Monday, November 15, 2010

Ten Things JJ Thinks He Thinks

1. Georgia Thoughts

Not really sure what to say about this game. I do know I have to stop thinking that UGA is going to win every game I attend. (That last sentence may say all there is to say about where UGA is at as a program). On Tuesday in his weekly presser Mark Richt said they had Cam Newton targeted as a tight end. I know we had Stafford at the time but that sentence may say all there is to say where UGA is at as a program. I do know Aaron Murray might be my favorite UGA football player by the time everything is said in done with his career in Athens. The kid was getting beat senseless, but kept fighting at every turn. Saturday might have been his best game of the year all things considered.  If we had a legit running game to really sell the play action fakes, he'd be a lock for SEC and national freshman of the year. Having him makes me worry less about no AJ Green next season. Who am I kidding that is going to be scary. By the way AJ Green is best receiver in school history and probably will be best receiver we have ever had and we have lost 11 games this past two seasons...explain that to me.

We have to beat Tech in two weeks or things may really get ugly. We need to keep the bowl streak alive and the extra 15 days of practice can only help. The schedule in 2011 breaks real well for the Dawgs with 7 home games and no Bama, LSU or Arkansas on the schedule. (why am I keeping the faith?)

2. College Hoops Nuggets

a. I went to the UGA home opener in hoops on Friday night and while it might shave seem liked the Dawgs were playing lathargic through the first 36 minutes, a win is a win is a win. 
b. UGA was missing it's best player in Trey Thompkins but the addition of transfer Gerald Robinson, Jr. made missing Thompkins not as big of an issue.   Robinson finished with 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting from the field, and he was really Georgia’s most reliable offensive option throughout the game.  Robinson looks strong with the ball, and he gives Georgia a viable “dribble-drive” scoring threat from the guard position.
c. I feel safe saying that no other team will come into Stegman Coliseum and make 10 3 point shots. Overall MVSU was 10 of 17 from 3 point range. Just as an FYI the Delta Devils were 9 of 12 at one point Friday night.
d. Is it me or does the Dukies look clearly like the best team in College hoops?
e. There are a couple of intriguing college hoop games tomorrow night. One is in Athens where an improved Colorado comes to town to take on the Dawgs. The second is in Gainesville, Fl where Ohio State will play the Gators. Not often you get matchups like this in game 2.
f.  How about my parents alma mater the Stetson Hatters beating the Wake Forest Demon Deacons by 10 in both teams season openers. It could by a long season in Winston-Salem.
g. One story me and ESPN's Andy Katz will keep an eye on this season is Northwestern and their bid to make their first ever NCAA tournament. They got their season off right by scoring 97 points over NIU.
h. Is the Big 10 the best conference for college hoops? You have some really good teams with Michigan St, Ohio St, Illinois, Purdue and Wisconsin. This does not include Northwestern who can make their first NCAA tournament and a young Indiana team.
i.I know the ACC has Duke but the depth is not as good as the Big Ten's. The Big East has Syracuse, G'Town, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Louisville so we can make a better argument for the Big East than the ACC.
j. One more story I will keep an eye on this season is Steve Lavin's return to coaching at St. John's. Very interested to see if he can get the players to compete in the extremly tough Big East.

3. College Football Notes
a. I have to congratulate the South Carolina Gamecocks on winning in the swamp and advancing to the SEC Championship game for the first time in school history. With S. Carolina advancing to their first SEC Championship game the only SEC schools to never make it to Atlanta include Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss.
b.I am glad it took Tennessee almost the end of the season to find a quarterback in Tyler Bray. In his second game on Saturday he led his Vols to their first SEC win this season. The true freshman became the first player in Tennessee history to throw five touchdowns in a half last week against Memphis. In throwing for 323 yards against the Rebels, Bray became the first quarterback in Tennessee history to throw for 300 yards in his first two career starts.
c. Tennessee has had a lot of great QB's so for Bray to be the first at anything is pretty special.
d. With the performance of Bray the Vols now have a great shot at a Bowl something I did not think he was possible a couple of weeks ago. All they need to do now is beat Vandy and Kentucky. The series stands at 71-27-5 in Tennessee's favor against Vandy, this is pretty remarkable as the series started 17-2-2 in Vandy's favor.
e. What was I thinking that the Florda offense was back after great performances against UGA and Vandy? Florida was able to manage just 67 yards of total offense through three quarters against South Carolina. Way to many athletes on the field for that to happen. It seems like a lot of bad karma in the Swamp for the Gators as their worst showings this season have been at home.
f. I also must give some love to the Wildcats of Kentucky for coming bowl eligible for the 5th straight season. Alabama, Florida, Georgia and LSU were the only other teams in the league coming into this season that had gone to four straight bowl games.

g. How bad do my Dawgs need to win at home against Tech to keep that streak alive?
h. Oregon won by 2, their smallest margin of victory this season. Their smallest margin of victory before tonight was 11 (vs Arizona State and Washington State). They have never trailed in any 4th quarter this season. Their smallest 4th quarter lead before tonight was 11. The Ducks have outscored opponents 87-7 in the 4th.
i. The question becomes....did Cal give us a blueprint in stopping the Oregon offense?
j. The Badgers rolled up 83 points, the most Wisconsin has scored in a Big Ten game and tied for the third-most points scored in a Big Ten game. It was the most points scored by any team in a Big Ten game since Ohio State scored 83 against Iowa in 1950.
k. You literally have to score every possession to get to 83 and the Badgers did that on Saturday. Real impressive.
l. How has Northwestern beaten Iowa 5 out of the last 6 games? Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has a losing record against only two Big Ten teams -- Northwestern and Ohio State. The Buckeyes and the sweater vest come to Iowa next Saturday.
m. Before Saturday, Iowa had only 5 4th-down conversion attempts all season. Only two teams in FBS had fewer - Florida State and South Carolina.
n.What has happened to Utah? Utah, which won the first eight games of the season, has lost two straight and been outscored 75-10. It's the first time since September 1990 the Utes have been held under 10 points in consecutive games.
o. You also have to give credit to the men of Troy for their win over Arizona. The Trojans beat the Wildcats for the eighth time in the last nine meetings between the two schools. It was their fifth straight victory in Tucson.
p. The preseason #3 and #4 teams are a combined 10-10 this season. The preseason #3 and #4 teams were Texas and Florida. The Longhorns have to beat both Florida Atlantic and Texas A&M to get bowl eligible.
q. How does this Texas team beat Nebraska?
r. Also does anyone realize Oklahoma State is 9-1? I didn't. So much for replacing their QB and best WR from last year.

4. NFL Football Notes
a. A lot of great early games this week. We will start with the Jets-Browns classic that ended when Santonio Holmes scored on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez with 16 seconds left. This is the latest Road overtime TD in NFL history, and the 3rd latest ever. Just unreal.
b. The Jets Mark Sanchez is just the fifth QB since 1991 to throw both an interception and TD in overtime and the first since Byron Leftwich in 2005. Prior to that, it hadn't happened since Danny Kanell did it in 1997.
c. Because brothers Rex and Rob Ryan were a story of the week I need to share with you these stats...Rob Ryan fell to 0-3 in NFL matchups and 3-5 overall coaching against his brother
d. I also watched a good bit of the Colts-Bengals game and I know the Colts won the game but they need to get some guys healthy sooner than later. Despite that the Colts have won seven straight games over the Bengals. Even more impressive was the fact Peyton Manning was held without a passing touchdown for the second time this year.
e. Why couldn't I play Manning in fantasy this week?
f. The third early game that got a lot of my attention on Sunday was the Texans-Jags. I watched this game because I had fantasy players on each team and I ended up watching a great game which I should have expected all along since my cousin the great Gus Johnson was announcing for CBS.
g. If you are not familiar with the end of the Texans-Jags game click here to watch it one amazing finish.
h. How improbable was Mike Thomas's day for the Jags on Sunday? His 149 receiving yards topped his previous best in a game by 60 (89 yards against the Broncos in the opening week of the season). Mike Thomas had just two career touchdowns in 22 games coming into Sunday. Thomas' 50-yard TD catch on the final play marked the fourth time in NFL history that a regular season game ended on a game-winning TD pass of 50 or more yards with no time remaining.
i. The Jaguars have two wins on the final play this season. They beat Indianapolis 31-28 last month on Scobee's career-long 59-yard field goal. 
j. The Chiefs were down 21-0 to the Broncos at the end of the first quarter. That is just the third time in franchise history they have been shutout in the first quarter while allowing 21 points or more, and the first time since Week 11 of the 1986 season, also against the Broncos.
k. A lot of things happened in the Detroit-Buffalo game and we should mention them here. With their loss the Lions broke their own record and now have lost an NFL-record 25 straight road games.When they lost 24 in a row between 2001 and 2003 they were outscored by an average of 7.1 points per game. In their current 25 game losing streak they have been outscored by an average of 14.8 games.
m. The Bills' Ryan Fitzpatrick now has thrown a touchdown pass in 10 consecutive games -- the longest streak by a Bills QB since Drew Bledsoe's 10-game streak to start the 2002 season.
n. I am only mentioning this because Dave Rayner was a kicker with the Colts when I interned their one summer and he was a nice guy despite having to deal with Vanderjagt and his antics. Rayner's field goal was the first attempted and made by a Lions player other than Jason Hanson in 19 seasons. The Lions had signed Rayner this week after Hanson sprained his knee last week.
o. Due to injuries to their quarterbacks, the Dolphins employed the Wildcat seven times on Sunday, averaging seven yards per play. Miami had run just 20 Wildcat plays in its first eight games. Ronnie Brown has a rushing touchdown in consecutive games for the 1st time in over a year. With his score today, he took over sole possession of 3rd place in Dolphins history.
p. Randy Moss has faced the Dolphins twice this year -- once with the Patriots and on Sunday with the Titans. Each game, he struggled to produce.
q. According to Elias Sports Bureau, since the start of 2000, coaches that take over in midseason are 3-13 in their first game. Gary Moeller (2000 Detroit Lions) and Jim Haslett (2008 St. Louis Rams) were the last to achieve this.
r. Pretty interesting game tonight in our Nation's capital. This is one of the more interesting stats you will see leading up to the game tonight... Michael Vick has not had an interception since Christmas Eve... of 2006. I spent Christmas Eve 2006 flying from Orlando to Denver as my brother was moving out to Colorado. By the way that seems forever ago.
s. Last nights matchup between Brady and Big Ben was the first match-up with multiple Super Bowl winners against each other since Joe Montana versus Jim Plunkett.
t. A few nuggets for those that enjoy football with more than a rooting interest. The Pats were 5th dog to win outright on Sunday as dogs went 7-5 ATS...overs 9-3.
u. Double-digit dogs are 9-4 ATS this year but only 2 won outright (Browns v Saints) and Cowboys at Giants yesterday.

5. MLB Thoughts
a. I absolutely love Jayson Stark's three strikes column for ESPN insider's. For those that do not get the insider here are some intriguing stats.
b. This season nobody in baseball got more hits than Ichiro (214). But amazingly, 84 players in baseball scored more runs than Ichiro (74).
c.  Not only did Suzuki score the fewest runs in history by a player who got as many hits as he did, only two other players have even made it to within 10 runs of him:
Kirby Puckett, 1989 -- 75 runs, 215 hits
Beau Bell, 1937 -- 82 runs, 218 hits
d.Who in the heck is Beau Bell? He was an outfielder for the St. Louis Browns (1935–39), Detroit Tigers (1939) and Cleveland Indians (1940–41). He was named to the 1937 American League All-Star Team.
e. Steve Garvey as the all-time king of the Runs Not Scored crowd. He had six 200-hit seasons -- and didn't score 100 runs in any of them. No one else has even had three 200-hit seasons like that. So Suzuki has a long ways to go before he can fairly be compared with King Garv.
f. Does anyone realize Bruce Chen led the Royals in wins this season? I did not. I just assumed it was Greinke.
g. In 2010, we had four different players march to the plate more than 400 times without hitting a ball that left the park. The four players:
Elvis Andrus 674 PA, 0 HR
Nyjer Morgan 577 PA, 0 HR
Jason Kendall 490 PA, 0 HR
Jamey Carroll 414 PA, 0 HR
h. That's as many zero-homer seasons (among the 400-PA crowd) in one season as we had seen in the previous four seasons combined.
i. This was the first time since (ready?) 1992 that there were this many members of the No-HR Association in one year. Back in '92, six players did it (Luis Polonia, Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel, Jose Lind, Willie Wilson and Doug Dascenzo).
j. I am also a huge fan of the Baseball Notes column written by Nick Cafardo in the Boston Globe every Sunday. Here is a link to this week's read.
k.Some notes include, after four seasons in a row hitting exactly 40 homers, Adam Dunn has hit 38 each of the last two seasons
l. Camden Yards is undergoing its first renovations overseen by Janet Marie Smith, who not only built that park but renovated Fenway Park.
m.How weird would it be if Edgar Renteria does not resign by the Giants. That means the World Series MVP in back to back years would not be resigned by the reigning World Series champs.
n. Has that ever happened before?

This week's song that Smoak and myself use to rock out to while cruising the mean streets of Sylvania is Dolphins Cry by Live. Last week's trivia was 8 pitchers that have won 3 or more Cy Young Awards and I asked you all to name 5 of them. The greatest kicker in Screven County history Donald Sheppard knew that Roger Clemens (7), Randy Johnson (5), Steve Carlton (4), Greg Maddux (4), Sandy Koufax (3), Pedro Matinez (3), Jim Palmer (3) and Tom Seaver (3) were the correct answers. We are all proud of him. This week's trivia: name the last Brave to hit a home run in the World Series. Bonus points for year and the pitcher he hit it against.

6. Pretty Good Sports Week/Falcons Recap
I had a pretty good sports week this past week. It all started with the Bucks-Hawks game on Wednesday night. Thursday night I went to the Falcons-Ravens game in which was probably the best Falcons game I have ever attended inside the Georgia Dome. This does include the crazy Bears-Falcons game I went to a couple of years ago. On Friday I drove over to Athens for the Dawgs season opener in Men's hoops. The remodeled Stegman Coliseum is real nice and gives the building a modern feel. In fact the restrooms were the cleanest I have ever witnessed for a sporting event. With Tojo responsible for their upkeep I doubt we can say that next month. On Saturday I drove over to the Barn which was a great day with awesome weather and an unreal atmosphere inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Here are a couple of thoughts from the Falcons game. By far it was the loudest I have ever heard the Georgia Dome and this includes SEC Championship games, high school playoffs, and college basketball events. A lot of callers on talk radio here in Atlanta knock Matt Ryan and for the life of me I do not understand it one bit. On Thursday, Matt Ryan set a record for the most completions without an interception against the Ravens' defense.His 32 completions in 50 attempts were the only way they were going to win as they could do nothing on the ground Thursday night.

It was also cool to see Deion Sanders inducted into the teams ring of honor during halftime of the game. I remember as a kid it seemed like Deion would return a kickoff or punt or interception for a touchdown every game. Of course he did not do that every game but it sure seemed like he did. It was also funny that the Falcons starting playing music near the end of Deion's speech. Very similar to the Oscar's where they turn on the music as to say shut up your time is over.

7. College Power 5

1. Auburn-I do not think anyone can stop Cam Newton (except Cecil Newton's mouth). The guy is unreal. I have seen Tebow play and Newton can do everything Tebow can do except better. 
2. Oregon-Bye week then home game against Arizona the Friday after Thanksgiving and at Oregon St on 12/4
3. TCU-The Horned Frogs won but bad weekend for them nonetheless. They looked unimpressive and Utah losses 28-3 to Notre Dame
4. Boise St- Very tough to above average games left for Boise against Fresno and Nevada.
5. LSU-They should not be allowed to lay for National Championship since they did not win the conference. That's what they said about UGA in 2007.

8. NFL Power 5
-No really great football team right now or atleast not one to rank #1. I will give you the top 5 teams in no order because you can not give an order. So here are 5 #3's.
3. Atlanta Falcons-As of right now looks like the best team in the NFC. However, that changes weekly.
3. New England Patriots-I loved the fiery Tom Brady we saw last night. We used to see that guy 6-8 years ago.
3. New York Jets-Something to be said about winning back to back road games in overtime
3. Pittsburgh Steelers-Can't knock them for losing to the Pats who never lose two in a row
3. Green Bay Packers- Hopefully they used the bye to start getting healthy.

9. What I Read Last Week

A couple of great articles this week. The first comes from the New Times Magazine and it reads like a screenplay to a great movie. Titled The Great Cyberheist James Verini's article looks at the life and times and crimes of one Albert Gonzalez. Gonzalez looted and laundered millions of dollars from stolen credit card data. Oh, and p.s., he was also a paid Secret Service informant.

The second read comes from Chris Jones and Esquire magazine. Earlier this year I linked a story on how a former weatherman was able to crack The Price is Right.  Now we look at The Wheel Of Fortune and how one person was able to guess a puzzle despite only knowing only knowing one letter. Both links are fascinating reads especially if you are a game show fan like myself.

10. Non Football or Baseball Thoughts
a. Despite the fact I have not seen the show in a couple weeks but I am a huge fan of Undercover Boss. It is fascinating to see CEO's who are out of their comfort zone and how they respond to being out of their comfort zone. It is always great to see when these guys screw up because it shows a human side of the boss.
b. The Office has been surprisingly very good this season. I absolutely loved last week's episode when they went to Gabe's house. While I did not get all the Glee references it was still funny as everyone was involved.
c. How funny was Kevin when he got in bed to eat Pigs in a blanket because he always wanted to eat pigs in a blanket in a blanket.
d. Speaking of The Office the Nard Dawg has to love this news about his Cornell Big Red being ranked #1 in preseason wrestling.
e.Is it bad when I think my mom can do a better job answering this sports question than those on Jeopardy? I am pretty sure my grandma could get it right.
f. I did get to watch some of the CMA's on Wednesday night. I think it is safe to say that my new crush Miranda Lambert was the Belle of the Ball.
g. I also think that in the next 10 years there are going to be some great battles for group of the year between Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum and Sugarland.
h. Sources in the Big Apple tell me one Tony Romo was out with Gossip Girl's Chace Crawford in Union Square on Saturday night. Something tells me that crew had no problem creating conversation with the ladies. As we learned in Big Daddy creating conversation is half the battle.

Quote of The Week
From Brad Paisley during the CMA's Wednesday night...."After the nite Miranda and Blake are having I
bet we can expect a baby in 9 months"
What does that even mean?

Text of The Week

Text Convo between my Dad and me
Him to me....
Tough game! should have kicked out #90 for Auburn

Me to him
I left and missed the fisticuffs...on way back to the ATL...losing to Auburn is like losing to the Cowboys, best team money can buy.

Him to me
Spoken very well, I think Auburn's coach is an a$$

Tweet of The Week
From Paul Pierce after his Celtics beat the heat in Miami
It's been a pleasure to bring my talents to south beach now on to Memphis

Photo of The Week
Credit to co-worker Teddy Graham for sending this to me. This company might need to hire a consultant to tell them how bad their name is.

Photo Of the Week II
Wrigley field in anticipation of Saturday's Illinois-Northwestern game...not much room in that end zone if you ask me.

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