COLUMBIA, Mo. — Good morning and welcome back to actual football. It should be a nice departure from everything else that’s happened since 5:23 p.m. Thursday night, when Georgia sent out the following email: “University of Georgia tailback Todd Gurley has been indefinitely suspended from competition by the UGA Athletic Association during an ongoing investigation into an alleged violation of NCAA rules.”
The NCAA is expected to resolve the Gurley matter by early next week. The AJC’s Danny Robbins and Chip Towers reported that the ongoing probe into Gurley’s relationship with memorabilia dealers who allegedly paid him to sign items may result in the junior tailback being declared ineligible for the rest of the season. That almost certainly would end his chances to win the Heisman Trophy and could significantly impact Georgia’s pursuit of an SEC championship and a college playoff berth.
Outside of Gurley, this Bulldogs’ team has flaws. Minus having the best player on the field and probably the best player in the country, they’re going to need develop a better passing attack with quarterback Hutson Mason and lessen some of the mistakes on defense.
Mason at least will have his two best receivers available today against Missouri: Malcolm Mitchell (who played last week against Vanderbilt) and Justin Scott-Wesley (who was held out of the game because of stitches in his hand). Nick Chubb and Brendan Douglas will get most of the carries that would’ve gone to Gurley. Both are good but neither is a Heisman Trophy candidate.
The other key today is how Georgia players respond emotionally to the events of the week. Gurley isn’t only a great player, he’s popular with teammates and his suspension stunned them all. The winner of today’s game will be in control in the SEC East. But the potential hangover of Gurley’s suspension looms large and it will be interesting to see how the team reacts.
If you’re looking to catch up on events of the past few days, here’s a few links:
• From Robbins, Towers: Why Gurley’s reported “significant” involvement with memorabilia dealers may end his season.
• My blog: Why Gurley’s absence puts pressure on Mason, defense to improvem
• My column: If Gurley indeed violated rules, blame is on him, not NCAA
• Tim Tucker’s recap of some recent NCAA cases.
• A look at the sleazy autograph industry by Robbins, Michael Kanell
• Athletic director Greg McGarity’s defense of UGA’s handling of investigation
• Tower’s look at Gurley’s replacement, Nick Chubb
That’s it for now. I’ll be here all game. The cyber-floor if now yours.
What’s your thoughts on how Georgia responds today?
— AJC: Minus Gurley, Dogs must overcome flaws — MyAJC: If Gurley broke rules, blame him, not NCAA — AJC: With Gurley suspended, is Georgia done? — AJC: Weekend Predictions: No Gurley, no Dogs, no kidding — AJC: Blank stands by Smith, Dimitroff. What say you? — MyAJC: Arthur Blank won’t give Falcons’ mandates, speculate on future — AJC: Falcons have turned this week into a must-win game — MyAJC: Georgia Tech’s season may be turning into something special — AJC: Short takes on Georgia Tech’s win over Miami, starting with … defense? — AJC: Tech has a chance to take charge in ACC Coastal — AJC: Braves should have left Gonzalez decision to new GM — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Tech, UGA win, Falcons continue kindness — AJC: Are Braves waiting for Dayton Moore? — MyAJC: Hawks are still playing wrong game off the court — MyAJC: Falcons’ losses like this are on Mike Smith — AJC: Falcons: No defense, no line, no chance — MyAJC: John Hart says Braves ‘lethargic,’ need changes — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons, Dogs win, Rocker loses — AJC: Braves’ Hart says he would be open to mentoring role — AJC: Would Braves be better off not going “Braves Way”? — MyAJC: Georgia is 0-1 but SEC East is still there for taking — MyAJC: Full column: Frank Wren did a lot right but big things hurt him — AJC: Quick blog: Frank Wren failed at major decisions — AJC: Terry McGuirk is on the clock (updated) — MyAJC: Georgia’s next 7 games are what really counts — MyAJC: Falcons now realize they need to step on gas — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons win, Jackets lose, Goodell cowers