Someone Made a Savvy Decision (And All The Picks…)
Today, Georgia fired it’s Defensive Coordinator (Willie Martinez) and 2 other defensive assistants and I have to say I’m surprised. I just went off on Monday about how UGA wasn’t going to win anything coming out of their defeat of Georgia Tech because they would bide their time with the Assistants they had instead of moving people around or doing SOMETHING about their problems…I guess Mark Richt or the school administration had other ideas.
With the Defense getting a complete overhaul this puts Georgia in a much better position than I thought they were a couple days ago. (No one ever wants someone to get fired) but you can see how this helps Georgia in the long-term and it totally separates Mark Richt from the Bobby Bowden coaching tree…how?
Because Bowden-disciples tend to hold on too long to people, players, ideas, all of that stuff because that’s what Bobby did (I almost said does, but he’s out in Tallahassee) and that “holding on” tends to be their ultimate foil. Not here.
Mark Richt decided he wasn’t going to be the deer in the headlights that needs to be told by his bosses to get rid of people (or his bosses at UGA move faster than T.K. Wetherell and the gang at FSU.) Either way, Mark Richt just fixed this team for next season and now Georgia Tech is still going to have a fight on its hands.
Tech has been cutting (deeply) into Georgia’s recruiting here in the south [and especially in Georgia] and now Georgia will likely have a much nicer recruiting class than they would have before this move. My only question is…where are they going to get a DC from?
Wherever they go they can’t possibly replicate what Brian Van Gorder did in Athens and all the good ones are taken. This is why I was an advocate of shuffling the staff (and the whole I don’t like seeing people get fired thing), and I’m standing fast in that position because I know their team got better but how much better remains to be seen.
Clearly, Georgia can run the ball and they have talent all over the place so they SHOULD be fine, but right now are going to have to hold onto this “DC question” until it gets answered. I can guarantee you that the Bulldog Nation will be all aflitter until it gets answered and then they’ll talk about it all offseason until we actually see the new defense play. (Oh, and they’ll rag on Tech fans for the next 360 days.)
Bobby Takes a Bow…
Since we’re here we’ll talk more about Bobby Bowden and his exit from Tallahassee. We all knew it was coming on Monday when I alluded to it in my column. I could go on and on about how I called this one early in the season, but I’m not that petty (close, but not quite) and I could go on and on about how people like Dick Vitale think it’s bad for an employer to have control rather than the employee, but now we’re getting into territory that is just driving me bananas.
Bowden wants play his last game in Florida (understandable) but in order to do that he’d have to play the Gator Bowl. Well, the Gator Bowl is willing to take FSU, but they have get their choice approve by the ACC because other teams have a better record than the Noles.
What if you’re another team who’s done better than them and you get screwed out of a better bowl game? How is that going to sit with a college president who’s only thought all day is about money…and you’re losing money on this whole “FSU gets a nicer bowl than you thing”? I don’t think there’s going to be any niceties about this and if there are I’ll be SHOCKED. Honestly, lawyers will probably be involved and ole Bobby will just take up more of our airspace doing more crazy mess.
Listen Bobby, I like your teams, I like you, but you don’t get to hold us all hostage. If the only bowl that wants you is the Humanitarian Bowl then schlepp your old behind up to Boise, play on a blue field and be happy about it because hijacking another team’s bowl bid just because you want to play up the street from your house (that you bought with your ungodly salary) doesn’t mean you should just automatically get it because you “deserve” it or “earned” it. Heck, the NCAA already decided you didn’t “earn” some wins because you were playing ineligible players and there was rampant cheating going on in FSU athletics (which basically means football.) So, don’t give me this tired “pour Bobby act” because I for one…am over it.
I wrote that T.K. Wetherell was half a second from jumping across a table and choking you out. I was only half-joking because I can’t imagine how pissed he’s been all season and how pissed he was when you said you were going to retire and then changed your mind the next day. That wishy-washy mess only works in the NFL and it only works for Brett Favre and right now he’s the better looking of you two old men. Got it?
Ok, I’m better now… Join me after the jump for the college and NFL picks and thoughts
I don’t think it’s any shock that I’m picking the Championship and pseudo-championship games for this weekend, but I thought I should mention that only so many games mean anything this time of year…let’s start with one that isn’t a championship game in name, but it is in meaning.
The Defacto Pac-10 Championship Game Sponsored by Poor Planning
Oregon State @ Oregon: Because they’re doing this one is Eugene it’s just going to be that much more interesting because Oregon is the favorite and they’re at home so maybe they’ll have the “home-field advantage” but they’ll also have the “home-field pressure”. Someone’s going to the Rose Bowl off of this game and someone is going to be monumentally disappointed (I mean, when in the future do either of these teams expect USC to screw up two different games like they did this year?)
With that said I’m not picking against the Ducks. I’m not stupid. I know they knew they had a chance at the BCS Title Game and they screwed it up, but still, they have the fight to get this done. I just don’t see how this will go any other way…if you can make an argument against the Ducks I’d like to hear it. The Ducks seriously Quack the Beavers…
The Defacto Big East Championship Game Sponsored by “We’re Not a “Big” Conference Anymore and We Know It”
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh: This is in Pittsburgh, but did you see Brian Kelly talking about the rumors that he’s at the top of Notre Dame’s coaching carousel wishlist? He said it was irrelevant and that they’ve been working ONLY for a Championship and that the media can totally kiss his ass and screw around on their computers. I LOVE IT! Because he didn’t actually tell us (the media) to kiss his ass, but he said it in a way…you know? A guy like that can do anything…I mean, anything. I kinda like Dave Wannstedt at Pitt and I kinda want him to succeed (not be Norv Turner) but I don’t see it happening. The Bearcats get their Cattitude all over the Panthers…
The Real SEC Title Game
Florida and Alabama: Florida has Tim Tebow…Bama has everybody else. I don’t see how in the world the Gators are going to put one over on the Tide again. I just don’t. They’ve got a million NFL prospects playing defense at Bama and a Defensive Head Coach. What else do you want from me? An actual breakdown? It’s not coming…
Listen, if Bama stops Tim Tebow then Florida is dead meat, period, end of story.
Bama has Ingram and McElroy and they can do this. Florida hasn’t been the same as last year, but everybody is pretending that they are the same team from last season and they just aren’t. Stop lying to yourselves…Florida’s going down…down down down.
The Real Big 12 Title Game
Texas and Nebraska: Come on, do we really think Nebraska can ruin this for Texas? I like Bo Pellini and he’s clearly doing something right, but if Texas didn’t lose to A&M there’s no way they’re losing to Nebraska. (And don’t give em all that fluff about how Nebraska is better than A&M. A&M matches up better with Texas than the Huskers do.) The Horns Hook ‘Em
The Real ACC Title Game:
Clemson and Georgia Tech: How pissed do you think Georgia Te….scratch that. How pissed do you think Paul Johnson is that his Jackets lost to UGA? Do you think they’re burying bodies out behind Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field? You do? Then you know what’s going to happen. Tech annihilates Clemson…
La Liga del NF
I’m 114-58 for those who are counting (like me)
Jets @ Buffalo: I trust the Bills about as far as I can throw them. However, right now I’m trusting the Jets as far as I can throw Rex Ryan. You know who weighs more…
BUF – 17 NYJ – 10
Philly @ Atlanta: The Falcons need this WAY more than the Eagles do. However, the Falcons are minus Matt Ryan and the Eagles are minus Bryan Westbrook so where does that leave us? One guy delivers the ball and the other is the focal point of the other’s offense. When there’s no Westbrook in the game the Eagles have shown that they have major issues on offense. When Matt Ryan is out Chris Redman is, apparently, a nice backup. (I was surprised but very pleased with his performance against Tampa.) With a week to prepare I think Redman can do this thing… (Plus, the Falcons cut Jason Elam and got a kicker (Matt Bryant, the guy who’s kid died and then he kicked the game-winning field goal the very next week. Gotta love a dude like that) that isn’t broke down and a long snapper that doesn’t put them out low EVERY time.)
ATL – 24 PHI – 21
Tampa @ Carolina: The Panthers have put something together (but I’m not taking back anything I said about Jake Delhomme) and Bucs are still awful. How would I pick this game any other way?
CAR – 28 TB – 3
New England @ Miami: New England lost a hard one to New Orleans and Randy Moss doesn’t look the same. The Dolphins are kind of getting away from the Wildcat and I can see how this confluence of events can result in another New England loss.
You see, when I compared to Patriots to the Mitchells on Dexter last week I wasn’t kidding. What the hell do you think is going on behind closed doors? I mean, did you see this week’s episode where Arthur tells his daughter that he has a family to take care of (you know, while he’s keeping a boy in the basement of an empty house preparing to bury him in cement?) Yeah, how jacked up do you think the Patriots are right now? Where has the cool and collected Belichick gone? I think he’s smudging his sister’s ashes at crime scenes and calling his Secretary Vera…I’m just saying…
MIA – 27 NE – 24
St. Louis @ Chicago: “Gag me @ gag me” is what I want to call this one. It’s another one of the “heavy sigh” games where I just don’t even have the strength to think about two teams that are this irrelevant. YUCK!
With that aside, St. Louis might be realizing that they need to part ways with Mark Bulger and draft someone like Tim Tebow next year…I think they might be getting smart. This is a garbage win for the Bears, but a win nonetheless…
CHI – 13 STL – 3
Detroit @ Cincinnati: Cincinnati swept the AFC North and Detroit can barely win a game. This is the one where the Bengals show us how much they’ve grown…I mean GROWN. (While the Lions are groaning as they get their ass handed to them on a silver platter.)
CIN – 52 DET – 6
Tennessee @ Indy: Here’s where my “Casino Royale Theory” collides with my “Chris Johnson Might Be Right Theory”. If this game could end in a tie that would really help me out, but I know that’s not going to happen.
I think we’ve all got the Saints and Indy atop everything so it’s no surprise that I would lean towards the Colts, but I have remember a cautionary tale called “The 2007 Patriots”. They spent all that time going undefeated and lost the Super Bowl. Had they just gotten it out of their system earlier they probably could have beat the hell out of the Giants, but the pressure they were under made them play in such a way that Eli was in the game until the very end…and won it.
The Saints are just dumb enough to try this…the Colts are not. People are going to start resting and they’ll cruise to home-field advantage so they’re not REALLY going to try again until their first playoff game. The Titans NEED this and I think they’ll get it…they’re going 10-6 (until they lose and prove me wrong.)
TEN – 35 IND – 28
Houston @ Jacksonville: Houston needs to do something or they’re going to be the “Coulda Shoulda Woulda” Texans again. Matt Schaub needs to decide if he’s going to be Steve DeBerg (and kinda be good, but not legendary) or is he going to be Steve Young (good and legendary.)
The Jags need to stop staying the course. I heard most of their game with San Francisco last week and I’ll tell you that the announcers in Jacksonville were just killing them. They hate the offense, they hate the way Garrard plays, they hate the fact that he has potential and doesn’t use all of it, they compared him to Alex Smith, they don’t know what to call Maurice Jones-Drew (I mean, in his own town Jones-Drew confuses broadcasters. Half the time they were calling him Drew and the other half they were calling him Jones-Drew…it’s was pretty funny), they don’t know what’s up with the defense, at one point I thought they were going to ask the Falcons for Mike Peterson back, and the Jags basically played right into their hands by sucking it up against the 49ers. I don’t see a reason for this to stop now.
HOU – 35 JAC – 17
Denver @ Kansas City: If Denver can’t squeak one out here I don’t know when they will…the Chefs are terrible and the Broncos are all potential. A loss here would seriously jeopardize the rest of Denver’s season. A loss here for KC gets them one step closer to the 1st overall pick.
DEN – 21 KC – 0
Oakland @ Pittsburgh: I also heard most of the Steelers/Ravens game on the radio and I think the Steelers are a little hot about giving that game to Baltimore. They need this one and Oakland needs to sit down and suck so they can fix every other problem on their team now that they’ve figured out the QB thing.
PIT – 30 OAK – 12
New Orleans @ Washington: Even if I thought the Saints were smart enough to drop at least one game before the end of the regular season I wouldn’t recommend it here…how embarrassing would that be?
NO – 49 WAS – 6
San Diego @ Cleveland: I don’t buy the Chargers, but the Browns suck eggs. Enough said.
SD – 28 CLE – 3
Dallas @ Giants: I’m not going to “trust” the Cowboys because I know Mathis is going to stab me in the back anytime, but for now I will accept that he can get some things done. The Giants are missing something. I don’t know what it is. I can’t quantify it, but they just don’t have it. If we want to be real we know that after the Patriots won their first Super Bowl they missed the playoffs (they probably weren’t cheating that season, but that’s another column.) Either way, the Giants are out of it I think and it’s sad because I like Eli Manning and Mario Manningham, but I just don’t see it happening.
DAL – 24 NYG – 14
49ers @ Seattle: Matt Hasselback hasn’t been killed yet, but that doesn’t mean the Seahawks are any good. I really like Jim Mora…I do, but this isn’t his year. It just isn’t.
The 49ers put one on the Jags and now I think they want to keep doing that so they can get back in the hunt. Probably their only chance is to win their division and if they don’t want to disappoint me they need to pick up where they left off last week when they were beating down Jacksonville.
SF – 28 SEA – 6
Minnesota @ Arizona: These teams will probably combine for 8 or 900 yards of total offense, but the Cards won’t be able to score. I bet the Vikes will just play with them and give them field goals all day. Brett Favre will stay on a roll and just wait to meet the Saints in the NFC Title Game.
MIN – 35 ARI – 19
Baltimore @ Green Bay: Both of these teams are pretty good, but neither one is great. Both have good wins and bad losses. Both are very confusing. If we do the math we get:
Aaron Rodgers + Donald Driver/Joe Flacco + Ray Rice + Willis McGahee + Derrick Mason + Ray Lewis + Ed Reed + Haloti Ngata
That equals death for the Packers…
BAL – 31 GB – 13