Tag Archives: Georgia Bulldogs

College Football Rankings, 1-128

We’re at about the one third mark of the college football season, and so for the first time, I’ll release my ranking of all 128 teams in the country.

I know some are going to be up in arms over having Alabama ranked above Ole Miss, but I will still say, that as of this day, if these two played again on a neutral field, I’m taking Alabama as the better football team. Five turnovers in a game is an easy way for the better team to not win, and my rankings aren’t about your “resume”, or what I think you’ll do the rest of the year, it’s based on who I think, this week, are the best teams.

The week ahead promises to be exciting, as the schedule is littered with high quality matchups that will greatly affect the landscape of college football this season. But we’ll get to that later, for now, here’s how I rank ’em.

1 Ohio State 4-0
2 UCLA 4-0
3 Utah 4-0
4 Alabama 3-1
5 Baylor 3-0
6 Georgia 4-0
7 Michigan State 4-0
8 LSU 3-0
9 Ole Miss 4-0
10 USC 3-1
11 Florida State 3-0
12 TCU 4-0
13 Michigan 3-1
14 Notre Dame 4-0
15 Clemson 3-0
16 Mississippi State 3-1
17 N.C. State 4-0
18 Oklahoma 3-0
19 Northwestern 4-0
20 Wisconsin 3-1
21 Stanford 3-1
22 Texas A&M 4-0
23 North Carolina 3-1
24 Arizona 3-1
25 Duke 3-1
26 Texas Tech 3-1
27 Florida 4-0
28 Memphis 4-0
29 Oregon 2-2
30 West Virginia 3-0
31 Tennessee 2-2
32 Houston 3-0
33 Miami 3-0
34 Oklahoma State 4-0
35 Toledo 3-0
36 Boise State 3-1
37 Kansas State 3-0
38 Iowa 4-0
39 Cal 4-0
40 Kentucky 3-1
41 Auburn 2-2
42 Louisville 1-3
43 Bowling Green 2-2
44 Boston College 3-1
45 Northern Illinois 2-2
46 Navy 3-0
47 Nebraska 2-2
48 BYU 2-2
49 Temple 3-0
50 Pittsburgh 2-1
51 Washington 2-2
52 Syracuse 3-1
53 East Carolina 2-2
54 Texas 1-3
55 Virginia Tech 2-2
56 Georgia Tech 2-2
57 Ohio 3-1
58 Penn State 3-1
59 Air Force 2-1
60 Central Michigan 1-3
61 Minnesota 3-1
62 Arizona State 2-2
63 Georgia Southern 3-1
64 Missouri 3-1
65 Iowa State 1-2
66 Tulsa 2-1
67 Cincinnati 2-2
68 Colorado 3-1
69 Indiana 4-0
70 South Carolina 2-2
71 Appalachian State 3-1
72 Western Kentucky 3-1
73 Colorado State 2-2
74 Illinois 3-1
75 Louisiana Tech 2-2
76 UConn 2-2
77 Maryland 2-2
78 Nevada 2-2
79 Arkansas 1-3
80 Marshall 3-1
81 Oregon State 2-2
82 Akron 2-2
83 Arkansas State 1-3
84 Western Michigan 1-3
85 Hawaii 2-2
86 Buffalo 2-2
87 Louisiana Lafayette 1-2
88 Middle Tennessee St 2-2
89 Southern Miss 2-2
90 Virginia 1-3
91 Louisiana Monroe 1-2
92 San Jose State 2-2
93 Vanderbilt 1-3
94 Rice 2-2
95 Florida International 2-2
96 Kent State 1-3
97 Purdue 1-3
98 UT San Antonio 0-4
99 SMU 1-3
100 Ball State 2-2
101 UNLV 1-3
102 South Alabama 2-2
103 San Diego State 1-3
104 Washington State 2-1
105 Texas State 1-3
106 Fresno State 1-3
107 South Florida 1-2
108 Wake Forest 2-2
109 Utah State 1-2
110 Rutgers 2-2
111 Central Florida 0-4
112 Troy 1-2
113 New Mexico 2-2
114 Old Dominion 2-2
115 Army 1-3
116 Miami Ohio 1-3
117 Tulane 1-2
118 UTEP 2-2
119 Florida Atlantic 1-3
120 Eastern Michigan 1-3
121 UMass 0-3
122 Kansas 0-3
123 North Texas 0-3
124 Charlotte 2-2
125 Georgia State 1-2
126 Idaho 1-3
127 Wyoming 0-4
128 New Mexico State 0-3
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Must Win Games in Week Three? You Betcha

South Carolina finds themselves in a must win situation, and would Steve Spurrier rather be playing anyone than Georgia?

South Carolina finds themselves in a must win situation, and would Steve Spurrier rather be playing anyone than Georgia?

There is still yet another weekend of September games on the schedule, but already in week three, some teams and coaches are feeling the heat. For some coaches, they’re fighting for their job. For some teams, their chance to spoil the college football playoff party as a dark horse may be dependent on a key early season victory, and for some, they’re neither here nor there, but need a win in the worst way to keep a season from spiraling out of control before it ever really gets started.

For starters, there are a few teams with a chance to make big time statements and propel themselves into the playoff discussion, while a loss this week would probably drop them too far behind the pack to be able to recover, either due to the depth of their fall, or the arduous task that would lie in front of them asking them to not lose another game all season.

#14 Georgia Tech at #8 Notre Dame– This one I went back and forth on as to just how important it is to each team, and finally decided, that if either one wants to make the playoff, they can’t lose this game. And that has more to do with their schedules the rest of the way than it does how far a loss on Saturday might drop them. The odds of either team running the table from Saturday going forward aren’t good, which is what it would require for either to get back into the playoff race. Georgia Tech faces what could amount to be one of the most daunting schedules in all of college football, and while the Irish slate isn’t as difficult, the presence of Clemson, USC and Stanford means Notre Dame would really like to have some margin for error as they head into the cooler months of the season. So while both teams potentially could recover from this loss, both teams know that their best shot at being in the college playoff conversation in November is probably dependent on getting out of September without a loss. With the ACC and the Independent Irish on the outside looking in when it comes to playoff prognostications, every win over a highly ranked foe is critical to obtain, and they can’t afford to let those opportunities slip away.

Stanford at #6 USC- Last year Stanford saw their streak of double digit win seasons snapped at four, all the more impressive considering they’d never posted back to back double digit win seasons in their school’s history. Many felt that was an aberration for David Shaw and the Cardinal however and several pundits predicted the Cardinal would be right back in the playoff mix, and even potentially dethrone Oregon in the Pac 12 North. Then the season began and the Cardinal were physically dominated by Northwestern in one of the more stunning outcomes to date during the 2015 season. While Stanford can afford to lose to USC and still win the Pac 12, they absolutely cannot afford to lose this game and still have any shot at making the college football playoff. It says a lot about where Stanford has come as a program that that is the level of expectation no only in Palo Alto, but nationwide. But a second loss in three games to start the year will have them re-evaluating those expectations very quickly.

Temple at UMass- No, I’m not crazy. And no, I’m not implying Temple is a threat for the college football playoff. However, with their dominant victory over Penn State, and then subsequent win on the road at American Athletic Conference favorite Cincinnati, along with a loss by Boise State to BYU, Temple suddenly has a very legit opportunity to be competing for one of the New Year’s Six bowl games. Yes, Temple, they of 4 bowl games in 67 years of existence. That Temple. But to do so, aside from the Notre Dame game, Temple simply can’t slip up. At all. Every game becomes a must win game for the Owls. But what a story that would be. And they’ve already navigated what most would have considered two of their three toughest tests. Until Temple loses, expect to see them on this page every week from here until the end of the season.

On the opposite end of the spectrum of teams fighting to stay in the race for a national title, you have the coaches fighting to keep their seat from scalding their rear ends as they put for sale signs in their yard. Often times, once the whispers start getting louder, the writing is on the wall. And early season struggles for a coach who came in with the seat anywhere from lukewarm to blistering more often than not lead to a change at the top for the program.

South Florida at Maryland– Randy Edsal was not brought to College Park to go 7-6. Considering that the man he replaced at Maryland won more than 7 games in 6 of his 10 seasons as the head coach, Edsal can’t afford to begin his tenure with five consecutive seasons of failing to top the 7 win mark. After losing in embarrassing fashion to Bowling Green (who, as I’ve championed all along, as a very underrated and explosive offense) Edsal could find himself in real trouble if they slip up again to a weak Bulls program. The Big Ten schedule did Maryland no favors, so if the Terps fail to make a bowl this year and have losses to Bowling Green and South Florida on the resume, Edsal might need to start preparing his.

Illinois at North Carolina– Larry Fedora’s Tar Heels have seen a decrease in their number of wins in both his second and third year on the job, not exactly the direction you want your program to go. 2014 was supposed to be the big turnaround, and it became the biggest disappointment. But with so many starters back on both sides of the ball, and what promised to be a highly explosive, borderline unstoppable offense in Chapel Hill, many, including myself, tabbed Carolina as a sleeper this year. Then the offense slept the entire way through the South Carolina game and had us wondering why we put any faith in the Tar Heels. Illinois may be 2-0, but after the firing of Tim Beckham in August and the uncertainty with that program, along with a lack of talent, losing at home to them is unacceptable for any coach of any program that thinks of themselves as being relevant in college football. The Heels still have a favorable ACC schedule, and have yet to begin conference play, so those goals will still be out there. But it’s going to be awfully difficult to focus on those tasks with what promises to be a whirlwind of rumors and whispers surrounding the future of the program. Couple that with the seemingly never ending cloud of NCAA investigations, and a loss to Illinois could be the straw that breaks the camels back in Chapel Hill.

Virginia Tech at Purdue– This game is far more important than I think many casual observers probably think. Whispers about the future of Frank Beamer and whether or not it was time to hang it up at Virginia Tech have begun to get louder and louder in recent years. Especially as the hallmarks of “Beamer Ball”, his special teams units, have fallen drastically to the point they are no longer a strength, they’re a legit weakness. With a mere 23 wins and no top 25 rankings over the past three years have the program at a potential crossroads. Beamer and the Hokies suffered a bad break when quarterback Michael Brewer went down, but that injury may not be enough to save Beamer if the Hokies suffer to another 5 or 6 loss season. Much like the situation at North Carolina, the schedule is still favorable for conference play, and the Hokies will still control that aspect of their destiny, but losing to a Purdue team that entered the year considered among the worst among all power five conference teams would turn the whispers into full fledged open conversation, and the 2015 Virginia Tech season will be more about what the future of the program holds and less about what they can accomplish this year.

Speaking of Purdue, the Boilermakers went 13-13 in what amounted to the final two seasons Danny Hope was on the job. In the two ensuing seasons they went 4-20 while being rendered for the most part completely uncompetitive. How patient will Purdue remain? The Big Ten schedule for Purdue is disastrous, with only the home games against Indiana and Illinois really seeming to be winnable at this point, so the thoughts of sneaking into a bowl game seem slim, at best. That said, if the team can be competitive in the Big Ten, even if they go 2-6, but can come away with a victory over a team like Virginia Tech, it might be enough to give Darrell Hazell a fourth year on the job. With the Hokies still having all sorts of concerns at quarterback after the Brewer injury, this is one Purdue can get, and at home, needs to get, if Hazell is going to stick around.

Western Kentucky at Indiana– There are many, yours truly included, who just don’t understand how Kevin Wilson still has a job at Indiana. I think we’ve had him on the hot seat for successive years now, and yet, here he is, despite never finishing .500 or qualifying for a bowl in four years on the job. With games against Wake Forest, Rutgers, Maryland, and Purdue still on the schedule, Hoosier fans have a glimmer of hope that this will be the year they return to a bowl game, for what would be just their second postseason appearance over 22 seasons. But after narrowly escaping against Southern Illinois, no game can be chalked up as a W. But if Indiana is going to make a bowl, which this time HAS to be the only way Kevin Wilson gets to back for another year, they absolutely must win a home game against Western Kentucky.

Rutgers at Penn State– With the Kyle Flood allegations and suspensions, Rutgers has officially become the biggest dumpster fire in college football. Just don’t tell that to Penn State fans. Getting blown out by Temple and then struggling to beat Buffalo isn’t what Penn State does. Ever. But it’s what this Penn State does. The Nittany Lions are 4-7 in their last 11 games, including losses at home to Illinois, Maryland and Northwestern, and then the opening week embarrassment at the hands of Temple. Even more disconcerting is the development, or the lack thereof, of Christian Hackenberg. While scouts drool over his physical attributes, his play has worsened since his freshmen year. Many fans wonder aloud how he fared so much better as a freshman under Bill O’Brien than as a junior under James Franklin. These fans will not settle for this. If they cannot take advantage of the mess that is the Rutgers football program and they fall to 1-2 to start the year, the heat on James Franklin, even in just his second year, will ramp up exponentially. One could look to a rather soft conference schedule as a beacon of hope, but, Rutgers is supposed to be the soft part of that schedule. If they can’t take care of business this week, the ball might begin to get rolling on James Franklin.

When a quarterback regresses to this level from his freshman year, confidence in the head coach begins to wane.

When a quarterback regresses to this level from his freshman year, confidence in the head coach begins to wane.

And finally, there are those who are fighting to salvage a season. No, there is no real job security issue with the head coach, and they were never a threat for the playoffs, but their 2015 seasons have not gotten off to the start they expected, and a loss this week could have them well behind the eight ball as we ramp up conference play.

#11 Clemson at Louisville– Personally I take great joy in seeing the Cardinals 0-2. It’s nothing against Louisville, well, it is now, but I love seeing Bobby Petrino fail. I especially love to see how he’s failed. The Cardinals are still talented enough on defense, and Petrino is still smart enough of an offensive mind that this team can still play spoiler in the ACC Atlantic Division. However, an 0-3 start could prove disastrous, because after Samford, Louisville has to play N.C. State and Florida State on the road. 1-5 is a problem anywhere, for any coach, of any program.

South Carolina at #7 Georgia- After the unimpressive win over North Carolina, and the twice as unimpressive loss to Kentucky, South Carolina looks in real trouble. The fact that Connor Mitch is out, potentially for the season, puts an even bigger damper on the inauspicious 1-1 start. The loss to Kentucky by South Carolina takes a bit of the pressure off of Georgia. In years past, an early season loss to the Gamecocks would leave the Bulldog Nation scoreboard watching the rest of the year in hopes of still recovering to play in the Georgia Dame for the SEC championship. With Kentucky already having handed South Carolina a division less, it takes some of the impetus off this game for Georgia. But staring an 0-2 start in the division in the face, it magnifies it ten fold for the Gamecocks. With a road schedule that includes Missouri, Texas A&M and Tennessee, a loss to Georgia suddenly makes the thought of South Carolina missing out on a bowl game for the first time since 2007 a real possibility.

Furman at Central Florida– Over the last five seasons, Central Florida has reached unprecedented and unexpected heights. They’ve christened their new on campus stadium by winning 47 games over that stretch, three times amassing double digit figures in wins as well as winning a Fiesta Bowl and finishing the year in the top 10. 2015 has been much different. It started with a shocking loss to Florida International. That was followed by a dreadful performance against Stanford where the Knights weren’t even remotely competitive. Hopes of returning to the postseason are already on life support, but a loss to Furman would pretty much end them all together. Additionally, rumors continue to swirl about the future of George O’Leary and how much longer he plans to remain the head coach and whether or not he moves on to an administrative role. An 0-3 start, including losses to FIU and Furman might be the most persuasive voice in his ear. Any hopes of salvaging the 2015 campaign rest on righting the ship this Saturday.

Texas Tech at Arkansas– This may not be as much about Arkansas as it is the SEC. The Hogs suffered some off-season attrition, and some of the pre-season prognostications were probably a bit over zealous. However, they still shouldn’t lose at home to Toledo. Now they get to welcome Texas Tech into town, and while the Red Raiders aren’t receiving a lot of love nationally, they have scored 128 points in two games. Of course, they always score points. But the Red Raiders would love nothing more than to earn some national respect while also pouring some salt in the wounds of the SEC from last week. And that’s why this is so dangerous for Arkansas. Texas Tech is coming in with no pressure looking to prove a point. Arkansas takes a gander at their upcoming schedule and one could reasonably ask, if they lose this game, where does their next win against an FBS opponent come from? That’s a scary proposition, and when you’re 1-2 having lost at home to Toledo and Texas Tech, you’re not exactly brimming with the confidence necessary to take on the SEC schedule that awaits. A loss this weekend to the Hogs could be disastrous.

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I Was Flat Wrong

You all know how much I love being wrong. Oh, wait, that must be someone else. I hate being wrong. I hate it more than just about anything. I hate being wrong so much I’ve become very good at not being wrong. No, that’s not me being arrogant, it’s just that in most cases, I try not to open my mouth and say anything unless I know for certain that I am right, or feel very, very strongly about my opinion and have something factual to put behind it. It’s also because even if I am wrong, often I can still convince the other party that I’m not. This I deem both a phenomenal gift, but an even deadlier curse. Anyway, I digress.

When it comes to Paul Johnson…..

Yes, Paul, it's all gravy now. You got me. I was wrong. Way wrong.

Yes, Paul, it’s all gravy now. You got me. I was wrong. Way wrong.

I was flat wrong.

No two ways about it. Shove this crow down my face, I have earned it. Boil it, fry it, stew it, whatever you want to do it, I’ll take it. And I’ll take it with a smile on my face. See, I do HATE being wrong. But I like winning a little bit more than I like being right. This is a trade-off I’m okay with.

I’ve been calling for Johnson’s job for over two years now. I think the Labor Day game against Virginia Tech and the atrocious in game strategy is when I decided I didn’t want him around anymore. And once I came to that conclusion I went looking for other reasons to validate such a stance. And I found them. Oh, boy did I find them. I found plenty. From his gruff personality, to the way he sometimes treats his players, and even the media, to his in game decisions on 4th down, to his recruiting, I found plenty of reasons he should not be the head football coach at Georgia Tech. The horrible quarterback play at an offense so dependent on a good quarterback, and the only one that he ever had that could run the offense beautifully was a guy he didn’t even recruit. The defense, it could never excel under Paul Johnson (which I’ve explained my theory on this). And then there was the record. The record that reeked of mediocrity. The same mediocrity that got Chan Gailey fired. Oh, sure, we were still the second best program in the Coastal, which, if you had told me would be the case when he was hired, I’d been on board. But today, being a superior program to Miami just doesn’t have the same pizzazz it once did.

After getting beat by Ole Miss in the bowl game last year, and subsequently seeing the starting quarterback transfer to James Madison, I thought, there’s no way he comes back after 2014. Absolutely no way. And that’s perfectly fine by me.

Then we struggled to beat Wofford.

After that we needed a late game comeback to survive Georgia Southern.

Yep, Paul Johnson has to go. The Virginia Tech win was a nice surprise, and the record was pretty, but I was still skeptical. And Virginia Tech and their inability to score a touchdown against Wake Forest later on this year proved such skepticism was alright.

But then came Miami, where we physically dominated the Miami Hurricanes, a team with supposedly far more talent, and far more athletes. I started drinking the kool-aid. I started thinking, hey, we might be on to something here.

Then the Paul Johnson led Yellow Jackets that I expected when the year began returned. In August, I honestly thought we’d struggle to win five games and make a bowl, and I thought our only shot at avoiding last place in our division was to beat Virginia. My expectations were low.

I was at Bobby Dodd Stadium for the debacle against Duke where the body of Justin Thomas was replaced by Reggie Ball. I watched against North Carolina as the 1999 Georgia Tech defense re-emerged and watched as they sat helplessly by as our ACC championship hopes that I had been tricked into believing were a real thing, seemed to vanish.

Something happened after that North Carolina game though. Paul Johnson proved his worth as a coach.

Four weeks. Four wins. None by fewer than 22 points. In back to back ACC road games the Jackets hung 56 on an opponent, doubling up Pittsburgh, and doing even more than that against North Carolina State. In between, a thoroughly dominating 35-10 victory against Virginia. Still though, even at 8-2, the season felt empty. The loss to the two squads in blue from the state of North Carolina stung. We still had Clemson and Georgia left, 8-4 was still very possible. In fact, needing Duke to lose twice to win the division, 8-4 seemed far, far more likely than going to Charlotte to play Florida State.

And Paul Johnson kept coaching. Did the injury to Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson help? Well, it didn’t hurt. Regardless, any time you whip Clemson 28-6, you feel good about yourself. Add to that, a 9th win, when I wondered if we would even get to six, no complaints here.

That afternoon Virginia Tech rose from the ashes, took advantage of a shocking miss by a reliable Duke field goal kicker and suddenly, suddenly there was a chance.

A week before Thanksgiving North Carolina went out and endeared themselves to Tech fans everywhere, absolutely steam rolling Duke, sending the Jackets to Charlotte for the third time in the past seven years. Not exactly bad for a guy I wanted fired.

There was still the matter of the Georgia game though before that. And in the second half, much like against Miami, Georgia Tech took a bigger, more talented, more gifted physically football team, and whipped them. Yes, the game went into overtime, yes it was a thrilling contest. But in the second half of that football game, the Yellow Jackets physically dominated. They did what well coached teams who play hard, play physical, an execute did. They whipped a physically superior bunch.

So this Saturday night, in about 33 hours, Georgia Tech will take on another physically superior football team. Will the results be the same? Who knows.

But whatever the results are, if you’d told me in August we’d be playing unbeaten, and defending national champion Florida State for an ACC championship, with an Orange Bowl pretty much already ensured at 10-2 (and I’ll just ignore that somehow, that it would require an act of God, we actually still have a fleeting chance at playing for the national championship), having beat Virginia Tech, Miami, Clemson, AND Georgia, I’d have called that beyond a dream season. In fact, that goes so far beyond anything I could have dreamed up, I probably would have suggested you admit yourself into a mental institution.

But beyond that, regardless the results Saturday night, Paul Johnson proved me wrong.

I think I want you stay. I’m sorry. Forgive me, please?

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Just Who is my Favorite Sports Team?

Someone asked me recently, of my favorite teams, which is actually my true favorite. My immediate answer was, “Chase Elliott”. But as I sit and think about this question, and how I’d answer if asked again, I think I might reconsider. As I thought, it got me thinking, just which teams ARE my favorite. Which teams would winning a championship mean more for me? And which ones is a championship so unfathomable that perhaps, it falls down the list simply because imagining it occurring is too far fetched for me to even attempt to wrap my arms around how I’d feel. So I’ve thought a lot about this, and I’ve come up with a list, in order, of the 25 things I’d most like to see occur in sports during my lifetime.

1. Atlanta Falcons win Super Bowl- I know I said Chase Elliott was my favorite team/driver, whatever you want to call it, and he is. However, I get to watch him 30 to 36 weekends a year. He’s also young, it’s his first year in major NASCAR racing. There’s going to be plenty of time for that.

The Atlanta Falcons however, are not young. The Falcons are nearing 50 years old, and still no championship. They were instilled as my favorite team growing up because they were my dad’s favorite team. It didn’t hurt that of the stick and ball sports, football is my favorite, and it’s not close. But not only that, the Atlanta Falcons are, besides the Elliotts, the only TRUE professional team based out of Georgia, and the only one based out of Atlanta, the Dream notwithstanding. Yes, the Braves and Hawks call Atlanta home now, but they didn’t originate here.

The Atlanta Falcons are Atlanta’s and Atlanta’s alone. We share no history (though at times, pawning some of this history off on another city wouldn’t exactly stink) with another city, no records, no uniforms, no logos, no anything. They’ve always been, the ATLANTA Falcons.

The day that this team brings a championship to Atlanta is one, that truthfully, I can’t even begin to describe the way I even think I’d feel. And I know what I’d ultimately actually feel would reach far, far beyond what I can conjure up in my mind.

2. Chase Elliott win a Sprint Cup Championship- As mentioned, Elliott is my “favorite”. If this question was posed 11 years ago, I would have put Bill Elliott winning a championship at 1, the Falcons winning a Super Bowl at 2. As much as I loved the Falcons as a kid, they didn’t compare to how much I loved “Awesome Bill”. And now that his son his here? I love the Falcons, but not like I root for this kid. The investment is deep. The history is deeper. The personal meaning, deeper than both together.

Through all the ups and downs of my relationship with my father, there is one constant. An Elliott in a racecar. There’s always an Elliott that we can come together over. Whether it was reminiscing about the good ole days of Bill’s hey day, or even his not so stellar moments, or it’s talking about the incredibly bright future of his son Chase, we will always have an Elliott. And for that, nothing can replace that. And that’s not saying the Falcons aren’t a “me and dad thing”, but it’s not close to our connection to the Elliotts, as I mentioned in a post nearly four full years ago.

So the day Chase Elliott hoists that championship trophy above his head, I’ll remember being there in 1988 at Atlanta International Raceway to watch his dad hoist one, and I hope, when it happens, I’m with my dad.

3. Georgia Tech College Football National Championship- This one is one I almost dropped lower, simply because of the improbability. Not to mention, I was alive for one of these, and despite being only five years old, I actually have vivid memories of Shawn Jones and William Bell running all through Nebraska’s defense in Orlando. However, it’s that improbability that ranks it so high on the list. Everyone knows I pull for Georgia when they don’t play Tech, and because I wasn’t alive for Georgia’s national title, and because there are so many other rabid SEC fans around here, I almost put them higher than Tech on this list. Then I thought, not only does a Tech title put it in the face of THOSE SEC fans, it does it to the Georgia fans I’ve heard nothing but ridicule from for almost the last quarter century. But alas, it’s not going to happen. But I can dream, right?

4. Georgia College Football National Championship- Like I mentioned above, I almost put this above Tech winning one, but it comes in a step below. I know some Tech fans may disown me for that thought, and some may even disown me for having them here, but that’s fine. I like all my home teams. When a team from Georgia plays a team from another state, I want the local boys to whip their ass. Every. Single. Time.

Beyond that though, I love Mark Richt. He’s everything right about college football and receives far, far, FAR more flak than he deserves. Whether it’s people incredulously going on about how he’s, “lost control of the program”, or the players, or to the even more asinine arguments about his lack of a national title, he receives unjust criticism.

The national title argument in particular irks me because it’s so stupid. Because the argument is so ignorant. I’m not here to get into details about that. But, if Richt could win one in Athens, it would shut those people up. And for that reason alone, them winning a national title makes the top four.

5. Chase Elliott Winning the Daytona 500- See above for the reasoning. The Daytona 500, in many ways, is almost the equivalent to a championship, so if Chase can pull that one off, it’s going to be one very, very special day.

6. Atlanta Braves World Series- Yes, we have one. And I was plenty old enough to enjoy and appreciate it. But not as much as I’d enjoy and appreciate it now. All the World Series losses as well that have added up over the years only add to the need for a championship. Hearing it from all these teams who over the past 25 years have made the playoffs, maybe 2 times, maybe three, or even five or six, but have two World Series rings, about how much greater an organization than the Braves they are (though currently employing Fredi Gonzalez gives these claims merit) gets old. A second trophy would shut them up.

7. Chase Elliott Nationwide Championship- It might seem high, seeing as how the Nationwide Series, or Xfinity Series, or whatever it will be next year, is basically the AAA minor leagues of NASCAR. However, unlike other minor leagues, they’re on major TV every week, they’re a multi million dollar sport, and, they’re the second most popular form of motorsports in America. So it’s not your typical minor league circuit. Throw in the fact that for Chase to win one, he’d have to do so at age 18 or 19…. It’d be pretty cool. Plus, with the way sports are around here in Georgia, it might be the closest we get to a championship in the next few years, well, until Chase goes and wins one at the Cup level.

8. Georgia Tech Basketball National Title- They’ve been closer than any other team in this state over the past 15 years when it comes to winning a title, though, you could argue that the 2012 Georgia football team was pretty dadgum close as well. They actually have played for a championship in this century. Nobody else say can say that. So there’s that. But, while I love my Jackets, and am an ardent follower and supporter, basketball just isn’t there with football, NASCAR, and even baseball. Notice, I still haven’t gotten to the Hawks yet. Being a Georgia Tech fan however is hard. We’re outnumbered, and the good times are becoming fewer and farther between. Something to cheer about, period, would be nice. But if Tech is going to win something, while I’d pick baseball first, the odds are much, much better in happens on the hardwood than on the Flats.

9. Kasey Kahne Sprint Cup Championship- Kasey Kahne is here because of Bill Elliott. When Elliott retired following the 2003 season, Kasey Kahne was tabbed to be his replacement in the no. 9 car, and immediately, I became a fan. At this point, there was no sign of a future Elliott coming into the sport, so I had to find a new guy to pull for. That Kasey was a contender off the bat, with so many agonizingly close runner-up finishes (much like Elliott) in his rookie year, pulling for him became easy, and difficult at the same time. Kahne is a guy with a lot of talent, that’s yet to put it all together. Watching him will his way into the chase (NASCAR’s version of the playoffs) this year with a gutty drive at Atlanta was pretty cool. Watching him finally put everything together and win a championship would be downright awesome. For ten years I’ve been a Kahne fan, but he better hurry. Once Chase Elliott arrives on the Sprint Cup circuit, he’s no longer going to be my top dog. Maybe he can pull it off this year, who knows?

10. Atlanta Hawks NBA Championship- I probably dropped them below Georgia State simply because of how infuriated and frustrated I am with the mess this organization is right now. And it’s probably because it’s been such a frustrating and infuriating disaster for so long, that they have fallen so far. Nevertheless, they’re still my team.

11. Georgia Tech Baseball College World Series

12. Kasey Kahne Winning the Daytona 500

13. North Carolina Basketball National Championship

14. Georgia Southern Football Being Ranked

15. Georgia State Basketball Final Four

16. Georgia Basketball National Championship

17. Atlanta Dream WNBA Championship

18. Georgia Tech Basketball ACC Tournament Championship

19. Georgia State Football Conference Championship

20. Kennesaw State Basketball NCAA Tournament Bid

21. Kansas City Royals World Series

22. Detroit Lions Super Bowl

23. North Carolina Football National Championship

24. Buffalo Bills Super Bowl

25. Cleveland Browns Super Bowl

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New Top 25; Big East Is Underrated, Props To Indiana, Arkansas Could Be SEC Spoiler

The LSU victory over South Carolina probably did the most to really shake up the top ten. It certainly didn’t do Georgia any favors. Fear not Bulldog faithful, they win their next two, they will get their due. Just like every team in the SEC, next week is a chance to prove yourselves. Unfortunately for them, the flop they had against South Carolina was just too disastrous to overlook and give them the benefit of the doubt simply because they’re in the SEC. South Carolina knows if they don’t win next week, they won’t win the SEC. Georgia knows if South Carolina doesn’t win next week, they control their destiny in the league. So, to say it’s a big game is a mild understatement.

Speaking of the multiple title scenarios in the SEC, there’s a huge spoiler lying in the weeds, and it’s Arkansas. They’ve played much better the last two weeks and have too much talent to overlooked. Remember, they get LSU at home to close the season.

Notre Dame is sitting rather pretty right now, and with two games left on the road against highly ranked Oklahoma and USC, the Irish pretty much control their own fate into the national title game. If it’s an SEC champion and then an unbeaten Oregon, Kansas State, or Notre Dame, seriously, c’mon now….

It’s a real shame that in both the Big Ten and the ACC, the best team in one of the two divisions of each conference isn’t eligible to even play for the conference title. In the Big Ten, it’s arguably the two best teams in one of their divisions. It’s unfortunate that these conferences will have to scramble to find bowl eligible teams (hello Wake Forest, hello Purdue) that aren’t worthy to cover their slots. It’s going to definitely skewer post-season conference vs conference records.

Congratulations to Kevin Wilson, in his second year as head coach at Indiana, for seeming to have them on the right track. Last year was a disastrous 1-11 season. This season they’ve started off the year just 2-4, with four straight losses, but keep in mind they include the two point loss to Ball State, the four point loss to Michigan State, and a three point loss to Ohio State. They lost all but one of their last seven a year about by 14 points or more. They’d lost their last four games against ranked opponents by at least 21 points. Here’s to hoping it continues.

The most underrated conference in the country has to be the Big East. Rutgers, Cincinnati and Louisville are all undefeated. Among the non-conference opponents they’ve defeated are Kentucky, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Virginia Tech. That’s 4-0 against the SEC and the ACC. Not bad. Remember also, Pittsburgh also took down the Hokies, and Connecticut beat Maryland, who is the only unbeaten team in ACC play right now.

1.  Alabama

2.  Oregon

3. Florida

4.  Ohio State

5.  Kansas State

6.  Notre Dame

7.  LSU 

8.  Oklahoma

9.  USC

10.South Carolina

11.Mississippi State

12.West Virginia

13.Florida State

14.Louisville

15.Oregon State

16.Clemson

17.Georgia

18.Rutgers

19.Texas A&M

20.Cincinnati

21.Texas Tech

22.Ohio

23.TCU

24.Northwestern

25.Boise State

 

Others

Penn State

Texas

Louisiana Tech

Nebraska

Iowa State

Arizona State

UCLA

Stanford

North Carolina

 

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New Top 25, Dawgs & Noles Crash, South Carolina and Ohio State surge, Welcome Louisiana Tech and Ohio

I think right now it’s Alabama and Oregon at the top, and that, I think is pretty concrete and universally agreed upon. The question is, who is that third team that could potentially spoil that party. After Saturday night, one has to think it’s South Carolina. But are the Gamecocks really on that level?

Georgia takes a huge hit for completely not showing up at all. The Seminoles also drop a good bit after losing at North Carolina State. The SEC should fear not though, LSU stays in the top 10, and Mississippi State replaces Georgia among the top 12, so the conference still has five teams in the top 12. Georgia and Texas A&M also ensure that half the teams in the conference are ranked after this week.

I didn’t want to drop TCU all the way out, I’m interested to see what becomes of their quarterback situation. With Paschal, I think the Frogs win that game against Iowa State and remain unbeaten, so I didn’t penalize them too much.

With Nebraska, Northwestern and UCLA all playing poorly in games with a real chance to prove something, someone had to replace them in the top 25. Welcome teams like Louisiana Tech and Ohio. Both could potentially run the table this season.

It’s a real shame Ohio State isn’t eligible for the conference title, or a bowl game. These Buckeyes are good, and wouldn’t Urban Meyer against any SEC school in a potential national title game be extra compelling. Unfortunately it won’t happen……this year.

And Notre Dame? They’re for real people. They are for real.

1.  Alabama

2.  Oregon

3.  South Carolina

4.  Ohio State

5.  West Virginia

6.  Florida

7.  Kansas State

8.  Notre Dame

9. LSU

10.Oklahoma

11.USC

12.Mississippi State

13.Florida State

14.Louisville

15.Clemson

16.Georgia

17.Rutgers

18.Oregon State

19.Texas

20.Texas A&M

21.Stanford

22.Cincinnati

23.Ohio

24.Louisiana Tech

25.TCU

 

Others

Northwestern

Tennessee

Michigan State

San Jose State

Boise State

Iowa State

UCLA

Nebraska

Penn State

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Must See TV- Sports Stars Most Worth Price of Admission

There are superstars, and there are hall of famers in every sport. However, just how many of these players are, by themselves, worthy alone of the price of admission? What player have you seen play, that without question, you have no regrets spending the dough simply to watch them do what they do?

In no particular order, I’ll give you 10 of my own. This is completely open for discussion, in fact, it’s rather encouraged. Go.

Devin Hester– He’s the NFL’s all-time leader in punt returns for a touchdown, and he’s scored 15 non-offensive touchdowns, third most ever, and the most among active players. Many of his returns are of the jaw dropping nature that leaves both opponent and fan alike wondering what just happened. Just remember, “They are who we thought they were”.

Michael Vick– His off field exploits and questions of his work ethic aside, has one man single handedly left as many people breathless on the football field and in the stands as Michael Vick? Being the quarterback, the ball is in his hands on every play, which means every play has the potential to make SportsCenter’s Top Ten list at the end of the night. The ball simply being in his hands brings people to their feet. When the best athlete on the field has the ball in his hands, this is what happens.

Dominique Wilkins– For the duration of the 80s, the Atlanta Hawks were simply one step behind the NBA’s great teams, routinely falling short against the likes of the dynasties in Boston and Detroit. That they were even competitive with those teams was due to one man, the “Human Highlight”. You don’t receive a nickname like that for no reason. This current Atlanta Hawks squad that routinely comes up short in the playoffs may be lacking a superstar, but these Hawks of the 80s weren’t at all. If you ever get a chance to catch game 7 of the Hawks and Celtics in the playoffs in 1988, do it. ‘Nique went toe to toe with Larry Bird, shot for shot, in one of the most epic battles the NBA has seen.

Ken Griffey Jr– Griffey’s was a career that was shortened and limited by injuries towards the end of his playing days. However, that need not do anything to put a damper on what “Junior”, or “The Kid”, had done previously in his career. Griffey quite possibly was the most talented baseball player to ever come through the big leagues. An argument could be made that he was the best overall baseball player to ever suit up. Of all the players I’ve ever seen play, I’d have to rank Griffey has the best of all-time. One can only hope people remember that about his career, and remember the sweet swing he brought with him, and of course the smile that never left. Not only was Griffey phenomenal at what he did, he enjoyed every single minute of it, and you could tell.

Barry Sanders– Has a major athlete ever retired with as little fanfare as the great Barry Sanders did? It’s highly doubtful. And ultimately, his retirement personified his career. Sanders was as elusive a runner as the NFL had ever seen, and he snuck out of the league just as he was constantly sneaking away and dodging defenders throughout his career. Few people have ever been able to come close to matching Sanders agility, and ability to start, stop, and be back to high speed in a matter of seconds.

Deion Sanders– Before there was Devin Hester, there was Devin Hester’s mentor, “Primetime”. Few nicknames have suited someone as well as Deion Sanders nickname suited him. Professional athletes ultimately are entertainers, and there are very few in the history of sports who entertained the way Deion Sanders did. His flare was part of his persona, as was his flare for doing absolutely amazing things on the football field, and on the baseball diamond. While he had some memorable moments on the baseball field, “Primetime” made a name for himself on the football field, as perhaps both the greatest cover corner in NFL history, and the most dangerous man the league has seen with the ball in his hands.

Dale Earnhardt– You don’t have to be a fan of NASCAR to appreciate what Dale Earnhardt was. Just as Ali, Jordan, and Woods transcended their sports, so to did Dale Earnhardt. He elevated stock car racing to the national spotlight, putting it firmly in the discussion with football, baseball, and basketball in the struggle for the attention of the countrys sports fans. Earnhardt did it on and off the track. On it, if you were at a track, you kept your eye on the three car, at all times, because you never knew what might happen.

Calvin Johnson– How in the world do you spend your college career with Reggie Ball attempting to throw you passes and still wind up the number two overall pick in the NFL draft after your junior year? To start with, you need to be blessed with the freakish combination of size, speed, athleticism and hands that Calvin Johnson is blessed with. The Chan Gailey/Reggie Ball era at Georgia Tech didn’t leave a lot to be overly excited about. However, it did include three years of watching Calvin Johnson do things on a football field that shouldn’t be possible. If you need any more proof, just ask Clemson if they remember his coming out party his freshmen year up in Death Valley as he spearheaded and improbable Georgia Tech comeback.

Andruw Jones– Yes, watching Jones flail away hopelessly at sliders down and away was frustrating. However, watching the Braves try and fill the hole at center field since he left is arguably more frustrating. Andruw Jones is the classic case, for many people, of not knowing what you’ve got ’till it’s gone. Some may argue, and with some validity, that Jones was the greatest defensive outfielder in baseball history. It’s entirely possible. While there are others who flash some shiny leather quite a bit, none of them played nearly as shallow as Andruw Jones while still rarely having a ball get over his head. His instincts were second to none in the outfield, nobody could go get it quite like Jones could. Being able to enjoy Jones patrol center field for over a decade was quite a treat. Of course, so was his World Series debut in hallowed Yankee Stadium.

Michael Jordan– Do I really need to say anything? Arguably the greatest competitor in the history of sports, and also arguably the greatest basketball player to ever live (sorry Scottie).

Honorable Mentions

Greg Maddux– No, not a pure power pitcher who just threw everything by people, Maddux was more like an artist on the mound. From 1993 thru the end of his career in 2008, his strike percentage never fell below 65. That’s how you do what he did. Maddux’s work on the pitchers mound was truly a thing of beauty.

Tiger Woods– More so perhaps for people who play golf themselves, but the pure power with which Tiger Woods would unleash a driver, to see it in person, simply awe inspring.

Barry Bonds– Nobody hit more of ’em, and nobody hit em farther. Steroids or no steroids, you wanted to watch this man bat.

Roger Federer/Rafael Nadal– I put both together, because they are quite often linked together as well, thanks to their many epic duels on the court. The question arguably is simply, which of the two is really the greatest of all-time?

Dante Hall – for a couple of years in Kansas City, the “Human Joystick” was as fun to watch as anyone who ever played the game. Seven return touchdowns, including this memorable return against the Denver Broncos in which Hall did everything you’re NOT supposed to do on a return. Seven return scores in a two year stretch is just phenomenal.

Reggie Bush– What Bush has done in the NFL, and what he did or not receive while at USC did nothing whatsoever to take away from what was a phenomenal college career. Bush was the best athlete on the field, and often, it wasn’t even close. He was a man among boys with the ball in his hands.

Herschel Walker– The record book may not show it, but many will argue Herschel Walker is indeed the greatest college running back of all-time. They might be right, too. His size and speed led Georgia to three straight SEC championships, and a national title, heights they’ve yet to revisit.

Adrian Peterson– Before Oklahoma had theirs, that went off to play for the Vikings, Georgia Southern had their own Adrian Peterson, who will long be one of the most underrated college football players of all time. He’s an honorable mention for this run alone.

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