Wednesday, December 31, 2008
As part of their gift package for playing in tonight's Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Georgia Tech players will receive a ring commemorating their victory over cross state rival, the University of Georgia. Keep in mind that the Yellow Jackets had not defeated the Bulldogs for seven consecutive years. They finally find a way to slip by the Dawgs 45-42 this year, and they are getting rings for the victory. For a regular season win. Are you kidding me? Are you that unaccustomed to winning, or are you that sick and tired of losing to such a superior program that you have to denote it with jewelry? To the victor belongs the spoils I suppose, but if Tech wants it that way I have a great suggestion for them, as well as for the series. Give rings to the winning team every year, compliments of the state's governor. Then let's see who gets their fingers filled the fastest. One out of eight just will not get it done for you Tech. Triple option or not, you won't be capable of putting together a winning streak against Georgia. Come to think of it, one every now and then is probably all you will be able to accomplish. So go ahead and flaunt your self imposed reward if that is what it takes for you to have your self-esteem back. Giving it to yourself is perhaps the only way you will receive it.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Nick Collins of the Packers lays a little 'smack down' on the Giants Ahmad Bradshaw in last year's NFC title game. Notice the paint, stripes, and numbers flying off Bradshaw's helmet. Nothing like a little head-to-head competition! This shot made SI's Best Shots of the Year.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Matt Ryan was named by SI Galleries as a Breakout Star of 2008. This number three pick in the 2008 NFL draft has led his Atlanta Falcons to the playoffs with an uncharacteristically cool rookie demeanor. Joining him on this list was teammate Michael Turner. Interestingly, Alabama's Julio Jones made the list but not Georgia's sensational freshman receiver A.J. Green. How could you have one without the other? Go figure...
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Under NCAA rules, the Bowls are allowed to give individual players up to $500 in free gifts. This year, at least four bowls are giving Best Buy shopping sprees and/or gift cards. No love for Circuit City in these packages...but they can always try for a government bail-out!
Of all the assistant coaches many Georgia fans felt we could afford to lose, offensive line coach Stacy Searels was the absolute last one we wanted to lose. And we may have come closer than any of us wants to know. But Coach Mark Richt has announced that Coach Searels has turned down Auburn's flirtation and will remain with the Bulldogs. The line coach is the fourth highest paid assistant on the Dawg staff at $235,400, but that figure has been increased to a higher, not yet to be disclosed, sum in order to entice Searels to stay put. I guess Christmas came a couple of days late for the Bulldogs in regard to this news!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Merry Christmas to everyone from An Opinion On Sports! We trust that you and yours will have a joyous holiday season. We thank all of you for dropping by this site, and we look forward to providing you with more southern perspectives on sports. Take care and God bless!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Dallas was in a must-win situation, as was Tampa Bay. Minnesota, the team the Falcons faced Sunday, was in that situation themselves. And the Falcons were do or die more so than the other three. The Cowboys fell to the Ravens on Saturday night, the Buccaneers lost to the Charges on Sunday early, and Atlanta downed The Vikings later that afternoon. The Falcons were the only team who went out and did what they needed to do to qualify for the post-season, and that is win. No backing in for these Birds, they flat out earned their ticket. The most encouraging remarks I read after the game by the Falcon players was that they aren't satisfied with just making it into the playoffs, they want more. There seems to be no complacency with this group. They realize you don't get the opportunity to walk this route always, and they want to make the best of it. They are a scrappy bunch of hard playing over-achievers, and perhaps no team in football runs the ball better than Atlanta. Their rookie quarterback, Matt Ryan, has played all year like a guy who has been in the NFL for half a decade. He is poised beyond his years. The defensive secondary has improved, but I really think they are a cornerback or two away from being a complete defensive unit. They also need more pressure up front. Nevertheless, I would not want to face Atlanta in the early rounds of the playoffs. They will be a dangerous foe early on. If they advance, pure adrenalin and desire will have to make up for some talent shortages for the run to continue. But you have to like the way this bunch of guys play as a team together. They really are all for one, and this flock is flying high!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno have petitioned to the NFL to project where they might be selected in the upcoming NFL draft. This draft committee gives a rough estimate to the collegian as to which round he is likely to be selected in. However, the committee does not try to project the actual selection number. This process usually takes as much as two to three weeks, and then the player has until January 15 to declare for the draft. Both Stafford and Moreno have said repeatedly that they have not made a decision at this time. Both the NFL owners as well as the Player's Association would like to see some type of rookie salary cap set up. This would mean that first year NFL players would have their salaries set, thus ending monetary contract negotiations for them. Some believe that could happen as early as the 2010 draft, which could mean literally millions of dollars for guys coming into the draft this coming year. You think that won't factor in tremendously in the decisions that are made in the next three weeks? The NFL is so in love with Stafford's arm that he might not be served well with another year at Georgia, but I think Moreno has so much more to show everyone with his vast talent. If he should choose to remain a Dawg, he will play behind a stronger, more experienced offensive line. He very well could have a Heisman Trophy type year. I hope we get to see that. Anyway, January 15th is not that for away. We'll know for sure then...
For a long time, Georgia's Mark Richt was o.k. with college football's postseason bowl games. However, all that has changed with him and he is ready to see a four or eight team playoff implemented to determine college football's national champion. He believes sentiment is changing along those lines with college coaches, and even with college presidents. Perhaps they are tired of having to convince pollsters to vote for their teams when it could be decided between the chalk lines. It seems as if the vast majority of college football enthusiasts favor some type of playoff system, but for purely political reasons it just can't seem to get accomplished and become a reality. Why not establish a panel of major college colleges to review the suggestions and proposals for a playoff? Let the panel of coaches study them, break them down, debate them and select what they determine is the best system for college football. Come on guys, it isn't like you're trying to re-discover the wheel or anything. It can be done rather easily, and in a way that would actually enhance the bowls rather than hurt them. And on top of that, everyone would still get their almighty dollar, and probably more than what is being raked in now. And that is already a ton! Stop all the talk. Just get it done.
Chick-fil-A will once again host college football's equivalent of the Daytona 500 when they match Alabama versus Virginia Tech in the 2009 Kickoff Classic. The second annual event will be played on September 5, 2009 in the Georgia Dome. Last year Alabama upset Clemson in the inaugural Kickoff Classic. Clemson was never the team preseason pundits expected them to be after that devastating loss, and Alabama never looked back. Georgia Bulldog backers are not necessarily enthused about the Crimson Tide appearing in this game again. It is a belief held by many that 'Bama gets tremendous exposure and leverage with high school recruits in the state of Georgia by appearing in such a high profiled game played in this state. It will be interesting to see if the SEC representative to this season opener begins to rotate around the conference as the annual series continues.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The Green Bay Packers announced today that they have signed former Washington Redskin's punter Durant Brooks to their practice squad. Brooks, who is coming off of a hip injury, will battle current Packer punter Jeremy Kapinos for the starting job next season. It is ironic that Durant finds himself in Green Bay, the same team that signed Derrick Frost, the punter he beat out for the Redskin punting duties earlier this year. Frost lost the Packer job to Kapinos. Durant never got a fair shake in Washington, a mistake the 'Skins will dread tremendously because the talented punter will be in the NFL Pro Bowl one day. Brooks was a sixth round selection in the 2008 draft out of Georgia Tech.
The Atlanta Falcons do not control their own destiny as far as reaching the playoffs is concerned. They are in a dead heat with Dallas and Tampa Bay for the two wild card playoff berths, and the tiebreak scenarios do not favor Atlanta. Even if the 9-5 Falcons run the table in their final two games to finish at 11-5, they would still need either the Cowboys or Buccaneers to lose in order to play in the post-season. Dallas has Baltimore at home and finishes with a road game at Philadelphia. Tampa has two home games left against San Diego and Oakland. Dallas has two tough tests perhaps, but the Bucs only worry will be the Chargers. The Falcons travel to Minnesota Sunday, then finish at home against St. Louis. I could see either (or both) of the 'Boys and Bucs losing, but the Vikes at home won't be a shoe-in for the Birds either. But here's betting that if Atlanta wins out, they'll make the playoffs. If not, it sure would be a waste to leave an eleven win team at home during the post-season. Especially if it turns out to be the Falcons!
Tiger Woods' caddie, Steve Williams, called golfer Phil Mickelson a "prick". He also said the two pros 'don't get along', and he took a shot at Phil's weight. Woods was said to have been disappointed in his caddie, and he released a statement saying that the matter had been "discussed and dealt with". Mickelson's side referred to Williams' remarks as inaccurate and irresponsible. That's a good way to keep the PGA's 'down time' interesting. Everyone has always wondered about the Mickelson/Woods competitive relationship, and this little bit of 'charity event chatter' just adds more speculation to it. But if I were Phil, I wouldn't lose too much sleep over what Steve Williams said about me. Not some guy who has already thrown a photographer's $7,000 camera into a lake, wrestled another one away from an off-duty police officer, and has been fined on several occasions by the PGA for inappropriate attire. With these latest remarks, along with these past actions, I don't consider Mr. Williams character in line with that of the game he represents.
The Atlanta Braves might possibly announce today that former shortstop Rafael Furcal is returning to his former team. This announcement is pending Furcal's passing a physical examination. His previous stint with the Braves was six seasons. With the multi-talented Yunel Escobar already penciled in at the shortstop position, Atlanta could move Furcal to second base to shore up that side of the infield, or possibly dangle Escobar as an integral part of a trade for pitching ace Jake Peavy. Here's hoping Escobar stays with Atlanta. I think we've only seen hints of how good this kid can really be. Chipper, Escobar, and Furcal in the same infield sounds pretty impressive to me.
Back in Time: December 15, 1982, Alabama's Paul "Bear" Bryant retires from coaching. After 15 years of leading the Tide, Bryant departed with a record of 232-46-9, and nine National Championships. It has taken the Alabama faithful 26 years to finally accept his departure, due only to the success of the 2008 squad. At least they are ahead of the Elvis fans, who still haven't accepted the King's death!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I know this has nothing to do with sports. Quite frankly, I don't want it to. This is bigger than anything going on in the world of sports. This is us. This is country. This is real. This is heavy. One man cares enough to make sure every grave at Arlington National Cemetery has its own wreath at Christmas. At no expense to anyone but himself. He feels the price has already been paid. And it has been paid by those who occupy those many grave sites at our National Cemetery. What a story. I encourage you to research it yourself. You'll be blessed. I promise you will. If you only take the time to read one post on An Opinion On Sports, I hope this one could be it. May God bless you and yours during this joyous season, may God bless all of those who make this wreath project possible, and may God bless America. Merry Christmas everyone!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Three of the nation's top collegiate quarterbacks are the finalists for this year's Heisman Trophy. They are Tim Tebow of Florida, Colt McCoy of Texas, and Sam Bradford of Oklahoma. The last time all finalists were quarterbacks was 2001. Tebow, of course, was last year's recipient. He and Bradford will square off not only Saturday night for this award, but also in the National Championship game, a game McCoy and his Longhorns feel they should be a part of. An Opinion On Sports casts its ballot for the Sooners' Mr. Bradford. You didn't really think this Dawg blog could endorse the Gator did you?
On December 11, 1959, the New York Yankees acquired right fielder Roger Maris in a trade with the Kansas City Royals. Maris(L), shown here with Mickey Mantle, came to the Yankees much cheaper than did C.C. Sabathia yesterday! In fact, the Yankees only gave up four players to get three, including Roger.
Whoa, Big John! What did that Aussie tree ever do to you? Ho hum, Daly's at it again. On his last hole of yesterday's Australian Open golf tournament, John Daly threw a spectator's camera into a tree after the spectator, Brad Clegg (above), snapped a shot at close range to the hefty golfer. In fairness to Daly, Clegg admitted to seeing the "No Camera" signs on the course. The golfer had gone to play his stray tee shot in the trees when the incident happened. He finished his round with a "smashing" 78!
Georgia's embattled defensive coordinator Willie Martinez says he almost departed the Bulldogs to join Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, a long-time friend. This was five years ago when Dantonio was at Cincinnati and Martinez was Georgia's defensive backs coach. The Georgia coordinator not only admits he came close to leaving then, but that he's had other opportunities to leave Athens since that time that were even more difficult to turn down. Really, now. Wow. Just think, Dawg Nation, Willie could be standing on that Spartan sideline at the Capital One Bowl facing the Bulldogs. What a shadow fate can cast...
The mighty Yankees have struck again. Have pen, will write big check! Free Agent C.C Sabathia signed with the New York Yankees yesterday for $161 million over seven years. The largest contract ever awarded to a starting pitcher (you know, they don't play everyday!), and the fourth largest contract in Major League Baseball history. There's no recession is the 'Big Leagues' baby! Perhaps the big three auto makers should have gone to MLB for their bail-out request instead of Congress. At least he Yanks have money to burn. One aspect of this contract that I found interesting was that Sabathia has an 'opt-out' clause after three years. This means that at the three year mark he will have the option of remaining with New York or signing with another team. In other words, he can be a free agent again at that point, giving him a shorter stint with the Yankees if he finds his stay there not as burgeoning as his bank account. That sounds like to me that he really would have preferred signing with another club now, but that almighty dollar was tugging him harder that a new jock strap. That's because his next closest deal was by the Brewers for only $100 million over five years. Incidentally, the Yankees initial offer was for $140 million. So you bump your own offer $21 million when you're the lead dog anyway? Go figure... I guess MLB is really just "the Yankees' World", and all the other clubs are just livin' in it!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
A throng of Auburn University students and alumni marched across campus to the president's mansion (see above) to protest the handling of the Tommy Tubberville situation. They sang the school's fight song, at least those who could remember it did, and chanted we want "Tubs"! Also, in a related manner, two wives of AU assistant coaches call out the university on the issue, one even going as far as to accuse 'Bama's Nick Saban of paying recruits. Have you ever...? The Tide and the Tigers are at it again! It's a shame they both can't lose in this thing! Or can they...
O.K., I'll go along with Florida versus Oklahoma for the National Championship. There is still reasonable debate on that point, but they just very well might be the two best teams in college football. It should really be a game to look forward to. But after that, oh brother! For example, if the Gators and the Sooners are one and two, then Texas and Alabama have to be three and four (which they are in the BCS). Why not pit those two teams in another terrific match-up in a particular bowl. Any bowl for crying out loud. Have a pecking order that rotates each year. If we're never going to have a playoff, at least get some great games lined up in the bowls. And for goodness sake, put an end to the conference tie-ups and affiliations with certain bowls. I can't imagine the Orange Bowl being ecstatic about having Virginia Tech playing Cincinnati. But being locked in with the fabulous Atlantic Coast Conference, they are stuck with a FOUR loss conference champ Vaaaa Tech. The grand ole Orange Bowl with a four loss team...mercy! I would have figured that four loss teams would play in something like the GM/Ford/Chrysler Bail-Out Bowl, but not one of the "Grandaddys". Is Ole Miss the best the Cotton Bowl could come up to face explosive Texas Tech? And does Southern Cal have to play in the Rose Bowl practically every year? And always against the Big Ten? That venue would sell out every year with any great match-up from any section of the country. Put the football in it, and get the politics out of it. Everyone will make their millions anyway, so why not appease the fans? At least get the top ten or twelve teams interestingly competing in the top five or six bowls. If that got accomplished, I'll ventue to say more of the 'other' bowls would have better pairings. But what we have is what we will continue to have because the 'need for greed' is far too great.
Monday, December 8, 2008
The Georgia Bulldogs will meet the Michigan State Spartans on New Years Day in the newest edition of the Capital One Bowl. Bowl officials selected Georgia over Ole Miss, and Michigan State over Northwestern and Iowa. It will be a match-up of the Southeastern Conference against the Big Ten Conference. Both the Bulldogs as well as the Spartans are 9-3. The two teams last met in the Gator Bowl on January 1, 1989, in a game Georgia faithful remember as Vince Dooley's last game as Bulldog head coach. The Dawgs defeated the Spartans 34-27. This year's game will feature two of the country's premier running backs in State's Javon Ringer and Georgia's Knowshon Moreno. The Capital One Bowl has the largest payout of any non-BCS bowl at $4.75 million per team. After finishing last season at 7-6, Michigan State looks at the Capital One Bowl as a step forward in their rebuilding process. As for Georgia, after going into this season with visions of playing in the National Championship game, this invitation might seem somewhat of a letdown. However, if I were the Bulldogs, I would be elated to be going to the Capital One Bowl after the way they played the second half of the year. That is the reason the bowl looked so hard at Ole Miss, because they finished the season so much stronger than did Georgia. With that said, it will be interesting to see if Mark Richt can have his troops regrouped and playing more aggressively and with more discipline by New Years Day.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
The SEC championship game did not disappoint us. By far, the two best teams in the SEC, as well as, two of the best teams in the country, squared off and punched and counter-punched all night. The outcome was not determined until very late in the fourth quarter, and the game was much closer than the eleven point margin of victory. It was great to see two teams so well prepared, so well coached, and so disciplined show up and perform in one of the nation's most anticipated match-ups of the entire college football season. The level of intensity and desire to win was evident with both teams. The SEC was very well represented and showcased Saturday afternoon. I get tired of the media's hallowed admiration of Florida's Tim Tebow, but I must admit, there is not a better leader of a team in the nation than is he. Tebow simply would not let his team be defeated. On the other sideline, no one expected Nick Saban to have the Crimson Tide playing at this level in only his second year at Alabama. They just picked the absolute worst time to suffer their first loss of the season. One would have to admit that below these two top-notched programs, the level of play in the SEC dropped off considerably this year. Alabama and Florida are just that much better than everyone else in the conference. I know that Georgia lost to both of these teams during the regular season, and they would have lost to either of them yesterday as well. The Gators and Tide have raised the bar to a new level, and Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, Auburn and everyone else must improved tremendously to compete at that same level.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Judge Jackie Glass did today in Nevada what college and professional football defenses were not able to do very often, and that is stop O.J. Simpson. After imposing such a varied series of concurrent and consecutive sentences that even lawyers had difficulty breaking it down, it has finally been deduced that the earliest Mr. Simpson could be released from jail would be after his 70th birthday. He is 61 years old now. Judge Glass, known for a no-nonsense approach, as well as for dishing out tough sentences, was strictly business today. She began the day by denying Simpson the privilege of wearing street clothes to the sentencing, and ended it by denying him bond pending an appeal. These two denials meant that O.J. Simpson exited the courtroom in shackles and a blue jumpsuit and headed directly to prison. Do not pass 'GO', do not collect $200. Simpson had been convicted on October 3rd of 12 criminal charges, including kidnapping and armed robbery.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Caution. Beware. Proceed Slowly. The football coaching profession in the Southeastern Conference can get nasty in a hurry. In a 'New York Minute' as we say in the South. Cases in point: Tommy Tubberville has a very commendable ten year track record at Auburn University, goes 7-3 against cross state rival Alabama, and is only four years removed from an undefeated season. One down year and GONE. Phillip Fulmer goes to the SEC Championship game exactly one year ago. One down year and GONE. Charlie Weiss posts Notre Dame's worst record in forever, preceded by less than spectacular years. Several down years and NOT GONE. Sylvester Croome does a commendable job at arguably the hardest place to win in the SEC. GONE. Les Miles, you had a down year. CAUTION. Mark Richt, your program came up short of expectations. CAUTION. The coaching life span in the SEC is getting shorter than a Brett Favre retirement. If you don't believe that, consider that Mark Richt is now the dean of the conference's coaches at their present school. This is the end of his eight campaign. Now don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not jumping on the Tubberville-Fulmer-Croome bandwagons. All of my SEC concerns begin and end in Athens, Georgia. However, I did believe that Tommy especially would weather this insanity storm. He has been through all of this before at AU. He would have had the 'ole War Eagle flying straight by this time next year. I don't really think Saban would have hung six more in a row on Tubs. No way. Now you've got to start all over with a new guy. Recover recruiting, get new coaches, learn a new system. Wow, that's a load. But don't bother calling Tommy back now to admit you made a gigantic mistake. He's already deposited the first of two installments from that gigantic payoff you had to come up with. He says he's going to hang around Auburn for awhile. Will that be like having an ex-spouse move in next door to you? Some shadow he'll be casting over the sleepy little town on the Plains! I wouldn't think it's a cost of living issue with him; he can live in a lot of better places than Auburn, Alabama (you've seen one trailer park, you've seen 'em all!) with that lottery ticket he just hit. But that's life in the vicious SEC. You can't win it all every year, but you sure better stay competitive and win the ones you're supposed to when you're supposed to. And that ain't that easy in that conference. Just proceed with caution, there's a big financial booster lurking behind every loss.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The Birmingham News is reporting that Auburn has fired Head Coach Tommy Tubberville. The Tigers finished the season with a 5-7 record, the worst in Tubberville's ten year run on The Plains. He led Auburn to an undefeated season only four years ago, and had won six straight games against bitter rival Alabama before this year's Crimson Tide 36-0 thrashing. Coach 'Tubs' was 85-49 overall, was Auburn's fourth longest tenured coach, and was fourth in wins all-time. According to the terms of his contract, Auburn must pay him $3 million in 30 days, and another $3 million within one year. Along with Phil Fulmer, Tubberville is proof that when the powerful, influential, big contributing alumni and boosters want you out, you're out. Huge contract settlements are no deterrent to your ouster. It's just a matter of what have you done lately. It does not matter if you're Les Miles, Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, or Mark Richt, if and when you fail to bring home a trophy in a matter of a few years, you're history. They can stick a fork in you, 'cause you're done. You let Mark Richt's troops continue to play 'soft' and settle into a state of mediocrity over a couple more seasons, and he will be out at Georgia just as quick as Phil and Tommy. It's the nature of the game. It's a big money game, and where the stakes are high, the risks are just as high as well. Back to Auburn, I don't think they would have kicked Tubberville out this year unless that had very good reason to believe that Texas Tech's Mike Leach would take that vacated seat. Just a gut feeling...Anyway, good luck Tommy Tubberville. You and Fulmer keep rolling those sevens. And don't get rid of your agents, they gotta be two of the best in the business with those payouts they set up for you two!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Mike Hampton reportedly will become a member of the Houston Astros this Wednesday. If he follows his normal progression of the past six-plus seasons, he will become a member of the Astros injured reserve in early to mid 2009. Hampton was paid $48.5 million over six seasons, while starting a booming 85 games for the Braves and recording a whopping 35-24 record with a voluminous 4.10 ERA. Allow me to break it on down for you: That comes out to $570,000 per start, $1.39 million per victory, and $95,160 per inning. He did manage to start 13 games for the Braves last season, going 3-4 with a 4.85 ERA. This did include eight quality starts with only a 3.72 ERA in his last nine games. So now he's out of Atlanta and that shouldn't cause anyone any concern over a guy you couldn't count on to make his scheduled starts anyway. Right? Not quite, and here's why: The Braves actually offered Hampton more than Houston did, and now that he is finally, supposedly healthy, he bolts the Braves. Come on 'Mash Unit Mike', give Atlanta at least a chance to make back some of that rotten investment. Professional athletes always talk about the lack of loyalty from ownership. That's probably true, but that street runs both ways boys. Go ahead Hampton, and carry your injury-proned rear end to Houston. Good luck passing that Tuesday physical exam. It will be the first one you will have been able to pass in many off-seasons. Mike Hampton, you're already forgotten in Atlanta. After all, we hardly even knew you!
Monday, December 1, 2008
Plaxico, rule number one is if you're gonna own a firearm, know how to use it. Rule number one enables you not to break rule number two, which is never shoot your own stupid self. Rule number three says possess the firearm in a state/city where it is permissible, New York City not being one of those locales. As a matter of fact the Big Apple carries a MANDATORY three-and -half-year jail sentence for unpermitted and concealed firearms. Wow! Since you don't seem to enjoy practicing with Eli, perhaps you and Mike Vick can toss it around the pen together! You two must really be afraid of heights, because once both of you got to the top, ya'll dropped like the Dow Jones. Ole Gump's mom was right, "Stupid is as Stupid does"! And this guy you are definitely not: