Doubling back to profile our first two SB Nation Conference Re-Draft draft picks ...
School: University of Georgia
Colors: Red and Black
Mascot: Uga (live), Hairy Dawg (stuffed)
Location: Athens, GA
Varsity Sports: 19
Football Stadium: Sanford Stadium (cap. 92,746)
Basketball Arena: Stegeman Coliseum (10,523)
On to the vitals:
TV Revenue Potential. Atlanta is the eighth largest TV media market in the country. And even though it's Georgia Tech and not Georgia that's located in Atlanta, we all know the city of Atlanta leans SEC-ward when it matters most.
Academics. The University of Georgia ranked 56th in the latest USN&WR rankings, making it one of the top ranked public universities in the country. UGA is the third highest ranked SEC school according to these rankings, behind only Vanderbilt and Florida (who was already off the board).
Co-eds. We good.
Weather/Desirability of Destination. Georgia is located in Athens, one of the choice college towns in the country. Georgia is also located in the south. It's warm there.
Historic Success. Georgia is one of the country's premier college football properties. The Bulldogs rank in the top 20in nearly every one of college football's all-time statistical categories, including wins (738, 11th), winning percentage (.644, 13th), games played (1,188, 16th), points scored (24,766, 13th) and point differential (8,463, 12th)
Finally, to get readers a bit more familiar with the pick, we asked T. Kyle King over at Dawg Sports six questions on the Georgia Bulldogs:
Commissioner: Tell us more about your football and basketball program, in 300 words or less (grad school essay style).
Dawg Sports: Let's deal with the worst first: Georgia has historically been weak in men's basketball, boasting Dominique Wilkins, the 1983 Final Four, the tornado-fueled fluke run to the SEC championship a couple of years ago, and not much else, though at least the U.C.L.A. fans can sympathize with our experience with Jim Harrick. Fortunately, Mark Fox has righted the ship, guided the Hoop Hounds back to the NCAA Tournament, and pointed the program in the right direction. Recent renovations to Stegeman Coliseum haven't hurt, either.
Football is another story entirely. Among Division I-A programs, the Bulldogs rank in the top twelve all-time in winning percentage, victories, bowl appearances and bowl wins. No team has played in more different bowl games than the Red and Black, and Georgia is the only team to have won all nine of the oldest existing postseason games (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Sun, Cotton, Gator, Citrus, Liberty, and Peach).
Despite the struggles of the last two seasons, Mark Richt's 96-34 ledger still is the best ever by a Bulldog coach in his first 130 games on the Sanford Stadium sideline, and the achievements of his first decade on the job in Athens---including six seasons of ten wins or better, four finishes of no worse than tied for first in the Eastern Division, three BCS bowl berths, and two SEC championships---suggest that an upswing is not far away.
Commish: What is your school's best non-revenue sport? What is that program's defining moment / crowning achievement?
DS: Though the last couple of seasons have been disappointing by Georgia standards, the crowning jewel of the Bulldogs' Olympic sports has to be the Red and Black's women's gymnastics program. Under Suzanne Yoculan's guidance, the Gym Dogs produced more than 300 All-Americans, posted four undefeated seasons, made the NCAA field every year of her tenure, qualified for the "Super Six" every season after that format was introduced, finished in the top three nationally 19 times in her last 21 years, and captured 21 NCAA Regional crowns, 16 SEC titles, and ten national championships. At the top of that lengthy list of accomplishments was winning five straight NCAA titles to close out Coach Yoculan's career.
Commish: What excites you most about joining this conference?
DS: The University of Georgia continues to be subjected to outdated jokes told by ignorant people (most of whom are affiliated with a vocational school in Atlanta) which slight the academics of the nation's oldest state-chartered university. (The Georgia General Assembly voted to establish the University in Athens in January 1785, more than two years before the U.S. Constitution was ratified.)
The great leaps in Georgia's academic standing over the last quarter-century have been a point of pride for Peach State natives, but, unfortunately, that rising reputation has remained a well-kept secret for many who haven't paid attention to the academic side of the institution since the Jan Kemp scandal of the mid-1980s. It's good to be in a conference with the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Texas, the University of Washington, and the University of Wisconsin, four other large top-notch state universities noted for their academics as well as their athletics.
Commish: If you are in Athens for a football game, what's the #1 local spot -- bar, restaurant, attraction -- you have to visit before you leave?
DS: Just one? I'd have a tough time choosing between the Arch, the Chapel, or the quadrangle bounded on two sides by the law school and the main library . . . and that's without leaving North Campus! Be sure to pay your respects at the Uga graves while in Sanford Stadium, and take your pick of the many fine establishments offering a taste of the Athens night life downtown. A trip to Weaver D's is a must for anyone who wants to see the spot, and taste the fare, that gave rise to the R.E.M. album title "Automatic for the People."
Commish: Which conference road trip are you most looking forward to and why?
DS: As much as we're looking forward to facing the Longhorns in Austin and the Huskies in Seattle, the most eagerly anticipated matchup outside of Athens will be the trip to the City of Angels to face the Bruins. Though new Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity ended his predecessor's practice of arranging intersectional matchups, the Bulldog faithful enjoyed trips to what was (before the re-draft) Pac-12 country, facing Arizona State in Tempe in 2008 and Colorado in Boulder in 2010.
The Red and Black have history with UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel, who was the quarterback for the Bruins when they visited Sanford Stadium in the early ‘80s, and, of course, the Rose Bowl was the site of Georgia's first national championship, which the Bulldogs won by beating the Bruins in the Granddaddy of ‘Em All to cap off the 1942 football season. Plus which, a trip to L.A. gives us the chance to take in a Clippers game, where we will be able to see former Georgia basketball standouts Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie on the hardwood again!
Commish: Last one. If you could pick one rap song that captures what this conference is all about, what is it?
DS: We're going with "Triumph" by the Wu Tang Clan, for the following reasons: (1) based on a host of objective criteria the 12 Pack's lineup is a triumph (hooray literalism!), (2) like Wu Tang Clan, we have to admit that several of our members haven't been as nationally relevant in recent years as we once were, and (3) in spite of #2, over the long term, there's no doubting that our membership is comprised of power players from power conferences from across the country. The 12 Pack Conference ain't nothing to mess with, people.
We'd like to think that, like Wu Tang Clan, we'll always be relevant to the national discussion, even if UCLA's football program peaced out like ODB long ago, and, like Method Man, their basketball program is still living off the glory of what they did decades ago. Seriously, one day we're all going to get things back together, go out on tour, and rule the hip hop universe, er, um, college athletic landscape.
In the meantime we'll be sitting here with Deloss Dodds and Greg McGarity cashing royalty checks and shaping $100 bills into paper airplanes and sailing them off our rooftop deck. As a consortium of the biggest, wealthiest athletic programs in the country, we can do that.
Head on over to Dawg Sports and welcome the Bulldogs to the conference.