Wednesday, December 31, 2008
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.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
- 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.
- 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
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.