Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

SI has Tech No. 12 and UGA No. 15, and I say, “Close”

Two good Jackets: Josh Nesbitt dodges Derrick Morgan. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Two good Jackets: Josh Nesbitt dodges Derrick Morgan. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

A year ago Sports Illustrated, like pretty much everyone else, ranked Georgia No. 1. This year the venerable magazine has the Bulldogs No. 15, three spots behind Georgia Tech. And I saw that yesterday and said to myself, “That’s pretty darn close.”

The USA Today coaches’ poll was released last week, and it surprised me. Georgia was No. 13, two places ahead of the Jackets. And that, you should know, made me go, “Hmmm.”

Flying home from the Capital One Bowl, I did a back-of-the-envelope estimate and guessed, without Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno, Georgia would be ranked No. 21 to Tech’s No. 9, but I realize now I might have been suffering from jet lag. (Yeah, I know. Orlando’s in the same time zone. But it’s only excuse I can find.) I probably had Tech a tad too high and definitely had Georgia too low.

Were I doing the same computations today, I’d put Tech No. 10 — I think this is a Top …

Continue reading SI has Tech No. 12 and UGA No. 15, and I say, “Close” »

It’s a big year for Hewitt, even if he doesn’t think so

Give Paul Hewitt credit. He sees reality, or at least half of it. “We should have a very, very good team,” he said, and Hewitt’s 2009-2010 Jackets seem, at least in terms of manpower, as strong as any basketball squad in Georgia Tech annals.

But here’s where the coach sails down the river of denial. Asked if 2009-2010 is a big season for the program in general and Paul Hewitt in particular, he said, “No.

Hearing, his questioner — who has, it must be stipulated, been critical of Hewitt — repeated the word: “No?” Then I half-laughed.

And Hewitt half-smiled. “Two years ago we had a very good team that was overscheduled out of a very good year,” he said. “Last year we had a lot of adversity off the court. That might not be the way other people see it, but it’s the way I see it.”

This is what’s frustrating about Paul Hewitt. Nobody expects a coach to say, “If we don’t win every game by 30 points I deserve to be fired.” (In 2000 Jim Donnan stood before a Bulldog Club convocation in …

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A few short words about Rennie Curran, little bitty Bulldog

On his list of the 25 best players in college football, Matt Hayes of Sporting News Today places three Florida Gators (you-know-who is No. 1), three Oklahoma Sooners, two Oklahoma State Cowboys and a Yellow Jacket (Georgia Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer is 13th) — but no Bulldogs. And I know what you’re saying. “Where’s A.J. Green?”

Well, the dauntless Georgia receiver missed the cut. (Alabama’s Julio Jones made it, though. He’s No. 15.) Green isn’t even included in Hayes’ 10-man batch of honorable mentions. And that shouldn’t bother anybody. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, et cetera …

But — you knew a “but” was coming, didn’t you? — I have a hard time believing there are 25 (or 35) better players than one particular Bulldog. And I don’t mean A.J. Green, though he’s really good, too.

I mean Rennie Curran.

He’s a little bitty linebacker — OK, so he’s listed as 5-foot-11 — who doesn’t look like much until he starts making every tackle, and then you start thinking, “How is this little …

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Shocker! Bold Bulldogs play rugged non-conference slate!

I’m 53. (Note graying hair in otherwise flattering photo above.) I’ve followed sports since 1968. I’ve worked for newspapers since Jan. 8, 1978. I have, in sum, been around. But I’m about to quote for you a sentence I have never before seen written:

“Georgia’s non-conference schedule is the best in the nation.”

The writer: The extremely perceptive Matt Hayes. The publication: The always delightful Sporting News Today. The source: A breakdown of SEC teams’ non-conference regimens.

Georgia’s non-conference schedule is:

  • Too tough.
  • Too soft.
  • Just right.

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Georgia, as you doubtless know, plays four non-conference games: At Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech, with Arizona State and Tennessee Tech at home. By any measure, that’s a testing slate. (Contrast it with Florida’s: Apart from playing Florida State, the fearless Gators take on Charleston Southern, Florida International and Troy — all in The Swamp.)

But by Georgia’s standards, these …

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Bradley’s Buzz: ESPN damns Georgia Tech with faint praise

When last we encountered Chris Sprow of — and if it seems like just yesterday, that’s because it was — he was saying nicer things about the 2009 Georgia Bulldogs than you’d expect regarding a team ESPN ranks No. 16 in the land. Well, guess who ESPN ranks No. 15?

Aw. You guessed.

The same Mr. Sprow takes on 15th-ranked Georgia Tech (link requires registration) and — wouldn’t you know it? — gushes less about the Jackets than about the Bulldogs. (Let the record reflect that ESPN’s ratings were done not by Sprow but by esteemed former colleague Mark Schlabach, who’s a Georgia grad.) And a magnifying glass isn’t required to read between Sprow’s lines: He wonders if Paul Johnson’s option-based spread is really all that.

As was the case with the Georgia preview, extensive quotation will be done. (Because ESPN’s Insiders is a pay site, and I’m Clark Howard.) So here goes:

• “What [Tech coach Paul Johnson] should do is put the ball in the hands of star tailback Jonathan …

Continue reading Bradley’s Buzz: ESPN damns Georgia Tech with faint praise »

Lawal stays, and Tech faces a year of promise and pressure

Paul Hewitt got an early Father’s Day gift. He learned his best player from last season will play for Georgia Tech next season, and there’s no reason — none — the Jackets shouldn’t be a Top 10 team.

But Hewitt’s present comes with a triple helping of pressure. For the first time in a while, the coach with the golden contract must actually deliver.

Gani Lawal, who removed his name from the NBA draft, will not be Tech’s best player in 2009-2010. The incoming freshman Derrick Favors, who heads a recruiting class ranked No. 4 nationally by, is better than Lawal, and Lawal is pretty darn good. And now the Jackets will have a team of talent and depth and seasoning. Last winter Hewitt described Wake Forest as “having the most NBA-ready talent in the ACC.” These Jackets will have even more.

How will Tech fare next season?

  • It’ll make the Final Four.
  • It’ll reach the Sweet 16.
  • It’ll win the NCAA title.
  • It’ll miss the NCAA tournament.

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No way Georgia can lose four games? Sure about that?

I understand the process. I get paid to give an opinion, and you’re welcome — encouraged, even — to respond. Usually you tend to agree if I say something nice about a team you like and disagree if I don’t. I grasp that part. But here’s something I don’t get:

The widespread assertion that there’s no way — no way! — Georgia can lose four regular-season games this fall.

I picked Georgia to lose four games. I didn’t do it for shock value. I did it because I looked at the composition of the 2009 Bulldogs and their schedule. You might view well the team more highly, and that’s your prerogative. But to say I’m absolutely crazy — and one or two of you did — for daring to suggest as much made me think, “Am I really so nuts?”

So I thought some more, and here’s what I decided: Not nuts, at least not on this topic.

The day after writing my little forecast, I picked up the Sporting News college yearbook at Borders. I noted that the magazine — the best of its kind, in my longstanding …

Continue reading No way Georgia can lose four games? Sure about that? »

College football 2009: Tech wins the ACC, Georgia loses four

OK, so I’m a big fat homer, but I’m an equal-opportunity homer. In last year’s long-range college football predictions, I picked Georgia to win the BCS title. This time I’m picking Georgia Tech …

• To take the ACC championship. I believe Paul Johnson when he says his stylized offense will be ever better, and I note the key game on Tech’s conference schedule — Virginia Tech on Oct. 17 — will be staged at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Because I think there’ll be some days when the Jackets fumble 10 times or it rains or something, I’m guessing they’ll lose twice. (At Florida State and, believe it or not, at Vandy.) But they’ll go 10-2 and beat FSU in a rematch for the ACC title.

• I see Georgia losing four games. If that sounds like a lot, recall that the star-studded 2008 team lost three, and — stop me if you’ve heard this already — Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno are gone. Joe Cox won’t be as good as D.J. Shockley was in 2005, but he’ll be OK. Replacing Moreno will be more …

Continue reading College football 2009: Tech wins the ACC, Georgia loses four »

The Georgia State itinerary: Two miles to “baseball heaven”

The president of Georgia State University gave his baseball coach a new car Tuesday morning. Two hours later, Greg Frady showed a visitor the fruits of his team’s victory in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament – a snazzy red-and-white convertible about six inches long and two inches high.

OK, so the gift of a model car wasn’t quite like winning the showcase on “The Price Is Right,” but it was a nice gesture by Mark Becker, the president who got so pumped he sent his coach text messages between CAA tournament games. And this week has the potential to be better still: The Georgia State Panthers are going to what their coach calls “baseball heaven.”

Friday night will mark GSU’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament, and it will come in a ballpark two miles from Panther headquarters. Georgia State plays Georgia Tech at Russ Chandler Stadium, and Frady knows a grand opportunity is at hand.

“The Atlanta community will be paying attention to this game,” …

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Former Tech QB Donnie Davis is finishing what he started

Donnie Davis hated Georgia Tech. He wouldn’t go to a game, wouldn’t set foot on campus. Whenever he drove past – and living in Atlanta, he did often – he’d feel sick to his stomach.

On this spring day in 2009, Donnie Davis sits in the Edge Center, headquarters for Tech sports. He has come from a class in business law. At his feet is a backpack bearing the embroidered letters “GT.”

He’s talking about the future – he’ll graduate with a degree in business management in December – and also the past. Donnie Davis was once the biggest name on the campus he came to despise, but now he’s back, and he’s older (age 36) and wiser and far more forgiving.

“I don’t want to present the case that I was the victim and Georgia Tech was the villain,” he says. “I wholeheartedly believe that nothing was directed at Donnie Davis. I just happened to be the guy in Locker No. 13.”

He arrived at Tech in 1991, a Parade All-American from Burlington, N.C. Recruited by …

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