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Today was a UGA home game. The Bulldogs played Samford in Sanford Stadium at 7:30pm. However, I wasn't there to see it. Instead, I had to spend the day on Tybee Island with Mom.

She seeks sea shells by the sea shore.

Don't get me wrong. I love Tybee. (And I love Mom.) Tybee is a charming coastal town with some fantastic scenery. (And Mom is Mom.) I'm happy to report that most of the island survived Hurricane Irma just fine, though plenty of scars from last week's storm were still visible everywhere. But it wasn't Tybee's beauty or Irma's wrath (or Mom's Momness) that brought us to the Georgia coast. No, we were here to attend friend Brian's beach wedding in the shadow of Tybee's historic lighthouse.

Mom is a big fan of former Secretary of State George Marshall

Mom rented a wonderful house at 117 Cedarwood Drive, and she, Audrey, July, and I used it as a base of operations for our weekend stay. Mom frequently visited the beach (just a few hundred yards to our north) to collect shells, each time leaving Audrey behind to rue Tybee's draconian "no pets on the beach" policy.

Bring me back a pizza!

Sadly, I somehow managed not to take any pictures of the groom or bride, Veronika. For that matter, I don't have any pictures of groomsmen friends Ken, Keith, or Michael, either. The wedding party didn't show up on the beach until after the wedding officiant warned the attendees not to take pictures because that was the wedding photographer's job. Instead, you'll just have to be satisfied with this screen grab from the lovebird's official wedding website.

You know it's true because it's on the Internet.

In fact, the only picture I have of the wedding was taken by friend James. (James was one of my few friends in attendance who wasn't actually in the wedding party. Matt was the other. Why was I not in the wedding party? I'm sure it had no small part to do with my vowing to Brian after Keith's wedding that I would never wear anything dressier than jeans to a wedding again. "Except mine?" Brian asked. "Even yours," I answered. That's what I like about Brian. He listens.) James couldn't resist disobeying the order not to take any pics, but he somehow still managed not to get the wedding party. (Reminder: "Never do what James does.")

My wedding photo

I haven't attended a lot of weddings. I don't like them. Yet I found this one left an especially bittersweet taste for many reasons, not the least of which was that Brian was the last of my single friends likely to get married. From this point forward, we're all more likely to reunite at a funeral than another wedding. That's an uncomfortable thought, though it's better than imagining the possibility that I may have to sit through yet another wedding ceremony.

Thanks to Irma, there is much less dune area to be fined in.

Good luck, Brian and Veronika. Do me a favor and be so happy together that we don't have to do this all over again, ok? Thanks.

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Audrey isn't used to football season yet. She still jumps when Mom yells at the tv.

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The NFL season kicks off this weekend without the Miami Dolphins. Thanks to Hurricane Irma, the Dolphins' season opener versus Tampa Bay has been postponed until November 19. That's a long time to wait to start the season.

The effect of this move is that the Dolphins, unlike the rest of the league (save the Buccaneers), will not have a mid-season bye. I'd say that was a competitive disadvantage, but since the team has already suffered season-ending injuries at quarterback, linebacker, and defensive back, I guess having a week to "get healthy" is kind of pointless.

General consensus among pundits was that the Dolphins would win no more than 8 games. Even that number now looks increasingly over-optimistic, especially considering that there will only be six games remaining after the relocated "opener."

If there's any upside to all this, it's that all Dolphins' games played prior to the week 11 "opener" must now be considered preseason games. That means they shouldn't count against the team's permanent record, right? Right?

I'd complain more, but it seems inappropriate to bitch too much about football with a category 5 hurricane on the way. Stay safe, Miami. I'll see you in November.

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It didn't take long for the 2017 UGA football season to go off the rails. Eight minutes and thirty seconds, to be precise.

Appalachian State 10, UGA 31
There between the goalposts you'll see UGA's 2017 season being helped off the field.

That's when sophomore starting quarterback Jacob Eason went down with what has been called a "knee sprain" on a late hit out of bounds. As I write this, the true extent of the injury is unknown, but judging by how quickly Eason disappeared from the sideline never to return, this thing is serious.

Eason wasn't exactly tearing up the field in the brief time he did play. He completed one of three passes for four yards. His two misses were overthrows of open receivers. Like the rest of the team, he seemed too "tight" to start the game, a recurring problem for the team during Smart's increasingly dissatisfying tenure.

Everyone loosened up when true freshman (and the latest in a line of "No, Seriously, He's The Next Great Thing℠" at quarterback) Jake Fromm replaced Eason, and the Bulldogs went on to win in convincing fashion. Chubb and Michel looked game ready, and everyone was happy. Until the fourth quarter, when Bryce Ramsey, in true Bryce Ramsey fashion, threw two interceptions on two consecutive drives on the only two passes he attempted in the game! All 10 of Appalachian State's points came indirectly from Ramsey turnovers. Sigh. I hope next week's opponent — Notre Dame — wasn't watching.

Jake Fromm, you better find a way to make a uniform out of bubble wrap. Something tells me you're going to need it.

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Today is the first day of the 12th Annual Batman and Football Month at Wriphe.com!

I started the celebration early by attending last night's inaugural Georgia State University game at Turner Field Petit Field at Georgia State Stadium. (Yeah, that name's not going to stick.)

TSU 17, GSU 10
This is an optical illusion. The stands were not this full.

Seven years ago Mom and I attended her alma mater's first ever football game, and we weren't going to miss the unveiling of their new home. Two games in seven years: that's better than I've managed for my old high school. And it might be the last GSU game I ever attend. If GSU and the city of Atlanta can't get their act together better than what I saw yesterday, I won't be back even in another seventy years.

It's not that the game was especially bad, although Georgia State was horribly outplayed by Tennessee State University. (The final score was 17-10 TSU, but it wasn't remotely that close.) Fittingly, the beer stands outnumbered concession stands three to one, which is a good ratio if your team sucks. Also disappointing was the pretzels. I never stood in the long lines to buy one, but I could see from a distance that they had ceased being twisted into "GSU" shapes. Pooh.

But what really, really sucked was the traffic. From the time I exited I-85 onto Fulton Street, it took an hour and ten minutes to drive two blocks to reach the Green Lot where I had prepaid for parking. While I'm no civil engineer, the problem appeared to be that there was absolutely no one directing traffic. Not a single policeman was seen until I was inside the stadium. Traffic was left to direct itself, and it went even more poorly than you might expect. I've been to a lot of football games, and this was the first time ever that it took longer to arrive than leave. (We left in the third quarter to avoid a second round of traffic jousting, and departure took all of 2 minutes.) If MLB games were anything like this, no wonder the Braves fled to the suburbs.

Ultimately, despite all obstacles, I had a good time because I'm just so glad that football season is back. (And the terrific TSU marching band helped, too.) Welcome back, football!

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Two weeks ago, I was excited about the coming NFL season. The Miami Dolphins had a good year last year, making the playoffs for the first time in almost a decade. This year, with a rehabilitated quarterback, an up-and-coming sophomore running back, and an improved defense, the team was poised for better things. What a difference a couple of weeks can make.

Since camp started, the Dolphins have placed their starting running back into the concussion protocol, struggled to replace their re-damaged quarterback, and watched helplessly as the linebacking core has collapsed to season-ending injuries one member at a time. All is not sunny in Miami, Florida.

I'm especially disheartened by the signing of Jay Cutler. This shows that management doesn't believe existing backup Matt Moore, quarterback for the last four games last season, can carry the load. However, it's not like Cutler is an ox himself. He hasn't completed a full season since 2009. He had shoulder surgery in December and had retired from the sport after being cut by the Bears and having no other team in the league express interest. Oh, boy.

(I admit my bias here. I thought Cutler was going to be something special coming out of Vanderbilt. But his career — hindered by constant coaching changes, disruptive teammates, a litany of ailments, and a standoffish personality — has been . . . lackluster. And now he's the latest in a long line of disappointing Dolphin QBs to succeed Emperor Marino.)

Last year, the Dolphins were only as good as the health of their offensive line. While that's always true for every team, the Dolphins had it especially tough, managing only 4 games with all starters in play. The team hoped to be better in 2017 with the benefit of experience and extra depth, but that won't make much difference if no one is standing behind the center.

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DawgNation.com reports that last week UGA had to lower the cost of their season tickets for year two of the Kirby Smart era. When asked why such an unusual move was necessary, the UGA Associate Athletic Director for Tickets said "I don't know what the full cause is."

Hmm. I don't know what the "full cause" might be, either. Let's help out the AADfT and see if we can't go all Sherlock Holmes on this using a little inductive reasoning (also known as "what I learned in PHIL 110, Introduction to Logic").

Logical syllogism #1:

Fan enthusiasm wanes following bad seasons.
2016 was a bad season.
Therefore, fan enthusiasm is down.

Despite what you may have read between the lines in my opening paragraph, I'm not going to blame Kirby Smart for decreased ticket demand. Not directly, anyway. Last year's very disappointing season is probably playing a role, but UGA has had other lackluster seasons without needing to discount tickets the following year (see: 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013, etc.).

Logical syllogism #2:

Spectators do not want to pay to see games against weak teams.
UGA's 2017 home schedule is full of weak teams.
Therefore, spectators do not want to pay to see UGA's 2017 home games.

Ugh! What a terrible home schedule UGA has put together for 2017. Home games against Appalachian State, Samford, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, and Kentucky — I'm not sure I want to pay to see most of those. If UGA can't win at least 5 of those games, it's time to get out of the SEC altogether.

Logical syllogism #3 (the important one):

Higher ticket prices result in fewer tickets sold.
UGA raised their football season ticket prices.
Therefore, UGA sold fewer tickets.

That's right, UGA raised their 2017 ticket prices a minimum of 10% over 2016 prices. Personally, I don't consider the new prices so bad because it's the first time they've raised the price in years, but I can't say that I'm surprised others have cut back, especially given other reasons listed above. Football tickets are a luxury expense, after all.

So there you go, Mr. AADfT. It's not going to do much to help you this year, but you might want to keep these things in mind before you set prices in the future. Even UGA fans don't want to have to pay a premium price for an inferior product.

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Today is the University of Georgia's annual G-Day game practice, the unofficial start of the 2017 hype season. This marks Kirby Smart's second year as head coach. You may recall he was hired to take the team to the next level after Athletic Director Greg McGarity lost faith in Mark Richt. Let's just say that year one wasn't everything Bulldog Nation hoped it would be.

So how does Smart kick off year two? By demanding that the media not report on injuries unless he gives permission. Even if the player breaks his leg in front of a television camera.

What the fuck, Kirby?

Hey, man, I get it. You're a tin-pot dictator who gets paid millions of dollars a year to boss around children. That shit goes to your head. Last year, you somehow convinced the Georgia State legislature to pass a law allowing you to extend delays in responding to open records requests from three days to three months. It's only logical that the next step in your plan for world domination would be to refuse the release of any information at all.

The only question I have is how is this media gag order supposed to help UGA win football games? Did the Bulldogs go 4-4 in SEC games last year because our opponents knew Jacob Eason was a Freshman? Did Vanderbilt get its 3rd win versus Georgia in 22 tries because reporters told them ahead of time that the Bulldogs couldn't stop a 75-yard drive in the final quarter? Did Tennessee's Hail Mary to defeat Georgia with only zeroes showing on the clock happen because they'd read news reports about the secondary's practice habits in the week prior to the game? As I recall, it was Nick Chubb's mother who released information about the extent of his knee injury in 2015, by the way. Good luck stopping her from talking to the press in 2017, Coach.

Hey, sports reporters, if you see something, say something. I have a hunch you'll still have a job in two years. Coach Smart I'm not so sure about.

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The Atlanta Falcons were up 28-3 over the New England Patriots late in the third quarter of the Super Bowl. No team had ever come back from such a deficit in the big game, and the Patriots didn't look like they were going to be the ones to do it. All Atlanta had to do was keep doing what they had been doing for the better part of 2 hours, and they would be NFL champions.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you who won.

The Falcons were good enough this year; they should have been able to beat the Patriots. But the one thing holding back, the lead weight around their necks, was their own history. The 1999 Super Bowl. The 2011 Divisional game. Now the 2017 Super Bowl. When a few plays late in the game went wrong, you could see the Falcons lose confidence that they could win. If you think you're going to lose, you're right.

I'm not a Falcons fan, but I do consider myself an Atlantan. This loss hurt. It hurt bad. Like a second betrayal by an unfaithful lover, it's the sort of pain you never get over. You can forgive, but you'll never forget. You can only blame yourself for believing she wouldn't do it to you again. A loss like this, in a city seemingly incapable of escaping it's terrible luck at team sports (1 MLB title, 0 NFL titles, 0 NBA titles, 0 NHL franchises), this loss leaves a permanent scar on our soul.

As my friend Keith, a Falcons fan since birth, said at the start of the postseason, "I'll believe the Falcons can win a Super Bowl the day after they win a Super Bowl." After this game, I don't think either of us will live that long.

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Last year, the Atlanta Falcons were no better than an average team, finishing with an 8-8 record. The year before, they finished 6-10, and the year before that, they were 4-12. You might have noticed a trend. After four years of steady improvement, the Falcons are in the Super Bowl.

Why can't other teams do that? Specifically, why not the Miami Dolphins?

Assembling a successful pro football team is a challenge of (1.) recognizing talent, (2.) acquiring that talent, (3.) developing a competitive strategy, (4.) coaching talent to work together to achieve the strategy, and (5.) executing tactics on the field.

In recent years, the Falcons have done all those things well. For the past few decades, the Dolphins have rarely gotten past step one.

But this year the Dolphins broke out of mediocrity and made the postseason. The Dolphins lost primarily because the injury bug did more damage than their opponent, but that the Dolphins have any talent good enough to make the playoffs is a hopeful sign that perhaps the team is finally turning things around.

If the Falcons can make the Super Bowl in four years, I don't see any reason the same can't happen for the Dolphins. Maybe 2019 will be a super year for Miami.

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