Category: Sports

No, Mark Richt Is Not Running For Governor Of Georgia

Mark Richt is the hot news story of the week.  And in politics, like in coaching positions, rumors – no matter how ridiculous or baseless – can be “fact” to fill a vacuum until real facts can later replace them.

Then, occasionally, we have the glorious times when sports rumors meet political rumors.  If ever there was a time for everyone to be an expert, (or at least, interested and vaguely understand the topic at hand) it is when these subjects are allowed to publicly merge.  This evening, they have merged with a report that Mark Richt may run for Governor of Georgia in 2018!  THAT’S ONLY 2 YEARS AND 11 MONTHS AWAY!

People that make money off of these things understand this.  And in politics, perception is reality.  And you only need the perception of reality to make money as a political consultant. Wait? What was that?  This may be a consultant’s craven attempt at a (very large) paycheck, and not an earnest desire of Richt to move from gridiron to Gold Dome?  Let’s unwrap that. Read more

Report: NCAA Monitoring Future Host Cities for Civil Rights Protections

Based on a report in the Indianapolis Star, the NCAA will reconsider whether cities hosting future NCAA events have adequate civil rights protections for gays and lesbians. The issue is relevant to Georgia, with the legislature expected to consider Senate Bill 129, Georgia’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, in the upcoming session. Georgia is scheduled to host the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament in 2020, and a regional tournament in 2018. It is also scheduled to host a NCAA football semifinal in 2016, and the national championship game in 2018.

From the Star story:

Amid a national debate over civil rights protections based on sexual orientation, the Indianapolis-based NCAA apparently will reconsider sites already chosen to host its championships — including Indianapolis, the NCAA told The Indianapolis Star.

“We’ll continue to review current events in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites, such as Indianapolis,” Bob Williams, NCAA senior vice president for communications, wrote in an email statement Nov. 12.

Requests to speak to NCAA leaders for more information were denied.

The Star report notes that there are still many unanswered questions regarding what the NCAA would consider as adequate civil rights protection in a host city, or what criteria it might use to change tournament venues. While Atlanta has a local ordinance prohibiting some discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, LGBT advocates claim that the proposed RFRA bill could override that ordinance.

In any case, the report adds more weight to a study by the Atlanta Chamber and the Atlanta Convention and Vistiors Bureau announced this week that estimates between $1 and $2 billion in negative economic impact should SB 129 become law.

College Football Pick ‘Em: Honoring the South’s True Religion

Its that time of year when we glorify the highest-paid person on campus who is neither a university administrator, researcher, professor or academic; we as adults pin all our hopes and dreams on the athletic achievement of boys; indelibly link ourselves to institutions that we likely have no actual connection with and happily feed a multi-billion dollar “amateur” spectacle.

Yes it is college football season once again!

And what finer way to celebrate that by proving your superiority to fellow Peach Punditeers in the annual Peach Pundit College Football Pick ‘Em Tournament?

The system for ESPN seems to have changed because I couldn’t find last year’s group but no matter! Here is the group homepage. If that doesn’t work, search for Group ID 40659, “PP Supports Ga State” using the password “Go Panthers.”

Prizes will be awarded!

Sign up!

What the BB&T Atlanta Open Does Right

Editor’s Note: As most of you know, the Peach Pundit editors get to spend an hour each Friday afternoon expounding on politics with Rich Sullivan at Talk Radio 640, WGST. After our Noon-1 PM schtick, the second hour of the show typically contains a segment with Rick Limpert, who writes about sports technology and sports travel. One of the local sports he covers is the BB&T Atlanta Tennis Open, and in this post, he shares his thoughts on the impact of the sport and tennis in general on Atlanta.

I’m just hoping this isn’t setting the stage for a Cooking with Paula Deen guest post.

As someone that has been in the media room for all six BB&T Atlanta Opens, (before BB&T came in it was called the Atlanta Tennis Championships) I have a front row seat at seeing how this tournament operates and how a small staff works long and hard hours making sure the annual event comes off without a hitch. I’ve also attended just about every major professional tournament in the U.S., and see what some do right and what some do wrong. The BB&T Atlanta Open does more right than wrong and Atlanta is lucky to have this event.

Attendees and tennis fans get to see John Isner booming 140 mph serves, the Bryan Brothers swatting balls out of the sky for winners to complement their chest bumps and a true celebration of tennis that takes over Atlantic Station for nine days each summer. What they don’t see on the surface, is what happens behind-the-scenes and how bigtime tennis takes over Atlanta for nine days each summer. Read more

PP March Madness Bracket Challenge (Pick Georgia State)

This week, U.S. workplaces will see the annual loss of a billion dollars in productivity…meaning it is time for March Madness!

Doubly best of all, PP has a bracket challenge and the state’s favorite sons, Georgia State, are going dancing!

If you want to play, simply follow the link above. There were link issues previously with the link. If you run into that, search for Group ID: 806724. The password is: “GoPanthers”. You can create an ESPN account or use your FB ID and I believe there’s a way to just create a name.

Hopefully someone can de-throne carter8893 who won last year’s PP Challenge, bringing honor to his family.

Lest anyone think I am anything other than an unbiased fan of GSU, I have them defeating UVA 100-3 in the final.

Horse Racing and Gambling: Job Creator or Scourge?

Senator Brandon Beach and members of the Georgia Horse Racing Coalition presented an optimistic picture of what horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering would bring to the state of Georgia at a meeting of the State Senate Regulated Industries Committee Wednesday afternoon. The committee was considering Senate Resolution 135, which would allow a vote by the people on a constitutional amendment to permit racing and wagering.

In introducing the measure, Sen. Beach called it an economic development bill that would bring jobs to Georgia in the areas of agriculture, hospitality, and tourism, along with those affiliated with running a racetrack. Jack Damico, VP and Treasurer of the Georgia Horse Racing Coalition said that the group anticipated having two ten day racing periods each year, one in the fall and one in the spring, that would include a Georgia Cup and a Georgia Derby. The Georgia races would fit nicely between winter racing in Florida and summer racing in Kentucky.

Should racing and wagering be permitted in the Peach State, supporters estimate it would bring in $31 million worth of scholarships, and create 4-6,000 jobs directly, along with many others indirectly.
Read more

Is It Finally Time for Wagering on Horse Racing?

Harry Geisinger of Roswell is nothing if not determined. At least as far back as the 2009-2010 session of the legislature, Geisinger has proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow Georgians to bet on horse racing This year, he’s done it again with H.R. 1, which was prefiled before Thanksgiving, and finally placed in the House hopper on Monday. Progress has been slow, with the resolution authorizing the amendment dying in committee, if it got that far.

This year, a similar resolution authorizing a constitutional amendment on pari-mutuel wagering was filed in the Senate as S.R. 135, sponsored by Brandon Beach. The resolution will get a hearing today in the Regulated Industries and Utilities committee. The House and Senate versions have some differences: the House version would not permit wagering in a given county unless it was approved by voters, while the Senate version is silent on that issue. The House bill directs proceeds from wagering be spent on tuition scholarships, grants, or loans to Georgia students to attend college or technical school in Georgia, whether part of the University System or Technical College System or not. Other permitted uses would be pre-kindergarten and trauma care. The Senate version specifies that the scholarships, grants and loans be needs based, and is silent on trauma centers.

We hear the Senate bill might have a chance of passing in the upper chamber with the required two thirds majority, and then taken up, and perhaps passed in the House. While the Governor does not have to sign the resolution, his opinion could make a difference. Governor Deal is not a fan of gambling, and if he were to publicly oppose passage of the constitutional amendment, the chances of the enabling resolution passing the two chambers would diminish. On the other hand, if he acts as he did with the issue of Sunday alcohol sales, the idea has a better chance of going before voters in 2016. And in that case, it could be paired with another amendment authorizing the state’s Opportunity School District.

Morning Reads: Huckabee and gays; everyone’s talking Nationwide; Hawks vs. NBA history

National

Kerry says enormous interest in new relationship with Cuba
Senator presses Obama on Islamic extremism
Huckabee says gay marriage is a lifestyle
NYC mayor moving past police controversy
Perry hurt by indictment?
Obama’s choice as Mexico ambassador withdraws her name

Local

Bill would delay kindergarten start for younger students
Boyer sentencing delayed again
Will winter continue?

Sports

How the Hawks stack up against NBA history
Pats are Super again
Nationwide’s controversial Super Bowl commercial

Should John Fox be the Next Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons?

Major news out of the Mile High City this evening could impact the Dirty Birds.

John Fox and the Broncos have mutually agreed to part ways.

A week ago, I spoke on WABE-FM about the possibility of Rex Ryan coming to Atlanta. Today’s news that Ryan has accepted the top job in Buffalo — and now Fox’s departure from Denver — may change the entire landscape of the Falcons’ coaching search.

Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase — who has interviewed with the Falcons — could now emerge as the top candidate to replace Fox . There has also been a lot of speculation that the reason the Falcons’ coaching search has taken so long is that there are no “it” guys on the market this year. Ryan’s was the biggest coaching name out there, and he’s off the market.

But now, Fox has to be considered the top head coaching candidate. He’s a proven winner, he’s the big name that Arthur Blank supposedly desires, and he’s available.

Should Blank pick up the phone right now and bring John Fox to Atlanta?

 

Championship Weekend Predictions And Open Thread

It’s Conference Championship weekend and as usual Atlanta in right in the thick of it. The SEC Championship is of course in our Capitol city but the game might not be as exciting as it normally is.

For Yellow Jacket fans like myself, we’re enjoying something we’re not all that used to: People are actually rooting for our football team. Sure, some are doing it because they don’t like Florida State’s QB but nevertheless, this is a big game for our program. So much so that if several things happen, Georgia Tech could find itself in the mix for the 4th spot in the new College Football Payoff. Here’s how that could happen:

1) #2 Oregon defeats #7 Arizona tonight, claims the Pac-12 Championship and retains their spot in the playoff.
2) #3 TCU defeats Iowa State tomorrow and claims a share of the Big-12 Championship and a spot in the playoff.
3) Tomorrow afternoon #1 Alabama defeats #16 Missouri to claim the SEC Championship and retain the top playoff spot.
4) #9 Kansas State knocks off #6 Baylor tomorrow night and shares the Big-12 Conference title with #3 TCU.
5) #13 Wisconsin knocks off #5 Ohio State and claims the B1G Championship.
6) #11 Georgia Tech knocks off #4 FSU and claims the ACC Championship.

None of those things are out of the question, which leave us with this possible scenario:

Three Conference Champions with 2 losses are considered for the 4th playoff spot: Kansas State, Georgia Tech and Wisconsin. What about #8 Michigan State and #10 Mississippi State? Well, they are not Conference champs, which the Selection Committee says is important and could cause those two teams to be jumped by K-State, GT, and Wisc.

I think the Selection Committee would then toss out Kansas State because #3 TCU defeated them 41-20 during the season and if you were going to have two teams from the same conference in the playoffs they’d be from the SEC, not the Big-12. So we’re left with GT and Wisconsin. They may very well pick Georgia Tech because Tech has a better strength of schedule and has defeated #19 Clemson, #9 Georgia, and #4 FSU in consecutive weeks. Wisconsin’s win over OSU would be (rather tragically) against OSU’s third string QB and perhaps not as impressive as GT’s win over FSU.

Implausible? Perhaps. Impossible? Not at all. In fact, I think it may very well happen.

Discuss this and anything else on your mind in this OPEN THREAD.

Cobb Chairman Lee Apologizes For the Handling of the Braves Stadium Deal

In response to an ethics complaint filed by Cobb County resident Tom Cheek, Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee issued a formal apology today about how the deal to bring the Atlanta Braves to Cobb was handled. The apology can in the form of a letter to Cobb residents and the other county commissioners that was made public by the Marietta Daily Journal.

After noting that much of the original negotiations over the Braves move from downtown Atlanta was conducted confidentially due to the requirements of the baseball club, Lee said that decisions were made based on the best interests of the county and the Braves. From the letter:

[W]e made decisions as best we thought given the limitations and constraints we faced. Nonetheless, I am sure there are things I could have handled differently, communicated more clearly, and could have done better to give our citizens deeper confidence in this game changing economic development opportunity for our community.

Throughout this entire process I worked to negotiate the best agreement I could achieve for Cobb. With this and any other economic development opportunities, I am always mindful that the final say on any agreement is the Board of Commissioners. As the Chairman and the only one elected countywide, I believe it is my duty to work vigorously to seek economic development opportunities and jobs for Cobb County and present any good proposal to the Commission when something is real and ready.

In hindsight, I realize it would have been helpful to provide more information at the time of the public announcement about the private phase of the discussions before the deal was made public. For example, I could have provided a written summary to Commissioners and the public regarding the timeline and process of my discussions with the Braves. To the extent I could have done things differently and better communicated our actions, I sincerely apologize.

In addition to a direct apology to Cheek, Lee is also proposing a review of the county’s economic development processes and practices to ensure they are up to date, based on the standards of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia.

Comparing College Rankings

Here at Peach Pundit, we have contributors with many varying academic allegiances. UGA is well represented, but we have contributors who are proud alumni of Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern and Georgia State. Eric the Younger is a lonely voice for the Gamecocks the second week of each football season, and Intern Will has been known to shout an occasional “Gig ‘Em” each fall.

Being a Yankee import and a graduate of a small liberal arts college, the fascination with football down south amazes me. Week eight should be interesting, with 12th rated Georgia hoping to improve on its 4-1 record playing Mizzou (but without one of its star players), while undefeated and 22nd ranked Tech takes on the Duke Blue Devils.

But this post isn’t about football rankings. It’s about the number one school in the southeast, the fifth best school in the United States, and the 27th best in the world.

That would be the Georgia Institute of Technology, which took these honors in the annual 2014-2015 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The University sometimes known as the North Avenue Trade School also ranks number 11 worldwide among institutions focusing on engineering and technology.

Congratulations to Georgia Tech and condolences to the University of Georgia. Feel free to discuss what all this means, along with anything else on your mind, because this is your Weekend Open Thread.

Is Michael Sam Not a Falcon Because He is Gay?

AJC columnist and blogger Jeff Schultz makes a claim that Michael Sam is not playing in the NFL, or at least suiting up for a practice squad, because he is a homosexual:

The NFL, like any sports league, would like you to believe it’s not exclusionary. The problem with that expectation is a league can’t speak or act for individual team builders. That’s why Michael Sam is out of a job today — and for anybody who believes Sam’s sexuality has nothing to do with him being out of work today, keep reading.

Teams can sign 10 players to the practice squad, accounting for 320 jobs. In other words, in a league where pressuring the quarterback is one of the primary objectives, there is no room to this point for a player who won All-American honors at Missouri and accumulated 21 career sacks, including 11½ sacks and 19 tackles for loss as a senior.

As a sports junkie, I can attest that this same sentiment was echoed repeatedly on sports radio this morning by various guests and hosts, including the hosts of Mike and Mike In the Morning on ESPN Radio and Stephen A. Smith on Evans & Philips In The Morning on Mad Dog Radio.  They were adamant that Sam’s sexuality was the sole reason that he is without a job today, all repeating that he proved he was worthy to play in the NFL by being named the SEC co-defensive player of the year last year.

Read more

It’s Fantasy Football Time.

Fantasy TrophiesAs I posted a couple of weeks ago it’s time for another year of Peach Pundit Fantasy Football. We’re in two 10 teams leagues this year, which will hopefully work well. At this time we have a few spots left for those interested in joining us.

There are two spots available on a first come, first serve basis for the Peach Pundit League I. Click here.
There are three spots available on a first come, first serve basis for the Peach Pundit League II. Click here.

If you want to claim one of these spots email me at buzzbrockway-at-gmail-dot-com.

The draft will be this Sunday August 24th at 5:00pm. It will be an online draft which will allow you to make your own picks or have the computer pick one for you.

The Real GSU Gets New A.D.

And it will be Charlie Cobb, according to this morning’s AJC.

Cobb replaces Cheryl Levick, who oversaw the additional of football to the school; hired Trent Miles to replace Bill Curry as head coach, then Ron Hunter to coach men’s basketball.

Levick now becomes a personal assistant to GSU President Mark Becker.

Cobb steps into a huge role. Not only is GSU trying to raise $2.5 million to build a strength and conditioning facility for football; $5.5 million for a sports performance center; and $3.875 million for an academic performance center; but it also wants $300 million to transform Turner Field into an athletic complex for the school.

The most immediate task at hand, though? October 25, when Georgia Southern comes to town …