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Entertainment Headlines

    In a season of big Indian weddings, the marriage of two business scions on Wednesday is set to be the biggest of them all. Isha Ambani is the Ivy League-educated daughter of Mukesh Ambani, chairman and majority stakeholder in oil and gas giant Reliance Industries, whose net worth Forbes estimates at over $43 billion. Her groom, Anand Piramal, is the son of Indian industrialist Ajay Piramal, whose namesake conglomerate is estimated to be worth over $10 billion. At one of the couple's pre-wedding events on Sunday, Beyonce performed for a star-studded gathering at a 16th-century palace in the Indian city of Udaipur. Guests included Hillary Clinton and a host of Bollywood A-listers. The competitiveness of India's wintertime wedding season is growing more extreme, exacerbating the pressure on regular Indians to go into debt to finance elaborate weddings, according to Archana Dalmia, a social activist in New Delhi. 'A farmer might commit suicide because he can't save enough money to get his daughter married,' she said. The extravagant wedding of Indian actress Priyanka Chopra and American singer Nick Jonas earlier this month — attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — was straight out of a Bollywood film. So-called dowry deaths — brides killed when their families fail to meet in-laws' dowry demands — constitute a substantial share of all female homicides in India, a 2018 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report found. While opulence has always been a feature of Indian weddings, families used to hand down bridal saris as heirlooms. No more, Dalmia said. 'This generation is very different. Priyanka Chopra will never be able to wear it again and she won't be able to pass it down,' Dalmia said.
  •   A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio has returned an Oscar he received as a gift from a fugitive financier, who is on the run from authorities after allegedly stealing billions of dollars from a Malaysian government investment fund, according to news reports. >> Read more trending news  The Oscar, Marlon Brando’s 1954 statue from “On the Waterfront,” was given to DiCaprio, 44, by disgraced businessman Jho Low, who bought it at an auction for $600,000, according to E! Online. DiCaprio, who was nominated for an Academy Award for 2013’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” and won for his performance in the 2015 film “The Revenant,” also returned other gifts he received from Low, including a Pablo Picasso painting. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences can buy back any Oscar it has handed out over the years for $1, media outlets reported, and it will most likely buy back Brando’s award once the investigation into Low has ended. >> Trending: 50 Cent’s crew member killed on set of Starz series ‘Power’ The New York Times reported U.S. investigators believe Low is hiding in China.    
  • A judge has ordered adult film star Stormy Daniels to pay $293,000 in legal fees to President Donald Trump after her defamation lawsuit against the president was dismissed in October. >> Read more trending news  Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, filed suit in April contending Trump defamed her in a social media post last April that made fun of her allegations that a man threatened her in 2011, ordering her to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump. Trump posted a photo of the sketch of the purported suspect and a photo of Daniels’ ex-husband, suggesting that the suspect was actually her ex. The court ordered Daniels to pay $293,052.33 in attorney fees, plus $1,000 in sanctions. Trump’s attorneys had requested $340,000 in legal fees. The judge wrote in his decision that the president’s attorney’s spent “excessive” time on the case, The Hill reported. >> Related: Porn star Stormy Daniels sues Trump attorney Michael Cohen for defamation Trump’s lawyer Charles Harder issued a statement after Tuesday’s decision calling the ruling “a total victory for the President, and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels.” Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti angrily told The Hill that “Harder and Trump deserve each other because both are dishonest.” “They received less than one half of what they asked for because the request was gross and excessive. Stormy will never [have] to pay a dime because they owe her over $1 million in attorney’s fees and costs from the NDA case, especially in light of Cohen’s guilty plea to a felony,” Avenatti said, according to The Hill. >> Related: Stormy Daniels sues Trump for defamation Daniels sued Trump and his former personal attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen in an effort to break a so-called hush agreement she signed before the 2016 presidential election in exchange for $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump in 2006. She claimed the agreement is non-binding because Trump never signed it. Cohen has since pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws, related to the payment made to Daniels, and other financial crimes and is awaiting sentencing this week. Prosecutors have recommended “substantial” prison time for Cohen.  
  • Michelle Obama surprised a group of Detroit college students on Tuesday afternoon, walking into the Motown Museum as the young men of color took part in a roundtable discussion on education. The former first lady was greeted with smiles, looks of astonishment and applause after entering the second floor of the building where Berry Gordy created sonic history more than a half-century ago. She hugged her brother Craig Robinson and Keegan-Michael Key, an actor and native Detroiter who moderated the discussion that was organized by Obama's Reach Higher initiative. 'This was supposed to be for boys only,' Robinson said after they sat down, eliciting laughter from his sister and the more than a dozen students from nearby Wayne State University. 'What's going on,' Obama then asked, echoing the title of Marvin Gaye's classic Motown tune. 'We're just talking about education,' Key answered, before mock-asking if it would be OK with them if Obama sat in on their chat. Obama listened as the students spoke about their experiences in life and school and encouraged them to practice 'discomfort' and not be afraid to try new things. 'Universities are looking for and should be looking for a diverse array of experiences,' she said. 'People who come from different backgrounds, because if everybody looked the same and experienced life the same way what would these conversations be like? Just a bunch of people agreeing with each other.' Obama was in Detroit as part of her book tour, which had a nighttime stop planned at Little Caesars Arena, home to the NBA's Pistons and the NHL's Red Wings. The tour is in support of Obama's best-selling memoir, 'Becoming.' The museum is located where company founder Gordy launched his music empire. The label started in 1959, and scores of stars and hits were created before Motown relocated to California in 1972. The label will mark its 60th anniversary next year.
  • Some of last week's most popular television programs are much older than most of the people who watched them. ABC's showing of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' was the most-watched of a handful of holiday specials that aired in prime-time last week, reaching 5.3 million viewers, the Nielsen company said. It's a tradition in many households that was first on television in December 1965. Two other old favorites, 'Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer' and 'Frosty the Snowman,' were both seen by more than 4 million people on CBS Saturday night. 'Rudolph' dates to 1964, while 'Frosty' made his debut in 1969. Another venerable cartoon, Fox's 'The Simpsons,' impressively hit Nielsen's top 20 last week with 7.5 million viewers. It has been a regular fixture on Fox's schedule since 1989, with its origins in some animated shorts that ran two years earlier than that. Dick Wolf, who prides himself on his consistency as a television producer, might appreciate the statistical oddity involving two of his NBC dramas last week. Nielsen estimated that 'Chicago Med,' which aired Wednesday at 8 p.m., reached 7.944 million viewers while 'Chicago Fire,' which directly followed it, was seen by 7.943 million. CBS won the week in prime-time, averaging 6.9 million viewers, edging NBC's 6.8 million. Fox averaged 5.9 million and won among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic it seeks. ABC had 3.6 million, Univision had 1.4 million, ION Television had 1.2 million, the CW had 1.1 million and Telemundo had 1.09 million. ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.49 million viewers in prime time. Fox News Channel had 2.11 million, Hallmark had 2.02 million, MSNBC had 2 million and USA had 1.25 million. ABC's 'World News Tonight' topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.9 million viewers. NBC's 'Nightly News' was second with 8.6 million and the 'CBS Evening News' had 6.3 million. For the week of Dec. 3-9, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: L.A. Rams at Chicago, NBC, 19.39 million; 'NFL Sunday Post-Game,' Fox, 19.23 million; 'NFL Pre-Game,' NBC, 13.63 million; 'The Big Bang Theory,' CBS, 12.53 million; 'NCIS,' CBS, 12.05 million; NFL Football: Washington at Philadelphia, ESPN, 11.38 million; 'Young Sheldon,' CBS, 10.91 million; NFL Football: Jacksonville at Tennessee, Fox, 10.79 million; 'FBI,' CBS, 9.72 million; 'The Voice' (Monday), NBC, 9 million. ___ ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. ___ Online: http://www.nielsen.com
  • Jake Owen was in Vero Beach, Florida, over the weekend to perform at his annual Jake Owen Foundation Benefit Concert, but his daughter, Olive Pearl Owen, stole the show for some. TCPalm reported that Jenna Cocorullo was at the Saturday show and got video of Pearl strumming what appeared to be a toy guitar offstage while her dad was onstage. >> Read more trending news  The 6-year-old also sang along as Owen performed his 2013 song “Anywhere With You.” “I doubt Jake will see this but I really hope he does,” Cocorullo said in her tweet the next day. “Most adorable video of his daughter playing along and (singing) his song!” Owen saw the post and said, “Wow. This just made my life. Ha. Thanks for this..” Pearl is Owen’s first child from his marriage to Lacey Buchanan. The two divorced in 2015 after three years of marriage. Pearl will soon be a big sister: Owen is expecting his second child with his girlfriend, Erica Hartlein, in 2019. It will be their first child together.
  • Nick Cannon isn't just defending his friend and fellow comedian Kevin Hart over the Oscars hosting controversy. He's also going after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences itself. Cannon was one of many cheering the decision to appoint Hart as host of the Feb. 24 telecast but then with dismay watched as his friend voluntarily stepped down following an outcry over past homophobic tweets. Hart contended he'd already addressed those tweets and they no longer represented his views. Cannon, who on Monday was promoting his new show, 'The Masked Singer,' told The Associated Press he talked with Hart during the controversy, and said 'I felt that the Academy actually could've handled it in a different way.' He added that organizers should have done their research before offering Hart the gig. The veteran 'Wild N Out' host also said there's an irony to this situation because he believes the Academy has its own skeletons when it comes to both racism and a lack of diversity. He recalled that as recently as 2014, the 6,000 or so Oscar voters were nearly 94 percent white and 77 percent male. 'But things are changing. We've allowed them to grow. So why can't we allow the people that the Academy employs or empowers to grow?' Cannon also noted how when actress Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American woman to win an Academy Award in 1940 for 'Gone With the Wind,' she had to sit in the back corner of the venue alone because it had a strict no-blacks policy. 'Did anybody receive an apology for that?' Cannon asked. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not respond to request for comment Tuesday. Other comedians like Kathy Griffin and Hannah Gadsby have voiced their support for Hart even if they view his apology as underwhelming. Gadsby, an openly gay comedian, said Hart could've used the situation as a learning lesson. Gadsby told The AP Hart could 'bridge those things that he once said and to a certain point believed, that he no longer does. I think it's a lost moment that could've been a really constructive bridge.' Cannon also showed support for Hart on Twitter by re-posting old tweets from female comics Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler that also contained LGBTQ slurs and derogatory terms. Cannon said he wanted to highlight 'great artists' who he respects. 'Again, there's clearly a double standard in Hollywood.' He added: 'I just wanted to show it doesn't matter what your race, your gender or even your perspective truly is. We all make mistakes — myself included.' ___ Associated Press writer Michael Cidoni Lennox contributed to this report.
  • Female-led films have consistently outperformed male-led movies at the box office, according to a study initiated by Time's Up, the organization formed by prominent women in the entertainment industry to promote gender equality. The study analyzed the 350 top-grossing films worldwide released between January 2014 and December 2017. Researchers found that in films with small, medium and large budgets, all averaged better global grosses when a woman was listed as the lead star. Conducted by the talent agency Creative Artists Agency and the tech company shift7, the study found that films that passed the Bechdel test do better, too. The Bechdel test, an invention of the cartoonist Alison Bechdel, rates whether a movie features two female characters having a conversation about something other than a man. Researchers found every $1 billion film at the box office — including films like 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens,' ''Jurassic World' and 'Beauty and the Beast' — passed the Bechdel test. Among films that cost more than $100 million to make, the ones that passed the Bechdel test grossed on average $618 million worldwide, while those that didn't averaged $413 million. 'Women comprise half the box office, yet there has been an assumption in the industry that female-led films led were generally less successful,' CAA agent Christy Haubegger, who participated in the research, said in a statement. 'We found that the data does not support that assumption.' For budget data and determining lead actor, researchers depended on data from the Nielsen's box-office data collection company Gracenote. Gracenote's Studio System defines a 'female lead' as a woman who is listed first in official press materials. Of the 350 films studied, 105 qualified as female-led and 245 registered as male-led. The greatest gap was in larger budgeted films. In movies with a budget greater than $100 million, there were 75 male-led films and 19 female-led films. The study was headed by a group that formed through Time's Up, including Amy Pascal, former chairman of Sony Pictures. Earlier research by academics has chronicled similar rates of inequality in top-grossing Hollywood releases, and the financial benefits of inclusion . 'This analysis affirms data showing that diversity has a positive impact on a company's bottom line,' said Lisa Borders, Time's Up president and chief executive. 'As studios consider their fiduciary responsibilities to their investors, these findings offer a clear approach to delivering the best results.
  • A woman who wrote a memoir about having a married Roman Catholic priest for a father has won the country's top humor writing prize. Patricia Lockwood, author of 'Priestdaddy,' received the Thurber Prize for American Humor last week in Columbus, Ohio. The Thurber House literary center and museum awards the prize each year. The house is the boyhood home of humorist James Thurber. Comedian Trevor Noah won last year for 'Born a Crime,' his memoir about growing up in South Africa. This year's other finalists were: Jenny Allen, author of the essay collection 'Would Everybody Please Stop? Reflections on Life and Other Bad Ideas,' and John Hodgman, author of the collection of true stories, 'Vacationland.
  • Bill Cosby's lawyers detailed nearly a dozen alleged legal errors Tuesday, including the judge's decision to send the case to trial, as they appeal his sexual assault conviction and three- to 10-year prison term. They've also asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court this month to release the 81-year-old disgraced comedian from a state prison near Philadelphia while the appeal proceeds. The lawyers said trial Judge Steven O'Neill had a feud with a pretrial witness, the ex-prosecutor who had declined to charge Cosby in 2005. And they said his decisions to assign himself the case, let five other accusers testify, air Cosby's prior deposition testimony about quaaludes and dismiss the ex-prosecutor's promise not to charge Cosby are mistakes that warrant a new trial. 'The trial court erred in failing to disclose his bias against District Attorney (Bruce) Castor, and in failing to recuse himself, prior to determining (his) credibility,' wrote lawyer Brian Perry of Harrisburg, the latest of more than a dozen lawyers to represent Cosby in the case. A jury convicted Cosby at a spring retrial of drugging and molesting a Temple University employee in 2004, in what became the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era. Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment on Tuesday's filing. Cosby — whose estimated fortune from his TV shows, comedy tours and product pitches once topped $400 million — was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting accuser Andrea Constand. The entertainer, who is legally blind, spends his days in a one-man cell and private day room, in a new state prison about 20 miles from his sprawling estate near Philadelphia, where the crime occurred. In a deposition in Constand's 2005 civil suit, Cosby called the 2004 encounter consensual and his feelings for her romantic. Constand considered him a mentor with close ties to her boss at Temple, where she worked for the women's basketball team. She was about 30 and Cosby, a Temple trustee, about 66. The key issues raised on appeal Tuesday include: ____ The Other Accusers Legal experts believe Cosby's best shot on appeal may be the judge's decision, without comment, to hear from five other accusers when he'd allowed just one at Cosby's first trial in 2017, when the jury deadlocked. The law permits 'prior bad act' witnesses only in very limited circumstances, usually to show a 'signature' crime pattern. In Cosby's case, all five women said they thought they'd been drugged and molested. The defense Tuesday called their testimony 'too remote in time' and 'too dissimilar' to Constand's accusation. ___ The Judge, the 'Agreement' As Cosby's sentencing neared, his wife Camille filed an ethics complaint against O'Neill over his supposed personal and political feud with Castor. O'Neill, in the pretrial hearing, had found no evidence that Castor's decision not to charge Cosby was binding on his successors. The defense Tuesday said Cosby relied on Castor's promise in agreeing to testify — and potentially incriminate himself — in Constand's civil suit. ___ Deposition Testimony, Quaaludes The judge allowed prosecutors to use several excerpts from Cosby's damaging deposition in Constand's 2005 lawsuit, which ended with a $3.4 million settlement. Juror Harrison Snyder later told ABC-TV the deposition - in which Cosby admitted getting Quaaludes to give women before sex - was the key evidence that made him think he was guilty. ___ 'Sexually Violent Predator' Cosby, once revered as 'America's Dad' for playing the beloved Dr. Cliff Huxtable on 'The Cosby Show,' could spend a decade in prison, given the way O'Neill fashioned his sentence. The three-year minimum appears well within the 1- to 4-year state guidelines. But O'Neill attached an unusual 10-year maximum, which could keep Cosby from getting parole unless he acknowledges his sexual offenses and completes sex-offender therapy. O'Neill, based in part on expert testimony about other accusers, judged Cosby a 'sexually violent predator' and said his wealth and power made it possible he could still reoffend. The label makes Cosby subject to police registration and community alerts should he be released from prison.

Local News

  • Athens-Clarke County Police have a homicide on their hands: police say a man died after being taken to an Athens hospital, shot last night on Oak Hill Drive, passing away with what investigators say were multiple gunshot wounds. The victim is identified as Walter Brown Jr, 31 years old.Police say they are canvassing the neighborhood, looking for possible witnesses and for information. There is, in a brief police report on the incident, no mention of suspects or motive for the deadly shooting. 
  • The Athens Downtown Development Authority is meeting this afternoon, 5 o’clock at Authority offices in the Gameday building on Broad Street.  Oconee County’s Board of Tax Assessors meets this morning: it’s a 9 o’clock session at the Oconee County courthouse in Watkinsville.  Barrow County Commissioners meet tonight, 7 o’clock at the Historic Courthouse in Winder.  There is a new assignment for the sheriff in Gainesville: Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch has been appointed to a seat on the state Criminal Case Data Exchange Board.
  • A man serving time in the Hall County jail is facing new charges after a fight with another inmate at the lockup in Gainesville: 40 year-old Osmond Douglas is facing an aggravated assault charge after allegedly stabbing the other man with a sharpened pencil, causing extensive damage to one of the man’s eyes.  A Gainesville man is facing child molestation charges: investigators in the Hall County Sheriff’s Office say charges against 40 year-old Patrick Leaphart involve an underaged girl. He was booked into the Hall County jail and is being held without bond. 
  • Georgia Bulldogs senior defensive back Deandre Baker has been named to the 2018 Associated Press All-America First Team while sophomore left tackle Andrew Thomas has been included on the AP All-America’s Second Team.   Baker, a Miami, Fla., native, became the first Bulldog to win the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award last week for being nation’s best defensive back in college football. He was also a Walter Camp First Team All-American. Thomas, a native of Lilburn, Ga., was named to the Walter Camp All-America Second Team as well.   Baker becomes the first Georgia All-American from the defensive backfield named to the AP’s First Team since Bacarri Rambo in 2011.   A Miami, Fla., native, Baker has started all 13 games for Georgia and has 40 tackles and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions. He also has a team-best 10 pass break-ups. In addition, Baker has a forced fumble and has collected a fumble recovery for a defense that ranks 15th nationally allowing just 18.5 points per game.   Thomas, a native of Lithonia, Ga., has gotten the starting nod at left tackle for 12 of the Bulldogs’ 13 games, only missing the Middle Tennessee State game with an ankle injury. He has anchored an offensive line that leads the SEC in Rushing Offense at 251.6 yards per game and that currently features one senior, two sophomores and two freshmen as starters.    The Bulldogs are averaged 39.2 points per game during their second straight run to the SEC Championship Game and a their first invitation to the Sugar Bowl since 2008. Thomas and his offensive line unit were named a Joe Moore Award finalist for being one of the top offensive lines in the nation.   The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) All-America teams are expected to be released later on Monday. The Sporting News All-America teams are scheduled to be released on Tuesday and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) teams on Wednesday.   The No. 5 Bulldogs (11-2) will take on No. 15 Texas (9-4) in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La., on Jan. 1 at 8:45 p.m. ET. ESPN will televise the fifth all-time matchup between the programs and the first matchup between the teams since 1984.
  • There are two more days of fall semester final exams at the University of Georgia, with fall semester commencement exercises set for Friday in UGA’s Stegeman Coliseum. This morning’s delayed opening makes for changes in the schedule for today’s tests.From the University of Georgia… The final exams scheduled for the 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. time slot will be postponed until 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, December 11. Students and faculty affected by the rescheduling should consult the University of Georgia Registrar’s Office (reg.uga.edu) to learn if there is a new location for their exam. This information will be posted at the Registrar’s website by 10:00 a.m. All other exams scheduled for Tuesday, December 11, 2018 will take place as previously determined.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS – The difficulties of playing cornerback in football increase exponentially as one moves up the ranks. Nobody has to remind Tyson Campbell of this reality because he lived it this past season. Campbell, who signed with Georgia as a 5-star prospect out of Fort Lauderdale this year, earned the rare distinction of becoming not only a 10-game starter for the Bulldogs as a true freshman corner this season, but a first-game starter, as well. Campbell That Campbell did NOT start the last three games of his freshman season is equally notable. But he’s choosing not to make a fuss about either designation. “It was tough, it was fun,” Campbell said of his first season as a college football player. “But, at the same time, it was a wake-up call, a learning experience. I feel like I learned a lot about football. And, you know, it’s just an all-learning year for me to get ready for next year.” Indeed, Campbell got the proverbial trial by fire this season playing the corner opposite of All-American and Jim Thorpe Award recipient Deandre Baker. From the outset, he found himself — and his side of the field — under attack. Campbell was exploited in the second game of the season at South Carolina as veteran receiver Bryan Edwards beat him twice for touchdowns. He also struggled in games against LSU and Auburn. There were good times as well, though. Like the trip to Missouri in Week 4 when Campbell scooped up fumble on one bounce and returned 64 yards for a touchdown. That would end up being a short day for Campbell, however, as he suffered a shoulder injury in the first half and did not return. His replacement that afternoon was redshirt freshman Eric Stokes, who did some great work in relief.  Stokes finished the Missouri game with four pass-breakups and blocked-punt touchdown. Campbell returned to the starting lineup the next week, but the competition with Stokes for playing time would continue. Finally, in the 10th game of the season against Auburn, Georgia coaches subbed in Stokes for a struggling Campbell after a second pass-interference penalty. Stokes finished the game, then started the last three for the Bulldogs. Speaking with reporters for the first time all season after the SEC Championship Game last week, Campbell has taken the demotion in stride and claims no hard feelings. “Not every job is secure,” Campbell said after Georgia’s 35-28 loss to Alabama. “You’ve always got to have that chip on your shoulder. Anybody can be replaced. I’m not mad or anything. I’m supporting my teammates. I’m just ready to move forward.” Campbell’s first season was definitely a rollercoaster. His season high for tackles came against LSU when he finished with 11. But part that was mainly because he was tackling receivers downfield. He finished with 42 tackles, which was fifth on the team, but ended up with only one pass breakup and no interceptions. Stokes had eight pass breakups, including one in the end zone against Alabama. “We’ve talked for a long time about we’re going to play the players that play the best,” Smart said after the Auburn game. “I still think Tyson Campbell is a really good football player.” Campbell feels like he has identified his primary problem. “I panic sometimes,” he said last week. “Other than that, I’m working real hard in practice and staying focused. I feel I’ve got a bright future and I’m not really stressing or worrying about anything.” Georgia’s coaches believe Campbell has a bright future as well. The reason he was in the starting lineup in the first place is his tremendous speed. A two-time state champion in the 100- and 200-meter at American Heritage High and remains one of the fastest players on the Georgia team. Meanwhile, Campbell’s getting a lot of help on his DB skills. Baker, who came to Georgia as a 3-star prospect out of Miami and didn’t start until midway through his sophomore season, is one of Campbell’s primary tutors. “He’s helped me develop a lot, taught me a lot,” Campbell said. “I’m like a sponge out there with Coach Tuck and Coach Smart and the older guys in the secondary. They all teach me a lot and I just take whatever they tell me and just try to input it into my game.” Georgia needs to Campbell to remain alert and motivated. Regardless of who starts the rest of the way at left cornerback, both he and Stokes are sure to be in the Bulldogs’ plans as Baker moves on to the NFL. Regardless of how it went this season, Campbell knows his script isn’t written yet. “It’s football,” he said. “Things are going to happen. It’s a rollercoaster. There’s going to be swings. … I just have to focus on what’s ahead of me now.” The post Georgia CB Tyson Campbell believes ‘rollercoaster’ season will only make him a better appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia Bulldogs senior defensive back Deandre Baker has been named to the 2018 Associated Press All-America First Team while sophomore left tackle Andrew Thomas has been included on the AP All-America’s Second Team.   Baker, a Miami, Fla., native, became the first Bulldog to win the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award last week for being nation’s best defensive back in college football. He was also a Walter Camp First Team All-American. Thomas, a native of Lilburn, Ga., was named to the Walter Camp All-America Second Team as well.   Baker becomes the first Georgia All-American from the defensive backfield named to the AP’s First Team since Bacarri Rambo in 2011.   A Miami, Fla., native, Baker has started all 13 games for Georgia and has 40 tackles and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions. He also has a team-best 10 pass break-ups. In addition, Baker has a forced fumble and has collected a fumble recovery for a defense that ranks 15th nationally allowing just 18.5 points per game.   Thomas, a native of Lithonia, Ga., has gotten the starting nod at left tackle for 12 of the Bulldogs’ 13 games, only missing the Middle Tennessee State game with an ankle injury. He has anchored an offensive line that leads the SEC in Rushing Offense at 251.6 yards per game and that currently features one senior, two sophomores and two freshmen as starters.    The Bulldogs are averaged 39.2 points per game during their second straight run to the SEC Championship Game and a their first invitation to the Sugar Bowl since 2008. Thomas and his offensive line unit were named a Joe Moore Award finalist for being one of the top offensive lines in the nation.   The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) All-America teams are expected to be released later on Monday. The Sporting News All-America teams are scheduled to be released on Tuesday and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) teams on Wednesday.   The No. 5 Bulldogs (11-2) will take on No. 15 Texas (9-4) in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La., on Jan. 1 at 8:45 p.m. ET. ESPN will televise the fifth all-time matchup between the programs and the first matchup between the teams since 1984.
  • ATHENS – Woodruff Practice Fields sit empty and wet. The Butts-Mehre Complex is unusually quiet and inactive. Georgia players are busy preparing for and taking exams. On Friday, several of them will walk in fall semester graduation ceremonies. All the while, another football challenge is looming. Three weeks from now, the No. 5 Bulldogs (11-2) will be teeing it up against No. 15 Texas (9-4) in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Meanwhile, the anguish of another excruciatingly close loss to No. 1 Alabama still lingers. The question on everybody’s mind is whether the Bulldogs can shake the grief and misery of that disappointment and refocus on the challenge of defeating a storied opponent in the rather lofty consolation of a New Year’s Six bowl game. To that, the Georgia players offer a resounding, “hell, yes.” “For sure,” junior wideout Mecole Hardman said. “We’re not going to go out there and just let anybody beat us. We’re definitely going to have motivation to play because we’ve got to get taste out of our mouths somehow. So, somebody’s got to feel us, and they will.” Added Riley Ridley: “Most definitely. This is Georgia football. No matter what happens, we never give up. We love football. That’s what we’re here for. We play for each other.” Undoubtedly, the Bulldogs will head to New Orleans with good intentions. That the Sugar Bowl has become a consolation prize for speaks to the heights of which Kirby Smart has raised the standard of expectation for Georgia football in three short years. But it’d understandable if the Bulldogs’ found their focus was a bit clouded considering the depth of their disappointment not 10 days ago. After building an impressive lead against a team called one of the best in Alabama football history and having an opportunity to expand it three scores in the third quarter, Georgia was outscored 21-0 over the final 18 minutes of play on the way to a 35-28 loss. Central to the outcome was a controversial decision to attempt a fake punt with the game tied with three minutes remaining. So, there was the added pang of how the Bulldogs lost on top of playing toe-to-toe with the nation’s No. 1 team. Then there were the postseason implications. Georgia played Alabama so well for so long, it proved to any remaining doubters there might’ve been that it was among the top four teams in college football. That should have been enough for the selection committee to include the Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff for the second straight year. But, ultimately they chose Oklahoma, a one-loss Big 12 champion, over the two-loss SEC runners-up. That added a layer of disappointment the day after the conference championship loss. But Georgia players insist there will no lingering grief. “We’re not hanging our heads,” freshman cornerback Tyson Campbell said. “We know we played our best and we’re just ready to move forward. We’ve got to focus on what’s ahead of us now.” Said junior tight end Isaac Nauta: “It’s definitely not a lost season for us. We have another game to play and we’re looking forward to it. We’re looking forward to getting better throughout the month of December and winning the next one.” Georgia is already getting cmparisons to Alabama’s 2008 team, which entered the SEC Championship Game undefeated and ranked No. 1 only to lose to No. 2 Florida 31-20. The Gators went on to play for the BCS title and the No. 4-ranked Crimson Tide then lost to Utah 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl. Lack of motivation was considered Alabama’s primary undoing that New Year’s Day in New Orleans. Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who was defensive coordinator for that 2008 Alabama team, admitted that the Tide “didn’t play as well as we probably should have.” But he also said this year’s Georgia team is very different that one. “This is a much younger team than any of those Bama teams,” Smart said of the Bulldogs, whose roster is comprised 68 percent of freshmen and sophomores. “A lot of these kids, this will be their first or second time in a big-time bowl environment. We’re still getting accustomed to that.” No, this appears to be a Georgia team that still feels it has much to prove to the rest of the college football world. The same chip the Bulldogs carried on their collective shoulders into the SEC Championship Game will be making the trip to New Orleans. While a national championship is not in the cards this year, Georgia very much wants to validate its distinction as one the best teams in the country in 2018. “We can’t hang our head about (losing to Bama),” Hardman said. “We know we had the game; we know we played great. It just didn’t go our way. But I think everybody knows we’re one of the best four teams.” One more decisive win surely would remove any doubt. DawgNation’s Sugar Bowl Coverage Kirby Smart and Tom Herman clash again in Sugar Bowl, now as head coaches Georgia football coach Kirby Smart believes Bulldogs will bounceback Some interesting Sugar Bowl numbers via Brandon Adams Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker will play in Sugar Bowl Mel Tucker ready for a new challenge as Colorado head coach Georgia football double-digit favorite over Texas in Sugar Bowl Texas named Georgia football opponent in 2019 Sugar Bowl CFP Chairman explains why Georgia football was left out of CFB Playoffs 3 Georgia football players get Senior Bowl invites Mel Tucker will be hard to replace when he leaves Georgia football       The post No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs have something to prove vs. Texas in Sugar Bowl appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football sophomore Jake Fromm is playing as well as any quarterback in the nation, but the Bulldogs’ rotation at that position remains a hot topic of discussion. How does Coach Kirby Smart divide time in the Sugar Bowl between the red-hot Fromm and promising freshman Justin Fields. SEC Network analysts Jordan Rodgers, Gene Chizik and Marcus Spears weighed in on whether and how much Fields should play. The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) play No. 15 Texas (9-4) looking to win a bowl game for a fifth straight season on the heels of a heartbreaking 35-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 1. Fromm was 25-of-39 passing for 301 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions and was sacked only twice by the Tide’s impressive defense. Fields’ playing time was limited against Alabama, as he attempted just one pass the was incomplete and most notably failed to execute a fake punt in the fourth quarter. RELATED: Fields put on spot in SEC title game “If anything, I would love to see  a better plan for Justin Fields,” Rodgers said. “The first time he comes in the (SEC title) game, I don’t feel like the plan was right. The first time you pass with him, it’s not a play-action, there’s not a quarterback threat to run, you just do a straight drop back. “If we see him, I want to see him for a drive, that’s very calculated for a reason, and then get him back out … Jake Fromm is the better quarterback.” Smart has said all season that there is no plan going into games, and that Georgia plays the quarterback that gives the team the best chance to win. From game to game, situations change, and that dictates when and how much Fields plays. RELATED: Kirby Smart has plan to avoid QB controversy Marcus Spears said it’s important that Fields does indeed earn the snaps instead of there being any perception he’s being handed playing time. “When you get into the mindset as a coach that I’ve got to coddle this guy to make sure he’s not going to leave, you start setting yourself up for disaster,” Spears said. “And I’m going to show you how it works on the field. (Against Alabama) when Justin Fields came in the play went for 1 yard, it was second-and-9 when Jake Fromm ran back on the field. And guess what they did, they went 0-for-6 in the second half on third downs. “So when you look at how they tried to keep (Fields) involved, I think it hurt them at times during the season.” Smart knows how important it is to have a capable backup quarterback in the SEC. Fromm came off the bench last season to replace an injured Jacob Eason and led the Bulldogs to an SEC title and College Football Playoff Championship Game appearance. Fields has been a work in progress this season, completing 27 of 39 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Fields has also rushed for 266 yards on 42 carries, proving to be a valuable weapon in short-yardage situations after the Bulldogs’ midseason struggles in that area. Former Auburn national championship coach Gene Chizik says the Bulldogs should play to win, plain and simple. “My quick take is you’re going to play the guy that gives you the best chance to win, and if it’s not him, then he doesn’t play, you’re not playing to keep him on your roster, you’re playing to win,” Chizik said. “I’m protecting wins and our program, that’s what I want, (and) right now I’ve got maybe the hottest quarterback in the country,” Chizik said, explaining what he would be thinking if he was in Smart’s shoes. “(Fromm) threw for 3 touchdowns (versus Alabama), he threw for 300 yards, he was on point again, he’s playing as good as anybody, and he’s playing against a Texas secondary that’s struggling. “I’m playing the guy that gives us the best chance to win, and it’s not Justin Fields right now, that’s just the way it is.” DawgNation Georgia football Sugar Bowl Tim Tebow : Georgia will be challenged to be motivated for Texas Kirby Smart and Tom Herman clash again in Sugar Bowl, now as head coaches Georgia football coach Kirby Smart believes Bulldogs will bounceback Some interesting Sugar Bowl numbers via Brandon Adams Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker will play in Sugar Bowl   Georgia football double-digit favorite over Texas in Sugar Bowl Texas named Georgia football opponent in 2019 Sugar Bowl CFP Chairman explains why Georgia football was left out of CFB Playoffs 3 Georgia football players get Senior Bowl invites Mel Tucker will be hard to replace, when or if he leaves Georgia football   The post SEC Network analysts: Georgia quarterbacks’ playing time in Sugar Bowl hot topic appeared first on DawgNation.