1. I was in the money picking UGA to cover the -10. The -7.5 line for Mississippi State scares me a little, although I think the Georgia Bulldogs win. What happens Saturday?
Brame: Georgia is just 8-16-2 against the spread since 2008 in conference games. I’d be careful laying the points. Though it did open at Georgia minus 4.5, so the movement probably favors the Bulldogs. As we saw again over the weekend, the Dogs fail time and again to deliver those knockout punches to inferior opponents. I know Georgia covered the 10 points Saturday, but an obviously overmatched Ole Miss team managed to stay within striking distance for most of the second half. Also, the last three times Georgia has been a TD favorite at home, they have failed to cover….losing twice straight up. Now that I’ve proven to your audience that i am a degenerate, on to the game.
Georgia will win.
Mississippi State seduced us last year with a 4-4 conference record and Gator Bowl win. They beat Georgia, Florida, and Michigan. But, they were outscored overall in their eight league games and were one of four teams in the conference to be outgained on average in league play (Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Ole Miss were the others). Georgia actually outgained them by 73 yards. A fumble at the goal line and two field goals in two red zone trips left Georgia vulnerable. Chris Relf and Vick Ballard are dangerous weapons for the Feldmans of the S.e.C and a good measuring stick for what appears to be an improved Georgia defense. Here’s the play by play from State’s drive last season that erased any hope Georgia had:
M 1-10 M07 MISSISSIPPI STATE drive start at 10:07.
M 1-10 M07 Chris Relf rush for 6 yards to the MS13 (Akeem Dent).
M 2-4 M13 Chris Relf rush for 2 yards to the MS15 (Justin Houston).
M 3-2 M15 Timeout Mississippi State, clock 08:43.
M 3-2 M15 Chris Relf pass complete to Vick Ballard for 15 yards to the MS30,
1ST DOWN MS (Shawn Williams).
M 1-10 M30 Chris Relf rush for 4 yards to the MS34 (Akeem Dent).
M 2-6 M34 Chris Relf rush for 3 yards to the MS37 (Vance Cuff).
M 3-3 M37 Vick Ballard rush for 2 yards to the MS39 (Akeem Dent).
M 4-1 M39 Vick Ballard rush for 4 yards to the MS43, 1ST DOWN MS (Akeem
M 1-10 M43 Vick Ballard rush for 3 yards to the MS46 (Darryl Gamble).
M 2-7 M46 Vick Ballard rush for 21 yards to the GA33, 1ST DOWN MS (Bacarri
M 1-10 G33 Chris Relf pass complete to Arceto Clark for 33 yards to the GA0, 1ST
DOWN MS, TOUCHDOWN, clock 04:22.
Sean Brauchle kick attempt good.
2. Mike Stoops or Houston Nutt: which one will be unemployed first?
Stoops. I had him at the beginning of the year. I’ll stick with that. Arizona was dealt a rather twisted schedule this season. They lost their final five games last year to Stanford, USC, Oregon, Arizona State, and Oklahoma State. It doesn’t help that four of their first five games this year are against four of those same teams. They’ve already been blown out by Oklahoma State, Stanford, and Oregon. They go to Southern Cal this weekend. If they lose, they’ll be 1-9 over their last ten games with the lone win coming against FCS foe Northern Arizona.
3. We are 3 games into the NFL season, and let’s play a little game: Playoff Pretenders or Contenders. Tell me if these teams are contenders are pretenders to make the post season:
Detroit Lions-The Lions are, of course, CONTENDERS. They lead the NFL in point differential and are quarterbacked by Matt Stafford.
Buffalo Bills-I’m probably being stubborn here. I know they just beat New England. But, I don’t think they are better than the Patriots or Jets. Though the 16 game season isn’t a huge sample and is what drives the “parity” in the NFL more than anything. After 16 games, the Florida Marlins were 10-6 and tied for first. They fired their manager two months later. So, maybe 16 games isn’t long enough for them to be handicapped by the fact Chan Gailey is their coach…….Still, I’ll say PRETENDERS.
Oakland Raiders-They play in a weak division and have won 8 in row against the other three rivals. The Raiders last loss against an AFC west opponent was November 15, 2009……..CONTENDERS
Atlanta Falcons-Atlanta is giving off a bad odor. They play in a division with the Saints, and have already dropped one game to the Bucs………PRETENDERS.
Philadelphia Eagles-Two bad losses in a row, but after watching the nearly unwatchable Monday night game with the Cowboys and Redskins, I think the NFC West is still wide open. Plus, they still have 3 more games against the NFC West and they play the Dolphins. If Vick stays in one piece……CONTENDERS
4. I shifted my attention from the Braves to Bulldogs, and in the meantime, the Braves have really sucked. Two part question: If Braves hold onto to their 1 game Wild Card lead, how many games will it take the Brewers to knock the Bravos out of the playoffs? Since Derek Lowe is over paid and Wren won’t be able to move him, what can the Braves do to get better in 2012?
The Braves were 4-3 against the Brewers in the regular season. Swept in Milwaukee, sweeping them in Atlanta. However, Hanson and Jurrjens won two of the games. They’re not likely to pitch. I still believe the baseball playoffs are a crapshoot. A year ago, Atlanta was beaten up heading into the postseason and played four one run games against the eventual World Series champions. While it would be hard to pick them to win, they’d have a shot.
As far as 2012 goes. Get healthy. I know that’s beyond Frank Wren’s control. I’m convinced the free fall this month wouldn’t be happening with a healthy Jurrjens and Hanson. They need to find a another reliable arm for the bullpen so O’flarhety, Venters, and Kimbrel don’t all finish in the top five in appearances. If Kris Medlen returns, that could boost the starting rotation. Dump Lowe. I know he makes a lot of money. Paying him not to pitch every four or five days would be better than paying him to.
5. Had an opportunity to play 18 at the Georgia Club for the first time last week. It was a beautiful course. I didn’t take up golf until right before I moved away from Athens, but I have played UGA, the old Creekside Course of Barnett Shoals, Lane Creek, the Georgia Club, and Double Oaks in Commerce. What is your favorite course to play in the Athens area?
I like UGA. It’s a wicked course, but, then again, to me every golf course is brutal. The state park’s courses are underrated. The Creek at Hard Labor is nice, as is Arrowhead Pointe in Elberton. Every hole on the back nine runs along Lake Russel.
Catch Chris Brame weekdays, 4-6 on AM 960 or on http://www.960theref.com.