The long wait from the LSU highs and lows is over, now the time has come for the Georgia team and the Bulldog Nation to run the ball down the Gators’ throat.
After the much, needed bye-week, our Dawgs get back on the field this Saturday in Jacksonville against those always, pesky Gators. And if No. 8 Georgia (6-1) versus No. 11 Florida (6-1) wasn’t big enough, the hype of ESPN’s College GameDay selection dots the “i” on this year’s installment of The World’s Largest Cocktail Party being the marquee game of the week in college football.
However, before I jump full force into the Dawgs versus Gators, a quick look back at the LSU game seems prudent.
Not surprisingly, the Bulldog Nation continued its awesome display of support of the team by taking over New Orleans as early as Wednesday and putting over 20,000 in Tiger Stadium the day of the game. The road trip was an absolute blast that I encourage you to relive by turning to our fan photos in our Social section beginning on page 29.
Without a doubt, it never gets old seeing and meeting Georgia fans on the road. There’s something unique and special about being in the minority as the visiting team, which former University Georgia tennis standout (and now Director of Tennis at the Athens Country Club) Allen Miller discusses with BI’s Hamilton Culpepper on page 51.
Of course, the outcome for Georgia on the football field in Baton Rouge didn’t match the jubilation of all the pre-game festivities. To be frank, it was a bad day for the Georgia coaching staff and the team as a whole. However, after two weeks, it seems like overkill for me to get into the nitty-gritty of what all went wrong. Not to mention, it has always been our goal at Bulldawg Illustrated to unite the fanbase regardless of the outcome of a game.
You will notice that I stressed the word “goal” in my last sentence because in the fast-paced world of publishing and media sometimes you miss the mark. The Monday after Georgia’s disappointing loss to the Tigers, a blog post by BI contributor Mattew Pasek was featured on our Instagram feed. Pasek’s post was a sharp assessment of both Kirby Smart and the team’s play. From a journalism standpoint, he wrote a doozy introduction that some readers agreed with and others were very disappointed in expressing it was too harsh.
To me, Pasek’s post was fair (and actually included encouraging remarks further down) and belonged on the sports side of our website, where it originated. Where we (Bulldawg Illustrated) got it wrong was putting it on our Instagram feed, where we have worked hard to make that social media channel a place that fans and supporters can come for the positive part of being a Georgia Bulldog.
My intent for even bringing this up is to parallel the fine line that both the media and coaching worlds walk. After 16 years of hard work and dedication of producing Bulldawg Illustrated, I’m hoping that outweighs a social media post that some didn’t favor. And I sure hope the same benefit goes to Kirby Smart, his coaching staff and his team who have been tremendously successful in the last two years, outside of the tough days on the road last year at Auburn and two weeks ago at LSU.
Saturday’s game versus Florida is huge, which is why it is so important for our team and fan base to be rid of any negative lingering thoughts. It’s pretty simple, beat the Gators and the LSU loss is a distant memory. For that to happen, we at BI are hoping for a massive dose of running the football, which is why Elijah Holyfield dons this issue’s cover. Greg Poole took the photo seconds after Holyfield de-cleated LSU safety, John Battle. And don’t miss Rob Saye’s photo of the gnarly collision on Kevin Butler’s Players of the Game on page 57. That’s exactly what needs to happen to the Florida defense on Saturday. Run the ball down their throat.
Please enjoy everything in this issue. Being born and raised in the Golden Isles, obviously, Georgia-Florida is very special to Cheri and me. We hope our passion comes through in all 64 pages and encourage folks that haven’t pulled the trigger on coming to the coast this week to do so. Something fun to consider is arriving on Thursday to hear the Kinchafoonee Cowboys on St. Simons. BI is thrilled to join the other sponsors who helped make this event happen. Great music on Thursday, hanging on the beach and awesome dining on Friday and running it down the Gators’ throats on Saturday … see you there … Go Dawgs!!