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We left the season-opening University Louisiana Monroe/UGA football game with 9:54 remaining in the fourth quarter. But so did everyone else. The game was called after its second lightning delay with Georgia ahead, 14-51.

ULM 14, UGA 51

The first lightning delay was called at 8:35 remaining in the third (ULM 14, UGA 35), and the game wouldn't restart for another hour. Friend Randy and I took shelter in the stadium concourse while it rained. It was hard to tell how long it might last. Even in the middle of the heaviest downpour, Randy's WeatherBug® app insisted that there was a 0% chance of rain in Athens, GA.

The second delay was called completely unexpectedly during a period of sunny skies. The few of us left in the stadium watched as the two head coaches met on the 20-yard line. It was obvious to all of us what they must be talking about. Sure enough, they soon announced that the game was called. UGA win!

I've been a season ticket holder for over a decade, and this was the first time I've seen either a lightning delay or a called game. Just when you think you've seen everything....

(P.S. Today's game was also the unofficial debut of Uga X-elect, Que. I didn't know this before I arrived at the game, but when I saw that the mascot had no brown spot on his rump, I knew it wasn't Russ. I hope that the rest of Que's tenure produces many more games just as memorable.)

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Sorry, no post yesterday, but I have an excuse.

See, I was going to go to the UGA game versus Florida Atlantic University with Trey. However, I simply couldn't make myself care about spending 5 hours in a car (not to mention the $40 in gas and $20 for parking) to witness the Bulldogs beat a 43-point underdog. The only draw for the game was the ceremony to officially declare Russ, the UGA fill-in mascot for the past 3 years, as the official UGA IX. I'm not really big on ceremonies, so at the last minute, we decided not go.

Our plan was instead to sit around the house with Mom and watch the Florida/Tennessee game on one tv and stream the GA/FAU game on the computer. It sounded like a good plan. Unfortunately, the football gods frowned on my passing up stadium seats for the couch, and the cable went out. Since we have a cable modem, we couldn't watch football on television or the web. What a disappointment.

I don't think I'd do anything differently in repeat circumstances. Georgia went on to win 56 to 20 without my participation, I still have those 60 dollars in my bank account, and I'll definitely be back in Sanford Stadium next week when an actual SEC team finally comes to town. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned in this experience, but I guess like any good bulldog, I'm too stubborn to learn it.

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What a difference a week makes. Last week Sanford Stadium was abuzz with nervous anticipation as SEC rival South Carolina roared into town in their current bid for national dominance. This week felt more like a relaxed church reunion as Coastal Carolina limped in to take their whipping from a far superior Georgia team.

Coastal Carolina 0, UGA 59

See that? That's what Sanford Stadium looks like in the 4th quarter of a 59-0 football game. Even the students had long gone home.

Georgia normally opens the season against a weak opponent to try to pick up steam for the coming season. Because of our participation in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl (Pre-Season Edition), we don't get our first gimmie game until today. And boy, was it a gimmie. Coastal Carolina found no way to compete with Georgia, outmatched on offense and defense. Even their mascot seemed deferential and outclassed, spending most of the game looking but unable to spot any of the few Coastal Carolina fans in attendance.

I mean no disrespect to the Chanticleers. Their slaughter was simply a necessary sacrifice to the football gods to restore Georgia's honor after two consecutive losses to open the season. And the Bulldogs made the most of the situation, playing hard enough that even Russ, the curmudgeonly substitute-Uga, came out of his dog house to see what all the fuss was about. Briefly.

Russ has been the mascot for 12 games, now. Can't he get a dog house with his own name on it yet?

No point to get too excited. After all, in 4 previous games against Division I-A schools in the past decade, the Chanticleers had lost by a combined 164-13. Now make that 223-13. Go back to sleep, Russ. There's nothing to see here.

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Yesterday's UGA season opener versus the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns was more family reunion than football game.

UGA 55, ULL 7

Those poor Cajuns were outmatched from the time they signed the contract to play the game, and everyone, including the Cajuns, seemed to know it and planned accordingly. That UGA managed 55 points with a freshman quarterback and several stars deactivated for a litany of violations against team rules, accused NCAA infractions, and state laws wasn't nearly as surprising as the fact that the Cajuns scored 7 points. (They scored on their only completed deep pass one play following UGA's sole turnover of the game, an interception off a bobbled reception. It's always better to be lucky than good.)

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For those of you who have wondered, mouse over to see my seats.

The smell of sunblock was more prevalent than the smell of beer as old friends caught up on gossip gained since last year's season finale versus Kentucky. The temperature was unseasonably mild and insidiously pleasant, distracting everyone from cooking in the direct early afternoon sunlight. Twin F-18's missed their cue, arriving about 30 seconds too early and washing out the "Sanford Stadium tradition" of the Redcoat Marching Band's rendition of the National Anthem, but nobody was disappointed. Even Russ, Uga's temporarily replacement seemed contentedly lethargic as he lazily (and not without much coaxing) fulfilled his mandatory photo-op duty for the University. It was really a pretty swell atmosphere for a football bloodbath.

Blessed be the reign of Russ the First

Eagle-eyed readers may notice that the endzones are painted slightly differently than in past years. I pointed this fact out to my mother before kickoff. "Only you would notice something like that," she sighed. I also noticed that the roof of Russ's doghouse read "UGA Mascot" instead of "Uga" (as it did last year) and that the scoreboard promoted UGA players now in the NFL using a logo that the NFL replaced two years ago. I didn't bother pointing these things out. I'm sure mom appreciated my silence.

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To be continued...


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