published Monday, July 8th, 2013

5-at-10: Soggy 4th, Georgia football, getting ready for the radio

Sweet buckets, did we move to Seattle and no one mention it? We spent the 4th of July (Happy Birthday America) on the road at Lake Martin, and it rained as much there as it did here. One of the great thing about kids, they don't really care so much about how things can be better. They figure out ways to have fun in the moment — which is a great life lesson... Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey — so we swam in the rain. What, were we going to get more wet?

U-S-A, U-S-A.

We spent all of early Monday morning reviewing the sports news after an enjoyable, all be it waterlogged 4th.

So, let's do work.

From the "Talks too much" studios, whatever happened to Biz Markie? Oh baby you, you got what we need... but you say he's just a friend, you say he's just a friend.

DwightMare

OK, why are people upset about Dwight Howard leaving L.A. for Houston?

It was the smart move — Houston is better, younger and has a coach in Kevin McHale who will allow Howard to post up and get touches.

With Kobe Bryant rehabbing a torn Achilles', the Lakers roster is now decimated, and Howard saw it and reacted to it.

Why is Howard being crucified? And hey, we love Shaq, but dude is burying Howard because of a personal grudge.

We've said for years that Howard is overrated — little more than a Shaq 0.8 if you will — because he does not have a go-to post move and he is a late-game liability because he can't make foul shots. And if you can't be on the floor in the final minutes of a tight playoff game, you can't be an elite A-lister.

But why is Howard going to a better team with a coach that better suits his skills some sort of travesty? Howard left the Lakers, yes, and the Lakers are one of those franchises — clubs that generate opinions and feelings and catch eyeballs — but still. Other than the uniforms and the stars in the stands, Howard's choice was a no-brainer.

Houston is better right now and just got even better with Howard. (That said, the Rockets are still not better than the Heat, Spurs or Thunder and are in the muddled pack that includes the Grizz, the Bulls, the Nets, the Clippers and the Pacers.)

Side note: The NBA has become a very top-heavy league. This was coming as soon as the Celtics' Big Three gave way to The Decision which gave way to the Lakers' failed attempt at the Hall of Fame trio of Kobe, Nash and Howard. Stars are gravitating toward playing with other stars. Alpha dogs and sidekicks are giving way to Super Friends and Three Amigos and the like. It's happened, and there are eight-to-10 teams that can win it all and that's a big number. But there are 15-20 teams that have ZERO chance, and that's most of the league.

Side note, II: There now are whispers and wonderings that there are potentially a few teams who are clearing cap space because LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony and the potential game-changing free agent class could be on the market after next year. And if James lands in L.A. — or even Boston, which is cleansing its roster, too — look out.

Side note, III: Did you know that Howard is entering his 10th year in the NBA? Somehow that seems like way, Way, WAY more than we thought. And don't you know Stan Van Gundy is somewhere smiling.

———

UGA football

We are counting down the days to the start of college football by reviewing some of the teams from around the area.

Two weeks ago we studied Auburn. Last week it was UTC. Let's look at the Georgia Bulldogs for the next few days.

Georgia

2012 record: 12-2 overall, 7-1 in the SEC

Highlights: A supremely talented roster was 10 yards from beating Alabama to win the SEC championship, which would have meant Georgia would have spanked Notre Dame in the BCS title game. Freshmen running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall inspired the nickname "Gur-shall" and are awesome. (Gurley has the look, the tools and the make-up of being a big-time Big-Timer.)

Lowlights: The defense underachieved considering there were like 10 NFL players on that side of the ball. The debacle in Columbia. Still, there's little to complain about in a 12-win season that was a play or two away from being in the championship spotlight.

Fallout: The emergence of Gur-shall and the return of quarterback Aaron Murray mean the Bulldogs have arguably the nation's second-best collection of skilled players behind Alabama. (Side question: Why is almost any college football list nowadays tagged with "behind Alabama" and when will that change? Schnikes. You stay classy Tuscaloosa.)

Biggest question: Can the defense reload? A slew of talented playmakers, especially in the secondary, are gone. Defensive back Damian Swann has the look of a first-round pick. So does linebacker Jordan Jenkins. Will that translate now?

Second biggest question: Will the new pieces be ready right out of the gate for a brutal first three games — at Clemson, at home against South Carolina and LSU — against three top-15 foes?

Talking points (and feel free to share your's): How will Mark Richt be remembered as a coach? Is he great? Has he underachieved? Is the answer somewhere in the middle? We'll talk about this on the radio show today with David Paschall?

Speaking of that...

————

Radio waves

OK, we start a new endeavor today as TFP SEC football ace David Paschall and the sports editor take to the radio. The show is called "Press Row" and you are encouraged to pull up a seat and give us a listen on ESPN 105.1 FM from 1-3 p.m.

We are looking forward to the opportunity, and we welcome feedback and hope you guys will be willing participants.

We're hoping to mold the show around the things we know are of high interest to folks in the area, so there will be a lot of SEC football and lots of local discussion and as many expert guests as we can line up. Plus, as we said on The Twitter (@jgreesontfp), Paschall knows more about the SEC than any three people we know, and we know Judge Smails' first name. That has to count for something, right?

Got any suggestions — yes, scole023, we know you like to win stuff — please pass them along.

————

This and that

— Butch Jones and the Tennessee Vols got another huge commitment during the holiday weekend when four-star linebacker and UT legacy Dillon Bates picked the Vols. There has been a certain amount of cosmic tumblers clicking for this UT recruiting class — a ton of playing time available; several former UT players have football-playing sons in this recruiting cycle; Butch's ability to recruit — and it has the feel of something special in the works.

— Andy Murray won Wimbledon, giving Great Britian its first native champ since Fred Perry 77 years ago. Has there ever been a more hometown hero? This is Larry Mize winning the Masters on steriods. Now add to that, Ladbrokes, a British betting house, refunded all losing Wimbledon bets since Murray won. Chips for everyone.

— Kevin Durant is engaged to a WNBA player. Get Will Wade on the phone; he should offer their future tots scholarships now.

— Brad Stevens took the Boston Celtics job late last week. If we were a Celtics fan, we'd be equally stoked and shocked. Yes, Stevens did magical things at Butler and seems to be a coaching savant. But is he ready for arguably the biggest coaching job in basketball? That said, as gutted as that roster is, CoCo the Monkey Boy could coach them to the top of the draft lottery.

— Your Atlanta Braves are treading water — 5-5 in their last 10; 50-38 overall — and still have a four-game lead over Washington in the NL East. Something feels rickety about this ship, but they still are out front.

— Jimmie Johnson has zoomed to the top of the NASCAR world. And reclaimed his spot atop the unibrow power rankings. All is right with the world.

————

Today's question

It's a Monday after a holiday, so everyone make sure to keep the capital letters to a minimum because Todd962 is working through a hangover. (LOUD NOISES.)

Feel free to jive on any of the above topics, be it UGA football, Mark Richt, UT recruiting, Dwight Howard, you name it.

If you need a talking point, let's review Joey Chestnut's amazing/stupid achievement of eating 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Wow.

There are two questions here — well actually there are a ton of questions here.

First, why? And don't say the money. Dude got like 10K.

Second, if we're going to worry about football players' safety, how can we celebrate this? According to Forbes, Chestnut consumed 21,321 calories in those 10 minutes and 69 dogs. That's 1,387 grams of fat — or roughly 21 times more than the recommended daily amount.

Third, does Gatorade have a "post-game" beverage for this?

Fourth, if you were forced to enter a competitive eating event, what food would be your best? What would be your worst? (The 5-at-10 would pick pizza as our attempt. Cole slaw is the worst — in fact, we're sure cole slaw is the only food served in the seventh circle of Hades.)

Discuss and remember to check out Press Row today 1-3 p.m. on ESPN 105.1 FM locally and on espnchattanooga.com.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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BIspy4 said...

5, Georgia was not getting into a national championship game. A 28 point loss in mid-season? This is national championship game worthy? Sure, Notre Dame suffered a 28 point loss. But that was in the national championship game and not to a two-loss team.

Besides, shouldn't Alabama send a thank you card to the Columbus, Ohio, tattoo parlor? If Ohio State was eligible, your national championship game was going to be THE Ohio State University vs. University of Notre Dame du Lac.

Some things I looked up because I have just that much work to avoid. His 33-game hitting streak aside, Dan Struggla has hit .224 for his two and a half years with the Braves. Taking his homers (15) and RBIs (32) out of that one hot stretch, he has 56 homers and 167 RBIs over that same span. And in his streak, he had exactly one hit in 17 of those 33 games.

July 8, 2013 at 12:44 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Questions concerning Georgia Bulldogs Football are right in my wheelhouse. Problem is, all I've got right now is a wait-and-see mentality. "If I knew the way, I would take you there."

Oh well, not having the answers has never stopped me before. As for the defense reloading, the talent is there and Coach Grantham has had adequate time to implement his system. If this unit plays as a unit, they can be better than last year's group. The star-laden 2012 unit slumbered through the first part of the year and had it not been for SS Shawn Williams going off after the Kentucky game, I don't know if that fire ever would have been lit.

I actually like coming right out of the gate with tough games early. Historically, UGA's best seasons have been those that started with a tough opener. I think it provides focus during the off-season. Our defense will not have to wait for a test this year as Tajh Boyd and company can put up numbers.

As for Coach Richt's legacy, that is a work in progress. I know he hasn't won the "big one." I know this because I've heard it a thousand-and-one times. However, a coach with his winning percentage in the toughest conference in college football should not have as much "hot seat" talk swirling around as he has had to contend with. I don't know that any coach in college football with the exception of Nick Saban and perhaps Urban Meyer will be remembered as fondly as the coaches of the past. The instant gratification society has led to not only a what have you done for me lately mentality concerning coaches, but also a sort of zero tolerance for any downturn mentality. Crazy as it seems now, if the culture were the same then as now, I don't know if Bear Bryant could have survived back-to-back six-and-five seasons in 1969 and 1970.

On a totally unrelated note: Did anyone catch the UFC event Saturday night? How many variations on the theme of don't underestimate or overlook any opponent are there in sports? It numbers in the hundreds, possibly thousands. Anderson Silva clowned around against a tough opponent in Chris Weidman. I guess Silva had his fun right up to the point when Weidman connected with a looping left hook to the point of the chin and separated Anderson from his consciousness, his title, and his seven year reign as the pound-for-pound king.

On a closing note: Jay, I enjoyed the first paragraph of today's five-at-ten. In my opinion, "grow up" is the most overrated piece of advice given. There is a Zen like simplicity in the way children live their lives that Confucius himself would admire. You have to grow older, but you never have to grow up.

July 8, 2013 at 3:30 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

I just clicked the "see your comment" button...Can I get paid by-the-word today?

July 8, 2013 at 3:31 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

A Notre Dame vs Ohio State final might have pushed up the playoff to the upcoming season. Ohio State was the champ of the most mediocre Big 10 I ever remember, and Notre Dame had more "breaks" than I ever remember a team getting over the course of a season. The Pittsburgh game-two men on the field with the same number on Pittsburgh's missed field goal the main call, and vs. Stanford, a very questionable personal foul on Notre Dame's scoring drive, and Stanford getting over the goal line before play stopped.

Spaghetti would be my eating contest.

July 8, 2013 at 3:33 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, ain't nothin' wrong with Paschall's selections of tuneage for the radio gig. Though I'm kinda over Pearl Jam, you know.

July 8, 2013 at 4 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Jay, couple things real quick. One, I attempted to go to the International Federation Of Competitive Eating's website, IFOCE.com while at work and our firewall blocked me cause it is deemed a sports website. "Youve got to kidding me..." However, I got to it via other resources and it was cringe worthy reading. Two, while there are records for Vienna sausages (8.31 pounds in ten minutes), eggs (65 in 6 minutes and 40 seconds, Cool Hand Luke would be proud), and grits (21 pounds in ten minutes "Were these magic grits?"), I was shocked and disappointed to find out no one has stepped up to the table and set the bar in competitive cole slaw eating. This does however open the door for a great Press Row onsite broadcast event. "ESPN Radio, Press Row, Wally's, and Gluttony Anonymous present the First Annual Coleslaw Consumption Fest. Come by and take your shot today from 1-3!"

I would just like to point out that there are not many things that I would NOT do for 10 G's these days. Eating my body weight in hot dogs doesnt even register on my "maybe this isnt the best idea" scale and the things that I would not do arent exactly Family Oriented Interweb Based Column friendly. My decision making abilities dont allow me to live by the "would I do this in front of my grandma" standard.

The Hot Dog eating competition is kind of the Masters of competitive eating. Historic landmark, long standing traditions, nationally televised. The competition that I really want to see are the ones where they have to eat 10 yards of various foods and one of the sections is like 3 feet of wasabi. Sweet baby Jeebus....the horror...

July 8, 2013 at 4:01 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Fair enough, and we agree with LB that the interwebs would have melted without the SEC champ in a title game that featured Notre Dame and THE Ohio State University. "Dubbed the Slow vs. Slower Bowl."

Are there any more seats on the Struggla... what's the reverse of a bandwagon?... well whatever it is are there seats on it?

GD —

Thanks for the feedback and we'll be on your Dogs all week.

And we concur about the Zen factor of kids. They live in the moment, and while we can be chasing our next smile all the time, we certainly should find more fun in life than we do.

As for the check, yep, we'll double your current salary.

Todd —

Hey, we get the 10K event. But know this, we watched up close as a buddy tried the Krystal eat off. He downed 24 Krystals at AT&T and finished second. He barely made it to the stall for the upchuck.

And yes, 10K is a nice chunk of coin, but how long do you train to get to win the Super Bowl of the sport — and that 10K? That's some real painful losing there.

Cole Slaw = devil.

July 8, 2013 at 4:35 p.m.
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