Monday, December 29, 2008

Playoffs Set..

Well, the Birds made the NFL post-season tournament with a pretty favorable draw. Arizona didn't play well down the stretch, but they do get to play at home against our poor pass defense. Fans in Arizona will probably be pumped considering they haven't hosted a playoff game since 1947. I do think that ATL's team is built for the post-season and will win the game Saturday by 7-10 points. This will then set up a third meeting between the Birds and Carolina because Minnesota will take care of Philly. Philly is getting a lot of hype after beating the gutless Cowgirls, but they still lost to Washington last week, tied Cincy, etc and will be unended by AP and the Vikings.

It's hard to imagine Atlanta going to Carolina and winning, but crazier things have happened. The Giants will beat Minnesota and New York and Carolina will play a classic similar to the one last week for the NFC Title. The Giants are learning to play without Burress now, and with their running attack coupled with home-field will make a 2nd consecutive trip to the playoffs.

The AFC is just as wide-open. Indy seems to be a lot better than SD, but the Bolts are playing well right now - Colts by 8. The Ravens, like the Falcons, have a team built to win in the post-season and will beat Miami. Baltimore then will upend Tennessee 9-7 to earn a spot in the AFC Title game. Pittsburgh takes care of Indy and then knocks off Baltimore to win the AFC. The Giants then will defeat Pittsburgh for another Super Bowl for NY.

Any guesses on next year's top fantasy QB's?? My top 10...

1. Brees
2. Cutler
3. Schaub
4. P. Manning
5. Ryan
6. Rodgers
7. Rivers
8. Romo
9. E. Manning
10. Pennington

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Birds still rolling...

I said after the Chicago game that it would be awesome if we got to week 16 and we were still in the playoff mix. I wasn't being greedy at the time and even seriously thinking we could actually make it, however my attitude has changed now that it is week 16 and we are certainly in the playoff picture.

You have to take advantage of good seasons in the NFL. It is rare for a franchise to year in and year out make the playoffs and have 10+ win seasons, especially in Atlanta. Now that the Birds are 9-5 and can get in the playoffs, why not aim even higher? There is not a dominant team in the league and Pittsburgh and the NY Giants showed that Wild Card teams can make deep runs in the postseason.

In 2002, everyone said to themselves, "We will be in the running for a Super Bowl every year for the next 10 with Mike Vick under center." Everyone knows how that situation worked out. You just don't know. What if Matt Ryan turns into Derek Anderson? What if Michael Turner tears an ACL in the pre-season next year? Just ask San Diego and Jacksonville how easy it is to go into a season after experiencing some success and rolling through an NFL schedule.

Matt Ryan is 23 years old. If the Birds expect 10 solid years out of their franchise QB, how many times will he have ATL in a position this late in the year as he does this year? What if Ryan loses a year to injury? What if Sam Bradford is the next Tom Brady and wins 3 Super Bowls playing for an NFC team? You just can't expect to be 9-5 or better 7-8 times the next 10 years going into Week 16.

In August, losing to Minnesota this week and ending with a win over St Louis to finish with a 10-6 record and barely missing the playoffs sounded like heaven. Now, this scenario makes me want to vomit. Take advantage of the breaks you got this year. Miraculously winning the Chicago game, overcoming 3 turnovers to beat San Diego, overcoming 3 turnovers plus a blocked punt to beat Tampa Bay, and see how far you can go in the playoffs.

Finally, I think one of the hardest things to do in the NFL is to win 10 games and miss the playoffs. Too many teams have gotten in with 8 or 9 wins in NFL history, that winning 10 is extremely frustratig for a franchise. Plus, it enhances expectations for the next season. Imagine an 11-5 Falcons team that misses the playoffs expectations for 2009. Ask Cleveland how hard it is to meet that expectaion and the pressure that comes with it...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

BCS has their fingers crossed...

We have arrived at Championship Saturday, and the BCS will certainly get one of the 2 participants in their title game around 7:30 tonight when Bama-UF ends. Their opponent, fingers crossed for the BCS guys, will be Oklahoma. Texas, USC, Utah, and Penn State will all make claims that they should be in over one of those 2, but a UF-Oklahoma game will make most happy.

Texas has the "you didn't even win your half of your division" argument going against them and almost all human voters will have Oklahoma ahead of Texas tomorrow morning if Oklahoma wins the Big 12. USC and Penn State have the computers going against them due to poor non-conference schedules (both teams best win is Ohio State). Utah has some good wins, but not nearly enough to get in over a 1 loss team from the Big 12 or SEC.

While the system will give us a great national title game this year, there will be the usual controversy. In 2013, ESPN will have the rights to the BCS games and I believe they will put the money out there and attempt to get a "Plus 1" system. The idea was brought up at the last meeting, but there was little hope the idea would get passed right away. The stage is set for 2013, where a #1 vs #4 and #2 vs #3 would face off a day or 2 after New Years, with the winners playing a week later for the trophy.

Guess which conference commissioners are opposed to this idea? Pac-10 and Big-10 - gotta have that precious Rose Bowl matchup...

The idea of an 8 team playoff is so far fetched right now, it is not even worth discussing. Debating how a #8 seeded Utah team would fare against Alabama is wasted breath because the reality is we are probably 15-20 years away from that even being considered. For now, lets look at how the "Plus 1" would have worked in recent years.

2008 (Projected)

#1 Oklahoma vs #4 USC
#2 Florida vs #3 Texas

I am curious if under the new rules they will allow non-conference champions into the equation. The Big 10 would certainly be upset if the above scenario took place and their 1 loss conference champion was left out.


#1 Ohio State vs #4 Oklahoma
#2 LSU vs #3 Virginia Tech

A classic case of the "Plus 1" working to perfection. Numbers 5 and 6 were non conference champions (UGA and Mizzou) and #6 USC had 2 losses. Again, the argument would be for UGA and Mizzou getting in over a conference champion but it would have been hard to argue against this scenario last year.


#1 Ohio State vs #4 LSU
#2 Florida vs #3 Michigan

This time two non-conference champions would be in the mix and would leave out conference champions USC and Louisville. Maybe now I realize why the Pac-10 is against the "Plus 1".


#1 USC vs #4 Ohio State
#2 Texas vs #3 Penn St

The one year the BCS worked to perfection (that's what you say when there are only 2 undefeated teams), the "Plus 1" would have had tons of controversy. A 2 loss team in Ohio State that did not win their conference would be in over conference champion Georgia, a 2 loss Notre Dame, and a 1 loss Oregon whose only loss was #1 USC. You think the ESPN guys would have pleaded for ND to get a shot??


#1 USC vs #4 Texas
#2 Oklahoma vs #3 Auburn

The "Plus 1" at its finest...solving the century old problem in college football, "What do we do with 3 unbeaten teams from major conferences?" Auburn gets their shot, while a non-conference champ Texas gets in over unbeaten Utah. This is the scenario where a team like Utah and Boise like to think they have a title shot under "Plus 1" but this shows you they probably don't (Cal was #5, Utah #6).


#1 Oklahoma vs #4 Michigan
#2 LSU vs #3 USC

This was the year, not 2004, that sparked the talk for the "Plus 1" system. USC was #1 in both polls, but got shut out of the title game. Michigan was Big-10 champs and would have been a great #4 seed in this mini-playoff.


#1 Miami vs #4 USC
#2 Ohio State vs #3 Georgia

Another scenario where 2 unbeaten teams would have to play an extra game, but the roll UGA and USC were on this year would have made for outstanding semi-final games.


#1 Miami vs #4 Oregon
#2 Nebraska vs #3 Colorado

Interesting development here...Nebraska and Colorado played in the Big 12 title game and would have a rematch. Oregon was playing as well as anyone at the end of the season behind Joey "Piano Man" Harrington. Florida and Tennessee fans would have been in an uproar if this had played out.


#1 Oklahoma vs #4 Washington
#2 Florida St vs #3 Miami

No real problems here. Four conference champs but another rematch in one of the games. Lol at Washington...


#1 Florida St vs #4 Alabama
#2 Virginia Tech vs #3 Nebraska

Another awesome pair of games with four conference champs. Bama and Shaun Alexander were really rolling after beating UF and Vick and company against mighty Nebraska? Would have been pretty cool.


#1 Tennessee vs #4 Ohio State
#2 Florida State vs #3 Kansas St

This Ohio State team was pretty strong and may have knocked off eventual champ Tennessee. Kansas St was coming off an upset loss to Texas A&M in the Big 12 title game but still would have been in the mix.

All in all, pretty interesting stuff. The idea that 3 unbeaten teams would all get a shot at a title is what I like the most out of this system. Further, it is much easier to argue #4 vs #5 than #2 vs #3. This season, Missouri wins, the argument over who would play the SEC champ would be much more difficult than arguing over Penn State, Utah, or the SEC runner-up for the #4 seed.

Is it 2013 yet???

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Almost December...

Well, the college football season is almost complete and we are starting to get some decent college basketball matchups. That can only mean that December is upon us. Texas Tech is now officially out of the picture for the BCS title after last night's debacle...or are they? Oklahoma has to travel to OSU next week where things are never easy and if OSU pulls an upset, TT will only have to beat Baylor to win the Big 12 South. A win over Missouri in the title game will probably be enough to get the Red Raiders another shot.

If Oklahoma does win next week, the dreaded BCS standing will determine the Big 12 South champ. That means the human polls will have a lot to say which is probably why Bob Stoops is already lobbying for his guys to be ranked highest. How do you determine the rankings for these 3 teams? You certainly can't put TT ahead of Oklahoma after what we just saw...but, can you put Oklahoma ahead of Texas, who they beat soundly on a neutral field? I think Texas is still the choice, having only lost their lead to TT in the final second - and, they were on the road that night and were playing out a brutal 4 game stretch. Oklahoma will argue they are playing the best right now and point to non-conference wins over TCU and Cincinnati, but the RRS loss is too much to overcome in my opinion - some will certainly disagree, which makes the release of the new polls very interesting today...

1. Alabama
2. Florida
3. Texas
4. Oklahoma
5. USC
6. Texas Tech
7. Penn State
8. UGA
9. Ohio State
10. Utah
11. Boise State
12. Oklahoma State
13. Missouri
14. Oregon
15. Ball State
16. Cincinnati
17. Oregon State
18. TCU
19. Michigan State
20. Georgia Tech
21. Boston College
22. West Virginia
23. Northwestern
24. BYU
25. Ole Miss

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things I learned...

Things I learned yesterday...

1) The Hawks need Josh Smith back ASAP
2) There is a TON of national "love" for the Falcons
3) The Florida Gators football team can not be stopped
4) USC's defense can give up TD's
5) UGA is not an elite team, but if 9-2 (6-2) is a down year...WOW
6) Any football game involving 2 ACC schools is a crapshoot
7) The CFB team with the most wins this year over ranked teams? Maryland
8) Maryland may be the best team in the ACC and started the year by losing to MTSU, who is 4-6
9) The Georgia State hoops team needs to take their game to a new level - and quickly
10) Oklahoma vs Texas Tech next week is going to be sweet - but, the SECCG will be better

Ranking 'em again...

1) Alabama
2) Texas Tech
3) Florida
4) Texas
5) Oklahoma
6) USC
7) Penn St
8) UGA
9) Ohio St
10) Utah
11) Boise St
12) Oklahoma St
13) Missouri
14) Michigan St
15) Oregon
16) Ball St
17) LSU
18) TCU
19) Cincinnati
20) BYU
21) Miami
22) Oregon St
23) Maryland
24) Pittsburgh
25) North Carolina

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All of a sudden I live in Winnersville?

What is going on with the local teams? The Hawks are currently 6-0 and are up on the defending world champs by 11 on their court in the 2nd quarter. The Falcons are 6-3 and are in the playoff chase in a season where nobody thought they could avoid a 3-4 win season. The Braves are close to acquiring a front-line starting pitcher and even the Thrashers are playing well...

The Hawks and Falcons, however, are receiving the bulk of my attention. The high flying, rim shaking Hawks actually look like they want to play defense, hold leads, and are winning without Josh Smith and poor JJ performances! Who knew?

The Falcons are amazingly having a wonderful season. Matt Ryan is no longer a good draft pick. He is a slam dunk, franchise, future Super Bowl MVP, Pro Bowl level quarterback. We have a STUD wide receiver in Roddy White, solid OL, and a DE that gets incredible pressure on opposing QB's.

Plus, if the Birds make the playoffs as say a #6 seed, travelling to Arizona is about as scary as "The Happening." Could it be??? A game to get in the NFC Championship??? Wow...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

College Football Thoughts...

Another crazy Saturday saw Penn St finally get exposed, Bama squeak out another win, and UGA give up a bunch of TD's again. I guess when your team gives up 125 points in 3 games, you should be happy they won 2 of them. However, the lack of speed and physicality on D is certainly a concern for UGA - I don't see them winning at Auburn and beating GT. One of two seems likely...

The new Top 25 will be interesting now that Texas Tech has won again. That TT at OU game will be huge for the BCS. Texas could realistically finish 11-1 (7-1) and in a 3 way tie for 1st in the Big 12 South and not advance to the Big 12 Championship Game because of a tie-breaker - BCS ranking. The computers love OU and a win over unbeaten TT would certainly put the Sooners ahead of Texas - as wrong as that is...

Another thing that concerns me - USC still considers itself a BCS Title contender even though Oregon St controls its own destiny for the Pac-10 title. After UGA heard all the "you don't deserve consideration for the BCS title game if you don't win your conference" argument last year, will USC receive similar treatment?

Furthermore, what if Mizzou beats OU in the Big 12 title game? Will Texas face the SEC Champ? They should, but we are back to the conference champion argument again. Is there a scenario that puts Penn St back in the game? I sure hope not...

1. Alabama
2. Texas Tech
3. Florida
4. Texas
5. Oklahoma
6. USC
7. Penn St
8. UGA
9. Ohio St
10. Utah
11. Boise St
12. Oklahoma St
13. Missouri
14. Ball St
15. North Carolina
16. Michigan St
17. LSU
18. South Carolina
19. TCU
20. BYU
21. Florida St
22. Oregon
23. Cincinnati
24. Pittsburgh
25. California

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Florida in good shape...

Tony Barnhardt of CBS and the AJC says that the most over-rated thing in all of sports is college football national championships. So much luck goes into getting to the BCS title game and Auburn will be the first to tell you that winning all your games isn't always good enough. Just look at LSU's two national titles this decade - they lost 1 game in 2003 and 2 games last year but had all the cards fall into place both times to give them their shot. In 2006, USC lost to UCLA as huge favorites allowing Florida to get a shot at their title. The 2002 UGA team was a mirror image of 2006 Florida - the only difference being that Michigan's last ditch throw on 4th down against Ohio State fell incomplete, allowing Ohio State to play Miami that year instead of the Dawgs.

It is hard for me to not openly root for one of these BCS titles. Mark Richt has the UGA program at the highest level but will never get full respect until the stars align one year and they win a national championship. He has UGA - even after the loss yesterday - well on the way to their 6th top 10 finish the last 7 years. Those 7 years also produced six 10 win seasons. Florida, in that same stretch, has just one 10 win season - 2006.

You would never know it by watching ESPN, but which program do you think has been more successful in recent history?


2002 - 13-1
2003 - 11-3
2004 - 10-2
2005 - 10-3
2006 - 9-4
2007 - 11-2
2008 - 7-2


2002 - 8-5
2003 - 8-5
2004 - 7-5
2005 - 9-3
2006 - 13-1
2007 - 9-4
2008 - 8-1

Time to move on now, another season without a title is all but assured. Lets place our ballot for the top 25 this week...

1. Alabama
2. Texas Tech
3. Penn State
4. Florida
5. Oklahoma
6. Texas
7. Oklahoma State
8. USC
9. UGA
10. Ohio State
11. Missouri
12. Boise State
13. TCU
14. Utah
15. Ball State
16. LSU
17. Kansas
18. California
19. Maryland
20. Georgia Tech
21. North Carolina
22. Florida State
23. West Virginia
24. South Carolina
25. BYU

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The RSM CFB Poll...

Another wild day of college football gave us a UGA blowout win at Baton Rouge, Penn State pretty much locking up an undefeated regular season, and the ACC becoming even more unpredictable. Here is how RSM sees the best teams in the country this week...

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Penn State
4. Oklahoma
5. UGA
6. Florida
7. Texas Tech
8. USC
9. Oklahoma St
10. Boise State
11. Utah
12. Missouri
13. Ohio State
14. Tulsa
15. Florida St
16. Ball St
17. Oregon
18. LSU
19. BYU
20. Maryland
21. UNC
22. Minnesota
23. South Florida
24. Michigan St
25. Georgia Tech

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Spotlight - UNC Tar Heels

The first installment of a spotlight on a particular team whose sport is in season. Today's team, by request, is the UNC Tar Heels...

The Heels currently sit at 5-2 and are 1-2 in the ACC. They could easily be 7-0, blowing a big 2nd half lead to VT and losing in OT to Virginia. The VT loss is the one that hurts the most, because with 2 division losses, UNC must win out and hope VT loses 2 more to win the division.

The season took somewhat of another downward spiral when QB TJ Yates was lost to injury and then Brandon Tate went down as well. Yates has been replaced (and pretty well at that) by Cam Sexton, but the Tate loss takes a big time playmaker off the sidelines. Tate could take it to the house at anytime, and Hakeem Nicks is on his own now as a receiving threat.

I think UNC takes care of BC today, setting up a pretty big game with GT next week. With NCSU and Duke still on the schedule, a couple of wins here could put UNC back on the map and give them an outside shot at a 9-3 season and a decent bowl.

Prediction: W vs BC, W vs GT, L at MD, W vs NCSU, W at Duke

That leaves UNC with a 9-3 season and a likely birth in the Chick-Fil-A bowl vs Ole Miss...

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Best Conference Debate...

I hate writing on stuff like this, but I had a reader make a request so I must respond...

The Big 12 is the popular pick now as the top conference in college football and rightfully so...the Big 12 has 2 really good teams and more than a handful of outstanding quarterbacks - however, I still believe the SEC is the best conference - and, it is still not close...

I think the Big 12 and the SEC have 2 teams that are really, really good. But, Texas and Oklahoma are virtually cancelled out by Bama and Florida. At the nextlevel, the UGA-LSU-USC teams are much, much better than Texas Tech, Mizzou, and OK St. The fact that Ok St and TT are still considered top 10 is laughable. TT had to fight off a missed extra point to beat Nebraska at home...

That leaves the bottom 7 teams of each conference. Nebraska, A&M, and Kansas St have the tradition to warrant consideration - however, they are nowhere near the level of Ole Miss, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt. The bottom 5 of the SEC includes Tennessee and Auburn, and - all laughing aside - have a lot of talent and are waaay better than an Iowa State or Baylor. Auburn did lose to Big East power West Va at Morgantown, but Kansas also lost to South Florida - make sure you look at every team before making assumptions.

In a head to head, here is who I would pick...

Texas vs Bama - Tex
Oklahoma vs Fla - Fla
Missouri vs UGA - UGA
Texas Tech vs LSU - LSU
Oklahoma St vs USC - Ok St
Kansas vs Ole Miss - Kansas
Colorado vs Vandy - Vandy
Nebraska vs Auburn - Auburn
Kansas St vs Kentucky - Kentucky
Texas A&M vs Tennessee - Tennessee
Arkansas vs Iowa St - Iowa St
Miss St vs Baylor - Baylor

Not a total blowout, but clearly an SEC advantage...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lets try this again...

Quite the day of upsets yesterday - the most surprising to me was the Texas victory over Oklahoma. The new polls today should look rather interesting, just keep your fingers crossed that Texas Tech is not rewarded for their OT victory at home against Nebraska. Here is my ballot for the week.

1. Alabama
2. Texas
3. Penn State
4. Oklahoma
5. Florida
6. Oklahoma State
7. USC
8. UGA
9. Missouri
10. Texas Tech
11. LSU
12. BYU
13. Ohio State
14. Utah
15. Michigan State
16. Virginia Tech
17. UNC
18. USF
19. Kansas
20. Boise State
21. Ball State
22. Vanderbilt
23. Wake Forest
24. South Carolina
25. Pittsburgh

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lets mix it up a bit...

Let's change things up a little bit today - bad Gameday signs, wedding that will cause me to miss some CFB today, meeting I have to go to in the middle of the Falcons game, etc. Lets talk some music: I have been trying to come up with some songs I don't have on the Ipod and need to download and got to thinking - What are your top 10 favorite rock songs of all-time? It's tough to narrow down - do you put any CCR on there? Or Allman Brothers? Here's what I came up with...

10) Bad Company - Bad Company
9) November Rain - Guns N Roses
8) The Ballad of Curtis Loew - Lynyrd Skynyrd
7) The Weight - The Band
6) Otherside - Red Hot Chili Peppers
5) Misty Mountain Top - Led Zeppelin
4) Beast of Burden - Rolling Stones
3) Yellow Ledbetter - Pearl Jam
2) Over the Hills and Far Away - Led Zeppelin
1) Baba O'Riley - The Who

Sunday, October 5, 2008

College Football Thoughts...

A few thoughts after watching another Saturday of games...

The SEC is very balanced this year. So many good defenses requires strong quarterback play each week. All the low scoring, tight conference games this year were won by the team that got better quarterback play.

UGA 14 USC 7 - Smelley and Garcia rotated in and were ineffective most of the game. Stafford made the plays he needed to make to win the game

Vandy 14 Auburn 13 - Auburn's 2-QB system did not work again and Mackenzi Adams played extremely well in the 2nd half to lead Vandy to the win.

LSU 26 Auburn 21 - Jarrett Lee comes in relief and throws the game winning TD for the Bengal Tigers.

Auburn 14 Tennessee 12 - The only one of these games Auburn wins was due to the 8-23 passing effort of Jonathan Crompton.

With the exception of the 2 bottom feeders Arkansas and Miss St, it appears any team can win anywhere at anytime. Ole Miss was assumed to be a bottom dweller but won at Florida and was a last second FG away from also winning on the road against the best team in the ACC (Wake).

Right now, I would rank the SEC teams in this order:

1. Alabama
2. LSU
3. Georgia
4. Florida
5. Vandy
6. Auburn
7. Kentucky
8. South Carolina
9. Ole Miss
11.Miss St

Toughest team to figure out so far? Maryland. The Terps beat Cal at home and won at Clemson, but stumbled against Middle Tennessee and got blown out by Virginia. How does that happen? Speaking of Clemson, I will go ahead and go on record - Clemson will finish 6-6 and Tommy B will be employed for the holiday season.

It looks like the October 25th trip Penn State is taking to Columbus, OH will be for the conference title. If the national title game is between the Big 12 and SEC champs, would the Rose Bowl pick a USC-OSU rematch for their game? They always want Pac-10 vs Big-10, and if neither are in the BCS Championship game, we may get Part Deux.

Texas might be good enough to ruin the Oklahoma-Missouri Big 12 title game everyone wants to see. I watched a good bit of their game against Colorado last night and they are pretty dang good. Strong lines, good skill players, and McCoy looks better than ever. Red River Shootout should be a dandy next week. The winner of that game is in great shape to be in the title mix come December - the loser is looking at a best-case scenario Fiesta Bowl against the Utah-BYU winner. Ouch.

Georgia is back in action next week against Tennessee in Athens and needs to get some confidence back. UT is not a good match-up for the Dawgs because of their OL and DL. Hopefully, Nick Stephens 1st road start will produce a couple of turnovers and UGA can prepare for what would be a nationally significant game against Vandy. Wierd...

How sweet it is...

A post-season in baseball without the Braves is hard to watch. The only thing that can make it interesting is rooting against teams and fans. We get the New York, Boston, and Chicago love-fest every year, so not having either NY team in the playoffs this year was extra sweet. The White Sox are going down soon, and I hope everyone stayed up last night to watch this sweetness...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

College Football Thoughts...

Looking back on my college football preview, it is quite obvious I really underestimated Alabama. They looked really good last night and should be near the top of all polls. I also wanted to go ahead and post how I would have voted this week before the real polls come out.

1. Oklahoma
2. Alabama
3. LSU
4. Missouri
5. Penn State
6. Texas
7. South Florida
8. Texas Tech
9. Southern Cal
10. UGA
11. BYU
12. Auburn
13. Florida
14. Kansas
15. Oklahoma St
16. Vanderbilt
17. Virginia Tech
18. Ohio State
19. UConn
20. Boise State
21. Georgia Tech
22. Utah
23. TCU
24. Oregon
25. Wisconsin

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Gameday Signs - Athens, GA Style

Leave it up to my boys in A-Town to pull off the best Gameday Signs of the season so far. There were enough good ones this week to do a top 10...

10. Knowshon is on my to-do list
9. Dawgs are ready 24-7
8. Mt Cody – I am hiding the Little Debbie’s
7. Superman wears Knowshon PJ’s at night
6. Helen Keller’s favorite color is knowshon
5. Julio mows my lawn
4. Put Lou in a home
3. Terrance Cody eats babies
2. I had a better sign but Phil Fulmer ate it.
1. Jimmy Johns weather report – 99% chance of snow


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gameday Signs and Ryder Cup...

There were a few good signs at GameDay today in Auburn, AL. You knew the AU fans would take some shots at Bama and they came through with Pay-Roll Tide and Parole Tide. Both funny because they are true. Also seen today were:

Go PC Blue Hose - winner of "random sign of the day" award.
Perriloux for Heisman
Geaux Home - anytime you can mock LSU fans it is funny
That’s how babies are made (???)
Fear the chop block

How much fun is it to watch the Ryder Cup? It is always a great event, especially when it is held in the US of A. Does anyone else think that Tennis needs to make the Davis Cup every other year like the Ryder Cup? I am sure few people knew the Spain-USA semi-final was also going on yesterday (Querry took a set from Nadal before losing and Ferrer beat Roddick 8-6 in the 5th). That event is no where near most people's radar but it should be.

Play it every other year, get the top players back in the event (James Blake withdrew a couple weeks ago due to exhaustion), and make it more of a big-time event. Olympic tennis is terrible, so we need a big-time competition like this to look forward to.

Back to the Ryder Cup, you gotta love Boo Weekly and Justin Leonard. Weekly getting the crowd involved yesterday was a thing of beauty. Leonard sank that 45 foot putt to win the 1999 Cup and has already chipped in twice this year. Not having Tiger hasn't hurt the Americans yet, but I am afraid it will catch up to us in the singles play.

Random college football pick of the week - Temple +29 against Penn State. You're welcome.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bonehead moves are always funny...

De'Sean Jackson flipping the ball behind him last night got me thinking about the most bonehead moves athletes have made over the years. De'Sean himself was already on the list. I couldn't figure a way to place these in any order, so here are my favorites in no particular order.

Lets start with the blunder from last night...

And good 'ol De'Sean's original blow up...

This guy got murdered for his blunder...

A funny take on the Jim Marshall wrong way run...

This one is worth viewing the entire 5 minutes. What was he thinking?

What a disaster the end of this game was. Worst part was I would have won my Dad's office pool with a Michigan victory and Tony Cummings ended up with my mythical trophy.

If you don't know this story,it may be the biggest blow-up ever.

The largest section of this guy's wikipedia page is dedicated to his infamous blunders.

One of sports biggest psycho's in his most psycho moment...

Roberto De Vincenzo
signed an incorrect score card in the 1968 Masters that kept him out of an 18 hole playoff for a green jacket.

His blunder is mentioned in his wikipedia page under legacy. Quite a bonehead move that took place in 2004.

This guy
inexplicably pulled out a driver on 18 on the final round of the US Open.

I'm not including incidents like Bill Buckner because he just choked and totally misplayed a ground ball. Those mentioned above all have the "what was he thinking" factor instead of the "I can't believe he did that" factor. Insert Ed Hochuli joke here...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Funny things from this week...

Some things that went on this week that made me chuckle...

1) The Mets already came out and said they aren't exercising Billy Wagner's option for 2010? Wow.

2) The Michigan-Notre Dame game is less significant than East Carolina-Tulane.

3) There's people out there that are waaaaay more worried about Beanie Wells' toe than Hurricane Ike.

4) The Blue Jays passed the Yankees for 3rd place in the AL East. The Yanks are now 9 games out of the wild card with 16 to play.

5) Sam Baker warning UGA fans about the hostile environment when they visit Arizona State next week. ASU sells season ticket packages for $99 and you can walk up to the gate and buy a ticket on game day.

6) This...

7) Lance Armstrong trying to pull a Dara Torres.

8) Daunte Culpepper's retirement letter. Best part? "Since I was not given a fair chance to come in and compete for a job, I would rather move on and win in other arenas of life." Sure Daunte, there are so many quality QB's out there that you didn't get a fair shot. You are washed up. A better line for your retirement letter than the one above would have been, "Since I was unable to show I was good enough to take Gibran Hamden, Brent Ratliff, Kevin O'Connell, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Tyler Thigpen's jobs, I would rather move on and win in other arenas of life."

9) Pacman Jones trying to call Vince Young to give him words of encouragement.

10) Torri Hunter going 7th Grade on Pudge Rodriguez and pushing him in the back.

11) Jon Gruden says Brian Griese will get the start against the Falcons tomorrow because Jeff Garcia is hurt. Garcia says he is fine. The genius who won a Super Bowl with a great team has since cleaned house to get his own guys in there and is 39-42 since.

12) The demise of the 49ers franchise does not seem to be coming to an end soon. Former #1 pick Alex Smith, who has stolen around $40 million the last 3 years - is out for the season and will probably be released next summer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Early thoughts on the Falcons...

Well, after just 1 game it is quite apparent Thomas Dimitroff made some solid moves in the off-season. The Michael Turner signing looks outstanding, the draft was better than solid, and the coaching staff seems to be a great fit. However, the one move he made that I think will have the biggest impact on the team this year was a trade made right before the draft...

Not only did moving DeAngelo Hall for a 2nd rounder help us get Sam Baker (who has been great), but it rid us of the most selfish athlete I have ever seen play a team sport. More selfish than Ricky Davis throwing the ball off the backboard to lock up his triple double, Chad Johnson wearing the HOF jacket, or Bob Wickman not wanting to pitch if it wasn't a save situation.

This guy wrote out "Aloha" on a board during a game, picked up 3 ego-driven penalties on 1 drive against Carolina, and always went for the interception even when the smart play was to knock the ball down (New Orleans). It was always about him, hence the nickname MeAngelo.

It's perfect now that he is on a team where they have a history of picking up "me first" players and stand little chance of winning anytime soon. If Hall never finishes on a winning team the rest of his career, it will make me smile.

For the present day Falcons, their locker room no longer has to deal with Hall's antics and can focus more on the "team" aspect. At least I can feel good about rooting for Brent Grimes and not be embarrassed about the way he acts on and off the field like I was with Hall. Good riddance...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Signs your having a great College Football Saturday...

I have compiled a list for those of you who are like me and live for college football in the fall. As you know, some Saturday's are better than others based on who your team is playing, if the game is on TV, who you are watching the game with, etc. I don't make it to a lot of regular season games because I enjoy watching all the other games besides UGA's (Look for me if they make the SEC Championship game or their bowl game). Thus, the perfect Saturday, and I usually get several a season, always involve the following things:

1) A slow cooked meat dish with some kind of home-made sauce. I prefer wings for day games and ribs for the late-night games.
2) At least 6 friends that are as hard-core into all the games as you are. This helps for better conversation, gets more food to the location, and the more people you can high-five - the better.
3) The amount of time between your last cup of coffee and your first beer is less than an hour.
4) A late night game - something like USC-Oregon St - that starts around 10:30. This prolongs your day of CFB enjoyment.
5) A big upset that doesn't involve your team. Bonus if that game is on TV at a different time than your team and you get to watch it. Another bonus if one of your hard-core friends that is with you roots for the team that was upset (AKA the Clemson factor).
6) Finally, your team wins a game against a formidable opponent and no one gets injured (no injuries also applies to everyone at the viewing location).

Consider this the CFB fan checklist for a given weekend. I think my 1st one this year will be September 27th when UGA plays Bama. Gonna be close today, hoping to only be missing #6 (Texas - UTEP is the late game - kinda shaky).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Baseball and Football thoughts...

How ridiculous has CC Sabathia been with Milwaukee? I feel like I have been asking myself that about twice a week the last month and a half. He is now 9-0 in 11 starts with 6 complete games and 3 shutouts. CC is also up to 88 innings pitched in 11 starts. An eight innings per start average will really help a bullpen in August and September.

Does he have a legit shot at NL Cy Young? If he wins 5 more starts and is something like 14-0 with an ERA around 1.50, he should. Webb will have 20+ and will get a lot of votes and Lincecum has been the best pitcher in the NL all year, but you can't discredit numbers like that.

Cliff Lee has all but locked up the AL award. He would have to fall apart for someone like Halladay to take it from him. What if Cliff figured out how to pitch last year? Would Cleveland have won the World Series? That rotation with CC, Lee, and Carmona would have been pretty stout...

Anyone have any interesting thoughts on Week 1 of college football? There weren't too many close games until Monday night's Rocky Top meltdown, but this week looks like some teams will get better tests. Georgia (C.Mich), Florida (Miami), Auburn (S. Miss) and others will get much bigger tests this week.

Teams I watched that looked really good:

Wake Forest

Teams I watched that looked really bad:

Virginia Tech

There has been way too much talk this week about scheduling amongst BCS conference teams. You can't just look at one school's non-conference opponents versus another and make any general statements without looking at both situations closely.

Some schools (Southern Cal) have to schedule 2-3 big conference opponents out of conference because they play all of the other 9 Pac-10 schools each year. Recently, that means that 5 of those games (Stanford, Arizona, Washington, Washington St, and Oregon St) are complete duds. Of the other 4 (Oregon, Arizona St, UCLA, Cal), maybe you will have 2-3 that are legit top 25 teams. The only way to get your team ready for a BCS game is to find a few other top games that are out of conference.

Alabama is an example of a team on the other end of the spectrum. They have scheduled this year Clemson, Tulane, Western Kentucky, and Arkansas St out of conference. WKU is by far the weakest with Tulane being from a decent conference (USA) and Arkansas St usually fielding a competitive team (Beat A&M Saturday). Clemson was the only major BCS conference team the Tide scheduled this year. The reason? They are already at Georgia, Tennessee, and LSU in conference and host Auburn to close the season. Those four games plus Clemson gives you plenty of big-time games on the slate. In the USC example, getting Virginia, Ohio St, and Notre Dame are needed to get the 5-6 big games you need to legitimize your team.

So, when someone brings up USC's bottom tier opponents, don't let "USC fan" tell you the SEC has Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt. It is a different situation because USC gets to play all the bottom feeders, while a team like UGA doesn't play either Mississippi schools or Arkansas.

That being said, I sure am glad USC is ranked #1 now in both polls. This UGA team is too young to deal with those expectations each week. It is good experience for the 2009 team though, the one most true fans have targeted the past 3 years as the Dawgs best shot at a BCS title...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Signs seen on College Gameday

I wanted to start compiling these, so this may be a recurring blog. Post any good ones you see or have seen.


Kirk > Phelps + C.Norris

I could start in the big 10

Knowring 4 Knowshon

About 7 "Julio 4 Heisman"

Julio trained Phelps

Today's rank at about a 5.0 out of 10. None have come close to what we usually see in the Big 12. The best of all time so far?

Fowler, you look like F in HD

I dare anyone to top that one.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A College Football Preview

I have been doing this for years and now I finally have some accountability...

1. Oklahoma (13-0) - Toughest Road game is A&M, don't play Mizzou and get Texas Tech at home
2. USC (11-1) - Even if they lose to OSU, Pac-10 doesn't have another top 15 team to challenge them
3. UGA (11-2) - Probably a good bet to slip up twice in brutal schedule, my guess is UT and LSU
4. Ohio State (10-2) - Should once again be dominant in Big 10 - defense will keep them in the mix again
5. LSU (10-3) - Best at the line of scrimmage in the country, decent QB play will put them in the top 5
6. Missouri (11-2) - Daniel should have the Tigers back on the national scene with no OU on the schedule
7. Florida (10-2) - Only 1 ten win season the past 6 but have enough offensive talent to be pretty good
8. West Virginia (10-2) - Interested to see how they handle the loss of Coach Rod, White and Devine=Big East Title
9. Texas (10-2) - Should be improved on both sides of the ball, sleeper contender if they win the RR Shootout
10. Tennessee (9-3) - 16 Senior starters return for another run before lack of quality recruiting catches up to them in '09
11. Clemson (9-3) - Should be the best in the ACC, but until 'lil Bowden wins 10+, I cant put them in the top 10
12. USF (10-2) - Two all-americans on defense and Grothe back at QB make them a solid bet to be good again
13. Texas Tech (9-3) - Will be 7-0 going into last weekend of October before running into the big boys
14. Wisconsin (9-3) - Sepetember 13th 10:30 pm clash with Fresno should be a good one - lose to OSU, Fresno, and Iowa
15. Auburn (8-4) - First year in the spread offense will have some growing pains but still a top 15 team - Bama streak will end
16. Oregon (8-4) - Tough schedule involves trips to USC, Cal, ASU, and Purdue - enough weapons to win most of the rest
17. Virginia Tech (8-4) - Rough stretch from 9/20 to 10/25 will determine season
18. Michigan (8-4) - Must beat Utah Week 1 to stay in top 25 all season
19. Arizona St (8-4) - Lost way too much off last year's team to improve to a top 10 calibur club
20. Kansas (8-4) - Three tough road games plus Texas will keep Kansas from matching last season's magic
21. South Carolina (8-4) - May need to win at Florida or at Clemson last 2 weeks of the season to ensure 8 win season and Jan 1 Bowl
22. Illinois (8-4) - Probably the 4th best in the Big 10 and are at Mizzou non-conference - 8 wins is do-able though
23. Fresno St (10-2) - Starts with a bang by beating Wisconsin but stumbles down the stretch with BCS pressure
24. Alabama (7-5) - Will break the drought against Auburn to squeak into another lower-tier bowl - top 10 next season
25. BYU (10-2) - Have enough returning to remain a top 25 team all season

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Olympic Thoughts...

I want to go ahead and apologize to anyone who read this back in June and were pumped up to see Tyson Gay in the 2008 Olympics. What a disappointment Gay was in Beijing - I almost feel sorry for him. He failed to reach the final in the two events he qualified for and didn't even qualify in the 200M. Whether or not the baton debacle was his fault - he was still involved - Gay has probably been the most disappointing athlete on the most disappointing team.

It goes to show you how hard it is to win multiple gold medals when some of your events are relays (i.e. Phelps). Another example of how remarkable his feat actually was. At least Brian Clay saved some face for the US in T&F by winning the decathlon.

As I am typing this, I have to refresh to get results of the 4x400 men's and women's relay final this morning. The only Olympic coverage on TV right now is the gold medal baseball game, which has been very entertaining - but, where are the other networks? It is the middle of prime time in China and we have one live event? Just refreshed again - both teams won easily...

Usain Bolt has been the top story since the swimming events ended. He is truly unbelievable. Hope he doesn't pull a Ben Johnson...

My boy Deontay Wilder took the bronze in the heavyweight division, the only medal won by the USA in boxing. Does the scoring in boxing make sense to anyone? In one match, a fighter knocked another guy down yet did not score a point? Seems strange to me.

Time to sneak in a quick nap so I can be fresh at 2:30 tomorrow morning for USA-Spain hoops...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

MLB Draft revisited...

I will spare everyone and not bring up the Beijing Games. Those athletes over there (especially the swimmers) are already getting too much pub - you know what half-man half-fish half-olympic-gold-medal-winning-machine accomplished Saturday night.

The other news that has caught my eye this weekend is the deadline to sign players from the MLB draft. Georgia got good news when Trevor Holder could not come to terms with the Marlins, but the Aaron Crow story was the biggest national story.

Crow was the Big 12 pitcher of the year for Missouri and the 9th overall pick by the Nationals. Crow initially was asking for close to 10 million guaranteed, but backed down to 4 million just before the deadline. Washington would not go over 3.3 million. Why in the world would you let the 9th pick sign with the Fort Worth Cats over 700K? Now, Crow will be back in the draft next year hoping to pull a Luke Hochevar.

The details of some of the contracts are pretty interesting. The guy who received the largest signing bonus was Buster Posey with 6.2 million, 50K more than Tim Beckham. Last minute signees Pedro Alvarez (#2) and Eric Hosmer (#3) both got 6 million. Miami's Yonder Alonso (#7) only gets 2 million, but check out some of his perks. That looks like a pretty sweet deal - 18K for books and board??

Those that watched the Fresno State love-fest on ESPN back in June know the name Tanner Scheppers. He was the ace of the FSU staff before hurting his arm early in the season. After being projected in the 1st round, Scheppers fell to the 2nd because of this injury. Well, Tanner thought he was worth way more than pitchers with hurt arms actually are (2 million). He went unsigned and I don't blame Pittsburgh one bit. They got the Alvarez deal done and that was priority #1.

The only other player in the top 70 that didn't sign besides Crow and Scheppers was Yankee 1st rounder Gerrit Cole (#28). Cole is honoring his commitment to UCLA and says the decision has nothing to do with money. He wasn't signing no matter what NY offered? Please.

The Red Sox took no chances with their 1st rounder Casey Kelly and dished out 3 million for the 30th pick. Kelly was the only player outside of the top 11 to get more than 2 million!

If you are interested in any other picks, check out this link.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cox's Successor

I was wondering today about Bobby Cox and his potential successors as Braves manager. A lot of people assume it will be Terry Pendleton, but he was linked to the KC job and is also rumored as a candidate to replace LaRussa in St. Louis. Terry would probably be decent as a manager, but I think the Braves could do better.

Is it possible that the ear-marked successor is not currently with the organization? Is that why there is not much talk even though it looks like Cox will be around through 2009 at the most?

I think a possible candidate is Leo Mazzone. He has been out of coaching for a few years, but still works as an analyst and does some radio. At age 60, Mazzone may think he has 7-10 years in him to try and bring another title to Atlanta.

Seems to makes sense.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Time for a Soccer Blog...

With the Community Shield match kicking off the new season tomorrow morning, I felt it was time for an EPL preview. Here is how I see the final table shaping up...

20) Hull – Like Derby last season, Hull will be one and done while hoping to get at least a victory or two before bowing out.

19) West Bromwich – The other newbie that just spends a year in top flight English football. They will do better than Derby last year and Hull this year, but 30 points is still a push for WBA.

18) Bolton – Just two years removed from a Top 7 finish, Bolton just does not have any goal scorers to keep them up this year. The Wanderers made a few decent signings, but not enough to avoid relegation.

17) Stoke City – Stoke fights off relegation on the final day to fight on another season. Newcomer Dave Kitson makes it consecutive years in the EPL with 10+ goals.

16) Middlesbrough - As much as I like Gareth Southgate running the show, Middlesbrough just doesn’t have enough to make a run at a mid-table finish. Didier Digard is a good young talent they just brought over from France.

15) Wigan – Wigan has been hanging on the past 2 seasons and appears set to make a run at a mid-table finish. The duo up front of Marlon King and Emile Heskey should provide enough goals to ensure a solid finish.

14) Sunderland – Sunderland seems poised to become a mainstay in the EPL after signing a trio of players from Tottenham, including a solid defender in Chimbonda. El Hadji Diouf also has come over from Bolton to solidify the forward spot.

13) Newcastle – Newcastle will produce lots of goals with forwards like Viduka, Owen, Martins, and Ameobi – the problem will be similar to last season – their defense. Without top-flight defending and aging midfielders such as Nicky Butt and Damien Duff, Newcastle is looking at another disappointing finish.

12) Blackburn – Blackburn will have a difficult time replacing David Bentley. He has been such a force at forward for the Rovers the past few years. Robbie Fowler will be a decent replacement, but he is not the goal-scorer Bentley is. Washed up Paul Robinson takes over in goal from Brad Friedel who has been better the last few years than people realize.

11) Fulham – Fulham makes a solid jump from near relegation to a mid-table finish. They have been very active in the transfer market and picked up a pair of good forwards in Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson. Throw in Clint Dempsey, who was outstanding last season, and Fulham looks like they could be a force.

10) West Ham – Alan Curbishley now has a fit club and should finish at least as well as they did last season. If Bellamy and Ashton put up double digit goals between them, the Hammers could push for a Top 6 finish.

9) Manchester City – City made huge leaps last season and should now become a fixture in the top half of the table. Ben Haim comes over from Chelsea to solidify the defense.

8) Everton – I hate to be a pessimist, but my beloved Toffee’s are going to struggle this season. Taking on a 2nd consecutive season of European football while not making any signings is very disturbing. Moyes wanted to add 5-6 players and the only off-season movement so far has been selling players like Carlsey, Johnson, etc.

7) Aston Villa – Villa is a club that could make some serious noise this season. With Brad Freidel now in goal and the upcoming superstar Ashley Young in the forward spot, Villa could contend for a top 4 finish if fit.

6) PortsmouthPortsmouth really shored up their front line by signing Peter Crouch. English national goalkeeper David James is outstanding in goal and Jermain Defoe should complement Crouch nicely.

5) Arsenal – Arsenal slips out of the top 4 this year due to their youth and lack of quality players. Losing Hleb and Gilberto Silva were big blows to the Gunners. Jens Lehmann can be replaced and Cesc Fabregas is one of the world’s best, but I don’t think Wegner has enough this year to stay in the top 4.

4) Tottenham Hotspur – The Spurs had some money to use this summer and they picked up some quality players. They still have some extra cash, but so far have landed Luka Modric and David Bentley who will help take Tottenham into the top 4.

3) Liverpool – As much as I hate to say it, Liverpool has really positioned themselves nicely to make strong runs in the league and in Europe. This year will be a coming out party for Babel and Robbie Keane will certainly off-set the loss of super-sub Peter Crouch. Fernando Torres will get his 20+ goals and Dirk Kuyt will continue to be a force for the Reds.

2) Manchester United – Manchester United will not match last year’s double and will fall just short of the top spot in the table this season. Keeping Ronaldo was the key move of the summer, but he won’t have enough help this year to match the magic of last season.

1) Chelsea – The Blues take the top spot this season behind the new leadership of Luis Filipe Scolari. Michael Essien will return to mid-field where he is more effective and will team with Lampard, Ballak, and recently acquired Deco to form the best group of mid’s in the world.

Community Shield Prediction for tomorrow:

Manchester United 3 - 1 Portsmouth

Three quick things of note...

How great was it to see Colin Montgomerie once again wet the bed in a major championship? Monty shot a solid 84 and missed another cut on US turf. If you don't know why I enjoy this so much, read this.

Good to see Hawks management waste no time in matching the offer sheet Memphis gave Josh Smith. I have been worried about this for quite a while - June 24th to be exact.

I blogged a bit about complete games in baseball last month and mentioned Brandon Webb lead the league last year with a whopping four. Well, as of this morning, CC Sabathia has four in his seven starts with the Brewers. He also has four shutouts on the season. Only two players have topped four shutouts in a season since the turn of the century. Former Marlin greats AJ Burnett and Dontrelle Willis. Maybe Sabathia and Halladay will bring the complete game back to baseball.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Finally a blog about Brett Favre...

I have been silent on this issue the last 6 weeks as I know everyone is tired of hearing every tiny detail about the entire situation. Now that he is at least gone from GB (if you think the stories will die down now that he is in NY, think again), I got to thinking...this has to be one of the most worn out-overblown-make you suicidal-stories ESPN has ever thrown at us the past few years. What are some of the others?

1) Yankees-Red Sox
2) Cubs fans are cursed and you gotta love 'em!!
3) Tom Brady is God and he dates hot women
4) David Beckham warming up on the sidelines
5) Anything involving Pacman Jones

Give me some help on the others. What makes you want to vomit every time you see it on the ESPN ticker?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hawks situation revisited...

Well, there is still no end to the Josh Smith saga. Even though the market is now set with Biedrens, Deng, and Okafor signing, Hawks management still can't reach an agreement with J-Smoove. Sign and Trade options have been explored, but none make the Hawks a better team. I think the rumored trades (Prince and Amir Johnson from DET & Josh Howard and Brandon Bass from DAL) are decent, but not better than re-signing Smith.

Even with Smith back, this team still has issues in the front court. Only about 3 million is available from the MLE, so there isn't any cap room to sign much else. The roster would almost be set with a Josh signing, giving Atlanta a depth chart of:


With so many other teams in the East improving (Philly, NJ, Toronto, Chicago), the Hawks are probably looking at a dogfight to get back into the playoffs. Anything less than a return trip to the post-season would be devastating to the franchise. I do think that if the team remains relatively healthy most of the season and Marvin gets a lot better they can win 42-45 with this squad. Maybe a trade deadline deal with Claxton's upcoming expiring contract and a pick can get us some veteran help down the stretch, but there is not much left on the free agent market right now.

All the more reason to get the Smoove deal done now...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trade Deadline is here...

As I mentioned in this blog, Tampa Bay is in a unique situation this season. They are a small market club that has never competed for the post-season. Add in the fact that they play in a division with the Yankees and Rex Sox, the Rays need to do all they can to make a run this season. However, for some reason, it is looking like they will stand pat.

Why? Adding any of available player regardless of position (Lohse, Bay, Dunn, Fuentes, Ohman, etc) would improve their team. Boston was just swept by LA and Tampa's lead is now at 3 games heading into August. Don't hang on to every prospect just because you don't think the deal is fair. Go get somebody and try and get to the playoffs for once. I would be so ticked if I was a Rays fan. Just ask Indian fans if you can count on your young, talented team to compete year in and year out.

The Griffey trade doesn't make Chicago that much better. He and Konerko have both struggled this year and Griff doesn't cover ground in center like he used to.

The Manny Ramirez rumored trade certainly doesn't make Boston better, but they HAVE to get rid of him. He is a cancer right now and is taking longer to get to 1st base than somebody on a chess team.

I really hate this trade for Florida. Why trade Hermida for a 2 month rental? He is only 24 and has yet to peak. The Marlins must realize the NL is up for grabs and with 2 titles the last dozen years, why not take another shot.

On the Braves front, Minnesota is apparently willing to part with a starting pitcher for help at relief pitcher, 2nd base, and 3rd base. How about this deal? Omar Infante, Kelly Johnson, and Will Ohman for Nick Blackburn. Blackburn is a 26 year old rookie that is 7-6 this year with a 3.69 ERA. Then, the Twins could bring up Liriano to fill Blackburn's spot in the rotation while getting help at all their positions of need. Atlanta gets a starter as they try and build for next season...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The time is finally here! It is about to be football central here until MLK Day. We are coming up on our 1st weekend with real football since Eli Manning to David Tyree shocked the world! I will get to some college stuff in a few weeks as I am still compiling my pre-season Top 30. For those of you out there that wager a buck or two on pro or college football, I will go ahead and give you the LOCK futures bet for this season.

University of Tennessee - Over 7.5 Wins

The reason this is such a great futures bet is you will have a decent idea of their season after Game #1 on September 1st (you can even hedge and take UCLA). If they beat UCLA, they are certain to get to 8 wins and still might get there with a loss. Take a look at UT's home games this year: Florida, Wyoming, UAB, Alabama, Northern Illinois, Kentucky, and Mississippi State. I would guess UT goes 6-1 in those games, but lets say they go 5-2 and the Tide pull an upset. If the UCLA game is a win, that means only 2 more wins are needed to get to 8. Road games this year are South Carolina, Georgia, Auburn, and Vanderbilt. Splitting these 4 would do the trick.

This is a team with 5 returning starters on the O-line and a All-Conference running back. The QB is a new starter, but he will have a good receiving core and maybe the top secondary in the nation helping him out.

Lets get to some pro stuff...

I think the top 4 teams in the NFC are the 4 Eastern division teams. Washington is the sleeper here after acquiring Jason Taylor. The Skins have a decent line, and Jason Campbell will have some receiving targets this year that are taller than 5'9. The defense should be pretty good now that the D-line has been upgraded. We will know a lot about Washington pretty early in the season - 3 of their 1st 5 games are on the road against the other 3 teams in the East.

I wish there was another team I liked to win the NFC besides Dallas. They still don't have a #2 receiver that will scare anyone, but Jason Witten takes some pressure off Owens. That defense looks like it could be the best in the league after locking up their secondary and adding Zach Thomas. Marion Barber will have to carry more of the load this year and I believe Dallas will use Felix Jones in different ways to get him the ball.

Don't but the New Orleans hype - they are still a bottom tier defensive team and while they might get to 10 wins playing in the NFC South, they won't get far in the playoffs.

I really believe the Falcons can win 6 games. They have more talent than people think and could sneak up on people with their running game and play-making linebacker core. This would also keep them out of the top 5 in the draft and having to spend a ridiculous amount of cash on another pick. I want Michael Oher (OL - Ole Miss) in next year's draft...

There is no reason to think New England will go away and other recent powers Indy, Pitt, SD, and Jax will also be pretty good again. I don't really like anyone of the 5 over another, but NE looks to have the easiest schedule and the best chance at home-field...

Least intriguing non-Brett Favre story this pre-season? The Bears QB race between Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman. Can't wait to see what happens there...

Most intriguing non-Fantasy Football story this pre-season? The development of Matt Ryan. I haven't been this excited about pre-season since 2001.

Finally, lets take a shot at the final division standings...





Green Bay


New Orleans
Tampa Bay


San Fran
St Louis



New England







Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Texeira Trade Thoughts...

Well, as predicted here, Big Tex is gone to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Braves weren't able to get any stud pitching prospects, landing Kotchman was the key to the deal. Now, instead of losing Tex for a couple picks this winter, they have a good 1st baseman at an affordable price. Kotchman is under Braves control until 2012 and will probably command just 4-5 million a year the next 2 years in arbitration. The only way this deal turns out to be good for LAA is if they resign Tex or win the World Series this year.

However, this does not solve all of Atlanta's problems. They are still without a right handed power hitter in the outfield and suddenly have a gaping hole in the rotation. Published reports have Wren actively pursuing Jason Bay and I am still holding out hope a Bay for Francoeur/Lillbridge/Prospect deal can go through by Thursday. Locking up 1st base for 2009 at an affordable rate and acquiring Bay at his 09 salary (7.5 million) would go a long way toward fielding a competitive team next season. I also am not opposed to shopping Kelly Johnson and Mark Kotsay - Ohman is all but gone for prospects.

The reason the rotation is scary now is because it looks like Tim Hudson will miss all of 2009. This puts a lot of pressure on Smoltz to come back healthy to anchor the rotation. In the scenario proposed above, all off-season spending can be on starting pitching. The Braves may even have to sign two pitchers to fill out the 09 starting staff.

Could this team compete for a title next season? If both free agent starting pitchers listed sign for around 10 million per season, the team payroll will be similar to the past 3 seasons.

C - McCann
1B - Kotchman
2B - K. Johnson/Lillbridge
SS - Escobar
3B - Chipper
RF - Bay
CF - Shafer
LF - B. Jones

SP - Smoltz
SP - Jurrjens
SP - D. Lowe
SP - Garland
SP - Campillo

RP - Soriano
RP - Gonzo

The problem here is you are again counting on Smoltz and Chipper to stay healthy and carry the load. There are also 2 rookies in the starting lineup and too many left handed hitters.

At least there is now another guy to throw into the group of current players you are comfortable building your team around:


Back to the trade - I was convinced last weekend that there wasn't any way Atlanta got C.Jackson, Loney, Youkilis, etc. Kotchman is by far the best MLB ready 1st baseman that was available so I certainly am happy about the deal. He has never shown great power or patience at the plate, but is a good hitter nonetheless. And, the deal is WAAAY better than the Chad Tracy/Micah Owings deal I read about last night - what a disaster that would have been. Unless Owings pulls a Rick Ankiel in 3 years...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Trade Deadline Thoughts...

I have always been a big fan of the trade deadline in baseball. This week is certainly shaping up to be an interesting one for the Braves. After yesterday's debacle, it is quite obvious Teixeira needs to go now. I speculated last week that the Dodgers made a lot of sense as a trade partner because they have the cash to re-sign Tex and a young 1st baseman to send back as a replacement. However, it looks like Loney is not going to be available and other rumors (Youkilis, Conor Jackson) have died down and appear dead.

The one team that I think makes the most sense now is the Angels. They need bats and would be scary good if they got Tex. If they gave us one of their 2 stud pitchers at AA (O'Sullivan or Mendoza) along with first baseman Casey Kotchman (.290-11-52 and not FA eligible until 2012) I would pull the trigger immediately.

I don't think the Braves need to sell everybody that is an upcoming free agent - they can do some re-building now for next season by acquiring major league talent that comes at an affordable price. I am still on the Francoeur + prospects for Jason Bay train. Bay would give us the right handed power hitter we have missed since Sheff left. The Braves desperately need a big time hitter in the outfield. This group Cox is throwing out there now (Francoeur, Kotsay, Blanco, Infante, Norton, etc) is pathetic.

It also makes no sense to hang on to Kotsay and Ohman. They better be gone by Thursday as well.

Whatever happened to Matt Diaz? He was playing in Mississippi when Frenchy was down there.

The one thing I am scared about is speculation that if Atl doesn't get top prospects for Tex, they will just let him walk and take the 2 draft picks. Those could be good picks - if the Dodgers sign him, we could get something like the #18th pick #35th picks along with our 1st rounder. But, if he decides to go somewhere like his hometown Orioles, the picks might be #35 and #62. The top 15 picks in the draft are protected so we would have to take Baltimore's 2nd rounder. Not exactly fair compensation for an all-star. Move Tex to LA and focus on developing some young guys and preparing for next season.

This Manny Ramirez thing sure did escalate quickly. After pulling himself out of the lineup the other day, Epstein and company are ready to put him on waivers and maybe even release him and eat the remainder of his contract. He is still productive (on pace for .300-30-100) in a town where he is beloved and the team is a WS favorite. Unbelievable.

It looks like the Mets will end up with Raul Ibanez and Philly was done trading after getting Joe Blanton. Neither move will help either team that much - unless one of those 2 gets Manny I don't think they can get to the NLCS. Look for Milwaukee and the Wild Card winner Chicago to fight it out for the pennant.

How can Tampa stand pat? Reports are that they don't want to give up a ton of prospects for a hitter? You have been terrible for 10 years and don't expect to compete year in and year out with NYY and Boston in your division. Give up some players and go get somebody. Nady and Blake are gone and you are running out of options. How cool would it be if Tampa got Manny and he hit a walk-off in late September to knock Boston out of the post season?

How could Steve Bartman turn down $25,000 to sign a photo of his unfortunate incident? Cash in on your mistake! Those fans forced you to sell your house - at least get rich off of this.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Random Nuggets...

According to, Francoeur is available and is being shopped around. I brought this up a few weeks ago and now the idea that we may be ready to part ways. Considering the contract extension that Frenchy turned down, this may not be for the better.

Leave it to the WNBA to come up with "worst gimmick" of the year to get attention off the recent brawl. Anyone excited to see how Nancy Leiberman performs tonight in her comeback? I am about excited about this as I was when I read that Mike Hampton "felt great" during a bullpen session.

The only way the Brett Favre story ends well is if he stays retired. Each day I become more and more convinced he is going to find a way to play again - and it doesn't look like that will be Green Bay. Wow.

Former Dawg Phillip Daniels tearing a knee ligament in the 1st drill of the 1st practice goes to show you that guys like Devin Hester and Ryan Grant are smart in getting all they can when they are healthy, valuable assets.

There was a very weak free agent class of pitchers last off-season in baseball, but that didn't mean the decisions were less important. Take Seattle and St. Louis for example. Both needed to sign a starter - Seattle gave Carlos Silva 4 years and 48 million and St Louis gave Kyle Lohse 1 year and 4.25 million. Through Wednesday...

Lohse - 12-2 / 3.35 ERA
Silva - 4-12 / 5.62 ERA

How good is CC Sabathia right now??

A few non-stories ESPN is throwing at us today...
- Iraq will not compete in the Olympics
- A bunch of WNBA players are suspended
- Two buddies of Tim Donaghy are headed to jail
- Apparently there is a bike race going on in France

Speaking of ESPN, I watched the SEC media days on ESPNU today and found myself screaming in exuberance as they showed UGA highlights. The one downside to the CFB season? Mark May bashing UGA any chance he can (still bitter about finishing #2 in 1980) and Kirk Herbstreit downplaying UGA as a threat to Florida and LSU (still bitter about losing 1993 Citrus Bowl).

Ra'Sean Dickey is now off to Europe, leaving GT with only 9 scholarship players for this season. Next years recruiting class looks good and that is good news for Hewitt's job status.

Prediction: Bobby Bowdon and Joe Paterno will never retire. One will die, then the other will either
a) retire at the end of current season if leader in all-time wins
b) coach until either dead or leader in all-time wins

First overall pick in the MLB Draft Tim Beckham has gotten off to a rough start. He is 13 for 72 so far with only 2 extra base hits (both doubles). Good for a .181 average.

The AL is setting up a great post-season similar to what we had in the NBA's Western Conference this year (but not quite that good). The Yanks surge could put them in the playoffs with Boston, Chicago, and LA. All four teams have won World Series titles this decade.

How good could Oakland be if Billy Beane wasn't forced to trade away everyone that approaches arbitration? In the past 5 years he has traded Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Dan Haren, Rich Harden, etc. - and, Huston Street is currently on the block.

16 Days until Falcons pre-season football!

Make sure you read below and comment on the Hawks situation. Just watched their summer league game on NBA TV against the D-League all-stars. Don't forget about Acie Law IV - he may break out this year.

Where does this leave the Hawks?

Well, Childress did it. The ASG (Arrogant Spirit Group) dared him to go find a better deal than what they were offering (roughly 5 yrs 33 million) and he went and did it. Josh just wanted to get paid - and the Hawks thought they had all the leverage. And, as usual, they blew it. With no draft picks and little cap space, there wasn't much to do this summer besides resign Chillz and J-Smoove. Leave it to the Hawks to blow such a simple task.

However, this is not at all the worst situation in the world. Atlanta keeps Josh's rights for a few years and can still deal him for something or bring him back to play for the Hawks as soon as next season. As for 2008-2009, the Hawks HAVE to win 40+ games and improve off last season. Any step back will probably lead to several more steps back. Joe is up for free agency soon and we do not (especially after what Chillz did) have a good reputation around the league dealing with players.

So, since Rick Sund has done nothing since taking over, lets look at what has to be done before camp starts. Right now Smoove wants 12 million per year and we are offering 9, so lets assume we don't go 0 for 2 right off the bat and compromise with our young star. This would be what the team would look like with 08-09 salaries...


With a Bench of


That is 10 roster spots with a total salary of $62,103,904. The cap for this year is $58,680,000, so we have no cap room for free agents. What we do have is the Mid-Level Exception (MLE) worth $5,850,000 and the Bi-Annual Exception (LLE) worth $1,910,000. We could split up the MLE to sign 2 players, but may have to overpay to get one of the remaining free agents. No one will take equal or less money to come here.

The Hawks really need another wing player and another center. If they can sign Kwame Brown to the LLE, there are several wing players still available that may come here for all or part of the MLE.

Kareem Rush - I wouldn't use the entire MLE on Rush, but he can really shoot. Probably not a good fit because he isn't a forward and would remind Woodson of Salim.

Quentin Ross - Ross is a decent defender and it may be worth the MLE to sign him and Rush.

Maurice Evans - Evans would be a great choice as he was a starter on Orlando's division winning team last season. He is 30, but shoots the 3 pretty well and is a decent rebounder. He was offered 3 years and 6.4 million by GS, so we may have a shot at this guy.

Fred Jones - Jones withered away in New York the past few years but still does some good things. Probably not a good enough shooter to fit with the Hawks.

Bonzi Wells - Bonzi is getting up there in age, but if healthy can still be a productive player.

Lets say we can entice Evans and Rush to come and split the MLE between them. That way, when Claxton gets injured, we won't have a roster spot to fill. In fact, lets sign one or two of the summer league free agents that are playing pretty well (Luke Jackson or Othello Hunter) and Mario West to the minimum just to be safe.

So, going into camp we would have the following depth chart...


I think that roster would have decent flexibility and would pose a threat in the East. Probably not a 50 win team, but they could approach that number if Bibby is healthy. This roster would have a total payroll right at the luxury tax of $71,115,000. The ASG would not have any luxury tax to pay, but they would have to dish out some cash to fill out this roster. Will they do it or will they do all they can to keep the payroll around 58-60 million? You can never trust them to do the right thing.

As for the future, Bibby's salary comes off the books after this season and Claxton will turn into a trading chip as next season will be the last of his contract. The Hawks will have cap space to be a major player next off-season while still having Johnson, Williams, Smith, and Horford under contract. Hopefully, Williams will accept a modest extension this fall and we won't have to worry about him signing with FC Barcelona next summer...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

People in Sports I love...

After the "worst" list, what better to discuss than a "best" list? We all have our man crushes, so lets hear 'em.

10) Chipper Jones – Was drafted #1 overall out of high school the year before the Braves became yearly World Series contenders. He is as good as they come at the plate and has become an above average defensive 3rd baseman. It gets overlooked that he volunteered to move to LF when Vinny Castilla was signed while it is equally overlooked that Derek Jeter complained when A-Rod was brought in that he wouldn’t give up SS.

9) Charles Barkley – The reason Charles is so great is because he is at the point in his life where he doesn’t care what he says or who hears it. I watch TNT because I want to know what he thinks about NBA players and coaches and he will tell you without worrying about any consequences. His quotes on gambling, being rich, becoming old, etc are classic. Chuck is the man. Plus, he can always make you laugh by doing this…

8) Joe Johnson - Joe came to the Hawks when nobody else wanted to - And, he did this as he was entering his prime as a player. You gotta love and respect a guy that wanted to be "the man" on a bad team and was willing to take a few years of getting drilled by everybody in hopes it would pay off in the end. Joe isn't a superstar, but making all-star games is starting to become the norm and after making the playoffs, the Hawks are on the up-and-up. Unless ASG screws it up...

7) Ron Franklin - Since I had a few announcers on the "worst" blog, I had to put my favorite on this list. You know it is fall when you turn on ESPN Saturday night and hear Ron Franklin's voice calling a marquee match-up. His voice is awesome, he is always prepared, and never tries to do anything more than set up the action.

6) Tim Howard - One of the best 5 goalkeepers in the world is American - and plays for Everton FC. This makes you a lock on this list for me. Timmy is good enough right now to be captain of his club and for his country. He is brilliant in net and has world class reflexes and instincts.

5) Mark Richt - This one may be a little long. Coach Richt is taking some heat his off-season because naysayers think he "only recruits thugs" and like to make jokes about arrests. The truth is, 3 of the 7 charges from this off-season have been dropped and 3 more are underage drinking/DUI. Not that those offenses are minor, just not acts of what I think would be "thuggish." One guy, Michael Lemon, has a serious charge against him. His girlfriend cheated on him and he saw the guy at a party and picked a fight with him. That's the worst of it. It is waaaaay better in Athens than in a LOT of college towns. Even Vanderbilt had a player kick out a window of a squad car after being arrested. A Florida player stole a credit card off a dead woman and used it to buy gas. An Alabama linebacker had a cocaine operation going through 4 states. Much worse charges of drunk gun waving (Mizzou), pouring beer on cops (Wazzu), and Grand larceny (UVA), are happening all over the country. It is just a case of having 100+ college kids with little supervision away from the practice field/weight room. You know what that equals? Shenanigans.

Richt is a great coach and an even better human. To say he puts on a "front" and is a cursing psycho that only cares about winning behind the scenes is ridiculous. All he does is put my Dawgs in the mix every year by doing some outstanding recruiting/coaching/hiring/retaining.

4) Jessie Tuggle - Jessie had a very under appreciated career with the Falcons but was great on the field and in the community. He was the type of guy I could look up to as a pro athlete when I was growing up. He never left the Falcons and saw them reach an unimaginable Super Bowl as his career was ending. Just a good 'ol Georgia boy that went from Griffin to Valdosta to Atlanta to local sports hero.

3) Herschel Walker - Another great Georgia boy that, although a bit nuts now, will always be the greatest college football player of all-time to me. Quotes like "The ball ain't heavy" and his dominant career in Athens that started with an undisputed National Title make Herschel a lock top 3 on this list. He also has highlights like this…

2) Dominique Wilkins - 'Nique spent many years at #1 on this list and was only recently passed for the top spot. Somehow left off the NBA 50 greatest list, 'Nique had a hall-of-fame career playing for the Hawks. Growing up and attending his basketball camps were awesome. Further, he is the greatest dunker of all time (was robbed in Chicago) and lit up the Omni when I used to be at most games. Oh, and he also was a Dawg!

1)John Smoltz - I freakin' love this guy. He is great with the media, speaks what is on his mind, is a big game performer, great leader, great teammate, etc. If the Braves are 7 games behind the Mets and are entering a 4 game series at Shea in July, Smoltzie will tell anyone who will listen that they need to take at least 2 of 3. No cliche/Tom Glavine answers from this guy. He may go down as the greatest post-season pitchers of all time, won a Cy Young, and is still gutting out his career with 1/3 an arm. I think the reason he moved to #1 is I truly believe he wants the Braves to win another World Series as much as I do. There are a lot of athletes in this town that you can't say that about...