Archive for June, 2013

I Didn’t See A Tech Alumn Win Jeopardy

My life is in a pretty set routine.  Come home, play with the baby, eat supper, then watch Jeopardy while giving the baby a bottle.

I have a new respect for anyone who is on Jeopardy.  I’ve been a fan of the show since I was a kid, and I tried taking the online test last year I didn’t do so well.

If you follow @grittree on Twitter, you’ve seen the last week and half a UGA grad has been on the show.   Andrew Moore from Buford not only won, he dominated.  Andrew got 6 victories and $137,803 (only about $22K per night).  If you saw it, he defeated his fellow contestants with little trouble.  Most nights, he went into to Final Jeopardy with an insurmountable lead.  His last night, he was in a close game.  No one got the final answer right, but Andrew wagered a bit too much.  By the end of the run, I had my wife watching intently pulling for him too.

Also, Andrew didn’t appear on Jeopardy with of course mentioning his alma mater and wearing red and black every outing.

Andrew, if you ever see this-GATA in the Tournament of Champions!



Something Similar for UGA and South Carolina

I had a thought yesterday while thumbing through my Phil Steele.  For whatever reason, last year I didn’t crack mine open near as much, and that is something I have been trying to rectify so far this summer.

2011 was a big year for a couple of SEC programs-Georgia and South Carolina.  Prior to the 2011 season, I said that a program can fall down pretty quickly, but can also rebound and have success again.  You could argue that if either one of those teams didn’t have a big year of improvement, you could make the case that one-if not both-of these schools would be looking for a new head coach.

I had this conversation with someone not too long ago:  how long would South Carolina hang on to Spurrier?  Here is his win/loss record from 2005-2010:  7-5, 8-5, 6-6, 7-6, 7-6, 9-5.  You could give him a pass for a couple of years  coming into a mess of a program, but even in year 4 and 5 they were losing six games.  How many new head coaches, six years into their career at a school, would be allowed to stay on with a 6-6 record?  Shoot, Georgia fans were ready to send Mark Richt off for a couple of bad years.

Prior to 2011, South Carolina’s bowl record was staggeringly bad.  Carolina went 1-4 in bowl games in Spurrier’s first 6 seasons.  Didn’t even make a bowl in 2007 when at one point in the season they were #6 in the country (before losing to Vanderbilt without even scoring a TD).

Even in 2010 when Spurrier guided the Gamecocks to the SEC Championship Game, he did so under auspicious circumstances.  Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia were all very bad.  South Carolina won the SEC East with 3 losses-the first time in the Division’s history that has happened.  In 2010, two of Carolina’s three conference losses were losses to Kentucky by 3 and Arkansas by 21.

Now, Spurrier being Spurrier gave him a pass and he did inherit a mess.

Richt’s success from 2001-2007 is well documented, and just as well documented are the struggles from 2008-2010.  The low point for me was after the Boise State game in 2011.  I thought we were going to be much improved following the disaster that was 2010.  I actually had a sense of encouragement after the heartbreaker against South Carolina.  But losing two games in a row to non-SEC opponents was tough.   I really thought Georgia might go 4-8 that season.

And there was a mirage in 2009.   Going 8-5 is not great, but after losing Knowshon, Stafford and Massaquoi, well a step back is to be expected.  But in reality, that 2009 team was awful. AWFUL.  UGA Got extremely lucky to not have a losing record in 2009.  Just think if there were back to back losing seasons in 2009 and 2010-that is another post for another day.   The 2010 team was actually improved in just about every way-except the one that counts in W/L.

But all of this is water under the bridge now.  South Carolina is rolling along.  They have only lost 4 games the last two seasons.  Georgia has been the beneficiary of fortunate breaks in the schedule, but won the games they were supposed to and only have two conference losses the last two seasons (both the Carolina), have made the SEC Championship game in consecutive years, was a mere 5 yards shy of a National Championship, and is the preseason favorite to go back to Atlanta for the third year in a row (for the record, my early lean is on Carolina making it back to Atlanta).

Neither school had to make a tough decision for a coaching change following the 2011 season, as they were both able to get the ship turned around.  Both schools are poised for good 2013 seasons.  I’ve rambled on long enough, but the interesting question is a couple of years from now, both programs will be losing key talent, so will the success continue?  I think it is more likely for Georgia to continue to be good than Carolina.

But this season, Carolina’s schedule is very favorable.  The 2013 match-up will determine the SEC East winner, and if Carolina wins, should put them in the driver’s seat for a spot in the National Championship game.


Why All The Fredi Hate?

I just can’t understand something.  For the life of me, I can’t understand why there is so much disdain for Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez.

Now, in his 2 and half seasons with the Braves, they had a meltdown on the last day to avoid getting to the playoffs in his first season and lost the play in game last year.  This year, they are poised to be making another deep post season run.  It has been 8 years since the team of the 1990s won the NL East, and it is long past due.  Fredi has got the Braves in position to make the playoffs, something that couldn’t be consistently said the final few years of the Cox era.

This post probably could have had more traction before the Braves hit their dry spell in June against subpar competition.  The month of June has not been kind to the Braves, posting a 12-11 record this month.  However, the case reamains that the Braves have a 6 game lead in the NL East, are only 3.5 games back for the overall NL lead, and if the Braves played in the AL, would only be .5 game off for the top spot in the AL.

I love Bobby Cox.  Great manager.  But Bobby did somethings that drove me crazy.  His treatment of his bullpen was paramount.  That is the biggest complaint against Fredi.

But what do we expect?  Fredi was Bobby Cox’s hand picked choice to follow him.  Bobby’s admiration for Fredi was obvious when he spoke out against the Marlins firing of him.  The Marlins firing Fredi made it easier for the Braves to get him to come back home and follow in the footsteps of his mentor.

Aside from the love of Copenhagen long cut and cussing out umpires, Fredi manages in a style similar to Cox.  Now, they aren’t the same person, but very similar.  If by saying you don’t like the style of Fredi, you are saying you didn’t like the style of Bobby Cox.

Be paitent fans.  Baseball is a long season.



Hindsight is 20/20, but wrong is still wrong

I came across an old post that linked to an article our friend Bill Shanks wrote after the embarrassment that was the 2010 Liberty Bowl.  Following that loss and the 2 more to open the 2011 season, fans were in full on panic mode, and rightfully so.

But Shanks is a clown with zero credibility.   He has a personal vendetta against Richt, and hasn’t been able to let it go, despite the fact that Mark Richt has gotten the UGA program turned back around.

It is one thing to have concerns and another thing to say stuff like this (from January 2,2011):

There is no reason to believe Richt can turn this around. The talent level is so far off that even Central Florida looks far superior to Georgia. Georgia is, at best, the seventh best program in the SEC right now, and that’s just not good enough. And there’s nothing to show it’s going to get better overnight.

It’s now not a question of if Richt will be let go, but when. Athletics director Greg McGarity says Richt will be back in 2011, but it’s just delaying the inevitable. A year from now, McGarity will be looking for a new head coach.

And since then, there has been no mention of a mea culpa.

Not that anyone really expects one.


Glad This Didn’t Happen

I really thought the guy walking the tightrope across the Grand Canyon wasn’t going to make it last night.  I had this thought earlier in the day, but didn’t want to post it in case he didn’t make it across.

Well, that crazy dude did make it so this is funny now.

But when they were talking about doing this stunt, all I could think of was this classic clip from The Simpsons. Man, I wish these old episodes were played on sydication somewhere.


Closer Look at 2013 SEC Schedules

There is always complaining going on about the schedule.  A few years ago, Alabama was complaining about every team they played having a bye week before them.  Last year, Spurrier complained about his team’s difficult schedule and Georgia’s easy one.  This year, Les Miles is complaining about LSU having to play the top two teams from the East and Alabama and Texas AM& not.

This year, there shouldn’t be a complaint about the top teams having a grueling grind. Now, SEC football is different-the lower teams are still physically superior than most other places.  But the top teams by and large have tune up games or a bye week before their biggest matchups.  There are a few exceptions.

As far as the difficult schedule, it is all cyclical.  It probably breaks even after a while.

Here is how the 2013 schedule fares for the most relevant 8 teams in the conference.

As we’ve heard, the schedule sets up well for Alabama.  Not only do they avoid the 3 big teams from the SEC East, they have favorable timing.  They have all preseason to prepare for Virginia Tech and bye weeks before LSU and Texas A&M.  Their other two toughest games-Ole Miss and Iron Bowl-they get tune up games the week before.  Oh, and they get LSU at home.

LSU’s schedule is slightly tougher as they have a tough grind September 28-October 19, playing at UGA, at Mississippi State, Florida, and at Ole Miss in consecutive weeks.  Then, they have to play at Alabama and then Texas A&M.  Fortunately, though, LSU has a tune up game before Alabama and bye week before Texas A&M.

Texas A&M has a favorable schedule.  They replace Florida from the East with Vanderbilt (and get them at home).  The Aggies have a bye week before LSU and two gimmie games to start the season before hosting Alabama.  They can basically prepare all offseason for the Crimson Tide (apologies to Rice and Sam Houston State, but come on).

Ole Miss has a tough beginning of the season with a Thursday night opener against Vandy, then a mean 6 week stretch starting September 14.  They go to Texas to play a hopefully improved Longhorns team, have a bye, then go to Alabama, to Auburn, then host Texas A&M and LSU in back to back weeks.

We all know that Georgia has a tough opening month of September.  At Clemson then hosting South Carolina.  Fortunately, the Dawgs have a bye and tune up with North Texas before hosting LSU then the crucial bye week before Florida.

Arkansas has nasty 4 game stretch beginning September 28.  They host Texas A&M, go to Florida, host South Carolina and Alabama all in back to back weeks.  Bret Bielema, that ain’t no Big 10 schedule there son.  Welcome South, brother.

Florida fortunately has tune ups before the tricky interstate non-conference games with Miami and Florida State, a bye before UGA, Vandy before South Carolina..  If I were a Florida fan (thank goodness I am not), I would be concerned about Arkansas and LSU in back to back weeks.  Looking at Arkansas’ run, their only winnable game in their 4 game stretch would be the Florida game.  Not sure what improvements Bielema will bring to the Razorbacks, but Florida better not look past Arkansas before their big tilt against LSU.

South Carolina has to open up against UNC and then travels to Georgia before hosting Vanderbilt to start the season.  Vandy has been able to give the Gamecocks fits, so I guess they should watch out for that one but the rest of their schedule fares pretty well.  They have to travel to Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri in consecutive weeks, but they get Arkansas in the middle of their bad stretch so that should be good.  They get a bye prior to Florida and a tune up prior to Clemson.


BBQ Thursday: What Makes Good Stew?

The Grit Tree Contributors had a heated discussion the past few days about what constitutes traditional Brunswick Stew.

The great thing about stew, and any BBQ dish, is it all depends on your own preference. There is no right or wrong way to approach it (although putting mustard in your sauce is simply not right and it ain’t Christian). The thoughts fall in three camps: extremist on each end and a more moderate opinion.

I won’t name names, but there were three differing opinions. The general consensus was that corn, tomatoes, and onion are staple ingredients.

The first was Brunswick Stew can have whatever you want in it. Vegetables, peas, corn, potatoes-hell, even spaghetti noodles. As long as it isn’t too thick and served over rice like that unholy creation also known as hash, anything in your stew is fair game because it is all about a local touch. A stew is what you make it, and no right or wrong way, as each person has their own personal touch.

In the middle was the opinion that although vegetables were not a preference, it was acceptable and sometimes necessary to thicken the stew.

Then finally, the other end of the spectrum was the opinion that if you want vegetables, have vegetable soup or gumbo. Not to say the inclusion of peas, lima beans or potatoes isn’t tasty, and it will get eaten, but it is also judged and looked down upon.

So readers, what is your opinion? Are you an extremist or do you fall somewhere in the middle?

The Grit Tree