Archive for August, 2010

Another UGA arrest all but clinches the uncoveted Fulmer Cup

Alas, UGA is tied no longer. (Standings courtesy of EDSBS)

Alas, UGA is tied no longer. (Graphic courtesy of EDSBS.com)

Many of you are aware of something known as the Fulmer Cup. It was the brainchild of Spencer Hall, the man behind the Gator-friendly site EDSBS. (Stands for “Every Day Should Be Saturday.” And here’s a fun fact: Hall got his start posting under the nom de blog “Orson Swindle.”)

The Fulmer Cup was named, duh, after Phillip Fulmer, whose Tennessee player had a knack for  getting arrested over the offseason. (The regrettable K-Town tradition has continued under his successors, it must be noted.) Just the other day, EDSBS posted a little item titled, “The Fulmer Cup: The Big Board Enters the Lightning Round.”

According to that post, dated Aug. 24, Georgia and Minnesota were tied atop the Fulmer Cup standings with 10 days left in the offseason. As of 5:22 a.m. this morning, the Bulldogs forged ahead.

As esteemed colleague Tim Tucker has reported, tailback Washaun Ealey was arrested for hit-and-run regarding a parked …

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College football sneak peek: Tech uses slights as sustenance

"That guy over there doesn't think we're going to be as good." (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

"That guy over there doesn't think we're going to be as good." (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Every football coach enjoys a nice slight, real or imagined. (Slights are ready-made motivational tools, and every coach loves to have his work done for him.) Paul Johnson, as you’ve heard, is a little different. He doesn’t just welcome slights — he has built a career on them.

Consider his previous two seasons at Georgia Tech. The first was spent proving that his stylized offense could so work in the ACC. (”It’s not like it’s the NFC East,” Johnson famously said of his new conference.) The second was spent proving that his spread option could win a championship in a BCS league. And this year’s rallying cry?

Proving that 2009 wasn’t an aberration.

If you listen to Tech folks, you get the idea that these Jackets have been picked last in the ACC Coastal. That’s not true. They’re the consensus choice to finish in the Top 25 as the third-best team in college football’s toughest division. …

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The SEC’s most obnoxious fans: There’s a new orange No. 1

Our inaugural ranking of the SEC’s most obnoxious fans was presented in 2008, and much has changed over 24 months. Mississippi State has switched coaches. Auburn has switched coaches. (Then again, when doesn’t Auburn switch coaches?) Tennessee has switched coaches twice. Kentucky’s coach quit. Vanderbilt’s coach just quit. Florida’s coach quit and un-quit.

Amid such flux, it’s only fair that our rankings don’t remain static. Indeed, I’m proud — actually, I’m not sure if “proud” is the proper word — to note that our new rankings are completely different. Not one of the 12 positions has gone unchanged, which says … well, I don’t know what it says. But there we are.

A note: I asked for your input the other day, and I have taken your thoughts under the deepest advisement. Indeed, the results of our little poll are included herein. But I must stress that these are my rankings, and I’m a neutral. (Full disclosure: I’m a graduate of Kentucky, which hopes one day to start a football …

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It was the worst loss of the year. So why do I still believe?

"Don't worry, JJ. We've got Farnsy to nail it down." (AP photo)

"Don't worry, JJ. We've got Farnsy to nail it down." (AP photo)

If you want to call it the worst loss of the year, go right ahead. I won’t argue.

It was a classic Coors Field game, which is to say there was nothing classic about it. The Braves led by nine and lost by two. They used five pitchers, none of whom was Billy Wagner and one of whom was Kyle Farnsworth, and that’s never good. (I may have mentioned this, but the sight of Farnsworth has the same effect on me that a friend used to claim the appearance of Manny Acosta had on him.)

And I already know — from Twitter and Facebook — that some among you are saying, “This is the end. Playoff teams don’t lose this sort of game.” And that’s not entirely true. The Phillies lost a pretty horrible one last night to a bad opponent and took 16 innings to do it. And I’m pretty sure either the Braves or the Phillies is going to make the playoffs. Heck, I’m reasonably confident both will.

That’s correct. Even after the season’s worst …

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Dunta Robinson’s aim: ‘I want to be an unstoppable force’

The playmaking corner makes a play. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

The playmaking CB makes one. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Flowery Branch – Some Falcons fans have seized on the loss to New England as cause for August angst. More specifically, they’re wondering where this great new defense went.

But here’s the thing: Dunta Robinson didn’t play against New England. Dunta Robinson hasn’t yet played as a Falcon. That will change.

He’s planning to work Friday, when the Falcons visit Miami, but he’s not  certain he will. Because the Falcons would rather lose to the Dolphins 222-0 than have Robinson re-tweak his hamstring. Because he’s the single biggest reason this retooled defense could wind up being great.

Robinson uses the words “unstoppable force” to describe his aspirations for Falcons’ new D. He also applies them to himself: “I want to be an unstoppable force.”

Other Falcons have pointed to Robinson as the key to this D. Said Mike Peterson, the linebacker: “He’s going to take one side of the field and shut it down.”

Robinson: “I’m capable …

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A race in lockstep: Braves and Phillies keep matching results

It took the Phillies 16 innings, but they lost, too. They started 90 minutes before the Braves and ended 75 minutes later, but they succumbed to the sub-.500 Astros on a night the Braves were falling to plus-.500 Colorado. And if you’ve ever struggled to define “lockstep” … well, here’s your answer.

It has been more than a week since ground was gained or lost at the top of the National League East. It last happened on Aug. 16, when the Braves beat the Dodgers on Melky  Cabrera’s walk-off hit and the Phillies didn’t play. That stretched the Braves’ lead to 2 1/2 games, where it has remained.

The Braves and Phillies have played, though not each other, each of the past eight days. They’ve matched results eight days running. The day-by-day tally: Won, won, lost, won, lost, won, lost, lost. The Braves played three games against the last-place Nationals when the Phillies were playing the Giants and didn’t gain. Then the Phillies played the Nationals while the Braves went to Chicago …

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You tell me: Which SEC football fans are the most obnoxious?

I did this a couple of years ago and everybody pretty much hated it. Meaning: Time to try it again!

On Thursday I’ll reveal my ranking, from 1 through 12, of the SEC’s most obnoxious football fans. Today I ask for your help. I’m not promising I’m going to change my mind to dovetail with your opinion(s), but I do promise to take the results of this poll into the sincerest form of consideration.

My question to you: Which fan base would you consider the SEC’s most objectionable? Two years I ago I plumped for Florida, which is always a popular (or, in this case, an unpopular) choice in these and other parts. I’m halfway thinking this time there should be a new No. 1, and it’s probably not the one you’re expecting. But before you hear from me, I’d like to hear from you.

And, just as a teaser, I present in full the 2008 Bradley table of obnoxiousness. (Myself not included.) Here’s how I saw it back then. On Thursday I’ll let you know what has and hasn’t changed.

From 2008: The …

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The Falcons can’t go 12-4? ‘Sure they can,’ says Mr. Sunshine

This one didn't go well. But it DIDN'T COUNT. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

This one didn't go very well. Know what? IT DIDN'T COUNT. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

See, I do read your comments. Herein I’ll attempt to parry the main objections raised by the little post in which I predicted the Falcons will go 12-4.

1. There’s no way the Falcons win in New Orleans on Sept. 26. Sure there is. The Falcons almost won there last season and weren’t nearly as good as they should be this time. (And the Saints won’t be nearly the same. You watch.) Besides, the Saints will have already had one massively hyped home date by then against Minnesota and the Man Whose Ego Ate The Twin Cities For Lunch. The Falcons will, by way of contrast, creep into town on little cat feet. And leave victorious.

2. There’s no way the Falcons win on Opening Day in Pittsburgh. Sure there is. Quarterback in the NFL is a fairly major position. The Steelers won’t have theirs.

3. There’s no way the Falcons beat Cincinnati/Baltimore because the AFC North is too good. Sure there is. They’re …

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Tiger Woods: A fallen star, and officially a failure at marriage

I once asked Tiger Woods to describe, in 25 words or less, what it was like being Tiger Woods. Being Tiger Woods, he finished 24-under.

“Sweet,” he said.

That was in October 2003. It happened after Tiger’s first round at the WGC-American Express Championship in Woodstock. There weren’t many folks there that Thursday, and essentially everybody on hand was following Tiger. (Department of weird coincidences: One of those in Tiger’s gallery was Damon Evans, who would become Georgia’s athletics director the next year.)

Tiger Woods would become engaged to Elin Nordegren the next month. They would marry in 2004 in Barbados, with the guests including Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and Bill Gates. Tiger and Elin would have two children. Life seemed … well, sweet.

As of today, Tiger and Elin are no longer man and wife. Not nine months after he ran into a fire hydrant backing out of his driveway on the morning after Thanksgiving, the divorce has been finalized. And if you’re chuckling and …

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Braves and Phillies: They’ll be seeing one another in the NLCS

Save that sign! It could be applicable come the postseason. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Save that sign! It could be applicable come postseason. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

This should be a great race. The Braves saw Martin Prado return last week and swung the trade for Derrek Lee. The Phillies’ injured starters — Chase Utley, Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard — are injured no longer. We’re nearing September and we’re anticipating one of those down-to-the-final-weekend chases that emblazoned 1991 and 1993 in our memory, but …

It won’t happen.

After that 3-6 road trip that allowed the Phillies to creep close, the Braves have gone 13-6. As of this morning, the Braves led the Phils by 2 1/2 games — exactly the spread on Aug. 1, the day that road trip ended. Both clubs are tearing it up and both have geared up and we’re all getting geeked up, but two little words offer a reason to calm down. The words: “Wild card.”

The Phillies top the wild card standings by two games over St. Louis and San Francisco. Ergo, the Braves sit atop the final National League playoff spot on …

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