Monday, December 28, 2009

Ten Things JJ Thinks He Thinks

Here are the Ten Things for the week. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and if you traveled this Christmas, I hope the traveling was painfree. I am off of work this week so if anyone is looking for something to do in the metro Atlanta area I will be available. I have a to do list for myself but it only has thirteen things on it and does not look to difficult at this moment. Also, does anyone have any plans for tonight's Georgia game? As of now it looks like Hudson Grill. The more the merrier.

1. Georgia-Texas A&M Preview
This afternoon Georgia will play its final game of what has been a less than stellar 2009 season. Both teams feature defensive that have been mediocre at best this season. Texas A&M allowed more points (32.7) and total yards (431.3) per game than any other Big 12 team, Georgia's defensive woes prompted coach Mark Richt to fire three of his assistants, including defensive coordinator Willie Martinez. The Bulldogs allowed more than 40 points in each of their losses during a 10-3 season last year, and they have been even worse in 2009, permitting an average of 26.4 points to rank 10th in the SEC.

On offense the Aggies are led by QB Jerrod Jeffries who has been compared to Tim Tebow by some of Georgias players. The only difference is that they said he was a better runner and thrower than Tebow. That is good news, not. Johnson leads the nation's fifth-ranked offense, which racks up 465.3 yards per game. Johnson himself has thrown for 3,217 yards and 28 touchdowns with six interceptions while also rushing for 455 yards and eight scores. Georgia has only one full time football coach on the defensive side of the ball. Does anyone actually think the Dawgs can hold the Aggies to thirty points or below. 

When Georgia has the ball they may be facing a defense that is worse than the one they face every day in practice. Texas A&M ranks last in the Big 12 in scoring defense (32.7 points per game allowed), pass defense (262.8 yards per game allowed), total defense (431.3 yards per game allowed), and opponents’ first downs (269 allowed). Furthermore, the Aggies gave up more than 60 points in Big 12 losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma, and rank 107th nationally in total defense despite junior defensive end Von Miller leading the nation with 17 sacks. Hopefully the Dawgs two headed monster rushing game of Caleb King and Washaun Ealey can keep the ground game rolling. In UGA's last four games they have averaged 252.0 yards on the ground. Hopefully the Dawgs can improve on this number and by controlling the game with their offense they can shorten the game and take away a couple of Texas A&M possessions.

Today's meeting in Shreveport is not the first time these two fine institutions have met on the football field.   The Dawgs lost to Texas A&M three times during Wally Butts’s final decade on the Georgia sideline in the 1950s, one of these loses was to Bear Bryant's first team at A&M and his now famous Junction Boys. The Dawgs were able to get a measure of redemption only by beating the Aggies in 1980 in Herschel Walker’s first game between the hedges. The win over the Aggies by the national championship-bound Bulldogs also saw the return of the silver britches after a sixteen-year absence. Hopefully, the fact that the Red and Black used their last game against Texas A&M to restore an historic uniform tradition will prevent the Athenians from fiddling with their game day attire in the Independence Bowl.

Furthermore, the Bulldogs have won 12 of their last 15 bowl appearances. Texas A&M hasn't been as successful in the postseason, losing 10 of its last 12 bowl games. These numbers coupled with Georgia's dominant ground game will prevail the Dawgs to a 38-37 win.

2. Dawgs of the Decade- For the past few weeks David Hale has been putting togther the All-UGA Decade team. You can find his story by clicking here. Keep reading to get the Coach's All-UGA Decade team. Please note I will name two players at each position

QB David Greene and D.J. Shockley
RB Knowshon Moreno and Thomas Brown
FB J.T. Wall and Verron Haynes
WR AJ Green and Terrence Edwards
Offensive Line Kevin Breedlove, Max Jean-Gilles, Ben Jones, Daniel Inman, and Jon Stinchcomb
Tight End Randy McMichael and Ben Watson
Defensive Line Richard Seymour and Marcus Stroud (I know these two were only on the 2000 team but has their been a better pair of Defensive Tackles on one collegiate team?)
Defensive End David Pollack and Marcus Howard
Linebacker Boss Bailey, Tony Gilbert, and Rennie Curran (By far the most dificult category and I left names off my team that include Will Witherspoon, Chris Clemons, Odell Thurmon, Tony Taylor, and Danelle Ellerby)
Corner Demario Minter and Asher Allen
Safety Thomas Davis and Sean Jones
Place Kicker Billy Bennett (How many big kicks did he make in his career)
Punter Jonathan Kilgo
Kick Returner Damien Gary

Let the second guessing begin.

3. Colts Thoughts
So we are no longer perfect and that stinks. For months the Colts have been talking about how going perfect did not matter to them and on Sunday they proved what they said.About halfway through the third quarter the Colts decided that they did not want to be perfect and Manning, Wayne, Clark and the rest of the top skill players did not play again. While I think the timing of the decisions were weird, I think in the grand scheme of everything these moves will not mean much. I do know one thing if Curtis Painter has to play in the playoffs he can not be worse than he was on Sunday and that is good news for any Colts fan. The crowd booed both the move and the man, which was ridiculous and comical. How many times do you think at 14-0 football team has been booed at home? I can't say for sure, but I would bet the answer is zero.

Before the move came their were a couple of things that have me concerned as a Colts fan. Dallas Clark again had a couple of big drops and one drop probably cost him and the Colts a touchdown. Furthermore, there was a block extra point and a kickoff returned for a touchdown. If either of these things happen in January or February the Colts will be in trouble. In addition, the Colts had fewer than 100 rushing yards for the fourth straight game and they have failed to reach the mark in 12 of 15 games this season.

If the Colts lose in the playoffs next month, some will look back on today's decision as the catalyst for said loss. And if Indy runs the table and wins the Super Bowl, some will claim that it was Caldwell's Week 16 decision that spurred the championship. Those will be equally dubious claims. It's doubtful that whatever happened today will have an effect on a game played 28 days from now.

4. Urban Meyer Thoughts
I still am not sure what to think about Corch Meyers and his decisions over the weekend. All I know is that I had a couple paragraphs written on what all this meant and listed some potential candidates and now none of that is relevant. For those of you who did not pay attention the last month here is a breakdown of what happened. December 6th after the SEC Championship game loss Meyer goes to the hospital with what he calls dehydration. However we now know that had been suffering of chest pains all season and that on that morning Meyer fainted getting out of bed and was rushed to the hospital for several hours of tests. With knowledge of all of these health issues and the fact that coaching college football in the SEC is one of the more stressful jobs in the world Meyer on the 26th announced he was resigning as football coach. He listed how he wanted to spend more time with his family and improve his health as reasons for his resignation. However, he goes to bed Saturday night and wakes up Sunday and suddenly his health as improved and he wants to coach again. He even said that being with his players at a "spirited practice" Sunday morning persuaded him not to resign. Thus if the Gators have a crappy practice today or tomorrow will he want to resign. Where does this leave the Gators as they head into recruiting season? How does a player fully commit to Meyer for four years when he does not know if the coach will be at Florida for those four seasons or if Meyer will quit on them next time he gets a headache. Then their is this quote from Meyer, "It was chest pains that became rather significant two years ago. Whether it's stress related ... I started to become very alarmed with that. And then I'm a person of faith, and I just wanted to make sure I had my priorities straight. A lot of times coaches do not have their priorities straight. You put business before God and family, you have a problem." Sounds like Meyer priorities changed in a night of sleep. The most obvious comparison is to that of Duke's legendary basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, who took a leave for most of the 1994-95 season following offseason back surgery. Though he returned the next year and eventually brought the Blue Devils back to three more Final Fours, winning his third national title in 2001, the program first had to suffer through a 13-18 debacle and a first-round tourney exit the year after that. Furthermore, Krzyzewski had a specific health issue he needed to address. By his own admission, Meyer's own extreme single-mindedness and self-punishing ways have contributed to his stress-related symptoms. Fixing a back is one thing; fixing one's internal makeup is a far more vexing chore.

5. Bowl Games not to miss this week

Independence: UGA-Texas A&M - Do I really need to explain why.

Champs Sports: Miami-Wisconsin - Miami quarterback Jacory Harris was plagued by turnovers in the second half of the season, but the Badgers are known for their run-stuffing defense, not their secondary.

Holiday: Nebraska-Arizona - Arizona will be riding high after beating USC for the first time in seven tries, while Nebraska might be asking what might have been after losing in the final seconds to Texas in the Big 12 championship game.

Sun: Oklahoma-Stanford - Interesting coaching contrast between Stanford's Jim Harbaugh, who will be making his first bowl trip, against Bob Stoops, who has lost five of his past six bowl games.

Chick-Fil-A: Tennessee-VaTech - Virginia Tech will return to Atlanta for the third time this season, but the Hokies are still looking for their first win in the city after losses to Alabama and Georgia Tech.

Gator: Florida State-West Virginia - A legend retires

Rose: Oregon-Ohio State - Classic matchup of the Ducks' sixth-rated rushing offense versus the Buckeyes' fifth-rated rushing defense.

Cotton: Ole Miss-Oklahoma State- Two former Oklahoma State QB's (Mike Gundy and Houston Nutt) try to end their season on high note after loftier preseason expectations.

6. MLB Thoughts
a. How about this list of  free-agent first basemen available:  Jim Thome, Hank Blalock, Aubrey Huff, Carlos Delgado, Adam LaRoche, Jack Cust and Russell Branyon. How does Mr. LaRoche think he can get $30 million for 3 years?
b. Here is the weekly link to Nick Cafardo's Notes column in the Boston Globe.
c. Here are his Apropos of nothing:
1. Seems like David Wright is no longer a great fit for the Mets (because of Citi Field), but he would be for the Red Sox (because of Fenway)
2. The Yankees stole Javier Vazquez
3. Brian Cashman is up to something
4. Whoever gets Xavier Nady gets the best value of the offseason
5. Are the Pirates still in the league?
d. I love the Braves signing of Troy Glaus. This is probably the definition of low risk, high reward. By the way Glaus has tremendous power (five 30-homer seasons - two of 40 - and four 100-RBI seasons).
e.Would Randy Johnson make the perfect lefty specialist out of the pen? Can his arm handle this load? Is this a role he woulf be willing to accept?
f. Who is the Yankees 5th starter? Joba or Phil Hughes?
g. Am I the only one tired of hearing about the Adrian Gonzalez rumors to Boston?
h. How bad does Jayson Bay not want to play for the Mets? He has yet to accept an offer for $65 million despite no other known offers.
i. Couple of random stats; Derek Jeter, Ivan Rodriguez, and Chase Utley all hit 161 homers between 2000 and 2009.
j. In this decade, Johnny Estrada had the most at-bats (2,079) without hitting a triple.
k. Javier Vazquez led all pitchers this decade with 193 quality starts, one more than Barry Zito. Mark Buehrle led the American League with 190, while Roy Oswalt led the NL with 185. Along the same lines is Roy Oswalt one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball?
l. How come Dale Murphy does not get more love for the Hall of Fame?  Murphy compiled more total bases than anybody during the '80s. During the decade, Mike Schmidt was the only player with more homers and Eddie Murray was the only player with more RBIs.

7. What I Read This Week

AP writer Paul Newberry provides the first article of the week on Georgia freshmen baseball player Chance Veazy and how his dream was ruined just a few days after fall practiced ended. Pretty emotional story for any one that has ever played sports or had a son/daughter that played sports. Credit to the Los Angeles Times for running this story.

The second article of the week comes from my lawyer friend Dan and involves Jesus Leonardo who hangs around OTB's (Off-Track Betting Parlors) in and around NYC. What Leonardo does is go through discarded tickets looking for winners. You will have to read the article to see how much Leonardo makes annually on discarded betting tickets

The third article also comes from the NY Times and takes a look at newly departed Florida coach Urban Meyer. Amazing read that showcases how relentlessly obsessed Meyer is/was. He went as far as using the term "self-destructive." Interestingly, his family didn't know until Christmas night.

8. Football Thoughts for the Week
a. Last week I ripped Mike McCarthy for running the ball only 12 times. He must have listened to me as yesterday against the Seahawks he rushed 32 times for 153 yards.
b. What has happened to Matt Hasselbeck? He threw four interceptions for the second straight week. He entered last week with only one four-plus INT game and became the first Seattle QB with a pair of 4 INT games in a season.
c. Bad loss for the Dolphins on Sunday. Falling behind 27-0 with so much to play for is inexcusable in my opinion. On a positive note it should be mentioned that Chad Henne had 36 completions (55 attempts), the most in a game by a Dolphins QB since Dan Marino in 1997.
d. I watched a majority of the Panthers first half on Sunday and where has this Panther team we have seen the past two weeks been this season?  Matt Moore is 3-1 as a starter this season. He threw for 171 yards with 3 TDs and no interceptions on Sunday. Is it safe to say the Jake Delhomme era is over?
e. Brutal loss for the G-Men. The Giants lost their final regular season game at Giants Stadium by allowing 40-plus points for the fourth time this season and second time at home. It's the first time since 1971 in which the Giants allowed two 40-plus point games at home. Hard to believe this team was 5-0 at one time.
f. I have to mention my cousin Andre Johnson and how good he has been the past few seasons. Andre Johnson joined Marvin Harrison as the only receivers to have 1,500 yards in consecutive seasons. Johnson's nine TD catches are a career high.
g. While on the surface the Falcons-Bucs games next Sunday may seem unimportant but with a win the Falcons can have back to back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history.
h. A healthy Matt Ryan and Michael Turner will go a long way for the Falcons having a successful 2010.It has to be mentioned the Falcons were 3-1 against the AFC this season.
i. Congrats to the Bengals for winning the AFC North. Even more impressive is the fact they were 6-0 inside the division which includes the Ravens and Steelers. By the way Palmer has thrown for 21 touchdowns this season and that gives him 4 seasons of 20 plus touchdowns.
j. For the second season in a row the Cardinals seem to be clicking on all cylinders as we now reach playoff season. Kurt Warner was 24-38 for 313 yards and 2 TDs and has 15 TDs and just 3 INTs over his last seven games.
k. What is wrong with the New Orleans Saints? All I know is this stat is not good at all, the bucs had the fewest wins entering a game (two) of any team to defeat another with at least 13 wins in NFL history.
I hope UGA never has to play Utah in a bowl. Utah has won nine consecutive bowl game, extending the longest active streak in the nation and tying USC from 1923-1945 for the second-longest such streak in FBS history.Furthermore, the Utes improved to 12-3 in bowl games and their .800 winning percentage is the best in the nation of the 74 schools with at least 10 bowl appearances.
l. How good has USC been the past few seasons, playing in a non-BCS bowl for the first time since 2001, the Trojans finished 9-4. That's their fewest victories since going 6-6 in 2001. It should also be noted that USC now has 32 bowl wins, which breaks a tie with Alabama for the most all-time.
m. Are the Pitt Panthers back? Their Meineke Car Care Bowl victory gave Pitt its first 10-win season since 1981 (11-1) and snapped a three-game bowl losing streak.
n. If the Jets, Ravens and Broncos all finish 9-7 after next week's games, New York would be the AFC's No. 5 seed based on a better record against common opponents, and Baltimore would be the No. 6 based on having beaten Denver head-to-head earlier this season in Baltimore. The Broncos? They'd be the third team in league history to start 6-0 and miss the playoffs, joining the 1978 Redskins and the 2003 Vikings.
o. Not much to worry about with Tom Brady's after I ripped him last week. Brady threw for more touchdowns (four) than incompletions (three) against Jacksonville, with his 23 of 26, 267-yard showing looking scary good. These aren't the Patriots of old, but they are AFC East champions again after a one-year absence, and I really don't believe anyone in the AFC playoffs will relish drawing them next month.
p. June Jones is a pretty decent football coach. SMU finished the season at 8-5 after going 1-11 in 2008; the 7-win increase is the largest in FBS this season.
q. How crazy is this stat; he Steelers have two 1,000-yard receivers, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 4,000-yard passer for the first time in history. Why are they 8-7?
r. How good have the Eagles been the past month and a half? They won their fifth straight game as Donovan McNabb threw for 322 yards and three TDs. It was his 12th career game with at least 300 yards and 3 TDs.
s. It looks like the Cowboys have righted the ship and have now won back to back games in December for the first time since 2003.
t.My fantasy team is up 117.06 to 89.58. I am out of players, my opponent has Brett Favre and the Vikings D, it will be a close finish. Bear down Chicago Bears.

9. NFL Power 5
1. Indianapolis Colts-The Jets outscored the Colts 19-0 once Peyton left the game. I seriously doubt Peyton will see the field in Buffalo.
2. San Diego Chargers-San Diego went 7-1 on the road this season
3. Philadelphia Eagles-Is there a better offense in football right now?
4. New England Patriots- I hope the Colts do not get them in the divisional round of the playoffs.
5. New Orleans Saints- They need to turn things around before heading into the playoff bye week.

10. Non Football or Baseball Thoughts
a. I need to begin the non-football thoughts by congratulating reader and the best caddy at Shinecock Hills Teddy and his bride to be Lauren who got engaged on Christmas Eve in New York City (well done my man).
b. Credit needs to be given to my law school buddy Dan who helped introduced the couple on January 1st 2008 at 1:30 in the morning at Trinity Pub on the Upper East Side...and they say nothing good happens after midnite.
c. I saw the movie Up In The Air this week and thought it was very good. I even saw some similarities between Mr. Clooney and myself.  Look for a movie review sometime in the next week.
d. One last Christmas Vacation clip till next year.
e. The AJC gives us 50 things that have changed our lives in the last decade.
f.  I got a lot of presents this year. I must have been a better boy than I thought.
g. Great job by my brother in cooking some bison steaks for the family on Christmas night. They were truly amazing.
h. Right now The Admiral, Mr. Yang and myself have a big time lunch planned this Tuesday afternoon around 1:00 at Chow Baby  if anyone is interested in joining.
i. Great job by the family in deciding to upgrade to business class for the flight home from Denver to Atlanta Saturday night. I can definitely get used to sitting up front for all of my future flights.
j. Listening to the Dan Patrick Show on Airtran airways makes a three hour flight literally fly by. I should mention I was at 33,000 feet when I heard the news of the Javier Vazquez trade and it was great hearing the different responses from Dan Patrick to ESPN Radio to the Homeplate Channel on XM175.
k. While I did enjoy the XM Radio, I still prefer the 25 or so channels of DirectTv that JetBlue and Frontier Airlines provide on every flight and that Delta provides on some flights.
l. This Friday afternoon outdoor Hockey will return and this time it will be at Fenway Park. Here are some pictures of the open skate at Fenway Park.
m. A couple of movies I hope to see this week since I have it off include Brothers, Sherlock Holmes, Pirate Radio, The Hurt Locker and A Single Man. Am I missing anything?
n. Furthermore I have two episodes of 60 minutes and three episodes of Friday Night Lights I need to watch.
o. For those that have yet to read or watch the movie, The Blind Side, do so now. On the way back from Denver I read about 150 pages and then when I got home I read another 75 pages. The book may be better than the movie.
p. I would feel amiss if I did not wish everyone a Happy Festivus. For all non Seinfeld followers, click the link.
q. As of right now I have no New Years Eve plans. While I think New Years Eve is the most overrated holiday I still do not want to sit at home by myself. Let me know if you have something fun going on.

Quote of the week
"Look at all that snow on that mountain."

My grandma after looking out the window of our condo. The problem was we had already been at the condo for about 72 hours. She said a lot more ridiculous things but this is all I can remember.

Text of the week
From Donald Sheppard to me on Christmas afternoon. We were discussing Christmas gifts and he mentioned how his sister received a car from Santa.

Its not a lexus but it could qualify as a December to remember event.

Text of the week II
This text comes from the Good Doctor who was flying to South Africa for his brother's wedding. I sent this text to him:
Have fun in South Africa...mix it up with some bridesmaids.
This is his reply:
Just gonna celebrate Kwanza in the motherland.

Happy New Year to everyone.

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