Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ten Things JJ Thinks He Thinks

Here are the Ten Things for the week. These will be quick hitting thoughts. I did not have time to get in depth as I was busy this past weekend. Please pay close attention to Number 3 to see what in the sports world makes me Thankful. It seems every year around this time some hack will put together a list of what he/she is thankful for. I could get into a sappy list about how thankful I am for my family, friends and my two year old car Allie but no one would enjoy that sappiness. In that same vein I would appreciate if everyone were to send me an email with things in the Sports World that you are thankful. Do not forget your homework assignment and without further ado here is my list.

1. Georgia Bye

I am extremely excited for the match-up between UGA and Boise State that was announced last Friday. For starters UGA does not have to play a home and home with Louisville which is something they should have never signed up for to begin with. A trip to Louisville in 2012 is now replaced with a home game that UGA should easily win. The schedule will now read Buffalo at home, @ South Carolina, TBA at home, @ Alabama. Having the Tide as the third team in a three game road trip is not the way to begin Aaron Murray's junior season.

Furthermore, how smart is the new AD Greg McGarity? Not only is the Louisville series canceled but then there is this info. Boise State will be given 7,500 tickets and the rest of the allotted tickets, discounting those reserved for suite owners and local sales, will be given to Georgia. The number is yet to be determined, but Georgia could receive upwards of 50,000 tickets. Basically it turns into a UGA home game with the whole country watching. In addition, Louisville declined a request to mutually cancel the series, so the Chick-fil-A Bowl and ESPN agreed to pay a $600,000 series buyout to Louisville and helped arrange an alternative home-and-home series for the Cardinals against North Carolina.

Just a random thought if ESPN can make all of this happen, could they make a playoff happen if they truly wanted one?

Random Thought #2 This game will be played on the weekend of my birthday and you all are invited. Party In The ATL. Braves play at home against the Dodgers that weekend as well.

2. Colts-Pats Recap

Why are these games always so stressful to watch? Also who is James Sanders and why is he picking off Peyton Manning with less than a minute to play? Here is another crazy stat which helps prove the value of having just a decent rushing attack....Manning's 38 completions were his second most in a game, behind only the season-opening loss to Houston when he completed 40 passes. In the two games Manning has completed the most passes he has lost both of them. Not good, not good at all.

Since I interned with the Colts I am supposed to hate everything about the Pats but I am actually a huge Belichick fan and the win on Sunday lifted Bill Belichick into a tie for 11th place in coaching victories with 171, moving ahead of Hall of Famer Paul Brown and equaling Joe Gibbs. Those are unreal numbers.

3.Let's Give Thanks
Last year I gave my list of things that I am Thankful for in the sports world. I have copy and pasted last years list (#1-26) and I have updated a few more for this year.

JJ's Thankful List-It should be noted that this is not in any particular order
1. Sports Illustrated being delivered every Wednesday and their great cast of writers that include Tom Verducci, Jon Heyman, Seth Davis, Stewart Mandel, Joe Posnanski, Andy Staples and probably the best feature writer in the business S.L. Price.
2. I purposefully left off Peter King on the above because I am such a huge fan of his Monday Morning Quarterback and his concept of "Ten Things I Think I Think" are totally stolen by me.
3. Athens, Ga on a Saturday or any day that the football, basketball, baseball or any other team competes.
4. Wild Card Weekend, Divisional Weekend and Conference Championship Sunday in the NFL...does it get better than this?
5. USC Song Girls
6. Growing up in Georgia and listening to voices such as Larry Munson, Skip Caray, Ernie Johnson and Pete Van Wieren 'paint the picture' for my favorite teams.
7. NFL Sunday Ticket
8. The National Anthem before any contest and God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch. On a side note I love attending games with teams from Canada and hearing O' Canada. I still think our National Anthem is better.
9. Introductions before NBA Games. Two memorable intros that stand out to me include the Bulls intro from when they had it rolling in the late 90's. The second one that stands out is from the Los Angeles Lakers and the Staples Center. Just as an fyi, the Lakers intro is the coolest one I have scene in person (they drop a circular curtain from the rafters).
10. Friday Night Fireworks at Turner Field.
11. A Saturday watching college football at the MGM Grand followed by a Sunday at the Las Vegas Hilton
12.The College World Series, one of the best sporting events to attend in person in my opinion.
13. The fact I can remember watching baseball games in the following stadiums...Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Turner Field, Tropicana Stadium, RFK Stadium, Nationals Ballpark, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Ballpark, Old Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, Citi Field, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Great American Ballpark, Safeco Field, and PNC Park. Just a side note I saw a football game inside Dolphins Stadium and I do not know if that counts as I am not sure if I will make it a point to get to Miami to watch a baseball game before the Marlins open their new stadium in April 2012 on the site of the former Orange Bowl. On a side note how did I not talk my grandparents into making the 166 mile drive from their house in Melbourne, Fl to what was then known as Joe Robbie Stadium? Update: During 2010 I went on an awesome Baseball Trip and I can now add New Yankee Stadium to that list.
14. Dave O'Brien's Braves Beat Blog on ajc.com, I especially enjoy his spring training stories the best.
15. The positive things ESPN has given sports-SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, HD Programming,
16. March Madness and Bracketology
17. MLB Network
18. Leaving work right at 500 and going to watch batting practice by myself or select friends that really enjoy watching both teams put in some serious work.
19.Gate giveaways
20. All the college football bowl games between Christmas and New Years Day.
21. The Olympics
22. Bob Costas interviewing anyone
23. Sunday Night football on NBC. From Olbermann and DP with highlights to Dungy and Harrison with commentary. Do not forget Peter King with news from around the league and the game broadcast with Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth.
24. College football fight songs. USC still is #1 in this category.
25. Vern Lundquist and Gary Danielson doing SEC football on CBS.
26. Bill Raftery screaming any of the following; Onions! With a kiss! Man to Man! Strong... to the goal! A little pirouette, and they said this was a beer town! There's a little lingerie on the deck! When you're sleepless in Seattle, why not get a little kiss? (Start at the :55 second mark). Update: I would love to write a book where I follow Raftery around on the road for one season. From what I am told, the last to leave the bar and the first at the treadmill the next morning.

27. My cousin Gus Johnson- See the above video and here is a best of Gus Johnson.
28. Twitter and the instant access to sports information from athletes, fans and the press. Nothing better than watching an event and reading the tweets that come in from every writer giving their two cents.
29. Keeneland and the first ever horse race that I attended.
30. I am also thankful for Hoho Tow and Stitches N Needles finishing 1-2 in the 3rd race on the 4th Saturday in the 10th month. That combo paid $53.60 on a $2 bet.
31. The Dan Patrick Show on the 101 Network and now regional Fox Sports channels throughout the country. Nothing better than taking a day off of work and watching a radio show on a couch.
32. NFL Network pregame show with Rich Eisen, Marshall Faulk, Marucci, Warren Sapp and Michael Irvin. I am not a fan of Irvin the person but I absolutely love his passion for the game of football.

4. Braves Trade

What is there not to like about the Braves-Marlins trade from early last week?
Uggla's career line at Turner Field: .354/.399/.652 -- yes, that's his SLG, .652!
Uggla's 154 homers in past 5 seasons are second among NL right-handed hitters in that period, behind Albert Pujols.  
Uggla has averaged 31 home runs, 100 runs scored and 93 RBIs per season over his five-year career.  He has never been placed on the disabled list and has posted an average of 155 games played per season. 
 Last year Omar had .359 OBP Uggla had .369 OBP

5. Jacksonville Jaguars
Is anyone buying the first place Jags at this moment? There last two wins were miracles but as I like to say a win is a win is a win. They have now won three in a row and five of seven o stand at 6-4. With six games remaining they have to go on the road four times so the schedule maker plays them no favors down the stretch. Maybe it is a little early for Garrard to tweet...."Thanks peyton. U da man???" We can not forget that the Jags were 6-4 at the point last season to only finish 1-5.

I have to mention that former Statesboro High Blue Devil Jeremy Mincey had 2 of the Jags 6 sacks. I have heard some decent stories from Warren, Boots and Brice over the years about him. Did not know he was in the league.

6. Halftime
We will stick with the Live theme for this week's song that Smoak and myself used to rockout to while crusing the mean streets of Sylvania. Last week was Dolphins Cry, this week will be Lightning Crashes. The greatest kicker in Screven County history knew that Chipper Jones was the last Braves to hit a homerun in the World Series. It was against El Duque in 1999. Well done Donald, well done. Since it is Turkey Week we will ask a somewhat Turkey related question. What city hosts the oldest Thanksgiving parade? It is not New York.
7. College Power 5
1. Auburn-Can their secondary stop Julio Jones? Also, first major test on road as LSU, Clemson, UGA, South Carolina and Arkansas were at home this year. They did win at Miss St.
2. Oregon- In 1st 10 seasons of BCS, No. 1 team in this point of season made title game, last 2 have not (Ala in 08 & Fla in 09)
3. Boise St- They have won 10 games but only once did the opponent have a defense ranked in the top third (Top 40) in the nation in scoring D
4. TCU- Horned Frog defense has dominated three strong offenses Baylor (33 ppg), Air Force (32 ppg) and Utah (37 ppg) holding to 10, 7 and 7 points
5. LSU- Did anyone really think they would not win in a crazy game?

8. NFL Power 5
1. New England-Brady still needs a haircut. Hoody might be the best coach of all time.
2. Green Bay-How intriguing is this matchup Sunday? Packers at Falcons. On talk radio in Atlanta one host said the theme at the dome on Sunday would be "Cut the cheese" What does that mean?
3. Philly-Need to do more research but it seems like Mike Vick wins a lot of football games as a starter.
4. Atlanta-Despite best record in NFC they need to keep winning to make playoffs as the Saints and Bucs are right on their heels.
5.Baltimore- Who would have thought the matchup between Tampa and Baltimore would be intriguing at this point of the season.

9. An awesome concert

On Saturday night I had the opportunity to attend one of the better concerts I have ever attended in Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean. It was a star studded event as I went with an A-list crew from work. Furthermore, half of the Braves roster past and present was there as Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Tim Hudson, David Ross, Andruw Jones, Buddy Carlyle, Jeff Francoeur and Kelly Johnson took an awesome show. Furthermore Bobby Cox (who was rocking a sick argyle sweater) and his wife Pam sat in the front row, right next to Fredi Gonzalez. About halfway through the show they gave a Bobby Cox tribute as the place went bonkers as everyone started doing the Tomahawk chop. Very cool scene.

The song of the Night has to be Luke Bryan's new song You Don't Know Jack. The greatest kicker in Screven County history has promised to learn this song for the next time we get together and he plays the guitar. Whenever that happens next it will be a legendary time.

The first time I had ever heard of Luke Bryan I was living in NYC and my buddy Smoak emailed me and told me to look up some guy from Leesburg, Ga who went to Georgia Southern but always played in Milledgeville. So I do some research on him and this was before Youtube is what it is today and the first song I find is We Rode In Trucks. Needless to say I was hooked right away. Is it time for Smoak to become big time music exec?

I should also point out that Smoak has also told me about this awesome Jason Aldean song that has not been put on an album but has only been performed at concerts. I would have loved to hear this song played Saturday night but I did not. The song would be Cowboy Lady.


Quote Of The Week
 Comes from last week's Modern Family after Mitchell danced in the flash mob.

"You cheated on me with choreography and that is the worst kind"

If you are not watching Modern Family use the comment section to explain why.

Text Of The Week
Multiple great texts from me to an A-list crew that was not at the concert. We will go with this one.

Kelly Johnson just walked by and I told him I loved his swing as we fist bumped....why am I so awesome?

Fair question.

Tweet of The Week
This weeks tweet comes from @salliebear who is the girlfriend of one fine American, co-worker and Vanderbilt Commodore @wallybuckets. This comes in response to another fine American and co-worker @ChiGuyinAtl tweet after @walleybuckets Commodores beat @salliebears UNC Tar Heels in hoops Sunday......what did I just say?

@ChiGuyinAtl....Must have been interesting today. @wallybuckets 1, @salliebear 0 for 2010-11.

 And here is @salliebear response which is the tweet of the week

@salliebear.......@ 3, @ 748 in life

Photo Of The Week

How about this group of A-listers. Only problem no TMAC, no Goat and my brother is not there. Thanks to Heather Smoak's facebook for the photo. We got to lock up that lookaway.....just saying. Also notice how everyone is wearing a polo shirt. Yes it was discussed that week in an email.

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