From the "Les knows best Studios," here we go...
Georgia head coach Mark Richt looks on from the sidelines during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009. LSU won 20-13. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Circling the wagons at UGA
Our TFP UGA ace David Paschall had a very interesting story from Athens in Wednesday's sports section about Bulldogs coach Mark Richt's increasingly warming chair. Read it here.
There were two eye-popping stats/trends from Paschall's report: First, he wrote "Upsetting South Carolina this week would mean more than defeating Boise State since it's a Southeastern Conference contest, but a loss would leave Richt with his first 0-2 start as well as a 15-15 record in his last 30 games." Later, he pointed out that "South Carolina finished ahead of Georgia in the SEC East standings last season for the first time under coach Steve Spurrier. The Gamecocks are seeking their third win over the Bulldogs in five years, which would be a first in a series Georgia has dominated by a 46-15-2 margin."
We'll have more later this week on the magnitude of this game, but it's hard to call this one anything short of a must-win. Plus, the players know the stakes, and it's always interesting — and very telling — to see the kind of an effort a team gives in a game that the coach really has to have.
Philadelphia Phillies Placido Polanco slides under Atlanta Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez whose throw to first was late allowing Chase Utley a base hit during the seventh inning of a baseball game with the Atlanta Braves, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Phillies won 6-3. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
And then there was one
The Braves fell to Philadelphia 6-3 on a rain-soaked Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies, who stretched their NL East lead to 9-1/2 games, are the class of baseball right now. And last night, the Braves could manage but two runs against rookie Vance Worley, who likely won't even get a postseason start.
Yes, Dan Uggla did hit his 33rd homer, but the offense was limited for the second straight night. (Sidenote: Uggla now has a 10-game hitting streak and his hit in 50 of his 54 games since July 5, when we decided to restart his season. He was the NL player of the month in August and has raised his average from an anemic .173 on July 4 to .237 this morning.)
But back to the team and today's growing importance of today's series finale against Roy Oswalt. No Braves player wants to head to a destined postseason date with the Phillies hearing about a late season sweep — especially when Roy Halladay never took the mound. Ouch.
Yes, the Phillies lead the season series by just two games (8-6), but a win today is needed.
Texas A&M's Mike Kazmierski (92) celebrates with members of the corps after defeating second-ranked Nebraska in College Station, Texas, Saturday, Oct. 10, 1998. Texas A&M won 28-21. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Talks becoming action
Texas A&M is expected to announce today that the Aggies will join the SEC for the 2012 football season, Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported this morning.
We know what you're thinking: "Duh, this has been talked about for months." And yes, it has. But if the Aggies make the announce today, the other cleats will drop quickly. And there has to be another addition to the SEC, because just A&M gives the league 13 teams, and a 13-team football schedule would be tougher to understand than Lou Holtz at a whispering convention.
So who's next? Is it Missouri? Could it be West Virginia? Could it be a mad-dash land grab West that could include Oklahoma and others? Could it be the SEC is going to expand to 20 and break free? Could it be that the SEC will add the Aggies and contract the Commodores? Could it be the SEC adds the Aggies and petitions to join the NFL?
Right now there are a lot of options in play.
Here are our views:
Best move: Add Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas.
Simplest move: Add West Virginia, that way there's an addition to the West and the East.
Most speculated move: Add Missouri, but then which team heads to the East? Is it Auburn, and if so which legendary rivalry comes to an end, the Iron Bowl or the Third Saturday in October?
It likely will be an interesting few days.
Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg works in the second inning a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Monday, June 28, 2010 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
This and that
— The Jacksonville Jaguars released David Garrard on Tuesday and announced Luke McCown will be the starter Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. CBS better have Dick Vitale and Gus Johnson lined up to broadcast that one because it's going to take some energy to find an exciting angle. Gross.
— Stephen Strasburg made his return to the majors last night, and dude was as sharp as ever. He effortlessly went five scoreless innings, allowing two hits, no walks and throwing 40 strikes in 56 pitches before the Nationals' bullpen imploded.
— In retrospect, we should not have been surprised by how physically impressive the LSU Tigers were Saturday night against Oregon. C'mon, last month they overpowered a bunch of Marines, so the Oregon Fighting Hi-lighters were hardly intimidating.
Jeff Gordon celebrates his win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday in Avondale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Jeff Gordon won the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Atlanta on Tuesday in front of hundreds of fans after rain forced some serious rescheduling.
Gordon now ranks third all-time with 85 wins, trailing only Richard Petty, who has an eye-popping 200 Cup wins (a total that does not get enough attention when the discussion turns to unbreakble sports records, by the way), and David Pearson, who has 105 Cup wins.
Where does Gordon rank on the following two lists:
1) Who are the best NASCAR drivers of all-time?
2) Where does Gordon rank among the most successful sports stars of the last 20 years (from 1991-2011)?
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...