Sweet buckets, did we move to Seattle and no one mention it? We spent the 4th of July (Happy Birthday America) on the road at Lake Martin, and it rained as much there as it did here. One of the great thing about kids, they don't really care so much about how things can be better. They figure out ways to have fun in the moment — which is a great life lesson... Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey — so we swam in the rain. What, were we going to get more wet?
We spent all of early Monday morning reviewing the sports news after an enjoyable, all be it waterlogged 4th.
So, let's do work.
From the "Talks too much" studios, whatever happened to Biz Markie? Oh baby you, you got what we need... but you say he's just a friend, you say he's just a friend.
OK, why are people upset about Dwight Howard leaving L.A. for Houston?
It was the smart move — Houston is better, younger and has a coach in Kevin McHale who will allow Howard to post up and get touches.
With Kobe Bryant rehabbing a torn Achilles', the Lakers roster is now decimated, and Howard saw it and reacted to it.
Why is Howard being crucified? And hey, we love Shaq, but dude is burying Howard because of a personal grudge.
We've said for years that Howard is overrated — little more than a Shaq 0.8 if you will — because he does not have a go-to post move and he is a late-game liability because he can't make foul shots. And if you can't be on the floor in the final minutes of a tight playoff game, you can't be an elite A-lister.
But why is Howard going to a better team with a coach that better suits his skills some sort of travesty? Howard left the Lakers, yes, and the Lakers are one of those franchises — clubs that generate opinions and feelings and catch eyeballs — but still. Other than the uniforms and the stars in the stands, Howard's choice was a no-brainer.
Houston is better right now and just got even better with Howard. (That said, the Rockets are still not better than the Heat, Spurs or Thunder and are in the muddled pack that includes the Grizz, the Bulls, the Nets, the Clippers and the Pacers.)
Side note: The NBA has become a very top-heavy league. This was coming as soon as the Celtics' Big Three gave way to The Decision which gave way to the Lakers' failed attempt at the Hall of Fame trio of Kobe, Nash and Howard. Stars are gravitating toward playing with other stars. Alpha dogs and sidekicks are giving way to Super Friends and Three Amigos and the like. It's happened, and there are eight-to-10 teams that can win it all and that's a big number. But there are 15-20 teams that have ZERO chance, and that's most of the league.
Side note, II: There now are whispers and wonderings that there are potentially a few teams who are clearing cap space because LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony and the potential game-changing free agent class could be on the market after next year. And if James lands in L.A. — or even Boston, which is cleansing its roster, too — look out.
Side note, III: Did you know that Howard is entering his 10th year in the NBA? Somehow that seems like way, Way, WAY more than we thought. And don't you know Stan Van Gundy is somewhere smiling.
We are counting down the days to the start of college football by reviewing some of the teams from around the area.
Two weeks ago we studied Auburn. Last week it was UTC. Let's look at the Georgia Bulldogs for the next few days.
2012 record: 12-2 overall, 7-1 in the SEC
Highlights: A supremely talented roster was 10 yards from beating Alabama to win the SEC championship, which would have meant Georgia would have spanked Notre Dame in the BCS title game. Freshmen running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall inspired the nickname "Gur-shall" and are awesome. (Gurley has the look, the tools and the make-up of being a big-time Big-Timer.)
Lowlights: The defense underachieved considering there were like 10 NFL players on that side of the ball. The debacle in Columbia. Still, there's little to complain about in a 12-win season that was a play or two away from being in the championship spotlight.
Fallout: The emergence of Gur-shall and the return of quarterback Aaron Murray mean the Bulldogs have arguably the nation's second-best collection of skilled players behind Alabama. (Side question: Why is almost any college football list nowadays tagged with "behind Alabama" and when will that change? Schnikes. You stay classy Tuscaloosa.)
Biggest question: Can the defense reload? A slew of talented playmakers, especially in the secondary, are gone. Defensive back Damian Swann has the look of a first-round pick. So does linebacker Jordan Jenkins. Will that translate now?
Second biggest question: Will the new pieces be ready right out of the gate for a brutal first three games — at Clemson, at home against South Carolina and LSU — against three top-15 foes?
Talking points (and feel free to share your's): How will Mark Richt be remembered as a coach? Is he great? Has he underachieved? Is the answer somewhere in the middle? We'll talk about this on the radio show today with David Paschall?
Speaking of that...
OK, we start a new endeavor today as TFP SEC football ace David Paschall and the sports editor take to the radio. The show is called "Press Row" and you are encouraged to pull up a seat and give us a listen on ESPN 105.1 FM from 1-3 p.m.
We are looking forward to the opportunity, and we welcome feedback and hope you guys will be willing participants.
We're hoping to mold the show around the things we know are of high interest to folks in the area, so there will be a lot of SEC football and lots of local discussion and as many expert guests as we can line up. Plus, as we said on The Twitter (@jgreesontfp), Paschall knows more about the SEC than any three people we know, and we know Judge Smails' first name. That has to count for something, right?
Got any suggestions — yes, scole023, we know you like to win stuff — please pass them along.
This and that
— Butch Jones and the Tennessee Vols got another huge commitment during the holiday weekend when four-star linebacker and UT legacy Dillon Bates picked the Vols. There has been a certain amount of cosmic tumblers clicking for this UT recruiting class — a ton of playing time available; several former UT players have football-playing sons in this recruiting cycle; Butch's ability to recruit — and it has the feel of something special in the works.
— Andy Murray won Wimbledon, giving Great Britian its first native champ since Fred Perry 77 years ago. Has there ever been a more hometown hero? This is Larry Mize winning the Masters on steriods. Now add to that, Ladbrokes, a British betting house, refunded all losing Wimbledon bets since Murray won. Chips for everyone.
— Kevin Durant is engaged to a WNBA player. Get Will Wade on the phone; he should offer their future tots scholarships now.
— Brad Stevens took the Boston Celtics job late last week. If we were a Celtics fan, we'd be equally stoked and shocked. Yes, Stevens did magical things at Butler and seems to be a coaching savant. But is he ready for arguably the biggest coaching job in basketball? That said, as gutted as that roster is, CoCo the Monkey Boy could coach them to the top of the draft lottery.
— Your Atlanta Braves are treading water — 5-5 in their last 10; 50-38 overall — and still have a four-game lead over Washington in the NL East. Something feels rickety about this ship, but they still are out front.
— Jimmie Johnson has zoomed to the top of the NASCAR world. And reclaimed his spot atop the unibrow power rankings. All is right with the world.
It's a Monday after a holiday, so everyone make sure to keep the capital letters to a minimum because Todd962 is working through a hangover. (LOUD NOISES.)
Feel free to jive on any of the above topics, be it UGA football, Mark Richt, UT recruiting, Dwight Howard, you name it.
If you need a talking point, let's review Joey Chestnut's amazing/stupid achievement of eating 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Wow.
There are two questions here — well actually there are a ton of questions here.
First, why? And don't say the money. Dude got like 10K.
Second, if we're going to worry about football players' safety, how can we celebrate this? According to Forbes, Chestnut consumed 21,321 calories in those 10 minutes and 69 dogs. That's 1,387 grams of fat — or roughly 21 times more than the recommended daily amount.
Third, does Gatorade have a "post-game" beverage for this?
Fourth, if you were forced to enter a competitive eating event, what food would be your best? What would be your worst? (The 5-at-10 would pick pizza as our attempt. Cole slaw is the worst — in fact, we're sure cole slaw is the only food served in the seventh circle of Hades.)
Discuss and remember to check out Press Row today 1-3 p.m. on ESPN 105.1 FM locally and on espnchattanooga.com.
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 ...