Archive for May, 2010

Alabama quarterback Jackson transferring to Georgia State

Quarterback Star Jackson is leaving Alabama for Georgia State.

Quarterback Star Jackson is leaving Alabama for Georgia State.

It might be overstating things to say Georgia State just acquired the key weapon to defeat Alabama this season. But the fledgling football program probably just took a significant step forward.

Star Jackson, the Crimson Tide quarterback who had been considering transferring to the first-year Panthers, apparently has finalized plans to do just that. The Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register reported that Jackson was in Atlanta this weekend looking for an apartment and will enroll at Georgia State.

“He got his release [from Alabama] and everything,” Errick Lowe, Jackson’s former Lake Worth, Fla., high school, said.

Georgia State will start playing football this season. But because the school is not yet an official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision team, Jackson is not required to sit out a season and can play immediately.

Easily the Panthers’ highest profile game next season will be in Tuscaloosa Nov. 20 against the defending …

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Three and out: Dooley’s doom, Richt’s seat, Tech’s rebuttal

Derek Dooley may have a rough road ahead in Tennessee.

Derek Dooley may have a rough road ahead in Tennessee.

It’s only 93 days until the start of the college football season (17 games on Thursday, Sept. 2). That’s practically next week! So here are a few Memorial Day weekend appetizers, if you’re not already stuffed from those three slabs of ribs you just “Hoovered.”

Here’s another edition of, Three and Out:

1. Derek Dooley will pay for Fulmer and Kiffin’s sins

Great piece by in the Knoxville News Sentinel about why Tennessee fans should have low expectations in the short term under coach Derek Dooley.

The story examines just how poorly recruiting went for former coaches Phil Fulmer and Lane Kiffin in recent years, leaving the Volunteers with relatively little talent.

Some excerpts:

Two of Fulmer’s most highly rated final classes were shaken by departures. Five players from the 2006 class left the program, didn’t qualify academically or were dismissed. Four have been lost from the 2008 class. From those two classes, UT lost four …

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After beating bottom feeders, Braves can get serious now

Jason Heyward's first-inning homer, his 10th of the season, gave the Braves a 1-0 lead Saturday night. (AP photo)

Jason Heyward's first-inning homer, his 10th of the season, gave the Braves a 1-0 lead Saturday night. (AP photo)

There is an old adage in baseball that the standings don’t mean anything until after Memorial Day. I’m not sure how this got started.

My guess is, back in the early 1900s, there was a manager whose team started the season 2-27 despite an inflated payroll of $172.50 and rather than answer questions about why his team stunk, he screamed at a sportswriter: “I don’t know! Ask me in June!”

So here we are – in the middle of Memorial Day weekend and almost in June. Do we start paying attention to where the Braves stand now? Yes. But less because of the calendar than the upcoming schedule.

The Braves defeated Pittsburgh again Saturday night, 6-3 at Turner Field. Jason Heyward hit a home run, Troy Glaus and Martin Prado had two-run doubles and Chipper Jones stole a base (and then got up!).

But there was a sense of inevitability before it even started. The Braves are now …

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We’re LIVE from Braves (who beat up the bottom feeders)

I don't know why -- I just felt like posting a picture of the Brooks Conrad/grand slam postgame celebration again.

Don't know why — I just felt like posting a picture of the Brooks Conrad, grand slam, postgame celebration again. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

If we still can’t be certain how good the Braves are this season, at least this much seems clear: They know how to bank victories against the teams they’re supposed to.

Just did a little calculating before tonight’s game against Pittsburgh. The Braves are 15-4 against the bottom six teams in the National League. That includes the Pirates (3-1), Florida (2-1), Chicago (2-1), Milwaukee (3-0)., Arizona (2-1) and Houston (3-0).

Against the others? Not so great.

Just subtract 15-4 from the Braves’ overall record of 26-22 and you’re left with an 11-18 record against the other teams. This is noteworthy because after finishing this series against Pittsburgh, the Braves play 14 of their next 17 games against Philadelphia (27-20), Los Angeles (27-21), Minnesota (28-20) and Tampa Bay (33-16).

In short, we will get a much better feel for the Braves’ …

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Three and out: Dissed Dogs, key Falcon and the wrong M.J.

Hairy Dawg wants it known that he has canceled his subscription to The Sporting News.

Hairy Dawg canceled his subscription to The Sporting News after hearing the publication ranked the Bulldogs only 27th.

Welcome back to another edition of, “Three and Out,” three items stuffed into one blog. Now that’s value! Because this is a holiday weekend, we’ll even throw in a bundt cake.

1. Georgia ranked No. 27?

I’m sure Georgia Tech fans will enjoy this (Georgia fans, not so much). The Sporting News just came out with its preseason top 100 rankings — which of course mean nothing, but they’re fun to look at — and the Yellow Jackets are slotted at No. 18, a whopping nine spots ahead of the No. 27 Bulldogs. So I guess Tech losing four top players in the NFL draft doesn’t outweigh Georgia started a freshman quarterback.

Not surprisingly, defending national champion Alabama is ranked No. 1.

You can go to the link for the complete list, but I’m positing the top 10, as well as all SEC and ACC teams in the top 100.

For easy reference for debates, I’m putting the SEC teams in …

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Wade, LeBron and Joe are meeting? Where — Yalta?

Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin discuss world free agency.

Winston Churchill (left), Franklin D. Roosevelt (center) and Joseph Stalin — all power forwards — discussed world free agency at Yalta.

According to Miami’s Dwyane Wade, there is going to be a relative G-4 summit during which the NBA’s significant free agent nations – Wade, Cleveland’s LeBron James, the Hawks’ Joe Johnson and perhaps Toronto’s Chris Bosh – will plot their strategy for this offseason.

Baseball owners did something like this once. It was called collusion.

OK, so maybe a little get-together between Wade,

Pay no attention to this photo: Dwyane Wade and LeBron James will not point in the same direction.

Pay no attention to this photo: Dwyane Wade and LeBron James will not point in the same direction.

James, Johnson and Bosh wouldn’t constitute anything illegal. Players talk all the time. They compare organizations. Also women and coaches, women and cities, women and teammates. As Josh Smith would tell you, they also discuss what road cities are the worst for restaurants.

But does anybody seriously expect four high-profile free agents to coordinate what …

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‘Friend’ of Clint Eastwood, Julie Andrews wants Thrashers!

This is Stephen Rollins.

This is Stephen Rollins. He is friends on Facebook with …

Let me start by saying that as a hockey fan since the age of 9 and chronicler of the Atlanta Thrashers since the day the NHL voted in 1997 to grant the city a new franchise, it’s terrific news that the Atlanta Spirit is looking to significantly (if not completely) reduce its financial interest in the franchise. It’s a logical step, given ownership seemingly mentally checked out of running a hockey team a long time ago.

Let us just hope that whoever takes over the Thrashers comes with less warning bells than Stephen Rollins.

Now, I don’t know Rollins. Maybe he’s a nice guy. Apparently, he is an Atlanta native and a long-time Thrashers fan. Those are nice bonuses for a potential owner. But I wonder about a guy who has a Facebook page and lists among his “friends”: Anne Hathaway, Brendan Fraser, Brooke Burke, Cindy Margolis, Clint Eastwood, Jennifer Garner, Julie Andrews and –  I must say — several

Clint Eastwood.

Clint Eastwood.

Brooke Burke.

Brooke …

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Hawks’ Sund lacks string of great coaching hires in past

Dick Motta was a great choice for the Dallas Mavericks' first coach. (Dallas Morning News photo)

Dick Motta was a great choice as the Dallas Mavericks' first head coach. (Dallas Morning News photo)

(Updated: 1:40 p.m.)

We’ve established that Rick Sund has a difficult offseason in front of him (new coaching hire, Joe Johnson, potential roster remake).  We’ve kicked around the names of potential candidates (some legitimate, some suspect) to replace potential candidates to replace Mike Woodson.

But here’s something we really haven’t addressed: How adept has Sund been when it comes to hiring coaches?

Answer: Overall, not very.

In his time as general manager and front office executive for three previous NBA franchises (Dallas, Detroit, Seattle), Sund has hired or inherited and kept 11 head coaches (not including Woodson). Here’s a brief synopsis of each with a final grade (thanks to the advantage of hindsight).

1. Dick Motta (Dallas, 1980-87): Motta was a veteran coach, having won an NBA title with the Washington Bullets. He helped grow the expansion Mavericks and improved …

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Ladies and gents: We introduce Chan Gailey … visionary?

Chan Gailey is way ahead of the curve, at least according to Trent Edwards. (AP photo)

Chan Gailey is way ahead of the curve, at least according to Buffalo quarterback Trent Edwards. (AP photo)

Remember how so many Georgia Tech fans would look at Chan Gailey and think, “Vanilla”? Well, Buffalo quarterback Trent Edwards looks at looks at Chan Gailey and thinks, “Bill Walsh,” and “Sid Gillman” and “visionary.”

Gailey generally has had a solid reputation as an NFL assistant. That reputation seldom carried over at Tech, where fans mostly grew weary of  seven-win seasons, losing to Georgia and struggling to develop a quarterback. (I’ll post some offensive numbers in a moment.)

But Gailey, now the head coach of the Buffalo Bills after a stopover in Kansas City, is being lauded by Edwards. The quarterback told ESPN’s AFC East blogger, Tim Graham, “I’ll try to explain it as best as I can. I’ve never been around a guy that’s very conscientious of what offensive plays set up other plays. He’s doing a lot of motion and shifting, trying to disguise certain plays so it …

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Braves’ Kenshin Kawakami now on pace to go 0-25

Kenshin Kawakami appears to give himself the choke sign. He speaks for everybody.

Kenshin Kawakami appears to give himself the choke sign. He speaks for everybody.

Phil Niekro is a Hall of Famer. But he also owns an unfortunate page of the Atlanta Braves’ record book: The top five single-season records for most losses in a  season: (20 losses twice and 18 three times).

Kenshin Kawakami? He is not a Hall of Famer. But he is on pace to provide Niekro with a cleansing breath — and Frank Wren with his career Waterloo.

Kawakami, quite possibly the worst free agent acquisition in Atlanta Braves history, lost again Tuesday night, this time 6-4 to Florida. He is now 0-7 after nine starts. At this pace, he will go 0-25 in 32 starts.  He’ll make over $7.33 million this season. I wasn’t very good in math so I’m not sure yet how that factors out per victory.

There’s always the chance Kawakami’s arms will fall off or his transmission will blow. Presumably that would trigger the warranty. Wren did purchase the warranty, didn’t he?

When the Braves signed Kawakami last …

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