Friday, March 6, 2009

Diamond Dogs go for 10-0 Start

The Georgia baseball team will be looking for its first 10-0 start in school history as it takes on Quinnipiac tonight. The team tied the school best start at 9-0 with a victory over Wofford earlier this week. Trevor Holder is on the mound tonight for the Dawgs, looking to start the year 3-0. The team did receive some bad news, as #2 starter Alex McCree will miss his scheduled start on Saturday due to a case of Mono. For the love of God, no one drink after him or else the whole team will be sick.The weather is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend. I will be heading to the game on Saturday. If you have nothing better to do, get up to Athens and support the team who has recently moved up to #2 in the Collegiate Baseball rankings.

Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Georgia 90, Kentucky 85

Normally, after sitting through a game earlier in the season where we get utterly destroyed by a team, I would have no problem rubbing it in that we beat them later on to get our revenge in one of the most historic arenas in college basketball (and thereby potentially cramping that team's plans for making the NCAA tournament).

But, I'm not going to do that. Nope. Kentucky fans are great people, and if you don't believe me, read
this post from BFR and mine's road trip to Lexington last November.

Kentucky fans are some of the best, and I'm going to hold back just for them.

Go Dawgs.

Florida Sucks.

If You Could Bring One Player Back, Who Would it Be?

The 2009 season will see Georgia attempt to replace a number of proven players in their starting line up. What would Mark Richt do if he could replace one of those holes with one of his former players? Would he pick one of his past quarterbacks to take over the reigns for Stafford, try to replace Knowshon Moreno with the starter before him, or bring back a player to fill the most glaring needs on defense? Here are some likely candidates that Richt would consider:

David Greene - Quarterback 2001-2004
With the prospects of starting a 5th year senior with limited playing time or a true freshman, Richt would be glad to welcome back the four-year starter with most wins of any quarterback in college football history. Greene would bring a calming leadership to the offense and would take advantage of receiver AJ Green with a combination of quick outs and play action passes.

David Pollack - Defensive End - 2001-2004
While Justin Houston showed some promise and Demarcus Dobbs made a couple of amazing plays, overall the defensive end position let the Dawgs down in 2008. Plugging back in a three time All-American who is the Georgia career leader in sacks would help solidify the pass rush and bring the fire back to the defense.

Thomas Brown - Running Back - 2004 -2007
A solid player during his four year career, Brown found great success when paired with Knowshon Moreno during his senior season. Pairing him with Caleb King or Richard Samuel, the Dawgs would have a nice 1-2 punch that they lacked in the '08 season.

Paul Oliver - Corner Back - 2004-2006
Oliver's career (at Georgia) was cut short when he failed to qualify academically for the 2007 season. After closing the 2006 season by shutting down Calvin Johnson, Oliver had finally reached the potential he showed coming into college. With Asher Allen gone, Oliver would provide experience that is certainly lacking in the current group of DBs.

Ben Watson - Tight End - 2002 -2004The 2008 season saw the Georgia offense forget what had been a staple of previous Mark Richt teams: throwing to the tight end. Richt's tenure has produced Leonard Pope and Randy McMichael,but the most balanced of the group was Ben Watson. The threat of a pass catching tight end over the middle would help create better match ups for the outside receivers like AJ Green and Tavarres King.

If I were Mark Richt and I had my choice from this list, I would take David Pollack. The chance to team Pollack on a defensive line that already includes Geno Atkins and Jeff Owens would be amazing. The amount of defensive pressure these three would create would generate rushed throws from opposing quarterbacks and seal up holes for opposing running games. Take the survey and let us know which player you would love for the Dawgs to have back.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

College Basketball's Biggest Cheaters..... Who Got Caught: A Series

With the Madness of March right around the corner, BNE has decided to take a look back at some of college basketball's biggest cheaters of all time who got caught, because we all know if you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'. I'm going to get this disclaimer out of the way right now..BNE is a college football blog. While we do follow college basketball to an extent, by no means do we follow it religiously. We are SEC fans after all.

This post will look at some of the "dis"honorable mentions that didn't make Earl's Top 5 College Basketball Cheaters Who Got Caught of All Time. The next post will cover #5 on the list.

While this list will consist of major Division I-A basketball coaches, let's not forget some of the boosters behind the scandals. And while most coaches like to claim that they never knew what was going on with said boosters, most college fans know that those claims are full of you-know-what.

There are three coaches on Earl's Dishonorable Mention List: Jim Harrick, Eddie Sutton and Kelvin Sampson.

Obviously, we are all familiar with Harrick. There was some debate to include Harrick in the top 5, but ultimately nobody could be pushed out of the top 5 for him. Harrick has a checkered past at three separate universities, UCLA, Rhode Island and Georgia, falsifying expense reports, paying players bills and making academic tests insanely easy. We all know about the damage he did at Georgia, providing Jarvis Hayes with a cardboard box (a little inside joke). But, in all seriousness, damn you Tony Cole (and Jeremy Schaap, who still has a long way to go to catch his father). It's really a shame because Harrick was such a good coach, leading four schools to the tournament, the three mentioned earlier plus Pepperdine.

Junior contemplating just how much a 3-pointer is worth? A coaching career?

Eddie Sutton is one of only a few coaches with more than 800 overall wins. Like Harrick, he has had tremendous success at a number of schools, taking four schools to the tournament, Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State. Sutton's indiscretions at Kentucky in the mid-80s, though, land him on this list. It all came to a head when an Emery Worldwide package broke open and $1,000 in $50 bills jumped out in transit to high school recruit Chris Mills. The package was from Kentucky assistant Dwane Casey. Sure, payment of recruits goes on all the time, but the cash money literally fell out of the envelope. That's just too good of a story not to make this list. The Wildcats were very close to the death penalty...again (a little foreshadowing to the list's #3 Biggest Cheater of All Time). Sutton and athletic director Cliff Hagan were forced to resign.

I coach the basketball, you seal the envelopes. You got that Dwane? I swear, I ask you to do one damn thing...

Kelvin Sampson is just dumb. Sampson gets fired from Indiana for committing the same infraction he committed at Oklahoma only two years earlier. Really!?! Really!?! Ultimately, Sampson would've never been on this list if he had just committed the infraction once. Sampson placed more than 550 illegal phone calls to recruits while at Oklahoma. The NCAA barred Sampson from recruiting off campus and making phone calls for one year. And yet Sampson made the same mistake at Indiana, making impermissable phone calls to Eric Gordon and other IU recruits. Shame on Indiana for hiring Sampson and shame on Georgia for hiring Harrick. Both schools got what they deserved.

Well played,, well played...

Speaking of Harrick, he learned his basketball from the legendary UCLA coach John Wooden and Wooden's famous Pyramid of Success. While I haven't included Wooden on this list because he's known today for his trust and honesty, there were some questions during UCLA's run of 10 national championships in the 1960s and 1970s. The questions mainly circled around Sam Gilbert, known as Wooden's money bag man during the run. Gilbert, who never graduated from UCLA, was a millionaire contractor in the Los Angeles area. And the NCAA did sanction UCLA for Gilbert's interaction with Bruin basketball players, but never vacated any national championships, and only after Wooden had retired.

The fact is that UCLA went largely unpunished because the NCAA didn't want to bring down its marquee team. The same reason why Notre Dame football and Alabama football went largely unpunished during the same time period. Many of Wooden's players claim that Wooden didn't really know what Gilbert was doing for the players.

Many coaches in southern California knew better, including our #2 Biggest Cheater of All Time, who was coaching Long Beach State at the time, claiming that Gilbert wanted to pay one of his stars just because he liked the way he played. "You couldn't be more obvious than Sam Gilbert," said the former Long Beach State coach.

Sorry UCLA fans (because I know so many UCLA fans read BNE), but if you're going to do a post on the biggest cheaters, you can't avoid the biggest programs just because a sainted coach looked the other way.

Coming later this week: #5 Clem Haskins, Minnesota

Monday, March 2, 2009

Great Weekend for Georgia Baseball

Just as the football team traveled out west to the desert to take on Arizona State this past fall, the Diamond Dogs packed their bags and headed to Tucson to take on Arizona this weekend. Georgia was out to a fast 5-0 start after back-to-back series sweeps of Youngstown State and Presbyterian. However, being this far from Athens and facing a Wildcats team that traditionally competes for the Pac 10 championship, the prospects of another sweep were not that high.

Game 1 - Georgia 11, Arizona 5
The Dawgs got another solid outing from #1 starter Trevor Holder and the offense took care of the rest as they opened the series with a victory on Friday night. Nine different batters had a hit, including Rich Poythress (2-5, 3 RBI and 2 runs scored) and Lyle Allen (2-4, HR, 2 RBI).

Game 2 - Georgia 12, Arizona 5
Georgia jumped out to a lead early by scoring 8 runs in the first 4 innings of the game. Joey Lewis had 5 hits including a solo homerun to lead the Bulldogs offense. Saturday's game also saw the return of CF Matt Cerione from suspension. Cerione had four hits including a two singles, a double, a triple, and 4 RBIs. Alex McCree improved his record to 2-0, giving up only 3 hits in 5 innings of work.

Game 3 - Georgia 10, Arizona 5
Freshman LF Jonathan Taylor continued his solid play with 3 hits and 3 runs scored. Through 8 games, Taylor is hitting an amazing .583 with 13 runs scored and 6 stolen bases. Matt Cerione and Pich Poythress also chipped in 3 hit days for the Dawgs. Michael Palazzone picked up his first career win with three innings of scoreless relief pitching.

Just how impressive was the Bulldogs' offense this weekend? Said Arizona head coach Andy Lopez, "I haven't seen (an offense) like that in a long, long time." And this is coming from a coach whose team was preseason #1 in 2008.

With the three-game sweep of Arizona, the Bulldogs improved their record to 8-0. This is their best start since beginning 8-0 during the 2000 season and second best start ever (they won 9 in a row to start the 1911 season). The Dawgs next take on Wofford and then Quinnipiac in a series in Athens this weekend.

This weekend was also good for former Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham. When I turned on the Dodgers-White Sox spring training game that was on MLB network yesterday, none other than Gordon Beckham was up to bat. The announcers were saying a lot of good things about Beckham, wearing the "rookie special" number 80. Beckham hit a solo homerun to left field, the first in Camelback Ranch history (the spring training home of the White Sox). Read more about the homerun here.