Monthly Archives: October 2013
It’s still college football season at DudeYouCrazy, but as a sports site we would be remiss to completely ignore the world’s second greatest sport as it kicks off another season tonight. Our transition back to football will hit full force this week as we preview Georgia/Florida and other entertaining games (they’re ALL entertaining in November), but first: basketball!
This will be as comprehensive (yet succinct) a preview as I can write in my afternoon break. Daniel Palmer and I podded individual team over unders (credit to him for the creative episode name). Let’s start with two GIFs to get you pumped:
HOW THEY’LL FINISH
The best thing about basketball (college or pro) is the intensity of their respective postseasons. Here’s my best guess for the playoff bracket at the end of the season (first round winners in bold, asterisks next to division champs)
|1||Chicago Bulls*||San Antonio Spurs*|
|2||Miami Heat*||Los Angeles Clippers*|
|3||Indiana Pacers||Oklahoma City Thunder*|
|4||Brooklyn Nets*||Golden State Warriors|
|5||New York Knicks||Memphis Grizzlies|
|6||Detroit Pistons||Houston Rockets|
|7||Washington Wizards||Denver Nuggets|
|8||Atlanta Hawks||Dallas Mavericks|
The top four teams in the East are head and shoulders above the rest, while the top six in the West could all conceivably make the finals. My pick of Houston over OKC is fueled by assuming Dwight Howard does big things and James Harden again makes the Thunder look stupid for trading him for nothing.
Conference semis: Chicago over Brooklyn, Miami over Indiana; San Antonio over Memphis, Clippers over Houston.
Conference finals: Chicago over Miami, Clippers over San Antonio.
YOUR 2014 NBA CHAMPIONS: The Chicago Bulls. I’m a believer in Derrick Rose doing unbelievable things, and with the number of tradeable assets they have, I expect the Bulls team you see hoisting the trophy to be markedly different from the one starting the season. And yes, I’m probably assuming too much of Doc Rivers’ coaching abilities in taking the Clippers out of the West, but three things work in their favor: 1) the best bench in the league; 2) Doc Rivers is NOT Vinny Del Negro; and 3) Chris Paul is committed to the franchise and is still the best pure point in the league.
RIGGIN’ FOR WIGGINS
A lot will be made of numerous teams ‘tanking’ for a shot to draft Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins next June. Philadelphia, Boston, and Phoenix are all-in on this strategy, as evidenced by the trades of Jrue Holiday, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Marcin Gortat since last time these teams played competitive basketball. They won’t play any competitive basketball this season, either.
They’ll be joined by hopeless teams that are still operating under the guise that they’re trying to improve, such as lottery stalwarts Orlando, Charlotte, Toronto, and Sacramento, as well as hopeless teams in Utah and Milwaukee.
With the trade of Gortat, Phoenix has debilitated its roster better than anyone else in hopes of landing atop the draft lottery. Notable consolation prizes, such as Dante Exum, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, and Aaron Gordon abound for the rest of the worst of the worst. My top 5 worst teams in the league are as follows:
One look at this list leads the conspiracy theorists to believe that Boston will win the #1 pick. I hate that it’s not homerish to put my Charlotte Horncats in the bottom 5, as they still desperately need a franchise-changer. Milwaukee doesn’t even know how bad it’s going to be yet, and spent money as if it intends to contend for a playoff spot this year. That’s cute.
My longshots here are twofold: first, the Atlanta Hawks. Danny Ferry has commendably gotten out of the contracts of Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams, and that tells me that he is smart enough to know they’re stuck in NBA purgatory. I could see him trading away the rest of the team in an effort to build around a new star. The other longshot is much, much more horrifying: the Los Angeles Lakers. Their opening day starting lineup includes Steve Blake, Wesley Johnson, and Shawne Williams. If you’re only a casual observer of the league, you may not know any of those names. They’re flanked by Steve Nash (40 years old) and Pau Gasol (33). It could get Rocky Dennis-ugly before Kobe gets back.
TAKIN’ HOME THE HARDWARE
Pretty simple title here. AWARDS!
MVP: Derrick Rose, Bulls. They won 45 without him last year. They’ll win over 60 with him, and he will join Kevin Durant in the “who’s the greatest basketball player on Earth not named LeBron James?” discussion.
Rookie of the Year: This is a historically weak rookie class. Even Wikipedia has it jacked up, as the players’ names are absurd nicknames. First overall pick ‘Lil B the Blessed God’ is going to get lost in the Cleveland rotation, so I’ll take Victor Oladipo, Magic as they continue to stockpile promising young players. God, this is a weak rookie class.
Sixth Man: Usual suspects such as J.R. Smith, Lou Williams, Tony Allen and others have stepped into more prominent roles with their teams, and sixth-man stalwarts like Manu Ginobili are too old. My first instinct is to take whoever comes off the bench between Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans of the Hornets, as this is usually a scoring guard’s award to lose (see also: Terry, Jason; Harden, James). I’m going to go with Jarrett Jack of the Cavs to win the award, as he should be featured prominently as a second-unit scorer and a closer for a team in desperate need of some veteran leadership.
Coach of the Year:
Mike D’Antoni, Lahahahahaha yeah right. The guy he shares a building with, Doc Rivers, is a glaringly obvious pick as he has one of the most talented rosters in the league and is qualified to be an NBA coach.
All-NBA Teams: the creme de la creme of the league, as the only surprises come from me forgetting an obvious player (or taking a gigantic leap of faith on someone)
|1st team||2nd team||3rd team|
|G||Derrick Rose, CHI||Tony Parker, SA||James Harden, HOU|
|G||Chris Paul, LAC||Stephen Curry, GS||Kyrie Irving, CLE|
|F||Kevin Durant, OKC||Carmelo Anthony, NYK||Greg Monroe, DET|
|F||LeBron James, MIA||Kevin Love, MIN||Blake Griffin, LAC|
|C||Dwight Howard, HOU||Marc Gasol, MEM||Tim Duncan, SA|
More intriguing is the
Chad’s too scared to make a bold pick Honorable Mention section. Here are some of the guys to watch, in no particular order:
G: Deron Williams, BRK; John Wall, WAS; Russell Westbrook, OKC (would’ve been in if I had faith in him playing most of the season); Damian Lillard, POR; Andre Iguodala, GS; Jrue Holiday, NO. Glaring exception alert: Kobe Bean Bryant. I don’t think he gets back (at least to 100%) until too late, for too bad a team, to crack the All-NBA teams.
F: Rudy Gay, TOR (ton of shots); Josh Smith, DET (took his frontcourt-mate as my boldest pick); Al Horford, ATL; LaMarcus Aldridge, POR; Harrison Barnes, GS (if he maintains the leap he made in the playoffs); Paul George and David West, IND; Z-Bo, MEM; Dirk Nowitzki, DAL (got squeezed for Greg Monroe. I’ll regret that.)
C: Such a not-in-vogue position in this league. However, a few guys could change that: Roy Hibbert, IND; Tyson Chandler, NY; Jonas Valanciunas, TOR; Andre Drummond, DET; Nikola Pekovic, MIN; Pau Gasol, LAL; Anthony Davis, NO.
30 FOR 30
A quick blurb on each team that plays professional basketball in the United States (or Toronto):
Atlanta: I can’t figure out the direction of this team, as re-signing incredibly average point guard Jeff Teague was a mistake in my humble opinion. With Lou Williams and Kyle Korver flanking him, this team could be atrocious defensively.
Boston: Jeff Green is their best player until (if) Rajon Rondo returns. I’m assuming they trade Rondo in order to increase their odds of winning the lottery.
Brooklyn: If everything goes right, this season could work out well for them. A starting 5 of Williams/Joe/Pierce/KG/Lopez is probably the best in basketball, and Andrei Kirilenko is taking an $8 million (wink wink) pay cut from the Russian owner to come off their bench.
Charlotte: Al Jefferson immediately assumes the role of best player in franchise history. /drinks
Chicago: D-ROSE BACK BABY! And, yeah. They’re gonna be good.
Cleveland: Nobody believes Andrew Bynum will ever be an effective center again. If he is, I’ll regret not having them making the playoffs over Detroit (or Washington or especially Atlanta). Deep, young and talented at 4 of 5 positions.
Dallas: Went from NBA champs to NBA purgatory as soon as they traded Tyson Chandler to NYC. They’ll be stuck there again this year.
Denver: The most athletic team in the NBA lost its two best athletes and fired the coach who let them run. They’re still talented, but Brian Shaw had to fail all of those job interviews prior to this one for a reason, right?
Detroit: The ‘could beat the Heat one night and lose to Philly the next’ team this year. I’ll watch them with interest because they have SO much individual, young talent.
Golden State: Will be the best watch in basketball this year. Curry/Thompson/Iguodala/Barnes/Bogut closing out games is terrifying.
Houston: The Harden/Howard pick and roll with Lin and Parsons ready to catch and shoot could be unstoppable.
Indiana: Maybe the most boring good team in the league. But I like good basketball. If Paul George makes the leap, look out.
Lob City is not dead. Not by a long shot. Probably my second-favorite team to watch this year.
LA Lakers: LOL
Memphis: They play ugly, they win ugly. They need a shooter to win a little bit prettier and get over the hump in the West.
Miami: Two-time defending champs could be on their last run, because D-Wade is trending towards corpse status and LeBron could opt out this year. Then there’s always this:
Milwaukee: The team I care LEAST about in basketball this year.
Minnesota: Love and Rubio played 28 minutes together last year, as proof that crimes against humanity still exist in America.
New Orleans: Another fascinating study in ‘there’s only one basketball on the court’, as they have at least 4 players who would like to get 20 shots a night.
New York: If the NBA were a ‘which team, standing on each other’s shoulders, would make the tallest building’ league, the Knicks would run away with it. You can’t play Chandler, Melo, Amare, Bargnani, and all those other tall dudes at the same time, guys.
Oklahoma City: I hope for a world where Kevin Durant, not Russell Westbrook, leads the league in shots. And I say this as a guy who likes Russell Westbrook.
Philadelphia: Palmer is going to get some cheap tickets this year. Nerlens Noel’s high-top fade on the bench while taking the year off is the most compelling aspect of this team.
Phoenix: They don’t have a high-top fade on their bench. All they have going for them is mild winters.
Portland: Sneaky-good team added a sneaky-good bench and could (hint) sneak into the playoffs.
Sacramento: I was hoping this would be the year we had a pro sports team in Las Vegas. Sigh.
San Antonio: 55 wins, Gregg Popovich is a genius, Tim Duncan doesn’t age, nothing changes in the NBA’s Groundhog Day team.
Toronto: I just hope they trade for Steve Nash this year so Canadians can enjoy something about this team for the first time in over a decade.
Utah: Replaced two decent bigs with two young bigs who are immensely more talented than their (talented) predecessors. Unfortunately, there’s not much else to be excited about. And they play in Utah.
Washington: The caveat *if John Wall stays healthy* is going to be a major theme in the Capitol this year.
The “Ides of October”: A Little Perspective and Seven Reasons Why This Season Can (and Should) Still Be Worthwhile
I haven’t written in a couple of weeks. And it is not because I haven’t had anything to say. It’s just that I, like everyone else, have been as disappointed and baffled since this month began. Call it the “Ides of October” if you will–I can’t explain the strange occurrences that have befallen Georgia any other way. It has been my goal over the last two weeks to take a few steps back try and make heads or tails of it all without getting too caught up in the heat of the moment, giving myself half a chance to find some meaning in everything that has happened.
So how am I doing with that?
I mentioned in my last article how I saw this season as a Hero’s Journey for our Dawgs, and therein I was cautious to note that while we’d faced a lot of challenges up to that point (just after barely emerging victorious from Tenneseee), I couldn’t say whether or not we’d actually hit the abyss, or the nadir (a word I’ve seen used in at least three different articles this week, one of which was written by our own Daniel Palmer–bravo for GRE words!) at that time.
Things did get worse, as we all know. The first home loss in 2 years. Special Teams mistakes costing us dearly and at most inopportune moments. Starters dropping like bowling pins. A loss to Vandy in Nashville, something that hadn’t happened since the first Bush administration. I can scarcely remember a Georgia team that came into the season with such high expectations and hopes only to have so much taken away from them (not even the pre-season #1 2008 squad could compare to this letdown). Heartbreaking, to say the least.
After the disaster last weekend, it was pretty easy to see what would come next. You didn’t need to dig too deep online to find the fan furor, and the degree to which it burgeoned was not just typical–it was pushing legendary. That, I fear, was what upset me the most, far worse than the loss itself. But after seeing post after post all over the virtual world about who was to blame, who needed to go, and how we would never win a National Championship with our current coaching staff, I’d had quite enough.
It is highly worth noting, of course that there were just as many messages out there of support and love for the program. I don’t deny this at all. It is is nearly always the case, though, that the “squeaky wheel” fan seems to command the most attention, sadly.
After nearly getting to the point where I wasn’t sure if I needed a bottle of Maalox or a bottle of Tequila, I had an epiphany: Spending any of my finite time on Planet Earth reading endless opinions of frustrated and (quite frankly) spoiled and insolent fans wasn’t going to change any game’s outcome, was not going to cheer me up any, and would definitely not contribute anything to help our team on down the road. There was no point in getting involved and trying to defend my beloved Dawgs against whiners who wouldn’t be happy unless we downed every gridiron foe 70-0. (These people would be well advised to revisit the ancient and timeless philosophy of Plato and the “Leaky Jar”, and probably wouldn’t be swayed by anything that the likes of I would have to say.) So I deemed it time to just let it all go. Nope, no more letting the internet trolls ruin my football season. Or anyone else, for that matter.
I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t understand what this program means or that I don’t want the best for our players. Believe me, I woke up last Sunday morning with a devastating hangover that had nothing to do with anything that came in a bottle. I’ve been a part of this community for a long time (as have many of you, no doubt), and I want a National Championship as much as anybody. Truly. And this year I thought, like many of us, that it just might come to be.
And then what happened? Ouch.
But folks, it’s time to stop complaining and start engaging. And start having some fun again this season. There are plenty of reasons why we should, too. Some might balk at my overly optimistic views right now, and they’re of course entitled to their opinion. But I have seven reasons why I’m going to live out the rest of this season a (reasonably) happy camper, come what may, and I’d invite you to join me. I give you this:
—Just because most (or rather, all) of our pre-season hopes are no longer mathematically possible does not mean that it is time to quit. It does not mean that there’s nothing left for us. Any time you have Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech on the road ahead automatically means there is plenty to play for. We shouldn’t even be bothering thinking about “next year” right now, either. All we have is this moment, this season, and five more games to play. No more. No less. Only complete losers would tank right now.
—We can’t be so self-centered as to think that we are the only one of over 100 D-1 football teams who set the lofty goal of an National Championship for the end of the year. Sure, we have the talent to win it all (when we’re full-strength, that is!). There’s no question about that. But are we the only ones with competent players? Are we the only ones with zealous and demanding fan bases? And are we the only ones looking to claim the ultimate prize, the likelihood of which hangs in the balance with every single snap of the ball? Of course not. At the beginning of the book “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, the Wizard Prime Minister visits the Muggle Prime Minister to warn him of the Dark Lord’s return. The Muggle minister, wondering why the wizards couldn’t just stop this Voldemort guy, asserted, “But for Heaven’s sake, you’re wizards! You can do magic! Surely you can sort out–well–anything!” to which the Wizard Prime Minister replied, “The trouble is, the other side can do magic too, Prime Minister.”
And if you were at the Mizzou game, you saw the opposition’s magic for yourself. I daresay Vandy brought some magic of their own last weekend. We were the antagonist in their stories of glory. Never a fun role to play. But it happens.
—Stop worrying about things that can’t be controlled. We can sit here and hope and pray that Mizzou loses three times. But let’s face it: it’s not likely. Sure, it would be great to have their “help” in getting back to Atlanta (not to mention getting everyone else in the SEC East to contribute to our cause) but it can’t be counted on. It never–and I mean NEVER–helps to spend your time worrying about what some other team is going to do unless you’re playing them. I say forget about Atlanta for right now. Just focus on the next game. Period.
–Be cautious of criticizing CMR too much. Most Georgia fans would agree that Vince Dooley was the best coach we’ve ever had. I’ll admit to being a big fan of his myself. But it shouldn’t escape anyone’s recollection that Coach Dooley was in charge for 16 years before winning his first–and only–National Title. It should also be noted that he probably “should’ve” had two if not three more National Titles (I often reference ’76, ’81, and ’82), and that his greatest success came largely with the presence of that once-in-a generation (if not once-in-a-lifetime) player, #34. So if you asked me, I’d say CMR isn’t too far off course when looking at the big picture.
–Think that 33 years is too long to wait for a National Title? Think again. Unless you’re Alabama, chances are that if you’re an SEC team you’ve been a bridesmaid for a very long time. LSU waited 45 years after their title in 1958 for their next one in 2003 (of course, they did have another in 2007, but one might argue that it was because of the ever-bizarre BCS computers that they as a two-loss team even got a shot at the title that year). Tennessee had a drought of 47 years between their big prizes in 1951 and 1998 (the 1967 National Title claim made by UT not being accepted by the major polls), and have had yet to make their case for a return to the top since the new millennium began. Then there’s Auburn, who waited a whopping 53 years between the titles of 1957 and 2010 (the latter being purportedly an ill-gotten gain, but that is another story…). So as you can see, except for a few institutions out there, this National Championship thing can be a little bit hard to come by. It’s a laudable goal, and it should be everyone’s at the beginning of the season, but if it doesn’t happen….there’s nothing else to do but finish the season try again next year. End of story.
–You have to be tough to love this game. Sometimes as tough as the players. I get how much it hurts to lose. But it is pretty obvious that losing is sometimes a result of playing! (That’s Vern and Gary logic for you, right? Ha!) So friends, don’t plan on being a fan if you can’t handle losing. It happens. Even to Nick Saban. Don’t be a wimp. Stop whining. And get back on the horse and stick with your team. They have to show up for the next game, so you should too.
–-And Most of All……We have a Cocktail Party to go to!! In case you had forgotten, next weekend there is a pretty big deal going on in Jacksonville. Personally, I couldn’t care less about the record of either team. When one has the chance to beat Florida, no matter what the landscape is for the rest of the season, get up for it. I can’t think of a better team to take out our frustrations on. And moreover, it’s….well, it’s the Georgia/Florida game! That ought to say it all…….(and I’ll be getting into this particular contest in a lot more detail next week, so stay tuned!)
So that’s that. A little of mathematical reality combined with a lot of optimism and a little gentle smack down. And a healthy dose of gratitude for Football and all of its lessons.
As Chris Conley so correctly Tweeted, “When someone asks you how you’re doing, reply ‘it’s the best day of my life’ because you are alive. Your outlook on life is all you control.”
And on that note, I intend to enjoy a bye week and watch some other teams get knocked around this weekend. And I strongly suspect that the Cocktails just might start flowing early this year!
Am I just too happy? Too dismissive of the facts? Or just giddy at the prospect of a beach weekend that I have taken leave of my senses? Let me know! Next week I’ll share some of my favorite Georgia/Florida experiences and classic moments (and I look forward to hearing about yours, too!).
–Jennifer Rohner, Chief Cultural Correspondent
Andrew Hall (@DudeYouCrazy on the Tweets) is joined by Daniel Palmer (@dpalm66) and Chad the Intern (Chad_Floyd) for a spin around the SEC and the rest of the college football landscape. Topics include: Florida State’s destruction of Clemson, this week’s games, Saban to Texas rumors and even a chance encounter with Dr. J. Not discussed: Georgia Bulldogs football.
That’s all I got/
UGA is only favored by 3 against bye this week. I would take the points if gambling were legal, if only because our special teams can screw up an off week. Been trying to muster up some hate for Florida Hate Week, but facing a bad offense and a lights out defense seems like we’re headed to a rock fight of epic proportions. Unless Gurley makes it back. Can he punt for us too? Just curious.
Around college football, my Joker-esque call for chaos has been answered and in spades. For some reason, it feels like the chaos was focused on the SEC, as young J. Football, the Old Ball Coach, the Mad Hatter and Coach Boom all felt the sting of defeat. I hope that this weekend spreads out the nonsense and that one team in particular feels it’s wrath. This week, we’re all (checks Ohio State’s schedule)…Nittany Lions? Sure, whatever.
I think it’s adorable that Dabo Sweeny has used all his media availability this week not to discuss whatever mediocre ACC team he’s playing this week (it’s Maryland), but instead to tell anyone who will listen that his team is just as good as FSU’s, even though Clemson got boat raced at home in probably the best atmosphere they have ever seen. Meanwhile, Florida State is all like:
And we all saw it.
Here be the NFL picks you want (need?) and if you think I’m getting better as the season goes on, Greg Oden dunked in an NBA game last night. Anything is possible. Home teams in bold.
Panthers (-7) over Buccaneers
So I think I’ve figured out the Panthers; they’re this years good-bad team. They’re better than the other bad teams, so they win those games convincingly. But, they lose to good teams. Now, I would normally take the points here on these ugly, poorly played Thursday Night Games, but I’m pretty sure that Schiano’s only still employed because here was no point in firing him on a short week. But, I bet with 5 more years, he’d have this team all turned around.
Lions (-3) over Cowboys
Honestly, if the Eagles receivers caught any one of the 9 drops I saw last week, the story isn’t about Dallas’ perseverance. It would instead have been the official opening of Tony Romo roasting season, especially since the temperature has started dipping in the north-east (damn you region I live in!). Romo’s gonna keep this game close, and then he;s going to throw a pick that seals the Lions winning by 4. And Suh might eat a guy.
Chiefs (-7) over Browns
Jason Campbell, come on down! You’re next on America’s favorite game show, Name That Cleveland Browns Quarterback! And since the brass has apparently given up on Weedon, and the only person taking Jeff Garcia’s comeback talk seriously is Jeff Garcia, this is what we got. Well, that and this:
I swear, if I could communicate in just gifs, I would.
Patriots (-7) over Dolphins
Ignore the fact that Tom Brady is looking older by the second and embrace a the fact that Gronk tends to Gronk, and join me in holding on to the belief that not only is Brady not washed up, but that losing the top three defenders on an already questionable defense will serve not to sink this team but to further cement the greatness that is Bill Belichick. Yeah, don’t bet this game.
Saints (-11.5) over Bills
NOT ENOUGH POINTS.
Eagles (-6) over Giants
Full disclosure: I watched 0.0 minutes of the atrocity that was Giants/Vikings, but talking to Giant fan friends, they were mystified they won at all, citing bad throws, worse drops, and a still lackluster offensive line. Meanwhile, this Eagles defense gets better every week, and as long as Vick can stay healthy enough for Barkley to be a non-factor, this looks like a win for the birds.
Niners (-16) over Jaguars
So to build a fanbase in England, we’re going to continue sending them winless football teams. Honestly, can we just admit that this is an openly antagonistic stance against the Brits? It would make me much happier.
Jets (+7) over Bengals
Andy Dalton has back to back 300 yard games. The Jets haven’t allowed a 300 yard passer all year. Somethings gotta give, but I just don’t think it gives enough for a more than 7 point win for the home team.
Raiders (-3) over Steelers
Why can’t both these teams be on bye weeks as opposed to making someone watch this?
Washington Professional Football Team (+14) over Broncos
HEAR ME OUT! This Denver defense has been underwhelming to say the least, and RG3 and company have gotten better every week. Sure, Peyton’s gonna get his points, as Washington doesn’t have the personnell to harass Bronco receivers like Indy did on Sunday night. It’s gonna be a track meet, and I bet RG3 stays within 14.
Falcons (+2) over Cardinals
I STILL NEED THIS.
Packers (-10) over Vikings
(insert this week’s Viking quarterback) just plain isn’t good enough to hang with Mr. Discount Double Check. And especially if Adrian Peterson’s hamstring is still hurting, don’t count on (insert this week’s Viking quarterback) to be able to bail this team out. Absolute blood bath, and just hope that (insert this week’s Viking quarterback) doesn’t get hurt. Again.
Seahawks (-11) over Rams
I bet this game was a whole lot more attractive when they booked it. This is a Rams team that was feisty last year against both Seattle and San Francisco, but this year they’re going to be rolling out Kellen Clemons under center. Even amidst reports that they reached out to Favre last week, the question must be asked: are we sure Clemons isn’t better than Sam Bradford? I’m not.
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