Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bill Stewart: Are You Kidding Me...?

Let me get this straight. West Virginia's head football coach Bill Stewart will be a "lame-duck" coach during the 2011 season. He has been "fired", and his successor has already been named and will serve as the Mountaineer's offensive coordinator next year. Say what? That's like getting a divorce but staying in the house with your former wife and her new husband. Just can't happen. What's up, Bill? Talk about the ultimate company man...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Opinion on Sports would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! Be safe and never forget the true reason we celebrate this season. Take care!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A.J. Green: Going Away Too Quietly...

Reports indicate that Georgia's A.J. Green will enter next year's NFL draft. Not an earth shattering revelation here. You had to know he couldn't turn down the major dollars that would become his as one of the elite top picks. As we say, "Stevie Wonder could see this coming". In the business world there is an expression "money left on the table", meaning the difference between the high bid and the next closest bid. For some reason that term keeps popping up in my mind when I think of the college career of A.J. Green. It seems to me a lot was left on the table. A lot went unused. A lot was wasted. Was he one of the greatest receivers in college football? How would we know, we only got glimpses of his great talent. I think we got cheated out of seeing the total package of Green the complete receiver. And yes, I think he cheated us out of four games this year by making an utterly stupid decision to sell a piece of cloth for $1,000. Stevie could have seen that one coming as well, A.J. Have we been cheated out of an illustrious college career also? All I can say is A.J., we hardly knew ya. And I'll shed no tears for ya.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cam Newton: NCAA Says Play Away

Before I get into this post, let me say up front that I am glad that Cam Newton has been ruled eligible to play by the NCAA in the SEC Championship Game Saturday night. He's evidently been eligible to play all season, so why stop now? Party on, Garth! However, there is something about the start of the season that I don't understand as far as the NCAA is concerned. It has been said/written that Mississippi State reported to the NCAA in July that they had 'concerns' regarding the recruitment of Newton. If indeed that prompted the governing body of intercollegiate athletics to begin "looking into" these reported concerns, why was the Auburn quarterback eligible to play at the beginning of the season if the investigation was ongoing? It had to be "ongoing" then because it's supposedly still "ongoing" now. The University of North Carolina had several players who sat out games pending the results of investigations into their attending a Miami party hosted by agents. Some of these Tarheels were eventually reinstated to play, and some were not. Georgia's A.J. Green missed two games while the investigation of him selling his jersey online was "ongoing', then two additional games when he was determined guilty. The two additional games were reportedly because he sold his jersey to an agent, even though Green maintained he never knew the guy was an agent. Cam Newton, as well, maintains he knew nothing of his father's solicitation of money for his athletic services. See, the NCAA isn't showing consistency in their actions and/or explanations of sanctions/non-sanctions. One other point; if it is indeed true that Newton wanted to attend Mississippi State all along but his father said you're going to Auburn, why would his father be so adamant about the college choice if it wasn't an issue of money? The NCAA might want to clear up this "loophole" that the good Rev. Newton has just exploited. If not, there could be other dads down the road who seek money for their sons. Because the way this ruling has gone, it's o.k. as long as the son knows nothing about the deal. It's a good thing for Rev. Newton's congregation that the teachings of his chosen profession have no loopholes to exploit.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Georgia: A Very Weak 6-6

Thank goodness the regular season is over. As a die-hard Dawg fan, I can't recall a time when I was so glad to see a schedule completed. It just hasn't been a lot of fun watching Georgia play this year. One tires quickly of mediocre football, and that's the type of football team the Bulldogs are. Mediocre at best. When I mentioned a completed schedule, I also look at it as a schedule totally wasted. Think about it; our rotating teams from the West side of the conference were as weak as we will see. I'm aware of Arkansas' record, but we caught them at a good time and blew a great chance to win that game late. Mississippi State isn't quite a feared program yet. That should have never been a conference loss, even on the road. In the East, we'll never see the Gators this weak again. We missed a fantastic opportunity to turn that series around in Jacksonville. Even though South Carolina won the SEC East, playing them early when we did was actually a good time to catch the 'Cocks. Another blown opportunity on a weak schedule. Georgia Tech is as bad as Paul Johnson has fielded in a long time, even at Navy. What turned out to be a scary night for the Dawgs down to Tech's last possession, should have been at least a seventeen point victory for Georgia. It's just another game of watching Mark Richt's team play poorly. That's why I'm glad the season is over, Liberty Bowl notwithstanding. There's always next year, right? Or will it hold just more of the same? It will unless significant changes are made. We'll see...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, 2010 Version!

Just as we did last year, An Opinion On Sports wishes each of you a Happy Thanksgiving. We'll also take our second crack at an old tradition of columnist Furman Bisher and jot down a few things we're especially thankful for:

  • I'm thankful for the American Veteran, who cared enough to risk all.

  • I'm thankful for lemon pepper wings cooked on my own grill.

  • I'm thanful for a wife who still considers me her "Boyfriend".

  • I'm thankful that there's a new book out about my all-time favorite Mickey Mantle!

  • I'm thankful for Pat Conroy, who can paint a masterpiece with words.

  • I'm thankful that Vanderbilt is always on Georgia's gridiron schedule.

  • I'm thankful when Bobby Goodson and the 'Swamp Loggers' have a good day!

  • I'm thankful for 'Talking Tom'; that cat, with help from my son, is one funny dude!

  • I'm thankful that even in a season like this, it's still great to be a Georgia Bulldog!

Thanks again for reading An Opinion On Sports. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cam Newton: Son of a Preacher Man...

Just like everyone predicted, the Cam Newton story just won't go away quietly. There might not be any wrong-doing discovered when everything is all said and done, but a lot of entertainment will sure have been derived from it. Flim Flam By Damn, Cam!

Alabama 63 - Georgia State 7: Why?

It is true that the Georgia State football team never quit Thursday night in their humbling loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide. But, actually, they never should have started. Not this game anyway. I realize GSU needed the payout from a Division I school, but why begin with the defending National Champions? Georgia State has been in the football business only a few months; Alabama's been in it a 100 years. The Panthers were intimidated from the beginning, not to mention being out-manned, over-matched and overwhelmed. Use all the 'outs' and 'overs' you want to imply. I can't see that either team got anything out of this game, other than revenue. I don't fault Bill Curry for daring to dream big, but I do fault him for not being more selective. For instance, it would have been a much closer game to just stay in Atlanta and take on Georgia Tech. Closer travel and closer score. Just saying...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wrigley Field: Ready For College Football

Northwestern University will play a "home game" against the University of Illinois at historic Wrigley Field Saturday. Why not? For 50 years Wrigley was home to the Chicago Bears before they made their move out to Soldier Field. There is legitimate concern about a couple of 'tight spots' with the field layout, but officials don't see them as a big injury risk for the players. It should be a great atmosphere for college football at the venerable old stadium. It's good to see the two schools agree to playing there. A sell-out crowd of 40,000 is expected to be on hand. It should be good for college football.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Georgia - Auburn: Still A "Friendly" Rivalry?

The Georgia-vs-Auburn annual gridiron slug-fest is the South's oldest and longest running football rivalry. It has always been known , pretty much, as a 'friendly' rivalry. It has been thought of as a clean, evenly matched series between two long-standing SEC foes. In the past, the two institutions have traded coaches with each other. Vince Dooley played at Auburn, then was head coach at Georgia. Pat Dye was an All-American while playing for the Bulldogs, and later became the Tigers head man. They have also traded in-state players with each other. Auburn has more than twenty Georgia kids on their football roster this year alone. UGA has only one player from the state of Alabama. Auburn kind of needs the state of Georgia in order to play football, wouldn't you say? The two institutions are connected in a lot of ways. However, in the smoldering aftermath of Auburn's victory Saturday, some of the cordiality seems to have been removed from this rivalry's storied past. The questionable (tactful word, huh?) play of AU's Nick Fairley has not only riled up the Bulldawg Nation as a whole, but has cast Auburn in somewhat of the same light as a camo-wearing Miami team of years ago by those not affiliated with the Bulldogs as well. The continuously hovering cloud of the "pay-to-play" scenario with quarterback Cam Newton has done nothing to enhance the Tigers image either (I'm not suggesting Auburn is guilty of anything here, just talking about perception). But who knows, by this time next November, all may have been forgotten and forgiven. And the rivalry that is known as Georgia-Auburn that will take place "Between the Hedges" might once again be a game among friendly foes(?). Time will tell...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nick Fairley: Too Good To Be Dirty

Auburn's Nick Fairley might be the best defensive lineman in the country. He also might be the dirtiest defensive lineman in the country. And he doesn't need to be. He's good enough to not be out of control. But he is out of control, and he is a dirty player. He can dominate the line of scrimmage and overpower any offensive lineman he faces. He doesn't have to commit late hits on quarterbacks in defenseless positions. But is does, because he is a dirty football player. He's a great college football player, but he's a college football player with no class. His game needs no refining, but his act sure needs some cleaning up. I wonder if that's possible.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day: We Honor Those Who Served

Take the time to thank a Veteran on Veteran's Day. We designate it as a day when we honor those who served our country. Remember that all gave some, and some gave all. Also, never forget that only two defining forces have ever voluntarily died for you: Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died to save your soul, and the other died to preserve your freedom. Happy Veteran's Day from An Opinion On Sports.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

South Carolina -vs- Florida

South Carolina visits the Swamp Saturday to take on Florida for the SEC Eastern Division title. This is a news bulletin to the entire Gamecock Nation: You will lose this game to the Gators, thus blowing the best and only chance you will ever have at making it to Atlanta for the Southeastern Conference Championship. It's sad to say but Carolina fans thought for sure this was going to be their year. Nope, not, and never. It will be many years before the SEC East is this weak again. The 'Lamecocks' will fall this weekend to one of the worst Florida teams in over a decade. South Carolina is very close now to being the best they can and will be. It just isn't going to happen for them, just as it isn't going to happen for Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Florida, Georgia and Tennessee will all get better. The Gamecocks will not, and that starts Saturday.

"Lucky" Les Miles: The Mad Hatter Strikes Again

Les Miles was on the proverbial 'Coaches Hot Seat' not too long ago. Now he's just making the seat a little hotter for all the other coaches in the Southeastern Conference. Last Saturday, Miles reached into his bag of tricks and called a 4th down double-pitch reverse against mighty Alabama to clinch a victory over the Crimson Tide. Love him or hate him, Miles comes out every Saturday to W-I-N. In the resounding words of Herm Edwards: "You play to win the game", and Lucky Les does just that. I know he needs to wear a cap a size or two bigger, but I guess the little headwear just adds to his unique, if not marred, persona. Perhaps only Tommy Tubberville, when he was at Auburn, took more 4th down gambles than Miles. His intensity on the sidelines is no masquerade; he's definitely in it to win it. His 8-1 Tigers have two more SEC games remaining on their schedule. Stay tuned for the Mad Hatter's next stunning move.

Cam Newton: The Smoke's Gettin' Thick...

Did Cam Newton receive money to play football at Auburn University? Probably. Bo Jackson likely did also. Herschel Walker was likely to have been slipped a few dollars to attend Georgia. It would be no surprise to learn that practically every Division I school has paid top-notch recruits in order to entice them to attend their school. I'm not saying it's right, just saying it happens. When overzealous alums get involved, the dollars tend to flow. Nevertheless, this Cam Newton saga just doesn't seem to want to go away. I have no idea if there is fire accompanying this increasingly thick cloud of smoke, but it sure is hard to ignore the fog. Will it have an effect on Newton's on-the-field performance? Not a chance. Football is all he knows. Once he steps on the practice field or the Saturday stage, nothing else matters to him nor registers with him. It's all about football. Tunnel vision. He's got the blinders on. Not a problem. The only time any of this might garner his attention would be if it escalated to the point of taking away his college field of dreams. But even that scenario would not be cause for alarm, because the pro game eagerly awaits his arrival. And payments in that league are all on top of the table.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NASCAR: My Crew is Your Crew is My Crew...

If you're at all familiar with this blog, then you know I love taking shots at NASCAR. I like to say it's the WWE of motor sports. For sure, it ain't your Granddaddy's NASCAR. My latest jab at them concerns Jimmy Johnson's pit crew being pulled during a race and replaced by the number 24 crew of Jeff Gordon, who had already crashed and burned out of the race. Now the good 'ole boys of NASCAR have only two races left in their "chase" for the points championship. Johnson, finding himself in second place at this point, has announced he will keep Gordon's crew for the remaining two races in order to enhance his chances of winning the crown jewels. He's saying your guys are better than my guys. It is worth noting here, I guess, that Gordon and Johnson both belong to Hendrick Motorsports and are, thus, teammates. My problem with this is that a team shouldn't be allowed to change its pit crew during a race. Like the old expression goes, "you got to dance with who brung you". The word "TEAM" is just what it implies, a team. After the race, make all the changes you want, but not with another car's crew. Replace or revamp you own, not one that belongs to your "teammate". If I were a member of Johnson's former crew, I think I would tell the 48 bunch to put it in another zip code (that was tactful, wasn't it?), and if I was Jeff Gordon I would say my crew is my crew. Go work out your own problems. Isn't NASCAR a joke?

Jon Miller & Joe Morgan: You're Out!

ESPN has announced that the long time telecast team of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan will no longer be the voices of Sunday Night Baseball. The pair had been doing SNB for 21 years. As far as I'm concerned, that was twenty years too long. A new crew, yet to be named, in the booth will be a welcomed change next spring and summer. Better late than never, I suppose, ESPN.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Georgia -vs- Auburn

If you're a Georgia fan, you gotta try to have fun with this year's game somehow...

Monday, October 4, 2010

What's Wrong in Athens?

Literally everyone wants to know what the problem is in Athens. The Dawgs are currently on a four-game losing streak, and they have not won a conference game up to this point. They have given two programs, Mississippi State and Colorado, a false sense of gratification for achieving much less than they actually did. They have let South Carolina and Arkansas be Division contending pretenders, at least for a game. So what is wrong with the football program at the University of Georgia? Some say a lack of talent, although Mark Richt's teams have been in the Top 10 recruiting class polls every year he's been in Athens. Some say our Strength & Conditioning program is no longer producing positive results (hence our poor offensive line performance). Still others say Richt's "Florida State Offense" needs to be revamped and overhauled (that is changed completely). Our offensive philosophy is said to be very predictable; 'vanilla', if you will. You hear the phrase 'lack of discipline', both on and off the field. Another reason for the downturn at Georgia thrown around is that kids are not being 'coached up'. Some members of the Bulldog Nation feel that Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo need to go (the phrase is Bobo needs to Gogo), and still others believe Richt himself must end up being the 'fall guy' when this is all said and done. In other words, Georgia needs to clean house and let a "new broom sweep clean". I'll tell you up front that I'm not smart enough to decipher through all these problems (and yes, I think all of the above are legitimate concerns). I just want to know if whatever is wrong in Athens is "fixable" by Mark Richt. If they ere, then let's go forward starting right now. If Richt can't fix the program, then I know what the answer is and will be.

Atlanta Braves: Wild Card Winners!

It does not matter how a team gets into the playoffs. The main thing is to get in. Period. The Atlanta Braves are indeed in, by virtue of the Wild Card spot. They will open Thursday night in San Francisco against the Giants. It is true that the Braves are 'limping' into this post-season because they carry with them injuries galore. However, when you get into a short series, anything can happen. Especially if your starting pitching holds up and you get some timely, clutch hitting. So Bobby Cox has the deserving opportunity to lead his Braves into post-season play one more time. He's earned this trip, and so has his over-achieving club.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

L.S.U. -vs- Tennessee: Unbelievable Finish...

L.S.U. tried to give Tennessee a victory Saturday afternoon. Tennessee wouldn't take it. In as bazaar a finish as you are likely to see in college football, L.S.U was given a second chance to literally pull victory from the jaws of defeat. After being stopped on the one yard line by the Volunteer defense while trailing 14-10, L.S.U.'s center T-Bob Hebert snapped the ball over quarterback Jordan Jefferson's head on what everyone thought was the final play of the game. Tennessee wins, and Derek Dooley tastes his first SEC victory, right? Only in your dreams, Vol fans. The men in Orange were caught with 13 men on the field and the Bengal Tigers are given a "do-over" from the 1/2 yard line with no time left on the game clock. 'Lucky Les' Miles continues his "Magical Mystery Tour" through the L.S.U. schedule, and finds his squad somehow at 5-0. Meanwhile, Dooley takes his team to his Dad's old stomping grounds next Saturday as he travels "Between the Hedges" to face a hapless Georgia Bulldog squad. One thing is for sure, after the Vols leave Athens, either Mark Richt or Dooley will have garnered his first conference win of the season. Now isn't that a heck of a storyline for those two once proud southern football programs?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lebron James: Race? Are You Kidding Me...?

Let me set the table for you by telling you that I probably wouldn't walk across the street to see an NBA game, even for free. It really isn't true basketball to me, just a random version of the original game. Give me the collegiate version any day. Now with that point made clear, I'll touch on a comment made by one Mr. Lebron James. He stated that all of the negative publicity he has received because of his staged announcement to sign with the Miami Heat, is because of race. Not greed on his part, but race on the part of the media and general public. Not his selfishness, but his race. Hey, we have plenty of race problems in America. If you don't think so, you might want to get your head out of the sand. However, I believe the infamous "race card" gets played far too often and unnecessarily. The reaction to James' decision had nothing to do with race. It had everything to do with a bad decision he made blowing up in his face.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thanks, Bobby!

This is a great Bobby Cox story, whether you've heard it before or not: Jeff Francoeur and Bobby were both thrown out of a game in San Diego at the same time. When they arrived in the clubhouse, Francoeur acknowledged that this was his first ejection, and quite frankly he didn't know what to do. Bobby suggested he have a couple of beers, relax in a cold tub, and get ready to write the league a $500 check. Or Cox then suggested Jeff could do what he does " I write 'em a $10,000 check and tell 'em to call me when that runs out." Francoeur said it was the hardest he ever laughed. Cox set the Major League record for most ejections in 2007, and on September 17, 2010, he was ejected for the 158th time in his career. Most of those tosses were made when he was either standing up for one of his players, or protecting one of them from being thrown out of the game. Thanks again, Bobby!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A.J. Green: And How Was Your Spring Break...?

A.J Green spoke today about selling his jersey. Basically, reading between the lines, he said he knew it was wrong, he didn't think he would get caught, and he needed the $1,000 for spring break. He obviously didn't think about his team of Georgia Bulldogs in the process either. I understand Green is a really good kid, but I'm tired of college athletes doing things the wrong way. Especially when they hurt their team's chances of winning in the process. I'm certainly not implying Georgia's record would be better if Green had been in the lineup, but it sure as heck wouldn't be worse. As far as I'm concerned, he owes it to his university to return to Georgia next year and play a full season, but we all know that isn't going to happen. One thing that puzzles me though is if he needed the money for spring break, that means he spent it during spring break. But he says he gave $1,000 to charity as retribution for his transgression. So where did the "second" $1,000 come from? Hummm.....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bobby Cox: 2,500 Career Wins

The Atlanta Braves 5-0 victory over the Washington Nationals on Saturday afternoon gave skipper Bobby Cox his 2,500th career major league victory. The win also halted a four game losing skid as the Braves try to right the ship in order for Cox to make his 16th post season appearance. Atlanta faces the Nationals again this afternoon before returning to Turner Field to close out the regular season where they will split six games between the Florida Marlins and the Philadelphia Phillies. They are currently tied with the San Francisco Giants for the National League's one and only wild card berth. Cox will step down as Braves' manager at the conclusion of this season.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Georgia -vs- Mississippi State: Battle For the "Sorriest' Dog

When the Georgia Bulldogs met the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville tonight, they were two ravished pack of 'Dog' football teams going against each other in conference play. Since the State Dogs prevailed over the canines from Athens, I suppose Georgia has to wear the crown of "Sorriest Dogs". The Georgia program, now o-3 in the Southeastern Conference, has sunk to a new low in its proud football history. Not since 1993 have the Bulldogs felt the sting of such inadequacies. On a night when Georgia should have defeated State by three touchdowns, they only defeated themselves. The teams Georgia has defeated regularly and is still expected to defeat, they aren't even being competitive with. The Mark Richt era is now experiencing territory that all Georgia fans believed we wouldn't visit for a very long time. That time has arrived. Now how long will it last?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mark Richt: Beware the Bulldog Hotline

The infamous "Bulldog Hotline" was a key factor in the demise of former Georgia head coach Jim Donnan. He flew off the hook at a caller, who just happened to be a UGA student, and it was all downhill from there for "JimDog". For those of you unfamiliar with the Hotline, it is a live radio call-in show where callers ask the Georgia head coach questions about Bulldog football. Coach Mark Richt's show is every Monday night following Saturday's gridiron game. Richt's show comes live from the Hotel Indigo in Athens. Now that his Dawgs are o-2 in conference play, Coach Richt is really skating on that proverbial 'thin ice' with the Georgia faithful. His remarks following certain questions to callers are already being taken out of context. To add insult to injury, the show also has a live audience at the hotel, and the background laughter filtering through is making Richt appear to be somewhat flippant on the air, even though he is doing absolutely none of the laughter. I think 'they' should get rid of the live audience now and let the coach's comments stand on their own merit. I'm telling you Coach, now isn't the time to be throwing more fuel on the fire. Be careful with that show. Just ask JimDog...

Frank Wren: Let's try Ebay...

If I'm Frank Wren (above), general manager of the Atlanta Braves, I just might be inclined to look to Ebay for some help in selling off some unwanted goods. Just list Nate McLouth, Kenshin Kawakami, Rick Ankiel, and Melky Cabrera and see if anyone will bid anything for these guys. Take the two Derreks (& Derek), Lee and Lowe respectively, and see if we can get a stud center fielder for them. If not, just throw the above mentioned four in for good measure and see if there are any takers at that point. However, whatever you do, don't come to spring training with these same guys. Enough is actually too much in this case. I can't for the life of me understand why McLouth (McOut) continues to remain in the Braves starting lineup. By the way, did you happen to see that tremendous throw he didn't make to the cutoff man in the eighth inning last night in a tie ballgame? Atrocious. Rick Ankiel can't hit his way to the toilet, mainly because his game is already in there. Speaking of toilets, Atlanta just flushed away $20+ million on Kawakami, who can't even make a Triple A roster. Melky is a nice guy, but I would rather platoon Matt Diaz instead, regardless of which side of the plate they stand on. As for the two "Dereks", they are busts and they need to go and help pull down some other team next year. And yes, we are already talking about next year because now the Braves certainly aren't a smart bet in Vegas to even make the playoffs as the Wild Card this year. Sorry Bobby, but you had a hand in this as well.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Matty D": Playing a Little "D" in Philly

Atlanta's Matt Diaz performed a one-knee take down on an intrusive fan in Philadelphia last night. The red spandex clad fan ran onto the playing field in the bottom of the seventh inning in a crucial game between the Braves and Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. He eluded security guards until Diaz brought him down. He was then apprehended and removed from the field of play. Diaz actually received an ovation from the Philly faithful. Imagine that...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Is Coaching Longevity a Good or Bad Thing?

Do you think college coaches hang around too long at one place? It's a legitimate question. After all, Baptist preachers can hang around too long as well. Sermons get old for them, pep talks get old for coaches. Complacency sets in, then that over-used cliche "burn-out" comes up, then stagnancy takes over. I think Bobby Bowden stayed too long at Florida State, and I believe Joe Paterno is doing the same at Penn State, having been at the helm since 1966. Only eight current head coaches were hired before the 2000 season, and twenty two began their first season his year. Sometimes football programs need new life, new systems, new personnel. Might an ideal span be between twelve and twenty years? Frank Beamer is having a tough go of it in this his twenty third dance. Auburn was probably correct in dishing Tommy Tuberville when they did, and Texas Tech got a competent head coach out of the move as well. Larry Coker needed to go at Miami, and thus Randy Shannon was provided with a great opportunity to rebuild a fallen program. On the other hand, when Ole Miss fires Houston Nutt, everyone should just let him go out to pasture. His building up and tearing down days are nearing their end. Phillip Fulmer was let go at Tennessee after sixteen years, but I'm not even going to bring up Lane Kiffin, because that guy doesn't even figure in to this opinion. After all, they shoot horses don't they? Sometimes even success contributes to an aura of comfort, of not rocking the boat, and before a coach realizes it he can't see the forest for the trees. Closer to home, I realize the masses will upscale their contempt of Georgia's Mark Richt now that the Bulldogs are 0-2 in conference play. I hate it, because I think Richt is truly one of the "good guys" in college coaching. However, his day will come at some point, and Georgia perhaps will need to add a tougher, more demanding guy at the helm. Someone who is perceived to have a little more S.O.B. in him than Richt. Like I said before, new life, new system, new outlook. But Mark Richt will never have to be fired by Georgia. He will make it easy on the athletic director, voluntarily move on out and begin winning souls for Christ instead of football games for the Dawg Nation. Richt is in his eleventh season at UGA, and I don't see him staying past twenty even if he's welcome to do so. I think the mission field awaits him, he awaits it, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Braves -vs- Phillies: Let's Get it Started...

As former Georgia Bulldog icon Larry Munson would say, "Get the Picture!": Atlanta -vs- Philadelphia. Atlanta is three games behind their Eastern Division nemesis with twelve games remaining on the 2010 Major League Baseball season. Half of those twelve contests will be played head-to-head with Philadelphia, three on the road beginning tonight, then three in Atlanta ending on October 3rd. The Braves hold a slim 2 1/2 game lead over San Diego in the National League Wild Card race. This is an old fashioned down-to-the-wire pennant race guys. Neither the division title, nor the wild card, is locked up by anyone at this point. One would have to like the Phillies chances simply because they have been playing better than Atlanta lately, even though the Braves are coming off of a three game sweep of the Mets in New York. Philadelphia is on a seven game winning streak of their own. One would not envision any team going into the 'City of Brotherly Love' and sweeping the defending champs at this point of the season. However, to win the division outright, Atlanta must take five out of these six to win the division outright. That's assuming they get zero help from any other club down the stretch. I don't like the Braves chances of pulling this gig off, but then that's why they play the full schedule out to the end. Who know what will transpire in the next two weeks? Nevertheless, it will be important for Bobby Cox' squad to continue to play well. The wild card accomplishes the same thing as the division title: it gets you into the playoffs. Just not with home field advantage.

Cubs' Colvin Has Scary Moment

Just from faithfully watching the Braves play all season, I've thought several times that I couldn't remember a season where there were so many splintered bats flying all over the place. Yesterday, one of Major League Baseball's greatest fears was realized when Chicago Cubs rookie right fielder Tyler Colvin was punctured in the chest with part of a broken bat. The wooden projectile's wound was allowing air into his chest well. Players have been hit by flying bat particles this season, but this is the first time a player has actually been stabbed as Colvin was. He was hospitalized, but only required stitches.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Georgia: What Do You Do, When You're 1-2?

Zero and two in the Southeastern Conference. Zero and two will make 'Bulldog Red' turn blue. And where do we go from here? Mediocrity has a tendency to sour with age if not escaped from. I hope Georgia can perform a Houdini act and escape from this funk of being, at best, mediocre.

Perhaps South Carolina and Arkansas are not your Granddaddy's South Carolina and Arkansas. They legitimately might be much better than that. At least the Bulldogs have already faced the best running back (SC'c Lattimore) and quarterback (UA's Mallett) that they will see during the remainder of this schedule. But have those two universities already faced the weakest offensive line they will see the rest of the year? The most befuddled defense?

I thought I would know much more about our Georgia team after the Arkansas game. I thought wrong. I can't ascertain as to whether or not we are just a little off from being pretty good, or if there is something really wrong in Athens. Think about it. We were a crucial fumble away in Columbia, and a third down conversion away in Athens yesterday. Reverse those two plays and Georgia could be 3-0. But they are not. There are no "do-overs" in college football (unless there is a penalty,right Clemson?). Georgia is 1-2, and headed for an evening engagement in Starkville, Ms. with 'State' college and none of us know how Georgia will play that night. I don't have a clue.

I have a T-shirt that reads "We Are Georgia", but I 'm beginning to think that shirt has lost its identity. I sure hope Houdini shows up fast. Time feels like it's running out already on this season and on this team.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vince Dooley: Kennsaw, Kansas What the Heck...

Vince Dooley has led the football exploratory committee at Kennesaw State for the past ten months. Today the podium, as well as the spotlight, was his to announce to everyone in attendance that his committee was advising the school to proceed with plans to field a team. It was to be a really big moment for everyone associated with the school. Only he had a slight mental lapse as to where he was and whom he was working for, referring to Kennesaw as Kansas State. The school plans to begin play in 2014 as an FCS member. That's Kennesaw State who plans to begin play then Vince.

Some Bad Signs in the A-T-L

The Atlanta Braves lost again this afternoon to the Washington Nationals 4-2 in Atlanta, undone by a grand slam home run in the second inning. The starting pitching, which had been our strength throughout the season, has now forsaken the Braves. Atlanta's modus operandi is now to fall behind early, miss scoring opportunities all through the middle innings, then try to have a big eighth and/or ninth inning. That is not a very good scenario for a playoff contending team. After tonight's action, Atlanta could find itself three games behind Philadelphia with 15 games remaining. Granted, the Braves do have six games left against the Phillies, but they don't want to play those games too far behind in the loss column. At this point the Wild Card looks awfully good, but it could be fading as well if losses continue to pile up. That lead could shrink to a mere 1/2 game today or tomorrow. All is not lost at this point for Atlanta, but they have to turn this downward spiral around. And fast. The pressure is mounting.

Dawgs -vs- Hawgs: Big Game or Must Win for UGA?

Let me assure you, when Georgia meets Arkansas in Athens Saturday it will be a must win situation for the Bulldogs. It became a big game as soon as the schedules were released, and it became a must win as soon as the lights went out on the Dawgs in Carolina last Saturday. If Georgia opens up the season with two consecutive SEC defeats, the heat and pressure on this team and coaching staff will be up in the unbearable vicinity. Two SEC losses would be next to impossible to recover from this year. It would mean that the Bulldogs really have declined to a second-tier conference program. None of the above would be very pretty as far as the Bulldawg Nation is concerned. But so much for the downside. If Georgia does prevail 'Between the Hedges' Saturday afternoon, things start to look bright in the classic city once again. The Eastern Division title hopes are rekindled, and order would be restored. We have to admit, for the first time in forever, the East is down this year. In addition, UGA's Western schedule isn't as tough as it has been in recent years. There is plenty of light at the end of this tunnel at this point. With all of that being said, Georgia must improve as a football team in EVERY phase of the game. They must play much better than they did against South Carolina. Furthermore, they must become a team that improves week by week, every week. If that happens, everything will turn out to be "dawglicious". If not, get the women and children off the street 'cause this could get ugly...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The ACC: A Basketball Conference Now More Than Ever

Check this out sports fans: Georgia Tech loses to unranked Kansas, Florida State gets demolished by Oklahoma, Miami is throttled by Ohio State, and highly ranked Virginia Tech is ambushed by FCS program James Madison. On a single Saturday when the ACC could have stepped up and proven itself as an elite football conference, they fell back on their true moniker of 'basketball conference'. For example, "Yellow Tech's" defeat was at the hands of a Jayhawks team who was working on a two-season eight game losing streak. Both Miami and FSU were expected to compete evenly with OSU and Oklahoma respectively. But the Seminoles were blown out and the Hurricanes lost by a not close twelve. The Hokies of Virginia Tech was to be the premier program of the conference, instead they are 0-2 after succumbing to a program they should have handled easily. But the good news for these four benchmark programs is that they get to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference where the competition week in and week out is weaker than a Mike's Hard Lemonade. But be careful, Wake Forest upset Duke in your own powerful conference yesterday. Now all of you boys go have a fine season, because somebody has to play in the ACC Championship Game. And basketball season is looming large...

Pete Rose: Put Him in the Hall of Fame

The Cincinnati Reds honored Pete Rose Saturday on the 25th anniversary of his record setting hit number 4,192. Rose, who is 69, made a rare on-field appearance and stood at first base waving to a cheering crowd. The Reds had not previously been allowed to hold any on-field ceremonies to honor Rose or his achievements in the game. The lifetime ban from baseball that he agreed to for gambling on the game leaves his involvement to nothing more than the ordinary fan. I think it's time for Pete Rose to be pardoned and inducted into the Hall of Fame. He's paid a stiff price for a high crime, but the "Hits King" belongs in the Hall. I've never been a rider on the Rose bandwagon, but we'll never see anyone break that record for many years, if ever. He needs to be elected for that alone, but also for the way he played the game. No player ever loved playing baseball more than Rose, and not many ever played it better. Certainly no one with more hustle and enthusiasm. Go ahead and put the guy in the Hall of Fame. He deserves it because he was one of the best baseball players ever. Besides, there's probably no one in there now who doesn't have a few skeletons in their closets as well.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Aaron Murray: Turn Him Loose & Let Him Play

Following Saturday's loss to South Carolina, Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said of quarterback Aaron Murray: "We wanted to protect our guy on the road. He was ready to play ball. I've just got to do a better job giving him a chance". Head coach Mark Richt added: "I thought Murray played pretty good actually. We've just got to allow him to play ball. Just treat him more like a veteran". So the head man and his offensive coordinator both admit, in a round about way, that they have been too conservative with Murray. The thing I don't get is that Georgia signed him out of one of the premier high school programs in the country, Tampa's Plant High. He was one of the most sought after quarterback prospects in the country. He was an 'Elite 11' quarterback. I realize the college game is a step up from prep ball, but he's been in the Georgia system for over a year as a redshirt. He's talented, he's mature,he's poised, he has a pedigree. Why would you hold the kid back? Let him use all his talent to give Georgia the best chance to win. That's what you recruited and signed him for. The Georgia coaching staff has a mindset that freshmen are not ready to walk on the Athens campus and play immediately. Heck, they play everywhere else in the country. Is the Bulldog system that complex, complicated, diverse and elaborate that it cannot be picked-up by a rookie? It doesn't seem to be on the field from a fan's perspective. If it is, let's start over with the playbook and make better use of the talent we know that is on the Dawg roster. As they say, "it ain't brain surgery".

Georgia: Gettin' It Kicked In Carolina

Georgia lost to South Carolina today by the score of 17-6. No excuses. The team that played better, executed better, tackled better, and was coached better won the game. As 'Stone Cold' says, "and that's the bottom line". The most surprising fact of the game was that the Bulldogs were still in the game until the Gamecocks tacked on a late field goal to secure the win. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray played well, much better than a red-shirt freshman should be expected to play on the road in his first SEC encounter. UGA's veteran offensive line did play like freshmen, not resembling the effective unit the Dawg Nation had expected it to be. Georgia's defense made good adjustments at halftime, but the shoddy arm tackling was one of the Dawgs biggest letdowns. They did face the best running back they will see all season, and probably for the next two years as well, in Carolina's Marcus Lattimore (above). They also went up against Steve Spurrier's best team he's had in Columbia. They can legitimately win the Eastern Division this year, and I never thought I would say that about a Gamecock squad. Spurrier's or anyone else's. Their only test in the east will be playing Florida in the Swamp, but it's the best year to do that in a long time. They will also have to battle Auburn on the road, as well as 'Bama at home. As for Georgia, don't be so quick in writing them off after this loss. They were a horrible third down spot and a crucial lost fumble away from having this opening storyline changed. They have potential, but they must improve week by week, which translated means they must win each week. Right now they have to be a team that can handle adversity. Can they? Only time will tell. Stay tuned, because there's a lot of football to be played and one loss does not make or break a season.

Georgia vs South Carolina: Pre-Game

With all the prognostications already in, my last thoughts regarding the Bulldogs and the Gamecocks go like this. If Ben Jones and the offensive line of Georgia perform as a veteran group up front should, then the Dawgs will win today in Columbia. The absence of receiver A.J. Green won't even be a factor. The guys in the trenches must take the pressure off of quarterback Aaron Murray and allow him to settle down in his first hostile environment on the road. These guys in the interior line must allow Caleb King, Washaun Ealey, and Carlton Thomas to run successfully, if not run wild. To dominate the line of scrimmage is almost always a prerequisite to winning an evenly matched football game, today it is imperative. I believe the Dawg Nation will be pleased once again with the aggressiveness and discipline of Todd Grantham's defensive eleven. There again, the guys up front are key in pressuring Carolina's quarterbacks, thus increasing the likelihood for turnovers in the secondary. We win the kicking game, no question, as long as we cover our kickoffs successfully. As a footnote, I sure hope we kick off a lot. We possess the best punter and place-kicker in the nation. Period. The last thought concerns depth. It's already hot as heck in central Georgia about 2 1/2 hours for Columbia, so I know its very hot and humid there as well. Both benches will have to step up today. It's a question of whose bench goes the deepest. Those are my keys to victory, along with this last parting shot. If Willie Martinez was still the defensive coordinator at UGA, I would not like our chances. However, with the new guy dressed in black that we have, we win on the road today.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bruce Pearl: An Orange Clad Liar

Bruce Pearl lied to the NCAA. That's like one of the Corleones lying to the Godfather. He tearfully admitted as much. But he won't lose his life or a limb for his transgressions to the governing body as he would have to the head of a crime family. Come to think of it, he is the head of a crime family: The University of Tennessee. So what punishment hath UT bequest upon Mr. Pearl? It seems he will have his salary docked $1.5 million over five years. In perspective, Pearl made $1.9 million in 2009-10. He is guaranteed a $200,000 per year raise thru the 2014-2015 season, and will receive a $500,000 longevity bonus after the 2012-2013 season. So basically he forfeits his annual raises and his longevity bonus. No sanctions, no suspension for Pearl? His only restriction is that he cannot recruit off-campus for one year. Whether this is regarded as just a slap on the wrist by the university is a matter of opinion. I tend to think he came out pretty good. I'm sure coaches have been dismissed for a heck of a lot less before. The thing I am interested in seeing is how the NCAA comes down on Tennessee. Pearl is in charge of the development of a lot of young men, yet he admits to being a liar to protect his program. What kind of message is that for the lead Vol to be sending out? I hope the NCAA suspends Pearl with his time to a greater degree than the university did with regards to his money. They take away playing time from the athletes, why not take away coaching time from the coaches?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A.J. Green: I'm Sorry Man, I Think...

I don't even know where to go with this post. On the one hand, I feel really bad for A.J. Green. I almost feel that he should have turned pro this year instead of next, except for the NFL's three year rule. For his sake. The four game suspension that the NCAA handed down to Georgia's star receiver today for selling a game jersey is pretty stiff. Stiff as in one third of a season; a season that will be Green's last in Bulldog red. He's far too good to pass up a lucrative pro contract this next time around. When I consider how much money Georgia has made off of royalties from the sell of Green's number "8" jersey, I just wonder what's wrong with this picture. Then I switch gears and consider the fact that he was paid $1,000.00 for his jersey. He had to realize this was a red flag waving like crazy, and that it just wasn't right. That much dough for one game jersey? Heck, I would sell a huge part of my entire wardrobe for $1,000.00. But at the same time I'm a long way removed from 19 years old, thus my thought processes are hopefully much different (and improved!). Nevertheless, the only benefactors in this scenario are South Carolina, Arkansas, and Mississippi State, Georgia's next three opponents. Green's actions, no matter if innocently done or not, have hurt himself, his team, and his university. These guys have classes regarding this type of temptation. Will they ever learn?

Fred McGriff: We Need You Now...

Was Fred McGriff the last player we acquired after the season started who was 'lights out' for us? Fred came to town and was everything and more we hoped he would be. He helped lead the Braves to the post-season for several years. Atlanta acquired McGriff from San Diego in July 1993, and he promptly hit a big home run in his first game with the Braves. His offensive tear continued the rest of the season, that being one of the main reasons Atlanta secured the division title that year. He remained productive for the club until 1997 when he was selected in the expansion draft by Tampa Bay. When the Braves acquired Derrek Lee from the Cubs this year for the stretch run, I was hoping Lee would be the type first baseman that McGriff was. We all know that hasn't happened yet. The acquisition of Alex Gonzalez at shortstop has not been an overwhelming move up to this point, and Rick Ankiel is not our answer in center field. By the way, Atlanta lost their precarious lead over the Phillies last night. Unless someone steps up their game like Fred McGriff did, the Wild Card may be fleeting as well.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

L.S.U. -vs- Oregon 2011

L.S.U. will play Oregon on September 3, 2011 in the Cowboy Classic at Cowboys Stadium. The announcement of the match-up was publicised today. The Tigers kicked off the 2010 season against North Carolina in the Georgia Dome last Saturday, while Jerry Jones hosted T.C.U. and Oregon State in his Texas palace, both as part of college football's opening weekend. The Kickoff Classic, sponsored by Chick-fil-A, and annually held in Atlanta, has become the staple of the start of college football each year. Then, Jerry got in on the act to further showcase his state of the art facility, as well as to make some serious cash. Don't be shocked if other arenas are brought into the fold to entice top Division I schools to open their seasons in new season opening events. I suppose it will be like having preseason bowl games on the first weekend each year. Think about it, why wouldn't Detroit match-up Michigan with a big name SEC opponent on Ford Field, or Indianapolis put Notre Dame against a well known west coast opponent in Lucas Oil Stadium? You never know, it could be coming to an arena near you.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Atlanta Braves: Make Better Use of the Early Innings

Announcer Joe Simpson commented during the Atlanta Braves Monday afternoon tilt against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates that Braves' pitchers felt that they had to make perfect pitches when they were not given much run support. The score was tied at that time 1-1. On cue, Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson promptly gave up a two-run homer and his teammates go on to lose by that same score, 3-1. Granted, the loss didn't fall solely on pitching because the Braves had legitimate scoring opportunities in the 7th and 8th innings. The big two out hit continued to be absent in the clutch. For that matter, the big one out hit could not be had. It seems as though Atlanta begins an awful lot of games behind 1,2, or 3 runs after the first couple of innings. As today's performance showed, they cannot continue to live at the plate from the 7th inning on and hope to survive night in and night out. This time of year, the nights can run out on you in a hurry. It's a pennant race boys, play all nine innings.

Hutson Mason: He's Wearing His Only Red Shirt

Hutson Mason did a little burning Saturday afternoon "Between the Hedges". He burned the Louisiana Lafayette secondary for a touchdown pass on his very first collegiate attempt. Only seven other quarterbacks had ever accomplished that feat. He also removed one of the biggest question marks concerning the season by burning his redshirt as well. He is now, if he wasn't already, Georgia's backup signal caller behind Aaron Murray. And it has only been about three months since he crossed the stage at Lassiter High to receive his high school diploma. You want a little irony thrown in with the scoring pass? Logan Gray, the once quarterback turned receiver, was on the other end of Mason's pass. If Gray doesn't ask for a position change, Mason probably does sit out the game and most likely the entire season. But don't you just love a story that ends with everyone happy? Kinda makes you feel good doesn't it? Yea, all over.

A.J Green: What's Really Going On?

This A.J. Green saga really perplexes me. I'll admit, I have no law degree so the legal (as in NCAA) part I could be missing something. While I'm confessing here, neither did I attend the police academy, so the detective part of this situation might be throwing me a curve as well. However, from the tidbit of information given to us up to this point, I understand this "Greengate" to be about whether or not #8 attended some agent related party in Miami or not. If there is more to the situation than that, I don't know about it but I hope Georgia knows all about it. Mark Richt isn't allowed to talk about it. A.J. Green cannot comment on his ordeal. The university president can only say that lawyers are handling the case. What's this super-duper gag order all about? The 'Dawg Nation' is under the impression that A.J. Green is one heck of a good kid, and I think we should continue with that feeling. If Green says, and he does, that he did not go to Miami, hasn't ever been to Miami, and has no plans to go any further south than Jacksonville for at least the next couple of months, isn't that really easy to prove? Does the above mentioned 'Dawg Nation' need to pool their resources together and hire a private investigator to verify the where-a-bouts of Mr. Green on the specified date? If the kid is as innocent as we all believe him to be, why is he being unjustifiably punished? One would think the collective efforts of Michael Adams, Greg McGarity, and Mark Richt would be enough to cut through the red tape and resolve this unfortunate dilemma. What am I missing here? What's really going on? Does anyone other than the NCAA really know? I'm still perplexed.

Gilligan's Island: Keep That Receiver There!

If asked, my opinion would be that most commercials are generally lousy at best. However the following Nike commercial is on the other end of the spectrum. At the end when the kid says his last name is Gilligan, the expressions that follow on the faces of both Revis and the kid are classic. By the way, Darrelle Revis just ended his holdout with the Jets. Enjoy...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

UGA: The Learning Curve

Georgia 55 - Louisiana Lafayette 7: What we learned:

  • Todd Grantham is seriously passionate about his Dawgs playing lights out defense

  • His tolerance for mental mistakes is minimal at most

  • Aaron Murray will do things we won't expect a rookie quarterback to do

  • He will also do things to remind us he is indeed a rookie quarterback

  • We could do worse than have Hutson Mason as our #2 quarterback

  • The NCAA has the power to make a school feel as if it has to sit out an innocent kid (from all the information we have been allowed to know) as Georgia did when it did not let A.J. Green play Saturday.

  • What we did not learn is what the heck did A.J. Green do, or not do

  • Our experienced offensive line still has much work to do to look experienced

  • Whatever we learned this Saturday will be nothing compared to what we will learn next Saturday in Columbia against South Carolina