Alright Bulldog Nation it’s time to get your road Dawg faces on as the game we have all been waiting on has finally arrived … Georgia at LSU. And while the Tigers lost a tight one last week to the Gators, the stakes really haven’t changed that much at all.
For Georgia, keeping control of the SEC East and retaining its unbeaten 2018 record will be the task at hand. The Bayou Bengals find themselves in a must win situation to set-up their annual battle with Alabama in a few weeks that usually puts the winner in the drivers seat to make it to Atlanta for the SEC Championship.
By now anyone who loves Georgia certainly knows the history of incredible roadies to New Orleans and Baton Rouge. While the Bulldog Nation will most certainly take over Bourbon Street in the days leading up to the game, unfortunately that edge will dwindle when toe meets leather at 2:30 p.m., local time, inside the not so friendly confines of Tiger Stadium (Death Valley).
With that being said, I had to make an editorial decision for this issue’s cover. Should BI embrace the revelry of New Orleans, Baton Rouge and the Louisiana culture as a whole? Or maybe dial things back to focus on the game only. Thankfully with Blane Marable’s fun shot of Jake Fromm on the sidelines during a recent game against a backdrop of Mardi Gras colors, our graphic designer Hannah Groseclose nailed it by accomplishing both. And right on cue, #11 had his best game of the season last week in the night game versus Vandy.
So New Orleans, Baton Rouge and the Tiger Nation, get ready because here we come. Interesting enough, my greatest concern for the best road game of 2018 is the same for both our team and its incredible fan base.
For Georgia fans, can they converge on the Crescent City and Baton Rouge several days early and exercise patience in order to have enough juice on Saturday to give our players the support they will most definitely need? Let’s face it many a folk has spit the bit early when in New Orleans.
For our still young team, can they keep their composure whenever Tiger Stadium reaches its deafening pitch after something big in the game goes the way of the home team? It’s going to happen and it’s going to be loud as hell, but a true championship caliber team should be able to show patience and wait for the ideal opportunities to silence the purple and yellow.
When I talk about the need for patience, that’s going to come from the leaders.
On the fan front, I need a few brave captains for all the groups heading to New Orleans and Baton Rouge. You know who you are and you know who you’re going to have to be looking out for the entire trip.
The exact same thing goes for our team. Players like Jake Fromm, Terry Godwin, Rodrigo Blankenship, Deandre Baker, D’Andre Walker must assert themselves from the moment the team buses head to the airport on Friday. Yes, this Georgia team is one of the most talented ever assembled, but more than half are young bucks heading into a hostile environment to play a physical LSU bunch that loves to force fear into their opponent’s eyes. The “learn as you go” mentally of the first six games is over. Now is the time for the leaders of the Bulldog Nation to take charge.
Man, this is going to be a fun week and great game on Saturday. This issue should definitely help you pass the time leading up to kickoff.
For the fans looking for fun stuff to do, BI’s Katy Wildes has put together her favorite New Orleans and Baton Rouge instagramers on page 36. And our Proust Q&A (page 38) features Georgia alum and Savannah, Ga. native Jack O’Neill, who is living and working in Shreveport, La.
For the sports junkies needing their fix, don’t miss Jeff Dantzler’s column on page 10 as he navigates the many great battles between the Dawgs and Tigers. Also, JD catches up with his friend and New Orleans TV and radio personality Scott Alexander for our “A View From” on page 16. Also, our Junior Journalist, Hamilton Culpepper gets to return the favor this week with his interview of Loran Smith (page 26). Loran’s time within Georgia athletics is legendary, so it’s a rare treat to feature him on the other side of the microphone and keyboard.
Finally, I encourage you to flip through our fan picture pages from the Vandy homecoming game and StegMania. Its always great to see so many Georgia fans loving being Bulldogs. And kudos to everyone that attended Coach Crean and Coach Taylor’s basketball programs at StegMania. It was a huge success and is certainly a great start to what should be a fun season of hoops that begins next month.
Time to go because not only do I need to wrap this issue up, but I need to pack my bags because New Orleans and Baton Rouge …
Here We Come … Look for our next issue on Oct. 23. Go Dawgs!!