A trip into rural Georgia over the weekend helped put some perspective into the weekend’s usual football unpredictability. Nice to know some simple, endearing pleasures are not far away in the era of see-saw gasoline prices.
Little Hoschton, GA, in Jackson County apparently prides itself on scarecrows. One sign in town claimed there are more than 5,000 in the area, and it certainly seemed that way as I cruised state Highway 53, just off Interstate 85. Not sure if the decking out is related to Halloween, but some of the scarecrows came with jack-o-lanterns attached.
Then came football victories by Georgia and the Atlanta Falcons, both of which showed how meaningless preseason predictions are.
Georgia dominated unranked Tennessee statistically, but the only numbers that really count — the final score — were 26-14. The Bulldogs, everyone’s No. 1 before the season began, committed two costly turnovers near Tennessee’s goal. Also, Georgia receiver A.J. Green dropped an easy touchdown pass. So it really should have been a more severe beating.
Atlanta, picked by one sporting magazine to win just one game this season, won its fourth with a thrilling 22-20, last second escape vs. Chicago. The Falcons made it hard on themselves by missing an easier field goal a few minutes earlier, and needed a miracle to survive.
And now some Monday AM quarterbacking. Seems the Falcons made the mistake of settling for a field goal instead of at least taking some shots at a touchdown. Field goals are not sure things. Remember Tony Romo’s botched hold vs. Seattle in the playoffs two years ago? Or the Colts’ Mike Vanderjagt missing a field goal vs. Pittsburgh that would have tied their 2006 playoff game?
However, the Falcons DID show that if there’s any time on the clock at all, there’s hope. And if there are pleasant little towns like Hoschton, GA, there’s always an alternative to football fever.