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. 

Helmet/jersey/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.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Auburn/Georgia: Beware Karma

Ask any UGA fan before this season what their expectations were, and most would've hoped for an SEC East title and a win in Gainesville (beating Tech is a given). Anything else - like spending two weeks in the middle of the season as the number one team in the country - would be gravy. Yet many Dawg fans are disappointed. Can't blame them. Georgia might've played their worst game of the season. Going into the Auburn game there were still several question marks. After winning their first nine games the Dawgs were due to play a bad game. It wasn't a letdown. In fact, they might've pressed and played too hard. Better now than in the SEC Championship Game. 

Down only 9-7, suddenly the Dawgs forgot how to play football. They'd held Auburn out of the end zone, allowing only three Daniel Carlson field goals. That's when everything went wrong for Georgia. Poor play unseen all season up to this point. Dropped passes. Missed tackles. Hardeman drops the punt, then whiffs trying to fall on it. Only ten players on the field coming out of a time out. A personal foul for being too close to the punt returner. Another personal foul for leaping over a punt blocker (I thought this a bad call – he was between the two blockers when he jumped to block the punt). A third personal foul on a punt – this time by senior running back Sony Michel. Meanwhile an Auburn defender knocked a Georgia receiver down out of bounds – while the ball was in the air – but the obvious pass interference wasn't called. Neither was an obvious facemask call.

As I predicted, Rodrigo missed his first field goal since early September – barely wide right. Later he nailed a 47 yarder down the middle. In the first half the Dawgs had two uncovered receivers running free but failed both times to convert the plays into touchdowns. At halftime the score could have easily been 24-17 Georgia. Then the second half would've been completely different. The Dawgs had yet to get the ball to freshman sensation D'andre Swift. If only half these things go Georgia's way next time, look for the Dawgs to win the rematch.

More missed tackled on Auburn's two second half touchdown passes. Georgia let Kerryon Johnson gain seven or eight yards almost every time he touched the ball. Defensive backs were making tackles instead of linemen and linebackers. The Dawgs failed to contain, allowing Auburn to turn upfield on sweeps time after time.

Fans were quick to call for backup QB Jacob Eason. Later two of the AJC's fifty game photos were of Eason. Still trying to stir up trouble (and page clicks). But quarterback play wasn't the problem.

During the game Nick Chubb did pass Auburn's Bo Jackson for fourth place on the all-time SEC rushing list.

Auburn is the best two loss team in the country. They're looking better than Bama. Auburn beat Georgia on both sides of the ball. Beat the Tide and Georgia again and a spot in the playoff is theirs for the taking. And to think legions of Auburn fans were ready to fire Malzahn after a 2-1 start, the close loss coming against number one Clemson. Not sure why anyone would've been surprised with Auburn's win – almost all the experts picked Georgia to lose, and had been doing so for the past several weeks.

But karma is a fickle lady, and Auburn kept ignoring it all afternoon:

(1) before the game Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said Georgia had "two good running backs" (meaning Chubb and Michel). Good? Two? Interesting that Auburn spent the entire week practicing to shut down the even more dangerous third running back D'andre Swift.

(2) Players dancing in the fourth quarter – to a "song" (Soldier Boy) UGA had danced to after an Auburn loss over ten years (and several Auburn wins) ago.

(3) Up 40-10 with 3:38 to go, Auburn challenges a spot. The spot was confirmed.

(4) With 1:17 to go, all Auburn has to do is run out the clock. What do they do? Pass. I lost a little respect for Auburn in that second half. Not exactly the classiest way to beat the number one team in the country – a team they might very well face again three weeks later, should they beat their arch rival. I'm not so sure Auburn can beat both Bama and UGA again, though teams have been known to get on a roll.

The experts are badmouthing Georgia as if they're the only imperfect team in the country. But every team is being badmouthed, except for a few two loss teams. Bama barely won. Their linebackers are hurting. Oklahoma's defense gave up 55 points to Oklahoma State. Wisconsin hasn't really played anyone. Two loss Ohio State might beat them in the conference championship game. Like UGA, Notre Dame was exposed. Unlike UGA, the Irish don't have a chance to redeem themselves.

Clemson's offense, defense, and special teams lack explosiveness. Doubt they'd look forward to rematches with Auburn or Bama right now. Clemson will have their hands full with a resurgent South Carolina team looking to spoil the Tigers' season. The FSU game was close until a late score put the game away. Miami will be an even tougher opponent. The Canes luster was tarnished by Virginia Tech's loss to Georgia Tech.   

What if Bama, Clemson, and Wisconsin all lose? Several teams will be unhappy with the final four. My top teams: (1) Bama (2) Oklahoma (3) Clemson (4) Miami (5) Wisconsin (6) Auburn (7) Georgia. Two of these teams will knock off three of the others. Almost impossible now for two SEC or ACC schools to both make the playoff.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Two of the Top Three Lose

The Jackets got lucky,
outlasting Virginia Tech despite numerous miscues.
The Dawgs weren't so lucky. Needing to play a great game, Georgia dropped passes, fumbled punts, and committed too many penalties. Auburn played good too. They are surely the best two loss team in the country. Beat Bama and Georgia again and a spot in the playoff it theirs. 
Georgia wasn't only the top ranked team to be upset.
The Dawgs put up more of a fight than mighty, over-rated Notre Dame. Mark Richt's Hurricanes blew out the Irish.
Bama held on to beat Mississippi State.
Their body of work puts them at number one.
Oklahoma put upstart TCU in their place, winning decisively.
The past two games have secured Baker Mayfield's spot
at the top of theHeisman race.
I wasn't surprised to learn that Tech lost to UCLA
over in China. Lots of empty seats. 
More analysis tomorrow.
Maybe by then I'll find a Clemson/FSU photo.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Car Talk

Advice about cars: drive what you like. As an older guy I'm in the minority driving a smaller car, though Civics seem as roomy as Accords. I love smaller cars. Fun to drive, and I like them in traffic better. I really like the look of the current Civic (above). Civics seem it sit higher than Accords and Camrys, but they seem to be more recommended (along with the comparable Acura, Audi, and Lexus models).

Mechanics and my car expert friends recommend these foreign brands over the domestics, but again get what you like. Toyota and Honda and their offshoots like Acura, but also Kia and Hyundai as well. People who've driven Porshe and Mercedes say they're in the shop more than other brands (but they sure do look good). Not sure if you care how your car fits in at the company lot, or if you care.

Several alpha males drive huge domestic pickups: Ford F-150s and Dodge more so than Chevys or GMCs, for some reason. To me they're too hard to park and get terrible gas mileage. Toyota and Nissan pickups seem less cool. Same with Chevy Tahoes and Suburbans. For a while the Prius was getting better looking, but I don't like the latest model. The new Kia hybrid looks good.

SUVs seem to be holding their popularity. Both Ceil and I think our 2011 Honda CRV is hard to see out of. Not sure about the current model. The Toyota Highlander is my favorite, followed by the Acura MDX and RDX. The Audi, Lexus, and VW SUVs all look good. The smaller SUVs seem more popular, and probably get better mileage and are easier to park. Not sure if they'd have enough room for trips to Destin or Atlanta, but close. Hauling Christmas presents and luggage can be a hassle.

My buddy who loves cars has bought several at CarMax. Cars there are low mileage, and you probably get a better deal than at a dealership. A coworker just bought a car on line, which could be ok as well.

I don't do everything Clark Howard says, but he says it's better to buy than lease. Leasing would be terrible for me and Ceil because we put so many miles on our cars. Do most leases only allow one thousand miles a month? As a child gets older and into more activities, there may be more driving to do. If the kid can buckle his own car seat then you could get a 2-door car if you wanted. Having to buckle him (or a baby) in the back seat of a 2-door is a huge hassle.

I've had State Farm insurance forever, but I really need to switch to an independent agent, who can shop smaller insurance companies who are just as good, but are cheaper because they don't advertise (or bankroll bowl games). Another tip: switch insurance companies from time to time. When you stick to the same company, they consider you stuck there, and charge you higher rates than customers who shop around.

Car buying can be a hassle, a time consuming and unpleasant experiences, especially when you have to deal with salespeople at dealerships. Craig's List is cheaper, but there's few low mileage cars, and you never know when you'll run into a murderer. CarMax or on line might be the way to go.

Clark Howard says to never buy new because a car depreciates as soon as you drive it off the lot. But to me the prices of a car with 15000 miles on it don't seem too much different than a new car. That's why I bought my Civic new. Also found Ceil's used CRV at a dealership. They had reduced the price on it because it had been on the lot too long (that's what they said, anyway). Dealers add all kinds of fees – they're all negotiable if you're good at playing hardball.

Your chances of finding a good car at a good price are better if you don't have just one exact car in mind. The wider the selection, the better the chance you'll get a good deal.

Years ago a friend went to the VW dealer and didn't negotiate. He told the salesman he knew they had to make a little profit. I'm sure he wound up paying a super high price.

I still love driving my 2005 Civic. It still rides great and gets just about as much MPG as when I bought it. 270,000 miles. A small dent in the fender from backing into Will's Jeep. Missing the decorative plate between the front and back side windows. Thought giving the Civic to M and buying a used Honda CR-Z hybrid with less than 100,000 miles (below). The only thing I don't like (besides just 2 seats) is that they really sit super low to the ground.

Get what you want. Nothing worse than being stuck in a cart you don't like. I wouldn't want a car that's really super popular, like the Nissan don't seems like

How is all that? I can get more specific if you'd like. Any questions?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Week 10 Total QB Rating

I might not review these rankings every week, but Georgia’s Jake Fromm continues to rise. Some say his coaches only allow him to make safe throws, but when you’re not behind there’s no reason to take chances. I’ve seen Fromm make every throw. No quarterback should try to force the ball into coverage, and Fromm is smart enough to stay away from making dangerous passes.  

1. 96.1 Khalil Tate Arizona
2. 92.3 Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma #5
3. 84.2 Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
4. 83.7 Lamar Jackson, Louisville
5. 83.2 JT Barrett, Ohio State
6. 82.2 Jake Fromm, Georgia #1
7. 79.7 Brandon Wimbush, Notre Dame #3
8. 79.3 Ryan Finley, NC State
9. 79.1 Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State

10. 78.4 John Wolford, Wake Forest
12. 77.3 Kelly Bryant, Clemson #4
13. 77.1 Jalen Hurts, Alabama #2
16. 76.2 Will Grier, West Virginia
19. 74.6 Jarrett Stidham, Auburn #10

20. 74.3 Trace McSorley, Penn State
21. 73.1 Danny Etling, LSU
22. 73.1 Drew Lock, Missouri
25. 72.8 Kyle Shurmur, Vandy
27. 72.3 Sam Darnold, Southern Cal (above)
28. 72.0 Jake Browning, Washington

30. 70.5 Malik Rosier, Miami #7
32. 70.3 Kenny Hill, Texas Christian #6
34. 68.8 Eric Dungey, Syracuse
37. 67.5 Stephen Johnson, Kentucky
41. 64.5 Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech
46. 64.1 Josh Rosen, UCLA
47. 63.8 TaQuon Marshall, Georgia Tech

50. 63.2 Jake Bentley, South Carolina
57. 60.3 Shea Patterson, Ole Miss
58. 60.3 Anthony Brown, Boston College
62. 58.1 Ben Dinucci, Pittsburgh
66. 56.4 Cole Kelley, Arkansas
76. 52.7 Sam Ehlinger, Texas

80. 51.0 Conner Manning, Georgia State
81. 50.8 Chazz Surratt, North Carolina
82. 50.6 Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
83. 50.1 Kurt Benkert, Virginia
86. 49.0 Shane Buechele, Texas
88. 48.6 Feleipe Franks, Florida
99. 43.1 Daniel Jones, Duke

100. 43.0 James Blackman, Florida State
113. 34.0 Zach Smith, Baylor

Thursday, November 09, 2017

The Early Bird

I rarely set my alarm. When I do I use the alarm on my phone. I have yet to change the phone on my side of the bed back to standard time. Makes it a challenge to look at the clock and recognize that I have to make a calculation in my head. This morning it bit me.

My phone was on the other side of the room, hooked up to the charger. I had woken up but knew it wasn’t yet time to get out of bed. I went back to sleep and had this detailed dream about work. I was moving into this huge office. It was old and not very nice, but it was big. It even had a closet. The old desk and closet had lots of old stuff in it: some cool and some junk. I was trying to move in, but there were people hanging around talking about work things. The Ogre was there. He thought the office was nice. He was making sure I didn’t throw out anything. Jonathan was there talking about work things, as usual. He wanted me to go to Charleston with him on Monday, return on Wednesday, go back on Thursday, and come back Friday. Made no sense, but that’s the way Jonathan rolls. Finally I said no.

Usually I’m out of bed before six. If not I’m “late” – arriving at my office well after 7 am. I woke up and my clock said 6:14. Ceil was already up. Usually she stays in bed until after I shower and dress and head downstairs.. I hopped out of bed and rushed through my usual routine. C was getting dressed and wanted me to take out the dog, but I was running late. Grabbed lunch, hopped in the car, and drove off.

As usual, I listened to my book on CD. I’m near the end of a book, and things are building up to a climax. At one point I do remember thinking traffic was light, but thought nothing of it. My commute is 19 miles of surface streets, but really only two red lights can be long: Azealia & Roswell at the river, and the left from Jimmy Carter onto Peachtree Industrial. I made it through both lights relatively quickly, so I didn’t have time to check my phone.

Now I was on the home stretch, headed north up PIB to the office. I passed the old Mizuno building, and I checked the flashing time and temperature sign. It read 6:03. That’s odd, I hadn’t realized the time on the sign hadn’t changed from Daylight Savings Time. Then I looked at the clock in my car. 6:08. I had just corrected the time on that clock yesterday (adding my usual five minutes). My phone confirmed it: I was running an hour early.

Oh well, there’s always something to do.

Last night I worked until six. Had a focus group at seven. Made it to the Perimeter Mall area by 6:30. Checked in. A lady was going around asking preliminary questions. I heard what she was asking, but when she got to me she didn’t ask as many questions. The room filled with people, and around 7:05 they were ready to start. They called off names and took all but four people, including me. Three of the four (including me) were the oldest of the group. More people had showed up than was needed, so we were paid and we got to go home early.

We had to wait for our checks to be readied, so it was after 7:30 when we left. Too late to drive to Cumming for the Hot Stove Meeting. I hit two thrift stores and the library on the way home.

Thinking about postseason awards:

ACC coach of the year: Miami’s Mark Richt is the obvious choice. Dabo lost to Syracuse.

ACC player of the year: Not Clemson’s Kelly Bryant. No one Clemson player has broken away from the pack. Not the Miami QB> Maybe the Miami receiver, number 8. Or GT QB TaQuon Marshall.

ACC freshman of the year: my vote goes to GT punter Pressley Harvin III.

SEC coach of the year: UGA’s Kirby Smart is the obvious choice. Saban is deserving every year.

SEC player of the year: Could go to one of several players. Like Clemson, there’s no one UGA player who has broken away from the pack. Perhaps Bama QB Jalen Hurts. Longshot: Miss State QB Nick Fitzgerald. Would be hard for Chubb and Michel to be voted in as a duo.

SEC freshman of the year: UGA’s Jake Fromm.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Disrupting Routines

Catalyst thought of the day: what routine in your life do you need to creatively disrupt? No use posing this question unless I’m willing to respond with an answer.

This is something I’ve given a little thought to recently – both my mornings and evenings could be more productive (that’s an understatement). In the mornings I need to get up earlier and exercise, and using the cool off time productively as well. In the evenings I need to watch less TV and (1) do the dishes, (2) exercise, (3) enter fewer contests, and (4) spend less time on my blog. Pictures make the blog more appealing and helps document that event, but they’re so much more time consuming. I do have some work arounds that could help. My recent laptop upgrade has made entering contests go faster, but I need to spend time selling on eBay instead. November and December are prime selling months, so I need to get a move on. 

Sunday School Lesson: Ephesians 5:25-33.  We reviewed the results of the Fall in Genesis 3 (shame, fear, hiding, blame) as well as the curse in verse 16 that resulted in power struggles and enmity between the husband and wife in marriage.  As John Piper said, Ephesians 5 is the rebuilding of what was destroyed in Genesis 3. 

Per Brian's notes on the board, in Ephesians 5 husbands are commanded to (1) love wife as Christ loved the Church (2) love wife as own body (3) hold fast to wife (4) love wife as self (5) nourish and cherish wife. Jesus is both (a) the example of how to love one's wife and (b) the source of strength to enable sacrificial love of one's wife.

Here is the application Brian wanted to be posted:
1.  The conflict in marriage traces back to the Fall.
2.  The remedy to the marital conflict is the gospel:  trust Christ, follow Christ, and allow Him to indwell and empower you in marriage.
3.  Husbands are to remember that leadership in marriage means to lead through sacrificial love.
4.  The husband's leadership includes the responsibility for (1) pursuing Christ individually (2) encouraging the wife's pursuit of Christ (3) making God's Word and serving God a priority in your family.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7   He encourages inserting your name in front of each description.

1 Peter 3:7  Likewise husbands live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. Brian encourages the men to memorize this verse this week.

This GT/UCLA basketball game in China is turning out weird. GT players suspended before the trip. Now Josh Pastner is being thrown under the bus by an ex-friend. One of the UCLA players arrested was the younger brother of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball. Coaches aren’t supposed to comment. Usually it’s hard to keep Ball’s father from commenting, but I haven’t heard anything (but I haven’t had my ear to the ground). The team managers might have to play.

UCLA’s head coach is Steve Alford. When Alford left New Mexico to take the UCLA job former GT guard Craig Neal moved from NM assistant to head coach. Neal had a great first year but was then fired after three so so seasons. I’d forgotten that after Mark Price graduated Neal stepped up and set an ACC single season record for most assists. At Tech Neal dated a girl I knew, whose son now dates our good friends’ daughter.  

Every Saturday the college football games seem to be epic. This Saturday will be great: GT/VT at 1 pm, GA/Auburn and Clemson/FSU at 3:30, and Miami/Notre Dame and TCU/Oklahoma at 8 pm. Interesting that of the top seven teams right now, I know several personal connections:

1. Georgia: Will & Anna
2. Alabama: several friends
3. Note Dame: a few friends
4. Clemson: Ceil
5. Oklahoma: Mary-Clayton
6. TCU: MC’s brother Thomas
7. Miami: Ceil’s Uncle Lennie taught there

Typical evening. Left work at 6:15. Dark drive home. Grilled chicken and tossed salad. Helped C with the dishes while watching the ESPN college football show. The Middle. The Voice. Blackish. The Mayor. Started to watch Kevin Saves the World but went to bed.