Thursday, July 26, 2012

Recruit 'em, but Don't Disrespect 'em

I'm all for Coach Richt 'recruiting' a handful of players from Penn St., because let's face it, if the tables were turned, we all know what would be happening.  But I will say that there needs to be a certain way to go about it. I'm not exactly sure what that way is, maybe it's a mere phone call, or even a text message, I just don't know. However, one thing I wouldn't do, is show up on their campus. It's simply disrespectful. Plain and simple. I know, college football is a 'dog-eat-dog' world, and the coaches are wearing Milk-bone underwear, but it's still disrespectful. You make a call, tell the kid, 'yeah, we're interested and would love to have ya, oh, and we need a some starting OL, but, we're not going to come up there and disrespect the University by walking around campus saying we'll take you, you and you'.

Evidently, Lane Kiffin don't give a rat's ass about that kind of stuff. Which is not the least bit surprising. Heck, he's probably up there partying away with the 18 year old co-eds and wrecking rental cars. Ya know, when he had his little disagreement with the late Al Davis up in Oakland, I just knew crazy Al was in the wrong. Boy, do I owe him an apology. You can obviously tell he was right when he said, "Lane's nothing but a spoiled little brat who thinks he should always have his way." Well, he said something like that.

Anyway, like I said, recruit 'em, just don't disrespect 'em.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Coach Scorned

I think I may have figured it out. When Mark Richt was in high school, he was one of the best QBs in the nation. He was All-Region, All-State, All-this, All-that, heck, he was going to do it all. He signed with The U.  When he got there though, he never really played much. He was stuck behind not one, but two future NFLers that went on to have wonderful pro careers. Even with this, he evidently was still good enough to get a shot in the NFL himself, coming out of college basically as a back-up. Then, he was stuck behind a pretty good QB in John Elway. I think there's a pattern forming here. As a player, he was good. Just not quite good enough. And when you're a 17-18 year old kid and you're being told that you are the best of the best, and it just doesn't pan out that way, well, that's got to be a little disappointing.
I'm pretty convinced all of this has something to do with the way he handles the QB position now, at UGA.
He(being Mark Richt) WAS Aaron Murray. Or even Joe Cox, for that matter. Don't forget that Cox, like Murray, came out of high school with all kinds of records, along with winning state titles. Both are a little short of being 6' tall, just like Mark Richt. I know, I know, they're 'on paper' as being 6-1, but we all know what that really means. Yes, I just had to throw that in there, but that's not what this is really about. It's about the fact that Mark Richt must have told himself somewhere down the line that if he were ever in position to have a player that almost identically reminded him of himself, that he would be sure to give them EVERY chance possible to make it. And this, I think, is the reason he seems to stick with a QB when its fairly obvious that a change needs to be made.
Aaron Murray was a great high school QB. He's a fairly decent college QB. He's setting some records at UGA. Good for him. I've got a feeling that if Hutson Mason were the QB for the last two years, those same records would be in his name, if not more. Murray would make the perfect back-up. Just like Richt was. Now, this article is not to knock on Aaron Murray(as there should be plently of that to come in just a few short months, I'm sure). It's just trying to get to the bottom of why Coach Richt makes the decisions he does. Oh, and don't get me wrong, I like having him as a coach. I hope he stays here a long time.
I'll also have another write-up as to why Coach Bobo does what he does(and there's a reason for that too).

So, whatchathink?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What Would You Do?

If you were the AD of a major university in America, and your head coach pulled the same thing that Bobby Petrino has done, what would you do? Now, when I say "pulled the same thing", what I mean by that is, the lies that he told you straight to your face, then looked into the camera and told all of your supporters. Never mind what the man was doing on his personal time. To me, that's his business. Well, his and his wifes. And I guess in this case, his girlfriends. I'm not going to sit here and judge the man for that. But when asked if he was the only person involved in the crash, and he says "yep, just  me". Then we find out 2 days later that he wasn't truthful with his answers. Hmmm.

So, do you take into consideration that he's one of the best college football coaches in the land, and has taken your university to places you haven't been in a very long time. Let alone, the possibility of leading you to the NC. Do you simply say, "Even though we looked into Houston Nutts phone records to see who he was talking too at all hours of the night, Coach Petrino made a small mistake and has learned from it. Now lets go win some more football games".

Oh yeah, don't forget all of the antics he pulled while at Louisville and Atlanta.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

More Braves Talk

I'm going to break this final record thing down a bit. Month by month.
For a total of 86-76. Again, missing the playoffs. Even the new one game playoff. The Braves are, and always will be with their current ownership, be a team that is just above .500, but not quite the team they were during their 14 year dominance. And every once in a while, say every 5-7 years, they'll break thru for a pretty good season making the playoffs and maybe even making a run at a title. To a lot of casual fans, this will be extremely frustrating. Especially those who joined in on the bandwagon during the 90's, but those of us who've followed the Bravos during the late 70's and 80's(and before), we can deal with it a little bit easier. You see, in baseball, you've got 3 types of teams. First, the NY Yankee type teams that don't mind spending money to get the big time players. Those teams include the BoSox, the silly Phillies, the Metropolitans and maybe one or two other teams. Then you have the exact opposite. The teams like the Pirates, the A's and the Royals etc..They simply don't have the money to go out and sign the big boys, so they hope that every once in a while that they strike gold. Kind of like the Rays have done in recent years. They have a nice base of young talent that has come together and play baseball the way it was meant to be played. Once these guys contracts come up, they'll sign with the Yankees and Red Sox. Then you have the guys in the middle of the road. The Braves are a prime example. They'll have some big contracts, but then they'll hope they can fill some holes with some young talent, and hope they get the perfect combination of vets and young guns. And it really makes sense to do it this way. I personally would put the defending champion Cardinals in this category. As frustrating as it can be, you've still got a chance to get it done. Anyway, with that said, let's look a little more at my beloved Braves. Lets play a little game called over/under. I'll give you a name and stat, and you tell me if he'll go over or under...

Tommy Hanson-15 wins? I say under.
Chipper Jones-95 games played? I say under.
Dan Uggla-30 HR's? I say over.
Jason Heyward-19 HR's? I say under.
Craig Kimbrel-38 saves? under.
Martin Prado-.300 avg? under.
Brian McCann-23 HR's? over.
Freddie Freeman-.290 avg? over.
Jair Jurrjens-14 wins? over.
Brandon Beachy-12 wins? under.
Mike Minor-10 wins? over.
Tim Hudson-14 wins? under.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Switching Gears To Baseball

With spring training under way, along with local youth leagues getting cranked up, the juices are turning to baseball. We'll get back to UGA football soon enough, with the annual G-Day game coming up in a couple of months, but for now, let's take a look at one of my other life long favorites, the Atlanta Braves.
I'm going to take a look at each position and give my prediction on how each player will do and of course give my year end prediction on where the Bravo's will end up. Let's not forget while doing this, they are by far playing in the toughest division in all of baseball. I know some like to say the American League East is the most competitive, but this year, the National League East has them beat from top to bottom. There's the Philadelphia Phillies, who even without Ryan Howard to start off the season, may have become better than what they were last year. The Florida, uh, Miami Marlins have taken huge strides to get better. They have a new stadium they need to fill up, so they had to get better for their own sake. Even the Washington Nationals took a big step forward with some of their moves this offseason. And they have some pitching this year too. I'm actually thinking the Nats will surprise quite a few people. The Mets, well, who cares about the Mets, right?!?
Now on to the Braves. Their  payroll will stay about the same as it has over recent years, being around 90 million. I still miss the Ted Turner days(of the 90's that is), having an individual owner who wanted to succeed, not just make a few bucks or use the team as some sort of tax write off. Enough of that though, let's run down the lineup. The lineup that I would use, anyhow.
1-M BOURNE-CF...will end up hitting .286, stealing 28 bases, and have a decent year in the field(not a gold glove year). You may say, "he'll only steal 28 bases?", and I say, Yes, only 28. We simply don't steal bases that much. Not that I agree with it, but it's the fact. Fredi don't like to take the bat out of the guys hands who hits behind him. Look for him have some trade rumors swirling around him at mid-season also.
2-M PRADO-LF(and part time 3B)...he'll hit .272, with 13 HR's and make some nice plays in LF, but also miss some balls that a major leaguer should get. It's a step forward from last year, but still not the .290+ we would like to see out of him. The bottom line is, you simply can't find a comfort zone at the plate when you're being moved around in the field.
3-C JONES-3B(trying to keep him comfortable hitting 3rd, as he likes it here)...ends up .262, with 16 HR's. I'm looking for this to be his last season. He's had so many nagging injuries during his career, and as he hits the big 40, the injury bug will bite more often. I look for Chipper to start off strong and hit with some power, but the long season will take its toll on him and he'll finish up playing in about 90-95 games this year and hang em up.
4-F FREEMAN-1B(in position to become our 3 hole hitter in the very near future)...will be a consistent .285 hitter, with 15 HR's. He'll spray the ball all over the field, hitting a lot of doubles with the occasional line-drive homer. Will play 140+ games and may end up with a Gold-Glove at 1B. The Munster(from Freddie Munster-as I like to call him) will end up being one of the fan favorites when it's all said and done. Don't look for any sophomore slump from Freddie
5-B McCANN-C...ends up a disappointing .269, 16 HR's. I hope I'm wrong here. But the fact is, he's played a lot of games as a catcher, and that will age a baseball player faster than anything else. I sense some injuries coming his way and I truly think he has seen his peak. I know they wouldn't do it, but he would be trade bait for me at the half-way point if things weren't going well for us. Again, I hope I'm wrong here, and he can at least one more productive season, but we'll see.
6-D UGGLA-2B...avg improves to .255, with 31 HR's. And I'll take it! Of course, anything will be better than the .233 he gave us last year, and was an abysmal .170 for most of the year. I think Uggs will be more comfortable being here in Atlanta and it will show.(may would flip-flop him and McCann after a few weeks into the season).
7-J HEYWARD-RF...struggles to finish .240, with 12 HR's. Another one who I hope I'm wrong with. To me, he'll have more to prove this season than anyone on the team, and I'm not sure he's up to it. Definite trade bait in my mind, if anyone would take him, that is. Just seems to have a left-handed Jeff Franceour swing, which is way too long and 'sweeping'.
8-T PASTORNICKY-SS...finishes .244, with 20+SB's. I'm officially dubbing him as 'The Pastor'. He'll make some nice plays in the field along with your occasional rookie mistakes. But I'm okay with that. He won't be any better than what we had, nor will he be worse.
The bench will be okay this season. I like getting Diaz back, along with having Henske and Constanza, who can steal some bases.
In summary, the averages will suffer some with the pitching being so good in our division. The offense will be average, which is a step up from last year.
On to the pitchers...
T HUDSON- He'll start the season on the DL, but will come back to go 10-8, 3.55 ERA. This could be better,  but he'll continue to have the worst luck of any starting pitcher I've seen with us losing games in which we're winning when he gets pulled.
T HANSON-Big Red will have a decent year, when he's not wrecking cars, and finish 12-10, 3.65 ERA. I'm anxious to see how his new delivery goes. Trade bait in my opinion.
J JURRJENS-JJ will go 14-12, 3.12 ERA- if he stays with the team the whole year. He's definite trade bait. We all know he's good when he's not hurt, but he's still got to show he can make it thru a whole year. I actually like JJ a whole lot, and I'm pulling for him to have a good year.
B BEACHY-The surprise of the whole rotation, will finish 15-9, 3.66 ERA. When he figures out how to NOT have that one bad inning, he'll be tough.
5th Starter-whether it be MINOR, DELGADO, TEHERAN, or even MEDLEN(possibly all of the above), will be a combined 13-12. We'll get some good outings from our 5th starter. I, for one, hope we don't trade any of em.
Will be pretty strong, which still has the big 3, O'Flaherty, Venters, and Kimbrel. Of the three, Venters is the best to me. O'Flaherty will do his thing in the 7th, Venters in the 8th, and Kimbrel, well, I do see a sophomore slump for him. He throws hard, but still walks way too many guys for me, especially being a closer. I think he ended up with 10 or so blown saves last year, and I see him doing it again this season. Only without having as many saves.
Overall, I think the Braves year will almost be a replay of last season. The hitting, along with the pitching, will be somewhat improved, BUT, so is everybody else in the division. We'll finish 86-76, and make a run at a wildcard berth, only to come up a little short, which is the story of my life....

Look for the Phillies and Tigers to play in the Fall Classic..I know, I know, I'm going out on a limb, huh???

My "keep an eye out  for" pick, the Washington Nationals.

MVP(National League only- because they play REAL BASEBALL)- Chase Utley. Oh, and as far as last years MVP, Ryan Braun- he'll take a giant step backwards, mark my words...the only reason he got off this week, is because of who he is and what his name is...more on this later...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Grandfather Clause

While scolding his team for a lack of focus in practices leading up to their 1991 National Chamionship game against Colorado, Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz was caught on film stressing the caliber of the CU squad by reminding the Irish they weren't playing aginst Kansas State.  While he definitely had a point the Buffs weren't the all-time losing football program that Kansas State was, his statement could be viewed as prophetic for what every coach prepping their team for a NT game from that time forward could also yell at their own teams......we aren't playing Kansas State.....seemingly regardless or whether Kansas State deserved to be a NT game participant or not.  And the same can basically be said for any coach of a big time bowl game team.  Kansas State, and many teams in a similar position to them, do not belong, apparently simply because they "have never been there before."

There are very few non-TV execs, bowl representatives or Rose Bowl parade watchers that still view the current bowl structure as a sane set-up.  The three letter acronym 'BCS' has turned into a four letter joke.  The trouble remains, this is still the system we have and the system by which college programs are viewed and measured.  There is great angst every December when teams get shafted by the system but, by the next fall, all is forgotten and the BCS game participants are allowed to place those games in their history books, allowing for increased recruiting, increased leverage in TV game coverage and contract negotiations and all the other benefits that come from the increased exposure for their brand.

This brings me back to Kansas State and Notre Dame.  A survey of casual college football fans would likely result with a conclusion the Irish have the better program, hands down.  I mean, they have the national titles, Touchdown Jesus and Rudy.  They have multiple Heisman winners.  Coaches who transcend sports and time.  For crying out loud.....they have gold in their helment paint!  Of course they are the better program.  Always have been, always will be. 

And, while they have struggled in recent times, they still have played in three BCS level bowl games since the inception of the BCS in 1998.  So, that can't be all bad.  Where is the argument?

Well, let me start by reviewing the win/loss records of the Irish and Wildcats for the last 20 years (1992-2011).  Surely this proves the Domers dominance.  Uh, not really.  The Wildcats have actually won 12 more games in that time frame.  (Of course, the world knows this is simply based on the cupcake schedule played by Kansas State.  We'll likely get to disputing that fact in future posts.)  This 'cupcake conondrum' is partially proven false by the fact the Wildcats have finished ranked in the final BCS bowl six times since that 1998 start.  Six times.  In fourteen years.  Not bad for the top losing program of all-time.  The trouble for the Cats - financially, recruiting wise and in terms of national perception - is they have only been able to convert one of those six qualifying seasons into actaully participating in a BCS game.  One.  Out of six.  And that one happens to be the year they won the Big 12 championship, which locked them into a BCS game.  (Amazing the powers that be couldn't have figured a loop hole out of that one.)

Notre Dame, on the other hand, has finished ranked in the final BCS poll four times.  In three of those years they have waltzed right in to a BCS bowl.  Three out of four.....versus one out of six.  Why the difference?  Sure, Notre Dame has the extra benefit that allows/requires them to be selected should they place at a certain ranking, but this isn't simply a 'Notre Dame thing'.  Michingan has also qualified the same number of times as the Cats....six.  They have converted those six seasons into four BCS bowls.  The reasoning for both Notre Dame and Michigan getting in and Kansas State being left out boils down to "well, they are Notre Dame and Michigan and Kansas State is.....well.....still Kansas State."

It's as if some all-powerful being stopped the evolutionary clock in the college football world back in the 1970's.  Those teams that had made their mark before this time would always be regarded as supreme to the teams that had struggled up to this date.  No amount of top level play in Manhattan, KS, on the blue turf in Idaho or on numerous campuses in between will allow for the good old boys club to be infiltrated.  The increase in money, student enrollment, national perception and, most importantly in these times of conference realignments.....stability.....that would have come with Kansas State playing in those same four BCS games Michigan was allowed to be involved in, will never be known and never be recovered.

Unfortunately, future generations of Wildcat fans will forever be chained to the results of contests that occurred long before their births.  Their grandfather's and great-grandfather's generations simply failed to set them up.  Who knew contests played in leather helments in front of sparse crowds of pre-WWII would weigh so heavily on universities and teams 70 years later?  Someone should chisel Lou Holtz's declaration in granite to make sure it is remembered and used by coaches for the next millenium....."This is the national championship game....we are not playing Kansas State!"

--  Joseph Denn

When Being Nice Is Being Too Nice

Three players were recently released from the Bulldogs football team for 'violating team rules'. We found out that the violations were stealing money from their OWN teammates. Now we hear that two of the players have enrolled at Junior Colleges, one in Kansas and the other at GMC, and could possibly return to the Dawgs. It must be noted that both of them are defensive backs and were in line to contribute this fall. And with the other recent developments of a certain starting cornerback being investigated for allegedly punching his girlfriend in the mouth, the Dawgs are suddenly extremely thin in the defensive backfield.  Evidently Coach Richt has started a new form of the 'open door policy'. We all know that there are other SEC vultures, mainly LSU and Auburn, that are ready and willing to come in and scoop up players that have been let go from some other institution and give them their 'second chance', and in this case, I say go right ahead. If I'm a player at the University of Georgia and a couple of my teammates are stealing from me, I don't think I would want them back, I don't care how good they are. If you're not going to let the QB who was let go a couple years ago have a chance to come back, then why in the world would you give these guys a shot? They directly violated one of their own guys! Maybe more than one. Coach Richt is a nice guy, we all know this, but I say he may be going to far with this one. You always hear that in sports, having good chemistry in the locker room goes a long way, well, what kind of chemistry could you have with a couple of thieves in there? It's not like they were stealing laptops from just any student, like Scam Newton did, they were stealing cash from out of other players lockers. So, what do you think, is Coach Richt being too nice to 'leave the door open', or should he be saying 'don't let the door hit you in the....'?