Archive for December, 2010

Richt gives no reason to believe he can turn Georgia around

Mark Richt finished with his worst record at Georgia (6-7) and the Dogs had their first losing season since 1996.

Mark Richt finished with his worst record at Georgia (6-7) and the Dogs had their first losing season since 1996.

MEMPHIS – Mark Richt says he is disappointed. He says he has to make changes. He says the Georgia football program is not where it needs to be, and when a once-respectable SEC program ends its season by failing to score a touchdown against a team from Conference USA, nobody is going to dispute that.

Here’s the only matter up for debate: Does anybody believe Mark Richt can still get it done?

It didn’t look like it this season, when the Bulldogs finished with a losing record (6-7) for the first time in 14 years. It didn’t look like it at Mississippi State or Colorado or in Jacksonville (again).

It didn’t look like it Friday night, because if the average Georgia fan considers it humiliating having to win in the final week of the season just to become bowl eligible — and then get stuck with the Liberty Bowl — what do you call it when the Bulldogs lose to …

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Florida, Muschamp close to hiring Charlie Weis as assistant

Charlie Weis was unsuccessful as a head coach but he always has been solid as an offensive coordinator.

Charlie Weis was unsuccessful as a head coach but he always has been solid as an offensive coordinator.

If Florida’s hiring of former Georgia safety Will Muschamp as its head coach stunned Bulldogs fans, try this: Muschamp’s offensive coordinator may be Charlie Weis.

Yes, that Charlie Weis.

Long time Gainesville Sun writer Pat Dooley and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen — both of whom are as solid as they come — are reporting that Weis could be headed to the Gators to run the offense. The former Notre Dame head coach and New England assistant currently is the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Dooley said on his radio show, WYBC-FM in Gainesville: “In terms of Florida’s offensive coordinator, if you’re driving in your car, I want you to pull over. When I say this, you’re going to freak out. I think this is going to happen but I don’t know that it’s going to happen. That’s why you won’t see it in the paper [Gainesville Sun] tomorrow unless I get another …

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LIVE from Liberty Bowl: A.J. and Russ are in, Uga is out

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Russ is in the house! (Literally.) He's got his bowl game face on.

MEMPHIS — Welcome to the end of Georgia’s season. I know. The Liberty Bowl is not what you were expecting, and neither is the modest goal of trying to finish with a winning record. But Memphis is a nice place, particularly if you’re into barbecue, and I can recommend the ribs at the “Germantown Commissary” (albeit not a BBQ-sounding place).

I would’ve saved the bones for Uga VIII but, alas, he has a tummy ache and didn’t make the trip from his palace in Savannah. At least, that’s the word that the Seiler family is putting out. I’m more inclined to think Uga just didn’t want to make his bowl debut at a game so beneath his standards, particularly since he came in as such a highly touted recruit.

Or maybe Uga’’s just academically ineligible like Caleb King. Like everybody else, he lost interest after the Florida game. Like King, he missed five “academic-related appointments” (obedience school).

So, we have this …

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Falcons win, Dogs win and Fox is playing human ‘Frogger’

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Hello, and welcome back to the world of football, or as Tucker Carlson likes to call it, “Nothing But A League of Thugs and Degenerates and Serial Killers Who Should All Should All Be Thrown Into a Vat Of Face-Melting Acid, Like When Jack Napier Turned Into The Joker On Batman. Except For The Short White Kickers, I Like Those Guys.”

If you missed it, Carlson — fighting for relevancy in the growing mutant world of psychotic political commentators — called for the execution of Michael Vick this week for crimes against past Labradors, never mind the 23 months he already spent in prison and the loss of 27 gazillion dollars. I think it pretty much confirms Vick is not on Carlson’s Fantasy League team.

Personally, I believe Carlson should be sentenced to one game of human “Frogger.” That’s the other unbelievably true story this week: a Clemson man (not Dabo Swinney) thought it would be

For final standings, start in upper-left and go clockwise.

For final NFC South standings, start in upper-left and go clockwise.

fun to mimic the video game …

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Tucker Carlson: ‘Michael Vick should be executed’ (Whaa..?)

Tucker Carlson.

Tucker Carlson.

Michael Vick.

Michael Vick.

I write this knowing that the last thing anybody wants — least of all me — is to rehash Michael Vick’s history of dog fighting. But this seems worth mentioning: A commentator for Fox News (”fair and balanced”) just declared that Vick should be executed.

Tucker Carlson, filling in for Sean Hannity on Fox News, was addressing reports that President Obama phoned Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to congratulate him for giving Vick a second chance in the NFL. Carlson went off on a rant and punctuated his remarks by declaring, “I think personally he should’ve been executed for that.”

Wow. And he said this even BEFORE the Eagles were upset by Minnesota Tuesday night. What would Carlson do to Vick now?

Here’s the video:

Once more, this time with feeling: Vick served his time for his crimes and has the right to earn a living. Anybody who chooses to boo or criticize him as a result of his past is completely within their rights. But I’m certain …

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Forget loss — defense proves Falcons ready for playoffs

John Abraham has 13 sacks -- and added a rare interception Monday -- to lead Falcons' defense.

John Abraham has 13 sacks (and added an interception Monday) to lead Falcons' defense.

FLOWERY BRANCH – For the first time in more than 10 weeks, it was the day after a Falcons’ loss Tuesday.

Cleansing breath.

Who knew this season would bring about such an adjustment period?

As you look to get grounded again, here’s your focal point: A three-point loss to the defending Super Bowl champions who probably were just a little more desperate for a victory probably doesn’t constitute a collapse. Nor does it alter the power structure in the NFL’s playoff field. As coach Mike Smith said again Tuesday, the day after a 17-14 loss to New Orleans: “There’s 15 other teams [in the NFC] who would love to trade places with us,” and I think we can assume that includes the next opponent, Carolina (2-13).

Truth is, we know now pretty much what we knew before Monday’s loss. The Falcons and Saints are dead even. It’s not bad to be dead even with the defending champions. Also, Philadelphia, …

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Mike Smith should’ve given Matt Ryan, offense a chance

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Matt Ryan lost for only the second time in 21 home starts.

This season has been about comebacks.

This season has been about the Falcons making plays at the end of games to win.

This season has been about Matt Ryan engineering winning drives against New Orleans, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Green Bay and Tampa Bay.

Whether that magic carries over into the playoffs remains to be seen. But it ran out Monday night. One reason: a bad decision by coach Mike Smith.

With the Saints leading the Falcons 17-14 at the Georgia Dome and less than three minutes remaining, Smith pulled Ryan and the offense off the field. The  team faced a fourth-and-6 from the Falcons’ 43 and the head coach went the conservative route.

Smith’s mindset: A good punt could pin New Orleans deep in its zone, the defense looked strong most of the evening and the Falcons could get the ball back in good position.

But that same defense had just allowed Drew Brees and the Saints a go-ahead, 90-yard touchdown …

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Playoff poll: Do you prefer Falcons play Saints or Packers?

Drew Brees

Drew Brees is back in the Georgia Dome tonight.

Aaron Rodgers.

Aaron Rodgers was here in November.

While the Falcons have done a good job this season not looking beyond the next game — in this case, tonight’s meeting with the New Orleans Saints at the Georgia Dome — it doesn’t have to stop us from looking ahead, does it?

So here’s the question: Which team would you rather see the Falcons play in their first playoff game: The Saints for the third time or the Green Bay Packers for the second? Because it’s likely to be one of those two.

Who would you rather see Falcons play?

  • New Orleans Saints.
  • Green Bay Packers.

View Results

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The Falcons will lock up the NFC’s top seed with a win either tonight or next week against Carolina. Pending the outcome of Philadelphia’s postponed home game against Minnesota, which has been rescheduled for Tuesday night, this is how the standings in the NFC lay out right now:

♦ 1. Falcons (12-2): Bye.

♦ 2. Philadelphia (10-4) or …

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Falcons get a chance to clinch division and quiet critics

After last week's win in Seattle, the Falcons are one celebration away from clinching the NFC South.

After Brent Grimes secured last week's win in Seattle, the Falcons are one celebration away from clinching the NFC South.

After a 12-2 record, the clinched playoff berth, the likelihood of a division title, the likelihood of home field through the playoffs and several thousand more fans suddenly following Roddy White on Twitter, the Falcons may actually be close to securing their greatest achievement of all: Acceptance.

They’ve beaten New Orleans. They’ve beaten Baltimore. They’ve beaten Green Bay. If they defeat the Saints for a second time, shouldn’t that smother the lingering doubts?

They’ve won games running. They’ve won games passing. They’ve won games with their 5-foot-10 cornerback (Brent Grimes) and their 5-9 kick returner (Eric Weems) and their 35-year-old, 5-9 kicker (Matt Bryant) and, yes, maybe the winning lottery numbers.

They haven’t always been impressive. But doesn’t it say something when a team just keeps winning, like at no time in franchise …

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Falcons can lead way to an Atlanta sports grand slam

Green Bay fans invaded the Georgia Dome last month but learned what we found out: Atlanta now has winners.

Green Bay fans invaded the Georgia Dome last month expecting a Packers win but they learned what we had already found out: Atlanta now has winners. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

If this isn’t Shoeless Joe Jackson looking out at some ball field cut into a cornfield and asking, “Is this heaven?” then what is it? Because it’s certainly not Atlanta.

Is it?

The Braves returned to the playoffs in October after four years of personnel miscalculations and an extended viewing of Mike Hampton’s exploding limbs (later to become a Ripley’s exhibit, adjacent to the two-headed goat).

The Hawks appear to be stabilizing under new coach Larry Drew. The presumed-to-be undermanned Thrashers resemble a Swiss Army knife, taking apart the Axis powers with just the corkscrew and the bottle opener.

The Falcons are 12-2, which ties them for the NFL’s best record and makes them two wins better than the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, who visit here Monday night.

Bobby Cox and the Braves celebrated after clincing a playoff berth.

Bobby Cox and the …

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