Posted on: September 9, 2008 5:26 pm
 

The Pursuit of Perfection - UGA's Dream Season

Author’s Foreword:

OK, so I’ve been gone for a while. Well, not really gone but working. While this is what I do at work, I’ve actually been working. Go figure. Living in Athens, it’s hard not to get swept up in all the hype surrounding UGA and their pursuit of their first national title since 1980. Being a dawg fan myself, and an alumnus to boot, I felt only right that in the midst of all this, my next log entry should concern UGA before I turn my writing towards the NFL in all its glory.

The word out of Athens these days, and these words are coming from Athens, is perfection. Plain and simple. They (we) think that UGA is just that good. In the words of a college football personality, not so fast my friends. Is perfection really possible? Can UGA run the table? Do they really need to?

Tackling these questions isn’t as easy as it would appear, and I don’t think it appears that easy. I am by no means a “college football expert”. I’m a fan and that’s a start. And I’m a UGA fan, so keep that in mind while reading this. Let’s take these one at a time.

Is perfection really possible?

The short answer, yes. I know there is a lot of talk on here about SEC dominance and how tough the conference play is, and I agree, but Auburn did it back in 2004. It can be done. This Georgia team has all the things needed for an undefeated run through the SEC. A power running game? Check. Knowshon Moreno is one of the best backs in the country. End of story. But wait, there’s more. Caleb King certainly looks to be an emerging back in his own right. That’s a heck of a one two punch. A young offensive line to begin with, now suffering the loss of the starting left tackle, does raise some questions but so far so good. This week’s contest against a sturdy USCe defense should show how good they are. Solid quarterback play? Check (so far). Matt Stafford has looked impressive in wins over Georgia Southern and Central Michigan. You can sense the “but” can’t you. BUT . . . it was Georgia Southern and Central Michigan. Not exactly powerhouses in FBS. Southern fields a good FCS or Div II or whatever the heck it’s called these days and Central Michigan is a good MAC team but let’s face it, these are not BCS contenders. Again, USCe should show us whether Stafford improves on his 19 TD 10 INT season from a year ago or reverts to his freshman form. One thing is for sure, with defenses keying on the run, Stafford should be able to throw the ball this year. A playmaker receiver? This is the one that makes me wonder sometimes. Massaquoi has looked solid at time but I really believe that A.J. Green will emerge as a big play threat in the passing game this year. A defense that can control the game? Check. The loss of Owens hurts big time. There’s no doubting it. UGA has depth on the line, however. The linebackers look better than good (short of great) and the secondary can certainly hold its own against any receiving core (see Sugar Bowl last year for example). It is a defense of playmakers (see Dobbs’s 78 year interception return TD from last game). Kicker? Well, this one is still a question mark. I think UGA will need its kicker more this year than most Dawg fans would like to think. Blair Walsh still has to prove himself in big game situations (read late, game winning field goals), but that 52 yarder give me more confidence.

Can UGA run the table?

So far, so good, as they say. Again, it’s just GSU and Central Michigan but you have to win those before moving on. They beat both teams handily, as they should have. It gets tougher from here on out. Their remaining games are (current ranks in parentheses) at USCe, at Arizona St. (15), Alabama (11), Tennessee, Vanderbilt, at LSU (7), Florida (4) in Jacksonville, at Kentucky, at Auburn (9), and Georgia Tech. That is a tough schedule. I’m not going to get into a debate about SEC supremacy but almost everyone agrees that LSU, Florida, and Auburn are elite teams. Arizona St. is a good Pac 10 team. UGA will play five of the current top 15 teams in the nation. Yes, it’s early but that is still tough. They have the personnel to run the table but every year UGA seems to have a hiccup against one (or more) teams. It’s too early to tell if they have the mettle to handle this schedule. This is a very young team (57 freshmen versus 21 seniors). Only time will tell. Personally, I believe they will lose one game to one of those top 15 teams but don’t fear, Dawg fans, all is not lost. This takes us to the last of these questions.

Does UGA need an undefeated season to make the BCS National Championship game?

Yes and no. If they are undefeated with that schedule, snubbing them would be unfair. I know I’m a fan of UGA but seriously. If UGA goes undefeated in the SEC, playing every powerhouse it has to offer, how could they not get a shot? That being said, it is very likely they will lose a game somewhere along the line. Does this spoil their chances? Not necessarily. USC and OSU play a game sometime this year. Anybody else hear about that? That eliminates one major foe to UGA’s hopes should they lose a game. The winner of the USC/OSU game will have a clear shot to the title game. They are both the favorites to win their conferences. They are both in the title hunt each year. With one knocked off come Saturday, UGA’s chances get better. UGA should make it over a one loss USC or OSU based on SOS. Now, if the winner of that game goes undefeated the remainder of the season, they will be in. No doubt. So let’s turn our heads to other conferences. The ACC has already had two of its top teams toppled in Virginia and Clemson. It’s likely neither will make it to the title game given losses to USC and Alabama respectively. The Big East lost frontrunner WVU to ECU, most likely excluding them from the big dance. Pitt fell to Bowling Green, but they wouldn’t have made it either. USF squeaked by UCF for a win but even winning the Big East won’t give USF the nod (nor will they be undefeated come season’s end, in this writer’s humble opinion). OSU, despite the loss, I believe they will suffer at the hands of USC, will more than likely win the Big Ten. As already discussed, a one loss OSU team will not vault a one loss UGA team. USC could very well finish the season undefeated if they get past the Buckeyes. Be careful, though, Trojans. Could we see another stunning upset in the PAC 10? Then there’s the Big 12. Right now Oklahoma looks like the favorite to win. Texas hasn’t toppled OU in a few years. Missouri is on the rise and Kansas had a breakout season last year. In the end, the PAC 10 and the Big 12 are the biggest roadblocks to a one loss UGA team making the title game. It is possible that both USC and Oklahoma could make it out unscathed and we’d have another USC/OU title game.

So, Dawg fans, keep your eyes on the PAC 10 and Big 12 should the Dawgs fall. It may be our only hope.

Posted on: July 2, 2008 7:52 pm
 

Commish to strip AL of all titles since 1973

MLB Commissioner Bug Selig announced in a stunning move to day that he would be stripping the American League of all World Series it has won since 1973.  The reason,. he said, was the use of the DH.

"We at the Commissioner's office fianally came to the realization that the use of the Designated Hitter is just plain silly.  It goes against baseball. Its just stupid," said Selig in a press conference this morning.  Established in 1973, the Designated Hitter is an AL only rule that allows a manager to have a player hit for one of his position players, usually the pitcher.

Former Yankee and current Dodger skipper Joe Torre said, "Yeah, I think it was about time we did away with this one.  I was tired of marching Giambi's swollen head to the plate.  I never really liked the rule in the first place."  Giambi was not available for comment as he was recieving tratment for an intestenal parasite.

"I do get to keep my rings, right?" Torre added.

Stunned AL fans across the nation are up in arms over the decision but Selig doesn't seem to care.  "This will finally level the playing field.  No more rule differences between the lagues.  it will add an element of fairness to interleague play as well.  As for the fans, I never really cared for them in the first place.  The AL fans can suck it."

A stunned Terry Francona exclaimed, "You mean I have to put Ortiz at first night in and night out now?  What am I going to do?!?"  Ortiz was unavailable for comment as his mouth was full of hamburger.

Starting ater the All Star break, AL teams will no longer be able to use to DH.  Instead, all nine position players will have to bat just like they have always done in the real baseball of the National League.  Baseball purists around the country are celebrating this victory and a return to a unified league. 

Posted on: June 28, 2008 11:57 pm
 

Euro 2008 Final

So we're down to the last game.  Germany.  Spain.  Its going to be a good one.  For those of you that ahte on football (soccer here in the states), and that is the majority of Americans, I hope you've been paying attention to these finals.  Turkey is the team that wouldn't die (until they met Germany).  Spain on the hunt for silverware for the first time in ages.  A rematch of the 2004 World Cup final (Italy and France for those that weren't watching the first time) with progess on the line.  What more could you ask for?

There have been goals.  Oh, yes.  There have been goals.  From the spetacular to the downright lucky.  Ballack's strike from a free kick (spectacular).  Ugor Boral's weak attempt that slipped past Lehmann (lucky).  There have been flashes of brilliance from young stars of the game.  Fabregas of Spain comes to mind (although I know him and cheer him on his club team of Arsenal).  His two assists in the semi-final against Russia were pure footballing excellence.  There have been retirements.  Freddie Ljunberrg called it an international career after these finals.  These have truely been a fanstastic finals.  If I weren't such an idiot, I'd have made sure I wasn't working this Sunday to watch the game, but alas, I forgot.  Still, if you are on the fence about football, give this one a shot.  It should be a cracker.  Oh, and don't tell me what happens.  I'm going to watch the replay . . .

Category: Soccer
Posted on: June 23, 2008 9:41 pm
 

Why Braves fans should keep their pants on . . .

Growing up in the 80s as a Braves fan was a lot of work.  Maybe not work but it wasn't something that you could ever really brag about.  They were god awful.  in fact, it was difficult to watch the games at times.  But us Atlantans did our duty to the Braves (well, only a few of us did our duty in the 80s) and supported our team.  Then the 90s rolled around and the Braves got good.  The stadium filled up and the postseason was guarenteed.  This is when we gain a lot of fans nationwide thanks to Ted Turner and his wonderful TBS.  These are the fans I'm adressing with this post.  I love that the Braves have fans across the country but you (for the most part) weren't there for the tough times and they're back again it seems from the posts I read on the Braves board.

Let's get this straight: this team is better, on paper, than any team of the 80s (I think that is obvious).  Hell, without injuries, this team is better than a lot of those 90s teams too.  Before you rip my head off for that statement let's think about it.  Nothing, in the history of baseball, matches the rotation of Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Pitcher X and Pitcher Y.  I say X and Y because those three and any of the other 4 and 5 starters we had could be the best rotation in baseball based on the strength of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz.  However, coming into the season with Hudson, Smoltz, Glavine, Hampton, and Jurrjens we looked really solid.  We all know that this isn't what we've been working with this season so far and i'll adress that later on.  Continuing, though, this team can hit.  They CAN hit but sometimes they seem to forget it.  With Tex, Chipper, and Mac we have probably the top three offensive players at their positions (or should be.  Tex has been down this year so far).  We have good young talent (I liked Escobar from his first game last year).  The ceiling is really high for this team.

So, what's gone wrong?  We all know that Hampton hasn't pitched in 2.5 years.  If we get one win, hell one start, from him, it is more than I expect at this point.   Glavine's been on the DL twice in his career . . . and both times were this year.  Smoltz is done for the year and maybe career.  Jo-jo's had blister problems, Buddy got run over fielding a ball, Jair slipped on some stairs.  Moylan blew out his elbow.  Soriano's missed something like 50 games with injuries.  Gonzo was recovering from a blown elbow.  That's just off the top of my head injuries to our pitching staff.  Let's not forget Chippers quad/hamstring/getting-hit-in-the-f
ace-by-a-foul-ball-in-bp.  Kotsay's back.  Diaz's knee.  Prado's finger . . . the list goes on and on.

So here we are.  Still shy of the All Star Break and the Braves are 2 games under .500 and 4.5 back from the divion leading Phillies.  Gonzo's back.  Chipper's batting .390+.  Tex is showing signs that he's coming around.  The Braves have a terrible record in one run contests (which I think will even out over the course of the season).  Their makeshift pitching staff is close to the top of the league in ERA.  They can score runs in bunches.  The injury bug has hit us rather hard this first half so we're due some luck in the second, right? 

All I'm saying is, it could be worse.  This could be 1985.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 23, 2008 9:09 pm
 

Finally an All-Star

Well, I've been waiting for this moment since May 3, 2008 and I'm finally here.  I uploaded my Bobby Cox avitar and now I'm starting my blog.  Just a basic first entry here. 

Those of you that know me from the boards know I'm a huge Braves fan.  I grew up in Atlanta (having since moved to Athens for school and now my career).  My family had season tickets growing up so I was privledged enough to attend quite a few games.  I was actually there that night in 1995.  You know which one I'm talking about.  The one where Glavine threw a masterful 8 inning one hitter, David Justice hit a solo home run, and Wholers closed out the only championship in Atlanta history.  Yes, I was there.  I have the program to prove it.  I love all things Braves, hell, Atlanta for that matter (with the exception of a certain yellow and gold technical insitution that shall remain nameless) and am a big Bulldog fan.  Athens is where the Lord went on the 7th day to rest, relax, grab a cold adult beverage, and try his luck with some of the beautiful women that reside there.  Its true, look it up in the Bible.

Some of my sports hates:  The Phillies (and the city of Philadelphia, for that matter the whole state.  To hell with the Steelers and the Pirates), The Mets (again lets just put the whole state of NY in there), the Big East, the Pac-10, the Big 10, bandwagon fans (read Rex Sox fans.  I swear they popped up everywhere in 2004), The Cowboys (but I love T.O., he's been a god on my fantasy team for years), The NFC West, Jon Gruden's scowing face (and Bill Cowher's but he's gone now, hopefully for good), I dislike the Pats but love how smug Belichick is, THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA (and its fans), Steve Spurrier's visor, artificial surfaces, THE DH, Manchester United and Chelsea, C. Rolando (diving pansy), David Beckham (over-rated footballer), and Vlad Guerrero's nappy hair, and fat closers who pitch to contact (read Bob Wickman and Dan Kolb, 2 failed Braves closers).  Perhaps I can find more things later on but that's enough to get started.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com