In a brief response, Joey wrote, "Why was that the wrong thing to say to Martin? I think those are important sentiments."
The correct answer to Joey's perfectly reasonable question is, "It wasn't the wrong thing to say to Bill Martin." The proper response to Joey's entirely unobjectionable statement is, "You are right that those are important sentiments."
My earlier remark was offered in jest and, for the most part, the joke was on me. At the very moment that I was urging the Michigan weblogging community to contact the U.M. athletic director with a positive suggestion, moves were being made within the Maize and Blue's program that left Joey and other conscientious Wolverine fans with no recourse but to write to Bill Martin with critical feedback.
It was a great moment in bad timing on my part, which is what I was commenting on in my previous posting. In retrospect, the anguish expressed by Joey and others probably should have tipped me off to the fact that the Michigan faithful were in no mood for kidding around, so that, too, was a great moment in bad timing on my part. I should've quit while I was behind.
I apologize to Joey if I gave him the wrong impression and, to make it up to him, I will buy him the beverage of his choice in the establishment of my choice when he comes to Athens for the game after we get this Georgia-Michigan home and home series scheduled.
Naturally, the need to right the aforementioned wrong got this evening's posting off on the wrong foot, but there has, alas, also been a bit of bad news for the Bulldog Nation as a whole
: David Gibbs, every Georgia fan's favorite Auburn defensive coordinator, has taken a job in the N.F.L.
To make matters worse, Coach Gibbs has been replaced as the Tigers' defensive coordinator by Georgia alumnus Will Muschamp, who guided L.S.U. to the 2003 national championship.
Although Paulwesterdawg credits me with covering the ongoing cross-pollination between the Georgia and Auburn programs better than he does, the Georgia Sports Blog's list is pretty comprehensive.
I guess I owe the Auburn fan base an apology, too. I didn't know they knew that many numbers or letters.
Fortunately, there is a little good news out there in the world today . . . namely, D.J. Shockley has been recognized by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as the Division I-A football player "who conducts himself as a faith model in the community, in the classroom, and on the field." Shockley is a class act and I am pleased to see him honored in this manner.
Shockley is not the only source of pride for the Bulldog Nation tonight, though. My fellow Clayton County native and University of Georgia alumnus Hines Ward, who also is a class act, is the 2006 Super Bowl M.V.P.
Now, however, I return to the topic at hand.
By "The Movement," Ben does not mean the fusionist conservative movement cobbled together by National Review in the 1950s, which began to unravel over the Mel Bradford/Bill Bennett nomination controversy in 1981, split into competing camps when Pat Buchanan ran against George Bush pere in 1992, descended into open internal hostility with David Frum's "Unpatriotic Conservatives" screed in 2003, and was recounted in detail by Paul V. Murphy in his fine book, The Rebuke of History: The Southern Agrarians and American Conservative Thought.
Rather, Ben has coined the term "The Movement" to refer to the drive by Georgia and Michigan webloggers to get the Bulldogs and the Wolverines on one another's football schedules. (Melissa Theuriau refers to us as Le Movement.)
The latest Bulldog weblogger to offer his thoughts on The Movement is L.D., who addresses the topic with his usual discerning and comprehensive analysis. If you haven't read his posting yet, go read it now, because I can assure you that my summary of L.D.'s position will not do it justice.
L.D. starts off with the admission that he is "in favor of interesting matchups for the Dawgs as a general rule." As a season ticket holder, he wants to get his money's worth, so, as a fan, he would prefer to be in Sanford Stadium to see Georgia play Boise State, Clemson, or Texas Tech than to go to Athens to watch the Red and Black take on Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, or New Mexico State.
Although L.D. would "love for Georgia to play good opponents in out-of-conference games" as a matter of principle and in order to give him the most bang for his G.E.E.F. buck, he also recognizes "the need for Georgia to play a reasonable schedule." Accordingly, L.D. argues that a "balance must be struck."
Because I previously addressed an earlier posting of his regarding intersectional scheduling (which, to be fair to L.D., was written well before I proposed a Georgia-Michigan two-game series), L.D. offered a few well-considered words in defense of his position, the gist of which is that there is nothing inherently ennobling about traveling to another region to play a football game.
Clemson, for instance, is much nearer to the Classic City than Cincinnati, but the Bulldogs' upcoming road game against the Bearcats will not provide the Red and Black with as good an opponent (or as much history) as the forthcoming renewal of Georgia's series with the Tigers from Lake Hartwell. Accordingly, L.D. would rather see the Bulldogs play Clemson than Cincinnati.
I could not more wholeheartedly agree with L.D. upon this point. In fact, I wrote a column for The Red & Black more than a decade ago arguing that the Georgia-Clemson rivalry should be maintained . . . and I have not deviated from that position in the years since. L.D. and I are on precisely the same page where Clemson is concerned.
Where cross-sectional road games are concerned, L.D.'s position is that Georgia "shouldn't travel to the other side of the country to play opponents which are worse (or even equal) than ones just up the road." That is a perfectly reasonable point and an entirely fair reading of L.D.'s previous posting, so, if my characterization of his earlier remarks was unfair, I apologize to L.D. (We're running a buy-two-get-one-free special on apologies at Kyle on Football today.)
After acknowledging that he "would probably consider Michigan a better (more tradition, higher profile, national appeal) matchup than Clemson," L.D. proceeds to offer a detailed and excellent exegesis of the idealistic and realistic scenarios, which warrants a careful and studious reading by every denizen of Bulldog Nation.
So where does L.D. come down on all of this? Right about here:
"With all that said, with the addition of the 12th game to the schedule, I don't see a problem with Georgia scheduling (of the three available OOC games) at least one very good to outstanding program for a home/home series. With Louisville, Colorado and Arizona State on the schedule for upcoming years, I think we're already moving in the right direction. Michigan wouldn't be all that huge a step up from those programs, and the benefits both sides would get from such a series would make the risk of losing worth it. I'm for it."
So how do we go about doing it? Once again, L.D. skips the gristle and gets right down to the bone:
"My suggestion would be that we play Clemson 6 out of every 10 years (3 home, 3 away), and for the four years in every decade when we do not play Clemson, we substitute for the Tigers a top quality opponent (by that, I mean an upper-echelon BCS conference team - like Michigan). I think that's a reasonable compromise and would consider economic realities, tradition and the excitement generated by playing top quality opponents."
At the end of the day, L.D. does "support Kyle King's movement to get a game between the Dawgs and Wolverines. . . . And if not Michigan, I'd love to see home/home games against other great traditional programs when we can. I'd like to see the Dawgs play Miami, Oklahoma, Texas, Penn State, Notre Dame, Iowa (yes, I consider them a top program until Kirk Ferentz leaves), Nebraska, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, USC, Ohio State, etc. . . . So I say we don't limit the movement to Michigan. Let's suggest a host of top teams."
Every bit of that sounds perfectly reasonable to me. While I believe Michigan is a logical first choice for a non-conference home and home series against a traditional power from a B.C.S. conference, other such games should follow, both inside and outside the region.
I am not sure it is feasible for Georgia to play Clemson six times each decade. When the S.E.C. schedule expanded from six league games per autumn to seven (starting in 1988), then from seven conference contests per season to eight (beginning in 1992), the metronomic regularity of the Bulldogs' matchups with the Tigers faltered.
From 1962 to 1987, Georgia played Clemson 24 times in 26 seasons, but the border rivals met just twice in the next six seasons (1988-1993) and just twice more in the eight after that (1994-2001). Barring a bowl matchup between the Red and Black and the Purple and Orange, a decade will elapse between the most recent series meeting and the next series meeting.
It would have been one thing if, in the mid-1980s, the two schools had agreed to meet six times per decade. Now, though, the gaps between series meetings have been lengthening for nearly two decades and, by the time of the next regular season clash between the teams from Fort Hill and from the Classic City, a quarter of a century will have passed during which Georgia and Clemson will have appeared on one another's schedules just half a dozen times.
In the first and second years of the cycle, the 'Dawgs would schedule a home and home series with an historic power from a B.C.S. league in a non-rivalry game, preferably with an opponent from outside of our region. The first such cycle would begin with Michigan, but it could be continued in subsequent years with two-year series against Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Southern Cal, Texas, or Virginia Tech.
In the third and fourth years of the cycle, Georgia could increase the number of home games played between the hedges by scheduling Conference U.S.A. squads that would not require the Red and Black to pay a visit to their campuses in return.
In the fifth and sixth years of the cycle, Georgia and Clemson would renew their rivalry, with the 'Dawgs playing Clemson in Death Valley in the years Georgia played Georgia Tech in Athens and the Red and Black facing the Tigers in Sanford Stadium in the years the Bulldogs met the Yellow Jackets at The Flats.
At the end of each six-year cycle, the cycle starts all over again with a different major out-of-conference opponent. This would ensure that the 'Dawgs got in the requisite number of home games to stay financially competitive with other S.E.C. schools, it would keep Clemson in the rotation, and it would allow Georgia to schedule opponents from other elite programs.
Under this arrangement, any Georgia player who spent four years in the program would be assured of playing either Clemson or another major out-of-conference team, or perhaps both. It wouldn't allow the 'Dawgs to face the Tigers six times in a decade, but it would permit Georgia to take on Clemson four times in a dozen years, which would seem to be a good deal more likely.
Ultimately, I believe that L.D. and I view this issue quite similarly, although we may quibble over a fine detail here or there. As I have written before, L.D.'s postings often come across to me as postcards from my Id and I wonder periodically whether he has the sorts of insights into my own unconscious thought processes one would expect to find in, say, "Herman's Head" or "Being John Malkovich."
In any event, L.D.'s thoughts always are welcome and deserving of our consideration, so I am, of course, grateful for his support and for his thoughtful analysis of how The Movement might meet with success where the rubber meets the road.