If you’re watching the Georgia-Mississippi State game on Saturday night (7 p.m., ESPN), be on the lookout when the camera pans to show Charles Pledger. Pledger is a former defensive back for Georgia (1991-93). He is also the second cousin of Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State’s splendid quarterback, who led his team to a stunning 37-7 win over LSU last Saturday in Starkville. Fitzgerald, who grew up in Richmond Hill, Ga. (about 20 minutes South of Savannah), did not receive a scholarship offer from the University of Georgia. He only played one season of high school football on a 2-8 team. He was the quarterback in a triple-option offense and attempted only 76 passes. He was not exactly a fit for Georgia and its pro-style attack. In fact, Fitzgerald received only two scholarship offers: Middle Tennessee State and Mississippi State. But Pledger tried to convince Mike Bobo, Georgia’s offensive coordinator at the time, that he could use Fitzgerald at another position. Georgia still passed. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....Read More
Author: Tony Barnhart
True confession time: I had Alabama and Ohio State 1-2 on my preseason ballot. I felt Alabama was still loaded despite heavy losses of talent and that Urban Meyer had his best defense as the head coach of the Buckeyes. When Ohio State got boat-raced by Oklahoma and Clemson beat Auburn 14-6 on Sept. 9, I moved the defending national champions into the No. 2 slot. At the time I wondered if giving Clemson that much love was wise because the Tigers lost so many great players, among them being quarterback Deshaun Watson. I don’t wonder about that any more. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here. ...Read More
After a 4-2 start on Week 1, your friend Mr. College Football took it on the chin in Week 2. I was 2-1 on the picks against the spread and would have been 3-0 if Auburn’s offense (which had 117 yards against Clemson) had not gone into the witness protection program. I thought taking the Over (73 ½) on the South Carolina-Missouri game was the Double Platinum Lock of the Century. They scored 44 (31-13) because the Missouri offense made the South Carolina defense look like the ’85 Bears. Anyway, that puts us at .500 (6-6) after two weeks. We’re going to change it up a little moving forward. I’m going to start picking six games each week against the spread and see if we like it. So let’s call it “Mr. College Football’s Pick Six” for the third weekend of the 2017 season: The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....Read More
In his first two seasons as Florida’s head coach, Jim McElwain won 19 games and took the Gators to the SEC Championship game twice. The only coach who has won more games than McElwain in his first two seasons at Florida was some guy named Urban. But on Saturday, when Florida hosts Tennessee (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS), there are those who strongly believe that if the Gators (0-1) lose to the Vols, McElwain is in deep, deep trouble. Seriously. The Gator Nation, which got spoiled in 12 seasons under Steve Spurrier (1990-2001) and his Fun ‘N Gun offense, is not satisfied just to win these days. The Gators must score a lot of points in doing it. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....Read More
South Bend, Ind.—It is something every new coach knows he must have. He also knows that he will not be validated until he gets it. It is a signature victory. It is the victory in the life of a young coach where the fan base says “Ah, hah! This guy knows what he is doing. He is going to be okay.” One year and one game into his first head coaching job at Georgia, Kirby Smart was still in search of his signature victory. Last season his team lost to Tennessee on a Hail Mary pass at the final horn, pretty much got kicked around against Florida in Jacksonville, and lost to Georgia Tech by blowing a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter. Yeah, there were close road wins at Missouri and Kentucky but those don’t get it done. Those are games you’re supposed to win at a place like Georgia. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....Read More
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