Monday, February 21, 2011

Eight Things JJ Thinks He Thinks

I had a busy weekend making trips to both Knoxville and Nashville so I only think 8 things this week. That is just how it goes sometime.

1. Georgia Thoughts

A kick to the gut game Wednesday night in Athens that we gave away followed by a unreal win in Thompson-Boling arena for the first time since I was a freshmen in college. (That was 10 years ago). Where Georgia was most successful on Saturday was on the boards. Georgia limited Tennessee to just 9 offensive boards, their second-lowest tally of the season.  Safe to say coach Fox  challenged his team to perform better on the defensive glass after they had yielded 23 offensive-rebounds to Vanderbilt in Athens on Wednesday.  The Dawgs responded by keeping the Vols off the boards, and winning the rebounding battle 35-27. If we can get anything consistently from Jeremy Price down low we have an opportunity to make a run. However, that is easier said than done.

I did make the trip to Knoxville and I was impressed with Thompson-Boling arena. It was my first time inside Thompson-Boling since I was a student manager for the baseball team and we would shower inside T.B.A. on getaway day. The building has since been renovated and I think they did a really nice job and the luxury boxes and Loge Suites are really nice, those are the ones that take up one half of the upper level. From what I was told overall capacity was reduced from 25,000 to 20,800 as they also got rid of the last couple of rows of bleachers in the upper level. Furthermore, tons of banners hanging in the rafters from the Women's team. This is similar to Athens where Gymnastics has all the banners in the building. I am still impressed they sell 20,000 a game for both women's and men's basketball. That is unreal.

Another opportunity for the Dawgs as we have two more weeks of regular season SEC play. This week Georgia visits Florida during the week before hosting South Carolina Saturday night in the Stegasorous.The trip to Gainesville will not be easy as we are 11-20 all time in the O'Dome. However, with the way we have played on the road this season and the Gators potentially missing Chandler Parsons...who knows what will happen. I do know if we can hold serve at home these final two home games we will hit twenty wins and should find the Dawgs dancing in March.

2. Baseball Thoughts
a. It is no secret I think Carlos Gonzalez is one of the best players in baseball, but when I saw these numbers I was a little concerned. For starters, CarGo has only had 1 season of greatness. In addition his BABIP is very high (.384), causing some to question if he was more lucky than good.
b. Other people look his road numbers as cause for concern. Last season he had a line of 289-8-41-41 in 71 games. However, I do not worry about that road line as much as others because .289 is still respectable and with Coors Field as his home ballpark you have to expect some drop off when the Rockies leave the friendly confines of Coors Field. 
c. Is it me or are we seeing and hearing a lot of weight loss/gain numbers this spring? It seem like more than usual. Here are a couple of the countless of numbers that I have found intriguing: The Panda, Pablo Sandoval, lost 38 lbs, body fat down 11%. He now weighs 240 with 19%. The next intriguing weight loss is AROD who has weighed in at 223 lbs. which is down from 233 at end of last year. Body fat dropped from 12 percent to 9. Lastly, Padres 3B Chase Headley reported heavier/stronger at 222 pounds after offseason program. Played most of 2010 at 201, 202 pounds.
d. The Pirates won 17 games last year on the road (64 loses). This is the worst in baseball since expansion in 1961 to 162 games.
e. Carlos Marmol K/9 mark of 15.99 is best mark in baseball history, min 50 IP. He had more Ks than Blanton, Lowe, Arroyo, Carmona. Those other guys are starting pitchers while Marmol is a closer.

f. Joel Hanrahan in 2010: K/9 of 12.92 included a 13.50 K/9 and a 4.00 K/BB ratio over his last 33 appearances. He should be the Pirates closer this season.

g. Nick Cafardo in the Sunday Globe Baseball Notes gives us his list of the top 30 managers in baseball. What are everyone's thoughts?

h. I had no idea Damon and Manny were so close in all-time hits. The two are only separated by just two hits (2,573-2,571) in Manny’s favor. Most career hits combined by a set of teammates?

i. For the Rays last season, Jason Bartlett hit .254 with four homers. For the Brewers last season, Yovani Gallardo hit .254 with four homers and went 14-7 with a 3.84 ERA.
j. Through the first four years of his career, Tim Lincecum is 56-27 (.675) with a 3.04 ERA, pretty darn close to Giants Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, who was 62-31 (.667) with a 3.05 ERA in his first four seasons.
k. Pretty neat to see Under Armour being names the "Official Performance Footwear" of MLB. Say what you want about MLB but they have done a great job finding different sponsors for each part of the uniform. Majestic is official provider of the uniform while Nike is the official provider of all the apparel that is not the uniform. (Undershirts, etc). Who thought you could sell the uniform three different ways?
l. Some of the top baseball players that have been wearing the UnderArmour brand include Buster Posey, Jonathon Papelbon, Ryan Zimmerman, Matt Wieters, Jose Reyes, and Nick Markakis.
m.Monday was a big day in Baseball history as on that date in 1968 MLB announced a minimum annual salary of $10,000. Boy those times sure have changed.

3. 2011 College Football A Dream Season
This is my early breakdown of the top games of the 2011 season and if I could watch any game, any weekend this is what I would choose. I tried to look at National game of interests but my SEC bias and love is to strong.

September 3rd- Georgia-Boise State at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Are the Dawgs back? Last time UGA opened with Boise we won the SEC and was an Auburn 4th and 19th completion away from maybe playing for the National Championship. (My worst memory in Sanford Stadium)

September 10th- Alabama at Penn State Happy Vally, Pa. Two of College Football classic teams (along with classic uniforms) match-up in a great setting in central Pennsylvania.

September 17th- Oklahoma-Florida St in Tallahassee. Potential for #1 versus #2 the third week of the season. Wow. If it is not #1 versus #2 it will be a top 5 matchup.

September 24th-Florida State at Clemson- The game known as the Bowden Bowl for the longest of times currently does not have a Bowden on staff at either school. Tough conference opener for the Noles on the road especially after playing Oklahoma the week before. For what its worth Clemson does host Auburn at home the week before. (more on this subject later).

October 1st-Alabama-Florida in the Swamp. Two of the last three national champions. We have witnessed some classics between these two the past few years. The SEC's two flagship programs. As a UGA guy it hurts writing that last sentence.

October 8th-Ohio State at Nebraska in Lincoln. Holy smokes what a game. These two have the potential to play each other in two months at the first ever Big 10 championship game in Indy.

October 15th-Florida at Auburn-Underrated rivalry by SEC standards. This game has seen Spurrier kick a 40 yard field goal to win the Heisman Trophy. Who can forget Auburn kicker Wes Byrum making the game winning field goal twice in 2007 and then run off the field doing the Gator Chomp. This game seems to always come to a kick.

October 22nd- USC at Notre Dame-Both schools combined have produced the most national titles (21), Heisman trophy winners (14),All-Americans, College Football Hall of Famers and future NFL Hall of Famers (21)than any other collegiate series.

October 29th-Georgia-Florida in Jacksonville. This statement has been written for about 18 years but it is time to change the balance of power in this rivalry to the school from the state of Georgia.

November 5th-LSU at Alabama- The Crimson Tide leads the head-to-head series at 45–24–5, but the series is split evenly at 14-14-1 over the last 29 seasons, including 2-2 during Saban's 4-year tenure at Alabama.

November 12th-Auburn at Georgia- The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry- Auburn holds 54-52-8 lead in the rivalry. However, Georgia leads the cumulative score by thirty-eight points: 1,809-1,771, or a per-game average of 15.86-15.53.

November 19th-Southern Cal at Oregon-One of college football's most prolific offense's against what has been one of it's best defenses. Can Monte Kiffin stop the fast break offense?

November 26th-Alabama at Auburn- The amount of fist-fights for this game will be in the 1000's. (I am talking in the stands, at tailgates, at malls in Mobile) The Alabama National Guard might need to be called in. And no I am not kidding.

December 3rd- SEC Championship in Atlanta. Usually the winner plays in the National Championship Game thus a defacto Semi-final game.

December 10th- Army-Navy in Landover, Md (Fed Ex Field-home of the Washington Redskins). I went to this game this past season in Philly. This game stands for such much more than a football game. Great pageantry. Something every college football fan should witness once.

4. Spring Training Fun Facts

a. The Florida Grapefruit and Arizona Cactus leagues are a 50-50 split, with 15 teams training in each of the two states. With 15 in each place look for more split squad games and off days as an odd number has to be a schedule maker worst nightmare. (This is why we have 16 NL teams and 14 AL teams).
b. The only double-decker spring training baseball stadium in Florida, would be at the home of the Atlanta Braves which is Champion Stadium at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex. Champion Stadium is also the state’s tallest spring training ballpark at 100 feet high.
c. Only one Grapefruit League teams share a stadium and that would be the Cardinals and Marlins in Jupiter, Florida. Both the Twins and Red Sox train in the city of Ft. Myers but play at different ballparks.
d. In Arizona we have 10 Cactus League teams share five spring training sites. The Reds and Indians train together at Goodyear, Arizona. The Royals and Rangers both train at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Az. The Padres and Mariners call the Peoria Sports Complex home. Camelback Ranch is the home of both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. Arizona and Colorado share a facility at the brand new Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Az.
e. Do not ask me why this is more commonplace in Arizona than Florida. My only guess would be cheaper land and more readily available land for these complexes in Arizona than in Florida. But who knows.
f. This year Washington National pitcher John Lannon got to spring training by taking Amtrak from metro DC to Samford, Fl. Pretty cool story.
g. The Yankees train in Tampa, but the Tampa Bay Rays train 94 miles away in Port Charlotte.

5. Halftime
This week's song that Smoak and myself used to rock out to while cruising the mean streets of metropolitan Sylvania is Black by Pearl Jam. If memory serves me correct I do believe that the greatest kicker in Screven County history Donald Sheppard was also a big fan of Pearl Jam back in the day. Last week's trivia question was to name the top 10 home run hitters in Braves history. Co-worker Bob and Donald came the closest each naming seven a piece. The list includes:
1. Hank Aaron 733
2. Eddie Matthews 493
3. Chipper Jones 436
4. Dale Murphy 371
5. Andruw Jones 368
6. Joe Adcock 239
7. Bob Horner 215
8. Javy Lopez 214
9. Wally Berger 199
10. Del Crandall 170

This week's trivia question is The Atlanta Braves took the longest to have a player achieve 50+ home
runs in a season, at 130 years when Andruw Jones hit 51 in 2005.

Can you name the 11 other teams that have never had a player hit 50+ home runs in a season? (5-AL, 6-NL)

I was able to name 8 of the 11.

6. College Football Notes
a. Does anyone realize that the Irish will play Navy in Dublin, Georgia Ireland to open up the 2012 season. How are both schools pulling this off? How much of my tax dollars will be used to shuttle big time Naval officers to Ireland? What about the security issues of keeping safe future officers in the United States military?
b. Notre Dame that same season also plays a neutral site game in Chicago at Soldier Field against the University of Miami. The boys from better hope winter does not come early to the midwest. Just saying.
c. Why does the ACC wait until February to release its football schedule? UGA knows it conference and non-conference schedule for the next four to five seasons. In addition the ACC needs to do a better job of designing a schedule to benefit its stronger teams.
d. The Captain touched on this issue this past mid week with this very informative post.LINK IT
e. Here are some examples, why does Florida State have to play Oklahoma at home the week before traveling to Clemson?
f. Virgina Tech opens up with four cupcakes before back to back homes games against Clemson and Miami. Why do they not break up those cupcakes and split the Clemson and Miami games?
g. Why does ACC make Virginia finish with Florida State and Virginia Tech? Why is North Carolina partnered with the same Clemson-Miami back to back game issue that Virginia Tech faces.
h. How about this stretch for Clemson? Out of conference versus Auburn at home, Florida State at home, Virginia Tech on the road. Who at Clemson angered someone at the conference office?
i. Is this the case of basketball minded guys putting together a football schedule? Their might be something to this thought. Need to more research on how and who designs the ACC football schedule.
j. Let's look at how the SEC schedules its marquee games. Let's look at UGA where our four biggest games (my opinion) are Boise State, Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech. Boise is first game of the season so we have all summer, this is the third year UGA has had a bye week before Florida in last 20 years (we are 3-1 with the bye week). Just as a reminder we only have three wins against the Gators in the past 20 years. We play New Mexico State before Auburn and Kentucky before Tech.
k. Alabama's four biggest games are at Penn State, Tennessee, at Florida and at Auburn. They play Kent State before traveling to Penn State. They play at Ole Miss before the 3rd Saturday in October. Before the tide roll into Florida they host Arkansas at home. Before the Iron Bowl the Tide play host to Georgia Southern.
l. Auburn's four biggest games are Florida, at LSU, at UGA, and home to Bama. The tigers schedule is tougher by SEC standards but a capcake last season when everything came together and NCAA rules did not apply anymore. Before hosting Florida the Tigers play at Arkansas. After the Florida game they travel to LSU. Not easy or fun. However, the War Turkey's have a bye before UGA and play Samford not Stanford before the Iron Bowl.
m. LSU four biggest games in 2011 include Oregon, Florida, Auburn and Alabama. This is another tough schedule by SEC standards as the Bayou Bengals also visit Morgantown, West Virginia and the Mountaineers in 2011. The Tigers open with Oregon so they have all summer to prepare. Before the Tigers host the Gators, UK will visit the Bayou. LSU must visit Tennessee before Auburn. However, they have a bye week before Alabama.
n. The one team that did get the short end of the scheduling stick is Florida. However, they have not left the state for an out of conference since the early 90's. Plus they are Florida so who cares. The Gators have five really big games this season in Bama, at LSU, at Auburn, Georgia and Florida State. They get a bye before the Dawgs and Furman before the Noles. However, the must play Bama, LSU, Auburn in a row.
o. I know I used this line before but after looking at that schedule no wonder Urban Meyer wanted to "spend more time with his family."
p. Wednesday was a very bad day for Auburn Tigers. For one it was confirmed that the oaks in Toomer's Corner were poisoned and said to be dying. I could go on and on on this topic but I would think no one at Florida would poison UGA or no one at Georgia would poison Smokey the Tennessee mascot. I would also like to think no one at South Carolina would chip or crack Howard's Rock. Furthermore, you would think no Clemson Tiger would poison the South Carolina live mascot Big Spur but who knows. I know the person who did this was not a Bama alumni or season ticket holder but nonetheless where are we as a society.
q. With that being said, any time I see a real Yellow Jacket.....I attack with Raid.
r. Back to Auburn's bad day on Wednesday Thayer Evans, reported that NCAA was investigating coach Trooper Taylor (the jumping jack hat backwards guy) for possible recruiting violations.
s. I like to take everything Evans writes with a grain of salt so no telling the truth but their is a quote in the article that we will see as the quote of the week.
t. Whether true or not this is not a sentence you want written about your program; In December, Lorio told that several coaches and students saw Robinson show off cash and a new iPhone at school after making an unofficial visit to Auburn earlier in the year.
u. Again this is all circumstantial and has not been proven yet. However, it seems like a lot of smoke for a fire that has yet to be confirmed.

7. College Hoops Power 5
1. Duke- I pray to god the NCAA does not give them the easiest road to a championship like last season.
2. Ohio State- Only two losses were at Wisconsin and at Purdue.
3. Pittsburgh-First road loss was this season was the Garden against the Johnnies. You can't hold that against them.
4. San Diego State- Roomdawg says this could be a 7-2 upset in tourney. I say they could be Final Four team.
5. BYU- They travel to San Diego on Saturday in a rematch of the classic they played earlier this season.

8. Extracurricular Activities
a. Nashville, Tn keeps getting cooler and cooler everytime I visit. Another awesome time on Saturday night. I need to make more trips besides what seems like almost once every two years. I do know I will be going back in October (unless the Braves are playing in NLCS which I hope is the case).
b. Otter's chicken fingers needs to open a location closer to downtown Atlanta than out in the burbs....just saying.
c. If I could only watch one television show a week it would be the Amazing Race. Is it me or does the show seem to get better and better each season. I am worried about the Cowboys as they are one of my favorite competitors and it will be real difficult for them to come back and not get eliminated.
d. However, it is the Amazing Race and crazy happens all the time. For the first stage of the race the racers have gone to Sidney, Australia. How have I never been to Australia before? First thing their summer is our winter so December, January, and February are the times to go.
e. Furthermore, I have yet to talk to anyone who has gone to Australia and not have an amazing time.
f. How I Met Your Mother was decent last night. They have had a good run of about 4-5 episodes in a row so it is tough to bring your A game every week. Seinfeld might be only show that was awesome every episode.
g. Speaking of HIMYM I need to rant on Ted. He spends a majority of the episodes wanting a serious relationship and has soon as he gets in one he flees. He did this last week when he went to Minnesota for no reason. Why does that happen?
h. If I were only allowed to watch two shows a week the second one would be Modern Family. I love every character and Cam's line at the start of last week's episode might have been the best one in show history.
i. If you could watch only two shows what would they be?

Tweet of The Week
This week's tweet comes from @jspriggsdakid who is Jordon Spriggs who is a defensive back for Auburn.
man who is good at writing papers??????????? i pay.........

If I was an Auburn football player I would think I am invincible and that rules do not matter because I will get away with them thus I might see why Jordon does not think they are big deal.

Text of The Week
From the best baseball coach in Screven Coount history...
Am I only person not impressed with Blake Griffin jumping over the car. We've seen guys jump from twice as far back from free throw line. I could jump over hood of the KIA and I'm washed up with sh!tty knees.
I think the most impressive part was Baron Davis fitting inside a KIA. Coach Smoak wished he had my calves....what does that mean?

Quote of The Week
This week's quote of the week comes from Lydia Robinson who is the grandmother of Greg Robinson the athlete whose recruitment to Auburn is being investigated by the NCAA. (See article above) Safe to say she is not big fan of Auburn. The quote is from the article.

She said Auburn's coaches "weren't very intelligent" and was especially critical of Taylor, who she says "got a lot of lies in there when he was talking."

That reminds me of the old joke, how do you know so and so is lying? Their lips are moving.

Picture of The Week
If you look behind the basketball you will find a handsome devil in a red sweatervest. Sitted next to me is one Tyler Graham, Alex Ingle and Andrew Walters.  A-list crew.

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