Thursday, December 31, 2009

Does Anyone Really Care...

My Top 10 of "Who Really Cares"...

  • That Tiger Woods has turned out to be a jerk

  • That Terrell Owens has always been a jerk

  • That Urban Meyer just can't leave Florida

  • That Lane Kiffin wants to be like Florida

  • That Ga. Tech & Paul Johnson run the triple option offense

  • That Mike Leach now has no offense (nor 'defense') at all

  • That NASCAR has a serrated knife to its own throat

  • That Lou Holtz doesn't even know what coming out of his throat

  • That the ACC will always be known as a basketball conference

  • That Notre Dame doesn't even have a conference

Joe Kines: Thanks For The Memories

Joe Kines has announced his retirement as defensive coordinator at Texas A & M. The 65 year old Kines is well known around the Southeastern Conference, having served tenures at Arkansas, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. He had been on the A & M staff for two years. The old coordinator and his colorful, 'throwback' style will be missed in the college game. Hey Joe, did you ever stop that little inside trap?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Craig James: I Hope You're Right

Whether or not it's actually true, in a lot of circles Craig James will be blamed for the firing of Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach. I prefer to think the university administration was just looking for a good excuse to part ways with the eccentric Leach, but many will lay the blame on James and his son Adam. There are two sides to this story, of course. One is the true version of how the young James was treated, and the other is altogether false. It seems no one on the outside is being allowed to know who is right and who is wrong at this point. I wrote yesterday that Leach and James were both probably finished at Tech, and I still think Adam will have to go too. Now on top of that, the elder James might be finished at ESPN as well. His credibility may take a big turn south if his family's allegations prove to be erroneous. He would forever be known as the parent who got his kids coach fired. For what it's worth, that moniker may already be on him. I still don't see any winners coming out of this debacle. Texas Tech has alienated its fan base, Adam James is a marked man, Craig James is labeled, and Mike Leach is out of a job. The clean-up of this mess is going to take quite a while.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Brandon Boykin: "Three's The Charm"

Brandon Boykin returned a kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown in the Independence Bowl yesterday. The touchdown gave him three for the season, setting a Georgia school record and tying the SEC mark. The return seemed to wake up his Bulldogs, getting them started on their rout of Texas A & M.

Georgia 44 - Texas A & M 10

With graduate assistants serving as defensive coaches, fullbacks eventually pounding the rock as tailbacks, and an interim mascot on the sidelines, the Georgia Bulldogs thumped the Texas A & M Aggies 44-20 in the 2009 Independence Bowl. The defense played with heart and resiliency, the special teams were outstanding, and the offense perked somewhat in the second half. Georgia finally managed to play a team who could outmatch them in penalties, and be outmatched by them in turnover ratio. A team that could outdo them in the statistical aspect of the game, but be undone by the big play aspect of the game. I don't think we still know what this Georgia team is about, because I really don't think they could have defeated many teams other than A & M yesterday. We just won't get to see all of that talent performing as a "well oiled machine", if they were ever capable of that to begin with. The lack of fundamentals and discipline was still evident in Shreveport last night. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs scored their most points ever in a bowl game, and extended their streak on consecutive eight-win seasons to thirteen. The disappointing, roller coaster season has finally come to a close for Mark Richt's Bulldawgs. All that is left now is to name a new defensive coordinator. Let the speculation pick back up where it left off.

"Russ": Another "Damn Good Dawg"!

Hey Russ, you're undefeated Big Guy. Two and zero as a matter of fact. With victories over hated Georgia Tech and unrated Texas A & M, you've accomplished an unblemished interim term of leadership. You've represented the University of Georgia very well. You've set the stage for Uga VIII. Go back to the farm and live long and live well. Job well done! You're definitely a Damn Good Dawg!

Hey Mike Leach: What's Up?

Texas Tech has suspended head football coach Mike Leach indefinitely. He will not be allowed to coach the Red Raiders in their Alamo Bowl game January 2nd. Leach has come under fire for his treatment of receiver Adam James, who had been diagnosed as having suffered a concussion. I don't know the nitty, gritty details of this situation, and the ones who probably do aren't talking. But there doesn't seem to me to be any winners coming out of this thing in the end. I can't see a university suspending a coach for a game unless these accusations have some substance to them. One is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Is there fire where this smoke is coming from? I would have thought that if Bob Knight could make it through his tenure at Tech without a suspension, that any other coach could skate right through. It also might be tough for James to get a break with any other coach after all this plays out. Could this entire scenario been handled in a different and better way? No answer from me on that. However, I would bet that the Texas Tech careers for both Leach and Craig might be coming to an end very soon. Whatever the outcome, a lot of damage has already been done.

Monday, December 28, 2009

C.J. Spiller: An MVP For the "Thriller"

C.J. Spiller led his Clemson Tigers to a 21-13 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats Sunday night in the Music City Bowl. He had 172 all-purpose yards with 1 touchdown. The TD gave him 51 for his career, a Clemson record. Spiller, whose Clemson career has been a virtual highlight film, has scored at least one touchdown in every Clemson game this year. He also became the first ACC player to rush for at least 1,000 yards and have at least 500 yards receiving in the same season. He was named the MVP of the bowl game as well.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Urban Meyer: I'll Play That Mulligan Now...

In less than 48 hours after one on Urban Meyer's daughters proclaimed "I get to have my dad back", she lost him again. Meyer is taking back his proclamation of resignation (we used to call them 'do-overs'), and is now just taking a leave of absence. He obviously got those priorities he was talking about in order quickly. But maybe he realized once he gave up the premier coaching job in America, he could never get it back. Sorry family, but he'll probably talk more about all of this to you after his next health scare. He'll be involved in recruiting, in spring practice, in off-season workouts, in summer camp. and yes back on the sideline for the Gators 2010 season opener. It's all good. Anyone can change his/her mind. At least you didn't take as long as Brett in changing your mind...

Urban Meyer: It Isn't Rabies...

Urban Meyer is stepping down as head coach of the Florida Gators. You've all heard/read that by now. It seems "health concerns" is the leading reason at this hour. If that is the case, all I can say is the man doesn't have rabies, 'cause he hasn't been bitten by a Dawg since he's been in Gainesville. Anyway, more will come out on the state of Urban's health as time goes by. But now the attention has already shifted to his replacement. The speculation will be unending until Jeremy Foley makes his announcement of the new hire. That name will surface much sooner than you think, because National Signing Day is only about six weeks away. The top job in the country will not be vacant long. They'll leave the light on for you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

No Ho, Ho, Ho, From Santa For These 10

I don't think the following ten personalities from the sporting world will be very high on Santa's "Must See" list this Christmas. They really haven't been good boys and girls. Take a look:

  1. Alex Rodriguez

  2. LeGarrette Blount

  3. Elizabeth Lambert

  4. Plaxico Burress

  5. Steve Phillips

  6. Milton Bradley

  7. Rick Pitino

  8. Larry Johnson

  9. Lane Kiffin

  10. Tiger Woods

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New York Yankees: A Team of "Luxury"

The New York Yankees have been hit with a $25.69 million "Luxury" Tax. They were the only team in Major League Baseball to be assessed the tax this year, and the only team to have to pay it in all seven years of its existence. The Yankees paid a 40% rate of their payroll in excess of $162 million. They have paid a whopping $174 million in luxury taxes since 2003. The original name for the tax was The Competitive Balance Tax, believe it or not. Even stranger, the tax revenues are not distributed to the smaller market clubs in order to possibly enable them to be more competitive. I maintain that the tax is a farce. It is merely an excuse for Major League Baseball to impose a fine on the big market clubs. Teams like the Yankees could care less. If they did, they would curtail their spending. I think MLB should raise the salary cap slightly, and do away with the monetary fines. Instead, impose a system that costs teams top draft picks for the amounts they go over the cap. And I'm not talking about late round selections, but 1st and 2nd rounders for a succession of years. At least try to implement a system that could actually hurt teams in a competitive sense. Then they would have to make trades to acquire top, young talent and the smaller market teams would have something to barter with. Perhaps in the long run it would contribute to leveling the playing field a little.

Chip Caray: Still a Brave

Chip Caray has signed a multi-year deal with Fox Sports to do the play-by-play for 105 Atlanta Braves games beginning with the 2010 season. Caray replaces Joe Sciambi, who departed for ESPN, and will team with veteran Braves analyst Joe Simpson in the booth for games televised on both Fox Sports South and SportSouth networks. Chip Caray is a "homer". He is in his element covering one team. He does not do well floating around doing game-of-the-week type broadcasts, as we learned last year. He will be great in the Atlanta booth this year. This is good news for the Braves, for Joe Simpson, and for all of us.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Georgia Jersey Numbers to Remember: Part 2

This is all about great names who have worn specific jersey numbers while playing "Between the Hedges" in Sanfor Stadium for the University of Georgia. I have tried to give consideration to all eras of UGA football. The only rule I imposed on myself was that I could select only ONE name per numeral. I found that numbers 5, 14, 24, and 47 were especially tough to narrow down to one. However, there were legitimate multiple choices with virtually all numbers. Please take a look at the list and see who you would have choosen. Feel free to leave your selection/comments. If you missed Part 1, jerseys 1 through 30, you can pull it up here. In Part 2, I'll select 31 through 60. Part 3 to follow.

  • Jersey Number 31: Jeff Sanchez

  • Jersey Number 32: Musa Smith

  • Jersey Number 33: Terrell Davis

  • Jersey Number 34: Herschel Walker

  • Jersey Number 35: Verron Hayes

  • Jersey Number 36: Willie McClendon

  • Jersey Number 37: Kendrell Bell

  • Jersey Number 38: Tim Worley

  • Jersey Number 39: Bobby Walden

  • Jersey Number 40: Theron Sapp

  • Jersey Number 41: George Poschner

  • Jersey Number 42: Randall Godfrey

  • Jersey Number 43: Al Pollard

  • Jersey Number 44: Ronnie Jenkins

  • Jersey Number 45: Boss Bailey

  • Jersey Number 46: Will Witherspoon

  • Jersey Number 47: David Pollack

  • Jersey Number 48: Knox Culpepper

  • Jersey Number 49: J.T. Wall

  • Jersey Number 50: Len Hauss

  • Jersey Number 51: Ken Davis

  • Jersey Number 52: Henry Harris

  • Jersey Number 53: Ray Donaldson

  • Jersey Number 54: Hugh Noll

  • Jersey Number 55: Bobby Walston

  • Jersey Number 56: Harry Babcock

  • Jersey Number 57: Happy Dicks

  • Jersey Number 58: Tommy Lawthorne

  • Jersey Number 59: Greg Waters

  • Jersey Number 60: Pat Dye

Big Ten: Forget The Irish...

The Big Ten (actually eleven) is exploring the possibilities and options of expanding to a 12 team conference. Not a big deal, since this isn't the first time they've looked at expansion. Two questions come to mind: 1) What are you waiting on, and 2) Why even bother with Notre Dame?
The conference needs the 12th team to have two divisions and thus a conference championship game. That means more credibility and , of course, more revenue. Secondly, Notre Dame has already turned the Big Ten down once, don't give them a second chance now. Georgia Tech pulled out of the Southeastern Conference in 1963, and they never got a chance to rejoin. In the end, they had to settle for a slot in the Atlantic Coast Conference. A great league to be in if you're a 'basketball school' but that's about it. Nevertheless, the Big Ten should forget the Irish and fill out their membership with another viable candidate. And don't worry about it, Notre Dame doesn't carry the clout it once did anyway.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

John Wall: If You Blink, You'll Miss Him...

Kentucky point guard John Wall is one of the finest point guards to bust out on the college scene in years. But opponents of the Wildcats probably won't have to worry about him for very long. The NBA scouts have to be going crazy over the already refined ability of this college freshman. Can you say "lottery pick"?

Turner Gill: The Right Man, Kansas

The Kansas Jayhawks made the correct hire when they chose Turner Gill as their new head football coach. Gill brings youth, enthusiasm, aggressiveness and competitiveness to the Kansas program. For those attributes, Gill will earn almost $2 million per year. The 47 year old Gill hopes to build the Jayhawks into a perennial 'Big 12' contender. If you listen to him talk, you have no doubt in your mind that he will do just that. He wants to rebuild the Kansas program. He vows to rebuild the Kansas program. And he might just succeed in rebuilding the Kansas program.

Steve Spurrier: Still Not Enough Time...

The University of South Carolina gave head football coach Steve Spurrier a one year extension to his contract. This new deal will carry Spurrier through 2013 with the Gamecocks. His salary will remain at $1.75 million annually. With the young players on the USC roster due to successful recruiting endeavors, Spurrier feels he is close to achieving his goal of finally getting the 'Cocks to the SEC championship game. Carolina was 7-5 this year, and is 35-27 for Spurrier's five years in Columbia. They will play Connecticut in the PapaJohns Bowl on January 2nd. I've always felt that South Carolina under Spurrier will play everyone tough, even surprising some teams and pulling off an unexpected victory. However, I don't see them winning their division, the SEC East, any time soon. Spurrier may be excited about his talent level for the first time with the Gamecocks, but it still isn't anywhere close to the "hosses" he had when he was at Florida. Steve Spurrier has already won his last SEC East title, and he left it in Gainesville, Florida.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Charlie Strong: You'll Be Seeing Cardinal Red

Charlie Strong is the new head coach at the University of Louisville. I did not type 'head football coach', because most Louisville followers would not have read any further into the post. You see, football is an afterthought for the Cardinal faithful. This is basketball country through and through. Rick Pitino owns the "Head Coach" title on this campus. But Strong has waited a lot of years for this call. The former defensive coordinator at Florida wondered often if his chance would ever come. His chance came yesterday. For what it's worth, I would have waited a little longer for another call.

Mack Brown: $5 Million Man

The University of Texas has made Mack Brown the first $5 million head coach. He was making $3 million per year, with a one time payment of $2 million coming in early 2010. Now Texas has decided to make that $2 million an annual allotment. Brown has gotta be lovin' this recession we're in. To go from $3 to $5 million is bigger than a "Blue Light Special". And just where does this leave 'coach-in-waiting' Will Muschamp? Texas has said they want Brown to remain the head coach of the Longhorns for as long as he wants. Brown has said he has no plans to vacate his post any time soon. He is only 58 years old. Muschamp has no deadline clause like Jimbo Fisher had at Florida State. Think of all the really good head coaching opportunities that can/will pass Muschamp by before Brown steps down. Can't you just see a cartoon depiction of Will taking over the head job looking like Father Time? But Texas football revenues are skyrocketing, and Mack Brown is raking in the returns. I would stay on for a very long time myself under these conditions. However, if I were defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, I would be open to some head coaching opportunities elsewhere. They'll be out there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Danica Goes NASCAR

The courtship of Danica Patrick and NASCAR is now complete. Yesterday, a deal was finalized between Patrick and JR Motorsports for her to drive a limited Nationwide Series, as well as some races in the Camping World Truck Seres. This is a good move for all involved. She will bring a new air of flair and excitement to stock car racing, and the sport will open up new avenues in her career on and off the track as well. The next obvious NASCAR stop for Danica will most assuredly be the Sprint Cup series.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rafael Soriano: He Throws Braves A Curve

Just last week, the Braves signed a closer, Billy Wagner, and a set-up man, Takashi Saito for the 2010 season. These signings were necessary for Atlanta because relievers Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez each were given arbitration offers after their contracts were not renewed by the club. Gonzalez rejected the Atlanta offer, as was expected. However, at literally the "Eleventh Hour" in which to decide, Soriano unexpectedly accepted his offer of $7+ million. Atlanta did not want Soriano for $7 million; they wanted the two compensatory draft picks they would have received from his new team. Now they will have to trade him outright to another club and continue their pursuit of a power hitting outfielder. But the Braves do have options because they have a surplus of talent they can negotiate with, especially starting pitchers. Hang on, it's going to be an interesting winter before spring training rolls around.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Alabama -vs- Florida: One For The Ages

What more could you ask for? Number One versus Number Two. Florida against Alabama. Saban toe-to-toe with Meyer. Tebow squaring off with Ingram. Southeastern Conference championship on the line. National title implications. Heisman candidates in a head-to-head competition in one last showcase before ballots are cast. NFL top draft selections all over the field. The best collegiate football conference in America on display for all of America to see. The "Best of the Best". The "Creme de la Creme". They played each other last year in the SEC championship game. They play each other tomorrow. They will play each other in the regular season in 2020 and 2011. Hey, this thing is just getting started again with these two powerhouses. You have to understand, they have played each other seven times for the conference title. No other pair of teams has played each other more than twice. This is the ultimate match-up. This may very well be the national title game, for they are arguably the two best teams in the country. And that won't necessarily change after this game is over. In fact, if this thing goes down to the wire in a classic showdown kind of way, they should book both of them in Pasadena for a re-match. Winner take all, and that means the "Crystal Ball". I think 'Bama wins tomorrow with a grind-it-out, southern style, late go ahead touchdown drive against a, by then, worn out Gator defense. The Tide defense then seals it by stopping Tebow on the biggest fourth down of any of their lives. Yep, it's really gonna be something...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Golf Digest: Great Timing!

The cover above is a preview of the January 2010 Golf Digest cover. You think the publication will stick with the cover, if it isn't too late to pull it? And what about those article titles! 10 tips Obama can take from Tiger? Yea, right. You just gotta love, Load it & Let it Go! The Obama/Tiger Woods magazine cover: sure to be a "smash" at a newsstand near you.

Drew Butler: Like Father, Like Son

Georgia punter Drew Butler has been named to the American Football Coaches' All-America team. Butler is the first Bulldog kicker or punter to be selected to an All-America team since his dad, Kevin, in 1983-1984. Drew leads the nation with a 48.8 yard average on 50 punts this season. He is also a finalist for the prestigious Ray Guy Award.

Jesper Parnevik: Use A Driver Next Time......

Professional golfer Jesper Parnevik and his wife introduced Tiger Woods to Elin Nordegren. Now he is not very happy with the revelations that Woods has had extramarital affair(s). Parnevik goes on to say he misjudged Woods character, admitting Tiger isn't the man he thought he was. He says perhaps Tiger shouldn't take Nike's slogan "Just Do It" so literally. Maybe just not do it in the first place. And if he does, Parnevik's advice to Elin on club selection is a good idea as well. But I think I would advise her to consider Smith & Wesson as opposed to Nike!

Willie Martinez: It Was His Time To Go...

I never thought Mark Richt would fire Willie Martinez. I, like so many of us who make up the Georgia fan base, wondered if he could make such a tough call. Tough for him because he and Martinez were college roommates. Tough for him because they had been together at Georgia for nine years. Tough for him because they had been 'in the trenches' so many times together. Tough for him because Mark Richt is a very good man, and decisions like this make good men agonize over them. But we've found out that Richt will do what it takes for the good of his program. He can and will make the tough call. He isn't content with mediocrity. He definitely wants to turn his program around. Now he has taken the first step to make that happen. He's made good hires in the past, and he will make the right selection for his new defensive coordinator this time. And Willie Martinez will land on his feet as well. He is a good football coach in his own right. He will not stay unemployed very long. He's given the University of Georgia a big chunk of his life, and I for one, wish him well. But it was time for him to go. For the good of the Bulldog program.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Uga VII: One More Ride

Check out the halo, it must be Uga VII, back for one last ride off into the sunset! Don't worry Yellow Tech. We know you just got it refurbished, but we'll take real good care of her. Yea, right. "To the victor belong the spoils". Kinda makes you proud, don't it...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pass, Paul, Pass

Georgia Tech is known for running the triple option offense, and for running it well. They did a relatively good job of executing it against Georgia last weekend. But in the last two minutes of the Georgia game, Tech head coach Paul Johnson abandons his trademark attack and begins throwing the ball. Not just throwing it a little, but throwing it deep. And all of this is transpiring with the Jackets in Bulldog territory and almost two minutes left on the game clock. A bomb on first down. Another on second down. Then a third on third down. All incomplete. Now it's fourth and ten. An eleven yard pass to the sideline to a wide open receiver. Dropped ball, incomplete pass, kill the clock ( with more than a minute on it), Bulldawgs win! Thanks, Paul, and I don't even want to know what you were thinking.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger Woods: You Missed the Fairway With This One

One of the slogans for Tiger Woods advertising campaigns proclaims "I am Tiger Woods". The ads feature different people of all ages and cultures saying that they are Tiger Woods. But now reality has really set in, and the perception of truth leaves no doubt. No one but Tiger himself can tell the police to get lost three days in a row. Forget the billion dollar income, the model wife, and the fame of being one of the world's most recognizable figures. If he doesn't want to talk to the law, he isn't going to talk to the law. Now, I do understand that he has no legal requirement to be interviewed by the authorities. No criminal charges have been filed. This is evidently a personal, family matter between Tiger and his wife, Elin. But, unless I'm mistaken, if the cops knock on your door or mine, it would probably be in our best interests to listen to them. Either at our homes, or "down at the station". Not Tiger, he can just buzz the fuzz. But I have no problem with his plea for privacy in this matter. By all means, he is entitled to that. But he is a public figure, perhaps even the largest public figure of all. It seems to me that he would want to inform 'his public' of what actually happened, as opposed to letting the tabloids, blogs, and late night talk shows run wild. Even if it your world Tiger, we all live in it. I'm just sayin...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Georgia 30 - Ga. Tech 24

Natural order has been restored in the state of Georgia. Things are as they should be now. Georgia has defeated Georgia Tech after allowing the Yellow Jackets to play "Pretenders" for the past 365 days. Mark Richt is now 8-1 against 'Yellow Tech', Paul Johnson a break-even 1-1 against the Dawgs. Georgia scored thirty points as interim mascot Russ looked on. Georgia Tech didn't score enough, and had no 'live' mascot looking on, because they don't have a live mascot. They barely have a co-ed to cheer them on. The Bulldawgs running game (339 yards) attacked the porous Yellow Tech defense all night long. The Jackets triple option attack worked well enough last night, but certainly not at all after Johnson mysteriously abandoned it in Tech's last futile drive. Three incomplete bombs left Tech with a must make fourth and ten to continue playing. A dropped ball later and the Jackets now limp into the weak ACC championship game with a whipped rear end. As for Georgia, they may limp into a lower tier bowl, but they do so as State Champions! But boy does that dumb loss to Kentucky in Athens last week really stink now.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hey Kellen: Can We Get Five "Moore"?

Staying with this quarterback theme this morning, we highlight Boise State's Kellen Moore. All he did yesterday was throw five touchdown passes to keep his dominating Broncos undefeated, not to mention undaunted. His final numbers read 17 for 33 for 262 yards, with 5 TDs and no picks. On a team note consider this: Boise is not only 12-0 on the season, they are 72-4 this decade. How's that for a heck of a winning percentage? Now we wait to see if the BCS boys buy in to Boise...

How About a "Pike Six", Tony?

Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike returned to the starting lineup Friday following an injury and threw six touchdown passes to keep his Bearcats undefeated for the season. It was his first start since October 15th. Pike finished the day with a gaudy 32 of 46 for 399 yards. He now has 23 touchdown passes with only 3 interceptions in his senior campaign. Not a bad day at the office , "Pistol".

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

An Opinion On Sports wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Constitution does a column every Thanksgiving about the things he is thankful for. Take the time to make your own list. You might surprise yourself. Here's what I'm thankful for:

  • For the guy in traffic whose NOT on his cell
  • For Georgia's RED helmets & RED jerseys
  • For family & friends who love me in spite of me
  • For the readers who take the time to stop by An Opinion On Sports
  • For those who still appreciate the independent merchant & the battle he faces
  • For Fall football Saturdays in the south
  • For the vegetarians in the world who leave more BEEF for me
  • For hearing my dentist's greatest two words: NO cavities
  • For all the currency that's out there that no one can remove "In God We Trust" from

We'll continue the list in 2010. Until then, have a great one!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rick Pitino: "Turkey" of the Year

As we near Thanksgiving Day 2009, my vote for "Turkey of the Year" goes to Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino. The married hoops coach found himself square in the cross hairs of an extortion attempt following a 2003 after-hours affair at a restaurant. The woman (shown above with 'Slick Rick') later married the strength coach at Louisville. Go figure. She, Karen Sypher, faces federal charges. Rick just faces the consequences of his actions with himself, his family, and his friends.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Keith Olbermann: Not Very Funny at All

In my humble opinion, the people who try to be cute and funny very seldom ever come across either way. They aren't successful at being cute or funny. It just doesn't come naturally for them. So I usually arrive at the point where I can't stand to even hear their voices. That is where I am, and have been for a very long time, with Keith Olbermann. I refuse to watch the show Football Night in America because he is on there. His futile attempts at humor are sickening to me. I would really like to let him know he is making a mockery of himself. Because he is. He is a very intelligent man, but comedy and humor are not him. He should let the comedians take care of all of that. He should stick to serious documentary reporting. Notice I said reporting, because I don't think commentary is his strong suit either. Being a Sports Center junkie, I was elated when he left ESPN. I had come to detest him that long ago. Now he's back on a sports show. Ugh! But I can do without that one show, and I can certainly do without Mr. Olbermann.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Whatever Happened to the 'Double Bar' Face Mask?

Fran Tarkenton is shown above sporting an old 'double bar' face mask on November 23, 1975 when he became the NFL's all-time completions leader with 2,840. The double bar was popular for backs and receivers during that era, primarily because that was the best choice they had. And you would have to admit, it was a step up from the single bar that proceeded it. You can see in the photo that there is still a lot of face open as opposed to today's guards that modern players wear, but the single bar wasn't much more than a handle with which to carry the headgear with. It's a very good thing that both the helmet and the face mask have advance so far, because the game itself has advanced just as far with quicker, faster, and stronger participants.

Matthew Stafford: Heart of A Lion!

Matthew Stafford became the youngest rookie quarterback to throw five touchdown passes in a single game yesterday. But it was his fifth one that showed what Stafford is made of. Running back on to the field after a shoulder injury on the previous play, Stafford drilled the game winner before leaving the field again in obvious pain. His Detroit Lions defeated the Cleveland Browns 38-37 for their second victory of the season. The Lions only managed one victory in the entire 2008 season. Stafford was matched up against his former Georgia Bulldog teammate, Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. "Mo-Mass" had 5 receptions for 115 yards and one TD. When the Lions made Stafford their first selection in the NFL Draft, they knew he had the talent and ability they needed in a young quarterback to build a franchise around. Now they know he has the heart, desire and toughness. He will lead the Lions to many more comeback wins before it's all said and done. Here's hoping Matthew will be well enough to play in Detroit's traditional Thanksgiving Day game this Thursday.

Les Miles: Why Is Your Nose Getting Longer?

Les Miles said, "I do not know who told him to clock it." Yet Miles is shown on the LSU sideline frantically signalling his quarterback, Jordan Jefferson, to spike the ball and kill the clock. Ole Miss narrowly escaped with a 25-23 victory. The Tiger coaching staff had already botched the drive before it came down to the spike. They lost 17 seconds off the clock when they failed to properly get a time-out signalled to an official. They experienced confusion over which plays to run. And they confused their own players with their total disorganization. This will forever be known as "The Mississippi Meltdown", and it might further be known as "Les Lies".

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Georgia Bulldogs: Football Logic 101

Football Logic 101, as taught to me by the 2009 Georgia Bulldogs: I have learned this year that it really does not matter how recruiting classes are rated, nor how many 5-Star and 4-Star recruits there are on a single team. If basic fundamentals of the game aren't ingrained in talented individuals, the talent becomes unproductive. I've been reminded that football is still a TEAM game. A successful team must have very good individual talent, but these individuals have to function within the framework of the team. When they do, it becomes a win-win situation. When they do not, the team experiences limited success. A team with no discipline has no direction. The physical aspect of the game can only lead to success when the mental aspect of the game is understood and carried out. I've also learned that a fifth-year senior with basically no playing experience is actually a freshman who possesses a little better understanding of a system. Much like a medical student who understands the procedure that has been taught to him but hasn't actually held that scalpel in his hand. This has also led me to believe that skills unused can lead to skills that erode. When you fail to polish brass it tarnishes. I've been shown that the prolonged success of a program can lead to stagnation, and that once a comfort level has been achieved complacency easily sets in. When things become taken for granted, the framework of disaster is laid. I've been reminded that loyalty is a fantastic quality. The world we live in is drastically short of that commodity. But, I've seen that loyalty to any individual at the expense of an entire body or group is neither fair nor wise to either party involved. On a football team this goes for players as well as coaches. And I've learned that it is painful to watch a team that one has a passion for perform at such a mediocre level week after week after week. I realize with certainty that good teams get better as the season progresses, and that the weak teams show no improvement and even digress in some scenarios. Having said all of this, I am reminded that the worst thing a team can do in the midst of dreadful circumstances is to do nothing at all.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ben Jones: "Follow Me"

Before Georgia tailback Caleb King ran for two fourth quarter touchdowns against Auburn, center Ben Jones told him before each run: "Follow me". King listened, obeyed, and scored. Tomorrow against the Kentucky Wildcats, Jones will make his 21st consecutive start on the Bulldawgs offensive line. And as coach Mark Richt says,"He's like a pig in slop out there. He loves it." Lead on "Sixty-One".

Chance Veazey: He'll 'Homer' Again

Chance Veazey homered in his last at bat of Georgia's fall intrasquad games. He had three hits that day to elevate his average to an even .300. Two days later his scooter was hit by a car. Yesterday, the renowned Shepherd Center in Atlanta announced the diagnosis as paralysis below the waist. From everything we read and hear about Chance Veazey, although he has this diagnosis of being paralyzed, his will can never be stymied. His determination to overcome can not be halted. His dream may have been side-tracked, but his new challenge will be met full speed ahead. Chance will hit another homer, but probably not as a Bulldog second baseman. The next homerun won't even be in a baseball game. It will be in the game of life.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Uga VII: Headed to Bulldawg Heaven

Hey "Seven", you didn't stay around long enough for us to really get to know you. More heart problems, huh? Yea, they run in my family too. We knew you were just a pup compared to your dad, "Six". He liked to GATA, where you seemed to enjoy a good Saturday nap "Between the Hedges". I don't blame you though, that air conditioned Dawg House sure looks pretty inviting. We figured that spunk of your dad's would come out in you once you got a little older. But that's o.k, we liked you just the way you were. You were one of the Uga's, so you were special Little Guy. We'll miss you Saturday, so all the Dawgs at Sanford will take care of Kentucky just for you. Godspeed, "Seven", and tell your dad hello for us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A.I.: Practice? Practice? Practice?...

With all the hype going on surrounding Allen Iverson's split with the Memphis Grizzlies, I couldn't help but take this chance to bring out the infamous "Practice" video. To me it's a classic, and he and the guys at the press conference just keep it going. That's partly because the press kind of baits Iverson to continue his use of the word 'practice' as it approaches hilarity. I love this part: "Not a game, not a game, not a game. We talkin' 'bout practice. Not a game..." Check out the counter on the YouTube as it tallies each time he uses the word.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The "Heidi Bowl" Revisited

I'm sure most of the readers who come across An Opinion On Sports are waaay too young to have a clue about the AFL's infamous 'Heidi' game. Well forty one years ago today(1968), the New york Jets, led by Joe Willie Namath, played the Oakland Raiders in Oakland. The Jets appeared to have the game won 32-29 with 1:05 left on the game clock. With this in mind, the network left the game to begin televising the children's special Heidi. While off the air the Raiders scored twice in the final 42 seconds to pull off an unbelievable 43-32 victory. Afterwards, NBC was besieged with irate callers who were denied seeing the game in its entirety. In fact the calls were of such volume, they blew out the network's switchboards. Never again has a network left a close football game to go to the airing of another show. Who said football doesn't rule?

Brian McCann: A Silver Slugger Again

Atlanta's Brian McCann has captured his second consecutive Sliver Slugger Award and his third in four seasons as the National League's top hitting catcher. This year's award is special to the Braves catcher because he had to overcome early season vision problems at the plate. In fact he was hitting a paltry .195 before going on the DL with blurred vision after playing in only thirteen games. Sports glasses alleviated the problem enough for him to finish the campaign with a .281 batting average, an .835 slugging percentage, 21 homers, and 94 RBIs. Just last month he had Lasik eye surgery to hopefully correct his sight deficiencies. McCann is also a four time All-Star catcher, having been named to the National League squad in each of his first four Major League seasons.

Willie Martinez: DC For the New Decade

The only way for Willie Martinez not to continue to be Georgia's defensive coordinator in 2010 is for another school to hire him away from the Bulldogs. Namely, the Memphis Tigers. I think Willie would look good in blue myself, but I obviously don't have a vote in the matter. To all of my UGA counterparts who believe a change is needed at Georgia on the defensive side of the ball, we can all forget it. Head coach Mark Richt is not going to fire Willie Martinez. Not of his own volition, and probably not if pressure were to be put on him to make the termination. Richt would choose to go down with the ship rather than fire his old college roommate. For that matter, I would not be surprised if Martinez isn't given a little bump-up in his salary before next season. I'm serious. The defensive recovery Georgia made after giving up 14 easy points to Auburn last Saturday night solidified the jobs of the entire defensive staff for next year. All other transgressions have been forgiven. Only a colossal collapse against Kentucky this Saturday would reverse that. The soft zone that the Bulldogs play, which features defensive backs out of position very often, will continue "Between the Hedges". Yep, we're gonna play it again in 2010! Come on and pick up that phone Memphis. Make that call.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Roy Williams: Hard Work: A Life's Story

Roy Williams new book, Hard Work: A life On and Off the Court, has a very realistic chance to make the New York Times Best Seller List. This short excerpt is one of the reasons why: "They say that Michigan State winning is going to fix the nation's economy, well then, I say, hell, let's all stay poor a while longer. All that stuff is B.S. This is a basketball game. That's all it is. We are better than they are. Now let's go play. Tonight somebody is going to win the national championship. Why not let it be us?" I've already put it on my Christmas list!

Lundquist & Danielson: We Need A Break

The CBS duo of Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson are not the worst announcing partners I've ever heard. They both bring positives to the table with insightful commentary and knowledge of the game. But on the other hand, I wish the network would shake up this crew if only for the sake of change. To me, their act is getting a little old and stale. They own that privileged SEC 3:30 PM time slot, and it's time for a new tandem in the booth. Let Verne and Gary work a 12:00 noon slot for a change. I'm sure they won't mind since their beloved Tim Tebow will have moved on from the college ranks anyway. That's one thing I'm trying to point out. They seem to overstate the positives for one opponent, and also harp heavily on the other team's negatives. If one team is outclassed, they will quickly point it out. Perhaps that is the way it is supposed to be Maybe they're just doing their jobs. But they tend to give it a little "homer" aspect. Nevertheless, I think their methods are wearing a bit thin. Try a new combo next season CBS. Just a suggestion...