Archive for October, 2009

Georgia Tech wins, but this was nothing to celebrate

nesbittTD

Josh Nesbitt had an early 4-yard touchdown run to get Georgia Tech going. Nesbitt ran for two scores and threw for two more, but it turned out to not be such an easy night.

NASHVILLE — When a team has won five straight, launched itself into the BCS bowl picture and generally has left the impression it will skate through the “Nerders Row” portion of its schedule — Virginia, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Duke — it doesn’t expect to have games like this.

Georgia Tech defeated Vanderbilt on Saturday night 56-31.  Looks one-sided. It wasn’t. Nor should it have been this sloppy or this difficult.

Expectations on North Avenue suddenly are meteoric. Maybe the altitude got to be too much.

It’s all still sitting there for the Yellow Jackets, everything they could possibly  have wanted when this season began. A double-digit win total. An ACC championship. A BCS bowl game. A top-10 ranking. A second season under Paul Johnson to reaffirm that the first season under Paul Johnson wasn’t nearly a …

Continue reading Georgia Tech wins, but this was nothing to celebrate »

We’re live from Vandy (which I think is in the SEC)

Long snapper Tyler Morgan (63) and cornerback Mario Butler (2) lead the Jackets off the busses at Vanderbilt Stadium

Tyler Morgan (63) and cornerback Mario Butler (2) lead Tech off the buses at Vanderbilt.

NASHVILLE — Welcome to Vanderbilt, where the major college football team from Georgia that isn’t so preoccupied with the color of their helmets and uniforms will play a game tonight.

Georgia Tech has won five straight since its only loss of the season in Miami and has a good chance to win out in the final four regular season games (although I say that without yet knowing what scary color pants and helmets – ooooh – Georgia will wear Nov. 28).  The rest of the schedule: Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Duke, Georgia. If the Jackets win out, they’ll be 11-1 overall (8-1 in conference) going into the ACC championship game.

This is what Vandy's Stadium looks like before the game, and it's not that much different during it.

This is what Vandy's Stadium looks like before the game, and it's not that much different during it.

And seriously, how can Tech lose tonight? Granted, weird things happen sometimes at Vanderbilt. Opponents seemingly get lulled to sleep. It has happened to Georgia. But this is a …

Continue reading We’re live from Vandy (which I think is in the SEC) »

NFC rankings: Falcons drop, Vikings hold, Saints (duh)

Mike Smith and Brian VanGorder need to find a way to stop the Saints. Good luck with that. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Mike Smith and Brian VanGorder need to find a way to stop the Saints. Good luck with that. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

We came very close to seeing the top four teams in our weekly NFC rankings all lose last week. But the lab creation from MIT that is the New Orleans offense outscored Miami, 22-0, in the fourth quarter and rallied to defeat the Dolphins, 46-34, as the rest of the league collectively slapped its forehead.

Now it’s the Falcons’ turn to try to stop an offense that is averaging 39.7 points, 427.3 yards and 112.7 blown fuse boxes per week.

Behind the Saints, Minnesota, New York and the Falcons all lost. And that means some signifcant changes in this week’s rankings . . .

1. (1) NEW ORLEANS (6-0): A win means the Saints start 7-0 for the second time in franchise history. Earlier this week, running back Reggie Bush said on a radio show that the team was capable of going 16-0. I’d say that kind of statement can fire up a Falcons’ defense. The problem is they have to catch …

Continue reading NFC rankings: Falcons drop, Vikings hold, Saints (duh) »

Predictions: I see dead people (also Dogs and Falcons)

week9 002

Halloween’s roots can be traced back 2,000 years ago, when the Celts commemorated the end of their harvest, and it was cold and dark and the skies were filled with evil spirits and the tattered remains of a Willie Martinez game plan following another Georgia-Florida game.

Later, of course, came the pumpkins, the parties, the costumes — especially Naughty Nurses, Naughty Teachers and Naughty ESPN Intern — the debate over which candy rules (Snickers or Reese’s), dentists, sugar rushes, psychotic teenage pranks, scotch, especially scotch, and the Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, Greed, Wrath, Ray Goff and the Deluded Bulldogs Fan who believe they actually have a shot Saturday.

Willie Martinez goes met with the media this week to discuss the Florida game.

Willie Martinez goes over the Florida game plan.

The Dogs are in Jacksonville. Fortunately, none of the players drove. There was another arrest this week, this time an offensive linemen, Vince Vance, who ran a red light, was driving without a license and of course missed a block.

Georgia believes …

Continue reading Predictions: I see dead people (also Dogs and Falcons) »

I just met me, and gotta tell ya: Not impressed

schultz

We found common ground: TV. It pretty much ends there.

Five years ago, Thrashers general manager Don Waddell was asked about his plans for the upcoming NHL draft.

“I’m not sure who we’re taking,” he said, as he looked in my direction. “But I can guarantee you we will not draft Jeff Schultz.”

It was pretty funny. But then we’re used to Don’s jokes around draft time. (Thank you. Now we’re even.)

Any way, the Other Jeff Schultz is a 6-foot-6 defenseman from Calgary, who was drafted in the first round by the Washington Capitals. The OJS is not known for his scoring.  But last week when the Caps came to town, the OJS  had a goal (a fortunate one from the length of the ice) and two assists and was named first star in a 5-4 win over the Thrashers. I was inundated by emails, Tweets and taps on the shoulder from people saying, “Nice game.”

I resisted the temptation to tell Waddell he should’ve drafted me. But I figured it was time for me to meet the OJS. With Washington back in town, …

Continue reading I just met me, and gotta tell ya: Not impressed »

It’s been too long since Richt, Dogs have had signature win

gafootlede.1028+ba21

This isn't the last time Mark Richt celebrated, but it might be the last time a celebration really meant something in the big picture. The game? Two years ago against Florida. (AJC photo)

Two years ago, Georgia made news with a team-wide celebration in the end zone. In retrospect, maybe the team should’ve pitched a tent there. The program hasn’t had a signature win since.

“I’m trying to think,” Mark Richt said Wednesday night. “Did we win any big ones last year?” And then he laughed, that little oh-jeez, has-it-been-that-long,  kind of laugh.

It hasn’t been an easy season for Richt. The Bulldogs are 4-3. They’re given little chance of upsetting No. 1 ranked Florida. Bowl prospects include words like “Independence” and “Liberty,” which would be fine if this was something minor like a revolution,  not college football in the S0uth.

Georgia still has five games left in the regular season, but it’s fighting a perception problem. Teams are defined, to some degree, by “signature” …

Continue reading It’s been too long since Richt, Dogs have had signature win »

Braves making the right call in keeping Hudson (updated)

Tim Hudson allowed only a run on seven hits in his final 2009 start against Washington. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Tim Hudson allowed only a run on seven hits in his final 2009 start against Washington. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

(THIS IS UPDATED FROM AN EARLIER BLOG WITH HUDSON NOW CLOSE TO SIGNING)

The Braves’ offseason is about to start the best way possible: with pitcher Tim Hudson signed to a new contract.

Our David O’Brien is reporting that Hudson is close to signing a three-year contract extension worth approximately $9 million per season. Assuming that deal is finalized, consider this a good omen for the winter. A year ago, general manager Frank Wren whiffed in several of his early free agents pursuits, and negotiations played out in a public forum. This deal, he’s closing early.

Yes, the  Braves need a bat. That’s no secret. But the offseason roster makeover had to start with Hudson. He made a successful comeback from elbow surgery and gives the Braves one of baseball’s strongest starting rotations, with probably Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens and two of the following: Javier …

Continue reading Braves making the right call in keeping Hudson (updated) »

Reggie Bush (who?) says Saints can go 16-0, he’ll win MVP

For a role player, Reggie Bush sure makes news. He has reunited with Kim Kardashian, says Saints can go 16-0 and he will win an MVP.

For a role player, Reggie Bush sure makes news. He has reunited with Kim Kardashian, says Saints can go 16-0 and he will win an MVP.

Earlier today I posted an NFC South blog about how New Orleans coach Sean Payton is trying to keep everybody grounded despite the Saints’ 6-0 start.

I didn’t plan on following up right away. But  I just found out Reggie Bush opened his mouth, which of course made my day and probably ruined Payton’s.

Bush, who has gone the wrong way in his career — from the second overall pick to a role player — predicted the Saints can go 16-0 this season. He also sort of predicted he’s going to win an MVP award, a Super Bowl and play in the Pro Bowl.

To think, when he reunited recently with underground porn queen Kim Kardashian, I figured that would be the dumbest decision he ever made.

According to a recap on ProFootballTalk.com, Bush appeared on SportingNewsRadio’s, “The Monty Show.” The show’s host set up Bush by asking him if he believed the Saints could go …

Continue reading Reggie Bush (who?) says Saints can go 16-0, he’ll win MVP »

NFC South Report: Can Falcons end party in New Orleans?

The Falcons will be face to face with the NFL's best team Monday night.

The Falcons will be face to face with the NFL's best team Monday night.

Is there anything the Falcons can do to stop the celebrating in New Orleans?

It’s time again for a peek behind enemy lines in the NFC South. The Saints are threatening to make the division title an afterthought by November.

But first: a story. Twenty-six years ago — yes, I am that old — I was working in Los Angeles covering the Rams, this before Georgia Frontiere ran them into the ground with the intent on moving them to St. Louis. I’d like to think Eric Dickerson and I broke into the NFL the same year: 1983. That season, Dickerson ran crazy and I actually did several stories with O.J. Simpson, who liked Dickerson, lived in L.A., was a great quote and, as a bonus, never threatened to kill me.

Anyway, the Rams had a huge season-ending game that season at New Orleans. Both teams were 8-7. The winner likely would get an NFC wildcard berth. The Saints had never been to the playoffs so it was kind of a big …

Continue reading NFC South Report: Can Falcons end party in New Orleans? »

Woodson, Johnson on the spot as Hawks open season

The expectations for Joe Johnson and Mike Woodson are far higher today than they were in 2005 when Johnson was signed by the Hawks. (AJC photo)

The expectations for Joe Johnson and Mike Woodson are far higher today than in 2005.

Their often praised offseason notwithstanding, the difference between where the Hawks are and where they want to go isn’t about the roster. It’s not about having more depth at point guard or more size coming off the bench or even some assurances that Josh Smith won’t again fall into a black hole immediately following the occasional spectacular 25-point, 15-rebound, seven-block, I-own-this-game kind of night.

The difference between good teams and great teams in any sport is mental toughness. It’s winning road games, close games,  games that are decided by intangibles, not talent. It’s a coach making the right decision in the final two minutes. It’s a team and a go-to guy acting accordingly.

Are you confident with Mike Woodson and Joe Johnson leading this team?

  • Yes on both.
  • Yes on Woodson but not Johnson.
  • Yes on Johnson but not Woodson.
  • No on both.

View Results

Loading ... Loading …

Continue reading Woodson, Johnson on the spot as Hawks open season »