Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sanford Stadium: "Top 10 Toughest"

Sanford Stadium on the campus of the University of Georgia is rated in the Top 10 toughest venues for opposing teams in college football. The picturesque 92,000+ seat stadium sits in a valley type setting in the center of UGA's vast campus. The Southeastern Conference also had four other stadiums in the Top 10, as well as six in the Top 14. Week in and week out, the teams in the SEC must be able to cope with playing in loud, hostile environments. Even sites like Williams-Brice on South Carolina's campus, which were not mentioned in the Top 15, are packed to capacity for home games. There are no easy road games in this conference. All these on-campus facilities have their own identities and traditions that make "Football Saturdays" so special and so electric. Although he didn't mention Sanford (that's O.K. Moondawg!), Moondog Sports has a good series on the best college stadiums that you might find interesting. Georgia Sports Blog has an interesting post regarding future expansion in Athens. Dawgs On Line also has a good take on the same topic. Athletic Directors and Boards at major colleges are always crunching the numbers to justify stadium expansions versus ticket demands (and we all know ticket demands are directly related to WINS). It's a 'tricky' equation at best. There are only four campus stadiums that seat 100,00 or more, so that's probably the capacity number that stadiums aspire to reach. It is sometimes true that bigger is not necessarily better, so in these cases numbers might not tell the entire story. But then again there's that old saying, "If you build it, they will come", (as long as you're winning, of course!).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Reggie White: Retired, Then Unretired

Brett Favre isn't the only Green Bay Packer who could not stay retired. The man seen pursuing him above is none other than the great Reggie White. White retired in 1998 after playing in two Super Bowls with the Packers. Two years later he joined the Carolina Panthers for a single season before retiring for good. It's strange how some guys look when they're in a different uniform than the one you are accustomed to seeing them wear. It doesn't sound like Brett will be a Packer again, so it will be interesting to see how he looks in the uniform of his next team, whoever that might be...

Georgia Bulldogs: By the Numbers

I'm giving you ten random numbers that I believe you will find interesting about the Bulldogs of Georgia. The number 40: The Georgia Bulldogs were the only Division 1-A school to rank in the top 40 in all five special teams categories last season (net punting, punt returns, kickoff returns, punt return defense, and kickoff return defense). The number 14: The number of starters the Bulldogs have returning this year (7 on offense, 7 on defense). The number 1: The Dawgs have arguably the toughest schedule in Division 1 major college football. The number 1 also represents, in the minds of some, Georgia's position at the end of the 2008 season. The number 2: Speaking of final rankings, some analysts predict UGA will only be 2nd in the SEC East. That number also represents the number of SEC titles the Dawgs have won under Mark Richt. The number 4: Georgia has four consecutive tough conference games away from Sanford Stadium late in the season ( LSU, Florida, Kentucky, Auburn). The number 9: Incoming freshman receiver A.J. Green was the nation's 9th overall prospect in the 2008 recruiting class. The number 3: The number of SEC players to rush for more yards as freshmen than Knowshon Moreno (Herschel Walker, Emmitt Smith, and Jamal Lewis). The number 6: The number of times Georgia scored 40 or more points in a game in 2007. The number 42: The number of SEC leading sacks the Dawgs defense recorded last year. The number 7: The number of opponents on Georgia's schedule who are ranked 29th or better in this year's preseason polls. I think these numbers basically say that the Bulldogs have a tough road to navigate this season, but they also say Georgia has the personnel and experience to make that journey a successful one. We will all find week at a time beginning August 30th!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oh You Rennie Curran!

University of Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran #35. Remember the name and memorize the number. Coming soon directly into the face of a quarterback near you. The coaches say he doesn't take the routes to the ball carrier they would prefer, but they don't harp too much on that anymore. Because he still gets to the point of impact so fast and with so much authority that it's really a mute point. His pursuit is unreal, a linebacker with that much quickness, agility, and hostility. A lethal combination of weapons. He'll be a highlight reel all by himself.You haven't heard as much about Georgia's defense as you have the offense and that's o.k. In fact it pretty normal. Don't "chicks" dig the offensive guys? The Staffords, Morenos, and Massaquois grab the headlines and the limelight. Not to worry. Rennie Curran and his defensive colleagues will be a household names before the 2008 season has aged very much. They will pick up just where they left off in the Sugar Bowl: Directly in the face of opposing offenses!

College Football: Just How Much Longer...

Even with the first game more than a month away, the only thing fans in the South want to talk about is college football. The sports pages are more into it, the blogs are all over it, and the magazines are all about those infamous preseason predictions. Every team is undefeated at this point, anyone can beat any other one, and the grand prize is there to be taken by any one of a "cast of thousands". Guys are studying schedules, learning not only 'who' you play, but 'when' and 'where' you play them. Football is king, especially in the south, and the SEC is king of the south. Forget the ACC, they're a basketball conference. Oh sure, they'll always have two or three somewhat strong teams, but they are light years away from being the strong top to bottom league the SEC is. They like to pretend football is a big deal, but once they loose several gridiron contests all they can say is "just wait until basketball season". Baseball even lasts too long for die hard football fans, especially when the Braves go down the tubes this early. I once thought that baseball's All Star Game should be played after the World Series until I realized football would kill that game. Forget it. The countdown has long since begun. Bring on the pigskin!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Brickyard Hits a Brick Wall

Nascar attempted to hold the 2008 Brickyard 400 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday, but Goodyear Tire & Rubber put a sad stop to any real competitive racing. There were 11 caution flags in the race, 9 of them Nascar induced. "Competition Cautions" were the proper Nascar given names for them. Why not leave the descriptive 'competition' out of it? You sure as heck left it out of the race itself. I confessed to you back in May that I am no longer a big Nascar fan. I think the governing body has such a strangle hold on its sport that its just one step away from being up there with the WWE. They control everything but the outright winner, and they go a long way in influencing that at times. O.K., back to this race. There was not adequate testing at the Brickyard to get the tire formula correct, and Goodyear and Nascar both knew it. So they staged an event that they hoped would pass as a stock car auto race. They failed miserably. It was no race at all. It was a series of sprints followed by a preordained caution flag. In the end it was a 7 lap run for the "Checkers". As I understand it, the individual race teams buy the tires for each race from the manufacturer. Goodyear has already said it will look into some compensation back to those teams for the tires used in this race. It's too bad Nascar can't do the same for the fans, because they sure as heck didn't get to see a race that they paid for. After all, isn't that why they came in the first place?

Bulldogs -vs- Gators

The 'Coaches Hot Seat Blog' has a list of Top 25 coaching match ups they would pay to see this fall. Coming in at number 14 is Mark Richt vs Urban Meyer. I keep emphasising that the tilt in Jacksonville is more than three months away, but during this preseason it just won't go away. I realize Meyer rekindled this fire during the SEC meetings when he dished UGA about their "team celebration", but it also has so much to do with the high expectations for both teams both in the conference and nationally. Many feel that when the two teams meet in November all the marbles will be at stake. They very well could be undefeated and with the emotional carry-over from last year, it could have more 'electricity' than it normally does. Richt and the Dawgs have proven they can defeat an Urban Meyer coached Gator team, and they will be eager to even the coaches battle at two each. The Gators, of course, would like nothing more than to end any talk of a Georgia "streak" before it even has a chance to begin. This one definitely will not be for the faint of heart. But the Bulldogs and the Gators must each play five tough conference games before they get to Jacksonville, and neither has an open date the Saturday before they clash. I can tell you now, as a Georgia fan I will not look at this game again until the week leading to November 1st. One week at a time beginning now, so that means the Eagles of Georgia Southern University.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Brian McCann: All the Tools of the Trade!

Make Brian McCann an Atlanta Brave for life. Do whatever you have to do, but don't let him out of town. Promise him a chunk of Stone Mountain, give him a species tank at the Georgia Aquarium, and give him a piece of Peachtree Street. Don't let him get close to free agency. Renew every contract he ever signs if you have to. He will be your franchise. Period. He is young and already a star, getting ready to take the next step to starDOM. He will be the next Johnny Bench behind the plate. He will be the standard by which catchers are measured in the future. Yes, he will be that good. And he needs to be that good as a Brave. Forever!

Just How Well Do You Know College Football?

Take the NCAA Helmet ID Quiz. Just go to the link below and test you identity skills on 50 NCAA helmet logos. It will test you and it is fun! One request: Come back to "Opinion on Sports" and enter your score in the comments section. That way you can see how you match up against other college football fans. Sports Dawg's score was 47 out of 50. Have fun...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mark Richt - The 'Win" Intensified the Rivalry

Yesterday at the S.E.C. meetings in Hoover, Alabama, Florida's Bull Gator let everyone know he was not over Georgia's excessive celebration in last year's GEORGIA- Florida game. Today at those same meetings, UGA's Head Dawg Mark Richt responded to the media's questions regarding "Crier Meyer's " remarks. One thing that I found particularly interesting was the fact that Richt called Meyer after the game and explained the entire episode to him. He also apologized to the Florida coach. Now, Meyer never mentioned any of that. He just sounded as if he got pooh poohed on and no one from Georgia responded. Come on Urban, tell the whole story. Don't act as if you just thought Coach Richt was totally irresponsible. You knew better; the man explained it to you himself. The best thing the Georgia head coach said about last year's game was that the celebration and penalties didn't put the intensity back in the border war, it was the Dawgs victory that pushed the intensity level through the roof. And that my friends is what Urban Meyer is so concerned with even though the two teams don't play for more than 90 days. He realizes that a sleeping Dawg has awakened, and that he is hungrier than ever. Remember Urban, you should always let a sleeping Dawg lie!

Josh Gordy: Coming Home!

Josh Gordy, number 19, is an outstanding cornerback for the Central Michigan Chippewas. After a redshirt year in 2005, the junior from Warthen, Georgia has been a two year starter for Central Michigan. A graduate of Washington County High School in Sandersville, Georgia, Gordy grew up less than 80 miles from the campus of the University of Georgia. On September 6, Gordy and the Chippewas invade Athens to take on the highly touted Bulldogs. What a great opportunity for a young man from Georgia to come back home and play in one of college football's greatest venues, "Between the Hedges", in front of so many family and friends. Josh has worked had and earned this occasion on his own. He already has an NFL draft profile, and has caught the attention of many knowledgeable football gurus with his knack for making the big play. Good luck to Josh and CMU on their trip into Sanford Stadium, but I must confess I hope they leave the "Classic City" facing a long trip home after suffering a defeat at the hands of the Dawgs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Urban Meyer: "It Was a Big Deal"

Florida coach Urban Meyer seems to still have that 'brier' under his saddle. That 'brier' I'm referring to was the full blown, full team, full excessive celebration by Georgia after the Dawgs first touchdown in last year's Georgia-Florida game. (That's right, the GEORGIA-Florida game, not vice-versa)! Meyer says it wasn't right , it was uncalled for, and it was against the rules. Georgia is 15-3 in this series since 1990 and he thinks it was uncalled for? I always thought that drastic times called for drastic measures. With that ego of his, he probably doesn't like it because 1) he didn't think of it first and 2) he and his Gators got their tails kicked by a bunch of hungry Bulldogs. Hold on for a second. Let's go back to those series numbers for a closer examination. I related the 1990-2000 numbers above, but in the 1970s-1980s Georgia owned a very similar 15-5 advantage over the Reptiles. And furthermore I might add, the University of Georgia leads the series 46-37-2 overall. Wikipedia don't lie, Baby! Now back to "Urban- Renewal". He says the celebration will stay with him forever, but he'll handle it. Further he states, "it is going to be a big deal". Is that a threat or "reverse motivation"? (Reverse Motivation: you think I just coined a new phrase? Wow!). Do you think the 'excessive celebration' would have made it into his new book, which I will not plug here, if Florida had won the game? No way. I believe for the "Dawg Life" in me that he knows Mark Richt got him on this one and he can't stand it. He is probably somewhat concerned about what 'Mr. Motivation' might come up with this year down in Jacksonville. Since Coach Richt put down that offensive play book, he's been a near genius at pushing the right buttons to get his team to respond to big Saturday situations. I suppose at times, emotions are more important than getting the perfect play called on third down. After all, a huge part of the game is played from the shoulder pads up. Nevertheless, it's nice to know Coach Meyer will always keep that UGA 'brier' under his saddle. Maybe the Dawgs will even put a lot more under there for him.

Happy Birthday, Nomar!

When the photograph above was taken, Nomar celebrated his 29th birthday by smashing three home runs in a 22-4 Boston rout over the Devil Rays. The date was July 23, 2002. With those dingers, he also became the 26th player to hit five round-trippers in two games. Garciaparra put up some really good numbers with the Red Sox, at the plate and with the glove at his natural position of shortstop. However, after leaving the Sox, his climb to super star staus just didn't seem to continue to materialize. You can see him these days wearing 'Dodger Blue', and trying to put together a good 2nd half season after being plaqued by injuries earlier in the year. His Dodgers, under new managerJoe Torre, are only one game back of Arizona in the National League West, although neither team is over .500 for the season.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A.J. Green - Freshman Supreme

Most University of Georgia fans do not see a red-shirt year for A.J. Green, the freshman receiver out of Summerville, South Carolina. He is the 'real deal', and may very well turn out to be an integral part of what should be a potent Bulldog offense. Even though Georgia red-shirt a big class last year, you can count on Mark Richt and staff to play 5 to 7 frosh in 2008. Green will be one of those half dozen to hit the field, and I predict he will hit it in a big way. Go you Bullpup!

Jason Taylor - A Fish Out of Water!

If all the media talk we heard concerning the Miami Dolphins was anywhere near accurate, then Bill Parcells must be a happy man. He has bid farewell to Jason Taylor. Not only that, he has been able to have his way once again. That is a habit of his, getting his way. The Burger King slogan doesn't fly around Parcells because you cannot have it your way. Only his way, or else the highway. When he is rebuilding a franchise, he wants his signature on the blueprint. His players, his coaches, his team, and his way. He evidently wasn't too pleased to have a defensive end "Dancing With the Stars", so JT has been relegated to war dances with the Redskins. And just like the Jeremy Shockey trade we talked about earlier, this too will be a good transaction for both teams. Taylor leaves a team that had a single victory in 2007, and although he goes to a very balanced division, he will be in a competitive situation. He has said he wants to play one more year, but he will be in a 'Skins uniform longer than that. At just about the time Jason goes to Hollywood full time, that will be about the time to see if Parcells has been successful with his "Fish". Two things are certain: Taylor will be successful in D.C., and Parcells will have it his way in Miami.

Jeremy Shockey - The Deal is Done

I was not surprised that Jeremy Shockey was traded from the New York Giants to the New Orleans Saints this week. You had to know his time in the 'Big Apple' was up, you just weren't sure he would land in the 'Big Easy'. The Giants view Shockey's negatives to their team on a greater scale than they do his positives. He sulks, and pouts, and has tantrums, but he also plays a pretty mean tight end. It is true he has dropped his share of passes, but his blocking his one of his stronger attributes. He remains a very good all-around NFL tight end. The change of environment will be good for him in New Orleans. He will thrive under the Saints' down field passing attack, and he will add a new dimension to their offensive scheme. You will also see a more contented Shockey, a more intense Shockey, and a more productive Shockey. He's a good addition to the Saints roster. The Giants will not miss his attitude in New York, but down the road they might just miss his talent. That will remain to be seen. Nevertheless, they are pleased that Shock is now a part of Giants' history. Sounds like one of those deals that might turn out benefiting both teams.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lou Pinella: Don't Look Back!

Hey "Sweet Lou", that loud noise you hear is not the "L" Train pulling into Addison Street. Nor is it "'Da Bears" opening training camp. And it isn't Ozzie screaming across town. No, it's the Cardinals and the Brewers bearing (no pun intended) down on your Cubs in the division race. That's right, your lead is down to two over your old nemesis the Cards, and the Brew Crew is right behind at three back. Did I also hear that your closer, Kerry Wood, is heading to the DL also? That's not too sweet Lou, so you keep those Cubbies focused and looking straight ahead. No need to look back now, I've already told you who's back there. And they're gaining.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Matt & Jon Stinchcomb: "Countdown to Kickoff"

Matt and Jon Stinchcomb started Georgia's "Countdown to Kickoff" in 2006 as a way for current and former players to say thank you to fans and to give back by raising money for worthy causes. These causes include Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the Georgia Transplant Foundation, the Children's Tumor Foundation, and UGA's Pediatric Exercise and Motor Development Clinic. Last year the event raised $121,000, and this year's attendance nearly doubled that of 2007. The Stinchcomb Brothers both played at Georgia, and went on into the Pro's. Jon is currently an offensive tackle with the New Orleans Saints. Celebrities for the event included 50 current and former Dawgs.

Durant Brooks: It's Signing Time!

The Washington Redskins announced that they have signed rookie punter Durant Brooks to a four year contract. The contract is reportedly a $1.821 million deal with a $116,450 signing bonus. His rookie pay will be $295,000 this year. In 2009 he will be paid $385,000, in 2010 $470,000, and in 2011 $555,000. He would become a free agent in 2012. All of this is contingent upon Brooks making the Redskins squad of course. He will battle incumbent punter Derrick Frost for the starting job. The Redskins drafted Durant in the 7th round earlier this year in the NFL draft. He was selected for his ability to boom long distance punts with great hang time, as well as for his knack for reversing field position in favor of his team. Even though he is the rookie in this duel, he is the man to beat, not vice-versa. Frost is an adequate NFL punter at best, and you don't use a draft pick, regardless of the round, on a specialty player if you aren't confident he can cut it. Brooks will be given every opportunity available to make this team, but he won't be given the job. He'll earn that on his own!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Greg Norman: Back in Time...

This photo was taken in 1993 just after Greg Norman won his third British Open. Guess who the leader in the clubhouse is after his second round of the 2008 Open? You got it, none other than "The Shark" himself. After just marrying former tennis great Chris Evert, I'd say this is a shaping up to be one heck of a honeymoon!

Steve Spurrier

In a recent interview, Steve Spurrier said he has no plans to leave the University of South Carolina any time soon. After all, don't they say "South Carolina is where old coaches go to die" .He says his health is great, his golf game is great, and coaching football is all he wants to do. For those of you who thought he was relinquishing his play calling duties and overall offensive responsibilities, think again. Super Steve emphasizes that he is still the offensive coordinator with total control of that side of the ball. He will work with Steve Spurrier, Jr. with play calling, but those will be Dad's calls in the end. It is true that Spurrier has made the Gamecocks a team to be reckoned with. However, being that team as opposed to being an SEC contender are two different things altogether. If Carolina is on your schedule, you better prepare well for them. But you won't have to prepare for them in an SEC Championship Game anytime soon, because they will not be there!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

M.L.B. All-Star Game

After Major League Baseball's All-Star marathon classic Tuesday night, some concerns have prompted those interested in the game to wonder if changes need to be made to the game. The primary question coming out of the game is one relating to roster size. Managers are caught in the dilemma of wanting to get all the players in the game, but at the same time, being concerned that they will have enough players on their bench if the game goes into extra innings (you know, like perhaps 15 innings!). Then there are the pitchers who are concerned about pitching too many innings, or going over a certain pitch count. And you also have closers who are up and down in the bullpen when a game runs long, and they too become conscious of pitch counts. All of this really is a big deal because there is something at stake now. The winning league wins home field advantage for its representative in the World Series. That is a benefit not to be taken lightly. It translates into an advantage in the Series. So to help out the managers, players, as well as the fans, let's expand the roster for pitchers only and implement a system of free, or open, substitution for position players. I'm not saying turn it into a softball game, just put some rules on the way players can return to the game after being taken out. Take some of the pressure off of the managers, and benefit the players at the same time. Pitchers will be less likely to be overused, and a guy pulled in the 3rd inning might just be called upon to re-enter the game in the 12th. It needs a lot of 'tweaking', but it could work...possibly...?

Knowshon Moreno: How "Sweet" It Is!

Sports Illustrated Galleries has Knowshon Moreno listed as one of last years top 22 "Break-Out Freshmen". This group was composed of college freshmen across the country in both male and female inter-collegiate athletics. After coming in for an injured Thomas Brown, Knowshon ripped off 5 consecutive games of 100+ yards rushing. The last tailback at Georgia to do that? You got it, Herschel Walker. Nice company you're keeping there, 'Shon! He finished the year with 1,334 yards and 14 touchdowns to earn SEC Freshman of the Year honors.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Phil Mickelson: If Only You Would

Ten Reasons Phil Mickelson will not win the 2008 British Open:

1. Only 1 Top 10 in 15 starts in The Open.

2. He hits the ball too high to negotiate British Open winds.

3. He has trouble combining all facets of his game to score well in Open conditions.

4. His mind tends to 'leave the course' at times during major tournaments.

5. His game is too erratic; ranging from fantastic to utterly terrible.

6. The weather forecast is not for "warm", which he much prefers.

7. He just doesn't seem to 'want it' bad enough.

8. No "lefty" has won the British Open in 45 years.

9. He isn't playing particularly well going into the tournament.

10. Because I would really love to see him finally win the Claret Jug!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Josh Hamilton - What a Show!

Josh Hamilton did not win the 2008 MLB All-Star Home Derby Monday night. But you know what, no one cares. Justin Morneau owns the trophy, but Hamilton owned the night. And the grand old historic House That Ruth Built. And the city that let 'Ole Blue Eyes do it his way. And all those hard-nosed New York fans. They were chanting Ham-il-ton, Ham-il-ton, Ham-il-ton. This is the stuff fairy tales are made of. This is a "goose-bump factory". This is Hollywood script material. This is a time for all those "un" words: unbelievable, unreal, unthinkable, and unimaginable. Last night the world belonged to Josh Hamilton; he was just letting us live in it! The guy hit 28 home runs in a single round. One after the other sailed through the New York night sky in the form of towering blasts. He hit more than a couple over that magical 500' mark. He had the joint rockin'! And the man throwing all those perfect pitches to him? None other than 71 year old Claybon Council, who was in Yankee stadium in 1956 when Don Larsen pitched his perfect game in the World Series. The man probably threw over a hundred pitches before the night was over. What a gamer! He was Hamilton's American Legion baseball coach, and Josh thought that much of him to bring him to Yankee Stadium. It makes you wonder just how many other kids Mr. Council has coached, helped, and influenced. After turning on the evening news and hearing negative story after negative story, it's really great when sports steps up and gives us some positives to help us escape the "real world". An unlikely story of a number one draft pick who became victim to a crack addiction. He was out of the game for three years before coming back to make the All Star roster and to give us a story for the ages during some crazy contest known as a home run derby.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Billy Packer Sent Packing...

CBS has decided to end its 27 year relationship with Billy Packer by not renewing his contract. His final four commentary streak will end at 34. He will pursue "other projects in basketball'. Jim Nantz will remain as the play-by-play broadcaster, and Clark Kellogg will replace Packer. This is good new for tons of basketball fans who have grown tired of Packer's style and comments. He made absolutely zero friends during this year's semi-final when he declared the "game over" early in the contest with North Carolina trailing Kansas 38-12. The Tarheels came back to close the gap to 54-50 with 11 minutes remaining before Kansas pulled away again. For all practical purposes, he told his audience they might as well turn the channel. I'm sure the CBS execs had to smooth that out with a few sponsors. Their spots only cost a few million, right? His most infamous gaffe probably was uttered in a 1996 Georgetown-Villanova game when he referred to Allen Iverson as a "tough monkey". Had he waited a few years to pull that one out, this post would be about his retirement activities. 'Monkey' won't cut it on the airways, it will just get you cut off the airways. On the other side of the coin, no one can dispute Packer's genuine passion for the game of college basketball. His love for it and his knowledge of it are inarguable. His longevity speaks for itself, altough in reality, he did overstay his welcome. CBS should have made this change several years ago. It was a decision that was overdue. Packer got into a habit used by southern Baptist preachers, he stayed too long. (I can do you a long post on that one!). It's been a long run. Good luck Billy!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Snake" Eyes and 3 D.U.I.s

Alabama color analyst Kenny "The Snake" Stabler has been given a leave of absence from the broadcast booth for the 2008 football season. This follows his recent arrest on a drunken driving charge. He will devote full attention to the problems in his personal life. The Snake has two other DUIs in his past, the first in 1995 and the next in 2001. He has been the Tide's color commentator for the past ten years. Alabama fans love his style in the booth and adore him as one of their all-time greats, but they aren't surprised by this third arrest. His reputation precedes him. He's always been known as one of the hardest drinkers to don the crimson and white. He couldn't fathom why his ex-wives didn't understand that he just wanted to ride around in his truck and drink Jack Daniels. (Maybe you should have cleared that up in a pre-nup, Kenny, or had the preacher say "Do you take Kenny, 'Jack' in one hand, steering wheel in the other!). Oh well...Good luck to Kenny and I hope he makes it back to the booth in 2009. But first get some help and get well before you hurt yourself, or worse, someone else.

Brett Favre: There is No 'Semi-Retired' in the NFL!

There isn't really much more to comment on this subject. It has reached clandestine soap opera proportions now. Perhaps, Brett's Search For Tomorrow or As the Packer's World Turns. Or how about a good 'ole twang-twang country song, I Can't Give You My All...But on Sunday Give Me The Ball. I know, enough is enough. Let's break it down and see if it's first and ten or fourth and long. Brett Favre officially retired from football earlier this year. In March, he talks to the Packers about coming back. He calls them back 48 hours later and says no, I'm retired. The team makes their plans to move on without him, officially naming Aaron Rogers as the Green Bay starting quarterback. This week, Favre changes his mind yet again and wants to come back. The Pack says Rogers is our starting QB. Brett asks for his outright release from the team, but the Packers front office refuses to grant that. So, you want to punt or go for it all? Now Favre must petition the league office for reinstatement, which they will grant. At that point he becomes a member of the Green Bay Packers under the terms of his previous contract, and he must report to training camp later this month. The Packers do not want to release Brett and run the risk of seeing him sign with a division rival (Minnesota or Chicago), but they don't want to to pay him $12 million to be a back-up to Rogers, and they certainly don't want that atmosphere around their organization. What does Brett want? He wants to play football on Sundays without doing all the prep and work Tuesday through Friday. I don't blame him, but it just won't work that way. I like him and I like the way he has always played the game, but now it's time to either ride off into the Sunset (just like "The Duke"!) or commit to being a full-time football player. He will either report to camp or he won't, and the Packers will either keep him, release him, or trade him. Not the best of times to be a member of the "Packer Nation", because as of now: All bets are off!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Robert Edwards: The Enormous Will to Overcome

This week Sports Illustrated ran an interesting article, "Where Are They Now?" Tennille, Georgia native and former Washington County High School (GA) and University of Georgia great Robert Edwards was one of the featured athletes. For many football fans, the first thing that comes to mind when they hear Robert's name is his unbelievably horrendous knee injury following his rookie NFL season with the New England Patriots. He had been invited to Hawaii to play in a beach four-on-four flag football game with other NFL rookies. He landed in an awkward manner while breaking up a pass, tearing three of the knee's four major ligaments. The ACL, the MCL, and the PCL are not bowling leagues, if you're wondering. They are the ligaments blown out on Edward's left knee. Now add to those three, a damaged major nerve and a sliced artery which brought on the very real possibility of amputation. That's the makeup of the worst knee injury in football. Before or since. Forget football, let's aim for walking again, and without a crutch would be like Christmas. After doctors saved his knee, the faith and fortitude of Robert Edwards took over. He spent two excruciating years of rehab , enduring immeasurable pain. He had swelling and scarring, and he couldn't pick his foot up nor turn his ankle until the severely damaged nerves regenerated. Let's not overlook the traumatic nightmares he had of having his leg amputated either. But miraculously, he recovered and regained most of his agility and speed. He played in twelve NFL games in 2002 before landing in the Canadian Football League. In a cost cutting roster reduction, he was released by the Toronto Argonauts this January. The improbable comeback was now complete. He not only walked, he ran again. He not only ran, he ran fast again. He was no longer an injured football player, he was a very good football player. Again! You just can't help but wonder what the career would have been without the injury. Just as you wonder about Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle, and other great athletes. But injuries are a real part of sports. And for people with the character of Robert Edwards, overcoming the injury might not define the career, but it sure defines the essence of the man.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rich Rodriguez: From Hire Me to Help Me!

On December 17, 2007, Rich Rodriguez was announced by Michigan as its 18th head coach in the Wolverine's storied football history. He came to Michigan from his alma mater of West Virginia University where he spent the previous seven years as their head coach. Following his defection to Ann Arbor, West Virginia filed a $4 million lawsuit against its former coach to collect on a buyout clause in his WVU contract. Just this week, Rodriguez agreed to pay the $4 million buyout and put an end to all the legal distractions of the lawsuit, which had been set for trial this fall. Well, he didn't really agree to pay the entire $4 mil. He negotiated to pay $1.5 million in three $500,000 annual installments. UM Athletics is throwing in the other $2.5 million, as well as all the coach's attorney and legal fees. The timing of the agreement is very intriguing in its on right. Rodriguez was approaching a court ordered disclosure deadline in which he would have to reveal if anyone at Michigan had agreed to pay West Virginia on his behalf. The settlement also eliminates another lawsuit filed by WVU which would have ordered Michigan AD Bill Martin and president Mary Sue Coleman to testify. Also, West Virginia recently obtained a subpoena for records from Rodriguez's financial advisor. This mess has more ingredients than an Emeril Live cooking show! What do you say we throw in a bit of irony? The coach claimed he signed his WVU contract under pressure from board members concerning the buyout clause. But yet he turns around and signs his Michigan contract with a very similar $4 million clause in it. Not to worry Mr. Rodriguez. If that clause ever becomes an issue again, I'm quite sure the next school will pay ay least 60% of it just as the Wolverines did. But next time , I wouldn't get the school president involved with a subpoena. I've got a feeling that could have been the reason for your speedy settlement offer and agreement. All things considered, I'd say you came out of this "smelling like a rose". Speaking of which, it wouldn't be a bad idea if you took your new team to the bowl name for that fragrant flower. And the sooner the better. Oh yea, one more thing. It might not hurt to beat Ohio State for a change!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Braves and Teixeira: Deal or No Deal

As Major League Baseball approaches the All-Star break, contending teams are jockeying for position and the trade rumors are flowing. Atlanta's Mark Teixeira is right in the thick of those rumors. A switch hitting power hitter looks enticing to a number of clubs, and some feel he is expendable because the Braves most likely will not resign him for next year. But then again, it is also felt that Atlanta would not trade him now because they think they can still make a serious run to make the playoffs. I don't think this team can make the playoffs this year. Something is missing from this edition of the Braves, but I can't define yet what it is that's missing. I think it might be one of those intangible things that are always hard to identify. That being said, if Atlanta can trade Tex and get a quality player(s) in return, make the deal. You're not going to get anything for him next year anyway, so cut your losses now. You gave up more than enough to get him for the short haul anyway, so if the suitors are calling, let him go. The Braves and Mark Teixeira might be faced with Howie's popular question: Deal or No Deal! Good Luck!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Michael Vick: What Money?

I read today that Michael Vick filed Chapter 11. He lists his debts between $10 million and $50 million. Mike, could you narrow that down for us a bit? His assets are also in that $40 million range. I suppose it's much easier for me to know if I have $100 or $500 in my checking account.(But at least I know!) That $400 range is much easier to keep up with than that $40 million range! When asked if Michael was 'broke' or insolvent, his attorney replied that he was in "a precarious financial position". You mean sorta like O.J.? This is the point I think you'll find intriguing: Vick wants the court to approve the appointment of a guy named Talbot to manage his financial affairs during this period. Now this David Talbot was once a medical doctor, turned financial planner, turned management consultant. He is mentioned as a "trusted advisor." Now, with part of that huge asset range, Michael has paid the guy up front with a Mercedes Benz and $35,000. Wait, there's more: Talbot also gets $15,000 a month plus expenses until the case is closed. And Michael, the Dude doesn't have to pay any malpractice insurance! If too many MD's get wind of this, they'll all become financial guys. No more prostate checks for these white coats! But in cases like Michael Vick, they'll be working with a sickness of a different sort. Here is a guy who was paid so much money that he doesn't even know how much he is or isn't worth to toss a piece of pigskin around on Sunday afternoons, and claims he cannot honor his debts unless the creditors agree to settle for less. I'm supposed to buy in to that? I'm supposed to feel bad for the guy? Not when I know that after he is released from prison he will be spending money with no regard for its value again. We've seen it happen before (reference Mr. Simpson again: just ask his victim's families). He wore that #7, and he'll roll that lucky seven on and on. Mr. Talbot will still have his Mercedes, and you and I may or may not still have our physicians!

Joe Cox: Quarterback-In-Waiting

Don't forget about this guy. The red-head second string quarterback for the University of Georgia. #14 just might have to come up big for the Dawgs in 2008. It's tough for any one quarterback to be able to take every snap during the course of an SEC football season. Everyone hopefully expects starter Matthew Stafford to have a breakout Heisman type season this year, but just don't forget about Joe Cox. Cox came out of Independence High in Charlotte, N.C. as the the #7 ranked QB in the nation from the class of 2005. He and high school teammate Mohamed Massaquoi arrived in Athens together as two of the gems of that recruiting class. Don't you know the state of North Carolina hated to see these two prep stars go out of state? Joe Cox has not been a disappointment in Athens. He's just trapped behind Stafford. There are tons of college programs that would love to have Joe Cox as their starting quarterback. And yes he could start at 'tons' of schools. But Joe Cox likes the University of Georgia and Georgia likes Joe Cox. Not all players, especially at the quarterback position, are adept at coming off the bench cold into a game. Cox can perform under those circumstances as well as he could if he were starting. So if you see #14 on the field for the Dawgs this fall, don't panic. Joe can handle the situation.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Michael Phelps: A Virtual Swimming Machine

Remember the name: Michael Phelps. You will hear it many times before the Olympics are finished this summer. He might even reach "household" recognition status. After all, he very well could bring back to America more swimming Gold Medals than did Mark Spitz, and Spitz became one of those household names himself. As you probably recall, Spitz won a total of seven Olympic Golds in the 1972 Munich Olympics. Can't you still picture that image of him in Sports Illustrated with all that gold draped around his neck? Heck, "Mr T." was envious of that stash! Nevertheless, Phelps has completed his program of eight events at the U.S. Olympic Trails in Omaha. He set two world records of the seven total that were Broken at the trials. He will swim in eight events including relays in Beijing. The Summer Olympic games of the XXIX Olympiad will be held August 8-24 in Beijing, China.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Nadal -vs- Federer: One For The Ages!

The reign is over...for now. In the longest men's
final in Wimbledon history, Rafael Nadal defeated five time defending champion Roger Federer in five gruelling, rain delayed sets. He prevailed 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 in a match that took 4 hours, 48 minutes and ended in near darkness. I thought the match would be over in straight sets, but Federer came up with an inspiring comeback in his bid to surpass Bjorn Borg by winning his sixth straight title. The level and quality of play was just what you would expect of a Wimbledon final featuring these two champions. I've always liked Roger Federer for the talent he has and the class with which he conducts himself, but I certainly was not unhappy to see Rafael Nadal walk off Center Court with his first men's singles title there. We are not always treated with seeing the two best square off in the finals of major events as we were today, and everyone got their money's worth and more from the performances of these two. It almost sounds 'cheesy' to say this, but there really was no loser today in many regards. The shot-making was

astounding and the excitement unending. There were unforced errors of course in a match of this duration. Federer himself converted only one of thirteen break points, but there are only positives to carry away from an epic battle like this. For Nadal, he became the first player to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year since Borg in 1980. For Federer, his level of tennis has not deteriorated, guys like Nadal are just getting better. He also has to play at is highest level to win grand slam events now. Had he not come back from two sets down, he might have reason to question himself. But the comeback showed he still has the desire and the ability to continue to add to his 12 Grand Slam wins. What a way for a sports enthusiast to cap off a sports-filled Fourth of July Holiday weekend. I'm sure we'll be seeing Mr.'s Federer and Nadal many more times during their outstanding tennis careers.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Jeff Francoeur: A "Minor" Setback

The Atlanta Braves have sent slumping right fielder Jeff Francoeur to their Class AA affiliate in Mississippi. He will be reunited with Mississippi manager Phillip Wellman who has a positive history of working with Francoeur in the minors before. His 2008 average fell to .234 after he went o for 4 Thursday night, and he was also booed at home for the first time in his career. That has to be especially tough on him because he is a local hero out of nearby Parkview High School. He had been dropped to seventh in the batting order, after having been expected to join Chipper, Teixeira, and McCann in the heart of the attack. The plan is for him to get more at bats in a more relaxed atmosphere and rejoin the Braves after the All-Star break. I would hope that rather than put a time limit on this experiment, that the organization would have the mindset of 'we'll bring you back up when we think you are ready'. Francoeur, as expected, was disappointed with the decision and the way it went down. He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution his relationship with the club has now been jeopardized. Now why did you have to go there, Jeff? That will really get those booing fans off of your back. You haven't been getting the job done. The honeymoon is over, and it should have been a long time ago. You might be disappointed but you can't be completely surprised. I've posted two articles here about you being sent to the minors and what the heck do I know? Go to AA and work hard to get better. How about EARNING your way back to Atlanta? While they're adjusting your swing, perhaps they will adjust your attitude as well. This 'ain't personal', as they say, and if the Braves are wrong here it's because they didn't do this sooner. You don't know if you'll ever feel the same about this organization again, well evidently they already don't feel the same way about you. This is not Parkview High, it's the Big Leagues. You are being paid big bucks to produce and you are not producing. It's a business. Isn't that what you guys maintain at contract time? If you're mad, you should be mad at yourself. Take that frustration and get to work. Get back to where you were when you were first called up. The Braves need you. The city of Atlanta needs you. And even though you're not open to this right now, you need the Atlanta Braves. Get well soon Jeff.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Have A Happy 4th!

Have a great July 4th holiday! If you didn't think so before, it is definitely 'Summer in the South'
now. That means high temperatures with high humidity which equals S-T-I-C-K-Y! You just gotta love it! That also means that the next national holiday will be the beginning of football season. Here we go again! Thanks for stopping by An Opinion On Sports. I hope you enjoy your visits here, and that you develop a habit of checking in with us. Please consider giving a referral of this site to your friends. Be safe and have a fun holiday weekend. Always remember those in uniform who continue to insure our independence. Take care...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Personal Seat License or PSL

The National Football League has put into place the Personal Seat License. In a nutshell it means you don't just pay for your ticket, you first must pay for the opportunity to pay for your ticket. The New York Giants levied a $1,000 PSL on approximately 25,000 tickets. On the other extreme, Jerry Jones' new Cowboy Stadium has PSLs starting out at $2,000 and climbing up into the six-figure mark from there. That will probably mean that some lifetime Texas Stadium season ticket holders will be priced out of a seat in the new digs. Not to worry, Jerry will fill your seat before you can say 'Roger Staubach'. But hold on a second. Isn't the good 'ole NFL just taking a page out of the college football playbook? At most Division 1 NCAA schools, alumni and fans have to make a "contribution" to the general scholarship fund, or the athletic association or some other designated recipient before they are allowed to purchase season tickets. And just like the pros are instituting now, the colleges have always played by the concept of the 'bigger the gift, the better the seats'. There is no right or wrong here, it's merely the way the seating game is played. Football is king and the pawns get moved all around the chess board, sometimes even off the board. Checkmate! The system just gotcha. You may call it big business, supply and demand, greed or whatever label you prefer to apply to the practice. I maintain it's probably all of the above and it doesn't matter one pigskin punt. It's like that cellular phone commercial where the only thing that is going to change are the prices. Up, Up and Away Sports Fans! You gotta pay to watch 'em play!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Knowshon Moreno: Just a Little R & R

When you think of Knowshon Moreno, you think of high energy, a motor that is always running at full speed, and contagious exuberance. But even Georgia's star tailback gets a little low on the octane sometimes. With all the preseason hype surrounding the Bulldog football program, quarterback Matthew Stafford, and Moreno there are an awful lot of things coming very fast at these young men. Recently, it just got to be a little too much for Moreno. He was trying to accommodate everyone while being pulled in a thousand different directions. The decision was made with Knowshon, his family, and the UGA coaches that a couple of weeks at home in New Jersey would provide a great break for him. He could be himself, not the star tailback. He could do "normal" things away from the attention of being a University of Georgia football player. After all, he went from being an obscure red-shirt freshman to now becoming a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. There are not many places Moreno can go in the state of Georgia where he would not be recognized and swarmed upon. The image of the player Moreno in his number 24 jersey can be seen on the cover of preseason football publications in grocery stores, drug stores, and convenience stores. That number 24 jersey can be found in malls and sporting goods stores, thus on the backs of thousands of Dawg fans young and old alike. The kid can run, but he sure can't hide! So Knowshon went home to Jersey, chilled out and got refocused. Now he's back in Athens, refreshed and ready to go. And no you 'Anti-Dawgs', he didn't get sent home for disciplinary reasons. He just went home so he wouldn't get burned out and so he would be ready to "Burn You Up"!