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As I mentioned, Georgia won their season opener and the pollsters responded... by dropping us to #2 in the national rankings. In fact, USC leapt from #3 in both polls to #1, overtaking UGA and Ohio State.

The conventional wisdom at work here was that Georgia and Ohio State toyed with easy cupcake Division I-AA (also known as the Division I Football Championship Subdivision) teams, Georgia Southern and Youngstown State respectively, while USC overcame a legitimate contender in Virginia. This makes sense if you don't think about it, and most coaches won't and most sportswriters can't.

Virginia plays in the ACC, which as a football conference has been collapsing under the weight of their own expectations for a few years. The four teams in the ACC that opened their 2008 season against Division I-A (also known as the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision) opponents all lost. The two ACC teams that had the misfortune of opening against SEC schools, NC State and Clemson, both looked like they were playing the game for the first time in lopsided beatings by South Carolina and Alabama, respectively. (Worse, Clemson is expected to be the best team in the conference and was beaten embarassingly by Alabama, an expected also-ran in the SEC.) Last year's Virginia squad struggled to finish 9-4, defeating only three teams (hapless 1-11 Duke, Dave Wannstedt's inexplicably overrated 5-7 Pitt, and the worst 5-7 Miami, Florida team in decades) by more than a single touchdown. Or to put it another way, the team was 18 points away from a 3-10 season and isn't expected to win more than 4 games this season.

Meanwhile, Youngstown State has won 4 national titles in Division I-AA competition, second only to the 6 won by... Georgia Southern. While these two programs haven't played at their peak in recent years, they're proud programs with a better history of winning than Virginia. (Virigina has never even won an outright ACC Championship, merely sharing the title twice with two other teams, including Duke, in the past 55 years.).

After Appalachian State University, a three time Division I-AA Champion, rocked the football world by defeating Michigan in last season's opening weekend, should we really be insulting these championship caliber "second tier" schools by considering them as "cupcake" opponents for Division I-A programs?

Oh, but what do I know? I'm neither a coach or a sportwriter. I just watch a lot of football.

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Yes, I know that I should have posted yesterday in order to maintain my "every 3 days" posting rule, but I omitted the post on purpose so that I could prepare for today's post, the early kickoff to my Annual Batman and Football Month!

Today was the kickoff for the 2009 University of Georgia Bulldogs, who start the season ranked #1 in both the coaches and sportswriters national polls for the first time in school history. It was also the first game for Loran's Best, newly baptized as Uga VII, the latest in a distinguished line of Georgia mascots.

UGA 45, Georgia Southern 21

Uga VII was introduced to the fans exactly 10 minutes before kickoff of today's season opener against Georgia Southern. And he remained pretty much the focus of the fans and the cameras for the remainder of the game. Even a brief appearance by Georgia Southern's live eagle mascot, Freedom, couldn't steal Uga VII's spotlight.

Like all season openers, the presentation had it's rough spots. The boosters failed to properly support the Georgia "G" flag that the player's typically run through following pre-game introductions (as seen on recent ESPN promotions), and as a result the flag tore in two long before the players ever reached it. The GSU Band apparently got lost on the way to the game, failing to arrive until mere minutes before their scheduled halftime performance. [Update 09/02/08: From my source in Statesboro: "It pains me to say that I have to correct the information I gave you a bit.  YES, the bus was broke down for an hour and a half and that was the main reason they were late... however, the mother fuckers did get lost. I found that out last night. So you guys guessed correctly. Still, the MAIN reason was the flat."] Even the grounds crew needs some extra practice this year. Note the drop shadow error on the "B" in the endzone "Bulldogs" below.

Putting the

Despite the snags and the the melting heat of the early afternoon sun, we beat GSU 45-21. It was a foregone conclusion that we would win easily, and we did. As a result, Uga VII started his reign as mascot with a 1-0 record. That's the sort of tradition that I can get behind.

And an UGA VII to rule them all.

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To be continued...


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