Thursday, November 6, 2008

Unfinished Business, Indeed

There are so many comparisons between UGA and Baylor basketball.

Baylor's situation was much worse, of course. Happened a few years ago, but the facts as I recall them: One player killed another and hid his body. The ensuing investigation revealed a pattern of of improper payments by the coach. Instead of allowing law enforcement to take its course, the coach tried to cover it all up, and was caught on tape lying about it all.

A truly terrible situation, which might be the all-time low for college athletics.

As bad as Georgia's alleged improper payments and sham courses were, things never spiraled as horribly out of control as they did at Baylor.

I won't repeat all of the details of each program's transgressions. There is plenty of information out on the Web about each situation. Besides, that's not the point of this post. It's not the details, but rather, the broad similarities that strike me.

Both programs recently went through the sudden dismissal of a coach, bad publicity, and the need to build the program back up, pretty much from scratch.

Baylor and UGA each had their own "Dave Bliss." In Baylor's case, their Coach Dave Bliss was a major part of the problem. With Georgia, our player, Dave Bliss, was a key cog in the solution.

Baylor and Georgia hired energetic coaches who began right away to turn things around. Scott Drew at Baylor, and Dennis Felton at Georgia, were initially challenged with finding enough players to suit up, and then they had to somehow overcome the negative recruiting tactics of other schools to build their rosters.

Somehow they made it. The timeline was not the same, but Baylor and UGA are firmly on the upswing. Each school made it to the NCAA Tournament last year.

Both Baylor and Georgia also lost in the first round. So the programs begin the season with a sense of "unfinished business." They have tasted a degree of success, and they are hungry for more.

Can it happen? Can Baylor and Georgia build on last season? Hopefully so. You have to root for them as the programs have moved from crawling, to walking, and perhaps in 2008/2009-- to running.

Crawl, Walk, Run

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