Sunday, March 24, 2013
I realize it is only Spring Training. The games don't count, the errors don't count, the batting average doesn't count. None of the stats matter to a certain degree, I suppose. But on the other hand, try telling that to a young prospect trying to make a major league squad. However, Dan Uggla is no young prospect. He's a seasoned veteran who is a critical piece in the Atlanta Braves lineup. But Uggla has struggled with his game all spring. And he continues to struggle. He's committed a team high six errors up to this point. He's hitting a chilly .210 with only one extra base hit. He's struggling big time. But Uggla has struggled half the time he's been with Atlanta. He has yet to put together a full season of positive production for the Braves since he arrived from the Marlins. Here's hoping the second baseman can turn things around and be the big time player Atlanta needs him to be. For a full and complete season. And the regular season is only a week away, when everything counts then. Don't let things get 'uggly'.
Friday, February 8, 2013
Now that the smoke has cleared, here are a few observations from National Signing Day that, for the most part, seem to be accurate:
- If Saban wants 'em, Saban gets 'em
- If Georgia doesn't get 'em early, they don't get 'em
- Don't bet the farm on anything an 18 year old football player tells you before the fax goes out
- But you can bet the farm on the fact that Georgia will always undersign its class
- It makes for a touching story that the nation's number 1 recruit would choose to play college football with his brother even though it means he will play in a glorified high school stadium and forfeit the opportunity to ever play in his conference's championship game.
- National Signing Day is not the time for coaching rumors to be circulating around
- National Signing Day is not the time for coaches to undergo hip replacement surgery
- And lastly, many aspiring high school football player signees can be sold more easily on the "delusions of grandeur" as opposed to the reality of the truth.
Monday, November 26, 2012
It's SEC Championship week, so let's cut straight to the chase. Alabama opens the week as a 7 1/2 point favorite over Georgia. That's about where I thought the line would be early, and it probably won't change more than a half point either way as the week progresses. To be honest, most people outside of the Bulldog Nation don't think Georgia will be within two touchdowns of the mighty Crimson Tide. Only Georgia believes Georgia can win. I think the Dawgs can beat Alabama, but under this one condition: If Georgia plays up to their potential in every phase of the game, they will beat Alabama even if 'Bama does the same. If UGA doesn't play to that standard, then to me all bets are off. It's that simple.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
It's Thanksgiving Day again. It seemed to come around a little quicker this year. Might be a sign of the times, or a sign of my time. You know the adage,"the older you get , the faster time flies", or whatever. Thanks for checking in with An Opinion On Sports. If you didn't come around, there wouldn't be much fun being here. I'm thankful for you, as well as:
- I'm thankful for Chipper Jones career, and the fact he spent it all here at home.
- I'm thankful for the American Veteran. All gave some, and some gave all.
- I'm thankful for CSI, and for 'Gibbs' Rules'.
- I'm thankful for the Detroit Lions. They always give us a game on Thanksgiving Day. Go Matthew Stafford!
- I'm thankful for the peanuts boiling on a Georgia Bulldog Saturday.
- I'm thankful for the person courteous enough to know and show cell phone etiquette.
- I'm thankful when all of our "gadgets" work as they're supposed to.
- I'm thankful when my physician and dentist actually see me on time, even though that rarely happens.
- I'm thankful that this year it's not my SEC coach on the 'Hot Seat'. Been there, done that.
- I'm thankful that Furman Bisher always did a column on Thanksgiving Day about being thankful. The attempt at imitation is the greatest form of flattery!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Auburn football is under NCAA investigation yet again. This time for recruiting violations. I guess when you escape clean after paying Cam Newton to play, you feel somewhat invincible to incrimination. The Tiger program is the O.J. Simpson of college football. I can just hear Johnny Cochran now, "If the wide receiver gloves don't fit, you must acquit"! But I digress...You would have been correct if you surmised that assistant coach Trooper Taylor was involved in this inquiry. He is definitely the "Devil in Disguise" at Auburn. Taylor will do absolutely anything to win. There are no scruples with this guy. Auburn is on the brink of having their entire football operations come crashing down. Their season is more than a disaster, their coach is more than half-way out the door, and the NCAA is more than half-way in the door. They've already played their mulligan with the 'Newton Affair', so this thing isn't looking too good for them. Just sayin...
Now that we've arrived at the eve of Thanksgiving, it is time to reveal our selection for "Turkey of the Year." Although there are many eligible, and even deserving, candidates encompassing the world of sports, I was finally able to narrow my choices down enough to make a most worthy selection. So without further adieu, I am proud to announce that Bobby Petrino is An Opinion On Sports' 2012 Turkey of the Year. With one joyride on a motorcycle with a woman young enough to be his daughter, he managed to wreck not only the bike, but an entire football season for the entire state of Arkansas. How could Petrino not be the T.O.Y.? Just sayin...
Other candidates deserving of consideration:
- Lane Kiffin (He'll always make the list!)
- Will Muschamp (What's up with all those facial contortions?)
- Tommy Tubberville (Now it's time for someone to knock your headphones off)
- Steve Spurrier (Just 'cause you're an old-as-hell Turkey!)
- The ACC (For trying to imitate a football conference!)
Thanksgiving Day has a special significance in the history of the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry. Every 'Turkey Day', the freshmen teams of both schools would play a charity game in Atlanta at Tech's Grant field. The proceeds from ticket sales were designated to the Scottish Rite Children's Hospital. You have to remember that during the 60 years that the game was played, freshman were ineligible for varsity competition. For a few years after that NCAA rule was changed, it became somewhat of a junior varsity contest. It really was a big deal, not only for Scottish Rite, but for the two institutions as well. The Governor's cup was awarded to the winner, and over time the game gained national recognition. Such Bulldog greats as Charley Trippi(above), Frank Sinkwich, Fran Tarkenton and Bill Stanfill have played in the "Bullpups vs Baby Jackets" classic.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Everyone else is doing this, so I might as well jump on the bandwagon too. What I'm referring to is the "what if" game that seems to be really vogue right now regarding the college football post-season. There is one scenario in particular that I find very intriguing, and it involves primarily the SEC. It goes something like this: If Alabama defeats Auburn, Georgia defeats Georgia Tech, and Florida defeats Florida State this weekend, 'Bama and UGA meet in the December 1st conference championship game, regardless of the Texas A&M/Missouri result. Also, all three teams maintain their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th spots in the BCS rankings. In addition this weekend, if Southern Cal defeats No. 1 ranked Notre Dame, the three Southeastern Conference schools could conceivably hold down the top 3 spots in the BCS. It also could open up the possibility that Florida could play the SEC Champion for the National Title, leaving the conference runner-up in probably the Outback Bowl. It would also leave all those college football fans who are sick and tired of the SEC, even more sick and tired of the SEC. Could this really play out like this? You know what they say, 'IF' is one one the biggest words in the world. Just sayin...
Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney makes a little over $2 million annually. He could be making even more except for the fact that he has transferred incentive based raises to his assistant coaches. His coaching staff has a joint payroll of $4.2 million, making them one of the highest paid groups in the nation. Their boss is the 39th highest paid head coach. Swinney looks at his revenue sharing as an investment in his overall program, compensating his staff for their efforts toward a common goal. The Tigers head coach makes approximately one third of his school's football payroll, compared to Nick Saban, who makes 58 percent of Alabama's football payroll. While it is true that Swinney has not accomplished all that a Saban and others have, it is enlightening to see a coach in such a high-dollar environment willing to reward the successful efforts of his coaches out of his own pocket.
Jimbo Fisher has been at Florida State for several years. He was the "coach-in-waiting" under Bobby Bowden prior to Bowden's forced retirement. I think it's fair to say that the 'garnet and gold' is pretty much ingrained in Fisher. However, after having said all of that, I believe he would leave FSU for the right job. The right SEC job that is. His name has already been mentioned at Tennessee and Auburn, perhaps even Arkansas. This has nothing to do with FSU at all, but has everything to do with the ACC. He realizes things are not going to change for football as long as they are stuck in a basketball conference. Where conferences like the SEC import weak, lower division teams in to lightened their seasonal burden, the Atlantic Coast Conference has these caliber teams already built into their weak league. It's hard to play a tough football schedule when it's loaded with ACC teams. Therefore, the strength of schedule factor goes down the drain. Literally and figuratively. If the truth were to be told, Florida State itself would love to be in the Southeastern Conference. Why not make a trade: Kentucky and Vanderbilt for FSU and Clemson? Two basketball schools to the ACC and two football schools to the SEC. Sounds like a plan to me. That's probably the only way the Seminoles would be able to keep Jimbo. Just sayin...
Monday, November 19, 2012
One more option offense to stop this season. One more game of cut-blocks to put up with this season. It's Georgia -vs- Georgia Tech week, culminated by the meeting between the unfriendliest of in-state rivals. Georgia hates Tech, and Tech hates Georgia. To me, it's always a big game because I can not stand to lose to Tech. This year, it's even bigger than usual. Here's why:
- With a victory, UGA records an eleven win regular season
- With a victory, UGA remains at least the Number 3 team in the BCS, and keeps the National Championship as a possibility
- With a victory, UGA retains possession of the Governor's Cup
- A win would be UGA's fourth in a row, and eleven out of the last twelve over Tech
- A win would increase UGA's lead in the series to 63-39-5
- A win would continue UGA's momentum heading into the SEC Championship Game
- A win would mean "Bragging Rights" for another year for all of the Bulldawg Nation
- A win would mean "Bragging Rights" for another year for all of the Bulldawg Nation
- A win would mean "Bragging Rights" for another year for all of the Bulldawg Nation
Derek Dooley is out at Tennessee after three seasons where the Volunteers compiled a 15-21 record under his leadership. The team was 12-13 in the two years prior to his hiring. Dooley's teams were a meager 4-19 against SEC opponents, which included Tennessee's first loss to lowly Kentucky in 26 years, and last weekend's blowout loss to a "Wanna-Be" Vanderbilt team 41-18. Going into the Vandy game, the Volunteers had won 34 of the last 35 meetings against their in-state rivals. The failure of a faked punt inside their own 20, which by the way was probably the worst call in the history of college football (at least Top 10), and the first half benching of starting quarterback Tyler Bray, ultimately sealed UT's and Dooley's fate. Dooley, who was only 17-20 at Louisiana Tech before going to Knoxville, was just in over his head in the SEC. It is true that he inherited a terrible situation at Tennessee (just don't blame Bush!), but a lot like Georgia's Ray Goff years ago, he just wasn't ready for that big stage. Dooley and the Vols will both move on now, but in what direction is anybody's guess. It's fine with me to let Ole Smokey keep on sleepin'. You know, keep things rocky on 'Rocky Top'. Just Sayin...
Georgia Tech is headed to the ACC Championship game. Yep, you read that correctly. The 6-5 Jackets, who are a stunning 5-3 in conference games, will represent the Coastal Division on December 1st in Charlotte. The barely-bowl-eligible North Avenue team closes out the regular season against cross-state rival Georgia in Athens this Saturday afternoon. After the Dawgs defeat Tech Saturday, and if they defeat Florida State to win the ACC, the Orange Bowl would be forced to accept the 7-6 Jackets as the host team. I can bet you big time that the Orange Bowl guys will be doing "The Chop" right along with the FSU fans during the conference championship. 'Yellow Tech' fans aren't going to travel with their team to Miami, and a television audience won't be that thrilled to see that triple option running attack all night either. Good luck with all of that Orange Bowl. Those conference tie-ups are going to cut your own throats one year. Might be this one. Just sayin...
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Georgia tailback Todd Gurley is now officially in some big and exclusive company. Today against Georgia Southern, Gurley became only the second true freshman in UGA history to rush for 1,000 yards. There have been some outstanding players who have run the football at the University of Georgia over the years, but only Herschel Walker and Todd Gurley have been able to break the 1,000 yard barrier as true freshmen. That's pretty impressive stuff. The Bulldogs went on to blow out the Eagles 45-14 with the help of quarterback Aaron Murray's four touchdown passes. Georgia also reached the 10 win plateau for the eighth time in coach Mark Richt's 12 seasons at the helm in Athens. Playoff bound Georgia Southern wasted an opportunity to possibly go in at halftime with a four point lead, but squandered that chance by being called for an illegal chop-block. When you run the triple option offense, those calls are going against you at times during a game. It just so happened at the worst time for the Eagles. Now for the Dawgs, it's on to the Tech game with more option and more cut-blocking.
I can tell that it's going to be a lot of fun watching LSU's Les Miles go up against Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze(above) in the SEC West over the next several years. They both want to win badly, and they'll pull out all the stops to make that happen. Tonight in Baton Rouge, Freeze went for it on fourth down twice and was successful both times. Miles elected to go for a two-point conversion to tie the game in the fourth quarter, and his Tigers went on to defeat the Rebels 41-35. It was one of those games where both teams deserved to win, and as you might expect, the game turned on a special teams play by LSU and a critical roughing the passer penalty by Ole Miss. Freeze has his program in Oxford heading in the right direction. With consistent, quality recruiting over time, Ole Miss will become a serious factor in their division. But for any team, it will always be hard to win in Death Valley once the sun goes down. Just sayin...
Friday, November 16, 2012
Georgia's football team faces two consecutive weeks of triple-option offense. Georgia Southern, who comes into Athens Saturday leading the FCS in rushing with slightly more than 400 yards per game, will be the first to throw their cut-blocking scheme at the Dawgs. Next the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech will arrive "Between the Hedges" to cut-block some more and again run a very similar style of option as does Southern. If a team has to face two option oriented offenses in a season, it has to be a plus to face them back-to-back. It's old style football that is frankly out of style these days in the wide open world of collegiate spread offenses. With that being said, it's really tough on a defense to switch gears and get ready to play an entirely different scheme themselves. Georgia has to play their old in-state rival Georgia Tech every year, but I don't understand why we keep playing Georgia Southern. The Bulldogs have nothing to gain from playing Southern, and it's just a wasted date on the schedule. We need to keep beating 'Yellow Tech' every year, but stop playing Southern. Just sayin..
I almost titled this post "too little too late", but then I realized to heck with timing, Johnny Manziel is really a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. The Texas A&M sports information department has recently cranked up their own 'Manziel for Heisman' campaign. The tremendous year Manziel is having, highlighted recently by his performance in his team's convincing win over Alabama in front of a huge national TV audience, has propelled him to become a serious suitor for college football's most prestigious award. It won't help his cause that he is only a freshman, and neither will it help that A&M got such a late jump on their push for him. Nevertheless, there is certainly no denying that "Johnny Football" is one on college football's most electrifying, exciting and valuable players. He might not bring that bronze statue home to College Station this year, but he will from this point on be the front-runner for the award for the remainder of his college career.
We all know that week-in and week-out the Southeastern Conference is a tough, physical conference. It's always tough to win on the road, and sometimes equally challenging at home. Just consider this about the top teams in the conference:
- Florida beat Texas A&M, LSU, and South Carolina but lost to Georgia
- South Carolina dominated Georgia but lost to LSU and Florida
- LSU beat Texas A&M and South Carolina but lost to Florida and Alabama
- Alabama squeaked by LSU but lost to Texas A&M
- Georgia lost to South Carolina but hasn't experienced an SEC defeat since
Thursday, November 15, 2012
If you don't care anything about Duke football, you will when you read this article. Please, please take the time to follow this link and read the fantastic story of Blair Holliday, Jamison Crowder, Chelsea Gibbons, and many others. I promise you the story will give you chill bumps, move you to tears, and thrill you all at the same time. It is a story of courage and inspiration. It is a story of victory and overcoming obstacles. It is a story of the amazing human spirit. It is a story of faith. It is a story of 'catch and tuck'. It is a tremendous story. Period. Again, please read it. For your sake.
The Orange Bowl and the ACC have inked a 12 year deal with ESPN where the ACC will have an automatic berth in the game and will play a team from either the SEC or Big Ten, or Notre Dame. The mega-sports network will reportedly pay $55 million per year during the life of this contract, which goes into effect on January 1, 2015. To me, Notre Dame is the "strange bedfellow" in this scenario. They've actually become a member of the ACC, although in football they remain an independent. But they have to play a minimum of five games against ACC members each year. So why are they included in this new Orange Bowl deal at all? The answer to my own question is because the networks love the Irish and they believe intensely in that little Leprechaun and that tub of gold. I think this deal is a bad marriage because the Atlantic Coast Conference is a basketball conference and they bring absolutely nothing to the table as a factor in football, Notre Dame is a pseudo member of the ACC, and lastly, major bowl match-ups should be based on BCS rankings and not conference/bowl deals. That's my rant for the day. Oh yea, I'm betting that the ACC wins no more than a third of the 12 games during this contract. Just sayin...
s of the eventual college