Archive for bulldogs

Decision Day for Top Dawgs

Posted in NCAA Football, NFL with tags , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2009 by nathanjzacharias

Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno will be announcing their plans for the 2009 football season, and all sources seem to indicate right now that they will be turning pro.  I can’t say I blame them, but as a loyal Dawg fan, it still hurts.  It’s not a huge surprise by any means, as both are the top ranked players at their position, with Stafford possibly being the number one pick overall.  But with some key players returning from injury next year, it would have been nice to have those two in uniform to make one more run at a championship.

I’ve tried to put myself in their shoes and figure out what I would do in the same situation.  And I have to say,  I can see why it’s a tough decision.  There are good reasons to choose either side.

As far as Stafford is concerned, if he’s a possible number one pick now, it’s kind of tough to improve his draft status in 2010.  Some say that he doesn’t have the “big” game in his resume.  While I kind of see their point, he has still led Georgia to some key victories (remember the ‘Bama game in ’07).  And in his defense, their losses and narrow wins this year were more a result of shaky defense than poor offense.  Sure they had some struggles, but for the most part they were putting up more than enough points to win each week.  He also showed a lot in the Capital One Bowl last week.  No, Michigan State isn’t Florida, but he showed a lot of resolve when he came back from a terrible first half to put up huge numbers.

In Moreno’s case, he’s proved all he has to at the college level. The guy is just a machine.  He ran well over 1,000 yards in both of his seasons, and he’s a weekly highlight reel.  He seemed to constantly turn what was a sure 5-yard loss play into a gain of some sort.  His play energizes the team and annoys the heck out of the opposition.

On the one hand, I like to think I would stay if I were them.  Does it get much better than playing for a huge program in a great college town with an awesome fan base?  In a way, no.  And the money would have been there next year too, as the NFL rookie payscale won’t be changing until 2011.

But they’re playing for their future, and all the circumstances seem to indicate that now is the best time for them to take that step.  Their arguably the top picks at their positions and their healthy.  Why not go now?

It’s disappointing to know we won’t be seeing them in the Georgia red anymore, but when Stafford hit Moreno for the final touchdown in last week’s bowl game, it almost seemed too picture perfect to mean anything other than that it was the last time we’d see that happen.

They represented the program well, and I wish them all the best.  Go Dawgs!

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Wise to Play it Safe?

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , on September 3, 2008 by nathanjzacharias

Sorry for the delay in getting a new post.  Nate E is currently suffering in New Zealand, and I was temping the wrath of Gustav by spending Labor Day weekend in the Florida panhandle.  So let’s see, what did we miss since our last post? Oh yeah, a lot. 

The wait for football is finally over and the opening weekend didn’t disappoint.  We had our share of upsets, downsets, and Div 1AA teams having the pleasure of being humiliated on national TV.  Gotta love it. 

All of the top 5 teams pretty much demolished their opponents, but the closest of those games was Georgia vs Georgia Southern, with the Bulldogs winning by a “mere” 24 points.  After taking a 38-0 lead, Head Coach Mark Richt pulled his starters, which was a wise move in  my humble opinion.  You don’t want to lose your premier players in a game you already know you’re going to win. As it was they still lost Jeff Owens, which is big.  It was only after the Dawgs started making substitutions that Georgia Southern managed to score 21 points.  But when you look at the box scores at the end of the day, it looks like a number 1 Georgia team had more trouble with their inferior opponent than the other Top 5 teams did.  And that probably factored in why USC leap-frogged them into the number 1 ranking yesterday.

So my question for the day is this: should a team pull their starters in a game they’re assured of winning, or should they keep them in to make the win as convincing as possible?  I think it’s a tough call actually. I’m sure most of the coaches probably did that this weekend. I didn’t get to see most of the games, so I can’t say for sure.  But in Georgia’s case, the final score could have played a role in the change in rankings.  So is it worth it?

I think so.  You don’t want to risk losing the whole season in order to run up the score on a game you’ve already won.  I’m not saying Georgia should still be number 1.  USC is obviously stacked, as are all of the teams in the Top 5.  Any one of them has a strong case for a top ranking.  I’m just saying that when all is said and done, what they need to do to stay in the running for the national championship is beat the many tough teams they’ve got on their schedule, not beat Georgia Southern 50-0. 

And they’ll need their best players to do that.

Tough Times in the South

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , on August 22, 2008 by nathanjzacharias

Ok, who did it?

Which Atlanta sports fan spotted a black cat while walking under a ladder and then opened up an umbrella inside the restaurant they spilled salt in?  Because I’m beginning to think that has to be the explanation for what’s been happening to sports here.

It hasn’t been this bad here since Sherman rode through.

It all started last year with Michael Vick. He had multiple off the field incidents that finally culminated in his imprisonment.  Their season and clubhouse were fractured by injuries, big mouths, and overmatched coaching.  Head coach Bobby Petrino resigned abruptly and in a matter of hours was in Arkansas doing the somewhat strange “Woo Pig Sooey” chant with his new employers.

The season mercifully ended a few weeks later, and the team managed to pull out another win by the end.  But the overhaul of the team and franchise began shortly thereafter.

That was a rough season – probably the roughest ever seen by a sports team.  But the Braves have certainly done their best to add more frustration to the Atlanta sports scene.

Coming out of Spring Training they were considered the team to beat by many analysts.  Their veteran rotation was older but very strong, with 22 year old Jair Jurrjens being at least a decade younger than any of the other starters.  The offense was one of the best in baseball last year, and a full year with Teixeira was expected to propel them into the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

It’s safe to say things didn’t go as planned.

4/5 of the starting rotation has spent significant time on the disabled list, with 3 of them undergoing season ending surgeries.  In a matter of a few months Jurrjens went from promising rookie to staff ace. (He’s pitched like it, it’s just that no one thought he would have to fill that role) By my count, the Braves have placed 17 different players on the DL this year, with several players making a couple of trips.  They’re not quite up to the Nationals level, who have DL’d 22 players, but it’s close.

Amidst the injuries, the team has been marred by inconsistent play in every area.  When the bats come alive the pitching fails.  When the starting pitching holds up, the offense makes the opposing pitcher look like Cy Young.  Defense has hurt them from time to time as well.  On paper, this should have been a great team.  But between injuries and frustrating stats, they haven’t been what people thought.

Meanwhile, the Thrashers failed to build on their playoff appearance the year before, and while the Hawks made it to the postseason and played well, they still finished under .500 for the season.

It’s tough to explain how this all happened, but I’m inclined to blame it on oil prices.

Ok, maybe not, but I do think 3 of the 4 teams have struggled largely in part to ownership situation.  The Atlanta Spirit has been disappointing in their handling of the Hawks and Thrashers.  And while the Braves used to be one of the highest spending teams in baseball under Ted Turner, they are now considered middle of the pack.  But they have some large contracts from the previous financial era and with athlete salaries skyrocketing, it’s been tough for them to go out and get the big name player they need when that player will take up 1/4 of your payroll.

So is Atlanta destined to dwell in sports mediocrity? I don’t think so.

The Hawks have a good young foundation that has improved steadily the last couple of seasons.  The Braves should have a little extra cash to spend this offseason and their farm system has several potential superstars just a couple of years away.  The Falcons also have some good talent, but equally as important, a solid coaching staff and front office.

And of course, the number 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs are 8 days away from kicking off their run at the Championship, and Georgia Tech has a new coach that should help the program.

What’s the purpose of this article, you may ask? Well, there really isn’t one other than to console myself and any other Atlanta fans reading this blog.  So to us I say, hang in there.

Under-Bulldogs!

Posted in CWS with tags , on June 26, 2008 by nathanelwell

WEDNESDAY – In thrilling fashion, the Fresno State Bulldogs won the 2008 CWS with a 2 HR, 6 RBI performance by Steve Detwiler.  This marks the first time in CWS history that a team with 31 losses came in and won it all.  The Bulldogs gained momentum after Game 2, in which they overcame a deficit to eventually smash UGA.  This momentum carried over to Game 3 in which they nearly shut out the beloved Dawgs. 

Besides having 31 losses, the Bulldogs piled up 62 runs in this years CWS, which ties the all-time record that USC set back in 1998.  They also were the lowest seed in any NCAA sport to win a National Championship.  In typical understated fashion of a champion, the star of Game 3 said the following: “Everybody was having amazing at-bats and seeing the ball, I got lucky and capitalized on a few of them”.  The thing I love about sports is that you can see athletes make the most amazing plays and afterwards they state the obvious: “You just gotta put the bat on the ball” or “I was just trying my best not to miss the pitch” or “We just gotta get 3 outs each inning for 9 innings to win the game” or “well, I saw the pitch, and I hit the pitch..”  But set aside the cheesy comments – the baseball highlights were enough to get my blood moving.

The adrenaline started in the 2nd inning when Detwiler hit a two-run shot to right field.  He followed the two-run shot by a run scoring double in the 4th inning, and then an additional three-run shot in the 6th.  Fresno State relied on the solid pitching of Justin Wilson, who struck out 9 over 8 innings pitched with only one run and one walk given up.  I just have to share with you what Wilson said, because again, he was stating the obvious about his pitching performance: “When you’ve got a wonderful defense behind you and your offense is outstanding, it can’t get better than that.”

Well folks, I’ve got nothing more to say.  The Fresno State Bulldogs are champs!!