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College football, Week 1: Somehow it keeps getting better

Paul Johnson.

Paul Johnson: Darkhorse?

Mark Richt.

Mark Richt: BCS contender?

Bill Curry.

Bill Curry: A step up?

Elevating college football to the appropriate level of importance in his small but powerful world, Bear Bryant once noted, “It’s kind of hard to rally around a math class.” And as if we needed reminding, the man operated at a time before outlandish concepts like “academic reform” and truth-in-scholarship limits.

Emotionally, however, not much has changed in the past several decades. For many, particularly in the South, the opening of college football season this week is like finally being given clearance to rip the gift wrap off of a box that has been sitting in the corner, seemingly taunting you, for eight months.

It’s time.

“If you grew up around here, the excitement is one of those things that you often think back to, like significant holidays,” said Bill Curry, the 69-year-old Georgia State coach, who is entering the final season (we assume) of his career.

“You remember where you were …

Continue reading College football, Week 1: Somehow it keeps getting better »

Isaiah Crowell ‘happy,’ seeking fresh start at Alabama State

Isaiah Crowell is getting ready to compete at a school far from SEC spotlight.

Former Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell is getting ready to compete at far from SEC spotlight.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – About 225 miles from Athens, in the opposite direction from where most people will be looking when the college football season opens, you can find Isaiah Crowell here.

Take the last exit of I-85 south, make a left under the overpass and drive straight down Decatur and into the projects. There you will see a weathered sign reading, “Hornets Stadium,” and a football practice field bordered on one side by a small college campus and on the other by less-than-idyllic surroundings.

“The culture is a little different here,” Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow said with understatement.

Alabama State is in the midst of a makeover. A 30-year, $600 million wish list of constructions projects includes several new athletic facilities, including a $62 million football stadium scheduled to open on Thanksgiving. In that sense, this is an appropriate place for Crowell …

Continue reading Isaiah Crowell ‘happy,’ seeking fresh start at Alabama State »

Da’Rick Rogers suspended, Dooley still cleaning up from Kiffin (UPDATED II)

Da'Rick Rogers from Calhoun was SEC's best receiver last season. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)

Da'Rick Rogers was top SEC receiver in 2011. (Raleigh News-Observer)

(Second update with Derek Dooley saying he doesn’t expect Da’Rick Roger to play this season.)

Two years ago, when new Tennessee coach Derek Dooley made his debut at SEC media days, I made note of the first three subjects he was asked about: 1) His mother; 2) His father; 3) A bar fight that included several of his players. Suffice to say, he would welcome more questions about his mother and father again.

Dooley inherited a mess at Tennessee after the sudden departure of Lane Kiffin. That’s no secret. The fact that the guy’s job might be on the line this season is unfortunate because the image of the team and the character problems of too many players that he inherited takes a while to overcome.

The latest example: Da’Rick Rogers. The talented but often troubled wide receiver from Calhoun, who nearly signed with Georgia in 2010, was suspended indefinitely Thursday by Dooley. No reason was given, other than the …

Continue reading Da’Rick Rogers suspended, Dooley still cleaning up from Kiffin (UPDATED II) »

Now on Internet: It’s Mike Vick Injury Bingo! (ouch)

Ooof! That's going to leave a mark. But how about a game, MV7? (AP photo)

That's going to leave a mark. But how about a game, MV?

Let me preface this by declaring that I am NOT pulling against Michael Vick during his post-prison career, which has the potential to be one of the greatest comeback stories in professional sports history (although not at this rate).

OK, that disclaimer out of the way, this is kind of funny.

Vick’s tendency to take so many hits and keep getting injured, particularly in this NFL exhibition season, has reached mocking level. He hurt the thumb on his throwing hand in Philadelphia’s first preseason game. He had ribs crushed Monday against New England. All X-rays, MRIs and CT scans have been negative, but the guy has spent more time in examination rooms than taking snaps in games. (Two-game stats: 4 for 7, 11 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 sack, 2 injuries.)

So that prompted Robert Littal from the website, BlackSportsOnline, to post a game: “Mike Vick Injury Bingo.” The game’s winning squares include generic injuries like, …

Continue reading Now on Internet: It’s Mike Vick Injury Bingo! (ouch) »

VIDEO: I was passed over again by Augusta National

Hootie Johnson never much cared about the "point of a bayonet." (AP photo)

Hootie Johnson never much cared about the "point of a bayonet." (AP photo)

(So there was a little hiccup at Cinesport headquarters with the machinery. Here’s a video recap of Augusta National’s decision to add two women members. Just consider this like an NBC Olympics broadcast.)

Augusta National never comments on membership and certainly never had welcomed a woman into their membership before. But the club broke both practices on Monday when it announced former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and financier Darla Moore as members. It was a great and long overdue move by club chairman Billy Payne and Augusta National members, who forged right ahead into . . . well, the 1900s. I spoke about the historic decision with Cinesport’s Noah Coslov (and also told him my shocking recommendation for the potential third woman member).

Some recent typings (no charge)

– MLB’s drug policy too soft — teams should be docked wins

– If Braves serious about East, they need to beat Nationals …

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VIDEO: Why Braves need to keep Kris Medlen in rotation

When will Kris Medlen be cleared for takeoff with the Braves? (Jason Getz/AJC)

When will Kris Medlen be cleared for takeoff with the Braves? (Jason Getz/AJC)

Earlier today I reiterated in a blog why I believe Kris Medlen needs to stay in the Braves’ rotation, and why it makes sense for the team to go to a six-man starting rotation for at least the next couple of weeks.


Here’s a link to that blog.

Now, here’s me with Cinesport’s Noah Coslov on the subject. (I think Noah hurried back from vacation after hearing how much I preferred working with Tara Petrolino last week.)

Blogs on demand:
– Braves can’t sit Medlen, need to go with six-man rotation

– Danny Ferry made pitch for Dwight Howard but was stopped short

– VIDEO: This is what I think about Falcons (with Tara!)

– Lights, camera, action! Petrino wants you to know he’s sorry

– Expect Julio Jones to take over for Falcons

By Jeff Schultz

Continue reading VIDEO: Why Braves need to keep Kris Medlen in rotation »

Ferry made pitch for Dwight Howard but was stopped short

Your Hawks fantasy for a day: Danny Ferry hands LeBron James a jersey (Hawks, not USA). (Getty Images)

Your Hawks fantasy for a day: Danny Ferry hands LeBron James a jersey — Hawks, not USA. (Getty Images)

Area codes may help. Pacific breezes and Hollywood on the West Coast, and South Beach and night life on the East may have served as advantages for the Los Angeles Lakers in their ability to land Dwight Howard and the Miami Heat in luring LeBron James.

But that’s really not what this is all about.

If Los Angeles, Miami and Boston always seem to land the best players, it’s not because of the scenery or the local cuisine or the proximity to Universal Studios. It’s because of what those franchises stand for. They chase titles. They don’t act satisfied when the team wins a playoff series. They don’t limit themselves to “safe” moves in the offseason to fill out the bench. They have a vision.

They don’t give elite-level contracts to players who couldn’t spell elite if you spotted them the e-l-i-t. (Joe: Brooklyn is that way.)

“History and tradition,” Hawks general …

Continue reading Ferry made pitch for Dwight Howard but was stopped short »

Dwight Howard had the power (Hawks didn’t have chance)

The chance of these two guys being teammates in Atlanta was always a longshot. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The chance of Dwight Howard, Josh Smith being Atlanta teammates was always a longshot. (Curtis Compton)

(This blog will be updated or replaced by a full column later.)

Dwight Howard is about to become a Los Angeles Laker and — if this deal doesn’t fall apart and the principles don’t change — this will be the Lakers’  lineup next season: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace (see: Ron Artest) and Howard.

Wonder what it’s like to be king?

Even if the Lakers weren’t Howard’s first choice (strangely, Brooklyn was), this expected deal just reaffirms how star players have all the power in the NBA. As much as the owners hate it and NBA commissioner David Stern keeps trying to rewrite the rule book to prevent it, elite players will always have the hammer in the NBA because rosters are so small relative to other team sports and one star can make a significant difference.

There was a time when Howard, an Atlanta native and former star at Southwest Atlanta Christian …

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VIDEO: This is what I think about Falcons (with Tara!)

Hello. I’m in living color again. Here’s are my views on the Falcons, what we can expect from wide receiver Julio Jones and the team’s reshaped defense. I think you’ll find this video is superior to previous ones because I’m speaking with CineSport’s Tara Petrolino, who is a significant upgrade over Noah Coslov. (Please don’t tell Noah I said that when he gets back from vacation. On second thought, he’s probably heard it before.)

Recent blogs

Lights, camera, action! Petrino wants you to know he’s sorry (with video)

Get ready for Julio Jones to take over

Over/unders: Dogs 9.5 wins, Jackets 8 wins (agree or disagree)

Medlen should give Braves a reason to consider 6-man rotation

Crowell had issues but replacing him won’t be easy for Georgia

By Jeff Schultz

Continue reading VIDEO: This is what I think about Falcons (with Tara!) »

Countdown: Comic relief, Olympic mudwrestling, UK urinal

Let me tell you about "Honest Abe."

Let me tell you about "Honest Abe."

There’s nothing like a good movie to escape reality once in a while. The Count loves to kick back with a trough of popcorn and a banana-and-plasma smoothie, then wait for the lights to dim in the theater and just hope it’s not a full moon outside because, well, you don’t want to know. Anyway, The Count walked into the wrong theater the other day. He thought he was about to see “Snow White And The Huntsman” because Charlize Theron kind of does something for him in a full length coat of evil (again, you don’t want to know).  But instead, he inadvertently walked into, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” and he has been catatonic ever since. Abe — yeah, yeah, president, freed the slaves, wore a hat, blahblahblah. Let me tell you: Abe wasn’t cool. He was obsessed withvampire obliterating The Count’s entire family, just because I dunked on him in high school. (Abe was tall but couldn’t jump. Think: Mel Counts. But The Count could flyyyyy! No really, I …

Continue reading Countdown: Comic relief, Olympic mudwrestling, UK urinal »