Any projections about the coming college football season made before Father’s Day are, as ESPN’s Mark Schlabach would say, way too early. But that didn’t stop the Associated Press from predicting this week who’ll play in all 40 bowl games.
To cut to the chase, the AP sees Notre Dame and Auburn meeting in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Cotton Bowl, Ohio State and Baylor in the semifinal at the Orange Bowl, and Ohio State and Auburn playing for the national championship.
As for Dawgs, AP has Georgia playing TCU in the Sugar Bowl. The news service also has every SEC team except Kentucky and Vandy making a bowl.
Again, I don’t quite get all this preseason love for Auburn, but even though it would mean the Dawgs didn’t make the playoff, I can’t imagine too many UGA fans would grumble too much about a trip to New Orleans.
Meanwhile, I’ve also never understood the penchant for trying to predict months in advance where ESPN’s “GameDay” show will set up shop, but Saturday Down South has done just that.
Of interest here: They project “GameDay” coming to Athens in Week 5 for the match against Alabama, picking it over Notre Dame-Clemson, Arizona State-UCLA or Texas-TCU.
I’d say that stands a very good chance of happening if Georgia and Alabama are both undefeated at that point.
SDS also sees “GameDay” going to Jacksonville for the Georgia-Florida game in Week 9. Again, if Georgia is still without a loss when the decision is made for that week, that’s could well happen, though I think the odds of two of UGA’s games being spotlighted by the show are a bit long.
Elsewhere, it’s been a bit like a soap opera in Athens this week, what with all the speculation about whether quarterback Jacob Park is really transferring, as he indicated in a since-deleted post on Facebook, or whether he will succumb to the entreaties of the Georgia coaching staff to stay. It’s all a bit muddled. For instance, has he refused to take calls from Mark Richt and other Georgia coaches, or has he met at least once with Richt? Depends on who’s talking.
Would it be better for Park to stick around and try to battle his way up the depth chart at an SEC school, or should he go someplace where he might get to play more even if it’s not at the same level? That’s a question only the player himself can answer. I tend to think that, ultimately, he’ll leave.
(UPDATE: Richt officially announced Thursday that Park is transferring from UGA. “We’ve had conversations during which we discussed all the viewpoints,” Richt said in the official announcement. “In the end, he feels like the opportunity for significant playing time would be better at another school. I can understand his decision, and we’ll support him in finding a good fit at another institution.” The statement also included this from Park: “I want to thank Coach Richt and Georgia for the experience I’ve had in Athens. I’m grateful for the opportunity but now look forward to what’s next in my college career.”)
Then there’s the case of incoming five-star freshman receiver Terry Godwin, who was drafted this week by the Braves in the pro baseball draft but in the 33rd round as the 990th pick.
Generally, players drafted that deep don’t get offered much signing money, as it can jeopardize future draft picks by the club, so Godwin’s mama says it looks likely he’ll stay in Athens. I just hope the kid makes a decision quickly and puts this all behind him so that if he’s staying at UGA he can concentrate fully on school and summer workouts. With Georgia’s lack of depth at receiver, if he’s ready he could get some early playing time this fall.
One thing’s for sure: The life of a UGA athlete is a heckuva lot sweeter than the life of a minor league baseball rookie.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg
Bill King is an Athens native and a graduate of the University of Georgia’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. A lifelong Bulldogs fan, he sold programs at Sanford Stadium as a teen and has been a football season ticket holder since leaving school. He has worked at the AJC since college and spent 10 years as the Constitution’s rock music critic before moving into copy editing on the old afternoon Journal. In addition to blogging, he’s now a story editor.