Archive for November, 2009

Here’s what Tiger Woods needs to tell us: Absolutely nothing

I keep hearing and reading that Tiger Woods “needs to come clean.” (Here’s a boilerplate screed from the self-styled King of Outrage.) But you know what I say?

No he doesn’t.

He doesn’t need to say one thing more. He doesn’t have to talk to police, and he hasn’t. That’s his right under the law. And we the people have no overarching Need To Know on this issue. From the above expression of outrage: “The public deserves to hear exactly what happened in the wee hours of Thanksgiving night outside his mansion in Windermere, Fla.”

One question: Why?

It’s clear Mr. and Mrs. Woods had a discussion that didn’t end well. We can surmise that it had to do with the National Enquirer’s report of a Tiger dalliance with a New York nightclub hostess. We the people are not naive. But what exactly is Tiger supposed to say to us after driving his Cadillac into both a tree and a water hazard? (When run over by a vehicle, a fire hydrant qualifies.)

Should he paint himself into a Clinton-esque …

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I’m thinking PJ sees a real title as bigger than beating UGA

Paul Johnson and Josh Nesbitt can still be champions. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Paul Johnson and Josh Nesbitt can still be champions. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

I had this conversation with a Georgia Tech booster last night: If Paul Johnson had to pick between beating Georgia and winning the 2009 ACC title, which would have chosen?

“As fans, we’d always pick beating Georgia,” the booster said. But that’s from the fan’s perspective, which isn’t the same as a coach’s. And if I had to guess — and I don’t have to guess, but just for grins I will — I’d say PJ would take being the champion of a BCS conference. (Yeah, yeah. Even if it is only the ACC.)

I base this on something PJ said last week about beating Georgia — “Been there, done that” — and on his stated desire to win championships at Tech. “We almost did it last year,” he said, and the Jackets did. They shared first place in the  Coastal Division but lost to Virginia Tech on a tiebreaker. And now the moment is here. Beat Clemson in Tampa and the Jackets will play in the Orange Bowl in Year 2 under …

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A big win only in the sense it wasn’t an even bigger loss

They won this one without Matt Ryan, but they'll need him soon. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

They won this one without Matt Ryan, but they'll need him soon. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

That wasn’t mere urgency at their backs on that final drive. It was utter desperation. The Falcons can read the schedule and the standings, and they know the difference between 6-5 and 5-6 is more than one game, especially when the opponent tipping the balance arrived at 1-9.

“Going under .500,” Roddy White would say later, after he’d caught the fourth-down touchdown pass that won it, “that’s desperation.”

The Falcons escaped Sunday’s game with a season’s worth of hopes still alive, but with every week those hopes are tempered by mounting reality. They started 4-1. Then they lost four of five. They were one play from making it five of six against an overmatched opponent coached by a man seemingly determined to keep both teams in the game. And even after they’d won, this was the verdict of Todd McClure, the center: “One of the ugliest wins I’ve ever been involved with.”

Said Mike …

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Bradley’s Buzz: ESPN’s Lowe sees UGA in the Chick-fil-A

Look at the waffle fries falling from the sky? (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

"Just look at those waffle fries falling from the sky!" (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

From Shreveport, La., to Northside Drive? According to Chris Lowe of ESPN.com, Georgia is apt to be invited to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, which if memory serves is played here in Atlanta. (Full disclosure: I’m sitting in the Dome as I type.) Here’s Lowe’s rationale:

“The Outback gets first choice out of the [non-BCS  SEC teams] East and the Cotton first choice out of the West after the Capital One selects. But since Ole Miss went to the Cotton Bowl last year, there may be a deal worked out where the Rebels go to the Outback this year and Tennessee to the Cotton. The Vols finished in a tie with Georgia for second place in the East, but beat the Bulldogs head-to-head.

“The Chick-fil-A Bowl also has a tough choice. South Carolina became a lot more attractive with its win over Clemson. But with Georgia beating Georgia Tech, there will be a lot of pressure to keep the Bulldogs close to home there in …

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Live from the Dome: I’m back, and so’s the Burner

Slept fast. Went to Mass. Now I’m back downtown, chatting again. Last night was great fun — fine game, unexpected (at least by me) result, much to discuss. Example: Why did Paul Johnson call four consecutive deep passes with the game on the line? We know his stylized offense doesn’t feature the short or intermediate pass, but what about the ol’ option toss? Did PJ bail out — mixed metaphor alert — on his bread and butter?

I wish I could say I had great hope for another great game here at the Dome, but I don’t. I figure the Falcons beat the Bucs by three touchdowns. I figure the Falcons need to beat the Bucs by three touchdowns just to remind themselves they can still be a playoff-caliber team, recent results notwithstanding.

Four losses in five games will have a chilling effect on a franchise and its fans, and traffic around the Dome seemed unusually light around 11:30. (And I was running late.) Can’t imagine there’ll be a full house today, but I’m bad at predictions. Example: …

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A powerful performance by a suddenly powerful UGA team

Did this guy outcoach Paul Johnson. Yes he did. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Did this guy outcoach Paul Johnson? Yes he did. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

There have been times lately when we’ve wondered, “Who are these guys?” Because they  weren’t the Bulldogs we’d come to know and admire. They were undisciplined and undercoached. They were always reacting to an opponent, never forcing the issue. They were a finesse team, and a team devoid of force doesn’t win big in the broad-shouldered SEC.

But on the final night of an underwhelming regular season, Georgia played as if it remembered its breeding. It acted like an SEC team. It ran the ball with fury and blocked like the crack of dawn and played big-boy football. And at halftime we were saying, “Who are these guys?”

Because these weren’t the Bulldogs of recent vintage. These were tougher, stronger, meaner. They had come into the stadium of a team looking to solidify its hold on a rivalry and a state, and they’d been the aggressor from the first. Indeed, they were the aggressor from the coin toss. …

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Live from the Joke by Coke, and the Evil Genius = hope

The ideal Christmas for a Dawg fan? Here you go. (Photo by M. Bradley)

The ideal Christmas gift for a Dawg fan? Not this. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Understand: In my entire life, I have never thought of Bobby Dodd Stadium as the Joke by Coke, but seeing as how I’m tasked with chatting live tonight from a Georgia perspective I thought I’d get in the spirit. But that, I should report, is where it ends. No cracks about John DUI-berry. Or Reggie Ball. (Well, maybe only one or two.) Everything else will be straight down the middle. Fair and balanced, as we say here at Fox News.

And we at Fox News have learned that the Ol’ Ball Coach doubled the score on young Dabo of Swinney, which has the effect of doing two things near and dear to Georgia fans’ hearts. First, it devalues the ACC title game, in which the North Avenue Trade School — sorry, couldn’t t resist just one more — will take part, and it also offers further proof that the ACC isn’t exactly a fortress of a league.

South Carolina entered having lost five of 11 games, same as Georgia. South Carolina …

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UGA in an upset? Tech in a blowout? Your thoughts, please

Here's proof Georgia actually did tackle Roddy Jones -- once. (AJC photo by Pouya Dianat)

Here's vivid proof Georgia actually did tackle Roddy Jones. Once. (AJC photo by Pouya Dianat)

OK, folks. You know what I think will happen. (Georgia Tech 42, Georgia 27.) You’ve heard my phony-baloney rationale: Tech is the better and more consistent team. Now I’m asking: What do you think will happen?

Tech blowout? Georgia upset? Overtime at Bobby Dodd? (It happened 10 years ago, you’ll recall.) Questionable call proving decisive? (That has happened a time or two, has it not?) Roddy flying past Reshad down the sideline again? A phantom fumble returned for the winning touchdown? A fourth-down throwaway? Tim Wansley with a seal-the-game INT? Tim Jennings with a seal-the-game INT? Gary Lee with a kickoff return through the fog?

I’m fairly certain you’ve had enough of my blather. I’m also certain you have detailed thoughts on the matter. Please feel free to share. Sharing is good. Sharing is cleansing. Sharing is why I’m here.

I leave you with this one factoid: In the Associated …

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Even as Richt focuses on Tech, there’s a grim big picture

Turnovers are a sympton, but they're not the problem itself. (AP photo by John Amis)

Turnovers are a symptom, but they're not the problem itself. (AP photo by John Amis)

In the grand scheme, the Kentucky loss should be a blessing. It should yield the sort of clarity needed when quality control has slipped. A coach can fool himself for a while, but when he loses at home to Kentucky after leading by 14 points, he has to acknowledge the obvious. Doesn’t he?

Even as he approached a game against the best team in the state his Georgia Bulldogs long ruled, Mark Richt still wouldn’t address the greater issue, at least not on the record. “I’ve never been one to focus on several things at one time,” he said Wednesday. This week he would speak only of Georgia Tech, saying, “My feeling right now is on the next game; it’s such a crucial game for our program.”

But there he’s wrong. Beating Tech might mean the difference between a bowl in Nashville and one in Shreveport, but winning at Bobby Dodd Stadium won’t cure the systemic ill. On the contrary, it might offer Richt …

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Tech fans giggle while UGA fans say, ‘Shut up and deal’

PJ cracks a joke; Richt is unamused. (AJC photo by Pouya Dianat)

PJ cracks wise; Richt is unamused. (AJC photo by Pouya Dianat)

In times of plenty and in times of want, there’s always Georgia versus Georgia Tech. It’s a game that defines (and sometimes reconfigures) the sport in our state, and by way of public service we offer yet another installment — that’s my way of saying I’ve lost count — of our Field Guide to the opposing sets of fans.

• Tech fans describe the moves Roddy Jones put on Georgia defenders along the sideline as “the old okey-doke.” Georgia fans describe Tech’s stadium as “The joke by Coke.”

• Georgia fans still can’t get over Tech putting the score of last year’s Georgia game on their Coastal Division co-championship rings. Tech fans still can’t get over Georgia players selling SEC championship rings on eBay.

• Tech fans laugh really hard whenever Paul Johnson says anything mildly amusing. Georgia fans stopped laughing at Paul Johnson midway through the third quarter on Nov. 29, 2008.

• Georgia fans don’t take the …

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