaise - they recently went 20 years between conference titles - Georgia has come back strong. Over the past four years they've won two SEC championships and have been ranked in the top ten each season. Under Mark Richt, they've again become a national power, and Kyle adds a number of other interesting reasons the matchup is attractive.

But Georgia's re-emergence as a national power might be the reason why this matchup won't take place. With Michigan's recent struggles early in the season on the road, I doubt Lloyd Carr or Bill Martin would welcome a visit to Athens, Georgia. I think Lloyd got his fill of intersectional battles in L.A., Seattle, and Eugene. Sure, Athens is home to plenty of great bands, but if Lloyd travels down to Athens, it'd be more likely to be for AthFest. Plus, we still are scheduled to lose play at Notre Dame until at least 2008.But games like this should happen. I don't expect Michigan to have many more 7-5 seasons, but even if they don't it's important to keep the team's profile high. Games against teams like Georgia garner a ton of publicity and even if Michigan should lose, there's a certain amount of goodwill that comes from just playing such games. A recent example was Tosu last year against Texas. It didn't hurt the Buckeyes' BCS chances.

Plus, I truly believe playing against great teams brings out the best in your team. Look at some college basketball teams like - I hate to admit it - Sparty. They play a super-tough out of conference schedule so that they're ready for the NCAA tournament. I know basketball is different from football, where one loss can kill your title chances, but playing at Georgia would make playing at places like Madison, Iowa City, and Columbus a little easier.

Besides, it would make the early season interesting. I'm tired of barely caring in September except against Notre Dame. Most of the early games I watch out of duty, and it's especially frustrating when I'm wasting the last vestiges of nice weather in the Midwest so that I can watch the Wolverines douse Eastern by 50 points. Those games aren't fun, and they'll still be on the schedule anyway. I just don't want three of them. Give me two MAC teams, Notre Dame and, yes, Kyle, Georgia. That would be a schedule worthy of a champion.


Ben said...

Kyle has done a great job researching his proposal -- including arguments for scheduling Georgia AND Notre Dame OOC.

I also recommend reading his post on the Vanderbilt/UM, somewhat surprisingly illustrious, history.

Anonymous said...

Seeing Michigan v Georgia would be incredible. The traditions of both programs speak for themselves and a home.away series would be great for the neutral viewer too. Hopefully there will be more match-ups like this in the years' ahead. I know that Ohio State, beside the home/away with Texas, has Southern Cal, Miami of Fla and Virginia Tech series coming over the next ten years. I think everty major program should have one of these "titanic: games on their schedule. Win or lose the team revs up the intensity early in the year and it can pay dividends later. Probably doesn't hurt recruiting either ...

CapBuck said...

lol, we do? That's news to me.

CapBuck said...

As for recruiting, one thing is sure: these games get you true national coverage. I'm not talking about ESPN national or regional games that get shown in selected viewing markets. A true national game on free TV is usually hard to come by in college football world (unless you're Notre Dame and, well, I guess they're just special). I think the only real national game OSU gets every year is UM, which is sometimes regional. I remember lvinging in Kansas and in Texas, where the local sports director or whoever for the networks went with some silly Big 12 cuddlefest instead of OSU/UM. Anyway, how many true nationally televised games does UM get every year? OSU? ND? Any others?

Wangs said...

Whoa, Nellie. Before we start adding teams to the schedule in this haphazard fashion I think we should set some criteria. I really only have one:

What do their cheerleaders look like?

I'm confident that Georgia has some smokin' hot cheerleaders, but, I think we should do a little more research - Florida, Alabama, Auburn (allthough I understand the good looking women there are actually men from Georgia), South Carolina, but definitely not Tennessee (not enough teeth).

Kyle King said...

Benny and Ben, I thank you profusely for your support.

Wangs, you raise a very valid point and, although you indicate that research needs to be done, your perceptive comments about the Auburn women (sic.) and the Tennessee women reveal that you already are working from a wealth of accurate information.

We have a saying in Athens: "When the Auburn cheerleaders take the field, the Tiger fans yell, 'How 'bout THEM dogs!'"

As for the quality of the talent available in the Classic City, I assure you that you will not be disappointed.