I apologize for the delay in getting this posted. This weekend I went to Athens for UGA Baseball dinner Saturday night. On Sunday I went to watch football in Augusta with Brice and did not return to the ATL to around 1015 Sunday night and I had to watch 24 before doing anything else.
1. Georgia Thoughts
A few things happened at UGA this past week. The Dawgs have got their Defensive Coordinator and he is a guy to get excited about. In fact this quote from the teleconference has me fired up, "I look forward to developing an aggressive, physical, attacking style defense that offenses will not look forward to playing against." Todd Grantham has coached under some of the best defensive minds in football including Nick Saban and Wade Phillips. (Say what you want about Phillips the guy can scheme on Defense). In fact Nck Saban tried to hire him as the Defensive Coordinator when Saban took over the Dolphins. In addition this guy was a coordinator when the Cleveland Browns went 10-6. That is impressive coaching. Remember all the finger wagging we’ve been doing in Mark Richt’s face about how the DC hire may be the most important decision of his career? And this does include me.Well, guess what, people? Mark Richt thinks so, too. Combine that with a personality that’s by nature thoughtful and deliberate and in retrospect it’s not hard to see that this pick was never going to be a rush job. Richt had his time frame in mind from the get go (i.e., this weekend) and a process that he wanted to follow. Unless something dropped into his lap unexpectedly, that pace was never likely to be changed. I think we can all agree that Grantham is better than Willie and we now have one of the more anticipated Spring practices ever at UGA.
The basketball team continues to show signs of progress but continues to have their heart ripped out in some very tough losses. The Hoop Dawgs have no mid week game this week and Tennessee comes to Athens next Saturday afternoon at 5:00. The Stegasorous needs to be SOLD OUT. This team has performed beyond everyones expectations and they deserve to play in front of a packed gym that is actually cheering for UGA. In my opinion their is no sport where they home crowd can influence the outcome of a game more than basketball. In addition Mark Richt and company will have some top recruits in town for the weekend. It is time for UGA fans to fill their passion bucket and support their team. I am driving over on Saturday...who is meeting me in Athens? Who is coming with? I will go by myself as I have seen me do it.
2. Colts Thoughts
Impressive win by the Colts Saturday night in Indy. The Colts have played the Ravens twice this season and have held them to a total of 6 field goals. It is impossible to beat Mr. Manning by kicking field goals. What makes the stat of the Colts D even more impressive is this is not the Trent Dilfer led Ravens offense, this is a really good offense led by Joe Flacco and Ray Rice. Also, the three points allowed is the fewest by the Colts in the postseason since the 1971 Divisional playoffs vs. the Browns (three). Even more impressive about the Colts D is over the last three seasons the Ravens have had 31 possessions against the Colts. In those 31 possessions the Ravens scored a total of 21 points all on field goals while turning the ball over 11 times. Who says the Colts can not play Defense?
The Jets come back to Motor City USA and it was the Colts-Jets game in week 16 that began this run for the Jets. Everyone remembers the Colts benching Manning and the rest of the starters in the 3rd quarter and a 15-6 lead turned into a 29-15 loss real quick. The Colts can't afford to let the Jets hang around on Sunday if they want to return to Miami and the Super Bowl. Look what happened in Cincinnati and San Diego. Both teams had possessions to expand their lead and maybe put the game away before the Jets started to get their offensive legs. Stomp on them early, and perhaps you can attain a more desirable result. Let them stay in the game, and you're asking for trouble.
3. Coaching Jobs
With Lane Kiffin leaving Tennessee to take the head coaching job at USC this week many of the experts were saying that USC was one of the best jobs in College Football. This got me thinking what are the best jobs in college football, basketball and as an Athletic Director. I try to take everything in to play and this includes weather. Thus the reason Michigan or Ohio State does not crack my top 5. I write this list as I am the hot name in college coaching or administration and can name any place I want to work and this is how I would rank them.
Top 5 Jobs in College Football
1. Texas-The year before Mack Brown took over the Horns were 4-7. How do you go 4-7 in that State as the flagship institution? This locker room is not to bad either.
2. Florida State-Close enough to South Georgia to raid the top players from GA, still located in probably the best state for high school football talent. Is their a better scene than Chief Osceola and Renegade? Why haven't I been to a game at the Doak?
3. USC-The best fight song in college football, song girls, Student Body Right, the LA weather and a state that is probably just as good as Florida in producing athletes.
4. LSU - More high school talent in Louisiana is the reason they are ranked a spot better than Bama. The Golden Band from Tiger Land. The LSU Golden Girls give the Song Girls a run for their money just as an fyi.
5. Alabama- The premiere football program in the SEC. If it was possible to build a 150,000 seat stadium, they could sell it out every Saturday. Not to many can actually say that. The Million Dollar Band and the Third Best Fight Song in College Football.
Top 5 Jobs in College Basketball
1. UCLA-By far the best tradition in college basketball. Has everything one needs to be successful.
2. North Carolina - Tied with Kentucky as the second best tradition in college basketball. The Dean Dome. How about these names that hang in the rafters.
3. Kentucky - Tied with UNC as second best tradition in college hoops. Rupp Arena is a palace. Being able to bet the ponies every Spring is not a bad thing either.
4.UCONN- Close enough to NYC to get some of the great players out of New York City, but far enough away so the kids feel they were able to get out. Every year they play multiple games at Madison Square Garden and it seems like every game is on one of the ESPN channels. (Any coincidence ESPN is also headquartered in Connecticut?)
5. Kansas - Rock Chalk Jayhawk
2. Florida State
4. Ohio State
Before you email me saying I forgot to include the Florida Gators as a top football job listen to my reasoning. Who were they before 1990? Also Steve Spurrier taught Gator fans how to win so they now expect blowouts and 50 points on the scoreboard every Saturday and that is not possible. Bear Bryant taught Alabama to win and the Crimson Tide have no problems winning a 17-13 heavyweight fight. I feel they uneccessary expectations of Gator fans keeps this job out of my top 5. Look at Urban Meyer, the stress of a one loss season had him ready to retire. Also, midway through the 2008 season (the year they won the National Championship) I was driving through Gainesville and the tone of the fans on the radio were this was a 7-5 team, not a national championship team.
4. Baseball's Non-Steroid Team
Earlier last week I was asked by reader Ben Ross to put together a team of players I did not think were involved with steroids. I will give a time period of 1993-2003 to choose my team. 93 was the first year McGwire said he used steroids. We started having testing in 2004. Hopefully we do not end up with a team full of David Ecksteins.
C Craig Biggio (Before you email me and call me an idiot please realize he came up as a catcher and played 328 games behind the plate) If not Biggio, Sandy Alomar Jr. is our catcher.
1B Fred McGriff (Why isn't this guy getting more Hall of Fame mention? The 493 homeruns and 2490 hits have to count for something.)
2B Jeff Kent
3B Cal Ripken Jr. (Moved to third to create room for The Captain)
SS Barry Larkin and Derek Jeter
LF Larry Walker
CF Ken Griffey Jr.
RF Tony Gwynn
DH Paul Molitar
SP Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina and David Cone
RP Mariano Rivera,Trevor Hoffman
Email away and let me know your thoughts. If you have a better team put one together.
5. Baseball Thoughts
a. Growing up I always thought that Greg Maddux was the best regular season pitcher of all time but not as reliable come the post-season. Then I found these stats, and my thinking may have been way off. Maddux made 740 regular-season starts, compared to 30 in the postseason and the mediocre 11-14 postseason record says more about his teams than it says about him.
b. In the postseason, Maddux had a 3.27 ERA and 1.242 WHIP in 35 postseason games (30 starts). No, it’s not the 3.16 ERA and sublime 1.143 WHIP he posted for his reg-season career, but still probably good enough to have given him an 18-9 postseason record if his teams had played as well as, say, Andy Pettitte’s teams have played for him.
c. Speaking of Petitte, he is 18-9 in 40 postseason starts — winningest pitcher in postseason history — with a 3.90 ERA and 1.333 WHIP. Again, Maddux had a 3.27 ERA and 1.242 WHIP in 35 postseason games (30 starts).
d. In Maddux’s last 20 posteason games (15 starts), he went 3-9 with a 3.26 ERA, an ERA identical to his 3.26 support runs per nine innings he’s pitched in that span. (His teams scored two or fewer runs while he was in 11 of those 15 starts, including one or no runs while he was in seven of the 15.)
e. In Pettitte’s last 19 postseason games (all starts), he’s gone 9-4 with a 3.83 ERA, while his teams have provided 5.48 support runs per nine innings he’s pitched in that span. (His teams scored at least four runs while he was in eight of his last 15 postseason starts, including six runs or more while he was in five of those 15 games.)
f. How many more World Series would the Yankees have won if Maddux signs with them after the 92 season instead of Atlanta? Does Buck Showalter get fired after 1995? Does Joe Torre ever get hired in the Bronx?
g. The other big news this week was Mark McGwire telling us something we were pretty sure we knew already. A lot has been made about his comment that he didn't think the steroids help him hit 70 home runs. This comment brings me to this point, people say they want steroid users to be honest, but that's not really true at all. They want McGwire to say that he agrees with them, even if he doesn't mean it. They would prefer that he lie to validate their own viewpoint, rather than say what he truly believes. It's not about an accounting for crimes against baseball. It's about creating consensus, so we can end the argument.
h. Thus I tend to believe that McGwire is telling the truth when he thinks that if he were healthy every year he played he would have not need to take the steroids and he would have still hit 70 homeruns. Personally I think this is crazy but I have hung around baseball players enough to know how confident (most call cocky) they are in their own ability that McGwire actually would think this.
i. I hope I did a good job explaining my point. One more time, while I do not agree with his statement I still think he is being truthful when he says in his opinion the steroids did not help him hit home runs.
j. Great job by 790 The Zone here in Atlanta getting former Senator Tom Davis the day after the McGwire news. Davis broke some news of his own when he said that McGwire was ready to tell the truth in congres 5 years ago but the Attorney General would not grant immunity for his testimony so McGwire gave us the "I am not here to talk about the past answer." Fascinating listen.(Scroll down to Tom Davis)
k. How about the Reds signing of Aroldis Chapman last Sunday. He was signed to a six-year, $30.25MM deal. While it's a lot of money for someone who's never thrown a pitch in the Majors and still needs development, I like the gamble for Cincinnati. As many of my baseball buddies have pointed out, the future of the Reds' rotation is impressive to say the least.
l. Can someone explain why Adam LaRoche declined a two-year, $17MM deal from San Francisco, to sign a one year $6 million deal with Arizona.
m. I would still rather have Glaus for $2 million plus hopefully another $2 million in incentives.
n. What do Joel Piñeiro and Lefty Grove have in common? They each gave up 162 homers. Of course, it has taken ‘the Piñata’ 285 games and it took Grove 616 games.
o. Over the last three seasons, .835 was the OPS of Brian McCann, Matt Kemp, and Mike Lowell.
p. I did not realize Lowell has been that good.
q. It is 31 days to February 18th and Pitchers and Catchers reporting!
6. What I Read This Week
This week I have one article and two book excerpts for everyone's consumption. The article comes from a 2007 LA Magazine profile on Pete Carroll. I read this two years ago and since that time I have been fascinated with Carroll. Did you all know that Carroll would go into the worst neighborhoods of LA and start talking to people. Fascinating person.
Note: CBS last September did a feature on the Coach, quite fascinating. Click here to watch.
The next two reads will be book excerpts. The first excerpt is from The Blind Side, which was Michael Lewis's 2006 book on the left tackle position and in particular Michael Oher. If you have yet to see the movie atlast read the excerpt if you will not read the book.
The second excerpt comes from the book I referenced last week called 'Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime.' This particular excerpt takes a look at John and Elizabeth Edwards. Thanks to lawyer Dan for the heads up.
7. Football Thoughts
a. The Dallas and San Diego losses show us how valuable a dependable field goal kicker is to your team in the postseason
b. Nate Kaeding missed three FGA for the Chargers and was the first kicker to go 0-3 in an NFL playoff game since 1995. He only missed three in the regular season and is 3-9 at home in the postseason in his career.
c. Shaun Suisham was 1-3 and his two misses were easily makeable and came at a time when Dallas as still in the ballgame.
d. I should be mentioned that both Suisham and Mike Vanderjagt are both Canadian. What is the deal with Canadian kickers chocking during the divisional weekend of the NFL playoffs?
e. Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator and former Colts assistant Leslie Frazier needs to start getting more credit for is his dominant Viking defense. After gaining 118 yards in the first quarter, the Cowboys got only 130 the rest of the way.
f. In addition, Minnesota sacked Tony Romo six times and forced three turnovers. Romo threw one interception and fumbled the ball three times, losing two of them.
g. How good was the Minnesta D when it mattered most? Romo had an average QB rating of 85.1 percent on first and second downs. On third and fourth downs Romo's QB rating was a pathetic 20.8.
h. Brett Favre threw four TD passes for the first time in a playoff game -- including three to Sidney Rice. Rice is the first player in Vikings' franchise history with three TD receptions in a playoff game.
i. How has Favre not thrown 4 TD's in a playoff game before?
j. Back to the Jets-Chargers game....Opponents are 0-5 against the Jets on FGA this postseason after going 19-23 in the regular season. This is amazing.
k. The Jets won two playoff games in a season for the first time since 1982 and the second time in team history.
l. New York was the second 9-7 team since 1997 to beat a team in a divisional playoff game that was 12-4 or better. A 9-7 Arizona team beat a 12- Carolina team last season.
m. Who knew it was 15 yards to kick a challenge flag?
n. Kurt Warner did not have the same success against the attacking Saints as they had the week before against the Packers. New Orleans sent at least five pass rushers on 12 of Warner's 27 pass plays (44.4 percent) compared to just 21 percent by the Packers.
o. When the Packers brought 5 or more Warner had an unbelievable QB rating of 147.3. Against the Saints Saturday night Warner was a pathetic 32.8.
p. Kurt Warner fell to 3-1 in the Divisional round and 0-3 in postseason games in the Superdome. Safe to say the Superdome is Warner's personal House of Horror.
q. Arizona allowed 90 points in its two playoff games this season. In the Super Bowl era, teams are just 1-6 in their next game after putting up at least 50 points in a postseason game.
r. Drew Brees threw three passing TDs, to join Aaron Brooks as the only QBs in Saints history with at least three passing TDs in a postseason game.
s. Reggie Bush had 217 all-purpose yards and joined Charlie Trippi (1947 NFL Championship) as the only players in postseason history with rushing and punt return TDs in the same game.
t. For those who do not know their football history Charlie Trippi is one of UGA's most decorated football players. Trippi was a two tme All-American and was even named MVP of the 1943 Rose Bowl when UGA beat UCLA 9-0. Trippi is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame and Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. He was ranked #20 on ESPN's Top 25 Players In College Football History list.
u. I just heard the quotes from Keith Brooking. He is such a punk. Way overrated as a player if you ask me. The only thing worse than losing 34-3 is complaining about it. Also didn't your Cowbys just beat the Eagles 44-14? Also Keith Brooking didnt you take some unnecessary shots at the Falcons earlier this season. One more question for you Keith Brooking do not get faked by play action on 3rd and Ten last year in the playoffs and maybe the Falcons go to the Super Bowl. YOU ARE A HACK KEITH BROOKING.
8. Tennessee Football Thoughts
a. Despite everything you may read and hear this is still one of the best programs in college football. Maybe not a top 5 job, but I do not consider my Alma Mater a top 5 job either.
b. In the long run Tenn might be in a better position with Derek Dooley than Lane Kiffin.
c. If you think that comment is crazy look at this quote from Andy Staples, So forget the fact that Dooley went 17-20 at Louisiana Tech. The degree of difficulty there is much higher than at Tennessee; Dooley's 8-5 season with an Independence Bowl win in 2008 is the equivalent of Tennessee winning an SEC title. Or, if this makes you feel better, remember that Kiffin had a 5-15 career record as a head coach when Tennessee hired him.
d. Is Mike Hamilton the worst AD in America? Not only did he hire Lane Kiffin, he had to publicly defend him multiple times and he could never real Lane in, in my opinion.
e. Their is also this note. Every single Tennessee assistant has guaranteed money coming in 2010; even without Orgeron and Monte Kiffin, the money due Tennessee assistants in 2010 comes to around 1.6 million dollars.
f. They also have to pay Phil Fulmer not to coach.
g. ESPN's Mark Schlabach has a great read on Dooley. This should eliminate any questions about Dooley's qualifications.
h. How bad of a spot is Vince Dooley in this October when the Vols come to Athens? He needs to remember that the Suite he will be seating in is a UGA suite.
i. If you haven't seen it yet, the situation before Lane Kiffin's final Tennessee press conference was a disaster. Ah, news media. Just a delightful group.This is a must watch for everyone. Also, you will see why Lane Kiffin only gave a 30 second press conference. He was prepared to answer questions as long as none of the TV stations were live. One TV had to go live and and thus we only received 30 seconds of Kiffin.
9. NFL Power 5
1. New Orleans Saints - The most dominant team of the weekend. Reggie Bush looked like he was back at USC. Fight On Mr. Bush.
2. Indianapolis Colts - Can they do what they did not do in December?
3. Minnesota Vikings - Can Mr. Allan be as dominant in an opponents dome?
4. New York Jets- For the past three weeks the Jets have forced teams to play their style of football. Can Manning make Sanchez go up and down the field
5. San Diego Chargers - Of the teams not playing anymore, this team is the best.
10. Non Football or Baseball Thoughts
a. Is their anyone who brings more excitement to a broadcast than Gus Johnson?
b. I went to Academy Sports and Outdoor for the first time on Sunday in Augusta and my reaction is WOW. Thank goodness the nearest one is in Athens or I would have way less money than what I have now. I also have another reason to go to Athens which is always a plus.
c. In the words of my man Boots, "that place is legit."
d. I absolutely love the Coors commercial with Hank Straham saying pump it in their baby (talking about the Chiefs scoring a touchdown for those with minds in the gutter). Great shots of Lambardi, Bill Walsh and other classic figures from the past 40 or so years in professional football.
e. I am going to Athens next Saturday for the basketball game. More than likely a day trip. The question becomes where do we eat lunch? Add Drug, Inoko Express, Mama's Boy? Where do we eat dinner? Inoko Express? Farm 255? The Last Resort?
f. Speaking of Mama's Boy I have eaten their the last two Sundays in a row and that place is becoming a favorite.
g. Who is coming with me to Athens?
h. I got home to watch the first two hours of 24 last night. We are off to a great start. I love the fact we are in New York City this season. In addition how cool is the tunnel everyone uses to access CTU?
i. How I Met Your Mother was very funny last Monday. It gave everyone some twists and turns. Hopefully this show gets back on track and we have no more episodes like the smoking episode.
j. If you are not watching The Big Bang Theory please watch tonight at 930. I probably laugh more at this show than any other show on television.
k. I laugh probably the second most at Modern Family. I am a huge Julie Bowen fan.
l. I should probably finish reading Kingfish sometime this week. Yes Huey Long did a lot of good things for Louisiana but he was a tyrant.
m.I need to win the lottery so every weekend can be a three day weekend.
n. Great email from my best friends mom Jennifer Smoak who pointed out to me that Friday Night Lights will be on NBC starting later this spring. This show is way to good just to be on the 101 Network.
o. Due to my travel schedule I did not see one minute of the Golden Globes thus no thoughts. I apologize.
Quote of the week 1
Comes Todd "Fritzy" Fritz who called in after having gallbladder surgery. And yes he did say this on National TV and radio.
Passing gas has been more difficult.
Quote of the Week 2
Comes from Drew Magory and his open mailbag which runs on Deadspin every Tuesday.
The bottom of a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is like cocaine. You get all that bonus sugar on top of the shit. They should sell the end bits of CTC as its own cereal. CTC, with quadruple sugar. General Mills would be sued for giving every child in America diabetes, but it would be so worth it.
Coming from someone who loves CTC, this quote is right on. You are a moron if you throw away CTC without emptying the crumbs into nice bowl of milk.
Text of the Week
Comes my friend Sarah (Not her real name)
How bout I just burned up the dance floor and now going to a strip club. Thats why I'm awe quite a bit. Bam!
Yes Sarah is Awesome or awe-quite-a-bit and I am proud of her.
Text of the week 2
Comes from my friend Seth (Again not real name)
Hulu.com bachelor week 2 part 1 of episode. 15 min of rozlyn papa in bikini.
This is well worth everyones time. Trust me.