Running around to Give you the Reacharound

1.29.2009

Retrospecticus: Dennis Felton

Yes, of course I'll be changing out the UGA logo curtains in my home. And frankly I think that's a very unprofessional question.


The Dennis Felton era at UGA ended this morning after a tumultuous five and a half seasons of mostly disappointing basketball in Athens. When Felton was hired in April 2003, I knew of no Georgia fans that were unenthusiastic about the hire. Unenthusiastic about the situation our new coach was inheriting? Yes. But the thought process then was that we were getting a successful young coach that had succeeded at a mid-major program from a hoops crazy state, averaging 20 wins a season during his time at Western Kentucky. For those who were disgusted with the state of the basketball program under Harrick, it was refreshing to see the disciplinarian approach Felton immediately brought to the team, jettisoning repeated-troublemaker Steve Thomas before he had even coached his first game. It was clear that things were going to be done Felton's way, or they weren't going to be done at all.

With some holdovers from Harrick's uber-successful (at least by UGA standards) teams, Felton's 2003-2004 squad finished the season strong to earn an NIT berth, where they were eliminated in the first round. Save for another NIT stint in 2007 and last year's insane ice-storm/two-games-at-Tech-in-one-day run to win the SEC Tournament, which would prove to be one of the few highlights from Felton's time in Athens.

Because of the brutal situation inherited, Felton was given a longer leash than is usually provided in Division 1 basketball. Not much was expected of the 04-05 or 05-06 squads, and those teams obliged, combining for a 23-35 record. This period wouldn't have stung so bad had two of the three blue-chip recruits Felton had landed (Louis Williams, Mike Mercer and Robert Dozier) ever set foot on campus. Unfortunately, Williams went pro right out of high school and Dozier ended up at Memphis after failing to qualify academically. Beyond those three players, however, Felton had made basically no inroads in the fertile Atlanta and Georgia recruiting markets, a unacceptable trend would continue through today.

Also, while no one doubted that Felton was a principled man that held his players to a high academic and personal conduct standard, his players continued to find trouble off the court. Mercer was kicked off the team last season following a string of academic and disciplinary suspensions. Steady JUCO transfer Takias Brown, the leading rebounder on the 06-07 team, was suspended twice and dismissed after failing to meet academic and class-attendance requirements. High-scoring shooting guard Billy Humphrey was likewise dismissed last summer after three arrests in eight months. For all the preaching about rebuilding the program with men of character that Georgia fans could be proud of, it became apparent that Felton had lost control of the program and was on borrowed time.

Even after winning that bizzarre SEC Tournament and playing a good Xavier team tough in the first round of the NCAA tournament, it never seemed Felton had regained the trust of the UGA faithful or the administration. For me, the low point came during a loss at Western Kentucky on December 2nd. That was a game that UGA had scheduled as part of a deal when they signed Felton away from WKU. Not only did lose the game, but they weren't even favored against a program that had once appeared to be a no-brainer stepping stone to a better job, such as UGA's.

Felton was out of excuses and again on borrowed time. As Georgia Sports Blog has pointed out, programs (i.e. Baylor) have come back from worse situations quicker than what Dawg fans were seeing play out in Stegman. An 0-5 start to the SEC schedule, and last night's 26 point loss to Florida, were the final nails in the coffin. I wish Felton nothing but the best of luck in the future and I hope he succeeds in his next gig. I have no doubt he tried his damndest to succeed at Georgia. Unfortunately, he failed and it was time to cut the cord. There will be time to speculate on who the next Georgia coach will be (list!), but for now, the program and the athletic association can finally move forward in that direction.

Hopefully sometime soon, UGA students can form a line outside of Stegman, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to purchase season tickets to watch an exciting team, as I did prior to the '01 and '02 seasons. Because say what you will about Harrick, but he always got the most out of his players and his teams won. There's got to be a happy medium between his coaching style and Felton's admirable approach, and I hope Adams, Evans, et. al. can find it. Georgia basketball fans deserve that much.

Next Week, The Roethlisberger-Montana Comparisons Begin

Deadspin does a good job of pointing out all the ways that sportswriters are currently falling over themselves in an effort to annoint Larry Fitzgerald not only the best receiver in the NFL, but maybe the league's best player.

Apparantly they've forgotten that they were bestowing Ed Reed with similar ink-stained fellatio not less than three weeks ago.

Surely these writers made their voices heard and did their best to influence the 2008 MVP vote, right? You know, the award that sports writers vote on? The results:

Peyton Manning - 32 Votes
Chad Pennington - 4 Votes
Michael Turner - 4 Votes
Adrian Peterson - 3 Votes
James Harrison - 3 Votes
Philip Rivers - 2 Votes
Chris Johnson - 1 Vote
Kurt Warner - 1 Vote

Of course! A combined zero votes for the greatest(!!!) DB and WR of this generation, having their best years EVER, carrying their teammates single-handedly deep into the postseason.

Note Chad Pennington and Philip Rivers on that list...as well as a rookie, and a teammate of Fitzgerald's. Just sayin'.

This might double as Sue's Super Bowl preview but hopefully not. UGA-centric post coming later today.

1.28.2009

Bawlin' Cawlin' 01-28-09

4-6 in their last 10 games, I'm not feeling overly confident about the Hawks walking into the Garden tonight. But, if you were to tell me that 44 games into the season Atlanta would be a few games ahead of Detroit for the #4 seed in the playoffs, I think I'd be marginally satisfied and perhaps even a bit impressed. A little like when the timid, not-overly-hot girl turns out to be the most ferocious tiger in bed. Rowwwl!

The real question at this point: does Atlanta stand a good chance of beating Deeeeetriot baaaaasketball in a 7-game series. If Miami somehow sneaks into the 5 spot, I'm almost positive Atlanta would beat the Heat, but I have to like my chances that the Hawks could beat Detroit regardless. In other words, provided the current momentum (last 10 games notwithstanding) continues, Sue's is making the bold prediction that we'll see the Hawks in the second round this year.

From good news to the UGH department, we have the most recent news on the squabbling Hawks ownership. This is ridiculous. I mean, the Hawks ownership is more dysfunctional than the Brady Bunch family. Only instead of the Brady's the family is comprised of fucking crackheads. The gist:
"The [Hawks and Thrashers] and the arena lost $48.9 million in the 2002-03 season; $37.3 million in 2003-04; $12.5 million in 2004-05; $24.8 million in 2005-06; $27.2 million in 2006-07; and $23.1 million in 2007-08."
Wonderful. Look, if the 8 of you can't pull your collective money-grubbing shit together, I'm going to nominate and openly campaign for new ownership of the hopefully-soon-to-be-formerly-named-Spirit Group's primary holdings, the Hawks and Thrashers. Actually, I don't really care about the Thrashers. You can run them into the ground for all I care. But the Hawks have potential, dammit! Stop squandering an excellent opportunity to make the Hawks one of the most popular franchises in the league. We have rappers, for Christ's sake!
My leading candidate for new ownership. Knows how to turn a flippin' profit, ya'll.

You'd have to search pretty meticulously to find my explanation for liking so many various professional teams. Hell I tried and I couldn't even link you to it. But suffice to say that I used to live in Houston and I like to see them do well. Which is why this makes me a little sad. An All-Star in 'o2, '03 and '04? Waived by the Grizzles after not even playing a single second? Francis is only 31...I can't believe he fell of so fast. He may not even play in another NBA game again. Poor Stevie Franchise. With such a hyperbolic nickname, perhaps you were destined to be such a minor flash in the pan.

Can we please get football back soon? The distractions are not helping. Thanks. Onto the picks.
Record
OBJ: 7-3
Joe Friday: 8-2

There's exciting, then there's "I just beat Contra without the Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A-B-A-Select-Start code" exciting.

Today's Picks

OBJ 1: New York (PK) over Atlanta

I have a serious gambling problem. Not in that, I-can't-buy-diapers-for-my-kid-because-I-just-leveraged-next-month's-salary-on-the-coin-flip-outcome-of-the-Super-Bowl-problem, but I can never bring myself to bet against my own teams in any way (see: 1-2 picking Texas teams). But New York's been playing real well recently (4-1 last 5 games), and Atlanta has not (see above). I just see New York pulling this game out. Yes, I'm hinging my bet on a team that features Zach Randolph as the leading scorer. And yes, I see that the Baby Hawks are 9-13 on the road, while New York is a paltry 13-9 at home. I hope I lose this one.

OBJ 2: Detroit (-1) over Minnesota

My O-ridge pick here was Denver (+4) over New Orleans, but then I heard that annoying SJF voice in my head saying, "I always look to see who played the day before, and then bet against them or ignorer it altogether." Damn you, SJF.

Joe Friday 1:
New Orleans/Denver OVER 199.5

Joe Friday 2: Atlanta (+1) over New York

Well this makes sense. Now I'm really torn between going up a full game on SJF or rooting for the home team.

1.27.2009

Bawlin' Cawlin' 01-27-09

For all of you who noticed the kiddie gloves Sue's recently placed on our verbal fists of fury, please note that due to increased mainstream attention and explicit requests from various entities to avoid such reckless use of hyper-profanity, we have been playing nice. To restore the balance on the scales, as it were, we're bringing the fun back, even if it's just for one episode. Sometimes it's just too damn hard to write effectively without dropping an occasional fucking F-bomb. Sorry, Will Smith.

Sunday night was a good one for Sue's, as we attended the Atlanta Hawks Blog Night and accumulated enough experiences to tally a list:
If it weren't for the lappies, this would've been just another suite filled with passionate Hawks fans. Unfortunately, it was impossible for us to remain inblognito.

Top Experiences of Experiencing the Blog Night Experience

1) Attending a professional sports game with the inherent belief we are doing so for a higher purpose than simply to talk about our lives, pay for overpriced beer and have the entertaining backdrop of a game going on - to which we pay 75% of our attention. It's a sublime feeling knowing that your experience with the game itself transcends all else that will transpire. This is the way every game should be.

2) Meeting with Hawks GM Rick Sund for a Q&A session. Several things I liked about this experience. Here's a few: 2) a. Sund seemed genuinely interested in not only serving as a likable, knowledgeable representative for the Hawks, but also in what my fellow bloggers and I had to say. 2) b. When asked how Sund was liking Atlanta thus far, he responded that everything was great except for the rap music. Or at least I think that's what he said...Shawty Lo's "Dey Know" was blasting in my ear so loudly I had to crane my head down and point my ear in the direction of the GM like a fucking satellite. Now, obviously, I don't want to piss off Shawty Lo. But that was annoying as shit.
Watch out Alpha Omega! Dey Know how to use mace!

3) Putting a face to all of Atlanta's most prominent Hawks bloggers. It was nice to meet all of you. If you weren't there and you write a Hawks blog, that's unfortunate. Reach out to Micah of the Atlanta Hawks and try to attend next year. Put a few of the bloggers you see displayed on the Hawks website on your blogroll. Put some pictures in your posts. Make sex and women-are-skanks metaphors. Go to your local library/university and log onto your blog with every computer there, bumping up your unique visitors. Beg people to read your blog. Be funny. Drive traffic. Do something, man!

Note: While Sue's subscribes to the Wilson Face Philosophy of blogging, it is beyond our control what other sites do with our likeness. We would love to pull a douche-move "Hey, can you blur our faces before you post to your site?" but we're nearly positive others wouldn't find quite as much humor in it.
We tried to avoid it. But Blog Night will surely have the same affect on ladies' attraction to us as the concoction had to Tate Donovn in Love Potion #9.

4) Attending the Hawks postgame press conference with CMW. I was really hoping the Hawks would win, more than anything else because I wanted to experience this conference with Woody in a good mood. It's impossible to get a feel for someone when they have a legitimate reason for being in a shit mood. As it were, it certainly appeared most of the beat writers were taking the night off. They were there, don't get me wrong. But either they were really disappointed with the game or they gave up long ago trying to ask compelling questions, most of which probably could've been answered without the input of the coach of the team.

5) Leaving a sporting event sober. This just felt weird, but I think I liked it.

As much as this sounds like a joke, I truly was at least a bit filled with consternation about making a fool of myself with these folks. Would I remember how many times Jordan won defensive player of the year? Would they all laugh at me if I told them the triangle offense was the best in basketball with the right pieces? Would I ask a stupid-ridiculous question, like "Hey, who was that number 5 down there? He's looking pretty good!"

After sharing my feelings of trepidation with SJF, we were able to compile a list of items that caused anxiety of the highest degree, likely scenarios that would not continue to foster the squeaky-clean image we've cultivated for so long.

Runaround Sue's at Blog Night 2009: Worst Case Scenario

WCS #5. After leaving for a bathroom break, your friends from Runaround Sue's are kicked out of the luxury suite before halftime after standing up to cheer for a thunderous Josh Smith dunk. Splashing one of those huge Sprites all over everyone, the pair seem to lose their footing a bit after chest bumping. The boys were not kicked out for their audacious display of raucous behavior, but rather for the airplane mini-bottles of Skyy vodka that fall out of their pockets instead. (Note to Micah - it is because of this possibility that we decided NOT to follow this path)

WCS #4. Other bloggers look on as Sue's is escorted violently from the press box for refusing to monitor their language, continuing to scream at the top of their lounges, "What the FUCK is Josh Smith's motherFUCKING problem?! Goddamn shiteating son-of-a-FUCKING-BITCH COCKSUCKER!!! Why the FUCK can't he just QUIT with the GODDAMN motherfucking FUCKHEAD JUMPERS!!!???"

WCS #3. The following day, you visit one of the other bloggers' posts lucky enough to attend the event, only to view the following:
8:42 p.m. 8 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter. It appears we've had our first casualty of the night, as the boys from Runaround Sue's have not appeared since halfway through the first quarter. We were just told that they wouldn't be coming back, and the folks in the back were able to take their front-row seats. I hope they're able to get their laptop back, as it's still sitting here. The kids from Billy Knight Took My Lunch Money and I struck up a conversation about why they weren't here any longer, but your guess is as good as mine. Of course, one of them reeked of cologne while the other one definitely smelled like marijuana, and they kept arguing aloud whether to "Go outside and just fucking smoke the rest of it" but I figured these were all coincidences and they were talking about smoking a cigarette. Who knows. Joe Johnson with a great pass.
WSC #2. Heading out for the obligatory overpriced food, the good folks at Sue's forget their credentials back at the suite. Predictably, it proves impossible to convince any of the ushers that we are "bloggers" and we actually "belong in the Blogger Media Suite" right upstairs. The rest of the evening is spent drinking $7.50 beers and watching from the tunnels until we're kicked out of every section of every floor.

WCS #1. Following typical Sue's fashion, OBJ and SJF begin the '$5 Big Ass Beers Inside CNN Center Pregame' just a bit too late, finishing off their traditional 96 ounces of beer in 2 hours, the boys get to the security gate only to realize that they're 1 1/2 hours late, and they cannot obtain their entrance passes. With little else to do, we pay our $15 parking and do double duty as we live blog to the Hawks game and get drunk at the first skeezy Mexican restaurant we find.

In case you haven't figured it out by now, but thankfully none of these scenarios played out and SJF and I took in the Hawks game in its entirety without any complications with security forces. Whether our ability to avoid trouble with the law is in any way a linear relationship to our level of drinking is still only a theory, but we're working closer to figuring this out.

The picks, dicks! The picks already!

Record
OBJ: 6-3
Joe Friday: 8-1

If it seems like some of the excitement has been sucked out of this contest due to SJF pulling away, you're not alone. And no, I have no metaphor involving "sucking out" or "pulling away." That's just too easy and dirty. Like the sour cream-dipped fleas-infested skank lucky enough to stay with SJF in his hotel last week.

Today's Picks

OBJ: San Antonio (+1) over Utah

0-2 picking the O/U. I feel victory being slowly pulled away from me like the last bills in the unfortunate sleeping man's wallet, only without the peaceful satisfaction a night in bed with a three-toothed whore can provide. Something must change.

So far Texas teams are 0-2 for me as well. This seems like a reasonable pick then.

Joe Friday: Indiana (+9) over Orlando

1.26.2009

What Deadline? Hawks/Heat/Suns Liveblog

No lie, a pretty sweet view

As one of the few bloggers that couldn't liveblog last night's contest due to connectivity issues (though perhaps our laptop had something to do with it), we'll make up for it by liveblogging the last quarter of tonight's Hawks-Heat game.

11:30 remaining - With the Hawks down by 13, Marvin grabs a rebound and instead of kicking it back out, immediately knocks down a jumper. Don't see that everyday on a long offensive rebound. Two MoE free throws later, Hawks are within 9 after being down 22 earlier.

10:10 - Flip cuts the lead to 7. Flip has been on fire lately. I mean, you know the guy can knock it down in November, but we're almost in February and dude is playing out of his mind. If only our backup bigs were doing likewise.

Anyways, the biggest item I took away from Rick Sund's excellent Q&A with the Hawks bloggers last night was that it was abundantly clear he is an enormous Flip Murray fan and has no reservations about him being the backup point guard for the remainder of the season. While he stated he was pleased with Acie Law's performance thus far in his career, I didn't get the feeling he viewed Law as a long-term solution at the 1. Makes me hopeful for our chances of re-signing Bibby after this season, but either way, it's time we get used to Flip being the backup PG and SG this season, for better or worse.

9:35 - Flip airball. Of course. Nice timing.

Another note on Sund: He adamantly believes Horford is not playing out of position at center. Obviously, the GM has forgotten more basketball than I could ever hope to learn about, but I'm still not buying it. He mentioned Dwight Howard not playing out of position, but I think Horford has an ability to move without the ball and has a jumper that Howard lacks. Also, Howard has a power game down low I just don't ever see Horford (or pretty much anyone else) developing. Still, if you're a betting man, bet on Sund knowing what he's talking about here and me forgetting I even wrote this by tomorrow.

7:52 - Second block on J-Smoove in two minutes. Don't like dem apples.

7:42 - Marvin at the line. Maybe the 20+ minutes of FT practice before yesterday's game will come in handy.

At one point Stevie boy made 7 in a row...and I could think of was the All Star challenge.

7:21 - LeBron and Kobe are freaks of nature, but very few players can split a defense like Wade. He just kicks out a perfect pass out to Mario Chalmers for a 3. Damnit. Not looking good.

6:10 - Chalmers just bricks a wide open 3. I turned this game on 20 minutes ago and he's taken about nine 3's already. Cherrypicker.

5:19 - Another offensive rebound by Marvin, another missed dunk/layup by another Hawk. Much like last night, I'm just getting the feeling this ain't the our night.

Horford styling a fly suit on the sidelines. I'm hurt Coach Woody lied to us about him making the trip out to Miami.

Last night was the first time I had ever seen Shaq play in person. Him standing next to Zaza, Robin Lopez or anyone really was like seeing a St. Bernard hovering over a Chiuwauwa. I also feel like he's accepted his limitations and role on this Suns team as well. The Suns shortcomings are with their bench and Amare's desire to only play on one end of the court. The much-maligned Shaq trade was a winner for that club.

2:48 - I'd just about thought I was done with this game, but much like Joey Zaza in Godfather III, Marvin pulls me back in with a three. Marvin and Flip are carrying the Hawks this quarter.

2:45 - Daequan Cook, 3ball, and that's probably the game. The Heat's whole offense seems to consist of a) Wade shaking off a defender and taking a jumper, b) Wade penetrating and taking it to the hoop, or c) Wade penetrating and kicking it out to some mediocre player behind the three-point line. I mean I know D-Wade is da main, but damn, this team can't be that hard to defend against. Anyways, with this one in the bag, back to thoughts from last night.

I can't believe I forgot to ask Sund about this in my haste to ask about Acie Law's PT, but I really wanted to know if the ownership situation was preventing him from acquiring some bench help before the deadline. Although the chances of me getting a straight answer on that were about as good as one of us in that suite last night meeting up postgame with Ciara, who was looking good as the only big name (it seemed) in the house last night. Although if I had to place bets on anyone, I would've put my money on Larry from Str8talk.

Less than a minute left - Acie Law enters the game. Talk about symbolism.

Final thoughts on blognight:

- Talking to Sekou Smith for a brief second after the game, dude seems like he just legitimately enjoys his job. You can tell that in his writing and his overall demeanor around other media members and Hawks staff.

The mural that stands watch over the Hawks practice floor. In the not-too-distant past, this poster would elicit some scoffing, half-witted sarcastic remark involving the finer points of the uses of oxymoron. I am happy to say that is no longer the case in Hawks land.

- You always see a press conference on TV and imagine it taking place in some giant room with rows and rows of chairs, cameras and tons of reporters wearing suits and asking important questions. Then you actually go to one following a game between two quality NBA squads and its a handful of casually dressed reporters standing just a liiiiil too close to a coach that would probably rather be anywhere than there right now.

This crowd's a little bigger than usual...wait who are those young guys
that keep snapping pictures??


- I can't ever figure out if Solomon Jones has the potential to develop into a solid rotation player or if he's destined to be a 9th/10th man that can fill in when a team has injured 4/5s. Some nights, like last night, he looks like a guy who belongs in there in key moments. That said, under no circumstances should he be getting the rock consistently in the last few minutes of a close game. Where the hell did that come from?

- Few things are more enjoyable than watching a Josh Smith "UUNNNNNNNNGGGGHHH" dunk in person. Few things are less enjoyable than that split second when you realize he's about to take an ill-advised 18-footer. Does anyone else almost feel guilty when he occasionally hits one of those? Just a weird feeling...almost like you don't want him to get that confidence in that jumper. Maybe he can just stop taking them so I don't have to feel so conflicted. Or maybe I can just move on...

.76 seconds after Josh Smith brutally suspends Steve Nash (center-right, seated) via posterization. Smith can be seen mugging towards the crowd (perhaps mean mugging to the Suns bench?), deservedly so after that whooooooooooooooAH MONSTER JAM

- ...or not. On a related note, I'd love to see Smith looked at down the stretch rather than the "clear out one side of the court and allow Joe to go 1on1" offense the Hawks run in the final minute of a close contest. Give it to him on the block. Find him on the wing and have him take it in and draw a foul or try to find Joe/Marvin for an open J. Mix it up. It doesn't have to be all Joe all the time down there.

This picture features a depressing score with no other redeemable qualities.

The same margin of defeat, this time with a small measure of added delight.
Can you spot the difference, kids?

- Thanks again to Micah and the Hawks for setting up last night's festivities. It was a helluva lotta fun, it was great meeting all the excellent Hawks fans and bloggers out there. It will probably be the only time myself or OBJ ever ride in an elevator or are able to skip a line at Philips ever again, but between the sweet suite, access to a GM that surprisingly seemed interested in taking to a bunch of folks who write on the internet, and interacting with everyone from the ushers to media members, it was definitely the highlight of the last 24 hours of being a Hawks fan. Now let's get back to winning some ballgames.

1.23.2009

BLOGASM 1.23.09

Definitely peep the work OBJ has been putting in on the NBA while I've been on a blogbattical. It's usually after the all-star break that I go headfirst into everything NBA; but trying to forget the college football season, combined with the Hawks' best start since I was a pre-pubescent tyke, has me geeked on the Lig like a bartender re-counting the cash drawer at 5am after working a 10 hour shift. Onto some thoughts from the last week or so...

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It seems everyone has an opinion on Jeff Francoeur lately, following the news that he is asking for $4million in arbitration, compared to the Braves' offer of $2.8mil. All this while coming off a season where he hit .239 and reached base at a clip below the OBP Mendoza Line (.300). Honestly, like Mark Bradley, I don't have a problem with Franc (won't use the Frenchy moniker, can't, sorry) asking for the scrilla. It's a bidness, and he's just following the arbitration rules. Plus, in all honesty, he'll probably lose. With the Braves' throwing around cash this offseason like a virgin sailor in a Peruvian whorehouse, $3million on a RF with Francoeur's potential could be a steal.

What I don't want to hear (Steak Shapiro) is that Francoeur is somehow owed this money due to his marketing prowess for the Braves over the last few years. Screw that. You know what else is good for marketing and PR? Winning ballgames...something Francoeur has contributed to in short supply for the last two seasons.

Also, maybe it was the initial hype, the pressure, the early accolades, but this guy seems to whine alot. First, he handled his demotion to the minors last year with all the grace of a 2-year-old getting put in a "timeout" that lasts twenty seconds. All offseason, he's deflected criticism of his problems last year without ever hinting at what adjustments in his approach at the plate he plans to make. This morning on 790 the Zone he commented on being glad to know that newly-acquired Derek Lowe is (paraphrasing) "someone you can count on to actually be out there every 5th day, unlike we've had in years past." A slight dig at Smoltz/Glavine? Maybe, but ultimately unimportant. But then, he has the audacity to go where no athlete has gone before and attack bloggers:

“I can’t tell you how many people come up and say ‘We’re praying for you this year,’” Francoeur said. “That means more to me than some guy on a blog ripping me to pieces.”

The nerve. Anyways, I hope Francoeur can turn it around, as it would be nice to not have to see the local media treating the golden boy with kid gloves any longer by recycling the same stories endlessly; but mainly, because as it stands right now, he is the only right-handed bat with any power in the Braves lineup. Barring the signing and inexplicable resurgence of Andruw Jones, it appears that someone with an OPS of .653 last year will be counted on as one of the Braves' primary run producers. This scares me.

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Speaking of recycled stories...let's hope Caleb King, Richard Samuel or someone emerges in spring/fall practice as the clear-cut primary #1 tailback for the Dawgs. Otherwise the AJC and Athens Banner-Herald can dust off all those "who will emerge at tailback for the Dawgs" stories from 2004-2006.

You remember those?

"(Brown/Lumpkin/Ware) led the Bulldogs with 88 yards rushing and a touchdown on Saturday and has emerged as the team's #1 RB, working with the first-team offense all week in practice. (Quote from Richt about Brown/Lumpkin/Ware emerging as #1 RB).

(TB/Lump/Ware) took the majority of the snaps with the second-team offense. (Encouraging quote from Richt on said #2 RB).

(TB/Lump/Ware) (explanation of either poor performance or injury as a reason for being dropped to #3). (Quote from Richt on what needs improvement, either on the injury or performance part)."

And fin. Then switch around all the names and re-hash for next week's editions.

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Went to ajc.com to see what other local sports news is out there...and naturally Pacman is back on the front page. Would be the headline of the day if not for the "Another N.Y. Giants receiver shot" entry.

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Back to the Braves...of all the names being thrown around (realistically) for a final bat to plug into the lineup, here's my list, unsolicited as always, of who I'd like to see in there next year, based on everything from age, salary, production, etc. etc.

5. Xavier Nady - Contact year, good. Boras client, not good. In his prime and improving every year, good. Likely Yankee asking price being too high...not good.

4. Adam Dunn - If this Washington Post article (link via Talking Chop) is correct about the current salary market out there for Dunn and other free agents, then I'd love to see him in the middle of the Braves lineup... even if that would make the heart of the order somewhat vulnerable to lefty-lefty matchups. That said, even in this CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE (suggestion for SWPL: add "talking about the damn economy"), I can't see someone who has hit 40+ homers in each of the last six seasons receiving a weaker deal than Edgar Rentaria.

3. Nick Swisher - Can play multiple positions and is under contract for three more seasons. Possible replacement at 1B if Kotchman doesn't workout. Again though, Yankee asking price is probably too high given his favorable contract.

2. Andruw Jones - At $400k (or whatever the ML minimum is), I think it's worth the risk. I also wouldn't even be opposed, like many Braves fans are, to signing him to a incentive-laden major league deal. You're telling me Andruw doesn't have more upside than Josh Anderson, Diaz, Brandon Jones, etc.? Please. I love cheap risks with tons of potential.

1. Brian Roberts - As much as I'd love to see Andruw back with the Braves, being able to snag the true leadoff hitter the club has been missing since Furcal left (the first time!) would be too valuable to pass up. Let Kelly Johnson go back to the outfield, roll with the KJ/Diaz platoon you know Cox loves to bust out there (no puns, please), and give Schaeffer/Anderson time to grow in center. Allow Yunel to hit out of the #2 hole, which fits his anti-walks approach at the plate, and move KJ to the #7 spot, providing some power to the bottom of the lineup. Yeah, it sucks the Braves might have to part with some prospects, but B-Rob is an OBP machine, which would likely allow Chipper, McCann et. al. to come up there with more runners on base. Plus, with the Lowe/Kawakami signings, the Braves clearly intend to compete for the playoffs this year and aren't in rebuilding mode...so go ahead and grab a bat, Frankie Boy. Any of the above will work.

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Quick Hits:

As long as athletic departments act financially as separate entities from their universities, I cannot begrudge them for turning a profit while the academic side of things take a bit of a hit. Yes it sucks overall, but thus is the world we live in. Deal with it, I guess.

I've kind of calmed down over the whole "Willie Martinez - fire him?" situation, but I don't think the "WHO WOULD WE HIRE?!?!?!?!" line-of-reasoning is a sound reason to keep a guy around. Much like when Richt hired Searles, I have faith he will land a top candidate. That said, I do worry that passing over Rodney Garner again will mean we lose him next season, but the program cannot make crucial decisions with "W.W.R.G.D." in mind constantly. Keep in mind, however, there is no news whatsoever on the Martinez-to-Miami front, so this could all be much-ado-about-nuttin'.

Everything I've seen and heard points to Dennis Felton being a great guy, but it's clear he's on borrowed time in Athens. (h/t GSB) And it's probably the right decision.

Finally, we generally try to avoid (while still letting you know where our thoughts lie regarding) politics on this site, but if this excellent post by Doug is any indicator or predictor, I do and have believed for sometime that George W. Bush will be looked at favorably and more sympathetically post-presidency. I'd elaborate but this ain't the time or the place.

It is, however, appropriate to point out that whatever you thoughts are on Obama, the awesomeness that is the new Jeezy video for the old Jeezy anthem to the new Prez. Never thought I'd see a neon blue lambo in the same video as my U.S. congressional rep bumpin' up and down. Never again will you see someone holding up a GHANDI sign three feet away from a SOULJA SLIM sign, either.


1.22.2009

Bawlin' Cawlin' 01-22-09

A momentous day in the world of sports today, folks. Yesterday, as news leaked of this incredible development, teams in the middle of games began - hopefully not prematurely - appropriately celebrating...

Sue's contributer Stephen Jackson and Mickael Pietrus can't hide their enthusiasm while watching and hearing the news on the Warriors jumbotron.

Tim Duncan doesn't want a single person in the Spurs arena to miss the news, as he double-points to the screen for all to see. Hamilton, unaware of the news and thinking Duncan is uncharacteristically showing Hamilton up after drawing the foul, stands dejected and peers menacingly. Ginobli freaks as his eyes glance at the news.

Hamilton, now comprehending the source of Duncan's elation, seeks Timmy out for a mutually celebratory high-five. Streamers fall from the rafters as the joyous news reaches far.

From Mikki Moore and Bostjan Nachbar engaging in an awkward butt-bumping in New Jersey (that's not Jason Kidd)...

All the way to Los Angeles with Kobe Bryant and Vladimir Radmanovic
jumping for unexpected and unparalleled joy.

After hearing of the news back in their locker room, even the current NBA champs couldn't keep their normally-cool composure when they discovered the development.

As you no doubt have heard, albeit a bit after the rest of the league, Stephon Marbury may be headed to Greece, and joy and ticker tape are flooding the land of Jerry West. Marbury said in an email that he will "...listen to what they have to say," which is likely going to be more than any team in the NBA has to say.

According to Greek reports, the Olympiacos' owners are interested in offering about $15 millie to broker a buyout for Marbury. In case you were curious, Starbury's making $20.8 millie to sit his worthless ass on the bench this season, but is willing to give back $1 million to secure his release. Not surprisingly, the Knicks want more, and could get it from the Olympiacos. Note to the Olympiacos - you're a bunch of friggin' idiots. Matter of fact, I can think of 15 million reasons why you could possibly be making the dumbest sports decision of the year.

Speaking of European basketball, as has been reported Josh Childress is recovering from a sports hernia injury. You've gotta wonder how J-Chill's feelings lie with the Hawks, who still own his NBA rights. Like Bret, I don't think Sekou Smith's recent interview with Childress will yield much in the way of clearing up this foggy-yet-intriguing situation, but I'm looking forward to it nonetheless.

Remember, folks. Tonight on TNT your All-Star teams will be revealed. I wonder how many votes Starbury received...

Onto today's picks...

Note: In case you didn't notice, there are only two games on tonight's slate. This limits the choices of Joe Friday and me, to say the least. I do not have a good feeling about this...

Record
OBJ: 6-2
Joe Friday: 7-1

And we remain close. I haven't been this excited since I received my first CD (Beach Boys Greatest Hits)!

Today's Picks

OBJ: Washington/Lakers UNDER (208)

Yes, I know. After missing the first O/U I ever gambled on by more than 15 points, you would think I'd avoid it like a 46-year old unibrowed Scandinavian hooker with a ghastly herpes outbreak. But while my original pick (see below) seemed guaranteed, SJF picked the same game, same results and I went back to the drawing board to see if I could one-up him. This is the result. Do I think the Celts will not only cover but win this game? Yes. Am I already preparing myself for the outrage I'll be feeling tomorrow? Also, yes. If I miss this O/U will I forever stay away from such risks? Who knows. My gambling idiocy seemingly knows no bounds.

Joe Friday: Boston (+5) over Orlando

1.21.2009

Bawlin' Cawlin' 01-21-09

This must be what the Kidd looked like to Mark Cuban last year.

It's not in Sue's collective personality to expect our readers to have any compassion for Mark "Me! Me! Me!" Cuban. Through 41 and 35 games this season, respectively, Kidd (8.9 PPG, 8.3 APG, 2.3 SPG, 6.7 RPG) isn't excatly looking like the Maverick's messiah compared to Devin Harris (22.3, 6.4, 1.5, 3.1). I haven't for one second thought this was a good deal for the Mavs, especially taking into account age (35 and 25) and salary ($21.4 millie to $7.8 millie), but this is one of those that will only get worse as time progresses.

Still love that O-ridge Kidd jersey from the Mavs way-back-when though.

Good win for the Hawks last night. Bibby's 31 were both necessary and further fodder for the relevancy of Sue's New Year's Resolution for the Hawks. A nice little rest before hosting Milwaukee at home on Friday, and Sue's will see you there.

Picks for your kicks?

Record
OBJ: 5-2
Joe Friday: 6-1

The excitement continues to build like attending a Strong Man competition live as Friday pulls ahead for the first time.

Today's Picks

OBJ: Cleveland (-1) over Portland

I understand Portland's got a decent record at 25-16, including 15-4 at home. I understand Cleveland should be falling a little bit back to earth after their white-hot start. And for the 2nd (many more to come!) time this season, I understand that Vegas knows what the hell they're talking about. But what about the Cavaliers' shellacking Monday night at the hands of Kobe and Company (105-88)? Lebron was D'd up real well all game long by #24, and you know he's been boiling like a fissure just waiting to bring "Whoooooooah MONSTER JAM!!" on top of 3 Blazers. I feel better about this pick than I do every other pick I've made this season. Only thing that could make this pick better is if it were cooked in bacon grease. It's that good. (Note: this includes Saturday's unfortunate trying-of-the-waters tip toe into the Over/Under for the first time, resulting in Jammin' here missing the Under by 15.5)

Joe Friday: Houston (-5) over Utah

1.17.2009

Bawlin' Cawlin' 01-17-09

Yes. It's a hawk with a cast. What?

The Hawks lost again last night, losers of 6-of-8 now, which included a season-high-tying 4 L's in a row. Confusingly, J-Smith was the top scorer in four of those games. I'm okay with Josh Smith getting some points, as long as it doesn't involve taking low-percentage terrible jump shots (can you have one without the other?). But what makes me scratch my head is that Smith wasn't the leading scorer on the Hawks until January 3rd's win over Houston, and since then he's been the top scorer three more times. Is there a redirected offensive philosophy in play here I'm not catching? This deserves a closer look.

In a game that beat the Over by 17 points (we love offense), the most resounding highlight most certainly came from the mouth of Sue's contributor Stephen Jackson. Jackson, who has missed the last four games with a sore hammy and scored 24 points - including a late three-pointer that pretty much sealed the game - had this retrospective to offer on his performance:
"I bumped my knee and that hurt more than the hamstring," Jackson said. "If I can walk and spit at the same time, I know I'm going to play 40 minutes."
No, I have no idea what this means. And no, I won't even venture a guess that has the potential to produce a few laughs at the expense of Stephen Jackson. He might know how to find me. But seriously. If you were holed up in a house surrounded by men shooting at you a la final scene of Young Guns, isn't Stephen Jackson on your All NBA Liberating Posse squad? Rounding it out I suppose we'd have Ron Ron at SF, Jamaal Tinsley at the Point, and Ricky Davis in the Swing slot. Center would be a tough call, but I suppose I want Yao out there, because for some reason I can picture him with an angry face and an AK-47. Even if he gets his head shot off inexplicably early in the fight, circa Charlie Sheen YGs, I think the 7-foot Chinese man would intimidate my would-be captors, or at the very least distract them long enough for me to bounce.

"And see here, this is my Tupac attempt to seem deep and thuggish simultaneously."

So Marvin Williams was taken to the hospital last night after being clocked in the head, and may not even travel home for Atlanta's next game. Injuries are really starting to be a consistent theme of this season, but as injury-plagued seasons go, it seems that the more you talk about them the worse they get. So for now, let's not dissect all the injuries and talk about What Ifs. My aim is to remain positive and upbeat about this Hawks team until they completely convine me they're the same ol' Hawks team of the past several years (you know, the one you know can pull out a game against anyone but by halfway through the fourth, you really have no clue if they're going to win or lose). But, I'm also going to temper that with some realism. So I think the upcoming thuree games after a long rest - home against Toronto, at Chicago and Miluwalkee - are all very winnable. But 2 of 3 should be our expectation as Hawks fans, especially with only 3 games in 6 days. We'll check back Saturday and see where we're at.

Onto the picks!

Record
OBJ: 4-1
Joe Friday: 4-1

It's tantamount to my success that I don't allow the excitement to go to my head.

Today's Picks

OBJ: Houston (-3.5) over Miami.

As I said in the last Bawlin', "It'll only be too fitting if the Spurs end my perfect record." Damnit. Let's see how another Texas team does for me.

OBJ 2: Denver/Orlando OVER 209 1/2

My first over/under NBA pick. Why didn't I sell my NBA gambling virginity on the internet??
Joe Friday: San Antonio (-3) over Chicago

Joe Friday 2: Chicago/San Antonio UNDER 195.5

1.14.2009

Bawlin' Cawlin' 01-14-09


Apparently "Ooooh, DAMN!!!"s run on Diesel, even in Espanol

As Sue's commonly points out, we love supposedly washed up athletes who long ago earned and held the title of "Superstar." We watch them, we root for them, we draft them and we, above all else including sound reasoning, continue to believe that they will perform at a high level. Which brings us to Shaq Diesel (how in the hell is it that only a Spanish version of O'Neal's Blue Chips highlights exists out there?). Last night against the Hawks (insert frowny face), Shaq grabbed with authority his 9th 20-point game of the season. He had 8 all of last year. It's nice to see Shaq having at the very least a mini-resurgence. He's been one of the more positive athletes of my generation - as evidenced by his dry heave-inducing movies - and I like to see him do well. Hell, I'd even like to see him win another title.

He did it for the kids, see

Unfortunately, Shaq's latest statement game had to come against the hometown Hawks, in which Joe Johnson scored 11 points on 4-21 shooting. 4-21!! Where's the "playing against my former team gonna do everything I can to pull out a win" mentality? The defense looked organized and stifling in shutting down both Joe-Jo and Bibby, so we'll give the nod to the Suns rather than the shake to Johnson. In fact, I completely agree with Micah with regards to the fact that supporting members of the Hawks picked up the slack is a very good sign, and if Joe-Jo had a better night Atlanta could have taken this one.

The Hawks' next three games are very winnable, at the Clips, at the Warriors and back home for the Raptors. There's nothing like playing crappy teams to get your team back on track and put all these consecutive losses behind you. The Hawks now only have the 10th best record in the league, so no time like the present, guys. If we could only get J-Smith to stop taking those damn jump shots, especially when the game's on the line in the final minute.

Now, I'm not as pessimistic (perhaps realistic?) as str8talk, but something needs to be reversed soon.

Onto the picks!

If you were paying attention yesterday, Sue's went 4 'fer 4 with our picks. Somebody could be exploiting Sue's Cawlin' worse than a single mom wrenching every last dime out of a soul-crushed baby daddy.

Record
OBJ: 4-0
Joe Friday: 3-1

This is more exciting than the first 2.5 hours of Titanic!

Today's Picks

OBJ: San Antonio (-2.5) over Lakers

I originally had the Lakers to cover as today's pick...but after thinking it through for fifteen minutes I switched up. Being where I was born, I've always rooted for the Spurs, so I had this great "first time picking against my team" schpeel planned out as to why I would take my least favorite basketball team against one of my favorites. I found my salvation at the last moment in remembering the home team won all four games in last year's regular season series. It'll only be too fitting if the Spurs end my perfect record.

Joe Friday: MIA (+6) over MIL

SJF attempted to pick the same game as me today, but I finally talked him out of it. Stupid, considering I feel about as confident with this pick as I did about any of the ACC match-ups from the 2008 College Football season that wasn't.

(Note from Friday: Since that last sentence made about as much sense as an Al-Jazeera sitcom without subtitles, I'm gonna assume he meant to finish it off with "...that wasn't a pre-picked Maryland selection due to my newfound Shanoffian allegiance to the Terps.")

(Note from 'Jammin: Sgt. Joe's a moron. What'd he hone his writing skills at Grady College or something? The College Football season that wasn't, as in the College Football weekend that was, as in the College Football season that was, or in this case, was not. As far as the above comment...what's the big deal? We'll save an entire Dennis Millerian rant for another post, but doesn't it stand to reason I should want my girlfriend to be happy? Doesn't this in many ways, both directly and indirectly, affect my ceiling of happiness? I won't delve too deep into it at the moment, but rooting for your significant other's team - especially when said significant other invests a significant, albeit irrational, degree of satisfaction in the outcome of a game - is just simple common sense).

1.13.2009

Bawlin' Cawlin' 01-13-09

Will never get old

I'm starting to think that Tracy McGrady will never be the force I once thought he could be. Ailing shoulder, Tracy? Bad back, Tracy? C'mon, man. I'm almost certain that the Rockets will make it past the first round of the playoffs this year, but it will not be in large part to the saved-up efforts of T-Mac who rested through 40% of the season so he could pull up lame in the playoffs again. Isn't this sort of like the one virgin in a group of friends finally having his best shot with a girl, only to pass out from too many Jager Bombs and wake up to all of his friends engaged in various stages of sexual contact with the women? Poor T-Mac.

In keeping with my notoriously superstitious fandom, I'm thinking I will start to spit on the homeless, burn the American flag, tear up the hedges at Sanford Stadium and join the Gelsky in screaming that every other Braves batter is a bum. Soon, the homeless will all be back on track with jobs, America will pull herself up and dust herself off from this nagging and spirit-crushing gut-raping recession, Georgia players will stop worrying about draft status and play up to their potential (and win a title? maybe??) and the Bravos will once again make the playoffs. Right. And the monkeys and pigs that just flew out of my butt are having a tea party with me next Tuesday.

In any case following the above logic, you can call me a home team-hating vagabond-smacking commie the next time you see me.

On to the picks!

Note: We realize that it's been slightly more than a week since our last Bawlin' Cawlin,' but that's the beauty part of using your own personal online forum to dictate sports opinions - we can do whatever the hell we want!

In all seriousness we will be making a much more concerted effort to post, as we stated, "weekly, biweekly or semi-weekly" NBA picks. We have to make this overpriced meal at the chop house plus $500 worth it.

Record

OBJ: 2-0
Joe Friday: 1-1

Getting more and more exciting! I know all of you are rooting for me, so props to everyone placing side bets on me winning the pot.

Today's Picks
OBJ 1: Miami (-1) over Minnesota.

I know Vegas knows what the hell their doing, so this one seems way too easy. Probably because it is...and yet why do I feel compelled to throw an extra hunny on this?

OBJ 2: Atlanta (+8) over Phoenix

So far Atlanta's been 2 fer' 2 for me. Keep it up BABY HAWKS!

Joe Friday 1: LAL (-4) @ Houston

Joe Friday 2: Dallas (+6) over DEN

1.11.2009

The Colonoscopy (or the equivilent of a clip show) of Blogging

Since both my Super Bowl picks were promptly eliminated in their first playoff game, I've decided to look back at my college football preseason predictions in an attempt to maintain the slightest shred of credibility among you seven readers. We'll try to make this as quick and painless as possible. Because, after all, who really gives a shit?

Our 5 fearless predictions were as follows:

1. Clemson will not live up to expectations.


Lock of the year. Taking credit for this would be like taking credit for dunking on a toddler on a 7 and a half foot rim. Trust me, you get no enjoyment out of that.

Also, regardless of the situation that plays out, Bowden WILL receive a contract extension following the season.


Eh...I'm still shocked this didn't happen. Pretty funny Dabo Swinney seems to be receiving the same long leash Bowden enjoyed during his time in Clemson. 8-4eva.

2. The Big 12 will almost, ALMOST, be as good as the SEC...this season.


I am in no mood to argue conference superiority at the moment, so I'll just go with the general consensus and admit the Big 12 was slightly better this season. That won't happen again.

3. West Virginia will begin a long slide back to irrelevance.


Yeah...first of all, it might not be a long slide, as they might be there as early as next year, if they're not there already. Second, their stay in irrelevance might not last long if Bill Stewart continues to get out-coached by the Big East (Carolina)'s finest, because the 'eers fans don't exactly seem like the stable type. Dude doesn't want to end up missing under a couch, if ya catch my drift.

4. Georgia will win the SEC, yet somehow get shut out of the BCS Championship game.


Next.

5. Oklahoma and Ohio State meeting in the BCS Championship Game.


1/2 ain't bad! Hey look, it's our preseason thoughts on the coaching changes:

Winners:
Michigan - It may take a couple of seasons, but Lloyd Carr to Rich Rodriguez is a significant improvement.

Arkansas - Petrino has coached five college seasons and still hasn't hit double digit losses.
Duke - Cutcliffe is their best coach since Spurrier. He'll have them in a bowl game and in multiple "where did these guys come from?!?" features within three seasons.
SMU & UCLA - With June Jones and Neuheisel, there will be no lack of excitement in these programs.

Nebraska - Anyone who has successfully studied under Hayden Fry, Bob Stoops and Les Miles is a good choice to coach a Big 12 team.


(Nodding confidently...)

TBD:
Texas A&M - Will Mike Sherman be the next Pete Carroll or Bill Callahan? I'm gonna guess closer to the latter.

Georgia Tech - Paul Johnson could be the best or the worst thing to ever happen to that program and I would not be surprised.


(Smirking...)

Losers: Ole Miss - Yes, The Nuttjob always got the most out of his talent, blah, blah, blah. He also never fully took advantage of having the best SEC running back since Herschel Walker and squandered his best recruiting class through PR gaffes that would make John Rocker blush. If 8-4 seasons is what Ole Miss is looking to get back to, you have to wonder why Cutcliffe was fired in the first place five years ago.


Oye. In my defense, however, this excellent year Nutt gave the Rebels (with The Orgeron's stocked talent, mind you) was one game shy of Cutcliffe's finest season in Oxford, which also ended with a Cotton Bowl victory. Warrants mentioning.

Sue's Preseason Top 10
1. Georgia

2. Oklahoma

3. Ohio State

4. Florida
5. USC

6. LSU

7. Texas

8. Alabama

9. Arizona State

10. Mizzou...with Kansas close behind.


Quick thoughts: 7/10 teams finished the season in the Top 10, although except for USC at #5, no rankings were really spot on...that Alabama pick looks Miss Cleo-esque at this point...that Arizona State pick looks Homeless Guy on MARTA Selling You a Bag of Baking Powder-eqsue at this point...I really need to start making room for a couple mid-majors on these lists...at least one or two finishes in the Top 10 each year, and I was never really that high on Mizzou or Kansas to begin with...Biggest Surprise on this list? LSU's plummet outside the Top 15. Least Big Surprise? Georgia and Ohio State failing to live up to expectations. C'est La Vie.

Almost forgot...we placed some futures bets all the way back in July. I love futures bets. The money is already gone from your account, so months later, when I lose, it's like I don't even notice! And when you hit a futures bet, it's that same "HOLY SHIT FREE MONEY" feeling you get from a winning scratch-off lottery ticket. Then you can promptly go blow it by betting on the Colts to win the Super Bowl.

Bet #1: Georgia 9.0 Wins - OVER ($200)


Yeah, we hit this, by one win. I probably would have bet the over at 10.5 wins. Moving on...

Bet #2: Ohio State 8-1 to win the national championship. ($70)


Eh, ain't like they had an LSU-style dropoff...a risk I could take again, although I'm thisclose to adopting a "never bet on Jim Tressell or Bob Stoops in a BCS Bowl against a non-ACC or Big East team" rule.

Bet #3: Missouri 9.5 wins - UNDER ($50)


Pulled it out their ass in overtime of a bowl game. Argggh...still, so far we're up $80 bucks...

Bet #4: Alabama 7.5 wins - OVER ($100)


BAM!

Bet #5: Duke 3.0 wins - OVER ($80)


4 wins! I was honestly expecting more. Anyways, we were overall spot on for our "Fearless Predictions," and if you followed our futures bets, you would have cleared $260. But then we just haaaad to write this doozy at the end of the futures post...

One more note: Stay the FUCK away from the Florida bets (6-1 NC and 10.0 wins). Reverend Tebow staying healthy in that offense again for an entire year has about as good a chance of happening as Soulja Boi releasing another mediocre-to-decent song, their schedule is brutal, their running game showed no signs of life in spring practice and their defensive backs are dropping left and right. Also, their eight returning starters on defense anchored a unit that was 96th in scoring defense last year. Could be a long fall in Gainesville. Let's hope so.


Umm...at least we were right about the Soulja Boi part. Moral of the story...don't listen to us. Gamble with your gut. Hell, in the long run, you're just going to lose money no matter what you do anyways. OBJ...get something up here ASAP. This cant be up top for long.


Sayanora Smoltz, Howdy Kawakamaieyezkzkzkz

Money...chance at another ring...most annoying fans this side of Soccer hooligans....yeaaaaaah!

When news broke on Thursday morning that John Smoltz was leaving the Braves to sign with the friggin' Red Sox, I was still reeling from the Stafford/Moreno declarations for the NFL. The Smoltz situation elicited a initial sense of outrage from the Braves faithful. Fans were calling up the talk radio stations that day talking about canceling their season tickets and renouncing their allegiance to the ballclub. Chipper Jones expressed his displeasure with the whole situation. AJC "bloggers" (aka commentators to articles) responded to the news with all the lucidity of a crack baby.

As a lifelong Braves fan, I loved watching Smoltz pitch, and appreciated his lifelong commitment to the city and the organization. During the upcoming season, which was sure to feature it's share of snoozefests pitting the Braves against some other cellar-dweller, I could count on the following dialogue taking place between myself and others, and I'd imagine we wouldn't be alone:

Person A: Wanna go to the Braves game tonight?

Person B: Eh, I just went last week and they lost 12-3. Who they playing?

Person A: The Nationals.

Person B: Oh. Fuck No.

Person A: C'mon, the tickets are free I got them (one of the myriad of ways people will acquire 2009 Braves tickets for free).

Person B: Who's pitching?

Person A: Smoltz.

Person B: Hmm...Sure, ok.

Needless to say, I was outraged as well. You're letting a franchise icon walk away for a reportedly $3 million gauranteed? $3 million that is seemingly covered in anthrax given the way other free agents have been hesitant to take the Braves' cash this offseason? Weak, weak, weak. However, a couple of days have passed since then, and I am pleasantly surprised with how quickly myself and other like-minded Braves fans have been able to plow through the five stages of grief. To wit:

Stage 1: Denial - When OBJ texted me on my way to work Thursday morning "Smoltz to BoSox," I quickly switched from my 2728263823rd listening of "The Recession" to 790 and 680. Phew. They were reporting it wasn't a done deal yet...there was still a chance the Braves could up the offer and Smoltz would stay here. Surely he wouldn't leave the team he's been with for 21 seasons to finish his career as a mercenary with the most loathsome franchise in sports...

Stage 2: Anger - When it became apparent that Smoltz wouldn't pull a Furcal and was indeed an f'n Red Sock, my scorn was directed at Frank Wren. How could you let one of the faces of your franchises go over such a measly sum? How could you fuck up this offseason anymore? Is there a more incompetent GM in baseball right now? Is there anyone out there worth a damn that would want to play for this team in 2009? Are we really going to panic-sign Derek Lowe for more than Jake Peavy would be making over the next four years?
Stage 3: Sadness - This stage pretty much started when I realized their was a good possibility the Braves could trot out a starting rotation of Vazquez-Jurrjens-Campillo-Morton-Reyes in 2009. It culminated while reading that Chipper interview when he insinuated there was a good chance he could be traded by the trading deadline; and seeing Mark Bowman report that Bobby Cox made an 11th hour plea to Smoltz early Thursday morning asking him to reconsider.

Stage 4: Reorganization - Whats done is done. As my diehard Braves fan Gelski mentioned to me, maybe Smoltz leaving isn't such a bad thing...the Braves can't keep trotting out old injury-prone pitchers simply because of what they've meant to the franchise in the past. Just because they extended this luxury to Mike Hampton and Glavine, doesn't mean they should keep making similar mistakes. Then the news came out that Smoltz would likely be out until June, which in all honesty, made this pill alot easier to swallow. Rebuilding might be a painful process, but it's necessary at times for nearly every franchise outside of New York or Boston (look at how the current Phillies team was built). Maybe that money could be spent better elsewhere...

Stage 5: Moving On - So where do the Braves go from here? Well, they finalized the long-anticipated signing of Japanese free agent Kenshin Kawakami. Is this a good thing? Who knows, but he is an experienced pitcher to add to the middle of the rotation. He's 33, but pitchers in Japan typically pitch less innings than they would in the bigs (whether this is a positive or negative is a story for another time). Whatever...the Braves finally found someone to take their money. And there's a good chance we could get another epic Furman Bisher column out of this whole ordeal that would lead to Ole Furm lamenting the days when ballplayer's names had less K's, Z's, and Y's.

As for the Derek Lowe thing...I don't want to see him get AJ Burnett money. Hell, I didn't even think Burnett should've gotten Burnett money. I'd rather see the Braves go after the much younger, vastly improving and marginally cheaper Oliver Perez. Or maybe finally trade Escobar and prospects to San Diego for Peavy, plugging Martin Prado in at shortstop (no, I'm not giving up hope until Peavy has landed elsewhere, sorry). However, I'm more concerned about the LF and CF positions.

I was hoping the Braves would grab Pat Burrell to take over cleanup duties and slide into the middle of the lineup between Chipper and Brian McCann. When he signed with Tampa Bay for the bargain price of $16m over two years, I was dumbfounded. Pat the Bat would be a HUGE upgrade over anyone currently on the roster. Adam Dunn, who has hit exactly 40 homers in each of the last five seasons and is an OPS machine, would be a nice addition in left as well, but would make the middle of the Atlanta lineup too lefty-centric. I have no idea what the Braves will do in left, but I didn't actually see them venturing into the "Matt Diaz, everyday player" thought process when the offseason started.

As for center, it looks like one of the young bucks will get every chance to win the job in spring training. I won't lie...the idiotic part of my brain wants to see Andruw Jones return to his old stomping grounds at the major league minimum once the Dodgers cut his (huge) ass. The logical portion of said brain then reminds me that the 90's are over, and perhaps it is time for the Braves to begin the rebuilding process. After the events of this week, I don't know how much clearer the team's front office can send that message to Braves fans.

1.10.2009

Guest Star: The Year That Sucked

A real treat for you today, folks. Please note that the opinions expressed in the below editorial are not necessarily those of Runaround Sue's. Any shocking profanity, inconsistent punctuation or baseless hate have been maintained in original form for artistic integrity. If this truly turns out to be a success you will see additional Guest Stars. This week's contributor? Buddhashih't.

You've been warned.

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I fancy myself a football fan, and even though I just used fancy as a verb I consider myself fairly rabid. So if you fancy yourself in need of an ass whoopin then come punk on me for using fancy in that first sentence, bitch. I’m sorry, I’m a bit agitated. I hate Florida. Except for St. Augustine, that whole state can fall into the ocean for all I care and leave a serene Valdosta Bay. I hate the Gators. I hate Timmy Teabag. I hate every single “sportscaster” sucking his Philipino pecker chopping cock every chance they get. I hate Urban “I’m never gonna forget what UGA did to me, boo hoo hoo” Meyer. Fuck them all. Seriously. I wish I could place a bet in Vegas on when exactly Tebow announces that not only is he a leather fag but also a participant in that 2 kids 1 sandbox video. You know you’ve seen it. Don’t lie. Enough about Florida. Congratulations, cocksuckers.

Buddhashih't is angry enough...he may not be able to take it anymore

I’m pissed because I did not believe that the BCS could get worse, but I was wrong. Granted, I think they named the legitimate national champion even if they did get beat by an unranked team. AT HOME!!!! But does anyone remember the Orange Bowl. Not the championship game but the one with Cincinnati and Va Tech. Anyone? I didn’t even know who had won this game until a week later. Why? Because it was a bullshit game. Why as fans do we put up with this horse shit? It literally insults our intelligence to pair teams in a gain nothing/lose nothing game brought to you by UPS or Masingil or something. Seriously, I just looked up who won that game. I didn’t even bother seeing the score. Va Tech won. Good job. Cincinnati was a joke and honestly so was Va Tech. So, I am officially boycotting college football. I figure UGA won’t be good for another two or three years so fuck it.

I’m pissed because a “BCS buster” team has won a major bowl against a good team. Excuse me to the people too dumb to get into polygamist U, but the Utes suck. Oh but dude like Utah beat Bama. Really? Who cares? The game meant shit. All these games that aren’t the championship do is give companies reason to advertise and schools reason to print shirts. Should Bama be embarrassed? Hell yeah. I’d be embarrassed. Remember when West Virginia beat Georgia? I was embarrassed. But if these games mattered I would be a little more forthcoming with credit where credit is due. So what am I advocating? Everyone join in now… PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did you miss that college football?

I am boycotting college football. Every year of the BCS has sucked. So fuck the BCS, fuck college football, and fuck you Florida with your mullets, jean shorts, and stupid colors. What are the colors supposed to represent anyway? A peaceful sunrise and clear sky? God, y’all are queer. Your colors should be black and blue like the colors of your assholes when you rednecks run out of sheep to fuck. Rot in hell swamp donkeys. God, I hate Florida.

--Buddhashih’t

1.09.2009

Sobered Up - Final Mumme Poll

Final thoughts on a 2009 College Football season gone horribly awry, as expressed through a medium known as the Mumme Poll:

***Foreword by OBJ


The dust has settled. The chalk lines will fade into the wintry earth. Impassioned millions everywhere will find emptiness on Saturdays. The snap counts will fade into echoes. Team logos will only be found on the oldest of Coke 12-packs. Coaches, some inexplicably, will remain safe in their jobs for a few short months.

The 2008-2009 College Football season is over, my friends. It is time to find a constructive alternative for our energies. Perhaps a hobby? Sue's would just like to thank all of you for joining us on our journey through the season. Hawks talk and soon, unfortunately, Braves talk will dominate the pages of Sue's in the months to come.

I have a feeling about the 2009 season. Not necessarily that it will hold a title waiting in the warm bosom of the promise of a new season for Georgia, but that it will be demonstrably more exciting for fans of nearly all teams. Hope springs eternal, and come Spring, we'll have another eternal season starting fresh with rosters fleshing out and Spring games popping up everywhere.

We'll see you then.***

1. Florida - This news is espicially disconcerting. However, the good news is there's no fucking chance in hell Brandon Spikes and Percy Harvin don't go pro. Tebow's third-round ass can talk that up all he wants, but they gone. Whatever. There's been some discussion on Georgia blogs whether or not a Dawg fan should cheer for Florida due to SEC pride, and even as someone who loves loves loves a good S-E-C chant, I still found myself rooting for Oklahoma last night. I'm just sick of this school winning national titles. Still though, excellent performance by the Florida defense in the 2nd half adjusting to Oklahoma's hurry-up offense; and as could be expected, Tebow, Harvin and the Florida OL made the necessary plays to seal the victory in the final 30 minutes.

2. Texas - I don't think they would have faired any better than the Sooners last night, but they should have been there. Now, the question is, should college football implement a playoff system of some...just playin', not going there. And I wish the media wouldn't either. "An 8-team playoff played at the bowl sites would solve all the...." Oh really doctor, I'VE NEVER HEARD THAT BEFORE! WHAT A BRILLIANT IDEA! I HAVEN'T HEARD EVERY FUCKING PLAYOFF SCENARIO POSSIBLE OVER THE LAST 15 YEARS AND HOW GREAT THEY WOULD WORK! PLEASE EXPLAIN FURTHER. As long as the ACC and Big East are around, we will never get a fair playoff system. Deal with it.

3. Utah - Again, SEC snobbery is on the backburner this year. Why isn't Kyle Wittingham getting more looks from big time programs with head coach openings? Does he have a black or Asian wife I don't know about?

4. Oklahoma - With their 5th consecutive loss in a BCS bowl, and third straight in a BCS championship game, are these guys going to start getting the Ohio State no-benefit-of-the-doubt treatment? As long as they continue to play a legit regular season schedule, I don't think so, but it will at least be in folks' minds moving forward.

5. USC - These guys have no claim to the national title, period. They lost to Oregon State, Utah beat OSU a couple weeks later. Try not to lose to Washington next year, yo.

6. Alabama - Sure, Saban has these guys on the uptick, and they'll be a national power for awhile, but next year, with the loss of six valuable seniors and team MVP Andre Smith, expect a SEC-tastic 9-4-ish dropoff next season. Did any other UGA fans get visions of West Virginia while watching Utah start throwing haymakers from the opening kickoff in the Sugar Bowl?

7. Penn State - What's with all the controversy/discussion over JoePa's 3-year extension? First of all, if Charlie Weis or Tommy Bowden coached a team to the Rose Bowl, they'd get an 80-year extension. Just because of this year's success, the extension is warranted. Second, HE'S NOT THE FUCKING COACH ANYMORE. He's a figurehead. Kinda like the Queen of England. Keeping this old man with name-brand recognition around is a good thing for this program. Nice year by these guys, and way to make everyone forget about that ugly offseason.

8. Ohio State - Only three losses, all to teams above them on this list, and only one was a blowout! You know how impressive a feat that is given the offense Jim Tressel runs? It's almost like he's trying to honor Lloyd Carr's legacy out there.

9. TCU - Uncle. I've avoided putting these guys or Boise ahead of many BCS powers all year long, but with only two quality losses all year (Oklahoma, Utah) and a well-coached come from behind win in the Holiday Bowl vs. Boise State, I can snub no more. I will also conveniently ignore the fact that their next best win was against a vastly overrated BYU team.

10. Georgia - Please peep OBJ's thoughts on Black Wednesday (which was followed by Black Thursday, and Black Thursday Night). I agree with most everything he said, and it's time to move forward. Remember the good times. Live in the now. All that bullshit. I won't bother to re-hash everything that has been said about those two, but I will say, I never, ever, ever want to read another fucking article like this about a Dawg. I'd love to go line-by-line and list all the things that pissed me off about that article, but that would be a waste of time. Instead, I will choose to watch and re-watch that final TD from the Cap One bowl that the Senator aptly dubbed "bittersweet" until I am numb and my brain is physically unable to process "if only"-type thoughts.

Mumme extras: Virginia Tech, for upholding the proud tradition of 4-loss conference champions everywhere and leaving everyone clamoring for all ACC-Big East bowl teams to play each other off a remote island somewhere off the coast of Guam; and Ole Miss, because, well, they beat up on Texas Tech, which showed their true stripes about two months later than I thought they would. Something tells me in 3-4 years that Mike Leach will regret not jumping ship (no pun intended) while the iron was hot. How's that for a screwed up metaphor?