Monday, October 31, 2005

Things Change So Fast

I remember being a kid and seeing Mikhail Gorbachev on TV as the face of the enemy. My family is of recent Russian decent (via the tried and true "marry a G.I and move the whole family" method in the early 1950's), and so a distrust of all things communist runs deep in me.

So what happens last week? My wife goes to see Gorbachev speak here in Kansas and then ended up getting an opportunity to chat with him in Russian for a bit afterwards. It's so strange to try and wrap my head around the fact that the former leader of "The Evil Empire" is out in the middle of the U.S drumming up support for his global environmentalist movement, the Green Cross. I'm pretty sure my grandmother is dancing a jig in heaven somewhere over what has occurred in the past 15 years. Not everything is perfect in Russia, heck some things have gotten worse since the U.S.S.R fell - but we've come a long way in a short period of time.

Funny anecdote to the whole situation: evidently Gorbachev gave his speech in Russian through a translator, and at one point tried to joke about how he always has to have water at the podium and slipped up using vodka for voda (water). Russians and their vodka, can't separate the two. I know it isn't sports related in the least, but it's just a wierd world we are living in now - and this was just pretty close to home for me this week.

A Coat of Fresh Paint

As should be obvious, Golden Tornado has undergone a facelift this weekend and should almost look like a real website now. I wish I could take credit for it, but my wife (who is the one who got me writing this crazy thing to begin with) did all the work. I have absolutely zero artistic ability other than grunting and going "yeah, that looks good" when asked for my opinion.

If you notice a problem with anything, or it doesn't show up properly in your browser - post a comment or drop me an e-mail and I'll try to get it working.

The Best Defense That Never Was

As many of the people that regularly read this blog know (all 5 of you), I live no where near Atlanta - I'm out in the middle of the heartland in Lawrence, KS home of the University of Kansas. Since my wife is a student here, and because I enjoy college sports, I have purchased season tickets this year for KU football. Make no mistake about it, KU football is one of the most downtrodden programs in recent memory, and I didn't exactly have high expectations of watching brilliant play on the field each and every Saturday. Football is football though, and college football on a crisp fall afternoon is great, no matter who is on the field. Or so the idea went.

A funny thing has happened along the way, at least half of KU's team has turned out to be good. I mean really good. I mean, best in the country good. KU's defense is as good as any I've seen anywhere in my years of following college sports. When you consider how brutally horrible KU's offense is, the fact that their defense is ranked in the top 10 in the country is astounding. There have been many times watching them this year that you are just hoping they can go 3 and out and punt without turning the ball over, and several games the only hope they had of scoring was if one of the defenders took a turnover to the house. Somehow still though, the defense has strapped it on and gone back out there completely gassed and still gotten the job done. Because of that horrendous offense though, KU's record is a measly 4-4 in the bad Big XII North and the total number of column inches dedicated to this defense can be measure with a single Crayola ruler.

Here's a quick summary of KU's defense this year in Big XII play:

They held Texas Tech to 23 offensive points, in Lubbock - despite the offense turning it over 3 times, including fumbling in their own end-zone. KU had 5 sacks on the day, turned TT over twice and held TT to their lowest yardage total of the season (380 total yards).

The next week on the road against Kansas State was probably the finest defensive performance of the year that I have seen by any team. KU's offense held the ball for only 18 minutes, and yet despite being on the field for just over 42 minutes of game time, the KU defense held K-State to 0.7 yards per carry. On 45 attempts. Thomas Clayton entered the game as the nation's leading rusher, and he left the game with 16 carries for 13 total yards. K-State ran 69 plays for only 182 total yards, and yet won the game because KU's offense giftwrapped a 3 play -7 yard scoring drive for a field goal and later on a safety. The defense surrended a single late TD that ended up being completely meaningless - when your offense gives up 5 points and only scores 3, it doesn't matter what the defense does.

I was sitting about 10 rows up behind the end zone at Arrowhead stadium for the Oklahoma game, and unfortunately was forced to watch an offensive perfomance perhaps even worse than the previous week in Manhattan. When your offense only manages 22 minutes of total possession, your QB goes 11-30 with 3 interceptions including one run back for a TD on the 3rd play of the game, you have no hope of winning no matter what your defense does. But oh, did the defense try anyways. After spotting OU a quick 10-0 lead on back to back interceptions, one returned for a TD, the other so deep in KU terrority that a field goal was automatic, KU's defense almost single handedly won the game. They picked off a pair of passes, held OU to under 2 yards per carry and once even gave the offense the ball on OU's 18 yard line after an Adrian Peterson fumble ... which the offense promptly managed to not even get a score out of. After the game, All-American LB Nick Reid said he wanted to punch the offense. He wasn't the only one, and the saddest fact of the game is that in one of the best football venues in the world, the defense barely even got the crowd noise it so deserved because the offense had completley deflated everyone in attendence. Every soul in the place knew they couldn't score a single TD, and there was no way to win the game, but it wasn't a blowout - so you had to stick around and keep up hope for a miracle which never came.

Finally, in Colorado all those minutes on the field the past two weeks caught up with KU in the second half - after having a punt blocked for a TD, and then another punt returned for a TD the KU defense looked mentally beaten down. There was just no way to keep playing at the level they had for the first 3 conference games without any sort of rest or reward. KU fell to 0-4 in the conference, only scoring 9 points per game over that span, and going almost a month without a touchdown. A month.

So last weekend, nobody really knew what to expect when Missouri rolled into town fresh off blowing Nebraska out. Brad Smith was on fire and had just run over, through and around the vaunted Blackshirts and most of the experts were predicting a comfortable MU win. Almost as if on script, KU threw an interception on their own end the field on their first possession. Cue the KU defense for the first stuff of the day. Short punt into the wind on KU's next possession, MU has the ball inside the 50 again. Again KU's defense stuffs them. The first 3 times MU had the ball, they started at the KU 38, 45 and 43 yard lines, and got a grand total of 3 points. Once KU's offense managed a single first half TD, it was over. MU could have played another 60 minutes and never scored again as KU's defense just physically whipped them every time they took the field. Brad Smith entered the game as the leading rusher in the Big XII ... he got 38 yards on 20 carries, and as a team MU only had 33 total yards on 30 carries. MU was averaging 36 points per game coming in, they got 3.

Later this season, KU is at Texas, and we'll see how well they contain Vince Young. Last year they almost pulled off the upset in Lawrence, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see UT struggle to move the football. Heck, what I would be surprised by would be UT running up the score. Of course, KU's offense can unfortunately be counted on for at least one brutally backbreaking turnover per game and I expect Texas to win, but I expect it to be much tougher than some people on the national stage seem to think.

Nick Reid, Charlton Keith, Charles Gordon, Brandon Perkins, Banks Floodman and Jerome Kemp deserve some love. They are playing at least as well as VT, UGa, Alabama or Ohio State and unfortunately get none of the same attention. If Nick Reid was a Buckeye he'd be getting the full on A.J Hawk worship, instead he's at a basketball school with very little football success and 95% of football fans in the country don't know his name. It's not fair, but that's life. This weekend KU has a chance to break their 37 game losing streak to Nebraska, and if they can win 2 of their final 3 they might play in a bowl game. If they do, maybe then someone will pay attention to the group of defensive players out here. Then again, probably not - it's just Kansas after all.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


And you thought the BuzzOff crowd didn't like our coaching staff, check out this gem over at ... it's going to be an extremely long offseason in Knoxville.

New Version of Rocky Top

Once two dullards coached ol' Rocky Top,
One thin, the other quite fat.
One clapped his hands each time a pass was dropped,
The other just dipped Skoal and spat.

Three and out and let's punt the ball again,
Defense, get ready, make haste!
Wide receiver screens and draws on 3rd and ten,
All that talent to waste...

Rocky Top, you'll always be,
Home Sweet Home to me.
Good ol' Rocky Top,
Underachiever of the SEC.

Sanders must go. Of that, there is no doubt,
But Fat Phil's too scared to risk it.
All he really cares to think about,
Is where he might find his next biscuit.

3rd and long and let's call a shovel pass,
'Cause Sanders has doo-doo for brains.
That's why Rocky Top is ranked near last,
In scoring and offensive gains.

Rocky Top, you'll always be,
Home Sweet Home to me.
Good ol' Rocky Top,
The SEC's number three.

By the way - who thought it was a good idea to bring back Peyton Manning to get his jersey retired on the same night that Darth Visor was in town? Wasn't that destined to be a disaster from the start?

Monday, October 24, 2005

New Addition to the Vocabulary


v. Shinski'd, Shinskiing

  1. To pretend that you don't need a backup for a key position, then have to face a rivalry game with a completely unprepared player who ruins your season.
  2. To have your season ruined by a coach refusing to recruit any talent to backup a key position.
Example: "Shockley's sprained MCL shinski'd UGA's 2005 season"

n. Skinski
  1. A totally unprepared and untalented backup who ruins a seasons
  2. A coach who fails to recruit or prepare a backup
  3. A ruined season because of lack of depth at a key position
Example: "Mark Richt pulled a shinski when D.J Shockley was the only Division 1-A QB on the roster."

Thaddeus Young, welcome to the ATL

Thaddeus Young (6'8" SF from Memphis's Mitchell High - RCSI #6) verbally committed to the Georgia Institute of Technology this morning, and will be on the 2006-2007 edition of the Yellow Jackets.

This is an enormous decision, not only for Thad, but also for Georgia Tech basketball. Unlike Chris Bosh, who slid under the radar a bit until his senior season, Thad has been one of the dominant high school players in the country since his freshman year. As a 6'8" forward with a SG skillset, he's projected to have an immediate impact and is one of the highest rated players at any position ( has him as the #3 rated senior in the country). Paul Hewitt was up against all the big names in college basketball, as well as the local draw of Memphis, but Thad decided to come live in Atlanta, go to school at an excellent academic institution and play some big time college hoops.

The 2007 Final Four is in Atlanta, and people are certainly going to be getting ahead of themselves a bit and looking forward to that date - but it's now a very attainable goal. Regardless of what happens then, the 2006-07 starting lineup of Crittenton, Clinch, Thad, Smith and Dickey is going to be one of the most talented in the country. Right now, we just gotta hope Larry Brown keeps his job with the Knicks for more than 2 years and Paul Hewitt stays in Atlanta. He's got a chance to continue building something very special here.

Also, over on the Georgia Sports Blog they were celebrating this year's UGA basketball recruiting class like it included the second coming of 'Nique. Last I checked, a couple of 4 star players who nobody had listed in the top 25 in the country isn't exactly ground breaking. Pups, you might want to check out Tech for an example on what real basketball recruiting looks like.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Portland v. Utah last night

Utah just rolled up Portland last night in a preseason game, at one point up by 33 in the second half, but Jack played well in limited minutes in the second half and was especially impressive on the defensive end against Deron Williams, who was absolutely torching Blake and Telfair.

6 points, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 rebound and only 1 turnover in 10 minutes - along with clearly being the best defensive guard on the team, not a bad night for a rookie point guard. Jack has done a good job so far in camp, and McMillan seems to be very impressed with him.

Nobody knows what the starting backcourt for the Blazers is going to look like, but however it works out Jack is going to get some serious minutes simply because they have no other guard on the roster who can play effective defense on the NBA level.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

No football, so lets talk basketball

There's no GT football this weekend, and really nothing much of huge interest happening this weekend in the world of Tech sports other than the beginning of basketball practice, so I wanted to take the dead time to look at what is basically an entirely new team in Atlanta this year. has some practice updates up - go check them out, then come back here and read my (early) season preview.

General Program Overview

GT is probably the least experienced team in the entire country this year. There is not a single player on the roster who has ever started a regular season game at the college level (thanks to MabletonJacket for pointing that Tarver started the 3 NIT games in 2003) which is an astounding fact when you think about it. Hewitt will have his work cut out for him in getting all the young guys ready for the long grind that the ACC season has become, one of the biggest fears that I have is that they will slowly wear down under the demand of playing far more minutes than any of them have had to before. This is going to be a very young, inexperienced and athletic team on the court. They are going to make a ton of mistakes, some great plays and some plays that are going to leave us pulling our hair out (Hewitt's permanently cool demeanor will be severely tested). In short, it's going to be fun to watch. I expect GT to finish in the middle to bottom of the ACC, and probably only qualify for the NIT. Next year this group of young talent should really begin to gel, and we're going to get to watch some terrific basketball - but that doesn't mean this season is going to be any less enjoyable.

Big Changes!

Again thanks to our friends at, here's a picture of the new floor that was installed at Alexander Memorial this summer. And yes, that's one big insect!

Thank God the Golden Arches are gone from the floor, I don't mind the corporate sponsorship for the complex, but on the floor was cheesy. Also, as a resident of Lawrence, KS now - I see the big Jayhawk on the floor of Allen Field House all the time, and I like it. I like the big logo on the AMC floor just as much. Evidently the floor is also a lighter color (think Oklahoma State), though this picture doesn't show it well.

Frontcourt Preview

I'd point out the frontcourt is extremely young and inexperienced, but there's actually more returning experience here than anywhere else. Unless something dramatic happens in practice, Jeremis Smith and Ra'Sean Dickey will be the starters - and along with Tarver are the only ones with anything even close to game experience.

#4 - Ra'Sean Dickey (RCSI #51 - HS class of 2004)
6'9" 255lbs.
Projected: Starter

Dickey is probably the best overall player on the roster entering the season, and certainly the best offensive presence in the post. He has a wide array of post moves, a soft touch around the basket and good body control. Dickey played well in a backup role last year, and will be called upon to be one of the key cogs in this years team. He needs to do a better job of passing the ball out to permiter shooters when double teamed, and play "stronger" with the ball when he has it. He had a number of careless turnovers last year that a 255lb. post player shouldn't have, and I'm sure that's something Hewitt will remind him of each and every practice. Only an average defender, and will have to up his effort level on that end of the court. I'm expecting Dickey to improve this year, and be one of the key building blocks for the next couple of seasons in Atlanta.

#32 - Jeremis Smith (RCSI #74 - HS class of 2004)
6'6" 232lbs.
Projected: Starter

Besides sporting the best tattoo in GT basketball history (the spiderweb that covers his entire deltoid), Smith is also one of the most athletic players on the team. Despite being severely limited by a dislocated kneecap last year, he showed his toughness and nose for the ball on the glass when he came back in February. While nobody on this team is quite as explosive as Muhammed was last year, Smith should be on SportsCenter several times with his dunking ability combined with a nasty streak. Smith will be the defensive presence in the post, and almost certainly the leading rebounder on the team. His offensive game is somewhat rough at this point in time, and his ability to add even 8-10ppg will be a huge bonus if he can expand his repetoire to include a short jumper and a couple of post moves. Smith is my favorite player on the current roster, and only part of that is because of the tat.

#44 - Theodus Tarver (RCSI Unranked - HS Class of 2002)
6'9" 245lbs.
Projected: Key Reserve

Quite simply, Tarver needs to step up. So far in his career at GT, he hasn't been able to earn consistent playing time and despite his size, length and overall skill he has not played tough enough to make much of an impact. Tarver has a nice overall game, is a good shotblocker and has a bit of polish to his offensive game, but all of that has been negated so far by his inability to hold the ball with strength, keep position on the floor or fight through for tough rebounds. How much Tarver matures and how much strength he has added in the offseason will go a long way in how well this team plays this year. He will be the first frontcourt player off the bench, and will see a lot of minutes.

#41 - Alade Aminu (RCSI #79 - HS Class of 2005)
6'9" 210lbs.
Projected: Reserve

Aminu was ranked as one of the top 10 centers in last year's class by most of the recruiting services, and is a long athletic player that should see some playing time almost immediately. I am not expecting that much from Aminu this year, asking a 210lb. freshman with only 4 years of organized basketball to bang in the post against ACC opponents is probably too much. If he can add 8-10 minutes per game with some shotblocking and rebounding presense, I will be thrilled. Aminu also ran track in high school, and is an excellent athlete. He is also from the same high school as Reggie Ball (factoid alert).

#1 - D'Andre Bell (RCSI Unranked - HS Class of 2005)
6'5" 200lbs.
Projected: Limited Reserve

I honestly have no idea what to expect from Bell, and anyone who says they do is making it up. Due to a stress fracture in his foot, he missed a large portion of his senior season and really flew under the recruiting radar until AAU ball started up. He played well in the Global Games, and got high marks in the ABCD camp last year. Has a smooth left handed jumpshot and a pro-style body. I listed him here in the frontcourt because he'll probably play as a small forward at this point in his career, but it's more likely that if he makes an impact at Tech it will be as a shooting guard. By all accounts a very good student who picked GT for the business school, taking additional math classes just so he had no problems entering the school.

Backcourt Preview

No Jarrett Jack. Ugh. No Will Bynum. Double Ugh. No B.J Elder. You can see where this is going, and it isn't pretty. For the past couple of years, the Yellow Jackets have been guard oriented, and they were some pretty darn good guards at that. This year is a fresh start, though losing Austin Jackson to the Yankees is really going to hurt. There is only one "true" PG on the roster, and even then he's very inexperienced running the point. On the bright side, there is plenty of talent here - and the ACC lost a ton of super guards last year, the league is fairly week as a whole this year in the backcourt.

#35 - Zam "Buck" Fredrick II (RCSI #85 - HS Class of 2004)
6'0" 209
Projected: Starter

This is going to be an interesting year for Buck, as he tries to solidify a starting position before the arrival of super stud Javaris Crittenton next year. He was Mr. Basketball in South Carolina as a scoring 'combo' guard, but he's being asked to now run the point for an ACC team - a very tall task for someone who was never a true PG in his life. On the positive side, he's got a thick build that should allow him to hold up to the daily grind of 30+ minutes a game in the ACC and he's got a silky smooth jumper that allowed him to pile up points in his prep career. On the downside, nobody has any idea how well he's going to handle the ball and run the offense, because it's never been expected of him at any level. Over the offseason, there was talk of him transferring back home to USC-East because of lack of playing time his freshman year, but that seems to be water under the bridge at this point and he will get every chance to start this season, there simply isn't anyone else. My expectation is that he will struggle a bit this year, and enter next season as the first guard off the bench to backup both the SG and PG spots - and for him to play well in that role for the rest of his Tech career.

#33 - Lewis Clinch (RCSI #25 - HS Class of 2005)
6'3" 190lbs.
Projected: Starter

Clinch is the highest ranked shooting guard enrolled in college this year, and is an explosive, lethal scorer who should make an immediate impact from the very first game. He has a very polished offensive game similar to Rashad McCants (minus the attitude), with a smooth deep stroke and the ability to take it to the rim with ease. Much of Clinch's success this year will depend on Buck's ability to run the point, because if he can't it's likely that Clinch will have to handle the ball a substantial portion of the time and that will probably limit his scoring. I fully expect Clinch to lead the team in scoring and be in the running for ACC Rookie of the Year, he has the potential to be a very special player on the flats. Hewitt is going to ride him had about playing defense, and that is going to be the biggest weakness for Clinch as the season progresses.

#23 - Anthony Morrow (RCSI #91 - HS Class of 2004)
6'5" 205lbs.
Projected: Starter

Morrow was Mr. Basketball in North Carolina in 2004, and has one of the prettiest deep strokes you will ever see. Watching him last year during his freshman season, I kept getting the feeling that Hewitt had stolen one out from under the noses of the Big 4. Morrow has excellent size, a beautiful jumper and a nose for the ball. He showed off a nice ability to get open without the ball last year, and is a terrific spot up shooter. With Clinch's ability to penetrate and Dickey on the inside demanding attention, Morrow should have plenty of chances to get open shots from deep, and that plays right into his strengths. On the defensive end, Morrow has the size to matchup with most ACC small forwards, and is a very tough matchup for smaller guards with his length and quickness. For the season, he will probably battle with Dickey to be the second leading scorer on the team, and as his confidence grows will be a dangerous weapon. While not quite the NBA caliber prospect that Clinch appears to be right now, Morrow has a chance to become a very good 4 year player at GT and will be a key cog in anything that happens the next couple of years in Atlanta.

#5 - Mario West (RCSI Unranked - HS Class of 2002)
6'5" 208lbs.
Projected: Key Reserve / Starter

'Rio is a former walkon, and the teams best athlete and on-the-ball defender. Tremendous nose for the ball, and a very physical and determined defender. He really came on at the end of last year with his energy and ability to lock down opposing guards during the ACC tournament. He is an excellent rebounder from the guard position, and almost impossible to keep out of the paint area going for offensive boards. Mario is still somewhat erratic on the offensive end, where his spotty ballhandling, jumper and habit of getting out of control at times have limited him. He will probably see time this year at both guard spots as well as at small forward, and his defense, energy and toughness will make him the player that Hewitt is going to lean on the most for leadership on this young team. I really like Mario's game, and expect him to play well this year - and also to turn the ball over a bit more than I'd hope for. This Tech team needs him badly, and he's always been a crowd favorite.

#12 - Papa "Paco" Diaw (RCSI Unranked - HS Class of 2005)
6'6" 190lbs.
Projected: Reserve

The biggest question mark on a team full of giant question marks. Diaw is the younger half-brother of former Hawks (now Suns) guard Boris Diaw, who has lived and played most of his life in Senegal. He slipped into this year's recruiting class at the very end, and just was cleared by the NCAA within the last month. Diaw is evidently a very athletic and long guard, who can play both guard positions and is an above average defender. Of course, most of this is conjecture because he has played very little in the U.S and is still adjusting to living here. Speaks something like 5 or 6 languages, and has the size to be an excellent player in the future, but I'm expecting very little out of him this year and any contribution at all will be an excellent surprise.

#14 - Keith Jones (RCSI Unranked - HS Class of 2003)
6'2" 195lbs.
Projected: Deep Reserve

Redshirt walk-on guard who will add some valuable depth in practice, though will see very limited game time. An excellent student who has made the ACC Academic Honor Roll both of his seasons at GT. Honestly, I don't know much about his game because of his very limited role up to this point, but this team is so young and so thin at the guard positions that it is plausible he will play some this year as a reserve.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Miami Game Moved to 11/19

According to the AJC, the game this Saturday in Miami has been rescheduled due to Hurricane Wilma to Tech's bye week on November 19th. The Miami game for that week was to have been a national Thursday night game against Wake Forest and that is being pushed back a week since both Miami and WF had an open date previous to the game.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and communities of the gulf coast, Yucatan peninsula and southern Florida during this weekend - I'm sure football is the farthest thing from their minds right now.

Blog Poll Week #8 Ballot

The new Blog Poll is up, and this is my ballot for the week (and some comments added for absolutely no good reason whatsoever).

#1 - Southern Cal
In listing my rankings, I'm trying to follow the "who would I bet my money on" principle in situations where team's records and accomplishments are basically equal. I would bet on USC against either VT or UT, though only with a gun to my head. Thus, they are still #1.

#2 - Virginia Tech
Same principle as above, I'd very grudgingly bet on VT against UT.

#3 - Texas
They are going to play USC, so my ballot doesn't matter. Unless they lose or USC loses, VPI is screwed.

#4 - Georgia

(Click the picture for a video of UGA in action)

#5 - Alabama
Yoikes. Party in the Grove? Yes, please. Almost lose in Oxford? Not good, not good at all. They were badly missing Prothro, and it'll be interesting to see how the rest of the year goes.

#6 - Florida State
Not that I still believe in them ... but, they beat Miami and they beat BC and I refuse to rank them below those two teams ... and about this point in the ballot it just goes to hell because there's a bunch of teams who should be ranked #15 and yet you have to put people in the top 10. What an ugly season.

#7 - Miami
Lost to Florida State. Beat Colorado. Haven't lost in a few weeks so everyone has them going back up the polls. I have no idea why, but I don't trust this team at all. Now watch them go and hang another 50 on GT this weekend.

#8 - Boston College
This is a really boring team. Trying to excite everyone by almost losing to Wake Forest is the wrong way to go about changing that though.

#9 - Notre Dame

#10 - Louisiana State
Les Miles has about 2 weeks left before a drunk Cajun goes "Columbia soccer fan" on him.

#11 - Penn State
Williams being hurt is this team's equivalent to Prothro being out for 'Bama. Bad news city.

#12 - UCLA
Maurice Drew is for real. The Bruin defense is for real too. REAL BAD. 1,044 yards given up in

#13 - Texas Tech
See Dwayne Slay. See Dwayne Slay hit. Hide the women, children and any Wildcats you know.

Click here

#14 - Auburn
Er, wake me up when they play someone. On the bright side, they aren't losing to nobodies (HI LOUISVILLE).

#15 - Ohio State
Typical Cheatypants McSweatervest win - let the other team break down, kick a few field goals and escape.

#16 - Wisconsin
This team isn't good enough to be #16, but tell who's better. The bottom half the top 25 is putrid.

#17 - Michigan State
John L. Smith makes Chan Gailey coached teams look stable and consistent. Dear Lord.

#18 - Tennessee
This team is far better than they have played. Run the football for the love of God.

#19 - Minnesota
Bad, flukey loss. Of course, those kinds of losses could be officially titled "Gopher Specials" at the rate Minny racks them up.

#20 - Florida
Chris Leak is a shell of himself, his confidence is shattered and the offense is on the slow boat to nowhere. That offensive line has got to get itself fixed, and in a hurry, or Meyer is going to have to trade in the "genius" cap for the dunce cap.

#21 - Fresno State
Find 5 better teams for me to fill out the bottom of the top 25. Try.

#22 - West Virginia

#23 - TCU
Same principle as Fresno State. There's nobody better than them, and that loss to SMU is looking like an aberation.

#24 - Colorado
By far the best team in the Big XII North. Yes, that's how bad the rest of the league is.

#25 - Virginia
Someone has to be #25, and UVa has by far the best win of the contestants for this spot.

Monday, October 17, 2005

McMillan: Jack might be the opening day starter

Rookie Jack makes quick impression

Jarrett Jack is probably my second favorite Yellow Jacket basketball player of all-time (behind Matt Harpring), and his toughness, leadership and defensive ability will be missed in Atlanta this year. That being said, I was really dissapointed that he ended up in Portland who already had another young PG in Sebastian Telfair. The way it's sounding right now though, Jack might be beating him out for the starting PG spot. I'm not a big "Jail Blazers" fan, but I'll be ordering my Jack jersey here from the store.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Jason Collier, you will be missed

I don't know how to even begin to react. That is now 2 players dead from the 1999-2000 team, players I watched in person from the student section. The frailty of human life is something we live with every day, but choose to ignore or shove to the back of our minds until something like this jerks us back into reality. If an extremely healthy young man like Collier, who lived an exemplary life and had a wonderful family, can suddenly die - it can happen to any of us.

Our thoughts and prayers to his family, and especially to his wife and young daughter. I lost my mother when I was a teenager, I can't imagine losing a parent at an even younger age when you can barely understand that daddy is never coming home again. My heart aches for her.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sights you never want to see

We struggle at times to keep football (or other college sports) in perspective, but it was a very sobering day for the extended Georgia Tech family today.

Three explosive devices found in a courtyard between two Georgia Tech dormitories on the East Campus Monday morning were part of a "terrorist act," an Atlanta police official said. [...]


Understandably, this is a very frightening time for the students, faculty and their relatives. No one wants to go to school or work fearing for their lives and living in a situation where every piece of trash they see could contain a "terrorist" device - and while that seems over the top, you can guarentee that for the next few days that's the attitude many on campus will take.

It appears that the devices were more of the "booby trap" variety, designed to explode when handled and the custodian who was picking up what he thought was trash was lucky to avoid serious injury. The fact that someone would set out to maliciously and deceptively injure or maim random people in the GT community is deplorable and beyond my comprehension as for a motive.

My thoughts and prayers are with the custodian who was injured, the students who were evacuated from Cloudman and Glenn dorms, and I hope the police and ATF are able to quickly locate and arrest the spineless culprit responsible for this. Losing a football game suddenly doesn't seem quite as important, I'll write my piece on that tommorow.

A weekend in the life of a Jackets / Braves fan

Thursday, October 06, 2005


This is possibly the worst loss I've ever sat through from an emotional standpoint, and I feel terrible for Calvin Johnson - who played one of the best games of his career and then had just a horrible break on a very tough catch go unbelievably bad.

I want to puke.

Nightime in Atlanta

There are few places better than Bobby Dodd on a fall night in Atlanta. Thank god the bye week is over and football is back!

Cupcake City

When Cal and UCLA matchup this weekend, it's the battle of the cupcake eaters. So far this season, Cal has the 119th ranked strength of schedule in the country. Dead last. UCLA has really challenged themsevles in comparison, weighing in with the 115th ranked strength of schedule. That's impressive fellows, even Texas Tech has managed to make it up to #65 and they played a 1-AA team which had lost to an NAIA team.

And people wonder why the Pac-10 is mocked. Does the winner of Cal and UCLA get an automatic invite to the Little Debbie Bowl?

10/6 Blogpoll Roundtable

Boi From Troy is hosting this weeks Blogpoll Rountable, here's my answers to this weeks battery of questions - this week is sort of a lull in the action, I don't see any huge national games outside of UCLA v. Cal, and even that isn't really anything but a primer to see which one gets to challenge USC in a few weeks.

1. Assuming that USC, Texas, Alabama and Virginia Tech all go undefeated at the end of the season, who deserves to play in the Rose Bowl for the BCS Title?

Alabama and VT aren't going undefeated, so it's not going to matter. Everyone wants to see USC and Texas, and that's the matchup we're going to get. The SEC and the ACC (and to an extent, the Big 11) have become "Eat Your Own Young" deep now, and it's going to be very difficult to escape undefeated in the next few years. I think we'll see more national champions from the Pac-10, Big XII and Big East (yoikes) in the next decade than anywhere else.

2. With most of the teams in conference play, which games have the greatest implication in defining the broader BCS picture (at larges, etc.) this year?

USC @ Notre Dame

Simply because it's USC and Notre Dame and they are both good football teams. If ND plays well and loses, they might still lock up a BCS bid by simply looking good.

Some SEC Game, Somehwere

Who knows, each week someone loses or someone wins and it's a different team of the moment. Right now, Alabama is the hot team and the Iron Bowl looks like the big game of the year in the SEC. Of course, it could also be UGA and UT, or UGA and UF, or ... LSU and Auburn? I can't figure out the SEC for the life of me - and neither can anyone else. But it's a given one of these games is going to be huge in the outcome of the BCS race.

ACC Championship game

VT and F$U are on a colision course for one of the most physically brutal games played in years. As a college football fan, that is going to be a heck of a game to watch if they both hold serve. Hide the women and children and be ready for an absolute brawl.

3. In addition to the BCS Title, the Associated Press, FWAA and several other groups award National Championship Trophies. What award should be given to the winner of the final College Football Blogpoll?

The Kitten Cup

In honor of the blogpoll founder and administrator, Brian

Bonus Football Question: Since I am going to be in London this weekend and the only “football” I will see will be the World Cup Qualifying…are there any Germany 2006 Qualifying games you’d watch if it weren’t College Football season?!?

England v. Austria, of course. Every American college football fan can relate to Sven Eriksson "Zooking" their World Cup chances. If Austria manages to win, the meltdown will be epic to experience in person.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Comments on my Blog Poll ballot

The new BlogPoll is up today, and I got the Coulter/Krougman award for the guy who voted his own team the highest on his ballot compared to how they finished in the poll. In other words, I'm the biggest homer in the poll.

In addition to that, in the comments section DJL raises a valid point about ranking GT ahead of Auburn:

I dunno, I mean I know I'm going to incur the wrath of the Golden Tornado here, but Georgia Tech had some trouble at home against UConn and UNC.

I keep hearing about the head-to-head win, which is admittedly a nice feather in Tech's cap, but while Tech has been hit-or-miss against the Huskies and Heels, Auburn has dominated a couple of SEC teams.

Put another way, a 38-point-win over South Carolina's going to get more positive attention than a 6-point win over UNC.

There's a lot more to this than head-to-head.

There is a lot more to this than head-to-head, you are right, and I figure I will address each of GT's wins and explain why I voted them where I did (which wasn't that high, but a lot of people have left GT totally off their ballots which is what hurt the overall ranking compared to my vote).

DJL is indirectly disparaging UNC and UCONN with his comments that Auburn winning big over 2 SEC teams is at least equal to GT's victories. That's not true, partly because South Carolina and Mississippi State are terrible teams, and partly because UNC and UCONN are better than people realize. Georgia Tech's opponents this year are an amazing 13-1 in games not involving GT, 14-4 overall. Outside of GT, opponents have lost exactly one game all year - and that was to a pretty good Winsconsin team.

UNC has solid wins over Utah and NC State, and played Wisconsin very tough in addition to GT. Neither of their wins were "flukey", they were clearly the better team both weeks. That is a decent football team in Chapel Hill, and Bunting has been recruiting well for years - heck, according to the recruiting rankings they should be a better team than GT. UNC finished 3rd in the ACC last year, a fact that seems to slip the memory of anyone outside of the UNC students and alumni.

UCONN has also developed a nice little program over the past couple of years, and while they aren't a top 25 team, they are probably top 50 - heck, they are favored over Syracuse this weekend, and will finish in the top half of the Big East. And remember, GT's starting QB went to the hospital the night before the game forcing a redshirt freshman with no practice experience with the first team into the starting role. And GT didn't "struggle" with UCONN, unless you consider not giving up a first down for the entire second half "struggling". That was a solid win against a pretty good team without the starting QB.

Auburn's wins over Mississippi State and South Carolina are both over bad, bad football teams. Neither of those teams would be favored in matchups against either UNC or UCONN, and neither one of them have beaten anyone of note. Ball State is one of the worst teams in Division 1-A this year, and Auburn's 4th win was over a 1-AA team.

And lasty, GT has handily beaten a legitimate top-25 team on the road (Auburn). Auburn has no such win even close to comparable on it's resume, at least not yet. It's not just head to head, but Auburn hasn't done anything outside that game besides beat up on cupcakes, and that's not convincing me they are a better team than the Yellow Jackets. It wasn't like GT pulled off some bizarre upset, they scored a TD on the opening drive in Jordan Hare and never trailed at any point in the game. The running game was solid, and the defense beat the Tigers up and turned them over. GT was clearly the best team on the field that night, and nothing in the past 4 weeks has changed my mind.

I think there is a national distrust of Gailey's GT teams, even when ranked in the top 15 there were comments like - "But watch them lose to Duke", etc. When GT got hammered in Blacksburg with a sick QB and their best defensive player not even playing, everyone just took it as the excuse they had been waiting for to push Tech back down the line to where they felt like they belonged in the first place (Minnesota and Michigan State suffer from this as well). And GT might very well do that as the season progresses, but at this point in the season I do not understand ranking Auburn ahead of GT, or several other teams who don't have anywhere near the same credentials right now.

Of course, all this is out the window if we don't take care of business Thursday night and send the mangy Amatos back to Raleigh with their tales between their legs.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Blog Poll Week #6 Ballot

This is my ballot for Week #6 of the BlogPoll - some commentary added to explain my votes.

#1 - USC
Until they lose, they are #1. Just ridiculously strong running game, and LenDale White is going to make a ton of $$ playing on Sundays.

#2 - VPI&SU
Nice win in between the burning couches. In other news, Marcus Vick is a jerk and while he's the sort of accurate QB I'd love to see play at my school, he's the kind of person I'd never want within a hundred miles of one of our jerseys.

#3 - Texas
The refs were the only ones keeping them from beating Missouri by 50. Next up - exorcising all the Red River Shootout demons.

#4 - Florida State
Still my pick to win the ACC, that defense is awesome. The offense is awesomely bad, but they can run it a little and haven't been turning it over.

#5 - Alabama
Evidently Shula has started sleeping with his secretary - that seemed to be the key to 'Bama blowing out Florida in the past.

#6 - Georgia

#7 - Tennessee
Mahelona + Riggs + Clausen not screwing the pooch = SEC East Championship

#8 - Ohio State
This team bores me. Sweatervests bore me. Everything about Ohio bores me.

#9 - LSU
In college football, you can be a top 10 team on someone else's talent alone.

#10 - Miami
I really don't like this team still, but they deserve to be in the top 10. I can't figure out why the defense isn't quite as good as it should be - there's just a slight hint of dissapointment around this program the last couple of years.

#11 - Notre Dame
Purdue's was probably really overated, but Brady Quinn looks terrific. The ND defense is going to get absolutely carved up by USC in two weeks, Catholics might want to just stay away from the TV.

#12 - Penn State
This is a fun team to watch! They might be the biggest surprise of the season so far, and frankly - I'm cheering for JoePa.

#13 - Michigan State
Way to go and prove all the doubters wrong, Sparty. Now John L. has to get his team off the mat and out of the tank - which I think will happen.

#14 - Boston College
Good physical team, too slow quite yet to win the ACC - but this is going to be a nice season for them.

#15 - Wisconsin
Jump Around! Jump Around! I have absolutey nothing interesting to say about this team.

#16 - Cal
Big game this weekend against UCLA - winner has the inside track to upset USC (not really).

#17 - UCLA
Ditto #16

#18 - Georgia Tech
Winning at Auburn looks pretty good right about now. Beating UNC looks pretty good right about now. Heck, even beating UCONN looks good - they could be in first in the Big East here after beating Syracuse this weekend. Losing badly on the road against a top 3 team does not take away from what GT has done so far, and that's a pretty nice resume.

#19 - Florida
Same resume as GT basically, except their big win was at home (Tennessee) and GT's was on the road (@Auburn) and thus UF is one spot lower. Both got destroyed on the road by better teams.

#20 - Auburn
This team has a boatload of talent, and beating a non-cupcake will validate it. And yes, USC-East is a cupcake right now.

#21 - Texas Tech
KU has a very good defense, people are really underating them. This team will score tons of points on lesser D's, but KU had a very strong pass rush in Lubbock this weekend that messed up the timing a bit. Still a dangerous team in the Big XII South.

#22 - Arizona State
Gotta start winning some games, but playing someone out of the top 10 will help.

#23 - Michigan
Kittens rejoice!

#24 - Wyoming
Someone has to be #24 and #25 - Wyoming gets it this week!

#25 - Louisville
It was a bad week to be a cupcake and have to face them. Wake me up when they play somebody ... nevermind, it's the Big East.

NCSU Team Preview

As I've been trying to do so far this season, I've gotten a blogger from our upcoming opponent to give a breakdown of their team and what to expect from them. This week it's Akulawolf over at SectionSix. I believe he's also a moderator at and has a pretty good feel for the 'Pack football team coming into tonight's game. As always, if you want to read what I had to say about the Jackets, you can visit his blog and take part in the discussion over there.

I attended NC State's last two games in
Atlanta...unfortunately. I'm sitting this one out in
the hopes that maybe I'm a curse or something.

Wolfpack Offense

NCSU total offense rank: 52

Running game, anyone? Here are NC State's rushing
totals against Georgia Tech over the last
four seasons:

2004: 72 yds
2003: -8 yds
2002: 57 yds
2001: 46 yds

The passing game hasn't really been a problem over the
span of the Wolfpack's losing streak against the
Jackets, and while we don't necessarily need to run
the ball well in order to win (despite what the last
four years might indicate), it would be kinda nice.

Several running backs will get carries on Thursday;
expect most of them to go to Toney Baker. Baker has
asserted himself over the last couple of games, and
now leads the team in attempts, yards, and rushing
touchdowns. I'm hopeful that Baker can have some
success on the ground, but that's going to depend on
an offensive line that's been pretty mediocre thus
far. Excepting the North Carolina game, the pass
protection has been good; the run blocking, not so

Jay Davis is back under center, and he'll be throwing
to essentially the same guys you saw last season.
Keep your eyes on wide receiver Tramain Hall and tight
end TJ Williams--they're the Pack's leading receivers.
Williams in particular has been one of Davis'
favorite targets over the last couple of years. He's
a good pass catcher who deserves a little more
recognition within the conference.

Wolfpack Defense

NCSU total defense rank: 13

We know this much: Reggie Ball can play terribly
(9-27, 3 INTs last year) and the Jackets can still win
the game.

Probably the most important individual matchup will
occur when Tech has the football: Calvin Johnson vs.
Marcus Hudson. As I'm sure you all know, NC State
likes to play a lot of press, man-to-man coverage, and
I don't expect us to make an exception just for
Johnson (the coaches are stubborn like that). So
we're probably going to see Johnson and Hudson going
at it most of the night. Hudson is an unusually tall
cornerback (6'2"), which makes him ideal for covering
big receivers.

It will also be interesting to see how the Wolfpack's
safeties--who don't have a lot of experience period,
much less against someone like Calvin Johnson--handle
those deep throws and whether or not they'll be able
to provide effective help.

At the other corner spot, AJ Davis has been less than
inspiring. Could be an advantage for the Jackets

You know all about Manny Lawson and Mario Williams, so
I don't need to go on about those guys. Under the
radar, though, is linebacker Stephen Tulloch, who has
40 tackles in three games. He's speedy, and one of
the best tacklers on the defense.


Do you think you could maybe just let us have this
one? Please?

I didn't think so.

NC State is averaging 10 penalties and 3 turnovers per
game. Should we hit those numbers on Thursday--and I
just assume that we will--Georgia Tech wins.

Wolfpack: 17
Jackets: 21

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Alabama showed the option is dead!

Over on the Florida message board, the Auburn message board and heck ... even the GT board (i.e - all over the internet), there has been discussion today that Alabama's woodshedding of Florida proved that Urban Meyer's fancy spread option just won't work in the SEC. As AUHank on the Auburn board succintly put it: "Florida's offense is the biggest joke, the option hasn't worked in the SEC since the early '80s." That's not even touching - which already is proclaiming "the Honeymoon is over."

There's been a lot of dissent in the southern football fanbases about the hype that Florida has received for hiring Meyer, and to some extent the idea that "West Coast" football is better because of these fancy offenses. Boise State getting drilled between the hedges, and now this loss by Florida are being viewed as the rallying point for the idea that you have to play smash mouth football in the SEC/ACC or you can't win - because the defenses are just to good. A whole lot of the old guard SEC fans enjoyed watching "The Tahd" roll it up on Meyer yesterday, the right order of things was restored.

Well, I gotta take exception with the idea that Meyer's offense won't work in the SEC. See, I remember the option working pretty darn well against SEC defenses much more recently than the mid-80's, unless Tommie Frazier running wild in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl against Florida, with an option offense that was downright prehistoric compared to Meyer's is simply a figment of my imagination. That game was 62-24. Two years later they ran the same option offense against Tennessee in the Orange Bowl to the tune of 42-17. Don't tell me the option offense won't work against SEC defenses, because those Nebraska teams shredded two very good defenses in those games.

(This guy had some success running the option against SEC defenses)

Lots of offenses work in college football, and really they can all be dominating at times. Spurrier won with his crazy Fun-N-Gun, Osborne won with a brutally efficient and punishing option attack, Carroll is winning with a modern pro-style attack in L.A, Saban won with ground oriented ball control offense. All of those teams did share some characteristics though, among those being great talent on offense and strong offensive lines. Yesterday, Florida's offensive line got absolutely manhandled by Alabama, and that was all she wrote. Absolutely no offense looks good when you lose the battle at the line of scrimmage on every play, and until Florida fixes their protection issues, they will continue to struggle. When (or if) it gets fixed, the offense will look great and Meyer will be a genius again.

In short, the people jumping on the "new fangled offenses mean teams are so much better" bandwagon (here's looking at you, and you) are just as wrong as the people sticking to the "3 yards and a cloud of dust is the only way to win" crowd that is quickly throwing Meyer under the bus over the past 48 hours. You can win with a number of offenses in college football, it's part of what makes it so exciting and unpredicatable to follow. Meyer is going to be fine at Florida once he gets his talent in place and his o-line shored up, just as Osborne was fine at Nebraska and Spurrier was fine at Florida previously.

Off Weeked

Just watched James Butler make a terrific tackle on kick-off coverage for the Giants. At least someone from GT is playing football this weekend. How did he go undrafted, by the way?

I got some work done around the house, took a nap ... watched the Godfather on TV, you're typical offday during football season. That being said, I did catch a few games as well - and a couple of things really stuck out to me.

I watched mostly Big XII games this weekend when I got a chance (well, and some of that Alabama beatdown of Florida). Nothing sums up just how bad the Big XII north is quite like K-State snapping the ball when their punter isn't even on the field. As the ball bounced around in the end zone and mercifully out for a safety, the realization of the fact that one of these bad football teams will get a chance to play for a BCS bowl bid finally settled in. This is a bad football league this year, with no chance of being better.

Random thoughts from the weekend:

USC wins because of their dominant running game. It isn't flashy offensive schemes and all that other garbage, it's because they can line up and just ram it down your throat. LenDale White is a monster, and one of the most underated players in the country. He's going to be a pretty darn good NFL back when it's all said and done.

Alabama is loaded with talent, but losing Prothro is going to hurt - his explosiveness really helped open up the offense. Croyle is darn good when he's healthy.

Vandy's dream is over.

Clemson fans probably can't even bring themselves to turn on the TV anymore, this is slowly turning into the season from hell.

Fridge can coach.

UVa isn't that good.

Florida State is scarily underated. I still feel they are going to win the ACC, they run the ball well enough that with that defense nothing else matters. They just crushed a very inferior Syracuse team.

Tennessee is going to win the SEC East

USC-East is bad. Steve Spurrier has his work cut out for him, even Duke may have been in better shape when he showed up than Cockville is right now.

Texas took 135 yards in penalties, they can't keep that up.

Kansas has a very good defense that really bottled up Texas Tech. Too bad their offense is prehistoric.

Michigan is a totally different team when Hart is on the field.

Thursday night can't come soon enough, bye weeks after a bad loss are the worst.