Archive for March, 2012

QB or not QB: With Peyton’s pick, Tebow should start packing

"Say, Tim. Would you mind very much if I took your job?" (AP photo)

"Glad to meet you, Tim. Would you mind if I came out here and took your job?" (AP photo)

OK, we knew this Peyton Manning thing would be a huge deal: One of the greatest quarterbacks ever hits the open market and auditions new employers. (Usually it’s the prospective employee who’s subject to the audition, but when you’re as illustrious as Peyton you call your own tune.) That was big enough. Somehow it got bigger. Somehow it also affects Tim Tebow, who became to the NFL last fall what Jeremy Lin briefly was to the NBA — either the greatest story in memory or the biggest slice of hype since ESPN invented Brett Favre.

Peyton picked Denver, which surely means the Broncos, who were never quite sure what to make of Tebow anyway, will seek to trade the guy who just took them to Round 2 of the playoffs. Which means Timmy T. is now on the market, which means …

The NFL has officially become the real March Madness.

It was a given that Manning wasn’t going to land anywhere that didn’t …

Continue reading QB or not QB: With Peyton’s pick, Tebow should start packing »

Driving Mr. Bisher: A car ride to Clemson that changed one life

Furman Bisher with Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1949. I wasn't around then. (AJC photo)

Furman with Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1949. I wasn't around. (AJC photo)

November 24, 1984: I did something I hadn’t done before and would never do again. I drove Furman Bisher to a college football game.

Clemson was playing South Carolina — the Gamecocks were very good that year — and we had only one parking pass. So we met somewhere off West Paces Ferry and he seated himself in my Corolla and off we went.

It was two hours to Clemson, plus another 30 because we got stuck in game traffic. (Being relatively new at the ol’ AJC, I hadn’t yet mastered the David Davidson Back Way — get off at Fair Play and take back roads through Seneca.) And we hadn’t passed Roswell Road before Furman said something that made me start doing a bit of math.

For reasons unknown, I’d mentioned Sandy Koufax. Said Furman: “I met Sandy when he was a rookie in Dodgers camp.” I thought to myself: OK, Koufax was a rookie in 1955; I’d been born in 1955.

I was new at the AJC in 1984 — I’d started in March — but …

Continue reading Driving Mr. Bisher: A car ride to Clemson that changed one life »

With toenails trimmed, our new-look NCAA live chat is a go!

TV or not TV, that is the question. Or something like that. (Photo by yours truly)

TV or not TV, that is the question. Or something like that. (Photo and pedicure by yours truly)

I’ll have you know that I clipped my toenails just for this. (I even thought about putting polish on them. Then I realized I don’t really know how that’s done.) And clipping my toenails is, for this correspondent, an experience fraught with trauma.

On Sept. 25, 1997, I had taken a shower and repaired to the bedroom to clip my toenails. The deed done, I walked into the bathroom to return the clippers in question to their assigned drawer. I slipped on a wet spot and shattered my right kneecap into seven asymmetrical shards. I was on crutches until January. To this day, I have no right kneecap.

But I digress. I worked up my nerve and clipped my toenails because I didn’t want to appear all scraggly for our new-look NCAA tournament Day 1 live chat. As you can see, we have a new TV. The old one in the den stopped working last summer. (Although the old one in the den wasn’t nearly as old …

Continue reading With toenails trimmed, our new-look NCAA live chat is a go! »

Feets don’t fail me now: Our live NCAA chat is coming soon!

The photo that launched a thousand quips: MB watching the 2009 Big Dance.

The pix that launched a thousand quips: Ol' MB watching the 2009 Big Dance. (Photo by 'ol MB.)

It began innocently enough, or so I thought. I took a picture of me watching the 2009 NCAA tournament. Hilarity ensued, on least on your part. Y’all started cracking jokes about the hygienic quality of my feet, which were shown in propped-up mode, but mostly about the vintage of my TV.

Well, here it is 2012 and I still haven’t lived it all down. But we are, I’m afraid, about to try it again.

Coming at noon: Our fourth annual NCAA tournament live blog. (The second installment, you might recall, did not feature the infamous console TV but was done from a room at the Milwaukee Hyatt. And then, when informed that this fine establishment DID NOT OFFER ROOM SERVICE FOR LUNCH, the proceedings were switched to Major Goolsby, a sports bar across the street.)

We’ll go until 4 p.m. or so, and our early games today include Murray State-Colorado State, Kansas State-Southern Miss and …

Continue reading Feets don’t fail me now: Our live NCAA chat is coming soon! »

Me, I’m not yet worried about the Braves – except for Chipper

The great Chipper Jones: Alone with his thoughts, and his aging knees. (AP photo)

The great Chipper Jones is alone with his thoughts — and his aging knees. (AP photo)

For the Braves, the Grapefruit League season commenced with them mustering one hit — an eighth-inning single by the legendary Jordan Parraz. By the next day, they’d worked their way up to three hits — two by Martin Prado and another by Parraz, the new Mr. March. Last week, via the joys of split-squad deployment, they managed to lose to both New York teams in the same day.

At the close of business Tuesday, the Braves had the worst exhibition record in either Florida or Arizona, and Tuesday was, by way of comparison, a pretty good day. They hadn’t lost. (Hadn’t won, either. They tied Miami 2-2.) This left them at 1-10-1, and Buster Olney of ESPN noted that an unnamed scout/executive had reached this early conclusion: “The Atlanta Braves don’t look much different from the team that collapsed last September.”

Pennant fever! Get your pennant fever right here!!!

Through Tuesday’s play, Brian McCann …

Continue reading Me, I’m not yet worried about the Braves – except for Chipper »

Customer service: Our expert panel provides bracketing help

Is Murray State the new VCU? Or will VCU be the new VCU? (AP photo)

Will Murray State be the next VCU? Or will VCU itself be the next VCU? (AP photo)

On the road to the Final Four, everyone needs a little help. Toward that end, we’ve sought the guidance of five learned observers, posing the same four questions to each. Our illustrious panel includes:

Barry Goheen, a Vanderbilt legend for making seven game-tying/winning shots in the late ’80s, including two outrageous treys in seven seconds against favored Pittsburgh in Round 2 of the 1988 NCAA tournament, the clip of which is available on YouTube; now a litigator for King & Spalding and chairman of the Atlanta Tip-Off Club.

Ron Hunter, an NCAA tournament participant with IUPUI in 2003, when his 16th-seeded Jaguars lost 95-64 to Kentucky, the tournament’s top seed; now the coach of Georgia State, which was picked to finish 11th in the Colonial Athletic Association but won 20-plus games for only the fourth time in school history.

Dave Odom, who as coach of Wake Forest and South Carolina took …

Continue reading Customer service: Our expert panel provides bracketing help »

The Big Dance: 10 key steps along the way to an NCAA title

The Harvard Crimson react after seeing they've been drawn against Vandy. (AP photo)

The Harvard Crimson react after seeing they've been drawn against Vandy. (AP photo)

The NCAA tournament is comprised of 67 games over 20 days and, unlike the college bowl season, all 67 matter. Some, however, will matter more than others. Today we offer a list of the 10 games in this Big Dance — some scheduled, others projected — that rise to the level of truly significant.

Round 1, West Regional, 9:10 p.m. Tuesday: BYU versus Iona. Nobody paid much attention when VCU met Southern Cal in the First Four last year. Then VCU, whose mere presence in the field was a source of some ridicule, took down five teams from BCS leagues in 11 days. VCU is back this season — more about the Rams in a bit — but the mid-major at-large selection triggering the most buzz is Iona.

The Gaels, who are 25-7, were upset in the Metro Atlantic tournament semis by Fairfield, and their worksheet wasn’t without holes. (They’d beaten Maryland but had lost to Hofstra, which finished 11th in the 12-team …

Continue reading The Big Dance: 10 key steps along the way to an NCAA title »

Our live video chat about the NCAA tournament

UPDATE: Thanks again for watching and participating. If you missed it, here’s the full video from today’s chat.

Original: Ready to chat about the NCAA tourney? Our chat, hosted by fellow AJC blogger Michael Carvell, begins at 12:30 p.m.

You’ll need to use your Facebook login to enter the chat.

If you encounter a tech problem, here’s what our tech folks suggest: Update your Flash and browser, or try a different browser, and empty your cache.

And, a reminder, the 25th edition of Bradley’s Bracket Fiasco is up and running. (You can enter it here.) I’ve made my picks. (You can find them here and read an overview here.) During today’s chat, we’ll talk about all of the above.

Continue reading Our live video chat about the NCAA tournament »

In the 25th Bracket Fiasco, I take chalk – and the Tar Heels

Darius Millier and Jonathan Davis: They'll lose again, I'm afraid. (AP photo)

Darius Millier and Anthony Davis: They'll lose another game, I'm afraid. (AP photo)

For our silver anniversary, I wanted to do something completely different. (Nattering nabobs might say, “Yeah? How about picking the right Final Four for a change?” I actually did that in 2004.) I thought about tabbing  an all-Kentucky Final Four, but the four Bluegrass entries were stuffed into two regionals, so that’s out.

This week I reviewed the previous 24 years of Bradley’s Bracket Fiasco,  and I was surprised to note that I had outpicked the committee, if only just. I’d gone 41-for-96 over the past almost-quarter-century; of the teams actually seeded No. 1, only 39 made it. Buoyed by this knowledge, what does the world’s dumbest man do?

For the first time ever, he seconds the committee’s emotion. He picks the four No. 1 seeds.

Doesn’t it bother me that three of the four will enter the NCAA tournament on one-game losing streaks? On the contrary. Nothing concentrates the mind of a good …

Continue reading In the 25th Bracket Fiasco, I take chalk – and the Tar Heels »

Florida State puts up its Dukes and crashes the ACC final

Yeah, baby! Ian Miller exults. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

The deed done, Ian Miller exults. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Of preparing to play Duke, the Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said this week: “They draw a line in the sand on every possession. You have to understand that before you can even think about winning the game.”

There may be better teams in college basketball, but in terms of will there’s only one Duke. And yet …

The strangest thing happened in Saturday’s ACC semifinal. There were two Dukes on the floor.

Said Mike Krzyzewski, at worst the second-best coach in the history of the sport: “This was not an X-and-O game; this was an effort game. If you lose, you want the kind of effort I had from my team. This was a winning effort.”

Yet Duke lost, which hadn’t happened in the ACC tournament since March 15, 2007, and has happened in this event only five times since 1998. Duke lost because it ran across an opponent that was a tad more gifted and every bit as tough.

Florida State, ostensibly a football school, is changing …

Continue reading Florida State puts up its Dukes and crashes the ACC final »