I saw my first James Bond film in 1979 on HBO. I can’t remember if it was “The Man with the Golden Gun” or “The Spy Who Loved Me,” since I was only five years old at the time, same year I attended my first Masters Golf Tournament. My mother took me to my first James Bond film in 1981, “For Your Eyes Only.” I’ve subsequently seen every Bond film in its theatrical glory, and caught up with every installment, digesting them as comfort food as a young man, on a bachelor’s weekend or while my wife and son nap. What was the attraction of James Bond? It seems his appeal crosses cultures and continents, and men can identify with him. He is a sex symbol, a male fantasy, yet fallible and frequently spending as much time digging himself out of mistakes he’s made as he does saving the world. James Bond is a fantastic Superspy and cinema hero because he plays by his own rules, has vulnerability and has a dream life (exotic locales, cool cars, beautiful women and equally evil adversaries). My three favorite Bond films, “Goldfinger,” “Casino Royale” and “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” fit those criteria, at least for the price of a movie ticket.
“Goldfinger” is at the top of most Bond fans’ lists for its iconography, great villain and Connery’s best Bond performance. The third Bond installment features some of the most iconic images from the Bond series: the slain woman painted in gold across Bond’s bed, the first use of the seminal Bond vehicle, the Aston Martin DB5, and Bond waking up to be greeted by Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman). Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) has some of the most memorable dialogue of any Bond baddie (“no Mr. Bond, I expect you to die” and “This is gold, Mr Bond. All my life, I have been in love with it’s color, it’s brilliance, it’s divine heaviness.”), and one of the best henchman, Oddjob (Harold Sakata), who slices up prey with his steel-rimmed bowler hat. ”Goldfinger” starts with the iconic shot over Miami, and takes the audience to Switzerland, and the climax at Fort Knox. Bond engages Goldfinger in Miami while he cheats at cards, follows him to his factory in Switzerland, and is transported to Kentucky by Goldfinger, where he eventually foils Goldfinger’s quest to become the world’s richest gold thief.
“Casino Royale” (2006) features one of the best scripts of the entire series, and Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond sizzles on the screen. Craig is a commanding physical presence, and shows vulnerability both physically and emotionally, the latter of which has only been displayed by Bond sparingly. It is currently the largest grossing Bond film to date, grossing $594 Million during its international release. The story takes Bond to Montenegro, The Bahamas (using Paradise Island previously featured in “Thunderball”) and Italy. The film balances action, character and story quite well, and the love story between Bond and Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) is the dominant through-line to the film’s watery climax in Venice. The film was structured as a reboot to the Bond series, which allowed the filmmakers to re-visit some of Bond’s best iconography – gadgets, exotic locales, beautiful women and a slick, newly-designed Aston Martin DBSV12. The one discontinuity of the film is Bond plays Texas Hold ‘Em with Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) instead of Banko, his ubiquitous card game from so many films past. Producers made this decision to appeal more to Western audiences. ”Casino Royale” still has a fine ending.
My third choice is “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” mostly because of its story, great locales and fantastic editing. No Bond film is shot or cut the way OHMSS is, and probably never will be again. Christopher Nolan has expressed his desire to eventually direct a Bond film, and often cites Peter Hunt’s lone entry as his personal favorite. Most Bond fans write off OHMSS because it’s the only outing of Australian model-turned actor George Lazenby. I think John Barry’s score in OHMSS is one of his best, and came on the heels of another of my favorite Barry scores, “The Lion in Winter,” which won him an Academy Award. Maibaum’s adaptation of Fleming’s namesake novel is one of the most faithful, and Hunt’s mise-en-scene seems to inform the aforementioned Nolan and Paul Greengrass’ work in the “Bourne” series in recent years. Telly Savalas plays a very cool Blofeld, and is aided by the excellent Ilse Steppat as Irma Bunt, Blofeld’s henchwoman who kills Bond’s only wife during a failed assassination attempt in the film’s climax, one of the most poignant endings in Bond lore. OHMSS is revered today for its production quality, but Lazenby’s performance is the film’s lone flaw. Film Critic Leonard Maltin claims that had Connery reprised Bond for this entry, it would have been the series’ seminal film.
Bond is comfort food at its finest. I’ve never regretted any time I’ve spent in Bond’s world. It’s total spectacle, fun and mindless. I can attribute a lot of my cinema fascination to Bond – story, characters, great lines, cinematography, editing, sound, sets, costumes and iconic villains. My son is already showing interest, and he’ll watch them all, too.
Oscar night may offer a few surprises this evening. The Acting Categories should be “status quo,” with Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jean Dujardin and Christopher Plummer all picking up their first Oscars tonight.
The juggernaut I foresee is “Hugo” making clairvoyants of the pundits by sweeping most of the technical Awards: Art Direction, Costume Design, Cinematography, Film Editing and Sound Mixing. However, they aren’t picking “Hugo” for Picture or Director over “The Artist.”
No film has won Best Picture and Director since 1996 without winning the DGA Award for Theatrical Direction. That movie was “Braveheart,” which didn’t have to compete with that year’s DGA winner, “Apollo 13.” I’ll admit this prediction is a long shot.
The writing awards will be split by “The Artist” (Original Screenplay) and “The Descendants,” both of which feature complex characters and tight structure. Hazanavicius, writer/director/co-editor of “The Artist,” is a Robert McKee disciple, and the teachings of the “Story” class are engrained in the film’s classic 2nd Act. The “Negation of the negation” is deployed by main character George Valentin self-destructing and burning his memories of celluloid (his films). ”The Descendants” was adapted by Jim Rash (of “Community” TV fame) and Nat Faxon, both of whom hail from the Los Angeles Improv group, The Groundlings. Four nominated writers from The Groundlings (also “Bridesmaids” scribes Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumulo) will be awaiting their fate in the Hollywood & Highland Theatre seats tonight. Filmmaker Alexander Payne, a UCLA alum, did a rewrite of “The Descendants” prior to production, but Rash & Faxon retain credit, and should share the stage with Payne this evening to accept.
The biggest technical surprise will be Cinematography. ”The Tree of Life” has swept everything, but the Academy has its own ideals of what this category is – big shots, eye-popping compositions and pretty actors. I used to thing heavy CGI and compositing was always a deterrent to win this category. Mauro Fiore’s “Avatar” triumph was a consolation prize for James Cameron’s epic, and tonight, “Hugo” wins as part of technical landslide. The question is…can it sweep to Director and Picture?
Three Dog and a Chicken’s fearless Oscar Nomination predictions. Why is it fearless? We’re picking nominees for every category. The current prediction is The Artist leads with 11 nominations on Tuesday.
The Artist, The Weinstein Company; Thomas Langmann
Bridesmaids, Universal; Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel & Clayton Townshend
The Descendants, Fox Searchlight; Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, & Jim Taylor
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Columbia; Cean Chaffin, Scott Rudin
The Help, Touchstone; Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Brunson Green
Hugo, Paramount/GK Films; Tim Headington, Graham King & Martin Scorsese
Midnight in Paris, Sony Pictures Classics; Letty Aronson & Stephen Tenenbaum
Moneyball, Columbia Pictures; Michael De Luca, Rachel Horovitz & Brad Pitt
George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo Di Caprio, J Edgar
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Woody Harrelson, Rampart
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Kevin Spacey, Margin Call
Berenice Bojo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Terrence Malick, Tree of Life
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
The Adventures of Tintin, Steven Spielberg & Peter Jackson
Kung Fu Panda 2, Jennifer Yuh
Rango, Gore Verbinski
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II
The Artist, Guillaume Schiffman
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jeff Cronenweth
Hugo, Robert Richardson
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Hoyte van Hoytema
Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki
The Artist, Mark Bridges
The Help, Sharen Davis
Hugo, Sandy Powell
Jane Eyre, Michael O’Connor
Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides, Penny Rose
DOCUMENTARY – FEATURE FILM
Bill Cunningham New York, Philip Gefter, Richard Press
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
Project Nim, James Marsh, Simon Chinn
Undefeated, Daniel Lindsay, Seth Gordon
We Were Here, David Weissman
DOCUMENTARY – SHORT SUBJECT
“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement,” Gail Dolgin, Robin Fryday
“In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution,” Jon Alpert & Matthew O’Neill
“Saving Face,” Daniel Junge
“The Tsunami & the Cherry Blossom: Supply and Demand Integrated,” Lucy Walker & Charleen Manca
“Witness,” Neil Ever Osborne
The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius & Anne-Sophie Bion
The Descendants, Kevin Tent
Drive, Matthew Newman
Hugo, Thelma Schoonmaker
Moneyball, Christopher Tellefson
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Bullhead, Belgium; Michael R. Roskam
In Darkness, Poland; Agnieszka Holland
Footnote, Israel; Joseph Cedar
A Separation, Iran; Asghar Farhadi
Warriors of the Rainbow, Taiwan; Wei Te-sheng
Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life
The Artist, Ludovic Bource
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Hugo, Howard Shore
Super 8, Michael Giacchino
War Horse, John Williams
SHORT FILM – ANIMATED
“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
SHORT FILMS – LIVE ACTION
“I Could Be Your Grandmother”
“The Road Home”
“Lay Your Head Down,” Albert Nobbs
“Hello Hello,” Gnomeo & Juliet
“Life’s a Happy Song,” The Muppets
“The Living Proof,” The Help
“Pictures in My Head,” The Muppets
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Pirates of the Carribbean: On Stranger Tides
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
X-Men: First Class
WRITING – ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Descendants, Nat Faxton, Alexander Payne & Jim Rash
The Help, Tate Taylor
The Ides of March, George Clooney, Grant Heslov & Beau Willimon
Moneyball, Stan Chervin, Aaron Sorkin & Steven Zaillian
We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsey & Rory Kinnear
WRITING – ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius
Beginners, Mike Mills
Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo
Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen
A Separation, Asghar Farhadi
I shot my student film with classmates in 1994 on Kodak monochromatic film with an Arriflex 16mm film camera. It was about a mime chasing two guys on an island during their sporting vacation. It was mostly silent. Our actress didn’t show for the production, so we rewrote all night the day before production. We killed our audio professor’s Neumann shotgun microphone, and turned our sound recordist into the film’s comic relief. We got an “A” in the class, but very few people outside of classmates and family ever saw “Enemy Mime.”
Eastman Kodak has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today, with a current debt of $1.65 billion, according to the Washington Post. At the company’s financial peak in the early 1980′s, it employed 130,000 worldwide. In today’s filing, their numbers have dwindled to 17,000. Kodak failed due to bad management and failure to adapt to consumer appetite for digital products. Kodak is an icon of Hollywood’s past – many of cinema’s greatest stories and images were struck on its celluloid film stock, printed and projected to audiences all over the world.
For me, Kodak is nostalgia, but it died many years ago. I’m happy I got to shoot motion picture film in school and handle it whilst editing on a Steinbeck flatbed editor. I shot my documentary, “Pigskin & Magnolias: 12 Days of Fandom,” on HDV and edited on Final Cut Pro. Why? I was paying the bills, and it fit my budget. I’ll eventually go 100% tapeless with SDHC cards, because HDV tape tears, and I lost a little footage using it. Filmmaker Edward Burns used a Canon DSLR to shoot “Newlyweds” with a crew of less than five, and few lights with a budget of $9,000 – less than the cost of the average film print prior to digital projection.
Oscar front runner “The Artist” was captured on Kodak Vision stock, but it will probably be the last Best Picture winner to be originated on film. In American Cinematographer, the creative team decided to frame the film in the Academy’s classic 1:33 aspect ratio, and used custom attachments on their Super Speed lenses to soften the look to something reminiscent of an era long past. An Oscar win for “The Artist” will be a fitting tribute to Hollywood’s transition into the digital age.
If there was ever a year Boise State might have finally crashed the BCS National Championship game, it might have been 2011. The Broncos opened with a convincing neutral site win in Georgia’s backyard, 35-21. Boise State has only played in NCAA Division I since 1978, and won the FCS title in 1980. They’ve claimed two BCS Fiesta Bowl titles (2007, 2010) and eight straight WAC Championships. However, their first season of Mountain West Conference play would be a little tougher than planned.
A 36-35 home loss to TCU, their first conference loss on the blue turf of Broncos Stadium since 1998. Another missed Field Goal, eerily similar to last season’s lone setback at Nevada. Both Quarterbacks combined for 793 yards through the air, but it was a late fumble by Boise State RB Drew Wright that put TCU QB Casey Pachall in position to drive his team 68 yards for a touchdown that put the Horned Frogs within one point. TCU Gary Patterson made a gutsy call with 1:05 remaining – go for a two point conversion to ice the Broncos’ raucous crowd. Pachall converted it with a short pass to Sophomore WR Josh Boyce. The win avenged a 2010 Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State.
TCU finished their last Mountain West season 11-2, with losses to bowl teams Baylor and SMU. Boise State, who’s lost their last four games since 2007 by three points or less, pounded Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl.
As a South Carolina graduate, and lifelong fan, I must admit bias on picking this as one of my favorite College Football games of 2011. Yet, it’s hard to ignore the game’s entertainment value. The teams combined for 60 points in the final 21 minutes of the game, including four lead changes and one tie. South Carolina claimed the SEC East opener in Athens 45-42, capitalizing on three Georgia turnovers, all converted for touchdowns, and a fake field goal called on the Gamecocks’ 37 yard line. Georgia had the most overall talent on the field, but on the sidelines, Steve Spurrier was in a league of his own. The fake field goal pushed the momentum early for the Gamecocks, and they rode their defense and RB Marcus Lattimore’s 176 yards to wear out the ‘Dawgs talented defense.
Georgia would go on to claim the SEC East division crown by winning their next 10 games, while South Carolina’s home loss to Auburn would prove keep them out of the SEC Title game a second straight season, and out of BCS bowl contention. Georgia finished 10-4, closing with losses to LSU and a heartbreaker to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. South Carolina lost Marcus Lattimore to an ACL injury and Stephen Garcia finally ran out of strikes, but the Gamecocks finished strong at 11-2, setting a school record for wins, beating in-state rival Clemson a third straight time, and pounding Nebraska to win the Capital One Bowl.
In the fall of 2008, three aspiring filmmakers took their personal video camera to The Grove at Ole Miss with one goal: talk to a few fans at tailgates about their passion for SEC football, and favorite game day experiences. While it was quite obvious fans had a lot to say, we didn’t have the right video equipment to make something that looked professional. We used a little savings and bought a Canon XH-A1, tape stock, a decent microphone to record good audio, and some grip equipment.
When we went out again to interview fans in Knoxville a few weeks later, fans were more receptive, and talked endlessly about landmark fan experiences, including rushing the field after beating Florida at Neyland in 1998, and winning the BCS Championship later that season in Arizona. What was most apparent was their passion for telling stories about their fandom, and how it was intertwined with identity. We hit four more stops that fall, and began constructing our plans to hit the remainder of the SEC venues in 2009.
Our plans for the fall of 2009 were carefully orchestrated to the remaining eight SEC venues to complete the cycle of campuses. Then, our plans hit a snag. Budgets and schedules forced us to make cuts. Our trips to Baton Rouge (L.S.U.), Fayetteville (University of Arkansas) and Gainesville (University of Florida) had to be sacrificed. We did manage to schedule production on game days to interview their fans at away games, a lesson adapted from filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, whose lesson is always “budget restrictions force one to be creative.” By the way, he sold his body to medical science to fund his film, “El Mariachi” in 1992. He recorded his own sound with a crude audio recorder from Radio Shack. Now the film is on the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress.
We did get great traction from the places we visited in 2009, including a location access to Oxford, Mississippi’s Square Books, where we interviewed SEC Blogger and author, Clay Travis, who was signing his book on the University of Tennessee’s 2008 Season, “On Rocky Top: A Front Row Seat to the End of an Era.” Mr. Travis was generous with his time and anecdotes, and we finally had something to shape fans’ stories in the documentary. Our next inspiration was interviewing my former graduate school professor, Dr. Ted Friedman, a cultural studies expert at Georgia State University, on fandom, identity and what motivates fan behavior. His knowledge and responses was truly a breakthrough for us. Dr. Friedman’s interview was the highlight of 2010 production. The hard drive we were digitizing footage died, and all of our digital footage was lost. We had to essentially start over post production.
In January 2011, a rough cut of the documentary was accepted into the 2011 Atlanta Film Festival. We began to feverishly re-cut and re-mix the film to be presented in April to its first audience. Since the debut in April, we have re-cut the film to 60 minutes, down from the 78 minute version that showed at the Atlanta Film Festival.
Despite the challenges and budget restraints of a three-person team, we are proud of producing a documentary film on a subject we hold dear to our hearts…SEC college football fans.
The link to the 60 minute version of “Pigskin & Magnolias: 12 Days of Fandom” is here. Please recommend it to your friends, and watch as often as you like.
A special thanks to all of the fans for sharing their stories with us.
Tags: Alabama football fans, Arkansas football fans, Auburn football fans, Clay Travis, college football fans, Georgia Bulldog fans, LSU football fans, Ole Miss football fans, Pigskin & Magnolias, sec college football documentary, SEC college football fans, South Carolina Gamecock fans, Tennessee football fans, Vanderbilt football fans
The South Carolina Gamecocks’ 16-13 loss at Williams-Brice stadium is the strongest indication of where the team is in 2011. While the defense has shored up its poor execution and tackling, the offense fails at its fundamental mission: put points on the board. After averaging 50 points a game the first two outings, the Gamecocks’ “putrid” offense is averaging just 18 points/game. The first two games’ gaudy scoring was due to defense and special teams scoring multiple touchdowns. Three reasons the Ball Coach’s philosophy in 2011 has to change: defensive scoring can’t be counted upon every game, Spurrier must be proactive in changing the offense, and Stephen Garcia’s numbers have earned him a spot on the bench.
The defense beat Georgia. They scored two touchdowns, set up another, and Melvin Ingram dashed down the sideline on a fake punt from the Gamecocks’ own 35. Without any of those scores, Georgia wins the game. The Gamecocks’ Defense showed physicality and brawn that overpowered and outsmarted Georgia’s young offense. Georgia’s fan base was in denial Spurrier could beat them with defense. Even Spurrier was a tad embarrassed to win in such fashion.
Fans should be done with the lip service of Steve Spurrier pointing out the obvious. His offense is “putrid,” and he’s the coach in charge of the offense. The defense, who’s bailed them out of every game, needs to hold Spurrier and the offense accountable for what they are…”offensive.” Spurrier has recruited all the pieces of that offense, and they are loaded with talent. They aren’t performing. Marcus Lattimore is carrying the offense, averaging over 100 yards per game. He’s doing his job and then some.
The key issues are Offensive Line and Quarterback. Both have to change. Change the blocking scheme first. We’ve already lost a Left Tackle, and the blind side was exploited by Auburn the entire game. The spread option attack the Gamecocks use doesn’t seem to be the right fit for the line we have. We have to go to a pro set offense, and get the ball to Alshon Jeffrey, Damiere Byrd, Nick Jones, Ace Sanders, Justice Cunningham and Marcus Lattimore. Play action pass, I formation and some pistol would be sufficient. We don’t need to deceive teams with the skill players we have, but dare them to stop us.
Stephen Garcia has to be handed a clipboard. His numbers are horrific. Only twice this season has he completed over 50% of his passes. He’s only had 30 or more attempts once this season. He completed just 39% versus Auburn, and has four touchdown passes against NINE interceptions (the only stat he leads the NCAA with). He’s a four year starter. He’s the same thing he was way back in 2008. If Spurrier’s satisfied with that, then he has to be accountable for it. If he doesn’t start Conner Shaw versus Kentucky, he can join Garcia on his way out of Columbia in January. It’s one thing to recruit great playmakers, Ball Coach, but you still gotta “coach ‘em up.”
The Georgia Bulldogs will take the field against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Athens, knowing the outcome may determine Coach Mark Richt’s fate in Athens. Richt has won 2 SEC Titles and 3 division titles since taking over in 2001, and 7-3 vs. South Carolina. It is the Gamecocks who enter the game with the higher ranking, and trying to defend its SEC East Division crown from last year. The question is…which team feels the pressure more? The Georgia offensive line, who gave up six QB sacks in a 35-21 loss to Boise State. A similar performance will make it too easy for the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks can’t suffer an offensive letdown like they had last weekend in Charlotte vs. unranked East Carolina. A slow start for Steve Spurrier’s team may be too much to overcome at Sanford Stadium. It is South Carolina’s ground attack, led by Marcus Lattimore that will keep this game in South Carolina’s favor, but expect a close margin of victory.
It’s pigskin time again in the South. The leaves are starting to drop along with the humidity, the stadiums have a fresh coat of paint, and Les Miles is ready to lay some cryptic words of wisdom to his legion of fans. Auburn is still basking in the glory of last year’s championship season. Gene Chizik is watching his bonus draw interest, while polishing a fist full of rings and a crystal football. On the plains this season, the cheers of last season may be nothing but distant echoes.
Welcome to 2011, and the War Eagle will get its feathers ruffled. Alabama, LSU, Mississippi State and Arkansas have circled the date on their calendar…AUBURN. Chizik’s crew made some daring escapes in 2010, mostly thanks to Heisman Trophy winner Cameron Newton. With a roster decimated by graduation, the 2011 War Eagle team will find the going tough. I don’t think the Auburn fans will much care. The memories of triumph are still fresh.
The defending SEC East Champion South Carolina Gamecocks enter 2011 with a putrid, unfulfilled taste. After reaching the SEC Title game by going 4-1 vs. its division rivals, the Gamecocks were blown out in Atlanta by Auburn, and three weeks later floundered in a bowl loss to Florida State. Marcus Lattimore enters 2011 16 pounds heavier, with added strength in his hips and legs. Spurrier’s team has its highest preseason rank ever. Can they live up to the hype, and stare down the Sports Illustrated cover curse?
Alabama, LSU, Arkansas and Mississippi State will slug it out to earn a trip to Atlanta. Mississippi State is under the radar with attention being drawn to Alabama, LSU and their iconic, championship coaches. LSU, Alabama and South Carolina must travel to Starkville to play under the cowbells. Alabama visits November 12th. Their toughest test is on the road at Arkansas on Nov. 19th. If Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs can earn a split in those four games, they could very well find themselves in the mix for Atlanta. The remaining eight games should be cake for Mississippi State. Why Mississippi State? Their QB, Chris Relf, is only SEC West contender who saw significant snaps in 2010. Watch out.
The SEC East will be decided in Athens as early as September 10th, when South Carolina and the Ball Coach call on Georgia. Sanford Stadium is a hostile environment for Steve Spurrier, where the fans cannot forget the drubbings he dealt the ‘Dawgs while pacing the sidelines of the Florida Gators. Georgia was flat in a 6-17 loss in Columbia last season. The loser of this early game has never played for the SEC Title. Georgia’s first two games vs. Boise State and the Gamecocks will steer the fate of Mark Richt. A rebuilt Defensive Line and a stable Offensive Line are the keys for Georgia. They lack playmakers on offense, but their young defense may be talented enough to keep the games close. A 1-1 spilt would be palpable for the ‘Dawgs. 0-2 would be devastating.