ATHENS — There are now 130 days until Georgia’s season opener against North Carolina, and 97 until preseason camp opens. It can’t get here quick enough for coach Kirby Smart.
Cornerback Juwuan Briscoe was jailed over the weekend for driving without a license and not wearing a seat belt. That’s right, they take you to jail for that in Athens-Clarke County.
Silly though that is, it brings to four the number of players have run afoul of the law this spring. The good news is Briscoe’s problems will end with whatever fines and restitution fees he has to pay. UGA doesn’t suspend its players for traffic citations.
Here’s what you really need to know:
1. Georgia is the new king of spring
Only time will tell if it was a one-time perfect storm or a new trend, but for now Georgia officially is the king of spring after outdrawing every other SEC school in spring game attendance this year. The Bulldogs rather famously packed out Sanford Stadium for the first G-Day of Smart’s tenure with 93,000 fans. That’s a number that probably would have been higher if UGA had utilized some way to count the crowd that overflowed the 92,746-seat facility.
According to Kevin McGuire of NBC Sports’ collegefootballtalk.com, who keeps tabs on these things, the Bulldogs’ figure outpaced reigning national champion Alabama by 16,788, Tennessee by 25,993 and more than doubled every other SEC team that held a spring game this year (one did not).
The SEC, with 508,994 in combined attendance, led all conferences by a wide margin, McGuire reported. Overall, UGA was No. 2 in the nation behind Ohio State, which led the way with 100,189.
SEC Spring Game Attendance
- Georgia 93,000
- Alabama 76,212
- Tennessee 67,027
- Florida 46,000
- Auburn 45,723
- South Carolina 32,916
- Arkansas 30,546
- Kentucky 28,441
- Texas A&M 27,412
- Missouri 25,000
- LSU 21,000
- Mississippi State 15,717
- Ole Miss DNP due to construction
- Vanderbilt N/A
2. Netters finally tripped up
It’s hard to call disappointing anything the Georgia men’s team has done this season, but the Bulldogs were denied an unfathomable 40th SEC championship on Sunday when they lost to Florida 4-2 in the SEC tournament finals in Columbia, S.C.
The top-seeded and No. 6-ranked Bulldogs (20-4) had gone undefeated in capturing the regular-season title, and therefore were expected to keep their streak alive in the conference tournament. But Georgia lost the doubles point with defeats at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles and fell at 2, 4 and 5 singles to suffer their first team loss since mid-February.
The Bulldogs must bounce back as they’ll still be one of the favorites in NCAA tournament play, which begins in two weeks. The NCAA selection show airs Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
3. Gator chomped
Speaking of Florida, it was a tough weekend for UGA when it comes to its conference rivalry with the Gators. Not only did men’s tennis lose to them, but Georgia’s women’s tennis team also lost to Florida in the SEC Tournament finals. Meanwhile, the baseball team dropped two of three to the No. 2-ranked Gators in Gainesville.
4. Malcolm Mitchell goes national
Malcolm Mitchell’s star continues to rise. The Bulldogs’ former star wide receiver’s recent appearance on the Steve Harvey Show will air nationwide on Wednesday. It can viewed locally on WAGA-TV, or Fox 5 Atlanta, the Atlanta Fox affiliate, at 3 p.m.
Mitchell is on the Harvey Show to tell his story and discuss his “Read With Malcolm” childhood literacy initiative. A couple of weeks ago, Mitchell won the Haier Achievement Award, which recognizes student-athletes who have achieved success beyond sports. But he’s also a pretty good football player, and hopes to have that validated in the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday.