Archive for November, 2010

Poll time: Are you pulling for Auburn for sake of SEC in BCS?

Cam Newton doesn't merely carry Auburn's BCS title hopes -- he's carrying the SEC's.

Cam Newton doesn't carry just Auburn's BCS title hopes — he's carrying the entire SEC's.

This week’s Alabama-Auburn game is about more than just whether the Tigers can remain undefeated — and maybe the possible gateway to the next Cam Newton conspiracy theory. It’s probably about the SEC’s lifeline in the national title game.

The top five in the BCS rankings reads like this: 1. Oregon (10-0); 2. Auburn (11-0); 3.  TCU (11-0); 4. Boise State (10-0); 5. LSU (10-1).

Are you pulling for Auburn for sake of SEC?

  • Yes. SEC team in BCS title game helps everybody.
  • No. If my team’s out, I don’t care.

View Results

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The question of whether a one-loss SEC team can make it into the BCS title game over an undefeated team from another conference has existed all season. But — at the risk of predicting the whims of voters or the probabilities of computers — I think that probably ended when Alabama (9-2) lost its second game of the season to LSU.

Try to …

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Richt has dominated Tech rivalry since arrival at Georgia (UPDATED)

Georgia players planted a UGA flag in the middle of Grant Field after defeating Tech last season. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Georgia players planted the "G" in middle of field after last year's win at Tech. (Johnny Crawford)

(Update below with point spread)

We can debate the significance of Georgia’s slide in the last two years. We can debate how accountable Mark Richt should be held for the losses on the field or the issues off of it.

But there’s one thing that’s not up for debate: The man owns Georgia Tech. Don’t discount the important of rivalry games. They shape 12 months of debate, which feed into perceptions, which feed into job security.

Consider these numbers, as the Dogs and Jackets prepare to meet next Saturday night in Athens:

♦ Richt is 8-1 against Georgia Tech, including last year’s 30-24 win on Grant Field. That dominance basically helped run off Chan Gailey, who went to bowl games six straight seasons but couldn’t beat the big brother to the east. Richt’s record against the Dogs’ other major rivals: 2-8 against against Florida, 6-4 against Auburn, 6-4 against Tennessee.

♦ Gailey …

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Boise State game is good for Georgia but difficult for Richt

Mark Richt's team will start next season with two difficult opponents: Boise State and South Carolina. (AP photo)

Mark Richt's team will start next season with two difficult opponents: Boise State and South Carolina. (AP photo)

(UPDATED: 5:45 p.m.)

Let’s assume for a moment that, Georgia’s 5-6 record notwithstanding, Mark Richt will be back next season as the Bulldogs’ coach. That seems like the most likely scenario for two reasons: 1) Georgia can still finish with a winning (albeit mediocre) record of 7-6 this season with wins over Georgia Tech and a consolation bowl opponent; 2) athletic director Greg McGarity isn’t one to rush major decisions and may lean toward another year of program evaluation.

But this much we know: Richt’s job next season just got more difficult.

Georgia will play in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game against Boise State in the Georgia Dome. As season openers go, this is far closer to playing Oklahoma State in Stillwater (a loss in 2009) than it is facing Louisiana-Lafayette in Athens (a win this year).

The first two opponents of next season now look like this: Boise …

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Big Ten, Cubs turn college football into Three Stooges

If you own seats near the far end zone, you're out of luck. (AP photo).

If you own seats near the far end zone, you're out of luck. (AP photo).

I remember doing a book report in elementary school on the Harlem Globetrotters. The story goes that when the Globetrotters first started out, they played some games in empty swimming pools — which required one team to run its offense up hill from the deep end.

It would’ve made for a great comedy skit. The Big Ten should try that. The conference has its own network now. What a perfect

The Cubs didn't want the field laid out like when the Bears played there.

The Cubs didn't want the field laid out like when the Bears played there.

time to venture into slapstick because it just turned a college football game into a Three Stooges episode. “Hey Moe! We were just in this end zone!”

The Northwestern-Illinois game, scheduled (still!) to be played Saturday at Wrigley Field, now has a funny and pathetic twist. Officials decided at this late venture that the way the football field has been laid out in the baseball stadium is too dangerous for players. In short, there’s a possibility that …

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Georgia State’s loss doesn’t diminish season, Curry’s efforts

All of the coaching in the world by Bill Curry wasn't going to change the inevitable outcome against Alabama. (AP photo)

All of the coaching in the world by Bill Curry wasn't going to change the inevitable outcome against Alabama. (AP photo)

(UPDATED 11:42 p.m.)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A program born this year (and coming off a win over Lamar) was facing a program that has been kicking since 1892 (and coming off a national championship).

One online sports book posted a mutant point spread of 57½.

Then there was the Alabama fan who, walking down Paul W. Bryant Drive toward the stadium, turned to his friends and asked, “Is Georgia State in Atlanta?”

As college football games go, Georgia State vs. Alabama created little in the way of drama or suspense Thursday night — except maybe for those who feared the scoreboard might blow up.

In the end, the evening went pretty much as expected. Bill Curry returned to Tuscaloosa. Nobody threw a brick this time, it just felt like it on the scoreboard: Alabama won 63-7.

The Panthers, after games against the likes of Shorter, Lambuth and Morehead State, …

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LIVE: Georgia State ready to shock Alabama! (Go with it)

Wow. It's even bigger than Campbell's stadium.

Wow. It's even bigger than Campbell's stadium.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Bill Curry has returned to Alabama. Let’s see if they’re any nicer to him now than when he left in 1989.

In a rare (and possibly first) match-up between a first-year program and a defending national champion, Georgia State faces Alabama tonight at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game is being broadcast on sorta-national TV (more on that in a minute).

This will conclude the Panthers’ inaugural season, and the hope is that

I can't believe so many fans are waiting for the Panthers.

I can't believe so many fans are waiting for the Panthers.

they get something out of the experience more than just a quick tour of Tuscaloosa and a $400,000 payoff. All of their limbs would be a good start.

Earlier in the week I spoke to somebody at the Caesars Palace Sportsbook who said the property was not going to offer wagering on the game. But, if it did, the point spread probably would have opened at 42½ points.

Turns out that may have been an understatement.

I heard this guy is really good. Still looking for Jenny.

I heard this guy is really good. …

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Weekend Predictions: Falcons, SEC and Eva, oh my

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Before getting to this week’s big game between the NFL’s unstoppable Monster Zero, the Falcons, and — well, some lesser beings — we have two important updates from the sports world:

1. Tony Parker: Dude. Really? You cheated on Eva Longoria? I thought point guards were supposed to be smart. Are you sure you weren’t drafted by Billy Knight?

2. SEC: Dudes. Really? You’re not even issuing, like, a letter of reprimand to Auburn assault weapon Nick Fairley? Were you drafted by Billy Knight, too? Or could it be that you were concerned any punishment of Fairley would indirectly hurt Auburn, which hurts the SEC, which slows the cha-chinging, because the Tigers might win the SEC and the BCS and that means more millions for the conference and Mike Slive and generations of Slives, and, you know, it’s really hard to get good caviar in Birmingham — they have to get it flown in.

Something tells me she has been to her last Spurs game.

Something tells me she's been to her last Spurs game.

By the way, Eva Longoria didn’t go to Auburn. She went to …

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Odds say: Falcons over Vick and Patriots to win Super Bowl

These two quarterbacks apparently will meet again in Dallas. And guess who's going to win?

"So Matt. I've got the directions to Dallas. But I'm a little confused about the results."

Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles will come to Atlanta for the NFC championship game. And the Falcons will win.

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will win the AFC title and go to Dallas to the face the Falcons in the Super Bowl. And the Falcons will win.

So it is written.

In percentages.

On a website.

There is a website called PlayoffStatus.com, which I had never heard of before today, but it just became one of my favorite bookmarks because it gave me an easy blog. The site breaks down almost every sport — NFL, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, Formula 1, soccer, even college hockey — and gives percentages on each team’s playoff chances.

The list that jumped out at me was the NFL Postseason Probabilities.

The site, which bases percentages on past results and remaining strength of schedule, says the Falcons have a 91 percent chance to make the playoffs. That’s not a surprise. But it gets …

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Dan Uggla trade is latest example of Wren’s quick moves

Brian McCann probably is thrilled by the Dan Uggla acquisition. It means he won't be bowled over by him again. (AJC photo)

Brian McCann probably is thrilled by the Dan Uggla acquisition. It means he won't be bowled over by him again. (AJC photo)

A few days ago, the Braves removed Kenshin Kawakami from their 40-man roster. Short of general manager Frank Wren stepping into the way-back machine and telling John Schuerholz, “You know, I’ve got a really bad feeling about this Mark Teixeira trade,” there probably wasn’t a better way to begin the offseason.

Quantum leap No. 2 came Tuesday. Wren traded Omar Infante, a valuable utility player – emphasis on utility – for a starting second baseman, Dan Uggla, who has averaged 31 homers and 93 RBIs in the last five seasons.

The lineup just got better. That didn’t take long.

Say this for Wren. He doesn’t sit idle very long. We can debate whether all of his moves have worked or backfired – the Kawakami signing: boom! – but nobody can accuse of him not trying.

When various issues came up this past season, Wren demoted Kawakami, demoted …

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Bill Curry goes back to Tuscaloosa as a changed man

Bill Curry says he has gotten more enjoyment out of leading Georgia State than any other job.

Bill Curry says he has gotten more enjoyment out of leading Georgia State than any other job.

This isn’t the story about a fledgling football program going into Tuscaloosa. It’s the story of an old football coach, a grandfather, finding perspective in his late 60s. It’s the story of a wake-up call that 34 moves and four teams and six coaching jobs and even a brick through the second-floor office window never provided.

“This literally has been the highlight of my career,” Bill Curry said.

He is standing on a practice field that once was a dumping ground in a scarred patch of downtown. In front of him, a MARTA train rushes past on an elevated track. Behind him, a gutted brick building that once housed some homeless people is slowly being transformed into a field house.

This is Curry’s Eden.

“To be with a group of young people, most of whom have been told they’re not good enough, and show them how to succeed and have a meaningful life – I haven’t felt like this …

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