From The Editor: Great players, the best mascots on the planet and excellent coaching combine for what should be an incredible rumble on Saturday in Mercedes-Benz Stadium

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From The Editor: Great players, the best mascots on the planet and excellent coaching combine for what should be an incredible rumble on Saturday in Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Vance Leavy
Vance Leavy

Before diving into the monumental task of playing the LSU Tigers in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game, I want to first take the time to rejoice in our teams’ beat down of the bees on North Avenue, but also their third straight 11-1 regular season. Wow, I knew when Coach Smart arrived in Athens four Decembers ago that great things were ahead, but the consistency now of our football program has far exceeded my expectations.

I hope everyone in the Bulldog Nation also takes the time to soak up the amazing accomplishments of our Georgia team. It goes to show that hard work and the commitment to playing the game of football the correct way pays huge dividends. I certainly find myself mighty thankful for the thousands of hours put in by our players and coaches. Job well done!

Now it is time to put every bit of focus on the Bayou Bengals, who arrive in Atlanta showcasing an almost, unstoppable offense complimented by an always stout defense and sound specials teams’ unit. And I would be remiss not to give the passionate LSU fan base their fair share of praise. Yes, a wild bunch indeed, and you can never question their love of their team and their knowledge of good football.

Does the above paragraph sound a little familiar? It should because our Georgia Bulldogs also check all the boxes above, which is why when toe meets leather on Saturday afternoon the scene inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium should be absolutely electric. Because of the respect that everyone here at Bulldawg Illustrated has for LSU, strategizing this issue’s cover was a ton of fun.

UGA running back James Cook (4), third-quarter Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, November 30, 2019
UGA running back James Cook (4),
third-quarter Georgia vs. Georgia Tech,
Saturday, November 30, 2019

On the player front, the eyes of LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and Georgia linebacker Tae Crowder scream focus and intensity. The nation watching on Saturday is certainly in for a treat when the Tigers’ number one offense takes on Georgia’s top-ranked defense.

On the mascot front, kudos go to both universities for holding onto the beautiful tradition that live mascots provide. Political correctness, be damned. Mike the Tiger and Uga are incredible symbols of each school and the pride that its alums and fans take in them is amazing.

Finally, there are the coaches of both universities … LSU’s Ed Orgeron and Georgia’s Kirby Smart. Both men are bad-asses, who demand excellence on and off the field from their players. Yet, each seems to remain a players-coach despite their rigorous expectations. How refreshing in a world gone soft that youngsters actually respond to someone trying to teach them how to be their best.

Okay, I better get off my soap-box now as I’ve cussed twice, which I’m hoping won’t get struck in red pen by my wife/business partner/proof-reader, Cheri. She has some family members who bleed purple and gold, so I know she’s just as excited about the incredible battle that will unfold on Saturday. Can you say bragging rights?!?

‘Let’s Rumble’ was a fitting headline for our cover. Two storied programs, both loaded with exceptional players, well-coached and the best mascots on the planet. What is there not to be excited about?

I hope you will find this SEC Championship Extra issue the perfect aide to help pass the time for what promises to be a very long week of anticipation. For all of us here at BI, it’s our 13th issue in 15 weeks. A big thank you goes to everyone on our staff for all your hard work. And of course, none of what we do could happen without all our advertisers. Y’all are the best, thanks so much!

While I’ve played this writing installment completely down the middle, let me end with my opinion of what it will take for our Dawgs to take down these amazing Tigers. Clearly, the Georgia offense led by Jake Fromm must build on the positive momentum of the final quarters versus Georgia Tech. And news flash, as good of a season as D’Andre Swift has had this season, he has yet to pop a long touchdown in 2019. Get loose #7, I know it’s going to happen.

On defense, the task is daunting, but through a deep, mixture of veterans and youngsters, I fully expect Coach Smart and Coach Lanning to remind their guys the basic fundamental of a sound defense … don’t let the play get behind you.

Then on special teams, names like Blankenship, Camara, and Blaylock must be true each time their number is called. Finally, the X factors …

Can this Georgia team control their emotions when the Tigers land some mighty blows? And will some unsung players like James Cook, Jermaine Johnson, Tyrigue McGhee, Tyler Simmons, and Charlie Woerner shine bright in The Benz? And last but certainly not least, can the Bulldog Nation continue their awesome ability of lifting their team to victory.

Let’s rumble … Tigers versus Bulldogs, SEC Championship Game. See you in The Benz on Saturday. Go Dawgs!!

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