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Chris Gay: The solar eclipse is gone in time for college football

Posted: August 23, 2017 - 2:26am

The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 is over. Now what?

Many of you were looking forward to staring at the sun. Some of you drove to the mountains, to the beach, to the lake. Not me. I didn't care that much.

I'm more excited to see football season on the horizon than going blind looking at an eclipse. Pigskin season is almost here, folks. It's so close I can smell the fried chicken.

My two favorite teams are the Georgia Bulldogs and the Atlanta Falcons. As a former Georgia student - who attended the school briefly, very briefly - I take a little extra pride pulling for the Bulldogs.

I saw a recent picture of Elizabeth Metress' dorm room at Georgia. It reminded me of when I stayed in Creswell Hall a cool - ahem! - 25 years ago. I hope she has a better roommate than I did. This guy's name I forgot decades ago. Good riddance.

Get the picture: It was 1992. Braves-mania was running rampant throughout the South. When classes began, my favorite baseball team - the one I pulled for in the 1980s, when they regularly lost 90 or more games - was on its way to winning the N.L. West again. And my roommate, whom I had never met, was from Atlanta. Perfect! Or so it seemed.

Kids, if you go away to college, do so with a friend. That way you don't get stuck with a roommate like the one I had. This guy didn't like the Braves. Instead, he preferred writing poetry and acting drunk after consuming one beer. Needless to say, we didn't spend much time together.

When the Braves played in Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship Series, I sat in my dorm room watching the game unfold on my 19-inch Emerson TV. My roommate was off somewhere; I didn't care. My new friend, Jason James, a good guy from Augusta working for a medical company in Athens, watched the game with me. I became fast friends with Jason, an Atlanta and Georgia fan.

When Sid slid - still safe after all these years! - Jason and I jumped up and down, high-fived and ran down the second floor of Creswell slapping hands with any and all takers. We drove to downtown Athens, celebrating well into the evening. There was a guy standing high up on a light pole. I assumed he was drunk. What sober person would stand 15, 20 feet above the ground in the middle of night, one slip away from serious injury? That guy didn't fall, though. Even if he had jumped, someone would've caught him. Thousands and thousands of Braves fans poured into downtown that night, hooting, hollering and acting plain crazy. World Series, here we come!

I remember getting back to my dorm and falling asleep a little after 4 a.m. I awoke three hours later and made it in time to my 7:50 a.m. history class. What the professor taught that morning, I have no idea.

While my favorite baseball team was playing well, my favorite football team looked like it was going to be a contender.

The Georgia Bulldogs, despite stupidly playing prevent defense on fourth and 14 late in an early-season game against Tennessee - a home defeat that still irks me - controlled its own destiny.

All Georgia (ranked No. 7 in the nation, 7-1 record) had to do was defeat No. 20 Florida. Of course, the Bulldogs fell 26-24. Two losses. Five points. Georgia finished the season at 10-2.

Had Georgia defeated Jean Shorts U., it would've faced Alabama in the inaugural Southeastern Conference Championship game. I'm convinced had the Bulldogs defeated the Gators, they would've rolled over the Tide and won the national championship. Then, someone would've built a statue of Ray Goff. And 25 years later, some politically correct loon probably would've talked about tearing it down. Maybe Ray Goff knew what he was doing losing those games - creating future peace. Who knows?

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GARRISON GREETING: Speaking of 1992, Garrison Hearst will be the honored guest at the Augusta Bulldog Club's annual fall kickoff, Tuesday, Aug. 29, at the Legends Club. Tickets are $25 and includes a Wife Saver dinner. The event begins with dinner at 5:30 p.m., with the program following at 6:30.

Hearst was the 1992 SEC Player of the Year. He went on to have a productive career in the NFL with several teams. You can learn more about him next week.

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EAT MORE CHICKEN?: Speaking of morons, the social media warriors were out in full effect when it was recently announced Chick-fil-A will have two stands inside the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. With the Falcons playing on Sundays, Chick-fil-A will continue its legacy of being closed that day. And thus the social media humor.

But here's the thing: The stadium will be open for more than just Falcons football. There's soccer. And concerts. And college football, like the two Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games on Saturday, Sept. 2, and Monday, Sept. 4 - Chick-fil-A will be open for both of those games, morons.

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RISE UP: Speaking of the Falcons, Atlanta has looked good so far in the preseason. While the Falcons are 0-2 in preseason games, you readers are smart enough to know you don't judge a team based on its preseason wins and losses, especially when the starters play one or two drives at most.

I'm not worried about the offense. Matt Ryan, the reigning MVP, continues to look good. And as Matt goes, the team goes.

Instead, the major question is about the defense.

So far in preseason, there's seems to be more speed. The line appears to be much improved, especially with rookie defensive end Takkarist McKinley.

It appears head coach Dan Quinn is putting together his defense position by position. I expect the Falcons to be much improved on that side of the ball this year. If that holds true, this team can make another deep run.

 

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