Well, it's time for Bulldog nation to respond to VanGorder's decision to finally come to right side of the battle of Garnet and Black vs. Red and Black, beginning with The Mayor.
This, I believe, is a good thing for the Bulldogs. One of the reasons Georgia-South Carolina games tend to be close, despite the clear historical superiority of the Red and Black, is that the Palmetto State Poultry regard the Classic City Canines as one of their top two rivals and the 'Dawgs consider the 'Cocks their fifth-biggest rival (or even sixth-biggest, whenever Clemson is on Georgia's schedule). The intensity of this border battle just got ramped up considerably from the Bulldogs' perspective, which can't do anything but help the Red and Black during what is bound to be Coach VanGorder's brief tenure in Columbia.
Sigh. I want to make something clear here: I like the Mayor, and respect him, which is why I usually use his proper title. I think he's one of the best bloggers here on SB Nation -- heck, anywhere on the Web. I read him daily, and if you're an SEC fan who doesn't, well, you should be ashamed of yourself. One of the reasons I'm so willing to debate him is that I usually only debate people whose opinions I respect.
All that said, he is no less a Bulldog fan than I am a South Carolina fan, and sometimes it shows. I believe the reason the Georgia-South Carolina game is always so close is because it's a rivalry, period, not because it's a rivalry that's more important to South Carolina than to Georgia.
I'm all for the spelling-challenged Dawgs regarding South Carolina as more of a rival, but I'm not sure how the departure of a defensive coordinator whom many of the players currently on the team have not met is going to crank the rivalry up any more for Georgia than the presence on the Gamecocks sideline of the man many of the Georgia players and fans were raised learning to hate -- i.e., Steve Spurrier.
Meanwhile, despite recycling the cliche about Spurrier's recruiting and the "fact" that he'll never win in the SEC -- something I'm officially going to start ignoring now, because these people agree with Corso, and that's never a good thing -- Paul Westerdawg does make a good point.
Over the past 3 years, the Dawgs have averaged only 15.7 points against Spurrier. Tyrone Nix, outgoing Gamecock DC, wasn't Spurrier's problem when facing us. It was his QBs.
I highly doubt that Van Gorder is going to hold us to even fewer points than Nix did. 15 points is pretty low already, and we're bringing in a dramatically more experienced offense to Columbia next year.
All true. The rest of the analysis -- that Nix was hurt by injuries, blah blah blah -- falls into the same trap that Nix supporters at South Carolina fall into, and which annoys me to no end. Teams have run with success against South Carolina in recent years, in some cases against relatively healthy squads, include Louisiana Lafayette (first game of 2007; J-Brink and Pepper healthy), Wofford and S.C. State. No SEC team, no matter how injured, should allow S.C. State to run for nearly 200 yards. Nix could not stop the run against anyone, with the possible exception of Georgia. In the SEC, where rushing is still a big part of most offenses, this is a fire-able offense.
But, yes, VanGorder will have to do a bang-up job to keep up Nix's run of success against the spelling-challenged Dawgs.
That said, 16-12. And for those Georgia fans who want to point out "6-6," you're right. The Dawgs lost -- at home -- to a 6-6 team that couldn't beat Vanderbilt at home, thus depriving Georgia of a chance to play for the SEC and national titles. Good job on that one.
Meanwhile, Spurrier appears to be pleased at this point with his staff.
VanGorder is the second coordinator hired by Steve Spurrier in as many days. Maryland assistant Ray Rychleski received a two-year deal to take over the special teams from Shane Beamer and Fred Chatham, the former Duke assistant who was let go following two years at USC.
Spurrier, who called new Duke coach David Cutcliffe on Chatham’s behalf, does not anticipate any more staff changes.
So those of you that wanted to see some line coaches fired ... well, don't hold your breath.