Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Two Trips Down Memory Lane

I wrote a pair of recent columns for SB Nation Atlanta and the common thread, as best I can tell, is their focus on the past, which is par for the course for me.  The first is a defense of Braves fans for littering the field with debris during the eighth inning of the loss to the Cardinals on Friday night.  The dreadful invocation of the infield fly rule is getting more attention because of the reaction, so mission accomplished. 

I was interested to see what the local reaction would be and what I got this morning on Mayhem was Chris Dimino saying that the reaction was borne out of playoff frustration (maybe, although I walked out of the game with a hop in my step as a result of Braves fans giving a finger to MLB, so I certainly didn't feel that way) and Nick Cellini claiming that 75% of the fans didn't know what had happened (utter BS based on my experience, as everyone is Section 431 knew what had been called; Cellini's claim struck me as a quintessential sports radio attempt for attention by being outlandish).  My happiness with the reaction of Braves fans come from being prickly about the criticism of the city as not caring about the Braves during the playoff debacles in the late 90s and early Aughts.  My opinion was colored by experience.

Likewise, my column about the Georgia-South Carolina game is an extended analogy between that loss and the third straight loss to Georgia Tech in 2000.  Both were blowout losses against programs that Georgia had historically dominated.  I'll be interested to see how this loss plays out.  On the one hand, Georgia needs South Carolina to lose the next two games to have a realistic shot at winning the East.*   However, if that happens, then the egg that Georgia laid in Columbia becomes even harder to explain.  If South Carolina does well in its next two games (say, a win and a close loss) and finishes 11-1, then the loss can be rationalized, but would the implication also be that South Carolina has passed Georgia as a program?  After all, this was not supposed to be a once-in-a-decade South Carolina team.  Georgia returned more starters this year and has recruited better over the past five years. 

And lastly, is winning the East an imperative for Georgia if the reward is a date with Alabama, a team against which Georgia fans will likely have little confidence in light of Georgia's pattern in big games over the past several years?  So, assuming that "Georgia runs the table, South Carolina loses twice, Georgia beats Alabama and then Oregon, and then Mark Richt ascends to heaven as a beam of pure energy" is off the table, wouldn't the best result this year be that Georgia runs the table and ends up in a BCS Bowl against some hapless Big Ten team?  Or maybe Georgia goes 10-2 and gets to accomplish the same thing?

* - I suppose that a Florida win over the Gamecocks in the Swamp would do the trick by itself because it would create the possibility for Georgia to beat the Gators in Jacksonville and then end up in a three-way tie in the East.  However, the tie-breaker for three teams at 7-1 and 1-1 against the other two would be the BCS Standings, so Georgia would have to be hoping that neither South Carolina, nor Florida win their in-state rivalry games at the end of the season, as a win in either of those games would likely push the winning team ahead of Georgia in the human polls.


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