Despair not, Dawg fans. The Vols don't have much going for them.
Every team has a bad half now and then. Every team has some injuries and penalties. You just have to deal with them.
The difference between champions and shoulda-beens is in how they deal with adversity.
I am reminded of the great master Pai Mei, who asks us what the appropriate response is to an enemy a couple inches away. “Do you curl up into a ball and die, or do you put your fist through him?”
With this attitude in mind, we start the list...
10. Rennie Curran
The guy has been playing like a madman all season, at times seemingly covering an entire field by himself. He is now imposing his intensity and enthusiasm on the rest of the team...whether they want it or not. He has publicly addressed issues of complacency and has basically said that there is no excuse for it.
Here’s a recent quote:
“I’ve taken it on myself. Just looking at the games, Coach Martinez, as much as he yells at us and tries to set us straight and Coach G, they’re not going to be on the field with us. It’s going to be us as a team; it’s going to be us individual players. And I know for me, when I go to war, I want to look next to me and see that the guy I’m looking at has worked as hard as he could in practice and knows what he’s supposed to do.”
The fire hydrant of motivation is coming for you if you’re not hustling and focused. Don’t make him open up his valves of whup-ass.
9. Mark Richt
He has promised a better showing as an apology for the first half of Bama. A lot of indicators are pointing to a lack of due diligence on the part of the staff as far as things that were previously evident in film. Mix that with a hurt Moreno, a darn good Bama team, and a quarter mile worth of penalties, and you get a loss.
Secondly, he has let it be known that players getting penalties in the future will have elected the way of pain. There’s been an escalation to the physical side of penalty punishment. I imagine it’s something akin to having to do stadium sets with a fridge tied to one’s back while “Rocky Top” and other tunes play full blast into headphones glued to the offenders’ heads.
8. Brannan Southerland is back.
He’s the strongest person in UGA football history. He is like a Buick with legs. He lives for short yardage conversions. Remember the dreaded “big white boy” on the team you played against in high school? Southerland is that guy on a much larger scale.
7. UGA's showing against the MAC and Pac-10.
UGA pulverized CMU. UT survived Northern Illinois. Tennessee lost to UCLA, who in turn got murdered by BYU the following week by more than 50 points. UGA beat ASU in their own house and controlled the game throughout.
6. UGA’s conference record.
Guess who hasn’t won an SEC game yet? Here’s a hint: It’s UT.
5. Knowshon Moreno.
Coaches have said he’s been having his best practices ever. While his elbow is a little sore, he’s still going to be starting. Bank on some more spectacular highlights on his road to Heisman glory.
4. Fulmer is getting antsy.
Apparently stress and frustration are getting to him and he’s now calling the plays. He started doing it in the fourth quarter against Northern Illinois. He’s also swapped quarterbacks. Desperation smells better than your third Jack and Coke of the day. This brings us to No. 3...
3. New UT QB.
Fulmer’s thoughts must be something akin to this:
“I’ll ease him on in vs. Northern Illinois. Then he’ll be ready for UGA. Yeah, that’s the ticket.”
Thank you for dipping the pig in bar-be-cue sauce before throwing it to the Dawgs.
2. Home field advantage
It’ll be later in the afternoon. UGA’s fans will be appropriately lubricated. UT won’t know what to do without the constant din of "Rocky Top" polluting the air.
1. UGA doesn’t have any star players who’ve gone completely nuts.
Arian Foster has either gotten his Wheaties spiked with a myriad of pharmaceuticals of dubious distinction, or he's gone off the deep end.
Read this next sentence carefully: He refuses to do interviews unless they’re conducted in the dinosaur language of Pterodactyl.
I couldn’t make that up if I tried. It all just seems like a lame joke from a Tenacious D album or something.
It’d have been a lot cooler if he’d said Klingon. I actually respect Klingons.