City of Atlanta: Your Shipment of EPIC FAIL Has Arrived

It has been a longstanding policy here at Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion to comment rarely, if ever, on the doings (or misdoings) of Atlanta sports franchises.  Atlanta has a longstanding worldwide reputation for the complete and utter ineptitude of its sports franchises, so any energy spent on caring for any of these teams is completely and utterly wasted.

But recent events have forced me to make an exception to this policy.  This week, the ineptitude for which Atlanta franchises are so well-known has sprouted wings and risen to heights previously deemed unattainable.  This was not just a passive, harmless display of ineptitude that you can just ignore and go on about your merry way.  This was the kind of ineptitude that jumps out directly in front of you, grabs you by the throat, and pile-drives you to the ground.

No Atlanta sports franchise has ever failed as egregiously as the 2011 Atlanta Braves, and there have been some excruciatingly bad Atlanta teams over the years.  Very few teams in the entire history of organized sports have ever failed as egregiously as these Braves.  Today the entire world is laughing vociferously at the city of Atlanta and shouting “EPIC FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  The only people who aren’t live in Boston, and they have their own problems.

Three weeks ago the Atlanta Braves led the wild card race by 8 1/2 games over the St. Louis Cardinals, the nearest competitor.  Today the Atlanta Braves have all cleaned out their lockers and headed home for the year; postseason starts next week and it is the St. Louis Cardinals, not the Atlanta Braves, who will be playing.

Three weeks ago the Atlanta Braves were on pace to win well over 90 games this year.  They never made it to 90.

In the process they got swept by their two biggest competitors, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies, and lost three consecutive series to the flotsam of their division (the Mets, Marlins, and Nationals).

What just happened here was mind-numbing.  I am sure that ten years after this, I will still be struggling to wrap my mind around it.

This is right up there with the infamous Pholdin’ Phils of 1962, and many comparisons have been made between those Pholdin’ Phils and these Pholdin’ Braves.  But there is one pesky little item here that shuts down that discussion:  The Pholdin’ Phils had to win their division in order to qualify for postseason play.  All the Pholdin’ Braves had to do was finish first among runners-up, and they failed to manage even that, even after being spotted an 8 1/2 game lead over the nearest competitor.

City of Atlanta:  You just got completely and totally punked by your Braves.  Punked egregiously in a manner that no other Atlanta team has even come remotely close to duplicating.  Punked in a manner that very few teams in the entire history of organized sports have done to their fan bases.

Rise up in revolt, my fellow ATL-iens!!!!!  These worthless dogs are no longer worthy to walk the streets of our fair city, or to wear the now-tarnished name of our city upon their uniforms.  Run them out of town, far, far away from here.  Bring in others who will better wear the name of our city.

Time for Another 80’s Party: More Songs That Did Not Get a Lot of Top 40 Love

My fellow Georgia fans:  Early indications are that 2011 is going to be a long and dismal season.  All the more reason for us to take a break from it all.  So come join me today and let’s have a big 80’s party!!!  (Those of you who hate Georgia or just don’t care, you are more than welcome to join us too.  Pholdin’ Braves fans, you are also welcome to join us.  You especially need a party.)

It remains my contention that the best 80’s songs of all time are those that did not get very much in the way of Top 40 love.  I ran down some of these last year, and now I have a few more to add to the list.  Enjoy.

The Communards, “Don’t Leave Me This Way”  An old 70’s disco standard, originally recorded by Motown artist Thelma Houston (no relation to Whitney Houston), gets an 80’s makeover.  The Communards spent four weeks at the top of the British pop charts with this one.  But over here in the States they got very little if any Top 40 love; they spent one week at number 40 and were gone.  (In case this doesn’t work, here’s the link)

The Cars, “I’m Not The One”  The follow-up to the #7 hit “Tonight She Comes”, this one topped out at #32.  It originally appeared on the 1981 album Shake It Up, but was not released as a single.  A remixed version went onto The Cars’ Greatest Hits album and was released as a single in 1986.  (In case this doesn’t work, here’s the link)

Models, “Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight”  Not to be confused with the English punk band The Models, this is a band from Melbourne, Australia.  In 1985 this song hit #1 on the Australian pop charts and #3 on the New Zealand pop charts, but here in the States it only spent two weeks in the Top 40, topping out at #37.  This was their only US hit.

The Motels, “Shame”  The Motels are best known for the hits “Only the Lonely” (1982) and “Suddenly Last Summer” (1983), both of which hit #9.  This one went to #21 in the summer of 1985.

Kate Bush, “Running Up That Hill”  Kate Bush had a long and distinguished career in the UK, but here in the States this was her only Top 40 hit.  It topped out at #30.

Lisa Lisa, “I Wonder If I Take You Home”  Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam were an urban contemporary band that was big during the back half of the 80’s.  This was their debut hit, in the fall of 1985.    They would follow it up with “All Cried Out” (#8), “Head To Toe” (#1), and “Lost In Emotion” (#4).  Though it only hit #34, it would go on to become one of their most recognizable hits.  It has been sampled repeatedly by hip-hop artists down through the years.

Opus, “Live Is Life”  Opus is an Austrian band, and this is their signature hit.  It got lots of love in Europe and Canada, but here in the US it only hit #32.

Peter Gabriel, “In Your Eyes”  Peter Gabriel was the original lead singer of Genesis.  After his departure from the group in 1976, he had a long and successful solo career.  His biggest hits were “Sledgehammer” (#1) and “Big Time” (#8).  This one came between those two, and only hit #32.

Daryl Hall, “Foolish Pride”  In 1986, Daryl Hall briefly broke away from Hall and Oates to record the solo album Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine.  This album featured the hit “Dreamtime”, which went to #5, and this one, which went to #33.

Bananarama, “A Trick Of The Night”  Bananarama is best known for the hits “Cruel Summer” (#9, 1983), “Venus” (#1, 1986), and “I Heard A Rumour” (#4, 1987).  This is one of their better songs and should have gotten more love than it did.  It got some play in early 1987 but failed to catch even a whiff of the Top 40, topping out at #76.

The Monday Melange 09.27.11 (Musical Edition): REM, Nirvana

–Aloysius, our Executive Director of Sports Information here at Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion, welcomes you to this week’s Musical Edition of The Monday Melange.  Aloysius is speaking out of his field here, since his specialty is sports, but he never lets that stop him from holding an opinion.  And he is a bear–don’t let that cuddly, loveable teddy bear exterior fool you.  So if he wants to venture his opinion on a particular subject, then by golly, he will.

To start with, Aloysius wishes to direct your attention to this news item:  REM has broken up for goodThey issued an official news statement via their website last week; the post has since been updated to include comments from the individual band members.

Aloysius’s response to this:  “Of course we all know that official news releases aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.  What this really means is that REM is about to hire Nick Saban as their new lead singer and the new album will be in stores next week.”  Me, I would have guessed Urban Meyer.

At any rate, Aloysius found this video of REM performing one of their earlier hits on David Letterman:

Aloysius:  “I’d like to see Jim Donnan start a band.  Maybe he could call it Tunnel Screen.  Maybe Mark Richt could join up if the Georgia gig goes south for him.”

–Aloysius would also like you to note that this past week was the 20th anniversary of the release of the album that completely and totally changed the face of pop music:  Nirvana’s “Nevermind”.  In honor of this occasion, he wishes to direct your attention to this video of Nirvana performing “Come As You Are”, one of the lesser-known hits from this album.


We Won, But There Is Room for Improvement

OK, let’s start with the positives here.

We won.  By a fairly substantial margin.  In an SEC game.  On the road.  Conference wins have been pretty hard to come by lately, as have wins outside the hedged confines of Sanford Stadium, so this is good.

The defense played lights-out.  The offense looked good.  Isaiah Crowell shows signs of becoming a game-changer; he finished with 147 yards on 30 carries.  29 of those yards came on 3rd and 9 from the shadow of Georgia’s goal line; this helped spark a 99-yard touchdown drive that would put Georgia up 17-0 in the second quarter.  Aaron Murray was solid for the most part, with 17 completions in 26 attempts for 268 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.

All told, Georgia outgained Ole Miss 475-183.  In terms of covering real estate, Georgia owned Ole Miss.  If this were Monopoly, Georgia would have had hotels from Pacific Avenue all the way to Boardwalk while Ole Miss would have been mortgaging Baltic.

But this isn’t Monopoly.  This is college football.  In order to win this game, you have to score points.  And the primary way you score points is by scoring touchdowns.

Georgia scored a whole bunch of those in the first half.  In the second half…uh, not so much.

The 2011 edition of Ole Miss is one of the worst teams in the conference, if not the country.  After three games they rank at or near the bottom of the SEC in several major statistical categories, including but not limited to the following:  scoring offense (11th), total offense (12th), rushing offense (11th), rushing defense (11th), and total defense (11th).  In their previous game this team got punked by Vanderbilt like no SEC team gets punked by Vanderbilt–the 30-7 win was Vanderbilt’s greatest margin of victory over a conference opponent ever.  Knowing this, one would have expected Georgia to dominate.

And they did, in all sorts of other categories.  On the scoreboard?  Uh…not exactly.

Letting an overmatched opponent hang around in a game in which you are given ample opportunity to put them away is an excellent way to get yourself beat.  Georgia should have learned this lesson against South Carolina.  But instead, they never really put Ole Miss away.  Georgia had numerous opportunities during the second half, yet the score remained 24-13 for the longest time and I could not breathe easy until Zack Stoudt got picked off with just under 3 minutes left in the game.

One particularly telling occurrence came on the very first play of the fourth quarter.  Still leading 24-13 and in desperate need of a score to get some margin, Georgia had been moving the ball very well.  They now faced a very makeable fourth-and-1 from the Ole Miss 30.  One would have expected a coach who is feeling the heat and wanting to put the kabbash on all the speculation about his job security to go for the first down and go on to pick up the touchdown.  Instead, Mark Richt sent in the field goal team.  Surely he had to know that a field goal would not be automatic; at that point in the game the normally reliable Blair Walsh had already missed two.  Sure enough, Walsh whiffed and the score remained 24-13.

This game had been billed by many in the media as the “Hot Seat Bowl”, because if Mark Richt is on the hot seat this year then Houston Nutt is even more on the hot seat.  Fans at Ole Miss are usually a laid-back bunch who focus all their energies on tailgating in The Grove before the games, but one group of fans was so riled up by the adverse fortunes of Ole Miss football that they took out full-page ads in five area newspapers basically demanding that the administration bury Houston Nutt up to his neck in the middle of The Grove and then subject him to Native American ant torture.  Things haven’t gotten that bad for Mark Richt–at least nobody is taking out full-page ads in the paper.  Yet.

But in many ways this game reaffirmed some of the same flaws we have seen all season long.  Some of this is due to youth and inexperience–after all, this is a very young team, and young teams tend to get better as the season progresses, which means they are not usually at their best in September.

But some of this is on Richt.  A lot of the concerns I have with Mark Richt are cultural.  He doesn’t miss field goals or throw interceptions or make penalties on onside kick attempts or allow huge defensive linemen to go unblocked and sack the quarterback and force a fumble that gets returned for a score.  But in recent years he has created a culture where such things tend to happen.  The worst possible play at the worst possible time has become the new normal at Georgia.

When you’re trying to change that kind of culture, you need to do things which send the message that Georgia is back and Georgia means business.  Going conservative and settling for a field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter was not the best way to send that message.  In such an instance, isn’t a more aggressive approach called for?

Could you have imagined Nick Saban or Urban Meyer or Paul Johnson or the old Mark Richt of the early 00’s settling for a field goal under similar circumstances?  I didn’t think so.

Still, it was a win, though it wasn’t exactly the wrecking ball that we had hoped to see.  And a road win over an SEC opponent is better than losses to Boise State and South Carolina and a win over Cedar Shoals.

But Georgia had the opportunity to make a statement.  Instead they made a yawn.  That may do against an Ole Miss team that is not good enough to make you pay for your mistakes, but it will certainly not do against Mississippi State, Florida, or Auburn, and it may not do against Tennessee, Vanderbilt, or Kentucky.

Les Miserables 70: The Chain

We have just seen what Marius’s falling in love with Cosette looked like from Cosette’s point of view, and we have also seen how it landed in Jean Valjean’s life.  Valjean had hoped that Cosette would stay with him and love him forever as she did when she was a little girl.  All of this changed when Cosette reached adolescence and realized she was beautiful.  And when Marius entered the picture, Valjean did not take it very well.  In fact, Marius’s appearance caused thoughts and feelings to rise up inside of Valjean which hearkened all the way back to his criminal past.

In this chapter Valjean sees a very disturbing vision which takes him straight back to his criminal past.  This scene has a very dreamlike, even nightmarish quality.  It seems to be out of place and have little if anything to do with the story, except that it is a reminder of Valjean’s past which comes at a point when he is struggling with thoughts and feelings from his past.

Valjean and Cosette had a habit of occasionally going out for early morning walks together to watch the sunrise.  This was one of their great pleasures in life together; even after the loss of Marius caused their lives to become sad they still engaged in this activity periodically.

One morning in October of 1831, Valjean and Cosette were out on an early morning walk near the city gates.  Victor Hugo gives us the date; it places this scene at about a year and some change after the July Revolution of 1830.  Also, Marius’s infatuation with Cosette happened during the spring and early summer of that year; we see here that it has been a few months  since all of that happened.  It was dawn; it was starting to get light but the sun had not yet peeked above the horizon.  And then Valjean and Cosette saw a very disturbing sight.

…a sound was heard, difficult to explain at such an hour, and a kind of moving confusion appeared.  Some shapeless thing coming from the boulevard was entering the highway.

It grew larger, it seemed to move in order, still it was bristling and quivering; it looked like a wagon but they could not make out the load.  There were horses, wheels, cries; whips were cracking.  By degrees the features became definite, although enveloped in the darkness.  It was in fact a wagon that had just turned out of the boulevard onto the road, and was making its way toward the city gate, near Jean Valjean; a second, similar one followed it, then a third, then a fourth; seven vehicles rounded the turn in succession, the horses’ heads touching the rear of the wagons.  Dark forms were moving on these wagons, flashes showed in the twilight, like drawn swords, something clanked like the rattling of chains; it kept coming, the voices grew louder, and it was as terrible as something from the cavern of dreams.

As it approached it took form hazily behind the trees with the pallor of an apparition; the mass whitened; daylight, rising little by little, spread a wan glow over this crawling thing, both sepulchral and alive, the heads of the shadows became the faces of the corpses, and it was this:

Hugo then goes on to describe the procession.  It consisted of seven oddly constructed wagons, six of which were hauling prisoners who were chained together and arranged so that they sat back-to-back in two rows, one facing each side of the street.  The seventh wagon was apparently for the sick.  It contained pots and pans and prisoners lying down in all sorts of positions.  A row of guards marched on either side of the wagons.  The prisoners were blue with the chill of morning; their clothing was a disparate array of rags.  They just sat there silently and endured whatever abuse the guards heaped upon them.  Even the prisoners in the sick wagon were not exempt from the guards’ abuse.

A crowd appeared from out of nowhere and lined up on both sides of the street as this procession approached, a sort of flash-mob, if you will.  Apparently it was a common occurrence in Paris for crowds to turn up from out of nowhere to watch something like this.

This file of wagons, whatever it was, was dismal.  It was obvious that tomorrow, that in an hour, a shower might spring up, that it would be followed by another, and another, and that the worn-out clothing would be soaked through, that once wet, these men would never get dry, that once chilled, they would never get warm again, that their trousers would be stuck to their skin by the rain, that water would fill their wooden shoes, that blows of the whip could not prevent the chattering of their teeth, that the chain would continue to hold them by the neck, that their feet would continue to swing; and it was impossible not to shudder at seeing these human beings thus bound and passive under the chilling clouds of autumn, and given up to the rain, to the wind, to all the fury of the elements, like trees and stones.

The clubs did not spare even the sick, who lay roped and motionless in the seventh wagon, seeming to have been thrown there like sacks filled with misery.

It is obvious that to Victor Hugo, even these prisoners are human beings too.  Whatever punishment they may have deserved for their crimes, they surely did not deserve this.  Especially in light of the fact that under this judicial system, real criminals like the Thenardiers and the members of Patron-Minette, whom we met earlier in the story, had ways of escaping justice–even while in prison they could still continue to carry on their crimes while the justice system turned a blind eye.

Now, as the sun rises, we see what sort of monsters these men have turned to under this dehumanizing punishment.

Suddenly, the sun appeared; the immense radiance of the Orient burst forth, and one would have said that it set all these savage heads on fire.  Their tongues were loosed, a conflagration of sneers, of oaths, and songs burst out.  The broad horizontal light cut the whole file in two, illuminating their heads and their bodies, leaving their feet and the wheels in the dark.  Their thoughts appeared on their faces; the moment was appalling; demons visible with their masks dropped, ferocious souls laid bare.  Lit up, this group was still dark.  Some, who seemed cheery, had quills in their mouths and were blowing vermin onto the crowd, selecting the women; the dawn intensified the mournful profiles through dark shadows; every one of these beings was deformed by misery; and it was so monstrous that it seemed to change the sunbeams into the glare of lightning.  The wagonload at the head of the cortege were singing at the top of their lungs with ghastly joviality, a medley by Desaugiers, then famous, La Vestale; the trees fluttered mournfully on the sidewalks, the bourgeois listened with faces of idiotic bliss to these obscenities chanted by specters.

Every form of distress was present in this chaos of a cortege; there were the facial angles of every beast, old men, youths, bald heads, gray beards, cynical monstrosities, dogged resignation, savage grimaces, insane attitudes, snouts set off with caps, heads like young girls with corkscrew curls over their temples, faces childish and therefore horrifying, thin skeleton faces that lacked only death.  On the first wagon was a Negro, who had, perhaps, been a slave and could compare chains.  The fearful leveler, disgrace, had passed over these brows; at this abased degree the utmost transformation had taken place in all of them; and ignorance, changed to stupidity, was the equal of intelligence changed to despair.  No possible choice among these men who seemed the elite of the mire.  It was clear that the marshal, whoever he was, of this foul procession had not classified them.  These beings had been bound and coupled pell-mell, probably in alphabetical disorder, and loaded haphazardly onto the wagons.  The aggregation of horrors, however, always produces a result; every addition of misfortune gives a total; from each chain came a common soul, and each cartload had its own features.  Beside the one that was singing was one that was howling; a third was begging; one was seen gnashing its teeth; another was threatening the bystanders, another blaspheming God; the last was silent as the tomb.  Dante would have thought he saw the seven circles of Hell on their way.

A march from condemnation toward punishment, made ominously, not on the intimidating flashing chariot of the Apocalypse but more dismal still on a hangman’s cart.

One old lady in the crowd saw this as a teachable moment for a young boy who was with her, probably her grandchild.

As the songs and the blasphemy increased, the one who seemed the captain of the escort cracked his whip, and at that signal, a fearful, dull, and unselective cudgeling, which sounded like hail, fell on the seven wagons; many roared and foamed; which increased the glee of the gamins who had gathered, a swarm of flies on these wounds.

Again, it is clear that Hugo wants his audience to consider:  Is it right to treat human beings like this?  Is it right for human beings, even those who have violated the laws of human society, to be subjected to punishment which turns them into inhuman monsters?

When one considers the prison system in present-day America, much has changed and yet much has not changed.  We don’t have public hangings anymore.  We don’t have chain gangs or public processions which in any way resemble what Hugo describes here.  But in the worst of our prisons, there is still a sort of inhuman lumping together and abandonment of the worst of our criminals.  Separated securely from society but left to their own devices within that environment, they lose their humanity and turn into something that is fearful even to consider, just like the prisoners on these carts.

There is still more to say about the horrible sight that Valjean and Cosette are seeing right now, but this post has gone on long enough and this is a good place to stop.

Aloysius Offers His Take on the Coastal Carolina Game

[Early indications are that the 2011 season is going to be quite dismal for Georgia.  If things continue on the present trajectory, then I will be slitting my wrists by the end of the season, as will many of you fellow Georgia fans, I bet.  For this reason, I am turning over the writing of all Georgia game-related posts for the remainder of the 2011 season to Aloysius, our Executive Director of Sports Information here at Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion, kinda like Mark Richt turned over all the offensive playcalling responsibilities to Mike Bobo a couple of years back.  Hopefully this will work out better than that did.  For all the honey Aloysius consumes around here, it’s about time I started making him earn his keep. 

Bears usually have a hard time with computer keyboards, so I will type these in for him myself.  But other than that, what follows is exclusively his words and his opinions.]

OK, so Joe wanted me to write a little something about the Georgia-Coastal Carolina game this weekend.  Funny, that.  He was gone all day Saturday (I presume he was at the game–at least that’s what he told me–but I have no way of knowing where he really was), but he didn’t bother to bring me.  Something about teddy bears not being allowed inside Sanford Stadium, he said.  Yeah right.  Alcohol isn’t allowed in Sanford Stadium either, but fans have been finding ways to get it in there for years.  If he had wanted to bring me, he would have figured out a way.  I know the truth–he just didn’t want to bring me.

Honestly.  These humans are so funny.  When they’re young, they don’t have any problem with carrying teddy bears around with them everywhere they go.  But when they get older, for some bizarre reason they have all the trouble in the world with it.  I just don’t know.  I’ll never understand it, no matter how hard I try.

So I had all of Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion International Headquarters to myself today.  Since Joe couldn’t be bothered to bring me with him, I just sat back and ate honey and watched football all day.  (Joe will find out when he goes to look for honey and finds that it’s all gone.  I don’t care.  He can deal.  Grrrr.)  Actually I didn’t watch it, since Joe is too cheap to pop for a large screen hi-def TV.  I listened to it on the radio.  Scott Howard is such a [expletive deleted] DOOFUS!!!!!!!!!  Last week Sanders Commings sacked the South Carolina quarterback, and Scott Howard said “He never saw it Commings.”  What a doofus.  I swear, if I’m ever out in the woods and I see Scott Howard coming, I’m going to eat him up.  Grrrr.

So I did a little research on Coastal Carolina today.  Their mascot is called the Chanticleers.  For those of you who don’t know what a Chanticleer is (I didn’t know until today), it is some crazy kind of rooster.  This meant that at least Georgia could break its losing streak against poultry with a win today.

And win they did.  Boy, did they ever.  The score was 59-0 by the end of the third quarter, and I think that’s how it ended.  I’m not sure.  I was just so consumed with the idea of hunting down Scott Howard in the woods and pinning him to the ground and sinking my claws into his [here Aloysius goes into exceedingly gruesome detail about what it would be like to eat Scott Howard alive.  Not that I would mind seeing any of these things done to him (personally I would settle for pinning him to the ground and making him squeal like a pig like they did in Deliverance), but my readers would probably find these descriptions a little too graphic for their taste] that I really wasn’t paying much attention to the game during the fourth quarter.

Coastal Carolina plays in Division 1-AA (I believe Football Championship Subdivision is the newfangled term for it these days), in the Big South Conference.  Their conference schedule includes the likes of Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian College.  I’d hate to see what Georgia would do to either of those teams.  Big South Conference:  You are the gum under the SEC’s shoe.

Against that schedule (with the once-a-year Division 1-A opponent thrown in just for good measure), Coastal Carolina is a pretty fair-to-middlin’ team.  Their record was 6-6 last year and 5-6 the year before.  Georgia fans:  If you really want to win championships, maybe your team should move to the Big South Conference.  Looks like your team would dominate that.

Georgia fans:  You have a right to feel good this week.  You’ve earned it.  I know it was only a win over a 1-AA opponent, but you haven’t had very many wins of any kind lately.  And 59-0?  It takes some amount of effort and pride to put up numbers like that, even if the team that got the 0 is nothing more than an assemblage of spare parts from high school teams around the area.  Go ahead and say it.  No Georgia team has ever put up numbers that big on anyone since you beat Northeast Louisiana 70-6 back in 1994.  I only hope this is more of a launching pad for you this year than that was for Ray Goff (for some reason Joe always calls him Ray Goof).  Say it loud, say it proud:  You now rule over all Chanticleers everywhere, in any shape, in any form.

It has been over nine months since your team could celebrate a win of any variety.  In that time you have contrived to lose in every conceivable way, it seems.  A lifeless loss in a lower-tier bowl (God how I love alliteration!), a body-slam by Boise, and a woulda-coulda-shoulda last week in which you went to excruciating pains to lose a game that it would have been much easier to just win.

Yes, you needed this.  Not that this win would launch you into BCS contention (heads up:  It won’t), but you needed it for therapy.  Just to remember what it feels like to win a game.  Plus, your team was making enough mistakes on both sides of the ball that you needed this game to work those out before jumping back into your conference schedule at Ole Miss next week.

Speaking of which:  Ole Miss just got punked by Vanderbilt this week.  I’m totally hating life for them right now.  And I will totally be hating life for Mark Richt if he loses to them next week.  I’m sure Joe would agree with me on that, at least.

The Monday Melange 09.19.11: PETA, Chad Ochocinco

–Aloysius, our Executive Director of  Sports Information here at Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion, welcomes you to this week’s edition of The Monday Melange, the People Running Their Mouths Because They Have WAY Too Much Time On Their Hands Edition.  For our first exhibit, Aloysius wishes to direct your attention to the good peeps over at PETA, who are a walking, talking, living, breathing example of what it means to have WAY too much time on your hands.

Yes, they are at it again.  Last week, during the Mississippi State pregame, Auburn’s war eagle mascot Spirit made his customary flight from the upper decks of Jordan-Hare down to the field, one of the finest traditions in all of college football and an impressive sight to behold.  Except that this time, he crashed into the window of one of the luxury boxes.  Guess he saw somebody’s buffalo wings and decided he wanted some.  You know how keen eagles’ eyesight is.  Only he didn’t see the glass.  No harm was done; he bounced right off and continued his flight relatively unfazed.  The video of this ill-fated flight was a Youtube sensation this week.

PETA: Always good for a laugh anytime they open their mouths.

Of course the peeps over at PETA had to open their yaps.  They took full advantage of the opportunity to denounce Auburn’s use of a war eagle mascot, issuing a statement in the Montgomery Advertiser that read in part:  “Animals aren’t performers or party decorations, and they don’t deserve to be frightened, hurt or even killed just so we can have a momentary thrill.”

Aloysius responded to this by saying, “Yeah, and I bet after that they broke for lunch at Chick-Fil-A.”

In case you missed it, here is the video of the Auburn war eagle’s ill-fated flight:

–Next up in our illustrious gallery of people saying stupid things because they have WAY too much time on their hands, we have Chad Ochocinco.  Chad Ochocinco seems to make a living at that, so I guess we shouldn’t be too terribly surprised.  But here we are.  Ochocinco, now with the New England Patriots, hit the Twittersphere to express his awe at the Patriots’ offense after last Monday’s game, saying, “Just waking up after a late arrival, I’ve never seen a machine operate like that n person, to see video game numbers put up n person was WOW.”  He was vigorously taken to task for this by former Patriot Tedy Bruschi, now with ESPN.  Bruschi called on Ochocinco to “drop the awe factor” and “stop tweeting and get in your playbook.”

Aloysius says, “Thank you Chad Ochocinco.  You’re always good for a laugh.  Tweet away, buddy!!!!!”


UGA: The New South Carolina

A troubling label has affixed itself to Georgia football lately.  It is this:

The new South Carolina.

For a century and some change, South Carolina has specialized in serving up mediocre and sub-mediocre football in heaping abundance for its fans and all the rest of us who cared to watch.  They made a very nice living out of raising fans’ hopes and expectations all the way up to the sky only to send them crashing down to the ground with a resounding thud when toe met leather at the start of any given season.  They were second to none at choking when expected to perform well, losing when expected to win, inventing ways to give away games when opportunities to win were handed to them piled high on a silver platter.

In 1992, when South Carolina first joined the SEC, they manhandled Georgia for a half but lost 28-6.  In 1994 Steve Taneyhill, an unlikely hero for the Gamecocks who had engineered a huge win in Athens the year before, had a chance to lead his team on another game-winning drive but was intercepted by Corey Johnson deep in Georgia territory.  In 1995 South Carolina provided the stage for Robert Edwards’ coming-out party; they led 17-7 in the third quarter but couldn’t keep up and lost 42-23.

In more recent memory:  There was of course David Pollack’s famous sack-and-grab in the end zone that powered a 13-7 win for Georgia in 2002.  (A couple of South Carolina fumbles at the goal line also helped Georgia that year.)  In 2004 South Carolina led 16-0 but lost 20-16.  In 2008 South Carolina outplayed a hugely overrated Georgia team for most of the game but lost 14-7.  Even as recently as 2009 South Carolina had abundant opportunities to steal a win in Athens but wound up on the short end 41-37, because of a blocked extra point and a Brandon Boykin kickoff return for a touchdown.

That has been the story of the South Carolina game.  Even if you are having an off day and/or South Carolina is on fire, just hang in there and try to stay in the game.  Eventually they will make their mistakes and the game will be yours.  That is how Georgia did it for years.

The choke trademark of South Carolina did not just apply to single games; it also applied to entire seasons.  In 1997 South Carolina was coming off a promising year and tabbed by many as primed for a serious run at the SEC championship.  But a 31-15 loss in Athens (Georgia led 31-6 at the half before letting up on the accelerator) put the kabbash on that.  In the early 00’s Lou Holtz led South Carolina to some strong finishes but couldn’t lift them into championship contention.  In 2007 South Carolina had a very strong start (which included a then-rare win over Georgia) but fell apart at the end.  And even in 2010 when South Carolina actually did win the SEC East, they made it to postseason and showed the world they were not yet ready for prime time.

But in recent years South Carolina has abandoned that mantle.  Georgia has taken it and run with it as if it were a diamond ring stolen from Jared.

Last year against Mississippi State, Georgia could not overcome a deficit of ONE MEASLY POINT!!!!!!!!!  The score remained stuck at 7-6 forever until Mississippi State pulled away in the fourth quarter.  Against Colorado they had a chance to win but Caleb King fumbled near the goal line.  Against Florida they had a chance to win but Aaron Murray threw into a throng of Florida defenders in overtime.

All of these were exactly the sort of game that South Carolina used to lose.  And exactly the sort of game that Georgia used to win.

"Yeah, let's try that play again. The one where we let them score on a fake punt. That worked GREAT!!!!!!!!!"

This week…where do I begin?  There was that onside kick that worked perfectly until Bacarri Rambo was flagged for being just a hair offside.  The fake punt where Melvin Ingram punked the entire Georgia return team for a RIDONKULOUSLY easy score.  The fumble by Isaiah Crowell at midfield when Georgia was poised to go up 27-14.  And the fumble return by Ingram for the final deciding score.

All of these were the sort of plays that South Carolina used to make.  No matter how well South Carolina played in a key game like this, their fans could always count on their team making a play like this and blowing the whole game to hell.

The worst possible play at the worst possible time.  Used to be a signature of South Carolina football.  Now it is all Georgia’s.

Georgia:  The new South Carolina.

Michael Spencer on 9/11

Today please allow me to direct your attention to Michael Spencer (the Internet Monk)’s post on 9/11.  This was written ten years ago, during the aftermath of 9/11.  At the time, Michael Spencer was decidedly conservative, and he wrote this piece from that perspective.  His political thinking evolved quite a bit since then.  Though his political views may have remained unchanged, they were quite understated in his later writings as he preferred to address issues of concern within the Church before speaking to issues on the political scene.

Some of you may be quite uncomfortable with the arch-conservative sentiments expressed here.  (Then again, some of you may be just fine with it.)  Either way, remember that this was written in the immediate aftermath of a horrific national tragedy, and that in those moments many of you were probably thinking a lot of the same things that Michael Spencer expresses in this piece.

Read Michael Spencer’s early response to 9/11