Archive for October, 2010

Georgia Tech implodes early, shows itself to be average

Georgia Tech's Anthony Allen is swarmed by Clemson defenders, and that typified the Jackets' day. (AP photo)

Georgia Tech's Anthony Allen is swarmed by Clemson defenders, and that typified the Jackets' day. (AP photo)

CLEMSON, S.C. – A year ago, Georgia Tech wins this game. Somebody makes a block. Somebody makes a catch. Somebody on special teams actually gets his hand on the ball instead of taking out the punter like his own personal bobo doll less than two minutes into the game.

A year ago, something always went right. The Jackets followed a path to the ACC title game and then the Orange Bowl. On Saturday, something always went wrong — and any chances of them repeating either of those trips this season probably imploded with this performance.

It wasn’t just that the Jackets lost to Clemson 27-13, it was the way they stumbled and bumbled through four quarters. They never found a rhythm on offense. They never found a clue on defense. They were pounded up front on both sides of the ball.

Special teams? As coach Paul Johnson neatly summarized: “It was a nightmare.”

The Jackets came …

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LIVE from Clemson: Jackets try to keep ACC hopes alive

Georgia Tech goes through warmups while Clemson fans (right) line up Tigers' entrance on hill.

The Jackets go through warmups while Clemson fans (right) line up for the Tigers' entrance on the hill.

CLEMSON, S.C. — Two years ago this week, Tommy Bowden resigned under pressure as Clemson’s coach, was ripped going out the door by then quarterback Cullen Harper (”It’s what he deserved.”) and was replaced by assistant, Dabo Swinney. Clemson’s first opponent after one of the most tulumultous weeks in the Program’s history: Georgia Tech.

The Tigers, to their credit, put up more of a fight than most expected before losing to the Jackets 21-17 on a late touchdown pass from Joshua Nesbitt to Demaryius Thomas. The Jackets went on to finish 9-4 in coach Paul Johnson’s first season and we started to get a sense that they could be legitimate players in the ACC.

Back in Death Valley two years later, we’re waiting for that sense again. Maybe it comes today. Tech enters its most important stretch of the season with consecutive ACC games against Clemson, at Virginia Tech and home …

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Weekend Predictions: Falcons win, try not to hurt anyone

Russ

Before we get to wimp central and the rest of our NFL lineup, this update from the Happiest Place on Earth.

A fight broke out at Disney World the other day when a shuttle bus driver had to inform a guy that there was no more room for him on the bus, and the father responded like any psycho — by lunging at the driver’s neck. Claims of the father actually tossed his infant daughter at the driver have not been verified but I believe it has been determined that the man is a direct descendant of Scrooge McDuck, or possibly Jim Mora.

Which leads me back to the NFL. I miss the old days, like when Dick Butkus was saying, “When I played pro football, I never set out to hurt anyone deliberately, unless it was, you know, important, like a league game or something,” instead of Roger Goodell saying, “Really! Must you boys push so much? Sebastien! Fetch my overcoat. I’m late for Cats! I do so loooove Rum Tum Tugger!”

The NFL will still let you buy this vicious guy online.

The NFL will still let you buy this vicious guy online.

The NFL …

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Giants are reminder of what could’ve been for Braves

The Giants celebrate after Aubrey Huff (left) scores on a sacrifice fly to give them a win over Philadelphia and move them to within one game of going to the World Series.

The Giants celebrate after Aubrey Huff (left) scores to clinch a win over Philadelphia and move them one victory from the World Series.

While television network executives search for the nearest window ledge at thoughts of a Texas-San Francisco World Series, it’s becoming more apparent than ever that the Braves just missed out on one of their greatest chances ever to win another World Series.

We know injuries crushed the roster. We also know that the Braves somehow made it to the postseason anyway and played four one-run games with the San Francisco Giants, losing the National League Divisional Series, 3-1. The general belief was that even if the Braves had beaten the Giants, they would’ve been stomped by Philadelphia.

Oops.

For those who’ve tuned out baseball’s postseason since the Braves exited, the Giants are one win away from eliminating the Phillies (leading the NLCS 3-1). Texas is close to closing out the New York Yankees (3-2 in the ALCS). The Phillies and Yankees are …

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Poll time: Who’s more likely to win division, Dogs or Jackets?

Paul Johnson and Mark Richt still have openings for BCS bowl games. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Paul Johnson and Mark Richt still have openings for BCS bowl games. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

This what the ACC Coastal Division looks like:

Virginia Tech    3-0
Georgia Tech    3-1
Miami               2-1
North Carolina   2-1
Virginia             0-3
Duke                 0-3

This is what the SEC East Division looks like:

South Carolina    2-2
Florida                2-3
Georgia               2-3
Vanderbilt           1-2
Kentucky            1-3
Tennessee          0-3

Both teams have had embarrassing non-conference losses (Tech to Kansas; Georgia to Colorado). Both have had embarrassing moments within their conference (the Jackets gave up six touchdowns to North Carolina State; the Bulldogs started 0-3 in the SEC for the first time in 17 years).

But both are alive in their respective divisions. So we pose the question to you: Who is more likely to win their division and make it to a conference title game, which is the gateway to a BCS bowl game: The Jackets or the Bulldogs?

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Don’t faint: Thrashers are off to a fine start

Craig Ramsay pulled his players together after goalie Ondrej Pavelec collapsed in the opener and they've followed him since. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay pulled his players together after goalie Ondrej Pavelec collapsed in the season opener and they've followed him ever since. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

After an offseason that saw the hiring of a new general manager and a new coach, a churning of half the roster and the adoption of an ownership budget that screams, “Will kill penalties for food,” the Thrashers opened their 11th season in unique fashion: Their goalie fainted two and a half minutes into the season.

Craig Ramsay thought he had prepared for every conceivable scenario in his debut as coach. That one he never addressed.

“Forty years in this business, I ain’t never seen that,” he said. “It wasn’t on my list.”

We should note that it’s not that unusual for a Thrashers’ goalie to pass out. It just doesn’t usually happen until at least December. But this time the Thrashers strayed from the norm. They didn’t follow with their own collapse.

It’s only five games into the NHL season, well short of a …

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Website claims honeymoon’s over for Urban Meyer (honest)

Wait until Urban Meyer gets a look at this website.

Wait until Urban Meyer gets a look at this website.

Fire coach (Fill In The Blank) websites used to be somewhat of a novelty and a source of amusement. Now most of them are just cliche and stupid. But occasionally one pops up worth mentioning, only because of the absurdity of it.

I just found one: FireCoachMeyer.com.

Laugh it up, Bulldog Nation.

I’m just glad George S. Patton didn’t lose to Mississippi State the week after beating the Nazis. He’d be toast.

OK. It’s a down year for the Florida Gators. I get that. But fire Urban Meyer? And replace him with who — Nick Saban? Oh no wait, Alabama lost to South Carolina. He’s old news, too.

It’s possible this website was started by a fan from a rival school (or a recruiting coordinator from a rival school). But given the lunatic fringe among most SEC fan bases, I  lean toward somebody in Gainesville.

(UPDATE: The website appears to be a carryover from a Fire Ron Zook website in 2005.)

The site looks like it was slapped together in …

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Computers say: Georgia No. 60; Georgia Tech No. 45

I would imagine this is what it looks like in headquarters of Colley Matrix.

I would imagine this is what it looks like in headquarters of Colley Matrix.

Since the BCS standings came out last night, I’ve had a few fans ask me what it would take for Georgia or Georgia Tech to crack the upper levels of the rankings.

The short answer is: an unexplained series of events, most likely orchestrated by mysterious cosmic forces.

I’m going to remove the human polls used in the BCS — the Harris poll and the USA Today coaches’ poll — from this discussion because far be it for me to project the emotions of a voter who’s sitting on his couch in South Bumpstead.

There are six computer polls used in the BCS formula. When you see where Georgia and Georgia Tech are ranked by the computers, you will realize just how low the programs are sitting.

Hello, Dogs: You’re No. 60.

Hello, Jackets: You’re No. 45.

Those are only the averages. The six computer rankings are Anderson & Hester, Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Massey, Sagarin and Peter Wolfe. Here’s how each of the six …

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Is the BCS championship party finally over for SEC?

Will an SEC team get its hands on the BCS "Coaches' Trophy" this bowl season?

Will an SEC team get its hands on BCS "Coaches' Trophy" this year?

The BCS championship game was designed to determine the best college football team in the land. What it mostly has done is reaffirm the best conference in the land.

SEC teams have won the last four titles and the most overall (six) since the BCS championship began in 1998.

The conference standings of BCS games look like Godzilla vs. Bambi.

Ready? Listed in order of wins: SEC 6-0, Big 12 2-5, ACC 1-2, Big East 1-2, Big Ten 1-2, Pacific 10 1-1 (and USC’s win has been detonated by NCAA probation).

With that as a backdrop, here’s what the SEC is looking at today: The possible end of the party. The first BCS rankings came out Sunday night and there are three teams — Oklahoma, Oregon and Boise State — before you get to the first entry from the SEC (Auburn). A lot can happen in the next seven weeks (conference championship games included). But right now odds are against an SEC team making it into the BCS national …

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Georgia enjoys a laugher and tries not to wonder, ‘What if?’

Celebration time: Carlton Thomas is mobbed after a first-quarter touchdown, igniting a 43-0 rout. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Celebration time: Carlton Thomas is mobbed after a first-quarter touchdown, igniting a 43-0 rout. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

ATHENS – Since Georgia is way past concerns about where it ranks in the Harris Poll, there’s little in the way of buildup for the unveiling of the first BCS standings Sunday. Certainly, there’s no reason for fans to reflect and wonder: “Will Vanderbilt’s record hurt our strength of schedule?”

But that shouldn’t matter right now. There is a pulse.

One week after thumping Tennessee 41-14, the Bulldogs boat-raced Vanderbilt 43-0 on Saturday.

That’s two wins by a combined 70 points. The only lingering depression following consecutive dismemberings stems from the fact the schedule is now exhausted of teams from the Volunteer State.

Seven weeks into the season, a 3-4 record is not what anybody in Athens had aspired to. But aesthetically, it’s far more appealing than 1-4 was — or what 1-4 seemingly projected to.

The latest win even inspired two Capital One Bowl …

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