Monday, November 20, 2017

Football Recap

Tech stunk. Has the team quit on Paul Johnson? Duke had lost six straight before lighting it up against the Jackets. Outscored GT 23-0 in the third quarter, before a scoreless fourth quarter. Tech only had six offensive plays in the third quarter. Say what you will about the defensive coordinator, but Tech needs better players. They haven’t had a decent the entire time Johnson has been there. TaQuon Marshall rushed for 140 yards but only went 3-13 in the air. Jeune dropped another pass. Missed extra point. Pressley threw a pass (incomplete).

If Tech can’t beat Tennessee or Duke, there’s zero chance they’ll beat Georgia. Any Tech fan who says otherwise is bonkers. As I’ve said for years, I’d rather Tech win the games they’re supposed to win (like Duke) than win those they’re not (like Georgia). Look for UGA backup QB Jacob Eason to perform mop-up duty Saturday afternoon at Grant Field.

When Miami fell behind 14-0 at home against Virginia, the announcer in the booth at Clemson quipped that Miami had lost focus. How did he know? Did he know the details of the game, or just the score? If the Canes lost focus they got it back real quick, closing out the game scoring 30 unanswered points.

Heard a few similar comments when the Dawgs didn’t score five first quarter possessions against 7-3 Kentucky. Shows you how much those people know about football. It ain’t that easy.

UGA beat Kentucky decisively. Early in the fourth quarter the Wildcats had given up trying to pass downfield, and instead just ran the ball, not to score but to run out the clock. Running on obvious passing downs. Kentucky just gave up. Does that mean they know they can’t compete with Steven Johnson at QB?

The Dawgs weren’t perfect. Freshman sensation Jake Fromm has thrown interceptions in his last two games, but Saturday against Kentucky Fromm had his longest run from scrimmage all year. Georgia didn’t shut down the running game, something they’ll need to improve on before Auburn or Bama comes to town.  

Saturday night ABC announcer Kirk Herbstreit blasted USC QB Sam Darnell, saying the underclassman was far from ready for the NFL. Darnell is great at throwing to his primary receiver, but if the first option is covered he pulls it down and runs. That won’t work in the pros. Darnell needs to come back to USC next year to learn to better spot his second and third options.

While pro scouts love the tools UCLA QB Josh Rosen brings to the table, there are plenty of QB’s in Darnell’s boat. Kentucky’s Steven Johnson and both of Clemson’s top two QB’s as well. These days QB’s just throw up deep balls and pray their receiver and out jump the defender for the ball. Whatever happened to a QB hitting the receiver in stride, so the receiver doesn’t have to slow down to catch the ball? There seems to be a dearth of good QB play all across the country.

The exception: Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield. Some compare the Heisman Trophy frontrunner to NFL flop Johnny Manziel. Let’s hope Mayfield is a little more dedicated at the next level than Johnny Football.

Not sure what Clemson will do next year with four talented QB’s on the roster. First year starter Kelly Bryant has shown flashes of brilliance but often misses receivers with his passes, throwing behind, too low or high, or overthrowing deep balls. Against the Citadel the backup was often off-target as well. It’s doubtful Dabo would start a true freshman, but I’m not sure how long the kid from Cartersville will be content to sit and watch. At least one of the two backups may transfer.
Tom Brady looks as strong as ever. New England’s kicker nailed a 62 yard field goal that would’ve been good from 70. He also had a 50 yarder later in the game.

Great lineup of games this weekend:

Thursday: Chargers@Cowboys, Vikings@Lions, Giants/Redskins, and the Egg Bowl (Ole Miss@Miss State).

Friday: Miami@Pitt, Virginia Tech@Virginia, Missouri@Arkansas.

Saturday: UGA@GT (noon), Bama@Auburn (3:30), and Clemson@SC (7:30).

Sunday: Tampa@Falcons

If the Chargers wear their powder blue jerseys Thursday we could see some nice uniforms on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys will look good whether they wear their normal unis or their line star jerseys. I think the Lions will wear throwbacks, and the Vikings will be passable in their purple pants. The Giants and Redskins always look good.

We know what Bama and Auburn will be wearing. Clemson will wear their orange “championship” britches, since it’s the state championship game. No telling what South Carolina will wear. Not sure the Tigers can put a whooping on SC as bad as UGA did. Clemson better watch out. Could be a nail-biter.

This week I’ll try to do a study of the various uni combos Tech has tried out against UGA, and how successful they were. With few exceptions, the Dawgs have worn red jerseys against Tech going back to the 60’s and earlier. Herschel did wear his white jersey in his only Grant Field appearance.  

It was a typical weekend for us. Left work just after 5:30 Friday afternoon. C and I went to Home Depot for a new extension cord. The new blower was too powerful and blew out my old cord. Then we went to Moxie Burger for a chicken sandwich and fries.

Saturday morning C went to the YMCA. I cleaned and started the laundry. Watched a little of the Clemson/Citadel game then went outside and blew and raked leaves. Came inside for GT/Duke and GA/KY. Later we watched the Hallmark Channel and USC/UCLA.

Sunday School and worship at JFBC. Bryant Wright’s son preached. Stopped by Whole Foods afterwards to see Matthew. C bought a baked chicken for lunch. Later she met Anna downtown. Anna had supper with Josh’s family. I watched a movie and the Patriots/Raiders, then Stranger Things and C’s PBS show. A girl on Stranger Things had been in M’s class at Living Science.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Our Gang

The gang at work showing off the EZGo customer service award we recently received. L-R Kevin, Eric, David, Brad, Rodney, Angie, Rachel, and Shane. Friday Kevin and other company dignitaries rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, in celebration of our company's 175th anniversary.
Got in the habit of reading the newspaper while living at the Georgia Tech Baptist Center. On Saturday mornings whenever I'd wake up I would go upstairs and get the paper, and read it on the front steps if the weather was nice. Late Saturday night we'd all pile in a car and drive over to the Krispy Kreme on Ponce to get several dozen doughnuts for the people catching van rides to churches on Sunday morning. We'd eat the hot doughnuts Saturday night, more doughnuts for breakfast Sunday morning. When we got back from church we'd watch the Falcons, eat more doughnuts, and read the Sunday paper. Then it was time to go back to church for choir and the evening service.

Worked until 6:45 Thursday night. C had worked out, gotten a haircut, and took Barney for a haircut and shampoo. She found steaks in the freezer to cook for dinner, but they were tough. I ate salad and later cooked popcorn. Watched Young Sheldon and Designated Survivor. Took Barney out and M came home. M popped popcorn for the second straight day. Was nodding off so I went to bed. Woke up at 11:30 at C was still downstairs with M.

Barney was in a good mood Thursday night (he usually is in a good mood) but his big day must've worn him out - he slept downstairs all night so he wouldn't be disturbed.

Had a 7:30 meeting Friday morning and also a lunch meeting with Spiced Rite BBQ.

M has some friends working in movie related businesses - costumes, etc. The AJC used to have a celebrity spotting column. They probably still have it. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Dogs Skin Cats

Georgia rolled to victory this afternoon, beating Kentucky 42-13. 
In their Sanford Stadium finale both Nick Chubb and Sony Michel had a big day, combining for over 230 yards and five touchdowns.
After diving for a touchdown, Michel bowed to the student section.
Dandre Swift also got plenty of carries.
Tech played perhaps their worst game of the year, especially on defense.
Clemson blew out the Citadel, though Tiger quarterbacks were consistently off target with their passes.
Unlike Auburn, Alabama completely obliterated tiny Mercer. Too bad the Bears didn't have nicer unis to wear on the big stage.
Notre Dame narrowly escaped a second straight loss, edging Navy.
The Irish wore Knute Rockne-inspired old school uniforms.
Close up of the cool helmets worn by Notre Dame today.
Too bad they didn't wear grey facemasks.
Unlike the white shoes the Irish wore in last week's loss at Miami, these brown leather old school shoes are keepers.

Friday, November 17, 2017

College Bowl Schedule

The 2017 college football bowl schedule. All games on ESPN unless otherwise noted. There may be some teams playing on December 30 that I may have to miss. Heck, Georgia, Clemson, and Georgia Tech might all be playing that afternoon/evening. This year for the most part I am leaving out all the corporate sponsors.

12.16 Celebration Bowl noon Atlanta (ABC) MEAC vs SWAC
12.16 New Orleans Bowl 1 pm Sun Belt vs CUSA
12.16 AutoNation Cure Bowl 2:30 Orlando (CBSSN) Sun Belt vs American
12.16 Las Vegas Bowl 3:30 (ABC) MWC vs Pac12
12.16 New Mexico Bowl 4:40 Albuquerque CUSA vs MWC
12.16 Camellia Bowl 8 pm Montgomery MAC vs Sun Belt

12.19 Boca Raton Bowl 7 pm CUSA vs American
12.20 Frisco Bowl 8 pm Frisco Texas American vs at large
12.21 Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl 8 pm St Pete CUSA vs American

12.22 Bahamas Bowl 12:30 Nassau CUSA vs MAC
12.22 Potato Bowl 4 pm Boise MAC vs MWC
12.23 Birmingham Bowl noon SEC vs American
12.23 Armed Forces Bowl 3:30 Fort Worth: Army vs CUSA
12.23 Dollar General Bowl 7 pm Mobile MAC vs Sun Belt

12.24 Hawaii Bowl 8:30 MWC vs American
12.26 Heart of Dallas Bowl 1:30 Cotton Bowl Stadium Big12 vs Big10
12.26 Quick Lane Bowl 5:15 Detroit ACC vs Big Ten
12.26 Cactus Bowl 10 pm Phoenix Big12 vs Pac12

12.27 Independence Bowl 1:30 Shreveport SEC vs ACC
12.27 Pinstripe Bowl 5:15 NYC ACC vs Big10
12.27 Foster Farms Bowl 8:30 Santa Clara (Fox) Big10 vs Pac12
12.27 Texas Bowl 9 pm Houston SEC vs Big12

12.28 Military Bowl 1:30 Annapolis ACC vs American
12.28 Camping World Bowl 5:15 Orlando ACC vs Big12
12.28 Alamo Bowl 9 pm San Antonio Big12 vs Pac12
12.28 Holiday Bowl 9 pm San Diego (Fox) Big10 vs Pac12

12.29 Belk Bowl 1 pm Charlotte SEC vs ACC
12.29 Sun Bowl 3 pm El Paso (CBS) Pac12 vs ACC
12.29 Music City Bowl 4:30 Nashville SEC vs ACC or Big10
12.29 Arizona Bowl 5:30 Tucson (CBSSN) MWC vs Sun Belt
12.29 Cotton Bowl 8:30 Arlington at large vs at large

12.30 TaxSlayer Bowl noon Jacksonville SEC vs ACC or Big10
12.30 Liberty Bowl 12:30 Memphis (ABC) SEC vs Big12
12.30 Fiesta Bowl 4 pm Glendale at large vs at large
12.30 Orange Bowl 8 pm Miami Gardens ACC vs SEC or Big10

1.01 Outback Bowl noon Tampa (ESPN2) Big10 vs SEC
1.01 Peach Bowl 12:30 Atlanta at large vs at large
1.01 Citrus Bowl 1 pm Orlando (ABC) SEC vs ACC or Big10
1.01 Rose Bowl (playoff) 5 pm Pasadena  #2 vs #3
1.01 Sugar Bowl (playoff) 8:45 New Orleans #1 vs #4

1.08 National Championship Game 8 pm Atlanta

The Hawai’i Bowl, played on Christmas Eve on Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union Field at Aloha Stadium, is sponsored by the Committee to Spell Hawai’i Correctly.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fast Food: 4 Strikes

Thursday: worked past 6:15. Had a bunch of orders to put in. C was gone and M was working so I stopped by Moes on the way home. Watched a PBS special on Bobby Jones. Also Seinfeld, Big Bang Theory, some Seahawks/Cardinals, and Young Sheldon. Shouldn’t have been surprised at how they negatively portrayed praying and Christianity.

Had leftover spaghetti for lunch. Ceil put in sausage instead of ground beef or turkey. We’re taking another inventory at work so we had Chickfila chicken biscuits for breakfast and Mellow Mushroom pizza for lunch. 

Friday night Anna and I went out to Moxie Burger. Very crowded, but the line wasn’t too long until after we ordered. Found a little table inside, so we didn’t have to eat outside. Gassed up her Jeep, then we went home and both watched a good movie: Arrival, with Amy Adams.

Cleaned upstairs, then went downstairs to watch ESPN College Gameday. David Pollock jumped off a high dive down in Miami. Watched GT/VT, GA/Auburn, Miami/Notre Dame, and a little Clemson/FSU and Oklahoma/TCU. Heard a rumor GT is trying to add a game on Dec 2.

After the Miami win Mark Richt was interviewed. He said all the right things, then added “Praise God” at the end. Nice touch. How come you never hear Notre Dame’s head coach say that?

Cleaned up Matthew’s room and washed and folded a bunch of laundry. At 11:30 I was working on a project on my laptop so I turned on Saturday Night Live. Pretty much unwatchable. Changed the channel. Couldn’t find GT/UCLA. Stayed up till almost 1 am, so I was sleepy on Sunday.

Tried blowing leaves but my old 75 foot extension cord finally died. Maybe my new blower is too powerful. Since it rained on Sunday I didn’t need to go shopping for a new one. Raked the driveway so I could see it. Was sore from the busy weekend.

Watched a few movies, including Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan in When a Man Loves a Woman. Falcons and NBC’s Football Night in America. C came home and then went to the grocery. All weekend I’d eaten leftovers and things from the freezer: turkey burgers, a quesadilla, meat sauce, etc. C grilled chicken and Chinese rice.  

Been a long week already for me. Monday night I worked past seven. Stopped by Taco Bell then made good time to Macon. Drank a large Diet Mountain Dew to keep me awake, but not only did I sleep all the way through the night without waking up in the middle of the night, I didn’t wake up until ten minutes before it was time to go to the hospital.

Made it to the hospital by 6:35. They took my mom in immediately and surgery started at 8:45. Took almost two hours, then she was in recovery shortly after 11 am. Sat with my dad, sister, and brother in law. Passed the time people-watching and car watching. Kept up with work on my phone and also cleaned out all my junk emails. Late breakfast from McDonalds.

When in Macon on Monday I tried to meet up with two old high school buddies. We had talked about dining at Nu-Way Weiners, a famous Macon hot dog place. In truth I’ve never been. It didn’t work out, but there will be other opportunities.

My dad was cold. I wore my jacket. Since my mom would be groggy the rest of the evening I took him home at 4 pm. Seemed like everything was in order with my mom, so I headed back to Atlanta after dropping my dad off. I never know if I’m making the right decision on things like that, and I probably should’ve stuck around a few more hours.

Since I hadn’t had lunch a grabbed a Chickfila sandwich, and later treated myself to a Wendy’s frosty. That made four straight fast food stops (and Wednesday morning I grabbed a McDonalds biscuit on the way to work). On the drive north I had time to reflect on my experience at the restaurants. I try not to be Mr. Negative, but usually when I stop for fast food the experience is bad (exception = Chickfila). I know, I don’t have to stop there, and I really shouldn’t. Let me count the ways:

MON PM Taco Bell: the drive thru was moving slowly. The menu board was out of date: the specials and the prices were wrong. I asked for no ice, but I got ice. That’s at least three strikes right there. Grade: D

TUE AM McDonalds: took a minute for someone to take my order, but it was delivered quickly. The cup advertised a deal not available at that McDonalds (or many McDonalds that I know of. Grade: B.

TUE PM Chickfila: long line at the drive thru, because CFA is so good. I had planned on going inside since I had a coupon. Ordering was quick and easy, even with the coupon. The inside wasn’t too crowded. Behind the counter employees were busy filling orders. Dive thru orders, I guess. All I had ordered was one CFA sandwich to go. Took 3 or 4 minutes. 180-240 seconds. Grade: C.

TUE PM Wendy’s: not crowded. Couldn’t complain about the service time. I ordered the largest size possible. What I got wasn’t as large as I used to get. Not sure if it was a mistake or a downsize. Grade: D.

WED AM McDonalds: I hate stopping off on the way to work, but I did. Might’ve been running 5 or 10 minutes later than usual, and the drive thru line as LONG. I immediately pulled into a parking space and walked inside, making note of the car that took my place in line. The lady took my order immediately. I happened to notice the lady in the back assembling biscuits, putting them in a bag, and calling my number. Super-fast. Walked out and drove away before I would’ve been able to even order had I gone thru the drive thru. Grade: A.

Wednesday work was super busy, catching up on emails and entering orders. Early team meeting as well as a lunch meeting, with Willy’s brought in. Had to update my 2018 insurance, so it was after 7 pm before I get the office. Neither of us were hungry so we just had oatmeal. My mom came home from the hospital, but Ceil’s mom went back in. She’s pretty weak

Watched some of the Lakers game. They were wearing their nice blue MLPS uniforms, so I did a double take when I first was them.

Charlie Brooks’ father passed away. Charlie’s uncle married my aunt Harriet.

Drew Kelly shares the same birthday as Michael Jordan and comedian Larry the Cable Guy. I told him he plays basketball like one of them and is as funny as the other.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Redesigning Tech

Saturday against Virginia Tech the Yellow Jackets center wore a jersey with a different number font than the rest of the players on offense.

With adidas taking over next year as the supplier of uniforms, let's hope we see fewer irregularities. But knowing Georgia Tech, who chose adidas over uni-giant Nike and up and comer Under Armour, I have zero confidence the uniforms will improve.
Some young buck in the Tech athletic department once made the comment that alumni want to see Tech wear their traditional uniforms, then noted that the uniforms had constantly changed over the years. There's truth to that statement: in the 40's and 50's Tech wore plain gold pants and white jerseys with three stripes. In the late 60's the helmets were white, the pants a mustard gold (or mustard jerseys and white pants). The mid 70's showed a return to the classic gold/white/gold look (above). That's where they lost their way.
From the 80's forward the Jackets have fallen victim to every uniform trend: black facemasks, drop shadow numbers, various number trim styles, various number fonts, gold numbers, various striping patterns on both jerseys and pants, black jerseys, gold jerseys, navy jerseys, striped socks, black socks. Thirty-five years of zero continuity. Tech hit bottom wearing the infamous Russell Athletics honeycomb unis on national TV against Virginia Tech (above). It was like the emperor's new clothes. 

Young fans love the honeycomb helmet. It does resemble the white lid worn in the 60's and 70's. To me from a distance they look cream colored. Tech should've kept the black/gold/black stripe pattern and used grey facemasks. Black masks on white and gold helmets look terrible. Perhaps adidas can help with this. Again, I'm not getting my hopes up.

Some other things I's like to see:
1. a consistent, deeper shade of gold. Nothing close to yellow.
2. Jerseys with simple necklines and collars that match the jersey color.
3. Are three patches needed on the front of the jersey? One GT, one ACC, a third the Russell R (to be replaced with the adidas logo). That's too much (see below).
4. Thick plain block jersey numbers that start at the base of the neck – not at the base of the shoulder pads where they can be obscured. I see too much of that, like Louisville wears.
5. traditional Tech stripes if possible, except these days jerseys don't have sleeves.
6. interesting the font of the names on the back of Tech's jerseys is only used by Tech and the Dallas Cowboys. I'm partial to block letters like Bama and Georgia and Clemson, but Tech's funky font has been around long enough that I'm used to it.
7. please stay away from all black and all grey unis. Nothing special about them – almost every team else does it. And all gold would be too much as well.
8. don't wear the white helmet against Miami or other white helmeted teams. Don't wear the gold helmet against gold helmeted teams like FSU. Use some common sense.
9. get good-looking school gear in the stores: sporting goods stores, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. Make it the same color (gold or navy or grey) and the same logos and fonts year after year, to get a sense of continuity.

Prediction: adidas will design a helmet with a large Buzz on the side. Not sure how I'll like it. Just let the facemask be grey.
These days Tech mixes and matches white pants and helmets so often that the traditional gold over white over gold look shows up fewer and fewer times. I'd like to see gold/white/gold more often. Only wear the white helmets when wearing white jerseys and helmets. I wouldn't mind seeing a navy or gold jersey every now and then, but once a year is more than enough – but only with white pants. I've liked how recent navy (or gold) jerseys have been filled with lots of gold and white trim (above). The mustard throwback jerseys broken out during Calvin Johnson's time would also be nice to see occasionally (below).
This gives us more than enough uni combos. No reason to wear four different uni combos in any one year. In fact, four is too many. No reason to wear white helmets with the gold pants. 

1. gold/white/gold: default uni, especially for homecoming and against UGA. The Dawgs wear the same thing every year. So should Tech. Also against Clemson.
2. white/white/white: once at home per year, preferably at night.
3. white/mustard/white throwbacks (at homecoming?)
4. gold/navy/white (1990 national champs).

I noticed something else about Saturday's game: the fans in the stands. Few alumni wore Tech gear. Sure it was chilly. Rabid fans have jackets in school colors. Heck, I own a Tech jacket. And cap. And shirt. Students wore bright yellow. I saw a grey Tech cap. Way to show your school spirit. With the alumni we have, wearing school gear is not a priority. Some things will never change.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

GT: Better Lucky than Good

I can’t believe that I’m the only Tech alum who is often embarrassed to be a Tech fan sometimes. While no team plays a perfect game, the Jackets are masters at screwing up. Saturday’s home game against Virginia Tech proved to be no exception. Let me count the ways.

Almost every opening series starts the same way as Saturday’s game: Tech drops back and throws a bomb. The receiver is wide open, but the pass is far overthrown (1). Second play of the game: Marshall calls time out (2). Third play: Marshall is run out of bounds for a loss. Fourth play: Marshall is sacked (3). Fifth play: punt.

The follies continued throughout the game: fumble on a punt return (4). Tech was lucky to get it back. Missed tackles (5), like on the 64 yard kickoff return (6) and freshman Sean Searcy’s weaving touchdown reception (7). Pass interference, though that was a dubious call.

Pressley Harvin III boomed one 52 yard line drive punt, had a 43 yarder, and a punt downed on the 2 yard line – but he dropped a snap (8). He paid for his miscue, getting hit hard on the play. I had noticed that Harvin stands with his feet together while waiting for the snap. By the way he stands it looks like he’s expecting the snap to be perfect – a luxury he cannot afford. You’d think he stand in a more athletic stance, in case he needs to jump and bend over or go left or right. But on the next punt he was standing the same way (9). A good question for the call in show. I can hear it now “uh, Coach, I was reading the Sac Fly Blog, and they said…”

The first half ends with GT unable to stop the clock, having used up their time outs (10). Two more wide open receivers had been missed (11 and 12) before Marshall finally connected with Brad Stewart on the first play of the second half. Then VT drove the field, capitalizing on several more Yellow Jackets mistakes (13). 21-16 Hokies. Jackets go for it on fourth down and come up short (14). The right side of the field was wide open.

Then Johnson calls another pass play (15), this time on second and ten, and Marshall throws a pick six (16). Why were they passing? Why did Tech throw more than 30 passes last week’s in close game? If he’s gonna throw so much why doesn’t he recruit a passing quarterback?

With the lead in the second half, Marshall repeatedly snapped the ball with 20-25 seconds left on the play clock (19 and 20). GT had the momentum on offense, and might’ve lost it had they stood around waiting for the clock to tick down. Loved how Johnson kept calling for dive plays that VT couldn’t stop.

The Hokies were thugs throughout the game: hitting late, hitting out bounds. Receivers pushing off (like on the two point conversion), then looking for interference penalties. Not the greatest officiating crew. In addition to the bad calls and missed calls and no calls, there were at least two bad spots. Both hurt GT. Johnson finally had to run out on the field to protest, and one bad spot was overturned. Marshall gets lucky again, hitting Jeune for a touchdown. GT has to go for two, but two penalties killed that option (17 and 18).   

The missed two pint conversion opportunity gave the Hokies had a chance to win at the end of regulation. They got away with another blatant push off on a key fourth down reception, but then made a dumb play call on fourth and inches. The throw into the end zone was batted away, and the Jackets came away with the lucky win.    

Sure, Johnson’s strategy is to win close games, to win ugly with less talented players. Seems to work better than whatever strategy Duke and Wake Forest and Vanderbilt has been using most of the time. But Tech should be getting better players than they’re getting, especially on defense.

I bet Bama will be ready to play Auburn.