Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Softball Super Regional on tap for the weekend

Friday May 28, 2010

With pretty much every other spring sport over, Georgia softball is still going strong. The #6 seed Bulldogs open a best-of-three super regional series with Pac-10 power and #11 seed Cal on Friday in Athens with a trip to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City up for grabs. All three games will be on either ESPNU or ESPN.

Post Forget Oklahoma – why not Georgia?

Friday May 28, 2010

If the case can be made for Oklahoma to come out on top in 2010, do the Bulldogs dare to dream about returning to championship-level football this year? After all, the Dawgs are coming off an 8-5 season just like the Sooners. Georgia’s losses to the NFL Draft were mainly in the later rounds; Oklahoma will have to replace four first-round picks. Georgia returns tons of proven talent on offense, some of the nation’s best special teams personnel, and expectations are sky-high for the new defense.

Phil Steele tips his cap to this line of thinking by naming Georgia one of his possible surprise teams for 2010. Steele doesn’t go all the way and predict Georgia to be a top-10 team, but that’s understandable. Many are the preseason polls who went out on a limb for Georgia in 2008 and 2009 and were rewarded for it with consecutive seasons that finished below expectations. But Steele is at least acknowledging that the potential is there for Georgia to make some noise this year if a few questions get answered affirmatively.

There are enough differences between Oklahoma and Georgia to see why pundits like Steele aren’t as bullish on the Dawgs as they might be on the Sooners. It starts at quarterback where Landry Jones earned enough playing time last season to be considered a returning starter. Aaron Murray is pretty much where Jones was a year ago, but Murray at least has the advantage of knowing he’ll start as a freshman.

There’s also the difference in how each team got to 8-5 last year. Oklahoma lost four games to top-20 finishers by a combined 12 points. Georgia got routed by Florida and a middling Tennessee team and lost to unimpressive LSU and Kentucky teams. Oklahoma was missing its Heisman candidate quarterback and all-star tight end. Georgia had some injuries along the way including a key left tackle, but they came by their 8-5 honestly. Both teams can claim a certain amount of unluckiness – Oklahoma’s injuries and close losses and Georgia’s improbable turnover margin – but that’s football.

We can’t forget about the schedule. Georgia might have traded Oklahoma State and LSU for La.-Lafayette and Mississippi State, but they’ll still face four of Steele’s top-25, only one of which will be in Athens. We have no qualms with Oklahoma’s very respectable schedule, but they’ll face just two of Steele’s top-25 along the way, both of which will either be a home or a neutral game.

Stability is probably the biggest difference. Oklahoma had a small change on their defensive staff (welcome Willie Martinez!), but coordinator Brent Venables has been in place since 2004. Georgia will undergo a wholesale transformation of the defense, and it could be cause for concern that Georgia will be one of the few SEC teams to play three conference games in September – two of which will be on the road, and two of which will be against a Steele preseason top-25 team. The defense won’t have much time to find its legs.

Oklahoma will be a highly-ranked team heading into the Texas game if they can get through September and a decent nonconference slate unscathed. Georgia likewise should be on the rise and prove Steele right if the defense can survive September and head to Boulder without a blemish.

Post Dawgs 2nd in SEC All-Sports race, but it hasn’t been a great year

Thursday May 27, 2010

Let’s face it – it’s been a disappointing year for most Georgia sports programs. For most fans it all begins and ends with football, and the 2009 season wasn’t won of Georgia’s best. The men’s basketball program took a step forward and has us excited about the future, but the best they could do last season was to play spoiler. The baseball team just wrapped up a season whose futility was historic. Even stalwarts like gymnastics faltered during the past year. Michael Adams summed it up at today’s Athletic Association Board of Directors meeting: “It’s not been our best year on the field.

While the Bulldog nation has been fending off bored columnists talking about the temperature of Mark Richt’s seat, Damon Evans hasn’t received much scrutiny. Much of that has to do with having a lot to like: the program remains financially strong, the APR results are worth bragging about, and Evans’ first high-profile hire, Mark Fox, seems to have been a good one. We looked at this topic last year on the occasion of Evans’ fifth anniversary as athletic director. There has been a downward trend in Georgia’s national Directors’ Cup standing, and I can’t imagine that the overall performance of Bulldog programs will improve that this year. The summary remains the same: everything else is stellar but actual athletics aren’t doing so well, and the trend remains downward.

It’s probably a surprise then to learn that Georgia finished second in this year’s SEC All-Sports trophy. The Bulldogs finished a distant second behind Florida, but there was also a healthy margin between Georgia and third-place Tennessee.

How did they do it? It should shock no one that Georgia’s women’s programs led the way. The gap between the Florida and Georgia women’s programs was much narrower than the overall gap, and Georgia’s women’s programs finished on average over two places higher in the SEC standings than the Georgia men. Despite that, it wasn’t as bad as you might think for the Bulldog men. Even with the major sports having sub-par seasons, Georgia’s men’s programs finished tied for fourth with Tennessee.

Here’s a look at how the Bulldogs did against the rest of the SEC this year. We use regular season standings where possible, but some sports like golf and swimming use a season-ending tournament or meet to decide the champion.

  • Football: T-4th (T-2nd SEC East). Champion: Alabama
  • Men’s Basketball: 11th (6th SEC East). Champion: Kentucky
  • Women’s Basketball: 5th. Champion: Tennessee
  • Baseball: 12th (6th SEC East). Champion: Florida
  • Softball: 4th. Champion: Alabama
  • Men’s Tennis: 3rd (3rd SEC East). Champion: Tennessee
  • Women’s Tennis: T-2nd (T-2nd SEC East). Champion: Florida
  • Men’s Golf: 1st (SEC Tournament). Champion: Georgia
  • Women’s Golf: 4th (SEC Tournament). Champion: Alabama
  • Women’s Soccer: 5th (3rd SEC East). Champion: Florida
  • Women’s Volleyball: T-5th (4th SEC East). Champion: LSU
  • Gymnastics: 3rd (SEC Championships). Champion: Florida
  • Men’s Swimming/Diving: 3rd (SEC Championships). Champion: Auburn
  • Women’s Swimming/Diving: 1st (SEC Championships). Champion: Georgia
  • Men’s Track & Field: 5th (SEC Outdoor Championships). Champion: Florida
  • Women’s Track & Field: 5th (SEC Outdoor Championships). Champion: LSU
  • Men’s Cross Country: 5th (SEC Championships). Champion: Alabama
  • Women’s Cross Country: 4th (SEC Championships). Champion: Florida

Note: Equestrian is not an SEC sport, but c’mon – they’re national champs.

Other than men’s basketball and baseball, most Georgia programs finished at least in the top half of the conference. Those results probably buoyed Georgia’s place in the All-Sports competition versus programs who might have done well in a few sports but poorly in most of the others.

While maintaining second place in the SEC All-Sport standings might be a nice surprise, it’s very possible that Georgia, for the first time in well over a decade, could dip out of the national top 20 in this year’s Directors’ Cup. Georgia was 25th after the conclusion of the winter sports, and they’ll be helped by several postseason appearances among the spring sports. It’ll be close.

Still, most fans just consider the strength of the football team a proxy for the state of the athletic department. What’s your verdict?

Post Why not Oklahoma?

Thursday May 27, 2010

Phil Steele has credibility to burn among the college football punditry, so his preseason placement of Oklahoma at #1 has us all scrambling today to justify the pick. Oklahoma? Not Alabama or Texas or Ohio State? In a season that seems as up in the air as any since 2007, there’s not much conventional wisdom to tell us otherwise. Matt Hinton looks at some of the factors that led to an 8-5 season last year in Norman and concludes that “a healthy, rejuvenated Oklahoma makes about as much sense at No. 1 as anyone else.”

Oklahoma doesn’t have to be a great team; they only have to be better than everyone on their schedule. Here’s their path:

Sept. 4 — Utah State
Sept. 11 — Florida State
Sept. 18 — Air Force
Sept 25 — @ Cincinnati
Oct. 2 — Texas (Dallas)
Oct. 16 — Iowa State
Oct. 23 — @ Missouri
Oct. 30 — Colorado
Nov. 6 — @ Texas A&M
Nov. 13 — Texas Tech
Nov 20 — @ Baylor
Nov. 27 — @ Oklahoma State
Dec. 4 — Big 12 Championship (Dallas)

The nonconference schedule is respectable but not ridiculously daunting. The visit from FSU will tell us a lot, but it will be a home game for Oklahoma and still early in Jimbo Fisher’s turnaround project. The trip to Cincinnati looks interesting, but it’s not last year’s Bearcat team.

Hopes for a championship season, as usual, come down to the Texas game. Both teams will have been tested by some quality opponents by that point. The Longhorns are the best team on the schedule, and claiming that win after an undefeated September would have the Sooners shooting up the Top 10.

If Oklahoma can make it past Texas, the rest of the schedule becomes a challenge of avoiding the upset. Several of those teams will have fair seasons, but none should be favored over a top 15 team. Yes, A&M should be better, and it’s a road game. A visit from Texas Tech could prove interesting if only for the Tuberville factor. The rivalry game with OSU is another challenging road game, but this Cowboy team doesn’t come into 2010 with nearly the expectations of the 2009 squad. They wouldn’t have to face Nebraska until a potential meeting in the Big 12 championship game.

We’ll know by the end of September whether or not Oklahoma is able to claim contender status. There are several potential pitfalls along the rest of the way, but a team with Top 10 aspirations should be able to circle the FSU and Texas games and then take care to not get caught asleep on the road. Even a loss to Texas doesn’t necessarily sink the Sooners. If the season proves to be as wide-open as 2007, a single loss could still leave them in good shape to win the conference and rise to the top of the rankings.

Post The NY Super Bowl and the SEC Championship

Thursday May 27, 2010

Yes, the 2014 Super Bowl will be at the Meadowlands, and the two teams playing won’t get nearly as much attention during the buildup as the weather forecast.

Weather has played a large part in NFL regular season games and even playoff games, but by and large the choice of Super Bowl locations has served to minimize the weather factor. There have been a few Super Bowls where rain has come into play, but more often than not we’re talking about a game in a dome or a temperate climate.

 I agree with Pat Forde and others who say that this is how it should be. Football is no more a cold-weather sport than it is a broiling-sun-of-September sport. Waxing nostalgic about the Frozen Tundra or the Ice Bowl is a nice way of saying that weather, rather than the players on the field, was the story of the game. We can put up with that en route to the Big Game, but the star of the Super Bowl itself needs to be Brady or Manning or Brees and not Jim Cantore.

This is one thing the SEC gets right – weather has never been a concern for the SEC Championship since the game moved from Birmingham to the Georgia Dome. It’s going to take a tornado to make the biggest game in the nation’s premiere conference anything but a test of elite coaches and players. The Dome has helped the conference showcase its best teams in ideal conditions, and it’s also allowed the associated Chick-fil-A Bowl to become about as successful as a second-tier bowl game can.

The future of the SEC Championship came up a week or so ago when Atlanta Falcons officials stated a preference for a new open-air stadium in downtown Atlanta. A new stadium wouldn’t necessarily mean the end of the Dome, but the management of two large facilities could reasonably strain resources. A Georgia Dome in disrepair might not remain the ideal location for the SEC Championship, and everyone from the Superdome to open-air facilities across the Southeast would be lining up to host the game.

Falcons officials might or might not care about the future of events like the SEC title game, but anyone involved with Atlanta government or sports management should. Had the Falcons pursued an open-air stadium rather than a dome to replace Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta would have missed out on the Olympics, several Final Fours and conference tournaments, and it might not enjoy its exclusivity with the SEC football championship.

If public money and oversight is going to be involved in any new stadium for the Falcons, state and city officials can’t accept anything less than a multi-use facility with a retractable roof. Tony Barnhart nails it:

A big part of what has made the SEC championship game one of the great success stories in sport is that weather is not a factor. Weather has been a factor for the Big 12 and the ACC and the results on those championship games has been mixed at best. The SEC, in my opinion, will not play this game in an open air stadium…. My recommendation: Do exactly what Indy did. It kept the RCA Dome in place and built Lucas Oil Stadium right next to it. The transition was pretty seamless and now Indy has one of the best setups in the country. If there is a Big Ten championship game in the future, it’s a pretty good bet that it will be in Indy.

A city like New York might be able to get away with hosting a Super Bowl in its open-air stadium, but even that’s controversial. New stadiums in Phoenix and Dallas have raised the bar in attracting prime sporting events. If future SEC expansion does end up including schools like Texas and/or Texas A&M, Dallas would instantly become a rival to host SEC events that by default have gone to Atlanta. Barnhart’s suggestion is the blueprint for Atlanta remaining the focal point, if not the headquarters, of the SEC.

Post How bad did it go for Georgia baseball this year?

Thursday May 27, 2010

So bad that it’s even bringing down Gordon Beckham.

Beckham had a solid rookie year in 2009 with a .270 average and an OPS of .808 after being called up by the White Sox. He finished fifth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting and looked to be on the fast track to major league success.

This year hasn’t gone as well for Beckham. He’s hitting just .191, and a lack of power at the plate in 2010 has sent his OPS plummeting to just .524. His struggles have gotten to the point that some are wondering whether he might benefit from a trip down to AAA.

Man – when it turns south for the Diamond Dawgs not even its alums are safe.

Post Enough, Auburn.

Wednesday May 26, 2010

This is already bordering on the ridiculous, but Auburn is not next in line should the 2004 title become vacated. In every other competition this side of fantasyland, the title would pass to the runner-up of the championship game. That’s Oklahoma – you know, the team chosen to play in the game over Auburn (and Utah).

Post Tennis continues on at 5:00

Monday May 24, 2010

Georgia’s not exactly a stranger to the national semifinals of men’s tennis, but they were a darkhorse to advance that far this year. Georgia’s impressive run continues tonight at 5:00 on the Henry Feild Courts in Athens against #2 Tennessee. Tennessee beat Georgia by a convincing 6-1 margin during the year, but the Bulldogs’ strong play of late plus the partisan home crowd should have the team ready to give their best effort with a shot at the national title on the line.

Follow the scoring and watch live video from this page at Georgiadogs.com.

Post Tennis Dawgs upset #6 Florida

Saturday May 22, 2010

Few Georgia programs found much success against the Gators this year, and the men’s tennis team was no exception.  Florida was 2-for-2 against the Dawgs during the season, and the sixth-seeded Florida team had to be favored over eleventh-seeded Georgia in Friday’s round of 16 matchup in the NCAA Tournament.

Georgia had two things on their side: the home court and the home fans. The homestanding Bulldogs dug deep and came out with a huge 4-2 win over their SEC rivals and move on to the national quarterfinals on Sunday.

Georgia was set up in good position by taking the important doubles point.  Florida won two of the first three singles matches to finish and knotted the score at 2-2. The focus shifted to the ongoing matches at No. 1, 2, and 3, and whichever team won two out of three of those matches would advance. As it turns out, all three of those matches went Georgia’s way.

Nate Schnugg at #2 gave Georgia their third point with a 7-5, 6-4 win. #1 Javier Garrapiz clinched the win by taking a dramatic tiebreaker to upset the nation’s #7 player, Alex Lacroix, 6-4, 7-6(5). Georgia even had a bit of breathing room as Jamie Hunt at #3 was close to completing a furious comeback and led 3-6, 6-1, 4-0 when Garrapiz ended things.

Georgia will face unseeded Oklahoma on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. The Sooners themselves pulled a huge upset by taking down #3 Texas 4-2.  Oklahoma’s coach is no stranger to Athens and these courts: John Roddick was a four-time All American at Georgia from 1995-1999 and was named UGA Athlete of the Year in 1998.

Post Diamond Dawgs still fighting

Saturday May 22, 2010

It was shocking enough that the Diamond Dawgs pounded Kentucky 20-0 on Friday night.

Consider that Georgia didn’t score more than 20 runs combined in all but one of their SEC series this year.

The Diamond Dawgs have clinched their first SEC series win of the year, and they go for the sweep on Saturday.  Another win would give them six conference victories, and they’d avoid the ignominy of tying the record-setting futility of the 2000 Vanderbilt club who only won five SEC games.

Post Houts makes the cut

Thursday May 20, 2010

Former Georgia guard Ashley Houts has earned a place on the roster of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. WNBA roster spots are hard to come by – each team only has 11 players, and there’s not much turnover. The cut list contained many of the best players to come out of college in recent years, and Houts had to have that in mind when she was traded from New York to Washington just two days before last weekend’s season opener. She made the cut though, and the same toughness and conditioning that she showed during four years in Athens are big reasons why she has found a role playing at the next level.

Houts gives the Lady Dogs four active players in the WNBA. Kara Braxton’s Detroit team moved to Tulsa this year (and picked up Nolan Richardson as head coach!). Bulldog legends Kelly and Coco Miller are playing pro ball together for the first time as both signed with and made the cut for Atlanta. Deanna Nolan decided to sit this year out after Detroit moved to Oklahoma, but she’ll likely play again down the road.

Post Thornton commitment huge for Fox and Georgia

Wednesday May 19, 2010

Marcus Thornton, the 2010 Mr. Georgia Basketball, announced on Wednesday that he will play for Georgia ($).  Thornton, originally a Clemson signee before their recent coaching change, chose Georgia over Georgia Tech, Alabama, and Texas.  Thornton had also drawn interest from programs like Kentucky and North Carolina over the past couple of weeks.

The commitment of the 6’7” forward is a huge exclamation point on Mark Fox’s 2010 recruiting class.  Not to diminish the importance of the rest of the class, but coming out on top in a highly-visible recruiting battle for a top Atlanta talent is just what the Fox program needs to build momentum on the recruiting trail for the critical 2011 class. The results on the court last season demonstrated that Georgia has the coaching to be competitive, and they just need the players in order to take the next step.  Thornton is the kind of player Fox needed to get in order to make the kind of impact on recruiting that he had on the court last season.

Georgia’s 2010 class is now complete.

  • Cady Lalanne – 6’8” F from Florida
  • Sherrard Brantley – 6’2” JUCO guard
  • Donte Williams – 6’9” F from Lithonia (Miller Grove)
  • Marcus Thornton – 6’7” F from Atlanta (Westlake)

And let’s not forget that next year’s team will also add transfer shooting guard Gerald Robinson.  David Hale has more on the impact Robinson is expected to have next season.

Post Is Mark Richt on the hot seat? Should he be?

Wednesday May 19, 2010

Whether you consider it silly pot-stirring or a legitimate question, the topic is unavoidable. I suppose the fact that we’re even batting this question around gives it some sort of validity because it’s certainly not something we’re used to dealing with every season.

If you want to twist a Georgia fan up in knots, get them going about Mark Richt. Everyone starts out with the same disclaimers: genuinely great guy, glad he’s our coach, couldn’t ask for a better representative of the University, won’t forget that he brought SEC titles back to Athens. But then opinions really start to diverge.

As Matt Hinton reminds us – absent a national title – these are the glory years for Georgia football:

Since 2000, he’s ended the Bulldogs’ 20-year SEC championship drought in 2002, added another conference title in 2005, led a struggling team out of a midseason slump to a No. 2 finish in the final polls in 2007 and won at least 10 games six times. The Bulldogs finished in the top 10 four years in a row from 2002-2005, the longest streak of the decade in the SEC and matching the Herschel Walker years from 1980-83 as the best run in school history.

How on earth could anyone be displeased with that track record?  You might or might not buy into all of these, but critics have countered with a number of points:

  • Georgia is just 10-10 against the SEC East since 2006.
  • That divisional record includes home losses to Kentucky and Vanderbilt and 1-3 marks against Florida and Tennessee.
  • The Bulldogs are 2-7 against Florida under Richt and haven’t even been competitive since winning in 2007. Through 2006, all of the losses were at least in close games.
  • Georgia’s contributions to the NFL Draft, particularly on defense, have dropped off since 2006.
  • Unless it happens this year, the best trio of offensive skill players to play on the same team at Georgia (Stafford, Moreno, and Green) will leave Georgia without any of them playing for a conference title.
  • Off-field incidents continue to plague and embarrass the program.

What’s underlying the concern is the changing stakes in the SEC and the fear that a window has closed. Georgia won three SEC East titles in Richt’s first five years, but they’ve struggled to return to the Dome since while three other teams have emerged to split the past four national titles. There’s an uneasiness that even if the program regained the talent level and attitude of Richt’s earlier years, would it be enough to compete with entrenched national powers at Florida and Alabama?

We noted in the wake of last year’s jarring loss at Tennessee that what might’ve once been a defensive problem or kick coverage problem had become a program problem. There were few areas working well, and just changing an assistant or two wasn’t going to be an automatic fix. Mark Richt had to get his program back.

David Hale does a good job of framing the key questions, so I’ll close out by responding to those directly:

Have all the offseason moves left you with as much confidence in Richt as you ever had? Or did two years of stubborn insistence on a largely unsuccessful approach shake your belief?

I’ve been impressed with nearly every offseason move.  The hirings all made sense.  Grantham has given the fans plenty of red meat. The program has become more aggressive and effective on the recruiting trail despite all of the negativity. I’m not particularly bothered by the off-field stuff (other than it leaving Georgia thin at QB).  My confidence in Richt has never been shaken to the point of needing such a shot in the arm, but there’s no mistaking that just the air of change has improved spirits among the fans.   We’ll see how long that lasts once the product gets on the field.

Clouding the question of Richt’s future is the sad reality that, even after nine seasons, many Georgia fans still don’t have a sense of Richt. They mistake his demeanor for meekness – we saw all of those who insisted that he didn’t have the stomach to make the tough decisions following last season. They question his desire to match the obsessive Saban and Meyer both on the recruiting trail and on the field. They cling to the notion, disproved time after time, that seniority rules over merit. They mistake a sincere culture of loyalty with one of complacency and unaccountability.

Sorting through that fog makes it tough sometimes to get down to actual problems. Hale devotes some time to what might be a certain stubbornness from Richt. I don’t buy that Richt was aloof or bull-headed about making changes following the 2008 season; he made it clear that his decision to fire three coaches was “made over the course of time” and not “not a one year knee-jerk reaction to this season.”  If you think that’s being too deliberative, fine, but it does imply that Richt was aware of and thinking about issues with the program long before the 2009 season took a nose-dive.  Richt himself admits some flaws and instances of the staff trying to outsmart themselves, and correcting that aspect of the culture is as important as shaking up the staff.

Will you stick by Richt if Georgia finishes 8-5 again this year, but does it with a more fundamentally sound D, a better approach to kickoffs and a duo at tailback that understands how to play the position?

I don’t outright reject the possibility of another 8-5 season. The defense will take some adjustment. We’ve seen that even Vanderbilt and Kentucky are ready to pounce on a sign of weakness.  You can bet that everyone on the schedule from Mississippi State to Tennessee to Georgia Tech sees the opportunity to take their shot at a program that might be doubting itself a little. You only have to look over at Foley Field to see how the wheels can come off a season when negative momentum starts building. In fact, as Hale notes, the job the team did pulling it together at the end of last season against two big rivals is one of the underrated stories from a year ago (and is what keeps us from adding Richt’s first losing record to the ledger).

At the same time, it would be devastating to go 7/8-5 against this schedule.  You’re trading Oklahoma State and LSU for lesser opponents.  The home schedule is extremely favorable.  Five losses against this schedule would include some very, very bad losses as well as losses to rivals that don’t sit well even in the best of years. Think about which five teams on this year’s schedule you’d accept losing to.  Improvement in relatively obscure areas like kickoff coverage won’t mean much if the offensive line doesn’t live up to billing or if Georgia’s highly-rated starting quarterback isn’t ready for prime time.

That said, I do think the moves that have been made will lead to the wins that will make this discussion seem ridiculous in hindsight. Allowing myself that kind of optimism for this season, that should be my last word on Richt’s future for a long time.

Post Postseason play coming to Athens

Tuesday May 18, 2010

It hasn’t been the best of years for Bulldog sports, but several programs still have their championship aspirations alive.

Georgia softball won a number of new fans last year with their deep run in the Women’s College World Series, and they’ve had another strong season. They’ve been strong out of conference with sweeps of ACC and Big 12 champs Georgia Tech and Texas, but they only managed 4th place in an ultra-competitive SEC. To illustrate how ridiculously strong the SEC is, Georgia finished 4th in conference and was bounced in the first round of the SEC Tournament, but they received the #6 national seed heading into this year’s NCAA Tournament. That means that Georgia will host both an NCAA regional and, should they advance, a super-regional.

The softball regional begins this weekend – times and ticket information are available here. Georgia will host Radford, Elon, and FSU in their regional.

Men’s tennis has advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament and will host a huge match on Friday evening when Florida comes to town. The Gators, as the #6 seed, are favored over the eleventh-seeded Dawgs. Georgia had a nail-biting 4-3 win over FSU to get this far, and they’ll need a strong home crowd on Friday evening to take on a Florida team that has swept both of its opponents so far. The match will be at 6 p.m. – ticket information is available here.

Georgia will be hosting both the men’s and women’s tennis championships from May 20-31, and it’s a great event whether or not the Bulldogs are still in it. The women were eliminated before this championship round, but the men will try to play the spoiler on their home court. You’ll find live scoring, brackets, highlights, and ticket information here.

Women’s golfer Marta Silva Zamora plays on as an individual at the NCAA championships, but the team failed to qualify for the team championship round for only the second time since 1998. Men’s golf resumes play this weekend at the NCAA South Central Regional in Bryan, Texas. The top five teams from the regional will advance to the national championships. The Georgia men won the SEC championship back in mid-April but haven’t had a competition since.

Post Georgia’s entry into the Formula 1 division of the SEC

Monday May 17, 2010

The weekend commitments of DE Sterling Bailey and WR Justin Scott-Wesley gives Georgia nine commitments for the 2011 class. Bailey is one of the state’s top prospects at that key OLB position that’s so important in the 3-4 defense. The 6’5″ Bailey chose Georgia over offers from pretty much everyone in the southeast. Scott-Wesley chose Georgia after backing out of a hasty early commitment to Stanford.

Georgia never gave up on recruiting Scott-Wesley, but they might have an unlikely ally to thank for helping him reconsider his commitment:

“I got the offer from Georgia Tech, and I realized that my decision was made a little too early. I spoke to my coach about it, and we agreed there was more I needed to see before ending the recruiting process,” said Scott.

Scott-Wesley is known first as a track star, and he lived up to expectations this weekend with a state record in the 100 meter and a state title in the 200. Marc Weiszer puts Justin’s track accomplishments into perspective. Florida’s Jeff Demps is still the gold standard, but when you’re comparing track times with guys like Chris Rainey and Branden Smith, it’s a given that Justin Scott-Wesley is going to be one of the fastest players in the SEC when he sets foot on campus next year.

Of course track guys aren’t guaranteed to be successful at football – there’s more to it than speed. Also fast track guys can lose a step as they add on the muscle required to take the physical pounding of SEC football. One thing that could make Wesley-Scott a little different is that he’s already pretty big. Rainey (5’9″, 175 lbs) and Demps (5’8″, 183 lbs) are typical of the size of players in this elite group. LSU speedster Trindon Holliday played at 5’5″ and 160 lbs, and Branden Smith is 5’11”, 170 lbs. Wesley-Scott is already 6’1″ and over 210 lbs as a high school junior. He’s already at a pretty good size to play receiver in the SEC, and the combination of absolute speed and relative size should make him more than just the typical deep threat or designated end-around guy.