Archive for January, 2013

Initial UGA Police Sketch

The UGA Police Department released a sketch on Monday of a scoundrel who attempted to assualt on a female student at the Botanical Gardens.  Fortunately, the young lady was able to escape unharmed.  So that is the great news in all of this.

But the sketch that the Police released to the public was not the initial one that the UGA PD had.  Through my sources on the inside, and a public records request, I was able to come up with the sketch that the UGA PD initially used.  Chief Jimmy Williamson thought this was great work. 

Police sketch

Keep up the good work, UGA PD!


If the Falcons Want to Leave, Let Them

News reports this AM are saying that Arthur Blank has been approached by business interests in Los Angeles to move the Falcons to L.A.  This is clearly a move to help get the City of Atlanta to fund a new stadium. 

Jokingly, I said after the Falcons lost to the 49ers that after UGA lost in similar fashion that they should burn the place down.  But seriously, the City of Atlanta needs another stadium, much less a $1B stadium, like I need another holoe in my head.  This whole thing is stupid.  The lack of a stadium is not keeping fans away.  What keeps fans away is a bad prdocut on the field.  Atlanta ranked 11th in 2012 in fan attendance.  But, the difference between 11th and 6th is about 3,000 fans a game.  Not that much.  Atlanta Falcons fans came to the Georgia Dome to see the Dirty Birds at a rate more than fans in Pittsburgh,  New England, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Seattle.

The average attendance for Falcons’ games this season was 70,096.  However, the seating capacity for the Georgia Dome is 71,228.  The Dome was 98% full this season.  It doesn’t matter what the stadium looks like, or where it is at; fans will come as long as the product is good.

There is something that could shoot holes in my argument, though.  Let’s look at the lean years for the Falcons since Mr. Blank took over.  Let’s look at 2007.  The Falcons averaged 68,395 per home game.  This was good for 15th in the NFL…about middle of the pack.  So you are playing in, by your own admission, a crappy stadium (if it is crappy in 2011 and 2012 it was crappy in 2007).  And the team is playing like crap.  You are missing your star player in Michael Vick.  Yet fans still came to the games. 

The state of Georgia is great.  We have many opportunities for us that other states in the southeast would kill for.  But our great state has signifigant challenges, and shouldn’t have to subsidize billionares who want a new stadium at the expense of taxpayers.  If adding a new stadium would create exponentially new jobs or bring in new revenues, then maybe.  But just becuase Arthur Blank wants one?  When our state can hardly pay the light bills, much less fund other special projects across the state that are worthwhile, how can anyone think giving the Falcons a new stadium is a good idea?

If Arthur Blank is going to play chicken with us, I say to hell with him and his franchise.  If the Falcons want to leave, Delta sells one way tickets to LAX. 


Attendance figures from here

Erin Murphy

Aaron Murray’s girlfriend is terminally ill, according to Dawgsports

Hopefully, Aaron hasn’t contacted Herpes Simplex 10. He may want to go on down to the clinic and get himself checked out before parts start falling off of the man.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Flowers

I Always Hated Flowers

MORELAND, Ga. – I always hated flowers when I was a kid. My mother and my grandmother and my Aunt Jessie loved flowers, but it was me they always wanted to go out and work in the dang things.I was a perfectly well-adjusted lad of 10 and I wanted to do perfectly well-adjusted things that lads of 10 want to do, such as play ball and make life miserable for my girl cousin.

But, no. Either my mother or my grandmother or my Aunt Jessie would latch onto my ear at least once a day and send me out to hoe around in their flower gardens.

“But real men don’t work in flowers,” I would protest.

“Get out there in those flowers or we’ll serve you quiche for supper again,” they would volley back.

(Actually, nobody in Moreland had ever heard of quiche back then – and probably few now – but it made a nice line, so I used it anyway. It’s called journalistic license.)
Bribes didn’t work
I soon moved from disliking flowers to hating them. I would go through the seed catalogs and draw mustaches on pictures of petunias.

My friends gave me a lot of grief about all the time I had to spend working in flowers, too.

“Wanna play ball?” one would ask.

“Him, play ball?” another would scoff. “He’s got to work in his mommy’s flowers.”

I tried everything to escape these botanical gardens of hell. I even tried to bribe my girl cousin into doing the work for me. I offered her my best marble, a Johnny Podres baseball card, and not to throw rocks at her anymore if she would do my flower work for me.

“Why don’t you go sit on a cactus, begonia breath,” she countered.

I remember telling my Aunt Jessie, who had by far the greenest thumb in the family, how much I hated flowers.

“When I grow up, ” I said, “I’ll never look at a flower again.”

She said I might change my mind one day. I figured she’d been sniffing too many honeysuckle blossoms.
Back for a visit
I visited home the other day to see the folks. My grandmother is gone now. My mother is too ill to dabble with her flowers anymore. Aunt Jessie, who has seen a lot of springs, is still out among her gardens every day, however.

First thing I noticed when I drove up was my aunt’s yard. Her azaleas were spectacular, her dogwoods, both pink and white, were in full bloom, and everywhere there were breathtaking blankets of blue and pink thrift.

My mother said people have been driving by from all over the county to witness the blossoming splendor of my Aunt Jessie’s yard. I considered swallowing my pride and visiting my aunt next door to tell her how beautiful her yard was and how wrong I had been about flowers.

I didn’t though. My old hoe is still out in the garage somewhere, and one word out of me and my Aunt Jessie would have had me back at work faster than a Weedeater can take the fur off a cat’s tail.

Flowers or no flowers, if it was hard work I had wanted, I wouldn’t have gotten this license to practice journalism in the first place.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday

Sometimes It’s Best To Let Go

I was talking to a friend yesterday and we were talking Seinfeld (by the way, I am seeing Jerry Seinfeld in Macon on February 1 and I am very excited).  We were talking about how great of a TV show that is, and how even though towards the end it wasn’t as good, it still was one of the few shows that went out on top. 

Folks have a hard time hanging it up, realizing they are past their prime and not going out on top.  You see it all the time. My beloved show The Office is a perfect example.  I watch now out of respect and a few laughs here and there, but by and large, it should have ended when Steve Carell called it quits.  How many crappy movies is Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone going to make?

You see it all the time in sports.  Rarely does someone after they are past their prime have resurgence.  I think what has happened with Joe Paterno turning his ship around is the exception, not the rule.  He teams were competitive after his slump in the early 2000s (not going to get in the whole Sandusky thing, that is not the point here).  Bobby Bowden comes to mind as a coach who was too stubborn to retire and was eventually shoved out the door.  His final home game was against Maryland, and no one knew this would be his last home game.  Someone with the dedicated career of Bobby Bowden should have had sometime of farewell tour, and he didn’t get the chance to tip his hat to the fans postgame.  Even our own Vince Dooley, in the controversy that surrounded his exit as AD, probably should have retired sooner to move the athletic department forward and not have it come to making someone else make the decision for him. 

Hall of Fame athletes don’t know when to quit and keep hanging around until they are unceremoniously sent packing.  Jerry Rice ended a brilliant NFL career basically being cut by the Denver Broncos.  Emmitt Smith also comes to mind.  Even my beloved Greg Maddux, who is the best pitcher in the history of baseball, retired following the 2008 season after he was clearly not the same pitcher he was during his days in Atlanta.  Even the great Michael Jordan couldn’t stay away and came back to a forgettable stint with the Wizards. 

I watched WWE Raw Monday night and the Nature Boy Ric Flair made an appearance.  He is broke and needs money, so he comes out and tries to do things he is physically unable to do anymore.  Hulk Hogan still tries to get out there and rassle.  It is just not good to see. 

What we are seeing from Tony Gonzalez and Ray Lewis is another exception.  Both of them are one or two games away from the end of their careers.  Side note-why Ray Lewis is getting all of the fanfare and not Gonzalez is a little off to me.  Sure, Ray Lewis is a phenomenal athlete.   But Tony Gonzalez hasn’t been an accessory to murder, either. 

The retirement of Kyle King from blogging is the rare feat in sports.  Kyle is hanging up his keyboard on his own terms.  Only a few people can call it quits while they are in their prime.  More people should take a cue from Kyle King and ride off in the sunset before they embarrass themselves.


A Great Void

This whole Grit Tree thing started back before the 2009 season.  I was at work sitting in Ucheedawg’s office, and we were talking about our favorite topic-the Bulldogs.  While we were discussing and debating, the thought occurred to us.  We talk about this all the time with each other, why not do a blog?  There, the Grit Tree was born.

But first, let me back up a moment.  When I started working is when I started reading football blogs religiously.  Sure, I would read them while I was in school, but not like I do now.  In school, you know, you are on the go and working, playing poker, drinking cold beer, etc.  I would go to David Ching’s blog and check it, and I would go over to Georgia Sports Blog, Get the Picture and Everyday Should Be Saturday on the advice of Granite to see the headlines.  But by and large, I just stuck to the print newspapers and good old fashioned AM Radio tuned into 960 the Ref. But one blog I made a point to go visit on a regular basis was T. Kyle King at Dawgsports.  That was it. 

When I started working in 2008, it was the summer time and the Dawgs were preseason #1.  We had Stafford, Knowshon, and we were going to kick ass and take names after finishing #2 in the country.  Excitement was at an all-time high.  Tickets were being ordered.  Tailgate plans were being made.  I had a job and was newly married.  What else was I going to do when I got bored?  The Dawgs were #1 and I was out of range to listen to 960 the Ref.  I was going to start reading all the Dawg blogs I could, jack. 

So, back to August 2009.  When we started this blog, I told Uchee that I wanted to be like T. Kyle King.  Well, no one can be quite like Kyle King, especially me.  I am not a lawyer and I think if you compare writing samples of the two of us, you will see I am clearly not as smart as him.  Now, I don’t agree with every word that Kyle writes.  But I knew that when I wanted to write my own blog, I wanted it to be in the vein of of Kyle King.  I appreciated Kyle’s approach to clear, thought out reason.  His post might be a little long, but hey, if they are well written and make a good point then why not?  He was a gracious host to the people who commented on his blog, and always saw that the message boards and comment sections at Dawgsports were run in a polite and courteous way.  The way Kyle conducts his blog reminds me of the Robert E. Lee quote.   “We have but one rule here, and it is that every student be a gentleman,” sums up everything in which Dawgsports has stood for under Kyle King’s leadership. 

Early on in our blog’s life, it was around Christmas time, we received an email to our Gmail account.  It was from Kyle and he asked if we knew the exact wording of a Lewis Grizzard phrase.  He then complimented our work.  This told me two things.  One, people actually read our blog.  Two, knowing that the Mayor of the Dawgblogs read our lowly site, and moreover was pleased with what he saw was pretty cool validation.  It was all Santa needed to bring me that Christmas.  It made us feel justified. 

Kyle King wouldn’t know me if I sat next to him on a park bench.  Though he is one of the few bloggers who use their real name and pictures, I probably wouldn’t recognize him if we passed on the street, either.  But I do know his work will be missed.  I can say that if it wasn’t for Kyle King, the Grit Tree more than likely wouldn’t exist either.  This ringing endorsement doesn’t mean as much as one from Rep. Jack Kingston, but know it means just as much to me. 

Reading his announcement yesterday, I noticed he referenced to some personal and professional changes that have been the impetus for his departure.  I sincerely hope that everything is alright on all fronts and the changes are positive in nature.  I also hope that he enjoys being able to be a fan of the sports again, rather than a dedicated blogger.   

Goodbye, Kyle.  And good luck.


Why a Playoff is a Good Thing

Last night solidified why a college football playoff is inevitable. The sport has gotten so big that we virtually have to enter into this unchartered territory. I had been on the fence about this topic, but last night my mind was made up.

We were one sleazy coach and a tattoo parlor away from having witnessed The Ohio State University and Notre Dame play an incredible football game for the 2013 MNC. No doubt, that game would have been epic. It also would have been akin to watching Ole Miss and Vanderbilt play for all the marbles. Alabama proved, once again, that the SEC is the elite college football conference in America. So, to sum up that thought, a playoff will bring us year-in year-out what almost didn’t happen this year.

There is zero doubt in my mind that if we had a 4 team playoff this year, Notre Dame would not have been playing for the MNC. There is zero doubt in my mind that if we had an 8 team playoff that Notre Dame would have made it out of the first round. You can bicker about how many teams and who those are, but I guarantee you Alabama would have made it into the title bout. Had Ohio State not been on probation, the best team would not have won the National Championship, and that’s a shame. In a world of transparency, we need a clearly defined winner. A playoff is the only system that allows that.

Stumbling slightly off the beaten path, I’m fairly certain that if we had a 16 team playoff that allowed multiple schools from the SEC to play, you would wind up with at least 3 in the final 4 if scheduling allowed such an event to take place. Point is, and I’m not trying to be SEC homer guy, but the SEC is the home of the best football in the nation. To have any type of scenario where an SEC school doesn’t have a fair shot at playing for the MNC at the current day in age is a travesty. I know how that sounds, but it’s the truth. Notre Dame can’t play with SEC schools, but had a place in the big game when more deserving teams did not. It’s not just Notre Dame. I don’t think Oregon, Stanford, Ohio State, Kansas State, or others are in the same class as the big boys of the SEC. I believe the two best teams in the nation played on December 1 in the Georgia Dome. I believe the best team in the nation won that game and walked to a much-too-easy win against a team that shouldn’t have been in Miami.

Lots of rambling thoughts, but bottom line is I do believe last night proved the need for a playoff system, and I’m glad we’re moving in that direction. We’ll argue about that format for years to come, but the good thing is we won’t be stuck with 4 teams for very long. It will get to 8 and then 16 within a decade, and to me, that’s a good thing. 

Go Dawgs!


Realistically, How Would Notre Dame Do In the SEC this year?

Saw a lot of stuff on Twitter last night about how ND would be the 7th or so best team in the SEC.  I was wondering myself, so let’s see:

Alabama:  Clearly a loss

Georgia: Loss

Florida:  Loss (but due to Florida’s poor offense, it would be close)

South Carolina: Loss

LSU: Loss

Texas A&M: Loss

Vanderbilt: Close, but probable win. 

Ole Miss:  Win

Mississippi State:  Win

Tennessee: Win

Missouri:  Win

Arkansas: Win

Auburn:  Win

Kentucky:  Win


So, there you have it.  Notre Dame would be the 7th best team in the SEC.  But just wait.  Imagine if Oregon had played Notre Dame?  With that speed, the Ducks might could have hung 60.  What if Florida State and Clemson had played the Irish?  Well, it might would have been close, depending on which of those teams decided to play.  But make no mistake about it, both Clemson and FSU would have run right past Manti Te’o. 

To paraphrase from Django Unchained.  I would say Auf Wiedersehen, but that literally translates until I see you again.  Since I hope to never see you again, I will simply say goodbye. 

Goodbye, Notre Dame. 


Lesser of Two Evils

Each holiday  or family get together, my family are big Scrabble players.  This is rooted in my momma and Grandma playing several games whenever we’d go to Grandma’s house, and it was always a rite of passage when you were invited to play Scrabble with the adults. 

This past Christmas, we went to my sister’s house in Birmingham to spend Christmas Even night and Christmas day.  As custom, we played several games of Scrabble, and though I usually fare pretty well, this past Christmas Eve I won 3/4 games we played. It was invigorating.  After the 2nd game, a sibling made comment how I won again.  Not being one for modesty when given the chance to rub it in to my family, I simply replied, “It doesn’t matter where you are or the circumstances around you, it is all about the process.  If you follow the process, you’ll be successful.”  I knew what buttons to press for my sister and brother-in-law.  Being Dawg fans in enemy territory, they have to listen to the idiotic ramblings of Alabama and Auburn fans year round, and of course, have to hear about Nick Saban and his “process”.   I knew by mentioning the process, it would rub salt in their already deep wound.

Which brings me to today.  I am not looking forward to tonight’s BCS Championship Game. One, I don’t think it will be that competitive of a game.  I think Alabama will step on Notre Dame’s throat.  Manti Te’0 might be the most overrated player in college football.  Good player, no doubt, but if he were playing in the SEC-hell, if he were playing at Georgia, LSU or Alabama-he wouldn’t be the best LB on the team.  He certainly wouldn’t be 1st Team All-SEC.  Notre Dame won’t compete with Alabama. 

Now, I’ll watch it tonight.  Out of respect to the game.  Also, if Alabama wins, then we all have to hear about how great Nick Saban is, the dynasty he has built, his process, etc.  This may not matter to the New Jersey Americans or to the people who regard college football as just any other sport.  Down here, it is something that fans are going to have to read about, hear about and live amongst the Alabama fans and the pundits who will be in awe over Nick Saban. 

But there is one other alternative that would be worst.  Could you imagine if Notre Dame were to win?  Not only would we all hear about how great Notre Dame is and how they are back to relevance, but also we would hear how the SEC is now down and was overrated this year.  It would be unbearable (no pun intended).

So tonight, as much as it pains me, I hope Alabama wins.