Vance Leavy

Vance Leavy

The memories of Chicago and South Bend are priceless, but our team and fans must now avoid a letdown versus Samford.

Wow and wow is the only way I know to describe the awesome experience that the road trip to Chicago and South Bend provided to around 40,000 Georgia fans that made the trip. From the fantastic vibe of the Windy City to the nostalgia of Notre Dame’s beautiful campus and stadium, the days spent in the Midwest were beyond special. And of course, the victory by our beloved Bulldogs was the perfect cherry on top.
Now our team and fan base must quickly turn the page and focus on the next task at hand … Saturday night’s game versus Samford.
Yes, Samford is a Division 1-AA team, but don’t let that fool you. You can bet that Macon’s Chris Hatcher will have his high-octane offense clicking from the first whistle. For Kirby Smart, his job won’t be easy this week as his players, like our fans, will most certainly still be high from the emotional, hard fought victory over Notre Dame this past Saturday. And while our boys in red and black did, in fact, secure the win, you have to admit there’s still a ton of work to be done for our young, raw team.
Nonetheless, as fans, it’s hard not to be proud at the tenacity that our team is playing in all three phases of football. Now, the question is can they do it week after week? Don’t forget our Dawgs haven’t even played their first SEC game.
Since I’m doing my very best to focus forward, rather than talk about the calling of the Dawgs at Wrigley Field for Vince Dooley’s first pitch or the 4th quarter Bulldog light show in Notre Dame’s stadium.
Oops … see how hard it is not to reflect back on the magnificent Georgia-Notre Dame game?
For us at Bulldawg Illustrated on this Sunday evening from Chicago, we are down to about three hours to get this issue to the printer, so I have no choice but to forge ahead.
On our cover for this issue, we are proud to support the creative idea of Leigh Ann Barnes, who is the wife of UGA swimming coach, Jack Bauerle. By now, most of the ladies in the Bulldog Nation have probably figured out the challenges of the SEC’s clear bag policy. Barnes decided why not make the bags as hip as possible, while adhering to the requirements of the policy, thus the VIP Survivor Gameday clear bags were born.
I encourage you to go to Murray Poole’s story on page 24 to learn about the stylish bags, but more importantly to learn how the sale of them will raise money for some incredible sport non­profits at the University of Georgia as well as The Kirby Smart Family Foundation. We certainly want to thank the inspiring ladies of UGA athletics that were gracious enough to participate and share more about themselves.
Beyond our special feature, this issue will certainly get you ready for Saturday’s game versus Samford. Like they always do, everyone on our team made their deadlines, which were certainly tested by the challenges of a night road game.
This issue also includes almost 100 photos of our incredible fans that made the trip to Chicago and South Bend. It was such a blast to capture so many folks having such a wonderful time supporting our team. And as Kirby Smart remarked, the spirit of our fan base provides such a spark to our players. Without question, it helped them fight for the win over the Irish.
Finally, in the photo above, is my group in Notre Dame’s stadium just before kickoff. Unfortunately, it didn’t include our good friend, Mike Blanton, who we suddenly lost back in March. As soon as this historic game was announced, Mike and I began planning our trip to support the Dawgs.
We certainly miss the heck out of Mike. He was a Touchdown Jesus kind of man and I know he was smiling from high above with the incredible Georgia victory.
Get some rest Bulldog Nation, there’s tons of football left for our Bulldogs. The next step forward is Saturday night back in Sanford Stadium. Go Dawgs!!!!



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