Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ten Things JJ Thinks He Thinks

Here are Ten Things for another week. First time in a really long time. Have you missed me? As always I appreciate your comments, feedback and criticism. Maybe not so much on criticism but if something is weak sauce let me know.

1. Georgia Thoughts
We are 110 days away from the start of college football season. This guy is really excited! A couple of thoughts.
a. Our schedule is really favorable next season. However, the three biggest games of the season will be away from Sanford Stadium. We play at South Carolina, at Auburn and of course Florida in Jacksonville. Some of Richt's best teams have had no issue of going on the road and getting big wins.
b. Look for Aaron Murray to take another big step next season. Look at how his numbers improved from his freshmen to sophomore years. Think how they can improve from his sophomore to junior season.
c. Murray graduated this weekend. I am sure he will enroll in some sort of graduate program. Does the graduate program have a chance to be less taxing on him time wise than if he were still an undergrad?
d. For those that do not believe Murray is the answer at QB, go buy a map or visit because you are lost.
e. Can Isiah Crowell stay healthy the entire season. I read somewhere he played most of the season with a fracture in the ankle. Do not forget he rushed for 850 years in 185 attempts.
f. The baseball team is hanging around with a 13-13 SEC record. They should make a regional. However, if they start swinging the bats they have a chance to make a run at Omaha with their deep pitching.
g. How bout both the Men and Women's tennis made the sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament on Sunday. The NCAA finals start next weekend in Athens. A very fun tournament to attend.

2. Top Ten College Football Coaches in the Country-My Opinion
Earlier this week The Sporting News released their list of College Football Coaches. You can read the list here. Below you will see my list. Let me know your thoughts.

1. Nick Saban- Saban has won 3 BCS National Championships in the last  years despite coaching in the NFL for two of those seasons. In the last four seasons he is 28-4 in SEC Games. I love that he preaches to his team the philosophy of "process oriented" compared to "results oriented."

2. Chris Peterson- Has a career winning percentage over .900. In the last three years he has beaten Oregon, Virginia Tech and UGA to start the season.

3. Chip Kelly- Was this guy really at New Hampshire 6 years ago? If you want to know more about  Kelly read this outstanding profile from the NY Times in 2010.

4. Steve Spurrier- This guy won a ACC Championship at Duke of all places. In the last seven years he has turned one of the worst college football programs in the country to a power in the SEC.  Let's not forget what he did at Florida.(For those that do not know history look at the program pre-1990).

5. Urban Meyer- I absolutely cannot stand this guy. I think he is a liar, bully and obnoxious. However, he is one heckuva coach has had monster success everywhere he has coached. (Bowling Green, Utah and Florida).

6. Gary Peterson- His defenses are always outstanding. TCU has won at least 11 games four years in a row and seven of the past nine. Do not forget he beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl two years ago.

7. Les Miles- I know he is goofy but that does not mean he cannot coach. Miles is often the smartest guy in the room while acting the opposite. Has won 11 games 5 of his 7 seasons at LSU. His conference record is 41-15. I love the fact he eats grass while pacing the sidelines at Tiger Stadium.

8. Bob Stoops- 139 wins in 13 years at Oklahoma. I know someone will knock him for his teams getting beat in BCS games. They may lose Bowl Games but he has won a National Championship and is in the top 5 every season.

9. Mike Leach- I am fascinated by this guy who for some reason was railroaded by Craig James at Texas Tech. How long before he starts playing with and beating the USC and Oregon's of the Pac-12.

10. Mack Brown- Before he arrived at Texas the Longhorns were coming off back to back losing season. In his 14 seasons they are 141-39. Is it easier to be the head coach at the University of Texas compared to other schools? Yes, but he is still one of the top coaches in school history so he makes the list.

3. 5 Way to Early Heisman Predictions
1. Matt Barkley- Finished last season sixth in Heisman voting and looks like the frontrunner for the 2012 award. He finished 2011 with a 39-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio while completing 69.1% of his passes. A couple of weeks ago Grantland had a tremendous profile on Barkley and how he told Lane Kiffin he was staying for another season.
2. Denard "Shoelace" Robinson- Where Shoelace at? The Michigan senior has done it all. He currently holds the NCAA season record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,702). If he is able to lead his Wolverines to an upset of Alabama in week one of the season he will jump to the top of the Heisman list.
3. Montee Ball- The Wisconsin running back tied or set the following NCAA records last season; most touchdowns, season: 39 (2011), most consecutive games with two or more touchdowns: 13 (2011), most points scored by non-kicker: 236 (2011)
4. Geno Smith- It took a while but when Smith picked up new coach Dana Holgorsen offense the Mountaineers really took off. How will he fare against the BIG 12 defenses which are not great but better than what he sees week in week out in the Big East.
5. De'Anthony Thomas- Oregon running back who has the potential to put up all world numbers in Chip Kelly's offense. Thomas is also a sprinter, with a personal best of 10.57 seconds in the 100 meters and 20.61 seconds in the 200 meters.
Other potential canidates, Aaron Murray, Tyrann Mathieu, EJ Manuel and AJ McCarron.

4. Baseball Thoughts and Nuggets
a. Josh Hamilton's Four homer game this week has been the talk of baseball. His 18 total bases in one game was even more impressive. The four homer game has only happened 16 teams in Major League Baseball history. To show one how was rare this feat is accomplished, there have been 21 perfect games pitched in MLB history.
b. When I started writing 10 things on Thursday night I wrote: Josh Hamilton equals Roy Hobbs. Then on Saturday afternoon ESPN writer Jim Caple wrote an article with the same headline.
c. For those that do not know of Roy Hobbs, I have no words for you. He is the character portrayed by Robert Redford in the movie The Natural. For those that have not seen The Natural, apologize to me and then rent it this weekend.
d. I am really exited to see both Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg in person in a couple weeks. I am amazed how well the Nationals are playing despite all the injuries that have suffered.
e. Can their pitchers keep the 2.60 ERA going for a full season? (As soon as I wrote that sentence Joey Votto hit a walkoff grandslam to beat the Nationals and put the Braves in first place).
f. Joey Votto would get hot right before flying to Atlanta to play the Braves. Why does that always happen?
g. Willie Mays and Josh Hamilton are the only two players in MLB history with a .400 batting average and at least 17 homers in their team's first 34 games
h.Should we begin to take the Baltimore Orioles seriously this season? In their past 13 games they have played the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Rays. In those 13 games the O's are 8-5. If you play 8-5 baseball over 162 games you end up with 100 wins.
i. This is why baseball is the best. Brandon Inge who has not hit for two years and was released by Detroit this season had 4 games this week with 4 plus RBI within a 5 game stretch. The only other person to accomplish that feat? The Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig.
j. The only winless Opening Day starters are Josh Johnson (not my brother) and Ryan Dempster. I feel sorry for Dempster who has a 1.02 ERA. Johnson's era is 5.87.
k. Before Tuesday no other MLB season had enjoyed a perfect game and a 4 homer game. It is only May 14th and we have had the privilege of seeing both. What else awesome will we see this season?
l. On Friday night Adam Dunn did something unusual. He did not strike out. This was the first time he did not strike out in a game since September 23rd of last season.
m. Here are some crazy Roy Halladay stats. The San Diego Padres are the first team to beat Halladay twice in one season. Even crazier is the fact that as of Sunday morning the Padres only have 12 wins all season.
n. The Phillies have also lost Halladay's last five starts.
o. Does Derek Jeter have a chance to break Pete Rose's hit record of 4256? I have no idea but on Saturday he tied Tony Gwynn for 17th place on baseball's all-time hit list with 3,141.
p. If Jeter can get 143 more hits this season he will pass Willie Mays for 11th of all time. Those that should get passed this season include Robin Yount (3142), Paul Waner (3152), George Brett (3154), Cal Ripken (3184), Nap Lajoie (3242), Eddie Murray (3255), Willie Mays (3283).
q. Jeter has this year and two more on his contract. If he can get 143 more hits this season and then average 175 over the following two seasons he will end up with 3634 hits. That will be fourth all time passing Stan Musial (3630), Tris Speaker (3514), Cap Anson (3435), Honus Wagner (3420), Cary Yastrzemski (3419), Paul Molitar (3319) and Eddie Collins (3315).
r. The top three in hits are Pete Rose (4256), Ty Cobb (4189), and Aaron (3171).
s. A lot of mortals I just named.
t. Still hard to believe Jeter is first Yankee to get to 3000 hits.

5. What I Read This Week

The first great read of the week comes from Grantland and it is a reprint of Hunter S. Thompson classic story on the Kentucky Derby in 1970. This three day tale is amazing and maybe a tad unbelievable. The story begins like many of Thompson's stories (and great tales for that matter), with drinks at the beer. Not many people write like Thompson writes today. Long read so print out and read while on the treadmill or on the throne.

The second read comes from Deadspin and was written in February of this year. This read takes a look at The Simpsons and the making of "Homer The Bat." When I was 10 I thought this was the coolest episode ever. (Who are we kidding I am 30 now and still think it is really cool). The back stories of how everything came together is absolutely fascinating. Hard to believe that this episode drew better ratings than The Cosby Show or The Winter Olympics from Albertville, France.

6. Halftime
This weeks song that Smoak and myself used to rock out to while cruising the streets of metro Sylvania is Plush by the Stone Temple Pilots. I saw this trivia question while watching the Rockies-Dodgers contest yesterday afternoon. So I will ask it here: Name all the managers in the history of the Colorado Rockies. Because I am a standup guy I will give you a hint: The Rockies have been around since 1993 and have only had 4 managers. No cheating.

7. Summer Books

I have often heard their is no better time to catch up on some reading than the summer time. One day my lottery numbers will hit and I will have the time to read all these books. In the meantime here is what I should be reading. Some of these books are a couple years old and should have been read earlier by me. What are you reading that I should be reading? This does not include Fifty Shades of Grey.

1. The Hunger Games- I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie but I had to see the movie which I absolutely loved. Amazing how much I enjoyed the movie.
2. The Passage of Power: The Lyndon Johnson Years-Another history book that interests the geek in me.
3. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business- This looks fascinating and I love reading books on how to improve myself personally and professionally.
4. Calico Joe- John Grisham writing about baseball. How will this book not be awesome?
5. The Art of Fielding - This Book has been on my list for a while now. I need to make it happen.
6. Father's Day: A Journey into the Heart and Mind of My Extraordinary Son: Buzz Bissinger absolutely fascinates me. I absolutely love his tweet rants. His two books Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August were both really good reads.
7. Steve Jobs - We should all read more biographies.
8. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference - Malcolm Gladwell. That is all I need to say.
9. Starting and Closing - John Smoltz's book.
10. The President's Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity - I was sold when I read this description; The inside story of the world's most exclusive fraternity; how presidents from Hoover through Obama worked with--and sometimes, against--each other when they were in and out of power.

8. Summer Movies

Below are the movies I am most interested in seeing this summer. Click on the link for the trailer from each movie.The Avengers would have ranked #2 on this list if I would have written it two weeks ago. I saw The Avengers this week and absolutely loved everything about the movie.
1. The Dark Knight Rises- Have you seen this trailer or the earlier two movies by Christopher Nolan. I will be disappointed in myself if I do not attend the midnight showing when this movie opens. On a side note, how awesome is it that Michael Caine plays Alfred?
2. The Amazing Spider-Man - Do we need another Spider-Man /superhero movie this summer? Probably not but Peter Parker/Spider Man has always been one of my favorite superheros. Spider Man is played by Andrew Garfield who portrays a stronger more confident Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire. The very underrated Dennis Leary and the fabulous Emma Stone also star.
3. The Campaign- Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as dueling small town politicians. What else do I need to add?
4. Moonrise Kingdom- Another movie that looks hilarious. Great cast that includes Bill Murray, Ed Norton and Bruce Willis.Set in the 1960s, a pair of young lovers (Kara Hayward, Jared Gilman) flee their New England island town, prompting a local search party led by the Sheriff (Bruce Willis) to fan out to find them.The film will premiere on Wednesday at Opening Night of the Cannes Film Festival. It will open May 25th in America.
5. Lawless - Another film set to compete at the Cannes Film Festival but will not premiere stateside until August 31st. (The last official weekend of summer) Three brothers find their bootlegging business under threat in prohibition era Franklin County, Virginia. As someone who is a little bit of a history nerd the prohibition era fascinates me.
Bonus: To Rome With Love- As someone who enjoys movies I need to watch more Woody Allen movies. This looks very funny with a great cast that includes Penélope Cruz, Ellen Page, Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg. On a side note Italy is #1 on my list of countries to visit.

9. Non Baseball or Football Thoughts
a. Every year around this town Drew Magary of Deadspin writes a special graduation message to those graduating each year. This year's message is really good. Yes, the world does not care (he uses more colorful language) but the same world that does not care gives one the opportunity for anything and everything imaginable.
b. Here are some other graduation messages that are must reads; 2011 speech, 2010 speech (the hoverboard from Back to The Future is referenced), 2009 speech and his 2008 speech
c. For the past 10 years I have had the goal of going to one new baseball stadium each summer. Right now I have no idea what new stadium I will get to this season. The only stadiums in the Eastern Time Zones I have yet to visit are Cleveland, Toronto and Miami. I probably should have road trip to St. Louis this weekend.
d. The Cubs and White Sox both play at home weekend before my birthday. Very intrigued. I have been to Wrigley but not US Cellular. Only potential issue is I have plans to go to NYC week after my birthday.
e. I would write 10 things more often if my computer was not weak sauce.
f. This is probably my favorite song right now. Dan Patrick even sang some lines on his show on Monday of this past week.
g. Speaking of DP, two Fridays ago he absolutely unleashed on Colin Cowherd.Very fascinating radio. DP has done an amazing job in getting his show on multiple platforms. You can listen to the show on the radio or internet, watch it on television (with televised replays) and download off of itunes.
h. The guys at Awful Announcing do a great job breaking down DP's rant and even has a Youtube clip for everyone.
i. I saw The Dictator on Thursday this past week. A laugh a minute. I will probably need to see again as I missed some jokes from me laughing or other people laughing. Very good.
j. One day I need to write a post with my thoughts on College Football playoffs, conference expansion and the sport in general.
k. I absolutely love the show VEEP. Julia Louis Dreyfus is such a smart @$$ and all the characters are very snarky with each other.
l. I should watch The Apprentice more often. Every-time I watch I get into it and love every moment.
m. Looking forward to the season finales of HIMYM and Hawaii 5-0 tonight. Watching Hawaii 5-0 makes me want to plan a vacation sooner than later to the islands in the Pacific.
n. What else should I be watching?
o. When does Royal Pain start again? One of my favorite shows.
p. Am I the only one who keeps watching baseball when the Braves win, but on the random night when they do not win I do not watch SportsCenter or MLB Tonight. Is this normal?
q. On Tuesday I saw The Avengers at CineBistro in Brookhaven. While the movie was awesome, the story of the night was the movie theater. Two great things about this theater, reserved seating (yes you can pick out your seats when you purchase online) and ultra-luxurious high back leather rocking chairs. If you live in the metro Atlanta area you must visit.
r. Happy Mother's Day Mom!

10. Extra Credit

Quote of the Week
"You know what, I think the Bulldog Nation likes a little piss and vinegar."
-Coach Richt speaking at a Bulldawg Club Event in Macon. Yes we do coach, yes we do. 

Read more here:
Text of the Week
A couple weeks ago I was trying to get Ben to hang out with Smoak and myself. I sent him this text.
If you think hanging with the slice will be more fun than Hollywood Haney and myself go for it, but lets be serious. 

Text of the Week II
From Todd in The Big Apple a few weeks ago.
Nice to see the lady dawgs in their pink jerseys. Women's college softball...I love this game

Text of the Week III
Mr. Easton also sent me this text in December at the start of bowl season.
So do you have tickets to the "carvers country kitchen bowl?"

Tweet of the Week
Of course it would be a Stangel brother with the Tweet of the Week. Follow @justin_stangel

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I hope you follow me on Twitter because I'm not calling.

Photo of The Week
A tweet pic from @cineandreea of the Supermoon last week. We are looking at the Black Sea in Romania.

Have an awesome week!

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