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 red and ACC teams in blue.
2. Mark Jackson for the Hawks? Why?
Notwithstanding my policy of not prejudging coaches, here goes: Of all the potential candidates I’ve heard to coach the Hawks, Mark Jackson makes the least sense. Jackson is expected to get interviewed after the Eastern Conference finals. The former NBA guard was a great player. He’s also an excellent commentator. He’s bright and tough and certainly has the traits to be a solid coach one day. But the Hawks are a relatively veteran team now. They parted with Mike Woodson because they want to take the next step in the playoffs. So why would general manager Rick Sund and ownership risk turning over the team to somebody who has zero coaching experience? I think the last time Sund tried this, he hired Quinn Buckner in Dallas, and as I noted the other day on this list of past Sund hires that didn’t turn out so well. If Jackson gets the job and proves me wrong, it will be so noted. In large bold letters. But I just don’t think it’s the direction the Hawks should be going in.
3. Could Harry Douglas be the key to the Falcons’ season?
Pat Yasinskas, ESPN.com’s NFC South blogger, has posted an excellent blog titled, “Five NFC South players ready to pounce.” The context: five players in the division, some coming back from injuries, who may be the keys to their respective team’s success next season. Among the five: Harry Douglas, who was projected to be the Falcons’ third receiver and punt returner last season until suffering a torn knee ligament in training camp. The other four players are Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith, Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, Tampa Bay linebacker Barrett Ruud and New Orleans defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis.
I still don’t think a lot of people realize how significant this injury was to the Falcons. They had huge plans for Douglas in his second season. He was going to be the third receiver in this offense. The Falcons were planning on using him in the slot and bringing a whole new dynamic to their offense. The injury prevented that and really kept Atlanta’s offense from ever hitting its stride last season. But Douglas should be back at full strength and that alone could change the complexion of an offense that’s loaded just about everywhere else. Tight end Tony Gonzalez and wide receiver Roddy White already are very good and wide receiver Michael Jenkins is dependable. Throw Douglas’ speed into the slot and Gonzalez, White and Jenkins immediately become even better. Quarterback Matt Ryan might even become great.
Enjoy the rest of your day, folks. I’ll be back tomorrow from the Braves’ game.