Rambling Spring Thoughts: Gators Lurking?


When a team plays its football in a division where one can point to each program and say, “they have X, but they’re tragically flawed at Y…”, there is reason for optimism from its fanbase. This applies to Tennessee and their ‘sexy pick’ (I hate that term) status for 2015, to a lesser extent South Carolina if they can find a quarterback and a defense, and it applies to the Florida Gators. With offensive guru Jim McIlwain at the helm (or, better yet, Coach Boom and Jeff Driskel out), the Gators COULD surprise in year 1.

The D Will Still Be Really, Really Good

Losing Dante Fowler to the NFL hurts, but he was often injured and even more often disappeared in his three years in Gainesville. The Gators still return the best corner in college football (Vernon Hargreaves III), a sideline-to-sideline linebacker (Antonio Morrison), and more blue-chippers on the DL (in no order, senior Jonathan Bullard, junior Bryan Cox Jr., and #1 prospect Cece Jefferson).

With Hargreaves and Jalen Tabor manning the corners, and Marcus Maye and Keanu Neal at safety, Florida’s secondary should be top-notch in an SEC that has lacked good DB play in recent years.

Can McIlwain Find a Rashard Higgins?

Higgins is a Colorado State receiver who famously (if you follow this stuff as close as I do) was THE weapon in McIlwain’s last CSU offense, totaling 1750 yards and 17 TD’s on 96 receptions in 2014. In 2013, the focal point was RB Kapri Bibbs, who scored 31 (!!!!) rushing TD’s in 281 attempts.

Clearly, the M.O. of McIlwain’s offense is to find a workhorse and get him the ball. Question is: does Florida have that on its roster?

The name I’ve seen tossed around the most this spring is WR Demarcus Robinson, who led the Gators with 810 yards and 7 TD last year. Those are impressive numbers for a guy without a quarterback, but (spoiler alert) he is still a guy without a quarterback.

Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor return at RB, but I’m not going to talk about them as I’m still trying to suppress memories of Jacksonville.

QB: Still the Issue

Treon Harris acquitted himself to the SEC pretty well for a true freshman. Even if a completion percentage below 50 qualifies as pretty well. Say what you will about Muschamp and former OC Jeff Roper’s offense, but they put him in a position to succeed as evidenced by 6 pass attempts against Georgia, and a 9:4 TD:INT ratio.

Scuttlebutt from a quick perusal of Gator sites (Chad Floyd: masochist so you don’t have to be!) is that former mega-recruit and redshirt freshman Will Grier looked better in spring ball. I genuinely expect him to be a problem in coming years, so hopefully a loaded early schedule like in 2014 will rattle the young gun’s confidence and ruin him as a player (crap, the schedule ain’t that bad).

The Schedule

Get ready to hear “Jim McIlwain: genius, national coach of the year” as summer turns to fall. The Gators open with New Mexico State and ECU at home, and open SEC play on the road against Kentucky before going for their 11th straight win against Tennessee. A 4-0 start is likely.

October represents a major step up in competition, as they go Ole Miss, at Missouri (who I still can’t peg and will later write about only to jinx them), at LSU, bye, Sunlit Libations Festival. If Grier has the confidence from a lackluster September schedule, a split of October puts Florida squarely in the running for the East. Because…

November isn’t much better than September. A trip to South Carolina on the 14th looms large, but otherwise they’re a win at home against Vandy from (obstensibly) a 6-2, 5-3 SEC season. They close with FAU and Florida State at home, and Florida State (mark my words) is going to take a MAJOR step back this year.

 

The defense is good, the offense is finally competently coached…Florida is primed to surprise this year. I hope I’m wrong.

NEXT: probably Auburn/Alabama before working back to the East.

NBA 2015: Top Dunks


If you’re an NBA junkie like me, you stayed up way too late to watch Good Josh Smith and Good Dwight Howard decimate the Mavs. If you didn’t, well you probably missed a good bit of the NBA season as a whole. Never fear, because with the playoffs come NBA video dump time, and here are the top 10 dunks from the 2014-2015 season.

Oh, and I haven’t forgotten that Coach Budz won Coach of the Year. I’ll be bragging about my coach/my predictions once all the hardware is handed out.

Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Dude You Podcast iTunes page, and leave a 5-star review to make sure I know it, and have your voice heard on the air. Follow me at @dpalm66.

DYC NBA Playoffs 1st Weekend + A Big(ish) Announcemet


Hello NBA Playoffs. RIP to my sleep schedule.

Philadelphia got it’s first taste of spring this weekend, and while I did enjoy a brief taste of sunlight and fresh air, I was consumed by these here NBA Playoffs. We did the preview thing last week, but I just want to talk about 3 things I saw Saturday and Sunday that will remind everyone why this is the greatest time of year.

1. DRose Back!

And not like cautious, his knee looks okay I guess maybe, kind of back. All the way back. Sure, he’s basically made of off brand legos, and could fall apart at any moment, but for one game, he was all the way back. 23 points matched the output of his LAST full playoff game…in 2012. I hope this was a glimpse of things to come, and not a tease of what could be, since the Bulls/Cavs war is looming in round 2 and is already DVR worthy.

2. Aron Bynes – Grand Opening, Grand Closing

If you didn’t stay up to watch Spurs/Warriors last night, I can’t blame you. But, Chad and I are sadists, and we both stayed up.

Chad-Daniel

I don’t know Aron Bynes. I have nothing against Aron Bynes. I enjoyed watching Blake Griffin ball all over Aron Bynes more than I thought possible. Some will commend Mr. Bynes for having the guts to challenge these three dunks. I don’t celebrate stupidity, so I’m not one of those people.

Buster.

3. General Surprises

Beno Udrih turned into an axe murderer. Anthony Davis shook off jitters early to play a lights out second half. Both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love made statements in their first postseason games. Dwight Howard looked more than competent, showing flashes of his well documented defensive greatness. Rondo hitting threes. The NBA. It’s FANNNNNNNNNNNNTASTIC.

Enjoy these next few weeks, because once playoff basketball and hockey end, you’re left with 3 months of pretending to like a sport that builds 80% of it’s appeal on weather and day drinking. Concepts we all enjoy yes, but not essential to a successful sporting enterprise.

Announcement Time

I’m moving back to Atlanta at the end of this month, and leaving the north east forever (again). I started writing on this site because I missed talking to my friends about sports, and knew that finding a UGA focused group in Philly would be damn near impossible to find. Fortunately, Chad had just started writing here, and I demanded he introduce me to the guy who ran the place to see if he needed an extra hand on the site.

Andrew and I hit it off, we collectively launched Dude You Podcast which has peaked as a top 100 Sports and Recreation podcast on iTunes. We’ve had our growing pains, but I’m insanely proud of where the podcast stands today. At the same time, writing here rekindled not just my love of talking about sports, but for writing in general. I’ve cranked out some of the best pieces in my life over these past 2 years for this site and others, but without DYC, I’d still be someone who used to write. Now, not only am I someone who currently writes, but also someone who gets pushed to write better by Andrew, Chad and Jason. Well, maybe not Chad.

So, why should you the reader care? Actually a damn good question, in that we’re just words on a webpage or voices on a podcast to most of you.

1. More writing. I’ll be less ‘geographically isolated hermit’ this football season, much more ‘finger (or other appendage) on the pulse of fans’ which will either add a layer of understanding to my writing…or drive me to mock our own fanbase more.

2. More podcasting. There’ll be much less fighting through Skype connections, and much more barnstorming a hungover Chad’s condo and shoving a microphone in his face.

3. More fun. The whole team has plans for events this fall, and being able to be there, whether it’s for a lock in at the College Football Hall of Fame, or running audio while Chad embarrasses himself on camera, more feet on the ground of these things is always a good thing.

There you have it. While I think the title is a bit misleading, I feel that I achieved a moderate sized announcement to help cap this blog off.

Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Dude You Podcast iTunes page, and leave a 5-star review to make sure I know it, and have your voice heard on the air. Follow me at @dpalm66.

DYC NBA Playoff Preview


I know you’re still basking in the greatness that was the DYC NBA Awards post, but there’s playoffs to be discussed, and not a whole lot of time in which to do it. Seriously, the last night of the NBA season started with two playoff spots up for grabs, and six EIGHT different seeds still undecided. So yes, while it is typical of this site and this author to wait as long as possible to write things, it’s not (entirely) our fault this time.

We’re gonna break down the teams that made it in, mock some teams that didn’t, and make some picks for the first round. Chad’s sent me another email of first round odds, and while we agreed on a lot of the awards last post, he’s gone full Joker with some of these predictions. Let’s get it started.

Close, but no cigar…

Oklahoma City Thunder: Their season was plagued by injury, as Durant went down, then came back too soon, went down again, and then had season ending surgery. Along the way, Serge Ibaka was lost for the year, Dion Waiters remained allergic to passing, Scotty Brooks fell asleep every night weeping holding a photo of James Harden, and Russell Westbrook evolved into a real life superhero. Still, they were a win away from sneaking into the playoffs, and even that may cost Scott Brooks his job. After next year, KD can opt out, and going cheap on the coach is a great way to lose a top 3 player of this generation.

Indiana Pacers: I actually have no Pacer jokes. I’m glad Paul George looks moderately healthy, and anytime Larry Legend succeeds, we’re all doing better. Honestly, I’m just really happy the Hawks don’t have to play them in the first round, because their defense has been on point all year, and PG playing himself into shape against my team scares me. There. I said it.

Eastern Conference

1. Atlanta Hawks (60-22): I may have mentioned them once or twice this season in celebration of their unprecedented greatness, but it bears repeating: they’ve been not only great on the floor all year, but an absolute must-watch from an entertainment perspective.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29): They were interesting and then they weren’t and then they were a juggernaut. They playoff run will be educational, as teams tend to lock down one-on-one players, but the Cavs have two of the top five one-on-one players in the world. The interesting thing that could decide how far they go will be the state of Kevin Love’s back for the next two months.

3. Chicago Bulls (50-32): Derrick Rose is only kind of hurt at this point, but tip of the cap to the Hawks for letting Chicago win the last game of the season. They’ll probably win the first round, and the WAR looming between Cleveland and Chicago should make hoops fans salivate.

4. Toronto Raptors (49-33): When Rose went down, and the Cleveland LeBrons started slow, it looked like the top of the East was ripe for pillaging. Too bad the Raptors are the Raptors, and faded after a hot start, maintaining home court only through the overall putridity of the East.

5. Washington Bullets (46-36): Look, they’re updating the logo and BEGGING us not to call them the Wizards. I’m just an early adopter. John Wall had his best year ever, coming off of Team USA and last year’s playoff run, and Washington wasted it with Scott Brooks East AKA Randy Wittman. And this 5 seed might let him keep his job. Damn shame.

6. Milwaukee Bucks (41-41): GREEK FREAK IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!111!!!!

7. Boston Celtics (40-41): Brad Stevens and his crew somehow got better after trading Rondo for spare parts, and muscled their way into the playoffs. They’re going to get murder-death-killed by the Cavs, but with a million first round draft picks this year, the playoff experience will actually help this squad.

8. Brooklyn Nets (38-44): Your punishment for costing the Hawks a lottery pick will be four games of me picking on Joe Johnson. You did this.

Western Conference

1. Golden State Warriors (67-15): Everything you’ve heard is true – they are a buzzsaw and a machine and a problem. They got to avoid Russy, and will be largely unchallenged until the conference finals where the Spurs wait like Shang Tsung: old but constantly dangerous.

2. Houston Rockets (56-26):James Harden has been automatic in his efforts to frustrate teams and get to the line easily for his squad. Teams will adjust to this winning strategy in the playoffs, but it is yet to be seen how effective that will be.

3. Los Angeles Clippers (56-26): Congrats to this team for overcoming adversity all year, whether it be injuries or a weak as hell bench. Coach Rivers did an outstanding job winning despite the deporable job GM Rivers has done, and his reward is the Spurs in round 1.

4. Portland Trailblazers (51-31): The Blazers have a worse record than the 5 and 6 seeds, but get a top four seed because of winning their division. However, because of their record, they do NOT have home court which is based on record. Confused? PERFECT.

5. Memphis Grizzlies (55-27): Injuries plummeted my favorite Western Conference team to this spot, and now they get to have an injury-off with the Blazers. I just want ZBo and Gasol in a Finals, is that too much to ask for?

6. San Antonio Spurs (55-27): It’s gotta stop at some point right? Apparently not.

7. Dallas Mavericks (50-32): They aren’t gonna bring back Rondo next year because he doesn’t fit in that offense. Still, if someone is going to stymie Harden’s gameplan in the playoffs, I bet Carlisle provides the blueprint in round 1.

8. New Orleans Pelicans (45-37): For those of you JUST tuning into the NBA, Anthony Davis is 1000% a must watch, and he’ll be the best player in the league for the next few years.

He’s only 22 years old. Yeah man.

Round 1

As I mentioned, Chad prepped this part via email. I will run his picks and comments, with any corrections or mocking to follow.

Eastern Conference

Hawks v. Nets: Chad says, “Okay, so this is slightly compelling, because bitter Hawks fans will boo Joe Johnson lustily, and had the Nets missed the playoffs the Hawks would be in the lottery with their pick. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez have had career revivals of sorts over the past 6 weeks, which makes the Nets potentially dangerous even as a #8.” Hawks in 6.

Daniel says, “Chad is intentionally trying to get me to overreact to his nonsense. I’m not falling for it.” Hawks in 4.

Cavaliers v. Celtics: Chad says, “Yawn, although these are the two best teams in the East since the trade deadline.” Cavs in 5

Daniel say, “This is some genius level trolling. Did Chad forget this is the first round?” Cavs in 4.

Bulls v. Bucks: Chad says, “an Jason Kidd coach? I think Jason Kidd can coach, as the team overcame the loss of #2 overall pick Jabari Parker and still made the playoffs comfortably, albeit a year ahead of their rebuilding schedule (again, gotta love the weak East). If Derrick Rose can re-integrate himself into the lineup, the Bulls become dangerous again. They at least win the series.” Bulls in 6.

Daniel says, “At least now I know he’s awake.” Bulls in 6.

Raptors v. Bullets: Chad says, “There was a time where the Wizards looked to be a legit 2 or 3 seed this year. That time has passed. The two most unpredictable teams in the league square off in the first round, and I’ll take the home court, because Toronto actually has a decent advantage there in the playoffs.” Raptors in 7

Daniel says, “Dammit. Chad’s right. The Drakes take this one.” Raptors in 7.

Western Conference

Warriors v. Pelicans: Chad says, “The league’s most entertaining offense and a top-5 defense against a team with a hobbled point guard and no playoff experience? I’ll give the Pelicans one ‘Anthony Davis does incredible things’ win.” Warriors in 5.

Daniel says, “That’s a lot of faith to put on a first time playoff kid.” Warriors in 4.

Rockets v. Mavs: Chad says, “I can’t say I fully trust Houston, for whatever reason. The Mavs have playoff Dirk, which is a terrifying thing, along with a balanced Chandler Parsons/Monta Ellis attack. GIVE ME THE UPSET!” Mavs in 7.

Daniel says, “Someone take Chad’s keys! He’s drunk!” Rockets in 5.

Clippers v. Spurs: Chad says, “The Spurs did what the Spurs do, playing on cruise control for 4 months before turning it on (and threatening for the #2 seed as recently as a week ago). I don’t bet against Pop.” Spurs in 6.

Daniel says, “Can Team President Doc fire GM Doc? Or does Coach Doc take the fall for this one?” Spurs in 6.

Trailblazers v. Grizzlies: Chad Says, “If Marc Gasol were healthy, this would be an easy Grizz ‘upset’. It’s worth noting that Memphis actually does have home court advantage because the Blazers get the higher seed and won their division, and sometimes the NBA makes no sense.” Portland in 6.

Daniel says, “CRIPPLE FIGHT!!!! Both teams are too injured to do much in a later series, but this will still be fun.” Grizzlies in 7.

There you have it. WAY too many words about the NBA Playoffs. Check back here Monday for a very special Dude You Crazy announcement, and maybe me cracking Billy King jokes.

The playoffs start Saturday at 12:30 with the Bullets taking on the Drakes Raptors on ESPN. Enjoy the games.

Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Dude You Podcast iTunes page, and leave a 5-star review to make sure I know it, and have your voice heard on the air. Follow me at @dpalm66.

 

 

 

Georgia Football: Little Brother Syndrome Strikes


Every year, around Tech game, we do the good work on this site to remind you that UGA/GT is NOT a rivalry. At all. A rivalry requires both parties to be equally invested in the outcome of a contest, and this hasn’t been the case for years. Every year, we are inundated by Tech fans who disagree with our assessment, and disregard the number of times we mention Tech outside of Tech week (it’s always zero). Today, their argument was rendered moot, and their status as little brother forever enshrined in…whatever material this is.

This is the Techiest thing that ever Teched.

Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Dude You Podcast iTunes page, and leave a 5-star review to make sure I know it, and have your voice heard on the air. Follow me at @dpalm66.

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