Every summer for the last couple of decades, I have joined two groups of long-time friends for a preseason football fiesta.

We call it “The Draft.” I participate in one in the Athens/Atlanta area, and one in South Georgia. Here’s the way it works: We “draft” college and pro football teams based on what we think their regular-season records will be. The drafter with the best overall record at the end of the season wins.

In 2003, I had a banner year drafting, winning both drafts for the first time in my drafting history. Since then, I have won eight times more, with a second-place finish last year.

Currently, I am in the midst of preparing for another “drafting season.” In discussing our plans for the annual event, a fellow drafter offered a query: “What tips can you give me?”

Full of myself (who else would I be full of?), I was more than willing to hallucinate.

“The real secret is this,” I said, easing in, telling him in a whisper so no one else could hear my classified winning formula. “You have to look closely at their schedule and go game-by-game.”

He gave me a puzzled look.

“What do you mean?”

I then explained the method to my mystic madness, using Georgia’s upcoming 2021 schedule as an example.

“Georgia opens in Charlotte against the defending national champion, Clemson. Clemson's mascot is the Tiger. If we learned anything during the pandemic – and we obviously didn't – it's that tigers are docile, fat, and lazy, and only cost $2,000. And Clemson also lost their once-in-a-generation quarterback, Trevor Lawrence. I like the Dawgs in a close one.

"Georgia then has their home opener on September 11 against the UAB Blazers. I have no idea what a Blazer is, but I doubt it can beat a Bulldog. Georgia by a lot.

"Georgia hosts South Carolina on September 18. South Carolina's mascot is a chicken. Dogs love to eat chicken. So do I, for what it's worth.

"Next game is Vanderbilt on the road, September 25. Vanderbilt's mascot is a Commodore. A commodore is apparently a fancy guy that wears a silly hat. Dawgs can name their score.

"Arkansas comes to Athens on October 2, and the Dawgs' old line coach, Sam Pittman, will have the Hogs ready. But razorbacks are really no match for a hungry bulldog. Dawgs in a good game.

"At Auburn on October 9. Auburn doesn’t even know what their nickname is. Sometimes they’re the Tigers, then they’re the War Eagles, or Plainsmen, or Buck-Toothed Yokels. Doesn’t matter — dogs are smarter than any of their mascots, or fans for that matter.

"Kentucky is at Georgia on October 16. Dogs beat cats every time.

"A week off, then Florida in Jacksonville, October 30. Gators are capable of eating bulldogs, and did so last year. But you have to remember: Bulldogs are smart. They’ve figured out that all you have to do to shut up a Gator is hold their snout. That’s their weakness.

“Georgia plays at home versus the Missouri Tigers on November 6. Another Tiger, another win for the Dawgs, who are 9-0 at this point.

"Tennessee is next, on November 13, in Knoxville. Tennessee’s mascot is a hound dog. For the most part, and especially lately, bulldogs are way more aggressive than hound dogs. Bulldogs win again.

"Charleston Southern for Homecoming on November 20. Homecoming. A buccaneer doesn't stand a chance against a bulldog smelling blood. C'mon.

“Regular season ends November 27 against Georgia Tech in the ATL. No way a yellow jacket can beat a bulldog. They need to go back to that Ramblin’ Wreck nickname. Then, they might stand a chance. See, a car can run over a dog.”

I concluded with the following: “So, Georgia will go 12-0 in the regular season. Can’t tell you if they’ll win the national championship because I don’t know who they play. Better hope it’s not the California Bears.”

My fellow drafter looked puzzled. “Why? Is California supposed to be good this year?”

“Don’t know,” I answered. “But a bear will eat a bulldog.”

© Len Robbins 2021

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