Running around to Give you the Reacharound


Bawlin' Cawlin' 09-17-10

Definitely hard to follow up SJF's post with a focus on college football. Let's just say on Georgia's season, we completely differ on accountability. Friday thinks this season will decide new Defensive Coordinator Grantham's future in Athens. This season may not - but it should - decide the future of Richt's future in the Classic City.

I will continue to hit on this until I'm either proven wrong or, unfortunately, right. If Richt leads another talented albeit young and learning team to a mediocre season, it matters not how many alumni and boosters are making catcalls towards the up-and-coming coaches out there (Boise's coach, for example, expensive but certainly attainable). Eventually, the decision-makers are going to begin evaluating their investment. Richt playing the role of our beloved and long-tenured coach is no longer sacrosanct. Richt as our future coach? This is going to come under consideration if we see another 8-5 season. 9-4 and you're on the hot seat next year, CMR.

Never thought I would ever have that thought process. Then again, beat Arkansas convincingly and I'll be the first one to Tarzan-swing on Richt's testicles. Moving on.

The picks.

OBJ: 6-3
Joe Friday: 5-4

Still early to talk about percentages, but Sue's is a respectable 64% picking against the spread. We may want to dip our big toe's in the NFL Ocean soon...

Last Week's Picks
LSU (-9.5) over Vanderbilt (+1)
Oklahoma (-7) over Florida State (+1)
Tennessee (+12.5) over Oregon (-1)
Alabama (-12) over Penn State (+1)
Georgia (+3) over South Carolina (-1)
Georgia/South Carolina OVER 46.5 (-1)
California (-8.5) over Colorado(+1)
Rice (+3) over North Texas(+1)

Another huge hit to SEC Snobs everywhere with Tennessee getting killed by Oregon at home last week. Box score?

1 2 3 4 T
#7ORE 3 10 14 2148

TENN 6 7 0 013

Tennessee has been the proverbial sacrificial lamb in recent years, losing to USC and now Oregon consistently, but with Ole Miss' bed-wetting against Jacksonville State last week, we have little to brag about. Of course, we can always point to recent BCS Championships and Alabama's seemingly-paved road to Arizona this year, but who wants to do that?

Today's Picks
Lots and lots of terrible games last week, and we're barely into ACC conference play. Several marquee match-ups this weekend.

Joe Friday 1: Kansas (+6) over Southern Mississippi

Joe Friday 2: Kansas/Southern Mississippi UNDER 51.5

Joe Friday 3: Florida (-14) over Tennessee

Joe Friday 4: Alabama (-23.5) over Duke

Joe Friday 5: Southern California (-11.5) over Minnesota

OBJ 1:
California (-2.5) over Nevada
List of teams I never trust against the spread: Clemson, Virgina Tech, California. These teams ALWAYS screw you over when you trust them to take care of business. And yet you're always drawn to them...

OBJ 2:
Connecticut (-5) over Temple
I may be a bit inebriated, because after looking through all of the lines I feel most confident about this one.

OBJ 3:
Oklahoma State (-6.5) over Tulsa

OBJ 4: Georgia (-2.5) over Arkansas
This could be the whisper of death into all of the bulldogs taking the field tomorrow that read this blog (read: none of them). Sure, Sue's went 0-2 against the spread for you last week. But let's put it this way: lose this game, and I won't have you in my picks the rest of the year!


Forget it Jake, It's Columbia

I mentioned this last week, but from 2002 through the 2006 Florida game, I expected the Dawgs to win every single game. That is 62 consecutive opening kickoffs I watched while thinking that there was no way Georgia could possibly lose this game.

(Edit note: I forgot the 2005 JoeT Florida game; probably because I have effectively blocked that game from my memory for five years now. I just remember sitting in my cubicle at work that Thursday, minimizing my IE window so I could sneak my tri-hourly peak at, and staring in horror as Tereshinski's pic emerged as the main picture on the front page. Safe to say that I could assume, even back then, that would be the last time that happened.)

Alot has changed since the early aughts, and those items need not be rehashed here. However, I can say with certainty that during last week's opening kickoff I did not expect the Dawgs to win. Okay, truth be told, during last week's kickoff I was rolling around in pain on my couch and popping asprin like Jelly Bellys trying to work off the after effects of the fact that Tin Roof is seemingly the only bar in the greater Atlanta area where last call prior to 5a.m. does not exist. But still, I am neither shocked nor appaled at the outcome of last week's game in Columbia.

Before the season, I was on the record saying that these Dawgs would finish the regular season 10-2 with losses to South Carolina and Florida. So far, so accurate. (Would have felt inappropriate to write 'so good' there.) And now, because the other 94 Georgia blogs are doing it, here are some more bullet points on the Carolina game, as well as the look ahead to this weekend's contest:

  • I was nowhere near as horrified by the effort on the defensive side of the ball. Allow me to take the easy way out and let the numbers explain:

2009 Garcia - 313yds passing, 31-53, 2TDs, 1INT, 49 rushing
2009 total yards allowed - 427
2009 points allowed - 37

2010 Garcia - 165yds passing, 12-17, OTD/INT, -4 rushing
2010 total yards allowed - 354
2010 total points allowed - 17

Is that good? No, not really. Is it improvement? Yes. I'll take that less than a week after Labor Day.

  • Look, the right move was to go ahead and force the true freshman running back playing in his first SEC game to beat you, rather than the veteran QB who torched you last year. The Dawgs dared Marcus Lattimore to beat them. It just so happens that he took their dare, laughed at it, threw it back at their faces, and proceeded to deficate on it. Too bad.
  • The defense wasn't all roses, obviously, and we knew there would be some growing pains. To run a 3-4 effectively, your nose tackle needs to be able to take on two offensive lineman. With DeAngelo Tyson unable to do that for much of the game, SC's guards were able to quickly pick up and destabilize our interior linebackers. The big difference between this year's and last year's game was Carolina's 3rd down conversions (and of course, Lattimore). Last year: 6-17 on 3rd downs. This year? 9-14.
  • Therefore, there was not much surprise this week when Richt announced that Justin Anderson and Kwame Geathers would see more work at NT this week against a large Arkansas offensive line.
  • With their big receivers, accomplished QB, stellar offensive line and possibly the best SEC back since Knowshon, giving up 17 points to SC isn't the end of the world. Anyone comparing the tackling errors on Saturday to the Willie Martinez era should be forced to re-watch the 2nd half of 2008 UGA-Tech on a consistent loop, Clockwork Orange style. Let's just be happy SC was without (and will continue to be without) TE Wesleye Saunders and move on.
  • So...the offense. This is what really dissapointed me. Believe me, I have come to expect the conservative Richt/Bobo offense early in the season with limited personnel. So it didn't shock me at all that Murray was handed the JoeT playbook last week.
  • However, as the game proceeded, and it was evident that Murray could handle the offense, and that Ealey's effectiveness was two quarters past, I would have liked to have seen the playbook opened up and Murray allowed to send the ball downfield a bit more often. I know Georgia's TE's weren't playing up to snuff (by far and away, the biggest disappointment of the game, IMO), but between them and Brown, you have the horses. Running Ealey between the tackles for two-yard gains was clearly not working.
  • Alas, losing AJ Green on Thursday really destroyed the offensive gameplan. I'd imagine the Dawgs were able to spend this whole week of practice devising an offensive blueprint based around AJ not being in the lineup. Thanks again, NCAA. If you could wait until 8pm, instead of 8am, to announce you are upholding the suspension, that would be great, as well as completely fucking expected. I'd really like to know how you were able to get through Jeremiah Masoli's transcripts and police reports so quickly, really.
  • Moving forward, it's Arkansas week. The Hawgs seem like this season's SEC team du-jour. A squad that is overrated at the beginning of the year, feasts on cupcakes early, celebrates a semi-big win in September (let's hope not) before coming crashing down in October and eventually limping to a 2nd tier bowl. South Carolina usually fills this role nicely, last year it was Ole Miss.
  • Arkansas has beaten two cupcakes by a combined score of 75-10. They have Heisman Trophy "candidate" (read: he has no shot) Ryan Mallet quarterbacking the offense. Mallet has the speedy Joe Adams and the huge Greg Childs as his wideout targets, but the offense passing game really centers around the best TE in the SEC and maybe the nation in DJ Williams, a true beast over the middle. If the conventional wisdom is that the secondary is Georgia's defensive strength, we will find out if that CW is remotely true this weekend.
  • I had this game penciled in as a win all summer. Wthout Green, I think it is a bit closer to a tossup. Having Caleb King back will be huge, as Georgia can not afford the 3-and-outs that plauged them against the Gamecocks. Allow Arkansas to control time of possession and this game is kaput. Likewise, we cannot afford to get in a shootout with the Hawgs. This game will make or break how Todd Grantham is viewed early in his Athens tenure, for better or for worse. Let's give it to the Dawgs on a late field goal (as we all know Richt loves to), 27-24.
Other thoughts on college football, this week and last:

  • Two years ago, when Sue's had 9 readers (two of whom were OBJ's girlfriend and dad), we bashed the ACC incessantly, week after week in this space. This year, we will let every other blog and even the mainstream media to steal our thunder.
  • Boise State fans: start booking your hotels in Tempe...just for a week earlier than you were expecting.
  • I think the Heisman is a meaningless and idiotic award, as evidenced by all the handwringing over Reggie Bush having to give back a trophy that is probably the 785th most important keepsake in his life right now. That said, Terrelle Pryor has the look that a clear-cut Heisman "I'm the fucking man" candidate has (much like Bush had in 2005, or Charles Woodson had in '97). If this were a basketball or hip-hop post, swag would have been the word I was looking for. I think it is his award (as well as BCS national championship game) to lose.
  • If Tech loses to a ravaged North Carolina squad this week, it will be safe to say that the honeymoon period for Paul Johnson and The Perfect Option is over.
  • Sorry...just one ACC dig that I haven't seen elsewhere. How telling is it, that for their conference game of the week at 3:30 on ABC, the broadcast will be live from...Duke. As they take on Alabama. And by take on, I mean 'get slaughtered by.'
  • Remember when the Florida-Tennessee game was actually anticipated each year, as well as a lock to host gameday? Seems like eons ago.
  • It may not be this weekend in Baton Rouge, but Mississippi State will upset a ranked team or two this year. Book it.
  • Speaking of upsets, I was ready to pounce all over Texas Tech +7.5 over the line is down to 3 in some sports books. As if bookies driving around in Benzes and 7-series' wasn't enough of a reminder, now would be a good time to mention...don't fuck with Vegas. This is now offically a stay away game...just don't be surprised if/when it comes down to the final possession.

OBJ will be in tomorrow with some picks and maybe a paragraph or two on Steve Nash.


Bawlin' Cawlin' 09-09-10: Lock Box Edition

This is our Lock Box. Stuuuurdy.

Sure, it's early in the year. Not much point in revealing Sue's vaunted and on-point Top 10 list just yet, right? So we can have it on the initial record, though, look for big things this year from Oregon (OBJ's Top 10 Surprise), who only has to beat up on a weakened [possible?] and unstable PAC-10) and - you're not going to believe this, but - Georgia (SJF's Top 10 Surprise) to spice things up. Two years ago Sue's had Alabama in our Top 2 all year long, while everyone else saw them in a "building year." Count on Oregon and (I guess?) Georgia to finish in the Top 10 at year's end.

But, 2010 college gridiron being as such in the infant stage, let's officially enact something just as legitimate as College Football pre-and-early season rankings. The Runaround Sue's Lock Box!

Answering the most pressing questions in sports, we'll break down exactly how these unforeseeable events will transpire. Picking baseball, basketball and football boils down to a crap shoot, so being able to guess +60% in all of those is the same as predicting amongst an infinite amount of possibilities, right?

The questions for our Inaugural Box:

Will AJ Green's absence - or arrival - this season mean much in the grand scheme of things to the bulldogs' season?

But we have to believe that CMR (7-2 in bowl games, recruited #1 overall pick NFL draft) was and is still a top ten coach. It couldn't have all been the talent that Donnan (4-0 in bowl games, stellar recruiting classes) brought in, right? I mean, I love David Greene, but did you ever believe it was him (concession that he's the second all-time winningest quarterback in NCAA history) - and not the road map of CMR - that brought Georgia into national significance?

Plays like this won games and created memorable seasons, not Greene's unbelievable talent:

Word is Murray had never heard of 44-Flyback Rooskie before he met with Greene.
He should know it - and use it - well by now.

Georgia had plenty of close games in the early 2000s while they worked to gain reputation in the SEC. If Georgia can go 3-1 in the games AJ's out, his arrival back in the mix will mean a chance at an SEC Championship berth. Many in the bulldog nation feel Georgia's going to lose to South Carolina or Arkansas, perhaps both. If the Bulldogs have two losses when AJ's back to roast defensive backs, it will be too late.

But with a redshirt freshman quarterback, the Bulldogs' best player out for 1/3 of the season and a backfield lacking a standout all-purpose rusher, the coaching staff will be nearly more instrumental than the players on the field. Bobo's handling of his green quarterback will be key. Grantham's new defensive scheme and how quickly the defense picks it up will be key. And how CMR coaches his games against some of the best program heads in football will be the ultimate decider between a great and mediocre season.

So that's what Georgia needs this year. For Richt to step up and be the coach we all knew - and now think - he is. I don't care how close the wins are. Give me gut-wrenching slobber-knocking fist fights all year long. We need a road map to victory, Coach.

Basically, Georgia fans, if you still have faith in your Coach,
you have faith in Friday's 10-2 prediction.

Prediction: AJ's absence will matter. He's one of the best players out there, and arguably the best wide receiver in college football. His comeback will be meaningful, because the bulldogs will be in the hunt for the SEC East crown.

Will Steve Nash have a noticeably precipitous drop in effectiveness this season?

Sergeant Friday edited this post, deleting my thoughts on this topic and leaving behind a strong-worded short note kindly asking me to focus on football in September. I suppose he feels strongly about it. More on Nash later.

I know, Steve, I know. What gives, right? Don't worry: you'll get the treatment.

Prediction: TBD

Will Tiger Woods regain his form? Will Tiger Woods eventually overtake Jack Nicklaus?

Let's not be weak and take the easy road here. Of course Woods is going to regain at least some of his previous, championship form. Dominating? Probably. As intimidatingly and frighteningly imposing he was before? Doubtful.

The score: Woods has 14 majors, Nicklaus 20.

Tiger Woods is nearly 36 years old. Jack Nicklaus won his last major at August National in 1986 at the tender age of 46.5 years-old. Between the ages of 36.5 and 46.5, Nicklaus won six majors.

Are the courses different, most would say more difficult? Is the level of competition higher? Is Tiger working on surgically repaired shoe-fillers? Sure. But all Tiger has to do at this point is replicate the Golden Bear's prime-to-twilight years, and he'll match his majors wins.

The record will be here that SJF disagrees with me here, so there's likely an obnoxiously batty wager borne from this discussion similar to our $1000 "Pitchers will/won't be wearing helmets in 8 years." Silly boys.

Mark me down for yes. I'm not positive he'll break Jack's record, but I know he will at least match it.

Prediction: SJF says no, Jammin' certain he'll match 20 within 10 years. Should we change Sue's Lock Box to Sue's Time Capsule?

Will Boise State go undefeated?

This topic has been discussed too much already, so let's just go with the predictions.

Prediction: Joe Friday sees a loss to Oregon State. OBJ likes an undefeated Boise State at season's end.

Undefeated, does Boise go on to the BCS National Championship game in Arizona?

Prediction: Runaround Sue's collectively and emphatically says: No.

OBJ: 4-1
Joe Friday: 2-3

A solid start, but too early to be talking percentages.

Last Week's Picks
Virginia Tech (+2) over Boise State (-1)
Oregon State (+13.5) over TCU (+1)
Memphis (+22) over Mississippi State (+1)
Florida/Miami of Ohio OVER 52.5 (-1)
LSU(-6.5) over UNC (-1)
UGA/Louisiana Lafayette OVER 51.5 (+1)
Maryland (+6.5) over Navy (+1)
UCLA/Kansas State UNDER 44.5 (-1)
Michigan (-3) over UCONN (+1)
Kentucky (-3) over Louisville (+1)

Big blow to Sec Snobs everywhere with Ole Miss forgetting how to play football last weekend. Methinks they're just too worried about their mascot, what with not being able to secure the rights to Admiral Ackbar and everything.

It's a trap!

Today's Picks
Lots and lots of terrible games last week, and we're barely into ACC conference play. Several marquee match-ups this weekend.

Joe Friday 1: LSU (-9.5) over Vanderbilt

Joe Friday 2: Oklahoma (-7) over Florida State

Joe Friday 3: Tennessee (+12.5) over Oregon

Joe Friday 4: Alabama (-12) over Penn State

OBJ 1:
Georgia (+3) over South Carolina
Why does South Carolina always give Georgia fits? Anyone outside the SEC should still watch this game. These two teams always make it interesting...

OBJ 2:
Georgia/South Carolina OVER 46.5
...and usually low-scoring, too. The Gamecocks have an excellent defense and can finally stop the run this year, but Aaron Murray may just be the real deal.

OBJ 3:
California (-8.5) over Colorado
Here's hoping I'm wrong on this one. A win for Colorado can only make the SEC look better after Georgia disgraces them in Boulder, especially with Tennessee inevitably awaiting an absolute drubbing in Neyland Stadium at the hands of Oregon this week.

OBJ 4: Rice (+3) over North Texas
Rice? It appears Rice is a Conference USA team with 5,000 students. Tuition is $33,120 and the school features a student body comprised of 40% minorities! Plus their campus is very pretty. Go Owls!

And now, for your viewing pleasure, the sponsors of Sue's Lock Box.


If the Thrashers and Hawks had the exact same marketing slogans just three years apart, I'd chalk it up to yet another notch on the TJ Maxx discount-bin belts of the Atlanta Spirit LLC (a cheapness that for SOME inexplicable REASON did not extend to Mr. Joe Johnson).

However, what I would like to know, is how the fuck did THIS happen:

I know the ad industry is hurting right now, and that more people have watched that video on YouTube than attended Hawks games that season (Antoine Walker, Al Harrington and Ren Wright RIP as the main three attractions!), but c'mon, generic sports marketing agency. That's just lazy.


They Ain't Know, I Gotta Go

Despite what Bill Simmons says, I do not think it is prudent to gamble large sums of money on the first week of the college/NFL season. Look, I trust my knowledge of all things football as well as my prognosticating skill. However, I don't think anyone really knows just how good/bad a team can be until actually seeing said team play at least a game or two. And it is because of that line of thinking, I am loathe to make any sweeping generalizations about college football (OMG FLORIDA'S OFFENSE DOESN'T LOOK THAT GOOD MAN, THEY ONLY SCORED 34 POINTS, I DON'T SEE HOW THEY CAN BEAT US) after a week when most teams played cupcakes.

So that said, I took away very little from last weekend. However, this is a blog, so there must be baseless predictions. Here are three:

1. Alabama will not miss Mark Ingram that much, Trent Richardson will prove to be the most talented RB on Alabama's roster, and a disgruntled and less-than-100% Ingram will return to a three deep situation with Richardson and Eddie Lacey.

This is pretty self-explanatory and not much of a ballsy prediction. The fact that Alabama will be able to trot out those three guys , however, leads to my thinking that Alabama will once again find itself playing for the BCS National Championship.

2. Brian Kelly, much like Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis, will start strong against a less-than-stellar schedule, appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated headlining an "ARE THE IRISH FINALLY BACK??" story, lead Notre Dame to an undeserving BCS bowl with a 9-3 record. The Irish will then lose said BCS bowl by at least two touchdowns.

Again, not that ballsy. I do like Kelly as a coach, I just think Notre Dame is no longer a program that can win on a dominant consistent basis.

3. Georgia will go 10-2 and play for the SEC title.

Full disclosure: I made this prediction thinking that AJ Green would play all 12 games. But, fuck it, I'm not going to change it up. I predicted losses to SC and Florida, and I still think those will happen. I truly believe Arkansas is overrated, and if we could beat Auburn and Tech last year without Green, I don't see why we couldn't do likewise against an admittedly frisky Mississippi State squad. The front seven will be shaky at times this year, but I think the secondary will be among the elite units in the SEC, both in terms of top quality and depth. The offense has enough weapons and depth as well to withstand a freshman quarterback and Green missing a third of the season.

This isn't a homer pick either. Sure, I went into every game between 2002-2005 expecting a Georgia win; but after the Oklahoma State game last year, or even throughout Stafford's entire reign as QB, I always felt that deep rooted pessimism and 'we will ultimately fuck this up'-edness that defines one's rooting interest as a Hawks or Braves fan. I don't foresee that this year. I don't see one game on Georgia's schedule (as of yet) that they should not be in at least until the final minute or two.

And while we are here, a couple more Georgia thoughts:

  • It was much to my surprise that the uber-uptight "WHAT WOULD ERK DO/YOU DURN YUNG'INS ARE RUINING NORTH CAMPUS/JACKSONVILLE IS TOTALLY A NEUTRAL SITE" Dawgosphere came down so hard on the NCAA for their suspension of AJ Green. Look, I hate the NCAA and think they are a hypocritical, inconsistent, power-hungry, useless, bureaucratic organization. I don't give a shit if Reggie Bush keeps his Heisman or if Marvin Austin spent his entire summer blowing an agent. But the rules are the rules and you know the NCAA enforces them strictly. Therefore, AJ is a dumbass. He took money from an agent/shady dude. (Save the "it was for a jersey" bullshit. He took money from an agent/shady dude and gave him a worthless jersey. Pretty clear.) Is four games too much? Probably. Does it suck? Absolutely. Did AJ Green knowingly break the rules? All signs point to yes, unfortunately.

  • I remember thinking that Georgia Tech's wasting of Calvin Johnson's career by having Reggie Ball as his quarterback was a waste akin to pouring a free bottle of Makers Mark into a toilet. Got to admit though, AJ's career can't be far behind. His freshman year with Stafford was great, but he was just coming in and catching his stride as Staff was on his way out. His sophomore year heavily involved Joe Cox and me texting friends during Georgia games that I was feeling sorry for Green several times. Now his junior and final season features a redshirt freshman quarterback throwing to him for eight games. If he plays in every game after his suspension is up, he will have played in 31 games over three seasons.

  • Did not think I'd ever be anticipating a Georgia game where I would have more confidence in our 3rd-string TE than our #1 receiver.

  • Carlton Thomas is going to get some looks as a 3rd down back this Saturday, and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets more looks than Ealey. However, by the Tennessee game, I fully expect him to be our garbage-time back. King and Ealey are too stout back there and Richt has always loved giving the fullbacks some run.

  • I know it was stupid, but I loved Murray's TD scramble at the end of the 1st half.

  • I refuse to make any sweeping generalizations about the defense until after the South Carolina AND Arkansas games. But lets just say I am very, very excited.

  • North Campus was a fucking ghost town on Saturday. Hated that. But at least the migrant workers that have made that area of campus spic and span and looking flawless within 24 hours of EVERY HOME GAME FOR THE LAST TWENTY YEARS had very little to clean up Sunday morning. That makes it all worthwhile.

Go Dawgs. So glad football is back. And while we are here, off-the-cuff bowl predictions!

BCS Championship: Alabama-Ohio State

Rose Bowl: Oregon-Michigan

Orange Bowl: Florida State-Notre Dame

Fiesta Bowl: Texas-Boise State

Sugar Bowl: Georgia-West Virginia (ugh...)


Bawlin' Cawlin' 09-03-10

They're ready. Are you?

College Football is back, and with it, not raging keggers producing drunken co-eds like a Model-T factory line. Not the gorgeous weather that somehow manages to be both "warm" and "cool" simultaneously. Not the agonizingly painful but duty-bound 7:15 wake-up call for a nooner gameday after diligently attempting to 3-hour sleep off the night before. Nah, peeps! Bawlin' Cawlin's back in session!

First thing's first: to both of our readers out there, who have been awaiting our outlook on the Bulldogs' impending season like OBJ waiting to hear the latest America's Got Talent winners, wait no further. After talking myself into a possible SEC Championship game appearance last year with Mr. Joe Cox at our helm, I've managed to surpass those insanely unreasonable expectations this year. Can you say National Championship?

Good. But there's very likely no way in hell that's going to happen. Thinking that our redshirt freshman quarterback had every chance in the world to lead us to a BCS title game berth, Sue's decided to hook up with our friends at The results surprised me, but likely will not stir any of you: Dating back to 1999 (the beginning of the BCS), only one redshirt freshman quarterback led his team to a BCS Championship game. And that player is? Mike Vick. In losing to Florida State that year, Vick remains the only true redshirt freshman quarterback to take his team to the promise land.

"Okay, parade-rainer. Lowering expectations a bit, how 'bout just the SEC Championship game? That's definitely possible."

Sure it is, however very unlikely. Not a single true redshirt freshman quarterback has led his team to the SEC CG. Special consideration does go to Matt Mauck, who accepted an offer to LSU in 2000, was coached at the time by Nick Saban (the same coach who recruited him to play football at Michigan State three years earlier). Mauck was redshirted during the 2000 season, and saw limited action during the 2001 regular season. His first significant action came during the 2001 SEC CG, when he came off the bench to replace injured starting quarterback Rohan Davey. Mauck would run for two touchdowns, lead the underdog Tigers to a come-from-behind 31-20 victory over the heavily-favored Volunteers and become the single redshirt freshman quarterback to win the SEC CG. Still, it's not as if he started the whole season, or even that entire game. Plus, he was playing baseball for the Cubs for three years straight out of high school before attending his first collegiate practice, so we'll just call this a Mauck Addendum.

Now, Aaron Murray is no Matt Mauck, so perhaps it's still within the realm of reason that I expect the drought of Georgia's CG appearances to end this year. Also, Murray should be thankful he's no Matt Mauck, regardless if he joins him as a RSFQ to win the SEC CG: Mauck currently is enrolled at the University of Colorado School of Dentistry after failed attempts at playing professionally for the Cubs, Broncos, Titans and Jaguars. Hey, Tigers. I'm not Maucking you. He won two BCS championships, right?

So let's temper our enthusiasm a bit this year. I'm accepting nothing less than an SEC CG game appearance. Friday?

SJF's prediction of the season? Bulldogs will go 10-2

I see nothing wrong with this. We don't play LSU or Alabama in the West. South Carolina, always a tricky dicky, playing at home with more than a week to prepare, could definitely cause us problems. But other than that? A better-than-expected Auburn and Arkansas will make for great games, but I just don't see us having another mediocre season. I mean, no matter how much of it he gets from above, at some point Richt's gotta start missing the love, right?

In all honesty, I never thought we'd be here. The Bulldog Nation is truly one miserable season away from all-out recruiting efforts to find a new head coach. Admittedly I was naive, but I knew for sure Richt would be around for decades. I've been scoffing at his detractors for the past three years now, and if Sue's doesn't see something to root for - something to give us hope that we'll be anything other than that "aww gee shucks lookie they tried" SEC East also-ran - those murmurs may grow to unified calls, which will grow to loud, endless demands from the boosters, alumni and ticket buyers. I never thought this was possible, but ours could just be one of those voices.

Join us Tuesday when we run through Sue's Top 12. You may just be surprised with a few of the teams...

On to the picks!


OBJ: 0-0
Joe Friday: 0-0

We've had airplane and Braves game tickets, booze and food up for grabs. What's it going to be this round?

Tune in next week.

Today's Picks
This will mark the first time I've wagered on College Football. Let's hope my prodigious talent for picking 65% winners continues.

Joe Friday 1: Virginia Tech (+2) over Boise State

Joe Friday 2: Oregon State (+13.5) over TCU

Joe Friday 3: Memphis (+22) over Mississippi State

Joe Friday 4: Florida/Miami of Ohio OVER 52.5

Joe Friday 5: LSU (-6.5) over UNC

OBJ 1: UGA/Louisiana Lafayette OVER 51.5
I imagine Georgia can score 45 points on Lafayette and graciously allow 10 points, right? RIGHT?! I suddenly regret this pick.

OBJ 2:
Maryland (+6.5) over Navy
What the hell happened? Did Navy [re]turn to a powerhouse without me knowing it? Paul Johnson's doing his thing at Tech, ain't he?

I'll follow that with my obligatory, "if the ACC can't even handle this cupcake of a cover, they're off my board the rest of the year." Unless they're playing equally mediocre ACC teams.

OBJ 3:
UCLA/Kansas State UNDER 44.5

OBJ 4: Michigan (-3) over UCONN

OBJ 5: Kentucky (-3) over Louisville

Let's get on that work, gentleman

Love of the Game, or Something

ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series has been critically acclaimed and lauded for the almost full year that it has aired, so it hardly needs a ringing endorsement from a comatose blog. That being said, the series deserves all the credit that has been heaped upon it.

On the surface, it seems like such a simple idea. Take a bunch of relatively under-explored sports stories from the last 30 years, and get mostly established filmmakers to delve into the compelling aspects of those stories. But the execution has been superb, and here's hoping that the series continues moving forward past the currently slated 32 documentaries scheduled.

I haven't been able to catch every documentary...far from it actually, but here are my reviews of the ones that I have been lucky enough to catch. Because who doesn't want to read something critiquing a TV series by someone who is neither a writer or a TV critic?

First off, the 30 for 30s I haven't caught (actual titles unavailable due to laziness):

The Band That Wouldn't Die - Story of the Baltimore Colts marching band. I'd like to see this one eventually, hopefully it will be heavier on the Colts, their connection to the city of Baltimore and their subsequent departure than actual band-related stuff.

Who Killed the USFL - The USFL has always intrigued me, seeing as how some of the best NFL players from my childhood got their start there. Add in Herschel Walker, Donald Trump, and this is a must see.

Ali/Holmes - Muhammad Ali stories have never interested me, yet I'm always glad when I read/watch anything featuring him. Fascinating subject. If I ever catch this doc, I doubt I'll be disappointed.

Len Bias - Enough already. Every year on the 'anniversary' of his death, we are regaled with stories of this supposed legend and how he was to be Jordan's rival, etc. etc. etc. Others have done a better job deconstructing the myth surrounding this guy, so I won't expound on it. Let's just move on.

Jimmy the Greek - An alleged gambling drunk with a penchant for running his mouth? Count me in.

Winning Time, Reggie Miller vs. the Knicks - By all accounts, this was a fantastic piece, and I still remember watching these matchups from my adolescent years. That said, I find it slightly weird that a documentary focuses on a bunch of non-NBA (and sometimes non-Conference) finals series between two teams that ultimately never won shit. It would be like a filmmaker breaking down those epic round 1 matchups between the Hawks and Pistons from the mid-90s.

Silly Little Game - I already hate hearing people talk about fantasy sports. I don't want to watch a 2-hour documentary where people talk about fantasy sports.

16th Man - Didn't see Inviticus, don't plan on seeing the real life version. Rugby? Apartheid? Not a fan of either.

Big Air - I saw some of the most recent X-games. It captured my attention briefly before I changed the channel and put on the mediocre, yet enjoyable, Stepbrothers. I imagine I would do likewise with this doc about Matt Hoffman.

And now, in reverse order of awesomeness, the 30for30s I have seen:

8. Run Ricky Run - I still say Ricky Williams is the greatest college running back I have ever seen. His career arc could probably never be duplicated, and that is fascinating in and of itself. However, some parts of this doc...his stoner friends, lack of affection for his kids, his homely mistresses, were just kinda creepy. And writing that is actually making me rethink my own life, I'm just realizing...natch.

7. Straight Outta LA - Ice Cube, NWA, Snoop, the old Raiders and their batshit crazy fans...all enjoyable. Unfortunately, all that wasn't enough to make up for a time line that didn't add up (i.e. the Raiders sucking ass when NWA was ascending) and two stories that ultimately, as much as Ice Cube tried, weren't really intertwined.

6. Little Big League - Combined one of my favorite sports narratives (the dominant youth team coming of age, ala Hoop Dreams or the book Boys of Crenshaw) and one of my least favorite sports narratives (Baseball as a metaphor of life, waxing poetic about a sport declining in popularity). Enjoyed it more than I thought.

5. Jordan Rides the Bus - Great subject matter, disappointing execution. Who gives a shit about his real estate agent? Was anyone not aware of how competitive and how much of a hard worker MJ was? More info about adjustments to life in the minor leagues, inside stories about what it was like to be his teammate or play against him would have been interesting. Repeated stories about his work ethic and how impressive his .200 batting average were got old quickly.

4. No Crossover: The Allen Iverson Trial - Fascinating material. Really changed the way you could view AI. That said, this did not need to be two hours. We get it. Hampton, Virginia has racial issues. These kids were wronged (Maybe. The film seemed to simply expect the audience to take the side of the accused black youths.). Could have been done in an hour.

3. Guru of Go - I wanted to hug random strangers on the side of the road after seeing this story of Paul Westhead's Loyola Marymount teams. The impending buildup to Hank Geathers death was painful, but inevitable. The recounting of their run through the 1990 NCAA tournament was exhilarating. Very, very heavy material. Not sure I could or would even want to sit through this one again, but I am glad I did.

2. June 17, 1994 - Interesting strategy with this narrator, just film clips. It was cool how they tried to throw in Arnold Palmer's final US Open round, the beginning of the World Cup, and Junior Griffey's 200th (or whatever) career homerun, but all I (or most anyone) will remember from this day was everything OJ and how that pre-empted the NBA finals. That other stuff was just filler. Still, it was captivating to re-live the massive shitstorm that was the OJ story that day. I think we can all thank the powers that be that Fox News and CNN weren't the 24-hour news behemoths that they are today on June 17, 1994.

1a. Da U - Total Copout, picking two #1s. Luckily, nobody is reading this. By far and away, the most entertaining of all the docs. Loved the story of Michael Irvin claiming Dolphins players were begging Miami college kids to get them into da club. Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, VinnyT, Canes players wearing camo to the Fiesta Bowl, you couldn't miss with this doc. Truly a tour de force. You can't usually say this with documentaries, but this would be enjoyable to re-watch. Only loses a few points for acting as if Butch Davis and the uptight administration ended a great run, when it actuality, it was probation that hurt the Canes in the mid-90s, only to have Butch Davis bring them back to relevance and assemble the most talented collegiate team of the last 30 years.

1b. The Two Escobars - This felt as if I was watching a real movie. Seriously, it was like the sequel to City of God. Could you imagine a prominent US athlete being thrown in jail and missing the world's biggest sporting event because he was helping a drug lord funnel money to kidnappers? The stacked Columbian national soccer team shitting the bed at the '94 World Cup would have been an incredible enough story, through in the drug-funded soccer leagues, Pablo Escobar, that one soccer player with the crazy hair that was recognizable even to kids like myself who didn't give a shit about soccer, and the fact that the country's best defenseman was killed not so much for scoring a goal in his own net, but moreso for talking shit to the wrong people at a club, and well, that is just an incredible, sad story. One of those things you're watching and you can believe took place only 15 years ago.

There are still plenty of docs coming up. The Marcus Dupree one looks good, as does the Tupac/Tyson one and the SMU doc (always wondered why they were randomly good in the 80s). Hell even the one about the gay NASCAR driver seems slightly intriguing, if only for the WTF factor. In any case, we can all agree that this original programming by ESPN beats the hell out of Playmakers, or any of those made-for-TV movies they made in the mid-aughts. ALL I WANNA DO IS RACE DADDY.