Just like that the 2018 football season now enters October and our Bulldogs have won all five of their games by double digits. Still, the Georgia fan base is somewhat anxious as the last two weeks haven’t exactly been smooth sailing.
As I stated in this space last week, I don’t think it’s the worst thing for Kirby Smart and his staff to have teaching moments from the previous game to prepare for the next opponent. Yes, there was another week of sloppiness in the Tennessee game, but I have to agree with BI’s Greg Poole (page 52) that a tempering of expectations is needed. Greg is on point with his assessment that the team has a ton of talent, but they are still very young.
Just like every week, the next game provides the opportunity to show progress and I fully expect that to happen on Saturday night versus Vandy. I think a game under the lights is exactly what the doctor ordered for the team and the Bulldog Nation. For that reason, I asked Blane Marable to send me one of his favorite night images from the 2017 season for the cover. I absolutely love the one he chose as it combines the spirit of several members of the Georgia cheerleading squad positioned against the awesome background of Sanford Stadium going dark at the start of the 4th quarter. The spectacle is, of course, made electric as everyone in the stadium turns on their phone flashlights. It’s very cool indeed and another tradition that adds synergy inside the stadium.
Saturday’s night game is also Homecoming in Athens, which is always special as Georgia alums get to reminisce about their wonder days in college. I always encourage folks to get here early enough on Friday to attend the fun parade in downtown Athens at 6 p.m. and Carnival Night at Legion Field at 7 p.m.
And this year, Friday night has a bonus attraction as both the Men and Women’s basketball program’s host “StegMania” which starts at 7:30 p.m. in Stegeman Coliseum. The first 1,500 UGA students in attendance will receive a commemorative t-shirt and food. And following introductions of the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs, the women will conduct a 3-point contest, while the men will compete in a slam dunk event followed by a scrimmage. And both teams will be available for autographs.
This past Saturday, I chatted with new men’s coach Tom Crean who was accompanying recruits at the Dawg Walk. Coach Crean is extremely excited about the event and looks forward to the Bulldog Nation getting their first glimpse at the future of Georgia basketball, which will possess an up-tempo brand of hoops that I think is going to be a blast to watch.
Kudos should go to both Crean and Joni Taylor for the awesome job they are doing at marketing Georgia basketball. As they both would tell you the passion they see by the Georgia fan base is top-notched. And you can rest assuredly that they are working tirelessly to have programs that will compete for championships every season.
Our crew here at Bulldawg Illustrated has chipped in for another great issue, which will definitely get your juices flowing for the Vandy game. On the social side, don’t miss our features on television personalities Keysha Lee (page 26) and Vera Stewart (page 28). Hamilton Culpepper catches up with Mary Beth Smart on page 46 and our Proust Q&A features Athens’ doctor, Kelly Grow (page 44). I know you will find all four of these alumnae equally fascinating.
People often ask why Cheri’s Q&A is called PROUST. She likes delving into folks’ personalities and the questions do that. She adapted the Q&A for BI that was inspired by Marcel Proust who famously answered this line of questioning in the 19th century that reveals tastes and aspirations. I especially like that in the late 1800s, Proust studied the great philosopher Thomas Carlyle in depth. Cheri loves the version in Vanity Fair at the back of each issue that interviews celebrities so several years ago she created a version with Bulldogs. You can find a collection of PROUST interviews at bulldawgillustrated.com.
Speaking of our website, I encourage everyone to spend a little time in the coming weeks on our new and improved site. Like each issue of BI, the new site continues our excellent coverage of Georgia athletics on the sports side, but also gives equal time to all our lifestyle coverage that makes being a Georgia supporter so special.
That’s going to do if for me, but I look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday night as we light it up for Homecoming.