Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

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28 Dec

What Mac Read


So, as I’ve probably made clear, I read a lot, and the last few days I’ve been reading a lot of baseball books — some I’ve read before, some I haven’t. One of the books I’ve read is The Pittsburgh Cocaine Seven by Aaron Skirboll. It was a worthwhile read, despite some PED moralizing that, frankly, I’m sick of in most contexts. Someone asked when I posted my Dave Parker comments a few years ago if there was a book on the Pirates cocaine scandal; there wasn’t then, but there is now. This isn’t a review, but some points of maybe interest.

  1. I really had to revise my opinion on Parker, whose involvement in the scandal went beyond simple cocaine use; he was not quite dealing drugs, but he was serving as a conduit from the (mostly small-time) drug dealers to his teammates. To me, that’s worse than just being a cocaine user, as I’d thought, and drastically adds to his guilt and the cost to his team. He still has Hall of Fame numbers, and he did turn his life around, but I have to dock him for that, and I think I’d move several players ahead of him.
  2. Skirboll interviewed two major league stars for the book, Parker and Lonnie Smith. Lonnie comes off a whole lot better; actually, he comes out of the book looking as good as anyone except maybe Whitey Herzog. Lonnie got off the drugs, didn’t pretend that he hadn’t been using or that it didn’t affect his play. For his efforts, baseball basically screwed him over, blackballing him for a couple of years until the Braves, desperate for anything resembling a major leaguer, gave him another chance.
  3. In that Parker post, I said that about ninety percent of major leaguers in the time period in question had probably tried cocaine. I’m still pretty comfortable with that estimate. Both Herzog and Keith Hernandez estimated that forty percent of major leaguers were users, which presumably doesn’t include those who sampled the drug once of twice; they also said that 11 members of their Cardinals team (including Hernandez himself) were users. Dock Ellis said that “the overwhelming majority of major league plaeyrs in both leagues were substance abusers,” though admittedly one of the substances he abused was a powerful hallucinogen. (Skirboll buys the LSD no-hitter story; I don’t.)
  4. The baseball lifestyle was made for a cocaine epidemic. Lots of travel, irregular hours with many “night shifts”, disposable income, right in the cocaine target demographic of 20-35. In addition to making you feel really good (let’s face it, it does) cocaine also provides an energy boost, often desirable to baseball players. The line between recreational and performance-enhancing drug is blurry.
  5. At one point, the judge in the most public cocaine trial, that of Curtis Strong (who is not a central character in the book, though his trial is basically its climax; Strong was, Skirboll says, basically a non-factor at his own trial) admonished Mets fans for giving Hernandez a standing ovation after returning to Shea Stadium following his testimony. Mets fans!
  6. Also, a female Tennessee student is quoted as saying that “Orgasms go better with Coke,” which could be a great slogan for the Coca-Cola company if they weren’t so staid. At any event, if I had to spend a bunch of time in Knoxville, I’m sure I’d do drugs too.

252 Responses to “What Mac Read”

  1. 1
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Maybe I should date more Lady Vols.

  2. 2
    sansho1 Says:

    Evidently I missed out on the Teena Marie cultural juggernaut over the past 30 years.

  3. 3
    spike Says:

    Saito signed with the Brewers. I will miss you, Eagle Fist!

  4. 4
    Stu Says:

    A shot at Mets fans and a shot at Knoxville? This post was a shot at Calipari/Big Blue Nation away from the triumvirate of awesome.

  5. 5
    DJ Says:

    4 – Boo.

  6. 6
    ububba Says:

    Mac,
    Did the book get into the idea that the Busch family wanted to rid itself of Hernandez? (I mean, how else can you justify a deal for Neil Allen?)

    And then you get the relativist moralizing about that, of course.

    #2
    Teena Marie was a bit of a factor in my professional world, but, yeah, it really was a slow news day.

    Lonnie Smith, what a weird player.

  7. 7
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Can’t wait to read it.
    Does the scandal matter? It did to me.
    Fully onboard as a Pirate fan in the ’70s. Pittsburgh Lumber Company. We are Fam-A-Lee. Pops!

    I had a bad year in 1982 and looked for solace in baseball. On Sept.1, NBC analysts were saying they were the favorite. They tanked. It hurt.
    I wonder now if we in blogdom could see the white line running though that clubhouse with the tools we use now.
    Or would we see that team gave 700 PA’s to the hapless Omar Moreno?

    Fortunately, I heard two wonderful guys in the summers of 1984 and 1985 named Skip and Pete. I had to go to Europe for 6 years, but decided when I came back home, I’d find a new team.
    Sid slid!
    Happy Ending!

  8. 8
    spike Says:

    Lonnie was the first player I ever thought of as a “professional hitter” n the NL sense.

  9. 9
    Smitty Says:

    Of the big four Tennessee cities (Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga), Knoxville is the worst. But it is getting better.

  10. 10
    sansho1 Says:

    I wonder now if we in blogdom could see the white line running though that clubhouse with the tools we use now.

    Maybe if you were a fan of a team other than the Pirates. There’s something in sports fandom that seems to require a belief in the moral superiority of one’s own team, so I suspect the blinders would still be on.

  11. 11
    jjschiller Says:

    Knoblauch duping Lonnie, Hrbek mugging Gant…

    I hear a lot that the 91 series was one of the best ever… But I was 7, and I remember it as a kid’s baseball movie where for some reason they had the bad guys win.

  12. 12
    ububba Says:

    Fave Lonnie moments: ’92 WS Grand Slam vs. Toronto, and a game vs the Mets in 1989.

    Sid Fernandez had struck out 16 Braves, but Lonnie led off the bottom of the 9th with a HR to win the game. Back then, those small victories felt monumental.

  13. 13
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Lonnie Smith’s biography:
    “Adventures in the Oufield.”
    Dude could rake, though.

  14. 14
    justhank Says:

    “Skates” used to drive me crazy. Now I know why.

    Legit question: Does anyone here miss the Steroid Era?

  15. 15
    Ethan Says:

    14-Not really, but in comparison to a lot of teams, the Braves didn’t really get a ton out of it. I guess you could throw suspicion on a couple of Javy years, Sheffield, or a random reliever, but unless I’m forgetting someone, I don’t really miss it.

  16. 16
    sansho1 Says:

    You’re forgetting the remainder of the 2003 everyday lineup IMHO.

  17. 17
    Mac Thomason Says:

    My understanding is that it was Herzog who wanted to get rid of Hernandez.

  18. 18
    Ethan Says:

    Marcus Giles just naturally had a large head and a prominent facial bone structure. It’s a coincidence! I swear! Really!

  19. 19
    justhank Says:

    Falcons offensive play-calling was the worst I’ve ever seen. And I’m a Kentucky fan!

  20. 20
    Johnny Says:

    ‘Legit question: Does anyone here miss the Steroid Era?’

    Nope. Call me old fashioned but I like it better when 30 homers is a great year.

  21. 21
    Spike Says:

    So if pitchers took steroids too, why do we think that jitters were the main beneficiaries?

  22. 22
    justhank Says:

    Good question, spike – but it seemed to turn out that way, at least in terms of power numbers.

  23. 23
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Bret Boone was a big roid user, but he sucked for the Braves.

  24. 24
    JoeyT Says:

    @21, just to hazard a guess, a baseball has a lot of elasticity, so if it’s thrown harder, it will go farther when hit (kind of like when you slam a basketball down on the ground).

    If steroids were the actual cause of the “steroid era,” and not expansion or less foul ground or whatever, the effect would probably be due to more energy from both the pitcher and the hitter.

  25. 25
    JoeyT Says:

    Side note: I fully expect sportswriters 20 years from now to call this the Phiten Era.

    Lincecum’s Cy Youngs will totally need asterisks.

  26. 26
    Dusty Says:

    Catching up on reading today and Poz’s post about the 32 worst sports endings. He mentions the way the Cubs fell apart after Bartman in that game and reminds me that it was AAG who botched the sure double play that really was what cost the Cubs a trip to the WS (that and letting Farnsworth pitch meaningful innings).

    I know I’m letting emotion get the best of me but from what I’ve seen AAG has not earned the great defensive SS label he has. He kicked away a few games in July and August and cost us one of the games against SF in the field. The defensive stats don’t show it I guess, but he’s a choker in the field when the pressure is on, or so it would seem to me.

  27. 27
    ububba Says:

    Wrong Alex Gonzalez.

    Our AAG (Another Alex Gonzalez) was actually playing for the Marlins that year. In fact, he won WS Game 4 that year with a walk-off HR.

  28. 28
    Tom Says:

    Dusty, don’t trust your eyes.

  29. 29
    Dusty Says:

    27 Thanks ububba, I was wondering if that was possible-it just seemed to fit with the AAG I’ve watched in his half season with the Braves.

    Nevermind.

  30. 30
    braves14 Says:

    John Rocker was a suspected ‘roid user.

  31. 31
    ububba Says:

    He certainly twitched a lot.

  32. 32
    csg Says:

    fangraphs – microeconomics/offense

    Quadrant I contains only Atlanta, and it is an interesting case. Although they were fifth in the league in runs per game, the Braves had the potential to be a league-leading offense. They led the league in OBP, but a sub-par strand percentage prevented it from reaching its scoring potential. The Braves had eight players, with at least 50 plate appearances, who had a .350 or better OBP. However, there was just not enough power on the team to drive these runs in. Brian McCann led the team with 21 home runs, and the leader in isolated power was Brooks Conrad. With a injury-free season from a maturing Jason Heyward, and the addition of Dan Uggla, Atlanta figures to have a better strand percentage and perhaps a big offensive improvement in 2011.

    http://tinyurl.com/2bjvg8w

  33. 33
    Ethan Says:

    Very interesting csg, I also think you can’t underestimate the benefit that lancing off Smelky will provide.

  34. 34
    ryan c Says:

    Bill James predictions for our starting lineup…

    prado: 12hr 87r 67rbi .801ops
    heyward: 22hr 101r 88rbi .904ops
    chipper: 17hr 65r 67rbi .882ops
    uggla: 31hr 96r 94rbi .835ops
    mccann: 24hr 68r 94rbi .859ops
    gonzalez: 13hr 46r 53rbi .696ops
    freeman: 16hr 68r 83rbi .781ops
    mclouth: 15hr 72r 54rbi .751ops

  35. 35
    Adam M Says:

    Does anyone find it odd that football coaches, who dedicate like 18 hours a day to their craft, don’t understand that punting on 4th and 6 from your own 40 with three minutes left and down 3 is the LOW PERCENTAGE play? How can anyone call that the safe play? It’s the conventionally wise play, which has nothing to do with caution.

    Ok, moving on. When does baseball start? I miss games without clocks.

  36. 36
    OneEye Says:

    150 HRs for the starting lineup? Not bad…

  37. 37
    desert Says:

    Interesting projections by Bill James. I don’t think that Martin is going to do that badly, especially considering that he’s beaten that OPS mark in 2008, 2009, and 2010. I’m also bullish on Heyward (but I couldn’t be a Braves fan if I wasn’t), and I think that he’s going to develop much more power.

    If Chipper is completely healthy (and, granted, that is a huge if), I think that he can beat that projection. That being said, with the risk of injury, I think that a .882 OPS is an optimistic projection. I don’t think that Uggla’s going to be hitting 30 HR’s, but I think that work with the Braves hitting staff concerning his OBP will make up for that loss in slugging.

    I agree with the McCann projection (although I also hope that this is his breakout year in terms of power). If Gonzalez can hit 13 HR’s, I’ll be surprised. But I think that a .696 is optimistic.

    James is always optimistic on rookies, and I don’t think Freeman is going to come close to any of those totals. If McLouth can give that line at the end of the year (with average defense from CF), I’d consider it a successful season for him.

  38. 38
    mravery Says:

    Yeah, that lineup would be good enough to put the Braves in contention in the NL East, Cliff Lee be damned. :-)

  39. 39
    Smitty Says:

    @34

    That would make Freeman ROY.

    I’d be very pleased if all those guys put up those numbers.

  40. 40
    Brian J. Says:

    34- Honestly, I’d be seriously surprised if Heyward doesn’t significantly exceed that projection if he stays healthy. He’s as likely to hit 35 HR as 22.

  41. 41
    kc Says:

    @32 What killed us at the end of last season was essentially injuries to Chipper AND Prado (plus Wag in the playoff). If everybody remains healthy (a BIG if) and Kimbrel/Venters combo can handle the closer role, I like our chance.

  42. 42
    ububba Says:

    Went to see UNC/Rutgers at MSG tonight.

    UNC has had its issues this year for sure (shaky guard play), but this game was a simple talent mismatch. Rutgers is kinda short & pretty slow. Plus, Carolina shot pretty well until garbage time. Game got outta hand in a hurry.

    UNC freshman Harrison Barnes is still a bit of a mystery. He’s most certainly not the transformational player that UNC people might’ve been expecting. Has his head up his ass occasionally. Misses a shot (and he missed a lot) & he doesn’t get back on defense. Gets yanked. Has got some learning to do.

    Decent turnout of Carolina folk at the game, given the ridiculous weather.

  43. 43
    csg Says:

    This UNC bunch is just different than a typical Roy Williams team. They do seem lazy on the defensive side and they seem to lack focus. They are a young inexperienced team for the most part though. It wont be long before McDonald/Marshall gets the starting PG spot over Drew. Drew is careless and makes very poor decisions throughout the game.

  44. 44
    ububba Says:

    And he’s a lousy shooter.

  45. 45
    Stu Says:

    My favorite thing about UNC is that they lost to Vanderbilt. My second-favorite thing about UNC is that they beat Kentucky.

  46. 46
    sansho1 Says:

    Meanwhile, at Clemson:

    http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/cops-man-playing-real-789992.html

  47. 47
    DJ Says:

    Harrison Barnes is one of the more overhyped prospects in some time. Nice player, but nothing to write home about.

    Larry Drew II is Quentin Thomas 2.0. I could not wait for Ty Lawson to get a breather when UK played UNC. Thomas’ +/- stats have to be some of the worst in college basketball for a top tier program.

    Stu, Vandy is legit. If Tenn wasn’t bipolar, that would be a pretty good SECE.

  48. 48
    chris Says:

    DJ…Harrison Barnes is NOT the most overhyped prospect in some time. That would have to be John Wall. However, Barnes was NEVER scouted to be anything other that a very good player. He’s not all that athletic and, surprisingly, doesn’t seem to have the killer mentality yet. I thought Sullinger, when I saw him, was the best HS player last year. However, Harrison is very young. He’s at UNC for 2, possibly 3, years.

  49. 49
    ububba Says:

    John Wall wasn’t overhyped. He’s actually a great player. Barnes is not.

  50. 50
    Smitty Says:

    I agree with ububba, John Wall is an outstanding basketball player

  51. 51
    Hate King Says:

    Which UNC are we talking about? UNCW, UNCA, UNCG, UNCC, or UNCCH?

  52. 52
    Seat Painter Says:

    Hate King – there is no UNCC anymore – it’s just called Charlotte now.

  53. 53
    csg Says:

    University of North Carolina

  54. 54
    Adam M Says:

    It’s hard to call John Wall over-hyped when he’s already an above-average point guard in the NBA.

  55. 55
    csg Says:

    Some speculation that Malzahn can have the Maryland job if he wants it. Leach and June Jones are not options anymore.

  56. 56
    DJ Says:

    48 – 2010-2011 AP Preseason All-American Forward: Mr. Harrison Barnes. First true freshman to make the list since its inception in the mid-80’s.

    H-Y-P-E.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=5752533

  57. 57
    DJ Says:

    And ESPN’s 2010 Top 100 # 1 overall player: Harrison Barnes

    http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/recruiting/rankings/_/class/2010

  58. 58
    justhank Says:

    Them cheatin’ Commodores:

    http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/blog/the_dagger/post/A-parking-pass-puts-Vanderbilt-forward-in-the-NC?urn=ncaab-301473&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    Sheesh. It’s like they put Barney Fife in charge of the Justice Department.

  59. 59
    Smitty Says:

    Vandy, everything that is wrong with the NCAA.

  60. 60
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Those entitled Division I athletes, thinking they can just buy any parking pass they want.

  61. 61
    Stu Says:

    Can’t believe Goulbourne is having to miss a second game for that. Tough test tonight against Marquette — here’s hoping Walker, back from Mono, has something in the tank.

  62. 62
    Jason Says:

    Probably doesn’t mean too much in the grand scheme of things, but interesting nonetheless: http://goo.gl/ZrlCj

  63. 63
    Grst Says:

    @35 It all depends on who the play is supposed to be safe for. It may not be the safe play for the team, but it is for the coach.

    Going against conventional wisdom takes courage and a willingness to defend your decision in the face of the inevitable criticism if it goes wrong. Going with conventional wisdom, on the other hand, usually means you’ll get little heat if it doesn’t work out. After all, you didn’t do anything that someone else wouldn’t have done. It may be the low percentage play for the team, but it’s the high percentage play for the coaches ass.

  64. 64
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Awesome graph, Jason. I think we all know around here that McCann is on a Hall of Fame start to his career, though others around baseball may not be quite as aware. But that’s pretty cool.

    Yogi was amazing, though. For seven straight years, from 1950-1956, Yogi Berra finished in the top four of the MVP vote every year. I’m not sure anyone else has ever done that. For that matter, Willie Mays finished in the top six for ten consecutive seasons, every year from 1957 to 1966.

    I’m guessing those are both records. Anyone know if that’s true?

  65. 65
    Stu Says:

    Looks like Pujols finished in the top four every year from 2001 to 2006, and again in 2008 and 2009.

  66. 66
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Right, I’m talking about consecutive years.

  67. 67
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Musial finished in the top nine, including one win and two second-place finishes, ten years in a row, from 1948 to 1957. And as I’ve mentioned before, Aaron was mentioned in the MVP voting for nineteen years in a row, from 1955 to 1973. Barry Bonds had a pair of five-year streaks of top five finishes, including four MVPs and one second-place finish from 2000-2004. Dimaggio was in the top eight each of the first seven years of his career.

    Ted Williams… it depends upon how you define it. He was second in 1941 and 1942, took three years off to fly fighter planes, then finished first, second, third, and first from 1946-1949.

  68. 68
    braves14 Says:

    I would think that streak should count and not go against him since he was involved in the war.

  69. 69
    ububba Says:

    Went to see Prince at Madison Square Garden tonight. These were the opening 6 tunes:

    The Beautiful Ones (just him & a piano)
    Let’s Go Crazy/Delirious
    1999
    Little Red Corvette
    Raspberry Beret

    Working in a quasi-in-the-round setup—the stage was shaped like that male/female Prince symbol—he was not fiddling around tonight. About 8 songs later, he got to “Purple Rain” and, yes, the whole Garden was howling along as Prince ripped up that iconic guitar solo. (Greatest power ballad ever?)

    He really blazed on the Telecaster all night, but the ending set again featured just him at the piano doing things like “Do Me, Baby” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” Crowd singing every word in falsetto. Goosebumps all around.

    Yes, the thing had its Vegas-y moments, especially on some of the rave-up funk tunes like “Cream”—still, he really shook it up with whoppers like “Uptown” & “Let’s Work.” At 52, he doesn’t dance as much as he once did, but he can play guitar just fine. All told, he put out pretty hard for an hour and 45.

    The man’s still got it—the whole package.

  70. 70
    justhank Says:

    Ah, yes – the SEC continues its domination of the Big East. Hopefully, that will continue on Friday.

  71. 71
    oldtimer? Says:

    ububba, I am very jealous that you got in to see Prince, we had a shot but no babysitter.
    My buddy saw him in NJ recently, said he was incredible.

  72. 72
    sansho1 Says:

    Sounds like a great show, ububba.

    BUT…there are power ballads, there are awesome power ballads, and then there’s “Still Loving You” by The Scorpions.

  73. 73
    ububba Says:

    I’ve always said that the Scorps get humor points for singing in English.

  74. 74
    Smitty Says:

    Go to hell Tarheels!!!!

  75. 75
    ububba Says:

    Pretty cool short film (about 3:35) on the NYC blizzard:

    http://vimeo.com/18268743

  76. 76
    Cary Says:

    If UNC finishes what was expected to be the program’s best year ever by losing to Cowardly Tennessee, they should just kill themselves.

    If the Cowardly Vols win, they’ll still be the 9th best team in the SEC. But good on ‘em for getting us to 1-0 should they manage it.

  77. 77
    Big D Says:

    How bout them Dores last night! And I can now say I’ve been on national televison. We were in the front of the student section, I was in a yellow shirt right next to the chest painted guys. That’s gotta be the best spot to watch a basketball game, midcourt, leaning on the floor, with the action just 10 feet away. That was a fun game.

  78. 78
    Seat Painter Says:

    @74

    Smitty, it’s Tar Heels. Two words. If you’re gonna cuss us, at least have the common courtesy to cuss us by our proper name.

    :)

  79. 79
    Seat Painter Says:

    Or, alternatively, Go to Hell Carolina works just as well.

  80. 80
    Parish Says:

    I simply do not understand Goulbourne’s “suspension.”. He BOUGHT a parking pass?!?

    I’m not even an athlete and this one is over my head. If NCAA regulations made any sense, then their stringent enforcement might be more tolerable.

  81. 81
    Mac Thomason Says:

    A completely frightening email sent to Bill James’ “Hey Bill” section:

    Speaking of the the Alex Gonzali, it always annoyed me that when the ‘new’ one joined the league, the ‘old’ one had to start using an initial. I always thought that it was the ‘new’ one who should have to do that. But then I read somewhere that the ‘new’ one didn’t actually HAVE a middle initial to use, so Alex ‘Cutie Pie’ Gonzalez (hey, that’s what my wife always called him when he showed up on tv) had to add the S.

    I’m going to start writing a movie based on this email, entitled “I Married a Blind Woman”.

  82. 82
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Hey, Harry S Truman didn’t have a middle name, either.

    I think you should write it for Mike Myers and Nancy Travis. That way, you could call it “So I Married a Blind Woman.”

  83. 83
    sansho1 Says:

    I read that earlier today and was similarly frightened — then I worked it out that “Cutie Pie” is ASG, not AAG. But yeah, that was a close one….

  84. 84
    Big D Says:

    Yeah, you got me, Parrish. I’m dumbfounded too. I guess he should have just said his dad did it. I’m just glad we won the 2 games and can now move on with our full complement of players.

  85. 85
    Kyle B. Says:

    Hey everybody –

    I’ve been AWOL for the last few months for a variety of reasons. I had bar study, passed the bar, got my first real legal job, and moved into a house. It was a lot of growing up in a very short amount of time.

    I still read the forums regularly, and the MLB.TV package through the PS3 is the greatest baseball related thing to ever happen to me. I can say I really enjoyed watching the 2010 Braves play, unlike the previous few years. And I’m really looking forward to next season.

    I hope to get back to contributing once Spring Training rolls around. I really enjoy reading everyone here, and I just wanted to say keep up the good work. Oh and Mac, thanks for giving us a place to sound off.

  86. 86
    Let the Wookie Win Says:

    Hey everybody –

    I’ve been AWOL for the last few months for a variety of reasons. I used to post as Kyle B., but something happened to my account. I tried to log in with my droid a few months back and the whole thing went heywire.

    Anyway, I had bar study, passed the bar, got my first real legal job, and moved into a house. It was a lot of growing up in a very short amount of time.

    I still read the forums regularly, and the MLB.TV package through the PS3 is the greatest baseball related thing to ever happen to me. I can say I really enjoyed watching the 2010 Braves play, unlike the previous few years. And I’m really looking forward to next season.

    I hope to get back to contributing once Spring Training rolls around. I really enjoy reading everyone here, and I just wanted to say keep up the good work. Oh and Mac, thanks for giving us a place to sound off.

  87. 87
    Rufino Linares Says:

    @79-

    “Go to Hell Carolina” is always in fashion.

  88. 88
    mravery Says:

    As an NCSU student and Gator fan, this game really, REALLY amused me.

  89. 89
    braves14 Says:

    UNC just had an epic, epic fail against Tennessee with clock management worse than Les Miles.

    And yet, they still managed to make it to overtime.

  90. 90
    mravery Says:

    I thought that was supposed to be a 5s runoff on the clock? I mean, otherwise, don’t you just need to have a guy hand the ball to the QB, no one else needs to be lined up correctly or anything. Sure, 5 yard penalty, but the clock gets stopped.

    Dumb rule, IMO, but now this has really gotten interesting. :-)

  91. 91
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Ah, UT class.

  92. 92
    braves14 Says:

    I think the 10 second runoff on the penalty is an NFL rule.

  93. 93
    braves14 Says:

    Derek Dooley is a spoiled child. That was the correct call. And the players are like a bunch of thugs, though that’s probably Fulmer/Kiffin’s fault.

  94. 94
    mravery Says:

    Haha. What a game.

  95. 95
    Stu Says:

    UT LOLs.

  96. 96
    Mac Thomason Says:

    [MANIACAL LAUGHTER]

  97. 97
    braves14 Says:

    Bob Davie thinks Tennessee is a Big 10 team.

  98. 98
    Mac Thomason Says:

    If only.

  99. 99
    mravery Says:

    Seriously, though, I’m the only one who thinks illegal procedure penalties should be 5s runoffs in the last 2 minutes of a half?

  100. 100
    Smitty Says:

    Daniel Lincoln sucks and I am glad he won’t be kicking next year

  101. 101
    braves14 Says:

    It was the correct call, but perhaps a loophole in the rules. UNC certainly deserved to lose after that Vaudeville showing in the last 15 seconds.

  102. 102
    Smitty Says:

    I am not sure how a penalty on a team can actually be able to help them.

  103. 103
    Bethany Says:

    I didn’t realize there wasn’t a time penalty in the NCAA… They should fix that.

  104. 104
    Smitty Says:

    The penalty helped UNC. But Daniel Lincoln’s dumb ass can’t make an extra point…

  105. 105
    braves14 Says:

    I remember that game where Lincoln (as a freshman) kicked like a 50 yard FG against USC in ’07 as time expired to send it to overtime. So he wasn’t all bad.

  106. 106
    mravery Says:

    I mean, the PAT got blocked, he didn’t miss it. Granted, it looked like it came out lower than it needed to have.

  107. 107
    Smitty Says:

    He kicked it right into the line like he did against Bama this year

  108. 108
    Rob Cope Says:

    I think poor clock management did the Vols in, not the kicking game. Of course, Bray could have not thrown a pick. Tennessee makes the SEC look bad. Boo.

  109. 109
    Smitty Says:

    Tennessee won the game. The ref called it over. UT can appeal and they should.

  110. 110
    Smitty Says:

    Rob,

    Not sure how Tennessee managed the clock poorly. They had a stupid personal foul on a pass that wasn’t caught (but was called complete) then they stuff at the end.

  111. 111
    Smitty Says:

    I’m just glad the Tennessee football season is over and I pray none of you have to go through the crap we have had to in the last year, well expect you Gator fans.

  112. 112
    drewdat Says:

    I thought Buster Posey played for FSU, not UNC.

  113. 113
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Kyle, the spam filter caught your comment. I don’t know why, but it can be because it doesn’t like the server you signed in on.

  114. 114
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    Tough loss for UT–but one which might be indicative for the type of year they had. Anyway, lets hope the rest of the SEC fares better….

  115. 115
    Mac Thomason Says:

    It’s karma, dude. Everything that’s happened to Tennessee the last six years is due to bad karma. They should be in balance in a few thousand years.

  116. 116
    drewdat Says:

    And the refs were probably right to leave the clock at one second after the spike (although there is a vague statement in the rules about unfair clock management – perhaps it’s for something else, but lining up illegally to stop the clock hardly seems fair) (and the rule will probably be different next year).

    However, UNC had 12 men participating in the play (in addition to the other 3 or 4 still running off the field at the snap) – 6 linemen, 3 WRs, the QB, a holder, and the kicker. None were attempting to get off the field. Supposed to be a 15 yard penalty, but they were only given 5, even after a video review (and it’s a reviewable infraction). So yes, the refs screwed it up, though perhaps not in the most obvious way. Would have been a 49 yarder instead of 39, and into the wind.

    Oh well, it’s probably a little too demanding to expect referees to know the rules of the game.

    I’ll keep going. By my understanding, either it’s a 5 yard penalty (like they called) presnap – meaning the clock would continue at the refs whistle, or it’s a 15 yard penalty if there are 12+ players participating (which there were), but the play counts, so the clock would stop on an incompletion. The refs called a hybrid of the two, letting the play (and clock stoppage) stand, but only penalizing 5 yards. Since the refs had to review it, UNC could have had their FG unit ready to kick at the ref’s whistle with a running clock, but that would be trickier than the stopped clock attempt they were awarded.

    Neither the 15 yard penalty nor the running clock with a 5 yard penalty would have guaranteed a different outcome like the NFL’s (and likely NCAA’s, starting next year) mandatory runoff would have, but they’d have to hurt the FG kicker’s odds at least somewhat.

  117. 117
    ububba Says:

    As far as I’m concerned, the officials ruined the endings to 2 perfectly good bowl games today & tonight.

    That unsportsmanlike call on Kansas State was just ridiculous. It literally cost them an opportunity to win.

    So I gotta ask: At this point, is the NCAA really just trying to make people hate the game? If so, they’re succeeding.

  118. 118
    drewdat Says:

    Agreed, celebration penalties at the end of close games are pretty much the worst. It takes a stunning lack of awareness of the situation and of one’s role in the game of football to throw a flag for what are generally rather innocuous celebrations following game-changing touchdowns.

    Refs shouldn’t go looking for celebrations to call, they should let the celebrations find them. You have to wonder if some of these officials are watching the endzone more intently than the preceding play.

  119. 119
    chris Says:

    actually, seeing that we’re (UNC) missing 12 projected starters (from the beginning of the year), competing with Tennessee is in and of itself a victory. UNC will be scary next year (as our recruiting class is ridiculously strong and, in light of no NCAA sanctions, will get even better (like top-10 better)).

    As for the “Go to Hell Carolina” people: Jealous much?

    Finally, who’s the guy who is a NCSU grad AND Gators fan? Wow. Talk about #$%$ envy.

  120. 120
    sansho1 Says:

    Have I accidentally stumbled upon an AJC blog?

  121. 121
    justhank Says:

    ububba @ 117 – AMEN, BROTHER!!

    I really don’t think there will ever be a true revolt against the NCAA, though one is richly deserved.

    But then, I never believed the Berlin Wall would really fall, either.

    One can hope.

    Oh, btw, Auburn fans might as well stay home. I’m pretty sure their game will be officiated by Big 10 refs, also.

  122. 122
    td Says:

    As an Alabama fan it’s embarrassing to say this, but I was pulling for Tennessee. If they actually try to move the ball on the last series and if not, punt the ball out of bounds instead of blasting it out of the end zone, the other stuff would have been moot. I didn’t know the distinction b/t the 5 and 15 yard penalty for 12+ men on the field, but other than that, I think putting one second on the clock was the right call. After the missed extra point, it was obvious something like this would happen.

    Anyway, UT didn’t have a bad year. They improved a lot by the end of the year and actually made it to a bowl – this seemed impossible at the start of the year. They also found a qb (despite his end of game blunder) who will be good in years to come. Most importantly they no longer have Fulmer or Kiffin. Dooley seems to be heading them in the right direction and has a lot more class than the other 2 guys combined.

  123. 123
    Mark Graybill Says:

    As a grad of a UT master’s program, it’s embarrassing to say this, but I was pulling for UNC. There are many reasons for this, some rational, some irrational, none of which I’ll get into now.

    On a Braves-related note, I saw that MLB Network selected Chip Caray’s call of Heyward’s home run on opening day as the best of 2010. Not sure how I feel about that. I like the exposure it gives Heyward and the Braves, but cringe at how it might encourage Chip (and his employers) to continue bad habits going forward. Also included on the list was Chip and Joe’s call of Conrad’s GS against the Reds on Memorial Day. What does Chip mean when he says, before Conrad comes to the plate, “We’ve got a way-go, folks”? Is that a baseball announcer phrase I don’t know about, or is he just making shit up? It may seem like I’m being a smartass, but I’m not–I really want to know if I missed something.

    Happy New Year everybody!

  124. 124
    ububba Says:

    Hall of Fame discussion (Blyleven vs. Morris, Raines, Bagwell, etc.) in today’s New York Times:

    http://tinyurl.com/28xapyy

    Oh, and go Dogs.

  125. 125
    Stu Says:

    Nice win for your boys, hank and DJ. I’ll say it, again: I cannot wait for conference play.

  126. 126
    Mac Thomason Says:

    More high UT comedy in basketball. I love this week.

  127. 127
    justhank Says:

    Thanks, Stu. Beating Pitino is always a satisfying experience.

    I’ve always loved Conference play. I have no idea why, but SEC teams always seem to play horribly out of conference and well in conference.

    I KNOW the Vols and Mississippi State are better than they’ve shown. (Although Tennessee’s dumbassery is beginning to look like the truth.)

    And the Dawgs are a legit Top 20 team (and will pose a matchup nightmare for UK).

    I can’t figure LSU. Maybe Dale Brown’s deal with the Devil has come due.

    Happy New Year, everybody! Don’t drink and post. (I take that back – that’s when the real fun begins.)

  128. 128
    Stu Says:

    Eh, this is much closer to the UT team I thought we’d see this year than the one that beat Pitt was. They’re just not very deep or good. That said, I’d much rather play them when they’re riding high than when they’re desperate for a win, so I’m getting more nervous about the VU game in Knoxville in a couple weeks.

  129. 129
    Smitty Says:

    I think I must have pissed off God or something.

  130. 130
    jj3bagger Says:

    You can add Zach Miner to the list of ex-Bravos that are now Royals property. Royals signed him to a minor league deal. You may remember when Minor was traded along with future Royal Roman Colon to the Tigers for future Royal Kyle Farnsworth.

  131. 131
    drewdat Says:

    Tennessee has played like a bad OVC team the past few weeks. If you really saw that coming, you should have cashed in.

    Tennessee has several talented guys, but most are pretty inconsistent. I think having a shooter would solve a lot of the problems on offense. The gameplan right now seems to be play zone or pack the lane to prevent anything close, hope it isn’t the one night out of three or four that Tennessee is hitting shots, take advantage of any breakdowns resulting from the offensive frustration, and prosper. Teams that do that will either win or make it close a majority of the time with the roster as currently constructed, IMO.

    Also a chance that the investigation of Pearl/looming suspension is taking a toll. Defensive numbers and general effort have slipped a lot lately.

  132. 132
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Andre Ware is so stupid. So is Dayton Moore.

  133. 133
    Clarke Says:

    Wow- is Richt gone?

  134. 134
    Smitty Says:

    Wow Dawgs

  135. 135
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Is Richt even there to begin with? Four plays to win the game and AJ Green might as well have been sitting down.

  136. 136
    Smitty Says:

    I think Richt has to win the east next year

  137. 137
    Stu Says:

    Tennessee has played like a bad OVC team the past few weeks. If you really saw that coming, you should have cashed in.

    Well, I picked them to finish 5th in the East on this very board. So, maybe not quite this bad, but like I said, closer to this level than to the beating-Pitt-at-Pitt level.

  138. 138
    DJ Says:

    Thanks Stu. Big win. Love me some Harrellson. He’s the difference between a top 25 and top 10 team. I don’t think any UK fan (even the most optimistic) anticipated he would be playing at this level in December.

    Conference play is going to be a blast. Heading to Athens next weekend.

  139. 139
    braves14 Says:

    I think Garcia has money on the Seminoles.

  140. 140
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Some Murph and McGriff talk, and a very telling comparison with Rafael “Pointy” Palmeiro:

    Joe Posnanski » Posts Hall of Fame: The Borderline Five «.

  141. 141
    sansho1 Says:

    justhank, I like your optimism about UGA hoops, but I have serious doubts. They are a very poor outside shooting team — zone defenses by inferior teams have been effective. No bench production. Pretty good defensively, but overall it’s a four-player team right now.

  142. 142
    Bethany Says:

    I’m not liking the SEC showings in the bowl games thus far. Please oh please, Auburn, don’t suck on the 10th.

  143. 143
    braves14 Says:

    Well, since that horrible first quarter USC has made it a game.

  144. 144
    kc Says:

    The Hawks are so predictable. They will never surprise you. They really need to shake up the roster to actually do anything special.

  145. 145
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Unfortunately, the only players anyone would want are the Hawks’ two best players, Smith and Horford, or their two young players who might turn into something. Rest of the roster is dead weight with massive contracts.

  146. 146
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    Happy New Year!!

    The SEC is off to a terrible start and they should have at least won 2 games. I am surprised the South Carolina lost, but not Georgia.

    In fact, I am hoping that as 2011 begins, we may look to the year for a new beginning in Georgia football. With some luck, Georgia will finally get rid of Richt and get the kind of football coach that it deserves. If Auburn wins the BCS game then the SEC will have had 4 teams in 5 years win national championships. Georgia should be a part of this trend….

  147. 147
    kc Says:

    @145 I think trading one of Josh and Al is inevitable.

  148. 148
    chris Says:

    Mac, so you’re saying nobody would want Marvin Williams?

  149. 149
    justhank Says:

    I’d trade Marvin AND Bibby for Chris Paul right now. What’s really bad is that the Hornets would laugh at us if we suggested it. Oy.

  150. 150
    justhank Says:

    Bulldawg fans, I’ve seen this movie before. It’s called “The End of Tubby-Time at UK”.

    Richt and Tubby are two fine men who did great things early in their tenure, but for whatever reason, lost the steam needed for success at the highest levels.

    I hate it, because I think Richt is a credit to his university and his profession, but it’s hard to restart a program that’s dead in the water without a new coach.

    If recruiting slips, you’ll know he’s done.

  151. 151
    spike Says:

    Terence Moore – Stiil Crazy After All These Years

    I got a million bucks that this is all conveniently forgotten when Griffey gets on the ballot.

  152. 152
    Smitty Says:

    Go back and read the SEC preview

    (I won’t count bowl games)

    Jorgbacca- said 5-7 was possible for Ole Miss. (4-8)

    Alex R said 10-2 for UGA (6-6)

    braves14 said between 6 and 10 for USC(9-4) East Champs

    I said 6-6 for the Vols (6-6)

    Mac didn’t predict a record, but did say he felt Bama could lose and they had to be focused to repeat. Not far off.

  153. 153
    sansho1 Says:

    Sounds like Terence won’t vote for anybody whose body changed between the ages of 20 and 35, unless they just got fatter.

  154. 154
    td Says:

    I had a student in one of my training classes a few weeks ago whose son is being recruited by some major schools. I think he started out as a Ga lean, but was extremely disappointed with the whole UGa recruiting process. They said Richt seemed to be aloof and didn’t get involved much. This is probably the beginning of Georgia’s problems.

  155. 155
    sansho1 Says:

    I think Richt is ready to entertain other offers. I don’t believe he’ll be fired, but he’s one more mediocre year away from that fate, so better to make a move now.

  156. 156
    spike Says:

    So Mich State is #9, and Ala is #16, yet the Tide is the overwhelming favorite. Is there anything else one needs to know about college “rankings”?

  157. 157
    beedee Says:

    so where does the whole elephant thing come into play with the Crimson Tide thing? I’ve never connected the dots there.

  158. 158
    Parish Says:

    Happy New Year, all!

  159. 159
    Spike Says:

    It’s from a newspaper storyas I recall, 30’s I think

  160. 160
    Adam M Says:

    ” think trading one of Josh and Al is inevitable.”

    Perhaps, before they do that, they can find a coach who runs the offense through them. Right now Horford is 4th on the team in usage rate.

    True, the Hawks are not going to be a legit championship contender even if management figures out who are the assets and what are the team’s liabilities–not with this roster–but the fact that nobody there yet understands those basic concepts suggests that the team won’t ever get better. If they’re forced to trade Smith in the future, it won’t be because of the JJ contract. It will be because of the ethos that led to that contract, the very ethos that idiotically takes the ball out of Horford’s hands.

  161. 161
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Steroids?

    University of Alabama traditions – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    The biggest reason is that a tide, while an awesome demonstration of nature’s power, is fairly hard to illustrate and basically impossible to turn into a stuffed animal.

  162. 162
    beedee Says:

    hah, thanks Mac. Glad i’m not the only doing a little head scratch’n. Hey, as long as it works, why question it.

  163. 163
    beedee Says:

    wow..nervermind

  164. 164
    Mac Thomason Says:

    No it isn’t. Alabama can blow any lead.

  165. 165
    Adam M Says:

    Denard Robinson has 150 yards in the 1st quarter.

  166. 166
    mravery Says:

    Well this game has gotten better and better since it began. Then again, that’s kind of how UF has operated all year. Let’s hope it keeps going that way.

    And am I the only one really annoyed that ALL THREE SEC/Big 11 matchups are happening at the exact same time? I’d really like to give ‘Bama and MSU a full watch instead of having to alternate between the two on commercial breaks in the Gator game.

  167. 167
    spike Says:

    I know it has nothing to do with the university nicknames, but I have always loved the sea shanty Roll Alabama Roll

  168. 168
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Some of this is that Alabama’s defense is stronger in the front seven than the secondary, and MSU is the first team they’ve played in a long while that uses a base offense that you can actually play with three linemen and four linebackers. Alabama’s backup DBs, the corners in particular, aren’t very good.

  169. 169
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    #166–At least you can see one of them–the FOX package we have in the UAE is not showing any of the Bowl games….Following on the computer is just not getting it done….

  170. 170
    mravery Says:

    Yay! Blocked punts are fun!

  171. 171
    beedee Says:

    @167
    Yargh! so now they’re pirates? Now i’m really confused.

  172. 172
    mravery Says:

    Hahahaha. What a block by ‘Bama’s QB. That was awesome.

  173. 173
    beedee Says:

    Stephen,
    do you have access to Espn3?

  174. 174
    Adam M Says:

    And he has a pick. Oh well. SEC, unsurprisingly, asserting itself after a lackluster showing so far.

  175. 175
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Shorter Todd Blackledge: “There’s nothing but chain restaurants in Orlando.”

  176. 176
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    beedee–No–we used to have access to ESPN, but the package we are on changed about two years back….

  177. 177
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Most insufferable person in Gator Bowl: Rich Rodriguez or Craig James?

  178. 178
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Stephen, he means the ESPN internet streaming video feed.

  179. 179
    Mac Thomason Says:

    [Chris Relf] + [Michigan’s defense] = [Tebow]

    Thanks again, Mrs. Rodriguez!

  180. 180
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    Unfortunately, there is some sort of firewall which prohibts ESPN3–but at least I can get MLB.tv…

    Nice finish of the half by MSU….

  181. 181
    csg Says:

    wow, Michigan getting routed by Miss St. Rich Rod enjoy your last game there.

  182. 182
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    Roll Tide!!

  183. 183
    csg Says:

    In the coming month before National signing day, these jobs could come open.

    Michigan, Stanford, and Georgia. Which means LSU could come open if Miles bolts to Michigan. Kirby Smart could go to UGA I guess. Malzahn could be off to Maryland or Stanford maybe. At least something entertaining could happen.

    Good thing to see UA focused for once.

  184. 184
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    I think that Miles stays at LSU, but the Michigan job would have to be tempting….

  185. 185
    Adam M Says:

    As someone who has hated on Michigan State the entire season, all I can say is that this game is enjoyable. In a sad, painful sort of way.

  186. 186
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    It’s remarkable how human recall works. Somehow, I had managed to forget just how mind-numbingly terrible Terence Moore’s columns are, and I actually clicked on that link. Helpfully, he jogged my memory.

  187. 187
    csg Says:

    btw, Michigan State cant run the football against Alabama

    edit: their offensive line is getting destroyed also

  188. 188
    Adam M Says:

    186 – And he has a vote for the HOF. When we stop treating the BBWAA as a confederation of experts–or even as a group of people who know more than the majority of people writing here–then I’ll care about the HOF. Until then, whatever.

  189. 189
    mravery Says:

    Heh. That’s two fumbles they ruled down when it should’ve been Florida football.

  190. 190
    Cary Says:

    Flordia is just terrible to watch. I actually feel sorry for Gator fans.

    That said, close this thing out, UF.

  191. 191
    spike Says:

    How the heck did UConn get a Fiesta Bowl invite?

  192. 192
    mravery Says:

    Ahmad Black FTW!

    ETA: You’re absolutely right, Cary. The offense has been such a pain to watch this whole year. I think it’s very telling with what’s happened to MSU and Florida since Mullen left.

    Either way, nice to send Meyer out with a win. The Florida defense played really well today.

  193. 193
    Cary Says:

    Well okay, that Ahmad Black interception was pretty. Sweep the Big Ten. Go Hogs.

  194. 194
    Adam M Says:

    Early comedy in Pasadena: Herbstreit assuring the country that, surprisingly, a few people actually think TCU should win the game, and then Brent Musburger pointing out that TCU is the favorite in Vegas.

  195. 195
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Big lEast has an automatic bid, and UConn was in like a four-way tie with the tiebreakers. They’re a joke team from a joke conference.

  196. 196
    ububba Says:

    Probably the worst UGA bowl loss since the 1974 Tangerine Bowl, when a 6-5 UGA team lost to an undefeated Miami of Ohio, then a Mid-American Conference champ. Yes, you give credit to the other guys, but you can’t lose to UCF.

    Wasn’t crazy about going for the field goal early, when the opening drive had a 4th & inches inside the 5 yard line. Murray wasn’t great after the first quarter & the O-Line was bad in the second half. They made no effective adjustments to the blitz. Some of it was execution, a lot of it was selection. Plenty of blame to go around.

    Nonetheless, I agree that Richt gets another year. Overall record remains good. His bowl record remains good. And it should be noted that Richt turned the program around again, but these last 2 years are erasing a lotta good will—14-12 is still 14-12. The question, then, becomes: If Richt does go, who would be the replacement?

    Of course, I was able to drown my sorrows at a pretty good rock show later on, Drive-By Truckers at Terminal 5. Yes, as the Brits say, I got “properly pissed.”

  197. 197
    spike Says:

    I heard that was a winner – my friend Kelly Hogan went, and was complaining of the Irish Flu this morning as well.

  198. 198
    ububba Says:

    Ran into Kelly last night. (She was clutching an Amstel Light.) Not big pals with her or anything, but had to thank her for her rendition of “Soft Picasso” at the Vic Chesnutt tribute at the 40 Watt last February.

    As usual, she did a good job on the mic, too, especially during the cover of “Respect Yourself” (with David Hood on bass).

  199. 199
    spike Says:

    She is one of the good ones, in every possible way.

  200. 200
    Mac Thomason Says:

    [MANIACAL LAUGHTER AGAIN]

  201. 201
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Legends… Leaders… Losers.

  202. 202
    mravery Says:

    Banner day for the Big 10. Owch.

  203. 203
    Adam M Says:

    200 – Wisconsin just blew the game. I’d fire Bielema after this game if I was the AD, but he’s similarly awful.

  204. 204
    Mac Thomason Says:

    The Big 10 had more losses today than the two Michigan teams had combined scores.

  205. 205
    Adam M Says:

    204 – Which speaks more to the fact that there are too many bowls. 7-5 teams don’t deserve to play for anything. The entire bowl system is so unimaginatively dull for people who lack the tribal allegiances of specific programs that it’s a wonder people watch. But we do. Or at least I did–unfortunately.

  206. 206
    Mac Thomason Says:

    MSU was 11-1, and lost by just 42 only because Alabama, the fourth-place team in the SEC West, had third-stringers on the field in the fourth quarter.

  207. 207
    Adam M Says:

    And Penn State, Michigan, and Northwestern were all terrible teams. What’s your point? I’ve been as loud a critic of Michigan State as anyone this year–they’ve gotten lucky against two or three teams, and beat up on their mediocre conference (and not by convincing margins). My point wasn’t that Michigan State shouldn’t have played–I’m glad they got exposed–but that the other three teams shouldn’t be playing on New Years Day.

    Of course, with a National Championship Game on the 10th, they’ve watered down the day. Awful, awful day of football.

  208. 208
    Adam M Says:

    206 – Also, do you think Alabama is really the 4th-best team in the SEC? Really? I don’t. They may have finished there, but Alabama would beat South Carolina 9 times out of 10, and LSU 60-70% of the time too.

  209. 209
    ububba Says:

    Except that South Carolina beat Alabama & so did LSU.

  210. 210
    Adam M Says:

    My point is simply that Alabama is not the 4th best team in the SEC. Also, to be clear, I’m just an advocate of NOT seeing teams like Michigan and Penn State on New Years Day. I’m not sure I’d get much of an argument from anyone on that, but if you do want to see them, then by all means let’s hear it.

  211. 211
    ububba Says:

    The bowls are about their corporate sponsors & their access to big TV audiences, not what makes any football sense.

    If we had football sense, we’d have a legit playoff.

  212. 212
    Mac Thomason Says:

    And note that the SEC teams that the Big However Many lost to today were the fourth-place team in the West, the fifth-place team in the West, and the 7-5 runners up in an historically bad East.

  213. 213
    justhank Says:

    Bama just showed what an opportunity they missed.

    On certain days, they are the best team in the country by a large margin.

    Secondary is suspect, but other than that they are better than anybody you can name. A shame, really. You don’t get those repeat opportunities very often.

    SEC proved today what is the real truth about the conference – the top of the conference is unparalleled. The bottom half is mediocre at best.

  214. 214
    justhank Says:

    And as my first act as Head Coach of the University of Pittsburgh, I think I’ll bitch slap my baby mama.

  215. 215
    justhank Says:

    Why didn’t the Big 12 invite TCU when they had the chance?

  216. 216
    Mac Thomason Says:

    TCU could have joined the Big Ten, but they wanted a challenge.`

  217. 217
    ububba Says:

    But even the bottom half of the SEC puts plenty of players into the NFL. So their talent level is still better than most.

  218. 218
    justhank Says:

    Kinda feels like Meyer is leaving Florida because he didn’t like the way the program was starting to control him.

    It’s counterintuitive, but it just feels like Foley told Meyer to fire Addazio and Meyer voted with his feet.

  219. 219
    Adam M Says:

    “The bowls are about their corporate sponsors & their access to big TV audiences, not what makes any football sense.”

    I get that–cue sigh. Sometimes I just need to vent about the system. It’s almost anti-football at times…

    “And note that the SEC teams that the Big However Many lost to today were the fourth-place team in the West, the fifth-place team in the West, and the 7-5 runners up in an historically bad East.”

    Nobody is arguing the Big Ten is good. My point all along has been that the 5th, 6th, and 7th best teams in the Big Ten suck. And as we all saw, so too does the conference’s 3rd best.

  220. 220
    Mac Thomason Says:

    You could put a pretty good team together just of players from the SEC’s four traditional cellar-dwellers, Kentucky, Vandy, and the Mississippi schools. You’d have Cutler at QB, Oher at LT, Green-Ellis at RB, Willis at MLB…

  221. 221
    ububba Says:

    Eli Manning, too.

  222. 222
    justhank Says:

    Randall Cobb would be the second-best receiver at Bama or Georgia. And the best receiver at MSU, LSU and (maybe) South Carolina (their #1 is pretty good).

  223. 223
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Cobb is very good, but no way is he better than Jeffrey. For that matter, Chad Bumphis is awfully good, though he was hurt today (which just makes State’s performance even more impressive).

  224. 224
    Stu Says:

    220—Not sure which school they’d replace — Kentucky, maybe — but South Carolina is definitely in the bottom four, historically. Unless you don’t count them because they weren’t in the conference until the ’90s.

  225. 225
    BraveFanInChi Says:

    TCU wasn’t invited to the Big 12 because they bring no money. They struggle to sell out their home games in a 50,000 seat stadium, have an alumni base of less than 75,000, and bring no added tv sets. In short, they add very little. And no, they weren’t invited to the Big Ten either.

    But the Big East wanted them.

  226. 226
    Mac Thomason Says:

    If the Fiesta Bowl is a major bowl game, why are UConn and Matt Millen there?

    Ole Miss actually has more of a football tradition than USC. Before 1985 or so, they had more than Florida.

  227. 227
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I expect that the only reason the Big lEast wanted TCU was to protect their automatic BCS bid, which was severely endangered. UConn (“Even the Orange Bowl doesn’t want us!”) not helping.

  228. 228
    Stu Says:

    That, and the Dallas/Texas market.

  229. 229
    Johnny Says:

    The Little Ten bashing not as bad as i thought it would be. The TCU line was very funny. Just wow how bad the conference looked today.

  230. 230
    Bethany Says:

    Congrats to Bama for their excellent game today! Good to see order restored in the bowl games.

  231. 231
    Rufino Linares Says:

    Best wishes to JC- gonna miss Sabernomics. Here’s hoping he’ll drop by here more often now…

  232. 232
    csg Says:

    Tebow mic’d during his first NFL win. Kid’s a winner…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5t8QnCNPwfs

  233. 233
    DG Says:

    @232, wow…the kid really does have it in him. Although I always wanted Bama to crush him, I wish him success in the NFL. It looks like he’s the spark that Denver needs. I love how he told the coach that only one player carries the ball in that situation (meaning him).

  234. 234
    Muh Chukkah Says:

    @232
    Never was a particular fan of Tebow–I’m a UGA man, actually.

    Definitely grown tired of players mic’ed segments.

    However…

    That… Was… Cool…. Thanks for the link.

  235. 235
    RobBroad4th Says:

    Another Pulitzer Prize winning article by Mark Bowman with the following sentence:

    “Now they must simply need McLouth to at least prove they don’t have to be overly concerned about the center field position.”

    This guy is a profoundly awful sportswriter.

  236. 236
    braves14 Says:

    I can’t stand the way Bowman writes. He reminds me of a little weasel.

  237. 237
    billy-jay Says:

    csg,

    Thanks, man. That was pretty cool.

  238. 238
    justhank Says:

    So when did Mrs. Puff start working for ESPN?

  239. 239
    justhank Says:

    Wondering if Auburn fans, just days before they play for the National Championship, are miffed at the “Roll Tide” commercials rolled out by the Worldwide Leader …

  240. 240
    justhank Says:

    Harold and Wild Thing on MLB just did a segment on how a tweak in Cody Ross’ stance dramatically helped his season.

    Apparently, pitchers were living inside on him, so Uggla suggested he open his stance. The rest is history.

    What happens if you throw cutters or sliders down and away to someone employing that stance?

  241. 241
    csg Says:

    If they can pick up the spin of those pitches then their first step goes towards 2nd and they drive that pitch to RF, if not, they look like Frenchy and swing over the top of it.

  242. 242
    Bethany Says:

    @238 Miffed isn’t the right word. When they planned and filmed it Alabama was considered to be the favorite to win another championship. Now, do I change the channel every time it comes on? Yes.

    And all the “Roll Ducks Roll” people can go to hell.

  243. 243
    spike Says:

    The fact that Auburn is in the NCG de-miffs me in about every possible way. I just light up the mental “Scoreboard!” chant whenever anything comes up. “See you in Glendale!” trumps any possible slight at this juncture.

    /and may I be damned to hell for jinxing this, but Oregon is in for an eye opener.

  244. 244
    Bethany Says:

    Spike, noooooooooooooooo!

  245. 245
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    #Maybe–But Oregon is a pretty fine team with plenty of speed. They have not been tested like Auburn has…..

  246. 246
    Bethany Says:

    I don’t think it’s a gimme for Auburn at all. It will be one of their toughest tests, if not the toughest.

  247. 247
    Stu Says:

    Aaaaand we’re down 2 starters against Davidson. This is starting to get annoying.

  248. 248
    spike Says:

    I just don’t believe Oregon is as good as Alabama (which I grant you is a game I would not like to have to play again). I am not predicting victory. I just don’t think any of Oregon’s opponents are all that, Stanford included.

    Boy, speaking of, what a great year to be Stanford – no quality wins and and a 20 point whipping to the only team they played with less than 5 losses. For this, you get a #4 rank and draw the worst two loss team out there for your “bowl”, with a chance to be #3, depending on the NCG. Sheesh, I hope they get destroyed.

  249. 249
    ububba Says:

    Well, the Falcons got what they wanted and now it seems that the only 2 teams they can’t play in their first Dome game are the Bears or Eagles.

    What’s crazy, of course, is that the Rams or Seahawks will get a home game vs. New Orleans.

    Barring a nice first-round home win by the NFC West team, hosting the Saints or Packers would be a helluva matchup.

  250. 250
    Kyle B. Says:

    It looks like I’m back. Thanks for all the technical help to get me back in the game, Mac.

    I just wanted to say real quick that I’ve experienced some serious life changing events in the last few months, and that’s why I haven’t been around much. I had bar prep over the summer, took and passed the bar exam, and got my first real job and moved into a house. It was a lot of growing up in a short amount of time.

    With the MLB.TV package now streaming through PS3s, I didn’t miss much Braves baseball. I liked watching the 2010 Braves play baseball, which is far different than the preceding few years. I’m excited about the 2011 season, and I’m glad to be back with the fine folks at Braves Journal.

    Cheers, Happy New Year, and bring on Spring Training.

  251. 251
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    Kyle B–Congratulations and welcome back. 2010 was really fast-paced for me as well–there were many days where I was lucky to be able to just come to Braves Journal and read the conversation.

    That brings me to Thanking Mac for all that he has done during the past year to make Braves Journal the great site that it is.

    I am certainly looking forward to all that goes on here in 2011….

  252. 252
    Mac Thomason Says:

    New post.

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