Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lane Kiffin: Crashing the Boards?

Since we've been zeroing in on coaches here lately, I thought I would go one further and keep you up to date on the latest Lane Kiffin news. It seems Tennessee's new head man has his sights set on the state of Florida for his new recruiting scheme. He plans to plaster the sunshine state with billboards promoting UT football and all the virtues of being a Volunteer. You read it correctly, BILLBOARDS. There is never a dull moment with the rookie SEC coach, and there are seemingly no limits to his audacity. He is quickly becoming "The Coach You Love to Hate" in the conference, supplanting the likes of Spurrier, Miles, and Meyer. What a 'Hall of Shame'!

Ron Zook: Relax and Stay Awhile

Last week, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved a one year contract extension for head football coach Ron Zook. The one year addition keeps Zook under contract through the 2014 season. The fifth year coach currently makes $1.5 million per year. His Fightin' Illini finished the 2008 campaign with a 5-6 record and no bowl invitation. The year previous, Zook led his troops to a 9-3 record, which was capped off by a rare Rose Bowl appearance. With all that said, I was puzzled as to why a coach would be offered an extension after a losing season. 5-6 isn't even in the mediocre range. I'm not saying Illinois should have fired Zook, but they certainly didn't need to extend his contract following that season. Perhaps that doesn't say much about the expectations at IU, or perhaps it says they've put all their faith in Zook to fulfill their expectations. Go figure...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mark Fox: An American History Lesson

Mark Fox had a great line when he spoke at the Greater Atlanta Bulldog Club Monday night. The Bulldog men's basketball coach drew a huge ovation when he shared this recruiting line: "There's fifty stars on the flag. There's one for Georgia. It's not for Georgia Tech, or Georgia State, or Georgia Southern". This guy is 'crazy like a fox", huh!

Bobby Bowden: Just Go On Out

Bobby Bowden should just hang up his whistle and call it a career. After all, by all accounts he doesn't even use it anymore (the whistle nor the career). 'Ole Bobby is just hanging around for the numbers. Numbers as in wins. Wins as in get more than Joe Paterno. More than JoePa as in hold the all-time wins record. It's all about the record now. What happened to big "TEAM" and little "me"? Bobby is all about Bobby these days. Or as they might say on the streets, "Bobby loves him some Bobby". I, for one, hope that the NCAA makes Florida State forfeit those 14 games for academic misconduct. Not that I side with the NCAA very often, but I'm just that sick of Bowden. Go on already. Go fishing with Tommy. That stature of you pointing on the FSU campus is actually pointing the way out for you. Just go Bobby Bo! Take one for the TEAM for a change.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Spurrier Omits Tebow: By Mistake...Uhm...

The case of the missing vote has been solved, and resolved. South Carolina's Steve Spurrier admits that Tim Tebow was left off of his ballot by a mistake, thus keeping the Florida quarterback from being a unanimous pre-season First Team All-SEC selection. Spurrier blamed it on an administrative slip-up within the football operations at Carolina. He has asked the SEC to change his vote to Tebow, and they have done so. Well, I guess everyone can rest easy now that all that is cleared up. As Rhett so rhetorically proclaimed: "Frankly, Scarlet, I could give a ..."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

College Football at Yankee Stadium?

Preliminary discussions have begun that could lead to Yankee Stadium hosting a college football bowl game as early as 2011. The NCAA and high ranking Yankee officials have met to discuss the possibility of establishing a post season collegiate contest at the new ballpark. The 'Big Apple' could be an interesting venue for some very intriguing match ups.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Carver High -vs- University of Georgia: No Winner Here

The University of Georgia withdrew a high School football player's scholarship offer while the player was on campus last weekend. This decision has drawn the ire of Carver of Columbus head coach Dell McGee, so much so that he has allegedly banned Georgia from recruiting at his school. Now hold on a minute coach. I will admit, Georgia botched this thing and they have said as much. But also, the player, quaterback Devin Burns who was offered back in the spring, has to shoulder some of this blame as well. As does McGee. If Burns had accepted when he was offered, he would be a Dawg now. Georgia would/will never rescind a scholarship once it is accepted unless the player breeches some part of the agreement. Coach McGee had to know the Bulldogs only had 20 or less 'ships to work with this year. He could have advised his player better with relation to time and numbers. In Georgia's defense, they have signed most of this class to date since Burns was offered. It does at some point become a numbers game, and this prep player simply got caught up in the numbers. It is indeed unfortunate for both parties involved. It is actually surprising that this type of thing doesn't happen more often. But I believe McGee is out of line attempting to bar the Georgia staff from his high school. He should know the reputation that Mark Richt's guys have; and he shouldn't to allowed to punish other Carver kids who might want to go to UGA. The University of Georgia does not make a habit of allowing this type of situation to take place. Dell McGee is aware of this. Everyone should back off and take a long look at how all aspects of this thing went down. Especially Coach McGee, who just happens to be a former Auburn player.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Yunel Escobar: NL Player of the Week

Yunel Escobar has been named National League Player of the Week. The Braves' shortstop had eight RBIs and 16 total bases to earn the award. He capped the week off yesterday going three for four and driving in four runs in a 7-1 victory over the rival Mets. Just as I posted here a few days ago, leave him alone and let him play. He is developing into one of the premier shortstops in the league, and Atlanta desperately needs both his bat and his glove. This is the first weekly award captured by Escobar.

Yes Tom, It Would've Been A Hell of A Story

Stewart Cink won the 138th British Open Championship. With no offense to the deserving Cink, the bigger story was actually that Tom Watson almost won the Claret Jug for the sixth time. At 59 years of age, the venerable Watson held the championship in his hand until his eight iron approach at the 18th hole bounded over the green. Any avid follower of the days play from Turnberry knew an up-and-down from that location was anything but a sure bet. Why could he have not gone with the nine? He said he thought about it. Or did it matter? Had the golfing Gods run out of graciousness to one Mr. Watson on this 72nd hole? He had played marvelously, regardless of his age. He wanted to win and we wanted him to win. We're happy for Cink, but devastated for Watson. He fought, he competed , he excelled, he came oh so close, and in the end he hurt. And we hurt with him. But we thank him for his excellence, his class, his competitiveness, his will to win, his dignity in defeat. Keep teeing it up Tom Watson. We're not quite ready to thank you for the memories just yet.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Atlanta and The NL East

Can the Atlanta Braves win the National League East? Yes, but not if things stay the same in the tee pee. After defeating division rival New York last night, the Braves are 44-45, six games behind the Phillies, with the season half over. They also trail the Giants by 5 1/2 games in the wild card race. Not insurmountable margins by any means, and they have won 10 of their last 15 games. But certain performances have to change. One of those changes must be Chipper getting hot and carrying this team during a crucial period down the stretch. In other words, Chipper has to start being Chipper. Nate McClouth must pick up his game and be the center fielder we expected him to be when we obtained him from the Pirates last month. I don't think we've seen that elevated level of play from him yet. He has to step-up his game in the second half. Starting pitcher Derek Lowe must become the ace of the staff that we expected him to be when we signed the former Dodger free agent. He, and we, cannot afford for him to lose many more games this season. No more slumps for him. Period. The Braves need to stop the trade talk regarding shortstop Yunel Escobar. He may be a little moody at times and not quite the "Poster Boy Brave", but the dude can flat out play. Hit, run, field and throw. He is a total package. Leave him alone and let him play. The production at first just hasn't been there. I think everyone was looking for much more from Casey Kotchman, but Martin Prado does bring welcome relief there when he's not at second. The DL is a good place for Kelly Johnson to be. Too bad it's only 15 days. I like the way the youngster Brooks Conrad plays the game. A throw-back who loves to play hard. He's a solid back-up at second, and has proven to be a clutch pinch hitter. And Atlanta has the best catcher in Baseball in Brian McCann. 'Nough said. But the Braves have to stop their propensity for throwing away games they should win. They blow too many late leads in games they appear to be in control of. Their relief pitchers suffer from control issues at times, and fall prey to lead-off walks and pitching behind in too many counts. Like Bobby Cox always says, you don't have to necessarily sweep teams, but you must win the series. If the Braves take 2 of 3 and 3 of 4 during series in this second half, they have a great chance of showing up in the post season. If not, it's home early for the Holidays!

John Daly: Fit for Fashion!

John Daly breaks out the green fashion for the opening round of the 138th British Open at Turnberry. It's good to see 'Big John' back on the links again. Here's hoping he can keep his act together and return to the form that earned him this championship back in 1995.

Ryan Howard: The "Fast Lane" to 200

Ryan Howard, the 29 year old first baseman of the Philadelphia Phillie belted his 23rd dinger of the season Thursday night. It was also the 200th homerun of his career, making Howard the fastest hitter to reach that plateau in baseball history. The historical homer came in Howard's 658th career game, almost 50 games faster than the previous mark of 706 games by Ralph Kiner.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Albert Pujols: Too Much All-Star Hype

I realize Albert Pujols is the toast of St. Louis, but does he have to be its official host as well? Major League Baseball was the host of the 2009 All-Star game, regardless of the fact it was held in St. Louis. Albert Pujols is an All-Star ballplayer, perhaps arguably the best ballplayer period. So, that's what he should be, a ballplayer. And a first baseman by trade. So what's with Albert catching the ceremonial first pitch? That should be a catchers pleasure (after all, he was a Cardinal too, if that was a prerequisite Tuesday night). I like Albert Pujols. He's a great guy who does great charitable things away from the field, and performs at a tremendous level on the field. I think this time he just got caught up in the hype. From a disappointing exhibition in the Homerun Contest, to a lackluster performance in the game itself. Only two outstanding defensive plays kept him away from the 'average' category. Going 0 for 3 at the plate and committing a run scoring error in the first was not your typical superstar performance. If his Cardinals make it to the World Series, perhaps he will look back on his performance when he realizes the American League has home field advantage due to their victory last night. Not to worry though Albert, you won't have to host the Series. You can just stick to the games themselves. And just first base at that.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gordon Beckham: What a "Windy City" Rookie!

0 for 13 and 2 for 28 would have done in a lot of called-up rookies. Not Gordon Beckham. All he did was collect the game-winning knock against the cross-town rival Cubs, and go on a 12 for 21 binge to raise his average to .278. He, nor we, may ever look back. And the former University of Georgia star is becoming quite adept at his new position of third base. This kid is the 'real deal'. He will be a 'Sox favorite for a long time to come.

Not Necessarily An 'All-Star' Booth

Tim McCarver will welcome Barack Obama to the Fox broadcast booth Tuesday night during Major League Baseball's All-Star game. I wonder which one thinks he has the bigger honor? In my opinion, the booth will house two guys who are get an 'A' for expounding and an 'F' for significant composition. How do you spell M-U-T-E button...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jeff Francoeur: A Brave No More

The Atlanta Braves did not trade-up when they dealt Jeff Francoeur to the New York Mets today. They did not trade-out either. In other words, they traded for a player of equal or lesser value, and they did so within their own division. Hopefully, that part of the deal won't come back to haunt the Braves. I would have preferred seeing him go to the American League. But I believe the trade will be good for Francoeur. The hometown boy needed to get out of the hometown. Enough would never have been enough in Atlanta for him, and he was far from the lofty expectations placed on him early in his career. Dubbed "The Natural" by Sports Illustrated, he looked anything but most of the time. He was rushed into the majors, and exploded on the scene once he got there. It really would have been hard for him to go up from there. And he didn't. We forget age-wise, his high school class is just exiting college. He does, at least, have youth on his side. Will he ever be all that was expected of him? Only time will tell. He still has not proved that he can make the necessary adjustments at the plate to be a consistent major league hitter. He'll need to amp up that learning curve. Fans of New York teams are not known for their patience. It could get ugly in the Big Apple.

Stallworth Released From Jail

Donte' Stallworth has been released from jail after serving a whopping 24 days for DUI manslaughter. How do you only get a 30 day sentence and serve 24 of them for manslaughter?
I'll admit, the lifetime ban from driving is pretty stiff, but not so bad when compared to 15 years in prison. I suppose that the 'financial settlement' with the victim's family was the determining factor in the entire deal. But what the heck, dollars rule over death any time. Right? I guess it beats rock, scissors, paper. What do you have to add O.J.? Perhaps Michael Vick should have sponsored 'men' fights instead of canines. I'm just saying...

McCann Can!

Brian McCann was named this week to his 4th consecutive All-Star team. He is the first catcher to be selected to four straight All-Star teams since Mike Piazza. And just think, we haven't yet seen just how good this kid can be. McCann was the only Brave selected to this year's team.

"Big Mama" Got Game...

No wonder they call them the "Red Neck" games... Can't you just hear it on Wide World of Sports: "the Thrill of Victory, and the Agony of 'De-Seat'!"

Dawgs Gone Wild

Former Georgia great David Pollack has signed on with ESPN as a part the network's SEC Network game day coverage. Another former Dawg, Matt Stitchcomb, will also be a part of ESPN's new conference package.

Federer at Fifteen!

This is what 15 looks like: 6 Wimbledons, 5 U.S Opens, 3 Australian Opens, and 1 French Open. A record 15 slam titles, all in a seven year span. The quality of tennis that Roger Federer plays has not diminished over those 7 years. In fact he might be like a fine vintage red wine: just a little bit better over the years. And guess what? There is still a lot of wine in the bottle!