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13-0. 33-0. 47-0. 55-0. Those are the scores at the end of each quarter of today's UGA game against Arkansas Sate. They are also the reason that I didn't attend, despite it being a UGA home game.
I will, however, be in the stands next week when Notre Dame comes to town. If I have to buy some cupcakes I'm not going to eat in order to get the real football content, that's a price I'm willing to pay.
The draw for the opening home game of the 2019 Georgia season wasn't the opponent, Murray State, but the dedication of "Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium."
The dedication was held about 15 minutes before kickoff to a partially-filled stadium. Vince deserved a better crowd, but that's what happens when you schedule something for pregame against a sub-par opponent in 95° heat, the same temp that drove Mom and me from the stadium before halftime on opening day last year. Even football legends are subject to the weather.
As for the game itself, friend Randy — who replaced Mom at the last minute when she said one 95° opening day was enough for her — and I spent most of our time drinking bottles of water and trying to guess whether Georgia, who managed only a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter, could manage to pull out a win against the 49-point spread. They didn't, but only barely. Final score was Murray State 17, UGA 63 (a 46-point differential). And yes, we watched all the way until the last second had run off the clock, a decision I'm sure my poor crispy skin will be paying for tomorrow.
Today is the start of the 14th Annual Wriphe.com Batman and Football Month! Yesterday was a busy day on and off the gridiron, so let's get straight to the news.
Yesterday, the Georgia Bulldogs opened the season on the road against Vanderbilt and won easily. Theirs was the only game played between SEC opponents, so Georgia's win puts them in first place in the conference!
Speaking of the conference, winning the SEC East might be easier than usual for the Bulldogs this year. South Carolina fell to North Carolina of the ACC (2-10 in 2018), and Missouri was beaten by Wyoming of the Mountain West (6-6 in 2018). Wyoming had been winless against teams from Power Five conferences since 2014, but that's nothing compared to Georgia State of the Sun Belt Conference. They were also 2-10 in 2018 and hadn't beaten a Power Five team ever... until they ruined Tennessee's season with a 34-30 win. That's not strong competition.
Speaking of winning, the Miami Dolphins won't. One week ahead of the start of the season, the Dolphins have traded their starting left tackle for multiple picks in next year's drafts. Dolphins' management had already telegraphed their intention to tank 2019, but I don't have high hopes for their ability to ever convert all the draft picks they're banking into a winning team. Number One overall picks are no panacea for a team full of mediocre talent and an ownership with no idea what a winning team looks like.
Meanwhile, Batman is still Batman.
Poster by Marco D'Alfonso
I see deer everywhere these days. Literally every day. Deer here, deer there, deer everywhere. That's not paranoia talking, either. I have pictures!
Ok. That's not a great picture. But that really is a deer, and it was only the first of four I saw last night!
Even if you go to bed at sundown, you probably know that after dark suburban neighborhoods are teaming with raccoons, possums, and armadillos roaming between the religiously maintained lawns and hedges. Owls can be heard marking their treetop territory, and it's not summer without bats overhead hunting gnats and mosquitoes. Those critters are everywhere, but they're small. Deer are big, larger than dogs. You think you'd notice if they were around. Don't be fooled.
I've been letting Dad's dogs out at about 2AM for the past two months. Almost every night, I see deer. This week alone, on Sunday, I spotted a pair of does napped by a fence. On Monday a family of four walked calmly across the road in front of my car. On Tuesday another grazed at the end of the driveway without regard for my presence. The dogs chased it away briefly; then it came back and finished its meal. That was a determined, hungry deer.
Where do these deer go every day? Do they have a lair? Do they retreat to their secret underground deer cave? Do they squat in abandoned crack houses? (Dad watches a lot of Ancient Aliens on History Channel. He'd probably insist they go back to their spaceships.)
I'm not trying to be an alarmist about this. It's too late to build a wall. Deer. Are. Everywhere. It's time to stop fighting them and learn to live in harmony. And build bigger gardens: deer eat a lot of greens.
Forest Lawn Memorial Park is just around the corner from my Dad's new house. It's been there since 1956, which means it was there when I was in high school. I must have passed it hundreds of times, but I'd never been in. Not until this week when the beautiful weather made a side trip necessary.
I've never liked it. Oak Hill is the older cemetery closer to town. As previous posts on this blog prove, I like it fine. Forest Lawn, on the other hand, has always seemed to me more like a small, sterile golf course than a cemetery. Now that I've been in, I'll second my own first impression.
I've never been a believer that cemeteries should remain solemn and unused plots of ground. If you can't celebrate the lives of the dead, why remember them at all? Besides, a tiny metal plate with a stack of fake flowers is hardly how I'd want anyone to remember me.
The rules are posted by the entrance. The first one is no kids (living ones, I assume). The second is no recreational equipment (read: no fun). The third is no pets ("Leashed Or Unleashed": even fish are out). That sounds awfully exclusionary, but read to the bottom and you'll see that "Properly Attired Walkers And Joggers Are Welcome Except During Funeral Services." Thanks for that offer, but I think we'll keep on passing by.
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What? I skipped a post again? Dammit.
In my defense, I've been busy these past few days. As you know, I've been supervising Dad's medications and dog-sitting Rambo and Scarlett (and trying to make July not jealous). Also, there have been issues with our commercial rental property, including an AC failure and an (unrelated) fallen tree that damaged the roof and destroyed the gutter over the back door that has a bad tendency to flood. Add to those that I have an end-of-July deadline on a coding project. And I helped one friend build some shelves and another fix her cable system. And my own ISP was down for most of Friday and Saturday. And I've been trying to find time to write more. And and and and.
But that's all just excuses.
On the up side, I did just recently discover that my phone takes great panoramic photos, a feature which I have been using exclusively to take photos of clouds.
So that's good. And that's enough.
Seen from parking lot
the sunset's a forest fire.
Georgia Tech came to Athens and lost for the first time since 2012. They lost badly, too. Through the first three quarters, Tech managed to score only on a punt return. After UGA pulled the starters, final score was Georgia Tech 21, UGA 45.
The game was essentially over when Georgia scored their first touchdown on their opening possession. I didn't see that, however. I hadn't yet reached my seat because my companion, Friend Ken, was 30 minutes late to the carpool. But he did buy me a pretzel in the third quarter, so I'm not inclined to hold too much of a grudge. (Unless I catch his cold. If I catch his cold, yeah, grudge back on.)
By the way, I would be remiss to mention that at halftime, the Georgia Tech band came out on the field and played a tribute to Aretha Franklin. Then the Georgia band followed with... a tribute to Aretha Franklin. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. indeed.
UGA finishes the regular season 11-1 (7-0 at home). I saw 5 of the 7 home games, and none of them were very competitive. Was that worth the increased ticket price? Maybe. Will I renew my tickets again next year? Maybe. It probably depends on how much they jack up the prices this off-season. We'll see what we see after the SEC Championship game.
What else is there to say about a game that UGA won, 66-27?
For one thing, it looked like the team was enjoying themselves. It sure felt like *everybody* got a touchdown.
And UMass scored on a 1 second drive to end the third quarter. That was impressive.
And in honor of Veterans Day, the band played songs for all branches of the armed forces at halftime (pictured above).
And Nick Chubb and Sony Michel were in the house. Each received a standing ovation when introduced.
And, boy, did I enjoy my Coca-Cola and pretzel. Delicious!
Also of note: This was Friend Mike's second UGA game. He has now attended more UGA games than Alabama games. That's a good thing.
Now bring on Georgia Tech.
A 7:08 PM kickoff on Saturday meant that I didn't get back home until just before 2 AM Sunday, but it was worth it to see UGA beat down Auburn 27-10.
What I will remember most about this game, aside from the drunk girl to my left who couldn't quite grasp the concept of "personal space," is the cold. It may not be the coldest Georgia game I've ever attended (that would be a Tech game almost a decade ago), but it was pretty darn close. According to the television in the student center, it was 38° at the final whistle.
My usual Auburn-game companion, Friend Randy, didn't think he was going to need anything more than a light jacket. He never did get the hang of the knit cap I let him borrow, but I note he never took it off, either. (You're welcome, Randy.)
As for the football itself, it seems that every year in the annual UGA/Auburn contest, one team out thinks itself. This year, that team was Georgia. UGA tried its best to pretend that it isn't a run-first, second, and third offense in an attempt to beat trick play-happy Auburn head coach Gus Malzhan at his own game. (Blankenship's failed fake field goal springs to mind.) Fortunately, great defense won out. Next year, let's keep it simple, okay, Dawgs?