Archive for August, 2010

Rankings prove Georgia has lost benefit of doubt

Georgia's Mark Richt doesn't have to wonder what it's going to take to pass Georgia Tech and Paul Johnson: win.

Georgia's Mark Richt doesn't have to wonder what it's going to take to pass Georgia Tech and Paul Johnson: win. (AJC photo)

(Last update: 2:10 p.m.)

In two weeks, this becomes less about perception than reality.

Games start, the season unfolds, myths get busted, the guy on the bar stool who never said a word before suddenly says I told you so, a Big 12 coach locks a player in the broom closet and eventually we get to January and scream about the BCS. It’s college football’s circle of life.

But for now, it is about perceptions, and this much has become clear: Pollsters believe Georgia Tech has passed Georgia on the football field.

This is what consecutive years of failed expectations and a five-loss season will do to a program.

When last season ended in Shreveport, the Bulldogs were not ranked in the final Associated Press poll for the first time since 1996. That also left them behind the Jackets (13th) for the first time since 2000.

When this season begins, Georgia will trail …

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Brady and Patriots show Ryan and Falcons how it’s done

Matt Ryan had decent numbers again but for the second straight game failed to engineer a touchdown drive.

Matt Ryan had decent numbers but for the second straight game failed to engineer a touchdown.

(UPDATED AT 11:30 p.m.)

During his four years at Boston College, Matt Ryan watched Tom Brady win a Super Bowl, go through a regular season undefeated, throw for 50 touchdown passes, win an NFL MVP award and be named AP athlete of the year — all of which, of course, took a backseat to marrying Gisele Bundchen.

As the Falcons’ quarterback said earlier in the week, “It is impossible not to see him when you live in Boston because of his star power.”

It was impossible not to notice that star power Thursday night. Ryan, who has the potential to rank among the league’s elite quarterbacks one day, went against Brady, who has been there for about nine years and three Super Bowls now.

It was only an exhibition. But Brady remains on a level that Ryan — and others not named Manning — strive to reach. Ryan played three series in an exhibition against New England with some …

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Falcons LIVE: It doesn’t count but it’s still Ryan vs. Brady

Matt Ryan chats one Hall of Famer (Troy Aikman) and tonight faces a future one (Tom Brady).

The Falcons' Matt Ryan chats with one Hall of Famer (Troy Aikman) and tonight faces a future one (Tom Brady).

Welcome back to almost-football season and tonight’s exhibition (the NFL hates when writers use that word) between the the Falcons and New England Patriots.

This probably isn’t as big a game for the Patriots as it is for the Falcons. New England sports fans certainly are more preoccupied with today’s story that former Red Sox pitcher-turned-hated Yankee Roger Clemens has been indicted for perjury by a federal grand jury. (As, it turns out, he may have lied about using steroids and HGH. Go figure. And now, this editorial comment: hahahahaha.)

Back to tonight. If you didn’t make it out to Flowery Branch this week for the Falcons-Patriots practices, they were pretty cool. Having two teams practice against each other, even in controlled drills, definitely led to a raised intensity level.

Expect to see more of this in the future. With the NFL expected to trim the …

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Mark Richt makes a splash on Sportscenter (fully clothed) (UPDATED)

Here's Richt doing his dive in a bathing suit in 2008. This year, he wore khakis.

Richt did his dive wearing a swimsuit in 2008. This year he wore khakis.

(UPDATE: ESPN had Richt on this morning. The interview, with more shots of the fully-clothed dive, is below.)

Somehow, I just can’t see Nick Saban doing this on ESPN’s “Alabama: All-Access.”

When rain canceled Georgia’s practice the other day, coach Mark Richt took his team to the Ramsey Center for a little swimming and diving. The trip to the pool has become an annual tradition, as has Richt’s back dive off the 10-meter platform.

The difference on Monday was Richt didn’t have his bathing suit with him since the event was unplanned, and presumably he didn’t want to borrow an official Bulldogs Speedo. So he jumped in with his clothes on. Check the video below.

It turns out this made the “top plays” segment on Sportscenter. (Thanks to @UGABugKiller via Twitter for the tip.)

“This is the first year he did the dive with his clothes on,” said associate athletic director Claude Felton. “He has said he learned …

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Glaus deserves credit for way he reacts to Braves’ trade

When the Braves decided to deal for Derrek Lee . . .

When the Braves decided to deal for Derrek Lee . . .

(Updated: 8:50 p.m.)

As someone who has taken his share of shots at Troy Glauslike here and also here and maybe here — it’s only fair that I give credit to the Braves’  outgoing first baseman for something when it’s warranted.

When the Braves acquired Derrek Lee from the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, it would have been very easy for Glaus to throw a fit about the trade.

He could have told the Braves, “Just release me,” and they probably would have obliged. He could have publicly complained about going on the disabled and certainly about being sent to the minor leagues. Because folks, there’s a decent chance that Glaus, the Braves’ most important player over a six-week period in May and June, very well may have had his final significant at-bat in Atlanta.

But Glaus didn’t do that. He didn’t squawk. He acknowledged (in actions, if not words) that his knees are a major issue right now and agreed to go on the DL. For a guy who has …

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Poll time: If Braves get Lee, should they drop-kick Glaus?

Troy Glaus homered against Los Angeles Sunday but he has only two in his last 46 games.

Troy Glaus homered against Los Angeles Sunday but he has only two in his last 46 games.

If the Braves acquire first baseman Derrek Lee — and that’s a good move only if the Chicago Cubs’ first baseman doesn’t arrive in traction for his bad back — general manager Frank Wren has a question: What does he do with Troy Glaus?

Glaus has been a lightning rod almost from Day 1. First, he was an embarrassment (.194 with nine RBIs in April). Then he was a Godsend (.330 with 28 RBI in May). Now he’s pretty much flotsam again (.174 with two home runs and 15 RBIs in his last 46 games). He has grounded into a team-high 16 double plays and struck out his first three times up Tuesday night against Washington (he wound up going 1-for-5, with a meaningless eighth-inning RBI double in a 10-2 win).

Manager Bobby Cox remains loyal to Glaus, but he’s in the minority. So what are the Braves to do? Here are the options:

♦ RELEASE HIM: Glaus can’t be traded. So if the Braves simply want him off the …

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Prado has three hits in comeback — and why not N.L. MVP?

Martin Prado singles in a run in the seventh for his second of three hits Tuesday night. He's deserving of league MVP honors. (AP photo).

Martin Prado singles in a run in the seventh for his second of three hits Tuesday night. He's deserving of league MVP honors. (AP photo).

After missing 16 games with a fracture in his right hand, Martin Prado returned to the Braves’ lineup Tuesday night and led the team with three hits, three runs scored, a double and two RBI.

“Don’t you just want to punch him right in the stomach?” cracked teammate Matt Diaz.

Here’s another thought: How about just handing him an MVP trophy?

There’s little question that Prado is the Braves’ most valuable player. When he returned from the disabled list with a fracture in his right pinkie and led the Braves in their 10-2 victory over the Washington Nationals, he started at third base (vacated by the injured Chipper Jones) and batted third (also Jones’ spot). The significance was kind of obvious.

If this guy doesn’t get consideration for National League Most Valuable Player honors, something is wrong. Should Prado continue to hit at his normal …

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We’re LIVE, as Braves try for something new — an early win

Somewhere in the middle of that celebration is Melky Cabrera, Braves' most recent late-game hero(Curtis Compton/AJC)

Melky Cabrera, the Braves' latest hero, is somewhere in the middle of the mob. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

I’ve made it to Turner Field for the start of tonight’s Braves’ game. But I figure I could’ve waited out the traffic for a few hours.

True story: I turned on Monday night’s game just in time for the ninth inning rally against Los Angeles, which ended with Melky Cabrera’s two-run single to give the Braves a 4-3 win. So I’m thinking: What was the rush to get here?

This team’s resolve and flare for the dramatic has been well-chronicled. The win over the Dodgers was their majors-leading 20th win of the season in their final at-bat. How significant is that? Well, Philadelphia is second overall with 18 final at-bat victories. The Braves lead the Phillies by only 2 1/2 games in the National League East. Do the math: Two fewer late-game rallies and the lead is a half-game.

The Braves’ good news doesn’t end there: Martin Prado is back. The Braves’ unofficial MVP will be activated off …

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Falcons, Pats put aside NFL’s secret society (for limited time)

Dimitroff, Smith and Belichick: One big happy family?

Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith and Bill Belichick are acting as one big happy family. Is this the NFL? (Curtis Compton/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH – The New England Patriots invaded the Falcons’ practice facility Tuesday, and they didn’t even feel the need to hide their video cameras.

“You mean a little Spygate?” tight end Tony Gonzalez joked when asked about the Patriots’ espionage tendencies. “I don’t think we’re really showing them too much. This is about as vanilla as it gets.”

“I think we’re running plays that you install on day one,” quarterback Matt Ryan said.

“No secret squirrel tapes,” said

Tom Brady gives Matt Ryan some pointers (Falcons fans can only hope).

Falcons fans can only hope that New England quarterback Tom Brady is giving Matt Ryan some pointers. (Curtis Compton/AJC).

Gerald Riggs, the former Falcon.

With the NFL expected to chop exhibition schedules down from four games to two, teams are expected to schedule practices against each other with increasing frequency. But it all seems, to use Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s …

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Down for the Count: Bikini-ball, everything Petrino touches and ‘Real Housewife of Flowery Branch’

The Count learned vodka and plasma don't mix.

The Count didn't mind showing some leg.

The Count never had a problem when the whole “sex sells” thing hit sports. Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney was one his earliest crushes. Then came Dororthy Hamill. Then Jan Stephenson, because really, when you get right down to it, what’s hotter than a girl talking about a manifold, or a flying camel, or a 5-iron off the pine tree? And I realize by now you’re all wondering: Does every one of the Count’s dream girls date back to the Dust Bowl? Well, yeah. Especially now. The epitome of the “sex sells” sports tours just folded. I mean, if hot, sweaty girls in bikinis on the beach can’t sell, what possible chance does the WNBA have? We count down . . .

10. Bye bye to the AVP (that’s volleyball) and their dancers

Maybe it was the name. The Association of Volleyball Professionals just didn’t work, but I guess AVP figured “Hot Babes in Bikinis” was too obvious. The league just folded. It didn’t really have teams, as in cities, but the tour …

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