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Monday, August 22, 2011

Making Moves

Dear faithful and loyal readers who follow my writing even though I don't deserve it,

You guys have literally brought me to tears at times with your support, and that's a good thing. I can't say enough how often I've sat back and just been humbled when I get a nice compliment or a peer picks up an article I've written and thinks that it's worth sharing on their space of the internet. You would think that after six years of doing this, I'd get used to people, in large crowds or small, reading what I write. I can gladly say that I haven't yet, and I don't intend on it any time soon.

So, I hope you'll be excited for me and with me when I announce that as of today, I'm now an author at Dawg Sports. Now, Dawg Sports needs no introduction, because they are one of the preeminent blogs on University of Georgia Athletics. Not only that, but Kyle, who as you know is a co-host to The Dawg-gone Podcast, is good people. MaconDawg, who is also an author over there, is a fantastic read anytime, and those two guys are not only bringing me on, but a slew of other guys as well.

Why is Dawg Sports going from two authors to almost 10 overnight? Because Kyle is seeing the trend that I think all us bloggers are seeing in regards to the online aspect of the Bulldog Nation. That trend is not nearly a trend as much as it is a total change in how Dawg fans interact. Although you may not notice, we all talk to one another. We all respect each others' work, and especially in the case of some of the new staff Kyle is bringing on to help with Dawg Sports, it's not just the writers, but commenters who are adding to the experience. What Kyle is doing is creating a community where not only will us writers absolutely do everything we can to hit you with some of the best Dawg content on the web, but also do it in a way that invites the reader to interact at a high level. The work that Kyle and MaconDawg (along with others who have contributed along the way) speaks for itself, but man, I'm excited about this.

But it's you, said faithful and loyal readers, that have followed me from the old site to a (then) fledgling site called Bleacher Report, back to the old site, then to The Examiner, then back to the old site, then to Beyond the Trestle, and now to this new site. It hasn't just been you that have followed and supported me, but my peers in the blogging community as well, along with guys like those at The Dawgbone. They have updated my links without fail so that when you justifiably visit their site, you have a path back here.

So I want this transition to be as easy on you guys as possible, so here's a short list of things you need to know:

1. We're still working on the logistics of the move, but there will be some cross-posting, especially the podcast, on both sites. It will remain the Dawg-gone Podcast and it's still very much my podcast. Kyle has been totally clear with me that it's the way he wants it to be and that's the way I want it to be as well.

2. There will still be content posted here. I'll also post links to my articles on Dawg Sports over here so that you guys can see my stuff. As mentioned earlier, I've had a LOT of moves and when it doesn't work out, it's a big hassle to start everything back up. Now, I'm not saying this won't work out, because I believe this is going to be a home run, but just in case, I don't want to close up shop on this site just yet. This is uncharted territory for both Kyle and myself, so we're playing this all by ear.

3. I'm not sure what to do with the Twitter handle of The Dawg-gone Blog, but I'm not going to lose my personal handle any time soon. So, as always, you can find me at Ludakit on Twitter. I'll also be working under the author name of Ludakit on Dawg Sports, because that's how I roll.

4. Lastly, I have to take a second to tell you how excited it is to be joining SBNation. Over the years, they have figured out the power of the fan blog, have identified who the superstars are and snatched them up. Guys like those at Dawg Sports, EDSBS, And The Valley Shook, Shakin the Southland, Black Heart Gold Pants, Team Speed Kills, etc. have all solidified themselves as some of the premier blogs in the nation. It's exciting to be a part of a group like THAT.

So, thank you guys for putting up with another move --- again. My ultimate goal though is to constantly grow in doing this because it is a passion of mine. Another move, is worth it in the end. I was too excited at the opportunity to delay it.

Again, I hope you'll move with me once more. I'm just as ready to unpack all these boxes as you are.

Until next time kids (at Dawg Sports).

Be safe.

P.S. -- Olivia Wilde is still the site girl here and will STILL get ample FaceTime (that sounds so dirty) at Dawg Sports. She's absolutely coming with us, so never fear.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Tea Leaves

Yesterday marked the second scrimmage for the football team ($$$) (here's the AJC article if you want the free version) and we got what we should expect out of those kinds of things. There were no injuries to speak of, at least no new injuries, and it looks like the Offense fared a tad bit better against the Defense than they did the last time they scrimmaged. Other than that, here are some other tidbits from yesterday:
  • Jakar Hamilton, who's missed nearly all of fall with what was thought to be a hamstring issue, is lost for the year after it was discovered he had a broken ankle. He will most likely redshirt and will be a fifth year senior next year.
  • Isaiah Crowell and Richard Samuel saw no action in the scrimmage. One thing that I noticed was Richt's comment about Crowell was that he should definitely be ready by gameday. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but perhaps his groin issue is worse than originally thought? Being ready by gameday should be a no-brainer if it wasn't the big deal like everyone said. 
  • Rambo is still in some sort of jail in regards to the media and apparently playing time. Word is that he's been rotating out of his starting spot more and more and it looks like Sanders Commings will be the benefactor in the end. With Jakar Hamilton now out, Commings is probably a lock to stay at Safety, particularly with Branden Smith having a great fall. So, you're starting two until we hear a peep from Rambo should be Sanders Commings and Shawn Williams. I'd love to know what's going on with Rambo, but if the UGA coaches are avoiding the issue for whatever reason, then it's probably for the best. 
  • In better news, another word is that Alec Ogletree is going to show people this season how much of a natural fit he is at Linebacker. If I'm being honest, the guy is a natural football player and so the coaches made, in my opinion, an EXCELLENT call to put him there. I know the lion's share of the attention goes to Jarvis Jones and John Jenkins, but by season's end, my guess is that we are going to be downright giddy to know we have one more year of Alec Ogletree on the field.
  • Some odd stats came out of the Wide Receivers today, with Troupe, Wooten and Mitchell all getting some decent yardage. I'm not sure if the other guys' stats were held back on purpose, but it's good to see the second group of pass catchers get a little bit of love on the field. Maybe we're not as razor thin with depth as we once thought?
  • Finally, Orson Charles was cleared by the NCAA after being named in the Miami Death Machine that's going on down in South Beach. I never worried about this for a second, truthfully. From everything I've heard, Orson isn't that kind of guy and since he didn't sign with Miami, he never had the opportunity to be. Quickly about Miami, though; why is everyone so sure Miami's going to burn for this? You do realize we're talking about the NCAA, right? I don't care what the evidence says...WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE NCAA.
Other than those nuggets, there wasn't much to expound upon. As long as we have somewhat healthy bodies and guys are progressing, I'm pleased. All that said, I know we need the practice time, but if I could go "toe meets leather" today, I would. I'm way too ready for football to start.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dawg Gone Podcast Show 21

Hello again kids. We've got a LONG one on tap for you today (insert obligatory). As I say in the episode, I'm going to be on a short vacation next week, so there will be no show. So, in an effort to quench your Dawgly Thirst, there's almost TWO HOURS of stuff for you guys to listen to in this episode.

Now, I would never give you guys two hours of me talking. You'd never come back. So, here's our own "Dream Team" for this episode:

Gentry Estes -- Writer for
Verron Haynes -- You know who he is, but if you don't (how dare you), here's a hint. By the way, NICEST. GUY. EVER. I can't wait to have him back and feel free to reach out to him via his website to see how you can help with The Verron Haynes Foundation.
T. Kyle King -- The Mariano Rivera of closing a show drops knowledge bombs on your brain stem (as he always does).

Finally, before I give you guys the link, the last show not only broke, but shattered, the previous record which had been the show after the Auburn game. I say this in the episode, but it's worth repeating here, we're either doing something right for you guys to help us grow, or we're doing something so drastically wrong that you're telling your friends so that y'all can laugh at us. Either way, thank you for listening, subscribing and passing along word about the show and the blog. I appreciate it more than you guys know.

Ok, on to the linkage:

You can listen to/download the podcast on iTunes here.
You can listen to/download the podcast in MP3 format here.
You can email me about the podcast or blog in general here.
You can also stream the podcast in flash format at the bottom of the page.

One more thing, Resident Site Girl Olivia Wilde is still searching for a team to root for this college football season (at least in my mind, that's what she's doing). Make sure you contact her and tell her how we'd love to see her in Red & Black.

See? It's a great look for her. The dress that is...perverts.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

SEC Expansion Gets Giggity

Am I the only one not buying into all this Texas A&M to the SEC hype? I'm not saying that it's not going to happen, because I think ultimately it will. However, when you read things like this, it makes one realize that A&M is doing a lot more of the counting chickens than waiting for them to hatch. It's a pretty dangerous game that they're playing because noticeably absent from this conversation is anyone in an official capacity from the SEC, namely Commissioner Mike Slive.

My guess is, and I tweeted about this yesterday, that Slive is waiting for the whole plan of action to be formed before he goes and extends the formal invite to A&M. It's a given that A&M is the first piece of the puzzle, but they are certainly not the end game. If the SEC invites them, it'll try to achieve balance in the conference by either going to 14 or 16 teams. That means they're going to want to make sure they have a short list of candidates that should be no brainers to want to join. This list would include some teams from the ACC, and then teams from the Big East should the ACC ones all turn them down.

One thing I would suggest you won't see is FSU, Miami, Georgia Tech or Clemson on any list in joining. Tallahassee radio is saying that talk of the Seminoles to the SEC is heating up, but I think that's all speculation. I've heard that Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee have all decided that they'll vote together to keep their in-state rivals from joining. It kind of sucks because I think Clemson is a natural fit for expansion and the SEC, but I can understand the desire not to have your in-state rival now claim that they are an SEC team, which will help them in recruiting against you. Make no mistake, if any of those teams mentioned above join the SEC, they will take recruits away from the four SEC teams I mentioned above.

So, who becomes numbers 14 through 16? Word is names include Virginia Tech (I've read they're the SEC's first choice), NC State, North Carolina (unlikely in my opinion as they don't care as much about football and probably don't want to leave the prestige of ACC Basketball), Louisville, South Florida, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Yes, you read that correctly. Not only would the SEC take A&M, but it might also take other Big 12 (10) schools, essentially killing the conference and forcing Texas and their pompous attitude that started all this, into being Independent.

Now, this post is already long enough, but if the SEC does add A&M for 2012 and then no other teams until 2013, then the SEC West is the only one affected. If they add two teams, the East & West both get new teams, but whether those new teams are also the new ones to the conference depends on where those teams are located. If both are geographically west, then Auburn jumps to the SEC East and those two western teams go to the SEC West. If you add A&M and then an ACC team, then each division gets its own team and you go forward from there.

Ideally, whether you add two or four teams, you want to add an even number from the Big 12 and the ACC. That way you make the divisions as even as possible and don't screw too much up with traditional SEC East/West rivalries like Auburn/Georgia, Tennessee/Alabama and LSU/Florida. If you don't overload the West with western Big 12 teams, then Auburn doesn't have to slide over and the same goes for overloading the East with eastern ACC teams.

Ultimately, if you're an SEC expansion fan, you want to root for the conference to expand to 16 teams, include A&M, Oklahoma (or Oklahoma State), Virginia Tech and NC State. If that happens, revenue increases greatly, the best conference in the nation becomes the first super conference in the nation and no one is drastically hurt in their traditional recruiting grounds.

Sorry for the long post, but I had a lot a wanted to get out about this.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Where the Wilde Things Are

Hey kids. You'll remember about two weeks ago, I put out a contest where I wanted folks to answer a couple of questions for a copy of the Maple Street Press Bulldogs Kickoff 2011. Within that small set of questions was a request for folks to name their best choice for a new Site Girl for the blog. 

You're welcome.

I'd say it was a close race, but it wasn't. Apparently Ms. Olivia Wilde is quite popular with the men and women folk alike. As Kerri described her, "I'm a girl, I'm married (to a man) but that is hotness right there." 

To give you guys some background on Olivia (she's the Site Girl so we're moving to a first-name basis), here are a few facts:
  • She has duel citizenship in the US and Ireland.
  • Her parents have hung out with Mick Jagger.
  • She's very charitable, as you can find out through her work with Artists for Peace and Justice, which supports communities in Haiti. 
  • She's a total liberal, which usually wouldn't fly here, but she's educated about her opinions. Meaning she's not liberal because it's the cool thing to do. She's convicted. Convicted is sexy. (However, CONVICTS are not sexy, FYI.)
  • She's most widely known as "Thirteen" on House, but this blog has been a fan of hers since she was "Club Girl" on The O.C. We called her Club Girl because we really didn't care what her name was, but it was Alex, for what it's worth.
  • She is a bit of an internet legend for being this geeky, hipster hottie with a good sense of humor. 
  • She loves independent music, although she thinks that the artists she likes were much better before you heard of them.
  • Finally, she has no college affiliation that I could find, so the campaign begins now to turn her into a Dawg fan. 
So there you have it. Although Olivia essentially won in a landslide, I would like to extend an honorable mention to "Pippa's Butt." The PB was also suggested by Kerri, who was very much on her game for recommending choices for Site Girls. Other suggestions by contestants were for Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman, Jessica Alba and Emmanuel Chriqui (Sloan from Entourage). 

Finally, I'd like to give a special sendoff to Keira Knightley. She's been a fantastic Site Girl since the original site began and our love for her is immense. She'll always be our first and they can't take that away from us.

You're welcome. Again.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dawg-gone Podcast Show 20

Hello again kids! I say it a whole bunch in the podcast, but I'm really excited to bring this one to you. We've got T. Kyle King with on and he absolutely gets me fired up for football season with a great discussion on UGA's defense, the Dream Team's lack of headlines, and why the butt is the most important muscle on the field.

I won't bore you with a longer post than necessary, but one thing pointed out over Twitter by my buddy Jason was that maybe some of you guys would like to submit some questions for Kyle, myself and anyone else we might have on the show. So, please, I encourage you to use the email link below to ask me anything for an upcoming show and I'll make sure we address it.

So, in keeping the promise of keeping this post short, let's get right to the links.

You can listen to/download the podcast on iTunes here.
You can listen to/download the podcast in MP3 format here.
You can email me about the podcast or blog in general here.
You can also stream the podcast in flash format at the bottom of the page.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Letters to Boise State

Hello again, kids. I've had some things rattle around in my head that I needed to get out regarding the Boise State game, and I figured that it'd be best to just put them down in a series I'd like to call "Letters to Boise State."

Fair warning, they may be cheesy, long, and there may be multiple ones. Truth be told, they may all say the same thing, but if I don't get them out, it'll drive me crazy. It's like someone gave me this little idea through Inception, but not at all like what I just said. Make sense? It's OK. I don't get it, either.

Dear Boise State,

Hi. We haven't met and we never will. The reason is because although I may meet a few of you leading up to September 3rd, I won't meet all of you and this letter is to everyone. So, try as you might to find me and set me straight in what I'm about to say, just know that very few of you will actually do it.

I have a problem with you, BS. I hope you don't mind me referring to you as "BS" for this letter. Surely you trust that the shortened version of your name isn't some kind of suggestive play on initials on my part. I'd venture to say NO ONE thinks of "Bull Sh*t" when they see BS in this post. They're thinking "Boise State...that's the team we play in September." Yep. That's it.

The reason I'm writing you today is because I saw this piece detailing your strengths heading into 2011 by your one team blog "One Bronco Nation Under God." While I agree with OBNUG that you're a good team, there's no point in me going further than that. If you want me to break it down clearly for you, you're high off your collective asses if you think that there are no weaknesses on your team.

Let's just take a look at what College Football News says about your team. I picked them out randomly because Pete Fiutak puts a positive spin on BS and there's some nice statistics for me to pull from there as well. I figured if I can find flaws in a positive article, then the flaws do indeed exist.

Fiutak swears up and down that it's time for America to believe BS is a good team and I think he is exactly right. In fact, us Georgia folks could learn a thing or two about respecting what your coach has done with the talent he has on hand. If there's a better coach in America that puts guys in the places they need to be in order to be successful, then I'd love to have him pointed out to me.

However, it's the ON PAPER stuff that's killing me. Let's take a look at your Offensive Line. It's projected as a strength, but you have ONE guy tipping the scale at 300 lbs. ONE. Just as a point of reference, we run a 3-4, meaning we'd have to put two linebackers on the line to go hat-for-hat with yours. If we did that, we'd still outweigh the line by 23 lbs. That may not seem like much difference, but remember, there are two LINEBACKERS that go into that equation. If  you'd like another point of reference, every single one of our front three guys outweigh the man they'll be going against. The Nose Tackle (whether it be Jenkins or Geathers) will at least outweigh anyone on your line by 50 lbs.

Let's look at the other trench. The combined weight across our Offensive Line outweighs your front four plus your heaviest linebacker (Senior Byron Hout...a very good player) by 312 lbs. If you want to look at it another way, you could add your biggest offensive lineman at 300 lbs. and still be short.

The size difference between us and you guys is ridiculous. Now, I know that you're going to scream about scheme for a second, so let me go ahead and address that, too. Our goal is to play grind it out football with you. We don't want to get tricky. We have full confidence that if we go hat-on-hat with you, that we'll beat you. Why? Because Volvos don't beat Mack Trucks. They just survive the crash. We know that being smaller means being faster. What we're hoping on is that we're quick enough to get hands on you, because if THAT happens, you're be getting out of our way, whether you like it or not.

Didn't you also lose your two best Wide Receivers in the offseason? Yep. You did.

You're still a very good team, though. You have a great QB and everyone raves about your scheme, but they forget how good you are at running the ball. You're pretty decent at it. You do have an athletic, albeit smaller, Offensive Line. That works for you, and that's great. You have a quick, swarming Defense that's been really good the past few years at getting after the opposing teams QB.

You also hang half a hundred on everyone you play because of two reasons (and they're counterproductive to one another). The first reason states that you have to blow them out because if you don't, you won't get the respect nationally from people who don't watch football at 11:00 PM on Friday nights. The second reason you put up 50+ on everyone is because the teams you normally play suck. That's why one loss (Hi Nevada!) drops you from Champ to Chump. But let's not talk about schedules, because that has no bearing on this game, right? Right.

I'm sure I'll get more writing in later about this, BS, in the coming days as you talk more smack over and over again. You're getting mighty confident for a team that still hangs its hat on beating Oklahoma. You do know that was five years ago, right? The unfortunate thing is you can't seem to remember when we beat you like you stole something six years ago. Here's the video. My favorite part? Go to about 3:00...

And don't give me that crap that "Oh that was Dan Hawkins! We have Chris Peterson Petersen (H/T to commenter DVac for pointing that out) now!" Well just "blahbiggityblahblah." You should thank your lucky stars for Dan Hawkins. If he hadn't built BS up to begin with, you'd never be where you are now.

See, BS, we HAVE to beat you. We're doing it for ourselves, but also for the SEC. You think you'd be Alabama? Florida? LSU? Arkansas? Maybe even Tennessee? I don't know if you could. So it ain't about you. It's about us having to do it so no one else tells us that we should have. Losing to you is like getting a curable STD. It doesn't matter if the antibiotics took it away, you still got it at some point and you'll always be labeled that way. It's WAY worse to lose to you than it is to beat you. We get nothing for beating you. No one gives you a high five when you didn't sleep with the girl that had an STD. Why? BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO SLEEP WITH A GIRL WHO HAS AN STD.

You're an STD. A big potato STD. Poterpes. Spudmydia. I don't care what you call it. That's what you are and that's what you have. Even if we lose to you and run the table, you can bathe in AJAX and not take off the stench of the loss.

We'll communicate more in the coming weeks, but for right now, just remember one thing. You're the girl with the STD and we don't want to sleep with you.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.