Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dawgs and Kennesaw today in Athens; also Hawks talk

Coming off a desperately needed blowout against North Carolina A&T on Sunday, the Dawgs continue the non-conference slate today at 4 PM against Kennesaw. No TV for this one, but the Georgia Bulldog Radio Network will have the game broadcast as usual. I'm assuming it will be Howard and Dantzler with the call, although not sure if Scott has already made his way to Orlando. I'd assume not.

The Dawgs were lights out shooting the basketball on Sunday, making 17 three-pointers and shooting 53% overall. Trey Thompkins was dominant, with 22 points and 12 rebounds, including 5 three-pointers of his own in the first half. Trey is really starting to wind into shape and hitting his stride just in time. Expect him to continue to develop on his way to Freshman All-SEC honors, perhaps even consideration for Freshman of the Year.

Corey Butler had 19 and 9 on Sunday, and Jeremy Price added 15. Butler isn't a surprise anymore. The former walk-on is now a key piece for this team. It was great to see Price produce once again. If UGA wants to have any chance of making postseason play this year beyond Atlanta, Price will need to play this well consistently, as he's capable of doing.

The Dawgs also need Terrance Woodbury to return ASAP. Still no word of his possible return date, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's left out again today to make sure he's closer to 100% for the Missouri game on Saturday in Athens. No line apparent on the game today, probably (again) because of Woodbury's status.

On a side note, the Atlanta Falcons are obviously the talk of the city right now, and rightfully so. But if you haven't already, I encourage you to check out your Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks are currently 21-10 (21 wins before 1/1 are the most in the franchise since 1979), and sit firmly as the 4 seed in the Eastern Conference if the playoffs began today. This is a fun team to watch for alot of reasons. The majority of the time they play outstanding defense, perhaps as well as any team in the league. They have a bonafide all-around superstar in Joe Johnson (who I think is probably one of the top 5 players in the entire league right now.) This is a solid team that I think may put on a run in the NBA this year at least similar to what the Falcons have done in the NFL. Mike Woodson has done a solid job, personally I'm really glad the Atlanta Spirit stuck with him this past offseason. I've been reading a number of Hawks blogs lately, and there are some really good ones out there. Check out Zaza's Playground, Heavy Koncak (best name for a blog I've ever heard), Peachtree Hoops, and The Vent if you're interested. All of these have links to other fine Hawks blogs for your enjoyment.

Yours truly has made no secret that the Hawks have long been my favorite pro sports team. I've been ridiculed, spat on, stoned, drawn and quartered in some annals for stating my allegiances publicly. This year has been particularly sweet thus far. I'll close out the year with my favorite Hawks highlight of the young 2008-09 season. I can't wait to see the Celtics again, God willing in the playoffs.

Credit: TotalSportsNation.com

Sunday, December 28, 2008

NC A&T visits Stegeman today

Felton's squad looks to bounce back from perhaps the worst loss of his tenure in Athens, a buzzer beater at home to the hands of Texas A&M........at Corpus Christi.

North Carolina A&T is 5-6 on the season, but 0-6 in true road games, having lost those 6 by an average of 17.5 points. This needs to be a blowout. In the worst way.

CSS and the Georgia Bulldog Radio Network will carry the game today, 2:30 PM EST from Athens. I can't find a line on the game, presumably because of the uncertainty with Woodbury's availability. Our fine local media outlets offer no updates on that situation.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Good news: Searles staying in Athens

Richt confirmed through various media outlets this week that Searles would be staying at UGA and not taking a lateral position at Auburn. By my count, this is about the first piece of really good "news" involving UGA athletics since over a month ago.

Garner telling Jeff Owens he was staying at UGA was a good rumor to hear, but I don't get the feeling that we've heard the final word on this yet, since nothing has been printed with quotes around it from Garner himself. I think Garner will stay, but you never say never about anything, especially when you're dealing with alma maters.

Kicking off the 2009 season without Searles, Garner, Stafford and Moreno, and with no real changes in a few spots that many think could use some change, would have created perhaps the most pessimistic outlook toward a season that I can remember. At least now the strength of next year's team (the offensive line) remains intact from a personnel and coaching standpoint.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thanks Baltimore

I know this is primarily a UGA blog, but what's on alot of folks' minds today in the great State of GA, are the Falcons. Specifically, the fact that Atlanta controls its own destiny once again for a playoff spot, thanks to a great outcome last night in Dallas, who also just happens to be yours truly's most hated professional franchise. Thank you to the Baltimore Ravens from Falcons fans everywhere. At least now if the Falcons don't make it, we can blame it on our own team, as opposed to having to watch the Cowgirls be the team that keeps Atlanta out of the postseason. That would have been tough to take as a Cowgirl hater. Of course, Atlanta wasn't supposed to win 4 games this year anyway, whereas the 'Girls were everybody's write-in for the NFC rep in the Super Bowl.

If there is a more fitting way to close out Texas Stadium, I can't imagine what it would be.

Credit: cashigoleader on You Tube


One thing that struck me in this montage of highlights was just how biased Deion was. He didn't even try to cover it up. I'm guessing that he told NFL Network that he was going to be that way before he did the game, but they told him to go out there anyway. Pretty funny.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

C&C Bowl Mania

First off, my apologies for the 12 day hiatus from the blog. The combination of work and family (in that order) have occupied every waking hour, and even a few hours that should have been spent non-waking. I do have to admit that with a disappointing football season having concluded with one of the most embarrassing defeats I can remember (I know it was a close game, so what), my attention has been easily diverted elsewhere. The Hawks and Falcons are doing well, otherwise my misery would probably be over the edge.

What I'm thinking about today are bowl games. Every bowl game, in fact. The good matchups and the bad ones. The meaningful and the meaningless. Every one of them. I like bowls. I watch as many as I can. I may be the only person left on Earth that yearns for the old days of the bowls, where it was a free for all. The bowls wanted the teams that they wanted, and they negotiated bowl slots with whichever team was interested in playing in said bowl. You had certain conferences whose champions were tied into certain bowls (SEC to the Sugar, Big 10 and Pac 10 in the Rose, etc), but for the most part anybody played anywhere they wanted. Georgia played in both the Sun Bowl and the Gator Bowl back in the day. They could play in neither under the current arrangement of the bowl system.

Another thing that I used to like about bowls was that there was no BCS selection process. If you had only 2 undefeated teams, there was a decent chance they wouldn't play each other in the bowls. They'd each play somebody else and just let the voters sort out the National Champion. I think Penn State went undefeated more than once but did not finish #1. It still beat today's system by a country mile. And for whatever reason, nobody complained much. Blame it on the age of the Internet I suppose, as now the common man is finally heard from. Before, college Presidents could insulate themselves from such arguments. Now a days they are left to figure out a solution. The BCS is the best they can come up with.

So while I was one of about 7 people watching ESPN Bowl Mania this past weekend, I noticed something they were doing that I thought was pretty neat. The Bachelor himself, Jesse Palmer, was picking his winners of each bowl game and giving them his own confidence ranking. It was nothing more than a promotion to get people to play the online version of this unpopular game show, but it was fun nonetheless and a good excuse for 3 hours of analysis of every bowl. Incidentally, Palmer picked UGA to beat Michigan State as the game he is most confident about out of all 34 bowl games being played. I like Palmer as an analyst, in fact I think he might be just about the best thing ESPN has going for its college football crew these days. But I'm not sure what he's smoking that could make him so confident in the Dawgs. Perhaps he lost a bet.

All caught up in the moment, I decided to go to ESPN.com and set my own Bowl Mania lineup. Here's what mine looks like (34-most confident, 1-least confident):

34. St Petersburg Bowl: South Florida over Memphis
This is essentially a home game for USF. No-brainer here.

33. Insight Bowl: Kansas over Minnesota
Minnesota really fell off the table at the end of the year. Meanwhile, Kansas plays in the Big 12. I've been trained to understand that the Big 12 is incapable of losing to a team from any other conference during the upcoming bowl season.

32. Outback Bowl: Iowa over South Carolina
The customary late season Spurrier swoon is in full effect.

31. Chick Fil A Bowl: Georgia Tech over LSU
This will probably be a close game, but Georgia Tech is carrying a horseshoe in its hind parts these days. They'll find a way to pull it out and thus extend my misery for another day.

30. Emerald Bowl: Cal over Miami FL
Too far for Miami to travel, very short for Cal.

29. Motor City Bowl: Central Michigan over Florida Atlantic
Another one right in one team's backyard, and a long distance for the other team.

28. Fiesta Bowl: Texas over Ohio State
I see this one getting ugly. Only way Texas loses is if they suffer a letdown for not making the Title Game.

27. Music City Bowl: Boston College over Vanderbilt
Normally this would work in Vandy's favor given that they are playing at home. But BC is good, and Vandy isn't. I don't see this one working out for the Dores. At least they made it this far.

26. Champs Sports Bowl: Florida State over Wisconsin
Wisconsin stinks. I think I had them ranked #4 in my preseason poll. Meanwhile Florida State is working on a return to mediocrity (although I think they skipped mediocrity altogether on the way down, and just went from real good to real bad in a short span.

25. Cotton Bowl: Texas Tech over Ole Miss
Oh how I wanted to pick Ole Miss to win this game, and Graham Harrell's hand doesn't help Texas Tech. I just don't see how the Rebels can score enough points.

24. Rose Bowl: Southern Cal over Penn State
I actually think Penn State will keep this game close, but Southern Cal is tough for a Big 10 to beat in CA.

23. Sugar Bowl: Alabama over Utah
Anyone thinking this is going to be on the level of UGA-Hawaii last year is mistaken. Utah is much, much better than Hawaii was. But Bama will win comfortably.

22. GMAC Bowl: Ball State over Tulsa
Tulsa's defense has gotten really bad at the same time teams are starting to figure out its offense. Not a good combo.

21. New Mexico Bowl: Fresno State over Colorado State
How in Hades did Colorado State qualify for a bowl game?

20. Alamo Bowl: Missouri over Northwestern
Once again, Big 12 team wins against another conference.

19. Papajohns.com Bowl: Rutgers over NC State
See New Mexico Bowl comments. Insert NC State in place of Colorado State.

18. Capital One Bowl: Georgia over Michigan State
I decided to take the easy road and put this one middle of the pack. In no way am I confident about this one though. I'll take anything that involves the opposition scoring less than 30 points, win or lose.

17. International Bowl: UConn over Buffalo
This game is played in Canada, where the weather is always nice in January. Should be comfortable for both of these teams.

16. Texas Bowl: Rice over Western Michigan
Take the home team here.

15. Liberty Bowl: East Carolina over Kentucky
For those counting, I have the SEC winning two of seven bowl games thus far, one of those I am not too confident about at all.

14. Sun Bowl: Oregon State over Pittsburgh
This should be a good game. Oregon State has to be a little disappointed in falling from the Rose to the Sun, and Pitt has been playing well. Just a hunch here.

13. BCS Championship: Florida over Oklahoma
This ends my streak of picking Big 12 teams to win. For anyone interested, I am not pulling for Florida to win this game.

12. Las Vegas Bowl: BYU over Arizona
This should be an entertaining game, but I like the Mormons in Vegas.

11. New Orleans Bowl: Southern Miss over Troy
Shortish drive for both teams. Tough pick. Going with the shorter drive. (I know, proximity to bowl game is an overrated factor.)

10. Gator Bowl: Nebraska over Clemson
Pelini will figure out a way to slow down the Clemson RBs.

9. Eagle Bank Bowl: Navy over Wake Forest
The triple option seems to be the cat's pajamas these days.

8. Holiday Bowl: Oklahoma State over Oregon
Probably the best non-BCS bowl matchup of all. There could be alot of points here, and when alot of points are scored, I like Ok St.

7. Armed Forces Bowl: Houston over Air Force
I know, how can you pick against Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl? Not to mention Air Force won the first time these two played this year, at Houston. Call this one another hunch.

6. Poinsettia Bowl: TCU over Boise State
2nd best non-BCS bowl matchup. This is going to be an excellent game.

5. Meineke Bowl: North Carolina over West Virginia
I'll take Butch Davis over the guy at WVU. Teams are fairly evenly matched.

4. Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii over Notre Dame
This is a pure pick of desire, nothing more.

3. Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech over Cincinnati
This might be the least appealing BCS bowl I can ever remember. In games of little appeal, always take Va Tech.

2. Independence Bowl: Louisiana Tech over Northern Illinois
Taking La Tech close to home.

1. Humanitarian Bowl: Maryland over Nevada
I think I heard that Maryland sold 24 tickets to this game in the first week of sales. No joke.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

ESPN College Gameday Preview: SEC Championship

I'd sooner run the Boston Marathon with bamboo shoots shoved into my toenails than watch one second of College Gameday this morning. Scanning the Comcast viewing guide, here's what I see as better options between 10 AM and noon today:

10:00 AM, WSB: Atlanta Christmas Parade
Carol Sbarge the rest of the Channel 2 News Team guide you through a tour of the grandest city in the South. The official kickoff of the Christmas season for the 7 people that watch it on TV every year. Looks like a good crowd will be on hand at the parade, though.

10:00 AM, Discovery Channel: Dirty Jobs
Mike Rowe gives us his Top 10 "most disgusting things he's ever eaten."

10:00 AM, Starz: Apocolypto
The Mel Gibson written and directed adaptation about the collapse of Mayan civilization. The number of times I've sat down to watch this movie and not made it through the opening credits numbers in the teens. Perhaps today is the day.

11:00 AM, Soap TV: Beverly Hills 90210
The key plot in this episode is yet another mishap at the new club owned by David Silver (Brian Austin-Green.) Valerie (Tiffany Amber-Thiessen) sticks her nose into David's financial business as she's want to do, which creates yet another calamity of dramatic proportions. That Valerie is a troubled gal, I tell you.

11:00 AM, Starz (a different Starz): Billy Madison
Actually you can just catch the tail end of Billy Madison, which ends at 11:20. In my opinion, the best part comes at about this point in the movie, when the school principal (played by the highly underrated James Downey) moderates Billy's faux "academic challenge" against Eric Gordon (played by Bradley Whitfield.) After listening to Billy's long-winded final answer about the Industrial Revolution, the principal responds as follows: "Mr Madison, that is the dumbest answer I've ever heard. At no point during your response, did you ever state anything that resembled a coherent thought. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul." I laugh my ass off at that one every time. Chris Farley also kills it as the bus driver. Watch for the part with Farley and the penguin near the very end. Classic.

The final verdict on my Saturday morning viewing: I'm going to try to get through Apocolypto, and when the inevitable boredom sets in, flip over to the more entertaining Billy Madison at 11:00. When that ends at 11:20, I'll probably watch a video with the kids up until the noon tip-off between UGA and Illinois from Chicago. (Radio only for me today, no ESPNU sadly.) Or maybe I'll make a sandwich and sit alone to collect my thoughts.

For anyone that just can't stay away from Gameday, let me give you a certain preview of today's events down by the Dome:

-The show will begin with about 2,000 screaming college kids that are oblivious to the fact that they will despise the entire idea of ESPN College Gameday in about 15 years. Dumbasses.

-Kirk Herbstreit will have a one-on-one with Tim Tebow for the 834th time THIS SEASON. Among topics discussed will be Tebow's love of the college game, Herbstreit's love of Tebow, and Tebow's offseason work curing deadly child illnesses in Africa.

-Desmond Howard will have a montage on Nick Saban's meteoric rise in Tuscaloosa. He'll ask Saban to go bowling with him, but Saban will refuse. This will be a short montage and will likely not be all that interesting.

-Joe Schad will give us his rundown of all the coaching vacancies and the likely candidates for each. Not one person he mentions associated with any particular opening, will actually end up getting the job. Thus maintaining Schad's long-standing streak of being wrong about every piece of "inside information" he's ever reported on. Only his colleague Herbstreit rivals Schad's incompetence with such info.

-Tebow interview #835 for Herbstreit. In this one Tebow gives us a tour of the nearby Atlanta CDC, where he spent time between practice this week researching an antedote for biological weaponry.

-PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! I may have to tune in for this part. That Corso fella' is a riot with his pencil and his one-liners. That and I'm really interested in who Herbstreit likes in Army-Navy.

There you have it. Enjoy your day.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Weekend Preview: Dawgs vs Illinois

The Dawgs slide up to Chicago's United Center (home of the Bulls) this weekend to battle Illinois in a rare intriguing inter-conference battle. The game tips off at high noon EST tomorrow (11 AM locally.) For the 7 people in Georgia lucky enough to get ESPNU, you'll get to see the Dawgs for the 2nd consecutive game. Scott Howard and the Elevator himself, Herb White, will call the game for the rest of us on local radio.

The Dawgs are an impressive 7-20 vs Big Ten schools all-time, including 0-4 against the Illini. This game is part of Coach Felton's overall initiative to create a better slate of non-conference games now that he has enough players to do so. Still a long way to go toward making the non-conference schedule one of the best in the country like Harrick used to every year, but programs like Illinois certainly don't hurt (usually.)

Illinois is coming off a disastrous season by their own standards, finishing 16-19 with no postseason berth. The offseason was adventurous, as Head Coach Bruce Weber had to dismiss perhaps his best player in guard Jamar Smith, for a myriad of off-court problems. The majority of the returning strength in the team lies in the backcourt, notably sophomore guard Demitri McCamey. Some scouts see McCamey as NBA worthy, but he's been fairly inconsistent throughout his career in Champagne. He's been pretty good thus far this season, going for about 13 ppg. The leading returning scorer was former walk-on guard Trent Meachem, and he's picked up about where he left off to the tune of 11 ppg. It is worth noting that the Dawgs may see guard Jeff Jordan (son of Michael) on the floor tomorrow. Kentucky transfer Alex Legion should be joining the roster by the end of this month, and they'll be much better when he is in the fold. Luckily for the Dawgs, that won't happen tomorrow.

Frontcourt was expected to be the weakness of this team, but in some respects it has been a major surprise for Weber. 6-10 sophomore Mike Davis might be one of the most improved players in America. After a measly 3 ppg/2 rpg campaign in 07-08, he is currently racking up 15/10 and should clearly be UGA's focus tomorrow. JUCO transfer Dominique Keller averaged 25 a game at Lee College in Baytown TX last season, but he's under 6 ppg thus far at Illinois.

The Illini were picked around middle of the pack in the Big 10 before the season, but that had to be before anyone expected to see Davis doing what he's doing so far. Guard play was supposed to be the strength of this team. Backcourt play has been good, but Davis has been better. I'd like to say that he hasn't seen anyone like Trey Thompkins on the blocks, but I see that he did go for a double-double against AJ Ogilvy in a win at Vanderbilt earlier this year. (That said, Vandy has been somewhat disappointing so far this season, so not sure how much stock you can put in that win.)

Clemson won on Illinois' campus earlier this week in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. The Tigers were severely outrebounded, but won the game because they shot 58% and forced 17 turnovers with a ferocious full court press. I wouldn't expect to see us go full court for any extended length of time, but extending the 1-3-1 defense in the half court probably is a good bet. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Dawgs force alot of turnovers as well, although I'm sure Weber sees the similarities in Felton's and Oliver Purnell's styles (physicality and tough defense), and has been preaching ball protection to his boys this week.

The rest of Illinois' season thus far has been fairly average. They beat a decent Eastern Washington team to open the season, then won at Vanderbilt and beat Kent State in tournament play. Before losing to Clemson they struggled mightily to edge Tulsa in the finals of the same tournament. This team really has alot of similarities to Georgia, with the exception of a pretty significant edge to Illinois in the backcourt department as of today. They struggle to score at times just like UGA does, but they play solid, fundamental defense which you'd expect from a Weber-coached team.

I'd give the Dawgs a much better chance anywhere but the in the state of Illinois. What I do expect is for this to be a close, competitive ballgame that the Dawgs may have a chance to win in the end (similar to the Western Kentucky game.) With better guard play from Swansey/Ware, increased minutes for Thompkins and any semblance of a decent FG%, UGA could steal one in Chicago.

Players to Watch: Chris Barnes had a nice game in Bowling Green, going for 7 points and 10 boards in 22 minutes. Jeremy Price, on the other hand was fairly invisible despite logging 25 minutes. I like Barnes' game alot. He gets more out of his time on the court than maybe any other player on the squad except Thompkins. Hopefully Price catches some of his intensity and gets it going tomorrow morning/afternoon. It would be great to see these guys (and Albert Jackson) combine for something in the neighborhood of 20/15 tomorrow. I'd almost guarantee that would spell a win for the Dawgs.

"No Balls" State

This bothers me a little. Ball State University has apparently decided they'd rather play an easier to complete their undefeated season, rather than travel to Boise ID for the Humanitarian Bowl against fellow undefeated Boise State. This is chicken-crap in its purest form. In my opinion, the Cardinals stand to gain more by getting blown out on the Smurf Turf, than breezing through a game against a leftover ACC team (most likely NC State.) Meanwhile, Boise gets left with the ACC's worst qualifying team, probably Wake Forest or Maryland. Yippee. Instead of the most intriguing potential matchup not played on New Year's Day, we get 2 matchups that just about nobody gives a rip about.

I've been ranking Ball State high in my C&C Power Poll (scroll down and look right) since about week 3 of the season. I'll be dropping them out of my rankings this week, as well as after the bowls. Hopefully the voters in the real polls will do the same.

David Letterman should be ashamed, and not because he just isn't that funny anymore.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tuberville out at Auburn

I always thought this was inevitable after the Petrino/Lowder private jet debacle in 2003. We may not know the details for a few more days, but Tuberville was probably just as excited to get out as Auburn might have been to show him the door. The consensus across the blogosphere seems to be that Auburn made a mistake, but I'm not so sure. Lest we forget that Tommy is the one that brought in Franklin before the bowl game last season, essentially trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with personnel that was not designed to run the spread offense (specifically at QB.) Wingnut will find himself a home whenever he's ready to coach again, and I'm sure Mississippi State would welcome him over with open arms tomorrow if he so desires.

That said, Tuberville was just 4 years removed from a parade through campus, so I can understand the confusion. Can they do better? If they want to fork over a truckload of cash, I'm certain they can at least do just as well. There are probably a number of egomaniac coaches out there that would welcome the opportunity to go head to head against Saban in that state. Mike Leach is the name I'm hearing most often in the last 24 hours, but I'm fairly certain that Auburn fans have had their fill of quirky offenses for a while. Same would go for Paul Johnson. I'd be shocked if they didn't hire somebody in the mold of Richt or Saban, someone that will run a traditional offense and be more of an "overseer" of things. Which I guess, ironically, is kind of what Tuberville used to be.

What I'm more interested in is how this will affect the way Richt goes about his business. Tuberville's situation (and Fulmer's to a lesser extent) are classic examples of how quickly it can fall apart in big money college athletics, especially in the SEC. No one can say with a straight face that the UGA program is on the verge of collapse. As a matter of fact, Richt's record in his first 8 years at UGA compared to that of Tuberville through 8 is pretty staggering. (Richt: 81-22, 2 SEC titles, 5 Top 10 finishes; Tuberville: 71-29, 1 SEC title, 2 Top 10 finishes.) But with Stafford and Moreno gone and no changes within the defensive or special teams staff, it isn't totally out of the realm of possibility that the Dawgs could take a major step back next year record-wise. (That's just my opinion, as I've heard it said from some people that removing Stafford's talent and replacing it with someone else's leadership might be a net gain for UGA. I don't see it, but I've heard it from quite a few people.) Perhaps Richt, as the new Dean of SEC Coaches (man, I'm getting old) sees this coming and re-thinks his idea of maintaining status-quo.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hoops recap: Western Kentucky

The Dawgs played well last night but fell in Bowling Green, KY last night to a pretty good Western Kentucky team, 67-63. Daugman does a nice job of breaking it down here, and I pretty much concur with everything he said (as usual.) Other than that, here's what I saw:

POSITIVES

  • Woodbury might be finding his stroke. 7-18 from the floor isn't exactly lighting it up, but he had a couple of hot stretches in the game that I've been waiting to see all year. I've been saying all along, as T.Wood goes, so goes this season. He's the most dynamic scoring option UGA has.
  • Thompkins and Leslie both looked very strong in limited stretches, especially in the first half.
  • Corey Butler, once again. For the same reasons he is always a positive.
  • Barnes was a monster at times last night. He was ferocious on the boards and did a good job of getting to the foul line (although he needs to be better than 3-6 from the charity stripe.)
  • Defense was good with the exception of 2 big runs by WKU. Felton's 1-3-1 can be stifling at times.

NEGATIVES

  • Thompkins and Leslie, 17 and 14 minutes respectively. I know Thompkins is still getting his legs, but doesn't he have to be in the game all the way down the stretch? I know he had some foul problems in this game, but I swear sometimes CDF forgets some guys are on the roster. (Drazen?)
  • Point guard play was really bad last night. Swansey had 4 turnovers vs 3 assists. Ware did a better job handling the ball, but offset that with a 1-7 shooting night and some questionable shots in the last 10 minutes of the game.

Based on the above, far more positives than negatives. All in all it wasn't a bad night, except for the final result. WKU is a good team that will probably be back in the Dance again this season. What I like, is that we are seeing improvement with this team. Once things start coming together in all facets (Thompkins 100% healthy, more experienced ball handling, etc.), I'm confident we'll see the wins pile up this season.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Smoltz visits UGA Basketball Team

Some really cool footage of John Smoltz visiting with Dennis Felton and the UGA basketball team can be found here. (I don't believe this particular video is "embeddable.") The Red and Black also has an article on it here. The Braves pitcher was invited to speak to the team at the request of Assistant Pete Hermann, who apparently became acquainted with Smoltz while he was head coach at the Naval Academy.

For those few of us who call ourselves die-hard UGA basketball and Atlanta Braves fans, this is pretty special. The H-O-R-S-E contest (which incidentally Felton snuck out with a 5-4 victory) is really good stuff.

Thanks to UGASports.com and GXtra for the video link.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Double L Ranch


Week 14

Wallet Check: - $1,500
Week 12 gains/losses: -$ 500



Terrible news this week folks. The Schlitz was on flight 565 out of Cosovo earlier this week when the plane was hijacked. The worst part is that Schlitz was the hijacker. Having lost his pride to a group of militant bikers outside East Baton Rouge Parish, the Schlitz could apparently take no more. Rumor is he demanded the plane and was immediately restrained by a 3rd grade girl on her way to visit Grandma for the holidays. Unfortunately, the plane also had engine troubles and doom seemed inevitable. Luckily, all passengers were able to escape unscathed with the exception of Schlitz. He was locked in the bathroom in a straight jacket. My hats off to the lad, as he brought us entertaining weeks of crap, some memorable stories and proved why it takes more than a Schlitz to make the greenbacks. In fact…

It takes a freakin witch doctor from New Guinea! So guess what we got?

It’s amazing that it takes so many years of losing your shirt wagering on the “Latest Lines”, but Schlitz has hopefully taught us all that a witch doctor is the only viable solution. Though this fella from “The Guinea” will only grace us with his presence this one week, I am honored and look forward to winning the money that Schlitz so desperately wanted for us all. Apparently for sacrificial reasons, the “Doctor” has to get back to the jungle for some animal rights hearings. In any case, he seems to have absolutely zero knowledge of football and/or how good any of these teams really are head to head. Interestingly, much like the Schlitz and most people who wager on football… However, the one thing the witch doctor can provide is some voodoo magic that surely will bring the Benjamin’s home for us all. This week is one game. One lock. One toast to the Schlitz. And…

100 Benjamin’s
The Dawgs by 8 over Tech

I may not be one for voodoo, but for the sake of Schlitz and a much needed trip to Dubai, I will be loading the wagon one last time and riding it through Athens with the spirit of Schlitz riding shotgun! He certainly brought Good Times and I for one will forever remember the life and times of a legend in his own world. When you hear the bell ringing Saturday after the game, know that Schlitz is probably at the helm. Rest in peace old friend.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Knowshon named a Doak Walker Finalist

Congrats to Knowshon on being named one of three finalists for the 2008 Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the nation's best running back. If I'm not mistaken, Garrison Hearst is the only other finalist for this Award ever from UGA (Hearst won the Doak Walker in 1992.)

The other finalists this season are Michigan State's Javon Ringer and Iowa's Shonn Greene. Here's how the stats of each match up:

Moreno, UGA: 210 carries, 1244 yards, 5.9 yards per carry, 15 touchdowns




Ringer, MSU: 370 carries, 1590 yards, 4.3 YPC, 21 TDs




Greene, Iowa: 278 carries, 1728 yards, 6.2 YPC, 17 TDs

Pretty solid company. It appears to me that Greene is probably his biggest competition. Ringer is a great back (and one of the all-time workhorse RBs), but his YPC is worst among any running back in the Top 25 leading rushers in the nation. Knowshon is certainly a bigger and flashier name than Greene, but Greene's numbers are really unbelievable. He has rushed for over 100 yards in every Iowa game this season, and has scored a TD in all but one. That is Herschel territory. Knowshon's struggles against the 3 best defenses he faced all year (South Carolina, Alabama and Florida) will probably leave him to finish as the runner-up this year.

Still a great honor, for Knowshon, and certainly underscores his place as one of the top backs ever to play at UGA.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Will BCS history repeat itself? Sure doesn't look like it.....

It's happening.

As a Georgia fan, about 359 days ago you were more than likely screaming your head off at the travesty and injustice taking place as the Dawgs were "manipulated" out of a spot in the BCS Championship game, which eventually featured LSU and Ohio State.

To recap the events of what occured on what some people think might have been the craziest day in college football history - December 1st, 2007:

-Georgia opened the day as the #4 team in both the Harris and Coaches' polls, behind Missouri, West Virginia and Ohio State.

-The Dawgs were sitting at home that day, shut out of the SEC Championship by a series of events that can only be explained as an injustice toward all of humanity.

-LSU (#6 Harris, #7 Coaches that morning) would beat Tennessee later that day in Atlanta to win the SEC Title.

-Pittsburgh upset West Virginia
(#2 Harris, #1 Coaches) in Morgantown to eliminate the Mountaineers from BCS Title Game consideration.

-Oklahoma pounded Missouri (#1 Coaches, #2 Harris) in the Big 12 Championship game to remove Missouri from consideration.

-So if the #1 and #2 team lose, naturally the #3 and #4 teams move up to #1 and #2, right? Uhhh, not exactly. The next day, the Harris Poll voters jumped both LSU and Oklahoma over UGA, leaving the Dawgs at #4 in favor of the SEC and Big 12 Conference champions. Ohio State moved to #1, and the BCS Standings resulted in Ohio State and LSU meeting for the National Championship in New Orleans, which LSU won. Georgia was left to play in the Sugar Bowl against WAC Champion Hawaii.

As is the case with every release of the BCS standings, the controversy picked up. UGA fans were incensed. But the majority (if not all) of the national media was resigned to the idea that Georgia was treated fairly, the primary excuse being that "Georgia didn't even play in its own conference championship."

Disclaimer #1: I was among the few UGA fans that questioned whether the Dawgs really deserved to play in the Title Game last year. The fact that UGA blew it at home against South Carolina, and didn't bother to show up in Knoxville was still fresh in my mind. It was hard for me to get past that. But I'll admit that I'm strange. At the end of the day, it would have been hard for me to argue with anybody that UGA did not deserve to play in that game. There was certainly nobody in the country that had a better team than UGA at the end of last season.

What I could not handle, was the fact that pretty much everybody employed in Bristol, CT was all of a sudden speaking out adamantly against UGA's right to a National Title shot. For a long time I've felt like ESPN had a strong bias against UGA. Now everybody was starting to see it first hand. (The Moreno hurdle incident earlier this season just confirmed it further.) I remember listening to Kirk Herbstreit in an interview on 680 the Fan the following week saying something to the effect of "Georgia fans should just be happy with the Sugar Bowl, and look toward a great season next year." I remember that I almost couldn't think straight I was so pissed off listening to this guy spew this crap. I thought about how I couldn't wait to hear if he'd feel the same way if this scenario repeated itself one day with somebody else.

Well, it is now happening. (Although alot sooner than I thought.)

I'm watching the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game Saturday night. The score was about 150-10, so I'm not certain there were a whole lot of folks outside of Big 12 country that actually heard this conversation between Herbstreit himself and Brent Musberger. Again, I can't recall the exact conversation, but the insinuation was something to the effect that if the Big 12 South Champion loses in the Big 12 title game, the team that doesn't make it to that game (Oklahoma or Texas) will have a claim to a spot in the BCS Title Game. Brent (who's idiocy never ceases to amaze me, even back when he wasn't borderline senile) even chimed in that perhaps an Oklahoma-Texas rematch might be in the cards (I'm guessing that this was based on the assumption that the SEC might somehow screw up their end of the deal, although perhaps that is a bad assumption when dealing with Musberger.)

Disclamer #2: I'd like all readers to understand that I dislike Kirk Herbstreit. I always have. I've professed my dislike for him for years, and people would tell me how crazy I was because "he always talked up UGA." I couldn't ever care less how he felt about UGA. He (and the entire Gameday set for that matter) represent everything that has become wrong with college football. The commercialism, the media bias, the fact that his alma mater is the most overrated and overblown program in America, all of it...wrapped up in one nice neat ball of hair gel and a mop bucket full of makeup. I won't even mention how he lobbied for a Ohio State - Michigan BCS Championship in 2006, then turned around and lobbied against UGA's inclusion in the same game on the basis that they didn't play in their conference championship. So by his reasoning, because the Big 10 doesn't play a Championship game, they are exempt from the same rule that keeps Big 12 and SEC teams out of it? The guy is a joke of monumental proportions.

Would you let this guy decide your National Champion?

Two other media outlets have suggested the possibility, at College Football News and in Monday's USA Today. (Although Pete Fiutak at CFN does not mention the notion that UGA was omitted last season for the same reason, he at least acknowledges the idea that letting the Big 12 South runner-up into the game would not be acceptable.)

I can see the sentiment building. Bob Stoops and Mack Brown are already starting to stump for where they should be ranked. I can guarantee you that if they both finish with one loss heading to the Big 12 Championship, which ever one's team is left out of the mix will be loud as hell (a lot louder than Mark Richt was a year ago.)

Tell me this guy couldn't sell salt to a slug.....

The chatter is going to get louder about this. Not even a year ago these people were saying UGA couldn't go to the BCS title game because they didn't play in the SEC Championship. Now, that idea seems to be forgotten. If this picks up steam (and trust me, it will), no longer should anybody out there be discounting that a bias that exists with the majority of the media toward UGA. It is real (although it remains unexplainable), and I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon. Try not to act surprised.

Incidentally, what do I think should happen should a doomsday scenario occur where Alabama or Florida lose this weekend and then win the SEC, or where the Big 12 North champion wins the Big 12 Championship Game? Well first of all, if Alabama happens to be the SEC Champion with one loss, they should get consideration. If Oregon State loses this weekend and gives USC the Pac 10 title, then the Trojans should be considered. After that, Utah and Penn State should be next in line (in that order, I might add.) Let's just make it clear that if you aren't in your conference championship game (and in all reality you must win that game to avoid being a loser in your last game before the postseason), you are disqualified. That precedent has clearly been set by those "in power" in college football, and UGA was the victim last season. There had better be more victims to follow this year.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Early UGA Hoops Talk

It feels a little strange to be focused on basketball before Thanksgiving, but football season has been a relative letdown (more on that during Tech week), and there are things that we've seen from Felton's crew so far that make me think this is going to be a pivotal year for the current regime.

Through 3 games, the Dawgs sit at 1 fairly underwhelming victory, 1 very underwhelming victory, and 1 extremely disturbing loss. Nothing about this team (so far) makes the casual observer believe that this season will be any different than anything we've seen in the past. Felton's teams have historically had trouble scoring (check), but have also always played aggressive, physical defense (check, sort of.) It is early, but through 3 games against teams that were all picked to finish in the lower half of their respective conferences, UGA is averaging a whopping 62 points per game. These are the games where SEC teams are supposed to be padding their offensive stats against lesser competition. So much for that idea. Only 2 players (true freshman Travis Leslie and senior Terrance Woodbury) are averaging double figures. Again, all of this comes with the caveat that it is still early. But there is valid concern for the prospects of this team in 2008-09.

Lack of offense is not uncommon for Felton-coached teams in Athens. To be honest, those of us that live and die with this program have come to expect it. But there are some other disturbing statistical trends that we've seen early this year:

#1: The Dawgs have been out-rebounded in 2 of the 3 games. With large bodies like Jeremy Price, Albert Jackson and Chris Barnes on the blocks, this shouldn't be happening against the level of competition the Dawgs have seen so far.

#2: UGA's assist to turnover ratio is a silly 1 to 1.7. This isn't a big surprise with a sophomore and true freshman as your primary ballhandlers, but this simply has to improve. It doesn't have to be 2 to 1, but we really need to see the numbers at least even up. This number can be a little misleading sometimes, and with UGA's turnovers per game (about 16) being considered "average", it really tells us that the Swansey and Ware have just got to become a little better at distributing the ball to their own teammates.

#3: The distribution of minutes is confusing me more than Pres-Elect Obama's foreign policy. Only Woodbury is playing more than 30 minutes a game. Troy Brewer, who I thought was really ready to break out, is averaging less than 4 minutes and didn't even get off the bench in one game. Albert Jackson (who admittedly is still hobbling on the ankle) is playing 13 minutes a game and has scored 3 points so far. I understand that there is more depth on the roster this season than we've maybe ever seen under Felton, but I'd expect to see less even distribution for some players as we move forward through the season.

A few key things really need to happen to get this thing on track.

First, the Dawgs need Trey Thompkins healthy in the worst way. (Hopefully he'll be back next week.) Not only is he Felton's best offensive option in the post, but he'll also help to stabilize the rotation. With Price, Barnes, and Jackson as the only options down low, and Jackson only at about 50%, Felton seems to be having alot of trouble finding the right mix.

A reliable outside scoring threat has to develop. Right now, Corey Butler seems to be the best option from behind the arc. Woodbury is really having trouble finding his stroke, and seems to be having some difficulty with his new role as the go-to guy on the roster. Ware is probably shooting alot more 3's than Felton would like. Travis Leslie's game is not on the perimeter. Ricky McPhee can be lights out at times and may be one potential solution. But in my opinion, the most realistic scenario is for Brewer to work his way out of the doghouse and start getting meaningful minutes.

Alot of this has to happen quickly for Felton to avoid some serious heat. The majority of UGA fans that still have questions about Felton, even after last season's miracle run in the SEC Tournament. Some of that is from what they've seen on the court (particularly on offense), but most of it is the fact that so many great in-state players are going elsewhere. Derrick Favors is still the prize, and Felton and Mike Jones have done a terrific job to stay very much on his radar screen. But even if Favors comes to Athens, it won't be until a year from now. There is much to be done between now and next season.

Double L Ranch

Week 13


Wallet Check: - $1,000
Week 12 gains/losses: +$ 200

The Schlitz stumbled into the wrong parts last weekend and has been detained for the amusement of some bearded fellows in full tattoo armor. He was able to get his picks slid out the bathroom window for me and has assured that he will be back next week to spread his knowledge.

5 Benjamin’s
Take LSU -3.5 against Ole Miss

4 Benjamin’s
Take Troy -10 over UL Lafeyette

3 Benjamin’s
Take Boise State -7 at Nevada

2 Benjamin’s
Take Oregon State +2.5 at Arizona

1 Benjamin
Take BYU +7 at Utah

The 5 Benjamin “Back on Track” Special #3
Take Texas Tech +7 over Oklahoma


Here’s a toast to getting into the green!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One Man's Bowl Projections

I love bowl season. Unlike most college football fans, I watch just about every play of every bowl that I possibly can in the month of December. Whereas I wouldn't watch a down of Southern Miss vs Louisiana Monroe during the regular season, I'd look forward to it if you put the words "GMAC Bowl" in front of that matchup. I'm not sure why, it just takes on a different feel that time of year. As a result, around mid-November I usually start trying to figure out who is going to play who. I pay no attention to the projections you can readily find anytime on ESPN or any other website, I actually make these up on my own. (And since you asked, no.....I don't have any idea what is wrong with me.)

Anywho, this is all based on the way I see the remainder of the season playing out. First, my predictions on the big conference and national games for the rest of the regular season and conference championships (as of today):

This weekend:
Georgia Tech over Miami
Penn State over Michigan State
Cincinnati over Pittsburgh
Maryland over Florida State
Wake Forest over Boston College (clinches ACC Atlantic for Maryland)
Oklahoma over Texas Tech
Arizona over Oregon State

Weekend of Nov. 29:
Florida over Florida State
Georgia over Georgia Tech
Boston College over Maryland
Virginia Tech over Virginia (securing the ACC Coastal by way of 4-way tiebreaker)
Oklahoma State over Oklahoma (which puts Texas Tech into the Big 12 Championship)
Alabama over Auburn
USC over Notre Dame
Oregon State over Oregon
Utah over BYU (securing undefeated season for Utah)

Weekend of Dec. 6:
SEC - Florida over Alabama
USC over UCLA (clinching Pac 10 for USC)
ACC - Maryland over Virginia Tech
Big 12 - Texas Tech over Missouri

All of the above should create yet another BCS mess, with Texas Tech, Texas and Southern Cal all laying claim to the right to play Florida in the Title Game. I see Texas Tech getting the nod. Texas can't seriously have a bid, can they? Wasn't "you didn't win your conference" the excuse that everybody used against UGA last season? The computers are also much more enamored with Texas Tech than they are of Southern Cal, and games against Oklahoma and Missouri for the Red Raiders, as opposed to Notre Dame and UCLA for Southern Cal, won't help the Trojans' cause much. I'm guessing we're going to see a Florida-Texas Tech matchup for all the marbles. Of course all this assumes that Oklahoma State knocks off Oklahoma in Stillwater, which would give Tech new life. Certainly not a given. Undefeated Utah will get the automatic non-BCS conference bid, but Boise State (also undefeated) will be left out of the mix as Texas, Ohio State, and Alabama will fill the at-large spots.

BCS National Championship: Florida vs Texas Tech
Fiesta: Texas vs Ohio State
Sugar: Alabama vs Cincinnati
Orange: Maryland vs Utah
Rose: Penn State vs Southern Cal

The SEC is going to have a very difficult time getting enough teams to qualify for their bowl slots this season, with 2 teams all but certain to go to the BCS, and Auburn unlikely to get the required 6th win. The Dawgs look like a lock for the Capital One Bowl regardless of what happens against Georgia Tech next week. I believe the Capital One has choice of an East team over the Cotton Bowl, who traditionally picks a team from the SEC West and will choose either LSU or Ole Miss (whose game this weekend may be a play-in for the Cotton.)

Cotton: Oklahoma vs LSU
Capital One: Georgia vs Michigan State
Outback: Minnesota vs Ole Miss
Chick-Fil-A: North Carolina vs South Carolina
Music City: Vanderbilt vs Virginia
Independence: Kansas vs Kentucky

The rest of my projections (warning: there ain't much good in this list).....

GMAC: East Carolina vs Western Michigan
International: UConn vs Ball State
Liberty: Tulsa vs Arkansas State
Gator: Miami FL vs Notre Dame
Insight: Nebraska vs Illinois
Sun: South Florida vs Arizona
Armed Forces: Houston vs Air Force
Holiday: Oklahoma State vs Oregon State
Texas: Rice vs Bowling Green
Humanitarian: Florida State vs Boise State
Alamo: Missouri vs Northwestern
Papa John's: Pitt vs Clemson
Emerald: Wake Forest vs Oregon
Meineke Car Care: Virginia Tech vs West Virginia
Champs Sports: Georgia Tech vs Iowa
Motor City: Wisconsin vs Central Michigan
Hawaii: California vs Hawaii
Poinsettia: TCU vs Fresno State
New Orleans: Memphis vs Troy
Eagle Bank: Boston College vs Navy
Las Vegas: BYU vs Nevada
St Petersburg: Rutgers vs Southern Miss
New Mexico: UNLV vs Louisiana Tech

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Perno continues to build a powerhouse program

A few baseball notes and thoughts...

Recently when asked about the upcoming pitching staff, Coach David Perno said this is potentially the best staff Georgia has ever had. I'm convinced that Georgia baseball is at the beginning of a long run of dominance. Perno is putting together a powerhouse program. Check out the Fall Baseball Review with David Perno.

This was an interesting story of Freshman Outfielder Zach Cone when he took BP with the Angels after LA took him in the 3rd round last June:

Zach Cone,
a high school outfielder from Georgia who was a third-round pick in the June draft, took early batting practice with the Angels on Monday and hit one home run.

Cone, who is expected to sign with the Angels this week, met several players, including Hunter, who showed Cone the pay stub from the twice-monthly check he received Monday. Hunter, who is making $16.5 million this season, was razzed by Scioscia and several players for showing the kid his check, but he provided a defense.

Kirby used to do that to me,” Hunter said, referring to former Twins teammate Kirby Puckett. “He did it to motivate me.” ... from LA Times back in July

These are the type baseball recruits Georgia used to struggle getting on campus. Perno is proving that you can come to Georgia and develop your game in Athens instead of A and AA pro ball. Good times in Athens playing in the SEC followed by trips to Omaha and potentially ending up 1st rounders is the reward.

More from Freshman Zach Cone on upcoming season:

"Watching this team in the CWS last season, I knew things were going to be pretty good here," Cone said. "I love having a national title as the expectation around here. Everyone at Georgia is cool, and I love it here."

Read all of it here: Georgia expects freshmen to contribute ... Kendall Rogers

Perno believes Mike Palazzone and Cecil Tanner are two of the most talented arms the Bulldogs have ever had in a freshman class. He also loves hard-hitting freshman Chase Davidson, who definitely will be an immediate offensive contributor for the Bulldogs. Perno described Davidson as a "very" special player.

Read all of it here: More Georgia fall workout notes ... Kendall Rogers

Also: Freshman at Georgia were ranked 3rd by Baseball America ... georgiadogs
Also: Georgia still in good shape ... Kendall Rogers

The Future at Foley Field:
Drew Cisco to Georgia ... C&C
First four signees ... georgiadogs

Monday, November 17, 2008

College Basketball Preseason NIT Preview

Dennis Felton's boys take the floor tonight in West Lafayette, IN on the campus of Purdue University, for the 2008 Preseason NIT. The tournament this year features a pretty solid group of teams, including Top 25 Purdue, Davidson and Oklahoma, along with other perennial top programs such as Arizona, Boston College and St John's.

The Dawgs grabbed the #6 seed in the 16 team tournament, but somehow got locked into the same bracket with the #1 seed Purdue, and will face Loyola Chicago from the Horizon League tonight at 9:30 PM. Loyola is coming off a 7-point loss this weekend to Division II Rockhurst College. It is worth noting that in that game, Loyola guard JR Blount scored 42 points on 12-22 FG shooting and 17-20 from the FT line, almost an unheard of number of trips to the line for a guard not named Kobe or Michael. Keep an eye on that matchup tonight.

The Dawgs should (by all rights) advance tonight, but getting by the preseason Big 10 favorite Purdue, in their building, with a young squad - will be a tall task. The Boilermakers play a small, guard oriented lineup, and return 7 of their top 8 scorers and rebounders from a team that won 25 games a year ago. This will be much more than a solid test for UGA, should the Dawgs get past Loyola tonight as expected. Make no mistake, the Purdue fans will be looking to exact revenge for the NCAA tournament 12 years ago, when the Tubby Smith coached Dawgs knocked Cuanzo Martin (far left of picture) led and #1 seed Purdue out of the NCAA tournament in the 2nd round. OK, maybe not, but I remember it. (Martin is actually a current Purdue assistant, so perhaps he remembers it as well. One might also remember that he was one of the many esteemed Atlanta Hawks draft picks from the 1990's. But I digress.)

Incidentally, you can watch Purdue open up against Eastern Michigan tonight at 7 PM on ESPN2. No TV for UGA - Loyola, but if the Dawgs do advance, the game against Purdue will be 7 PM Tuesday on ESPNU. The winner of the Purdue bracket advances to New York City and Madison Square Garden on November 26th for the semifinals.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Georgia wins 3rd straight over Auburn

Player of the game...

The little ball of hate in action at Auburn

(photo: georgiadogs)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Georgia 72 South Carolina-Upstate 48

Georgia (1-0) opened the season with a 72-48 victory over South Carolina-Upstate. Also of note: Kentucky lost giving up 111 points at Rupp Arena to Virginia Military. Let the meltdown in DUI-town begin.

Some thoughts on Georgia ...

It will take a miracle for a team to drop 90 plus on a Dennis Felton team now that he has depth with scholarship players. Georgia had 20 steals and created 28 turnovers. The offense still struggles for stretches though. It will be interesting to see what Howard Thompkins brings to the table offensively when he's healthy.

Ricky McPhee is going to play some minutes this year. He is a good shooter who fills a need on this team. The kid can play.

Travis Leslie is a freak. I'm pretty sure I've never seen a better dunk in person in my lifetime than the baseline dunk on USC-Upstate's 7 footer. Every time Leslie drove to the basket the crowd prepared for something special. He is raw talent, but seems to be the real deal when it comes to all the 'Nique athletic ability comparisons. "Baby Human Highlight Film"?

Terrance Woodbury is Georgia's best player. He didn't seem to look for his shot much tonight, but I'm guessing he's going to be a 17 points a night guy when it is all said and done.

Our point guard situation is in good shape. Swansey and Ware are going to be solid. I really like Ware's upside. He along with McPhee each had 4 steals tonight.

Georgia really opened it up once the big's started making nice little passes in the paint. Most notably was a Leslie pass that led to a monster Chris Barnes dunk and and the next possession Barnes to Jeremy Price dish that led to another dunk.

(photo: Amanda C. Melton)

Clemson Without a Lake

Lewis Grizzard once described the Clemson University campus as "Auburn with a lake." That's an insult to Clemson. While I dislike Clemson as much as the next guy, there are some insults that take it too far. Comparing another campus to Auburn is just plain rude.

Georgia visits the Plains this weekend, a game that in most years has quite a bit riding on it. This year, not so much. Auburn needs a win in one of its final 2 games (UGA or Alabama) just to qualify for a bowl, while the Dawgs are trying to finish off what most observers would actually call a disappointing 10 win season and a New Year's Day bowl game. Not exactly what we've come to expect in most years with this game, but for a few of us out there the stakes of this game are still high. Some of us actually subscribe to the idea that Auburn is UGA's biggest rival.

Of course, UGA has played Auburn more than anyone else, 11 more times that Georgia Tech, and 25 more times than Florida. The Dawgs have only beaten Tech more times than Auburn, and haven't lost to any team more than the Tigers. For a while the all-time record went back and forth in favor of either team, until Auburn recently won 5 of 6 in the late 90s and early part of this century, to take a slight lead. The Dawgs have won 2 straight in the series, but still trail the Tigers 50-53-8 all time. The Dawgs recent blowouts of the Tigers have resulted in UGA taking a lead in the all-time point totals 1,730-1,685. Think about it, in 111 total meetings, UGA has averaged 15.6 points per game, Auburn 15.2. I'd venture to guess there aren't two teams in the country that have played over 100 times, hell...over 50 times, that are as closely matched as these two teams.
The series has had its share of memorable games. It seemed like every game in the first half of the 1980's had an SEC title riding on it. In recent years it has (at times) been more of the same, and there have been some classic games played.
1996: In Auburn, the Dawgs came from 21 points down in the 2nd half to tie the game on a last second touchdown toss (a prayer) from Mike Bobo to Corey Allen. 4 overtimes later, in the first overtime game ever played in the SEC, the Dawgs emerged with a 56-49 victory.
2000: The Dawgs and Tigers would play another overtime game in Auburn, this time with Auburn pulling out a 29-26 win that would ultimately help seal the fate of Jim Donnan.
2001: In Mark Richt's first foray into the rivalry, Auburn won 24-17 in Athens behind about 700 yards from Cadillac Williams. Richt inexplicably handed it off to Jasper Sanks with no timeouts on a potential game winning touchdown. Auburn stuffed it and the Dawgs lost. Tommy Tuberville would add fuel to the rivalry by telling Richt (through the media) that he would soon learn you have to run the ball to win in the SEC (since then Richt has 2 SEC titles to Tuberville's 1.)
2002: The "lid gets knocked off" the UGA program in Auburn, as David Greene hits Michael Johnson on 70X takeoff to secure a 24-21 victory and help UGA to its first conference title in 20 years.
2004: Auburn pounds the Dawgs 24-6 on the Plains on its way to the SEC title and an undefeated season.
2005: The Tigers come to Athens and play one of the classic games in the series, winning 31-30 after a 4th down pass from Brandon Cox to Devin Aromashadu that went about 60 yards to set up a game winning FG moments later.
2006: Georgia visits a one-loss Auburn with a record of 6-4, coming off a loss at Kentucky, and promptly pounds the Tigers 37-15 in Matthew Stafford's coming out party as the UGA QB. The loss effectively knocked Auburn out of the National Championship discussion.
2007: The first "blackout" in Sanford Stadium history saw the Dawgs beat down a pretty good Auburn team 45-20.

Personally, I've had my share of memories of this game. I attended my first Georgia game at Jordan Hare Stadium in 1994, and didn't miss another one (with the exception of 2001 thanks to my first born's arrival) until I vowed to stop attending all UGA-Auburn sporting events in 2005 (more on that later.) 1995 was the year the fans tore the hedges up at Sanford Stadium in the last game before it was temporarily converted to an Olympic soccer venue. 1999 was one of the most painful games I've ever watched, as Ben Leard is still throwing it to Ronney Daniels as he glides past Jeff Harris. After the loss in 2000, the thing I remember most that personified the situation was that one of my good friends cried after the game (although I'm not sure if it was because the Dawgs lost, or because his wife passed out in an open field.) Just bad, bad memories on the Plains (although '02 was a pretty good one.)

Back to my solemn vow to never attend another UGA - Auburn sporting event in person. The beginning of the end for me was actually a basketball game in 2002 on the Plains. This was the worst officiated sporting event I've ever attended. An Auburn team with a 10-11 record shot 37 free throws, while a Top 20 Georgia team coached by Jim Harrick only shot 16 of them. After storming out of what has to be the biggest craphole of an arena in these United States, I began a slow upward crescendo of Auburn hatred. The following year Auburn would beat Dennis Felton's first UGA hoops squad in a game that was marred by similarly crooked officiating. Follow that up with the 2005 Georgia-Auburn football game (the worst officiated football game I've ever seen), and my days of watching the Dawgs get screwed by SEC officials were over. I took a brief respite last year to attend the 2007 Blackout, but have since resumed the boycott, which will continue this weekend and perhaps through the end of my days on Earth.

Much like Bop so eloquently described below, I despise Auburn. Tiger fans have the ultimate inferiority complex. No matter how many times they beat Alabama consecutively, they run a distant 2nd in their own state. Only at Auburn can an SEC team go undefeated and not even play for the National Championship. Only in Auburn do the home fans believe that they can knock the "sting" off a home loss by yelling "War Eagle" at the opposing fans. (By the way, that is ALL that needs to be done. Yell "War Eagle" at the opposition and as an Auburn fan, you've officially avenged the loss. Especially if you are a female. I think that technique taught at AU freshman orientation.)

So in short, this is a storied rivalry that gets very little respect nationally, mostly because both teams have bigger rivals that are more well known. But this rivalry tends to get very little respect from its own fans as well, where there isn't near enough hatred spread around. If I have to hear one more comment about this being a "friendly rivalry", I think I'll vomit. There should be nothing "friendly" about this rivalry. If you've been a UGA fan for more than 10 years, you know that no team has ruined more potential "great" seasons for UGA than Auburn. The history books prove it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Does nobody else hate Auburn?

I know The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry is considered friendly. Said to be a brotherly type rivalry. Georgia legend Vince Dooley played at Auburn. Auburn legend Pat Dye played at Georgia. Everyone has a cousin or an aunt or someone somewhere in their family who is a Tiger fan. I got an uncle. Great, great man. I look up to him as much as anyone in my life.

All that being said, I truly hate Auburn. It's not that I dislike them, I despise them. There, I said it. It feels good too. Go to their campus some random time and just look around. You will not find a "big" university in the country with more students that have more hats from other schools. Georgia, Kentucky, Florida Alabama etc etc, the list goes on. Auburn is everyone's backup school. The one you go to if you can't get into your favorite school. Truth hurts.

I've never seen a school with as much overall impressive success in many sports with a bigger inferiority complex either. We are talking Alabama here. They are worse with Bama than Tech people are with Georgia. They are about to run off Tommy Tuberville and he has beaten Bama 6 straight games. One bad year while Saban wins big at Bama and they are running him out. WTF? He's the best thing to happen to Auburn football since Georgia's old basketball coach was on their campus. Look, I'm not a wingnut fan and a lot of my disdain for Auburn is I'm sure directly related to some of the embarrassing loses he has put on Georgia, but the man can flat out win football games. Who are you going to get to coach at Auburn that is even half the coach Tuberville is? I love it. They are imploding from the inside out. It's reminiscent of the Petrino debacle a few years back. Oh, and I do think Auburn was the class of the football world in 2004. About 10 points better than that Southern Cal team at a neutral site. Yep, I believe Auburn got screwed out of a National Title in '04. It couldn't happen to a better school.

Plus, there's always this:


(video: AUtigerman02)

I really gotta hand it to the Redcoats in the above video ... great timing on playing "Georgia on my mind".

Auburn just isn't very good this year. Their offense in inept. Georgia should win this game by 14 or more with ease. Problem is it's The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. This series is so different than all others. Going simply by the history of this series Auburn will win.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Double L Ranch

Week 12

Wallet Check: - $1,200
Week 11 gains/losses: +$ 800

It seems laying low for a week helped the Schlitz regroup and light up the win column. Although the winnings were nice this week, I knew that there was plenty more where that came from, but I needed some companions to energize the quam. I hopped a flight Sunday night heading east to meet an old friend of mine for a few days just outside Dubai. Frank Mathis is his name and he has been like a father to me through the years. We’ve traveled the continents in search of fine wines and cheap women and for that I’m sincerely grateful. Frank’s life story plays like an Old Number One, but his vast knowledge of football can not possibly be paralleled. He has introduced me to the likes of Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Al Oliver and Odibee McDowell. In fact, Frank even introduced me to a great gambling shark in his own right at the camel tracks outside Mumba on Tuesday. Arak “Pee Wee” Hummus. This guy could not only call a camel race, but provided some of the finest herbal remedies I’ve ever had. After a few canteens of Romalad Whiskey, the three of us decided that Pee Wee may provide the anecdote for a winning weekend if he were to fly back to the states with us and make some calls on college ball. Though he had no idea what college ball meant we knew that his stash would be left in Mumba if we didn’t convince him to join us. A spliff and a half later, the trip was planned and we were on our way to Ruston, Louisiana. Pee Wee, Frank and I arrived in Louisiana last night and stumbled into an old joint that Frank used to frequent back in his bootleggin days. Even now, I must admit, I have no idea where I am… I CAN tell you this though, the wine flows, the smoke blows and so do the women! Sorry, that was uncalled for, but unfortunately not worthy of deletion.
Anyhow, on with the show that brings in the doe:

5 Benjamin’s
Take BYU -4 at Air Force
I know this isn’t a big game, but it’s certainly worthy of a 5 spot. BYU has a lot to play for while the Falcons are trying to break into the top 25. Look for a lot of points and a BYU victory.

4 Benjamin’s
Take UGA -8 at Auburn
It’s bound to be break out time for the Dawgs. Auburn has no offense and should not score more than 13 points. The Tigers will be fired up, but after the Dawgs score on the opening drive the crowd will be silenced and the long afternoon begins in for Auburn.

3 Benjamin’s
Purdue +17.5 at Iowa
Iowa played unreal against Penn State. No question. However, the excitement won’t last as Purdue will certainly hang around enough to make the points worth taking.

2 Benjamin’s
Missouri -28 at Iowa State
Blow out. This was called by Pee Wee and I’d suspect he’s right. Iowa State is looking forward to the offseason and plowing the corn fields. Again, blow out.

1 Benjamin
UCLA -7 at Washington
This should probably be more than a single note, but since it is the Pac 10, crazier things have happened. Let’s drop a crisp one on UCLA though, as Washington is flat out awful.

The 5 Benjamin “Back on Track” Special #2
Utah State will lose by 13 to Louisiana Tech
This is a sneak attack that will win you some serious doe…

It’s creeping up on me now and the lights are definitely dimming. Between the three of us I think we’ve put together a winning package in preparation for the Dubai outing. We’ve opened another bottle of Port and I suspect I’ll be dozing through the games this weekend, but come Sunday, the jet will be fired up with my briefcase of Benjamins and we’ll be heading to yet another fabulous destination! Bottoms up!