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I've had the same two University of Georgia football season tickets since 2002. For most of that time, no matter how many games UGA won or lost, those 2 tickets cost about $500 (allowing for seasonal variation based on the number of home games played).

This year, UGA played for the national title. This week, it was announced ticket prices are going up 50%.

This is what losing a national championship costs
Imagine what the school will do when they actually win a national title game.

For the record, that's just the cost of the tickets. Before you can buy tickets, you first have to make a "donation" to the Hartman Fund (which pays for student athletics scholarships). UGA increased the mandatory donation last year, and I paid it without complaint. A 10% increase after years of stability seemed reasonable at the time. Yet this latest announcement means that the same pair of tickets that cost $1,055 in 2016 will cost $1,480 in 2018. Ouch.

What does this price increase get me? The six-game 2017 home schedule was particularly terrible, with Tennessee, Auburn, and Georgia Tech all out of town. Despite the jump in cost and the return of those three teams, the rest of the home schedule is filled out with Vanderbilt (whose only 2017 SEC win was against Tennessee), University of Massachusetts (who lost to 4-8 Tennessee), Middle Tennessee (who lost to Vanderbilt), and Austin Peay (who lost to undefeated UCF 33 to 73!). $1,480 is a lot to pay for only 3 worthwhile football games.

Athletic Director Greg McGarity said he needs my money so he can make "substantial adjustments to the compensation of our coaching staff" (as quoted by Dawgnation.com). (What's the matter, Coach Smart? Being the highest paid public employee in the state [$3.75 million] wasn't enough for you?) Despite my qualms at the quality of what I'd be buying with my money, if paying an extra $400 for one season would guarantee a coaching staff that could beat Nick Saban's backup quarterback for a national title, I'd pay up. Are you willing to make that promise, McGarity? If we lose again, do I get my money back?

Obviously, I like attending football games. I have imagined myself continuing to travel to Athens on Saturdays until I'm old enough to need a walker to get around. That said, I won't get there if I go broke first. Fifteen years was a good run, but if UGA is getting greedy, I think maybe it's best if I go ahead and give up my dream before it breaks me.

Can you think of a reason I should keep paying? If so, please let me know. I have until February 15 to decide if it's worth giving UGA athletics any more of my money.

Comments (1) | Leave a Comment | Tags: football georgia greedy mcgarity kirby smart news nick saban rant

While checking for news from the aftermath of Sunday's game between the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins in London, my phone returned this.

This is an appropriate use of sarcastic quotes.

Some people don't know when or how to use quotation marks. Most of the time, they should be used when directly quoting someone, such as dialog in novels or citing from sources in news stories. The difference is clear in Jay Cutler said I suck, and Jay Cutler said, "I suck".

Quotation marks can also be used to prevent confusion when referencing a word or phrase itself and not its meaning. You can see what I mean in Jay Cutler prefers "dicks."

And, of course, there's a third use for quotation marks: denoting irony or sarcasm.

On Sunday, the Dolphins lost 20-0. The were shut out by the Saints, a team with a nearly historically bad defense. The highlight of the game was when Jay Cutler actively refused to participate in a Wildcat play. The petulant quarterback stood on the field with his hands on his hips and watched his team lose three yards on yet another drive that would end with a punt. With quality teamwork like that from its quarterback, no wonder the Dolphins are one missed field goal away from being 0-3.

Coach Adam Gase deciding to pay Jay Cutler $10 million instead of starting Matt Moore may prove to be the worst decision of his young head coaching career. Maybe not Nick Saban choosing Daunte Culpepper's knee over Drew Brees' shoulder bad, but not too much worse.

As you can see, the writer of that Wikipedia entry knew what he was doing.

Comments (0) | Leave a Comment | Tags: daunte culpepper dolphins dolphins quarterbacks suck football grammar jay cutler matt moore nick saban wikipedia

UGA crushed South Carolina. Then Alabama lost to Mississippi. Vegas declared No. 13 Alabama an underdog against the No. 8 Bulldogs. All UGA had to do was show up and play.

They didn't.

Final score: Alabama 38, UGA 10. It wasn't ever really that close.

Alabama 38, UGA 10

In all the UGA games I've ever watched, never have I seen the team collapse like they did today in the steady rain. After clawing to a 3-3 tie, it was like they ran out of fight at the start of the 2nd quarter. Alabama proceeded to score a rushing touchdown, block a punt for a touchdown, pass for a touchdown, and come back from halftime to intercept the ball and ran it back for a touchdown. All UGA did was stare at their own navels. The only reason the score wasn't worse was because Nick Saban didn't need it to be.

UGA did nothing right. Defensive backs were out of position on every play. Quarterback Greyson Lambert couldn't decide who to throw to and froze up. Relief quarterback Brice Ramsey couldn't manage to throw to his own team. But the worst of it all was Coach Richt and his coaching staff:

  • Calling a majority of passes and not runs even before the game was out of hand. (The Bulldog's two scoring drives were the only two possessions in the game when UGA called more runs than passes. That was not a coincidence. Maybe I was too hard on Mike Bobo all these years; Bobo is gone but UGA is still up to its same old sour tricks.)
  • Continuing to get special teams wrong. (Time outs to ice your own field goal kickers? Punt protection formations that block no one? Sigh.)
  • Worst of all, completely failing to prepare their kids for yet another big game. (Of everyone in the stadium before kickoff, no one seemed more confident in a UGA victory than the UGA players. That swagger sure disappeared in a hurry once they went down by one touchdown!)

Let this be known as the game that finally destroyed my faith in Mark Richt. I mean, I still like the guy. I think he's good for the University and its student athletes. I certainly don't want him to be fired. (Some things, like academic performance and ethics, are more important than wins and SEC Championships.) LSU in 2011? Alabama in 2012? Vanderbilt in 2013? Florida in 2014? Alabama in 2015? I just need to accept that we're never going to win any "big games" while he's the head football coach.

I admit that I didn't go to last week's game. I was sick with a cold and didn't want to endure the rain just to see UGA beat up on an inferior opponent like Southern University. I regret that decision now. If I want to see UGA win, those are the only games I should go to. Inferior opponents are the only ones we can beat.

Comments (0) | Leave a Comment | Tags: alabama athens bobo is a bozo bryce ramsey football georgia greyson lambert nick saban quarterbacks sanford

If you've been paying attention this week, you've gotten the message: the Dolphins suck. The lingering question is "why?" Dolphins' owner Wayne Huizenga has been on the offensive this week, meeting with the Miami Herald and making a few interesting statements:

''Is Cam [Cameron, Dolphins Head Coach] a mistake? I don't think so, but it's too soon to tell. I don't think you can blame everything that's happening now on Cam.''

''It's tough because Randy's been here two years and when Randy [Mueller, Dolphins General Manager] was here, Nick [Saban, previous Dolphins Head Coach] made all the decisions.''

Looks like we're going to blame Nick Saban for our current mess. Sure, Saban was a piece-of-shit who lied about a few things and broke his undeserved megabucks-contract to flee the NFL for the comfy confines of a megabucks-contract Alabama. Sure, Saban's personnel decisions were questionable. (And that's a generous evaluation.) And worst of all, Saban was a lousy coach, unable to motivate or game-plan on an NFL level.

But should we be crucifying Saban, who has had nothing to do with the team since January for our winless record this year? Is it Saban's fault that we drafted a wide-out with a history of injury when that was far from our weakest position? Is it Saban's fault that returning Defensive Coordinator Dom Caper's defense (YPG) has fallen from 4th last year to 27th this year? Is it Saban's fault that the Dolphins have started going through coaches (Johnson, Wannastadt, Bates, Saban, Cameron) like some teams go through tear-away jerseys?

Don't get me wrong. I don't like Saban. That guy started to piss me off during his first month on the job. But the Dolphins have been on the wrong road for awhile now. Hmmm. Since about 1993, when the Dolphins loaded up on expensive free agent talent in a season that was bound to prove only that you can't win by loading up only on expensive free agent talent. The team also renamed Joe Robbie Stadium (named for the late Dolphins owner) Pro Player Park in an effort to generate more cash. Really, nothing much but downhill from there. What else happened that year? Oh, that's right: Wayne Huizenga took full ownership of the team. Coincidence? Or was that Nick Saban's fault as well?

Comments (0) | Leave a Comment | Tags: cam cameron coaches dolphins football nfl nick saban randy mueller wayne huizenga

You know that I'm a fan of the Miami Dolphins. I have been since I first took an interest in the game of football back in the late 1980s. My favorite wide receiver of all time is a relative unknown named Orande Gadsden who played only 4 years exclusively for the Dolphins (and who, by the way, was the last man to catch a pass in the NFL by Dan Marino). I can tell you every quarterback who has started for the team since Marino retired. (Hmm, let's see; there's Huard, Fiedler, Griese, Lucas, Rosenfels, Feeley, Frerotte, Culpepper, Harrington, and now Lemon. Get ready, Packers fans, it will be worse than you think, trust me.) And we've been slightly above mediocre for most of that time. Hell, we've only had 4 losing seasons since joining the NFL! But if there's one aspect of the game that we've totally failed to grasp in the past two decades, it's coaching.

When current owner Wayne Huizenga bought the team in the early 90s, Don Shula was our coach. Shula was, in all regards, a great coach, one of the best in history. However, when Shula decided to retire 10 years ago, Huizenga chose to go with a proven wash-out at couch, replaced Shula with Jimmy Johnson, a Floridian who had great success with the Dallas Cowboys. Expectations were high. I thought we'd be great again, perhaps even Super Bowl bound. But the team went nowhere. This was likely because of a conflict between Marino, our aging superstar who naturally preferred the passing game, and Johnson, who would have preferred to restart the team from scratch with a focus on the run. In any event, after 3 years of exhausting turmoil, both Johnson and Marino were out.

In comes Dave Wannstedt, Johnson's protege who is fresh off several mediocre seasons with the Bears. Again I had high hopes. Wannstedt looked pretty good at times with the Bears, getting by with a team with less-than-stellar talent. Turns out that the talent problems were probably Wannstedt's fault. In Miami, he always looked lost, like a babysitter who doesn't know what to do when the tweens he's supervising get into the coffee ice cream and start bouncing off the walls. Wannstedt championed an ivy league quarterback with extremely limited passing skills, and he brought in Ricky Williams, who was the player voted "Most Likely To Destroy His Own Team" before the rise of Terrell Owens. We tanked. Wannstedt was fired in the middle of his fourth season, less than a year after receiving a contract extension from Huizenga as a reward for consistent under-performance.

Shut up, Dan.

Though I pulled for Wannstedt's temporary replacement, Jim Bates, to be the new coach, no one listened to me. Wannstedt's players had come together for Jim Bates, winning out at the end of the season. Instead of rewarding Bates, Huizenga traded competency for a "name" coach, LSU's head coach Nick Saban. Like a fool, I jumped on the bandwagon and agreed that he'd take us to the heights of the NFL again. But like Wannstedt, Saban soon proved that he couldn't control professional athletes or evaluate talent. Sure, he ditched Fiedler, but he replaced him with Culpepper. (True story: at Dan Marino's Hall of Fame induction ceremony, my brother and I noticed that Culpepper's numbers were comparable to some of the all-time greats. I remember my brother commenting that someone was going to look at those numbers and mistakenly think that he was actually good. Apparently, that someone was Nick Saban.) At least Saban fooled more than just me. He tricked professional sportswriters into thinking we'd reach the Super Bowl in 2007. Instead we had a 6-10 record, the third worst in the AFC. And then, like a kick in the crotch after a punch in the gut, Saban jumped ship earlier this week to head back to the relative safety (and economic goldmine) of college coaching.

Now it's back to the drawing board to select a new coach. I've lost my faith. I'd hope that Huizenga could find someone qualified, but I know now that he's just going to grab a big name. In fact, I heard today that he's already planning to interview other washed-out ex-NFL coaches, including Dom Capers (a confused mess who couldn't manage a winning season in 5 years with the Houston Texans), Mike Mularkey (purportedly an "offensive genius," though he couldn't settle a quarterback controversy between the clueless J.P. Losman and mediocre Kelly Holcolmb for two years with the Buffalo Bills), Chan Gailey (an Dallas Cowboys head coach who fled criticism to Georgia Tech, where he can't get his students to play a complete 4 quarters or manage a game clock), and Jim Mora, Jr. (known to Atlanta Falcons' fans as "the man who ruined Michael Vick," he's every bit as bad as his father but without the entertaining press conferences).

So now the Dolphins have 2 or 3 more rebuilding years ahead, where the sputtering offense will have an ineffective overhaul as the aging defense falls apart under it's own weight. I'm starting to understand how Raiders fans feel.

Comments (0) | Leave a Comment | Tags: coaches dan marino daunte culpepper dave wannstedt dolphins don shula football jim bates jimmy johnson nfl nick saban orande gadsden rant ricky williams the greatest quarterback ever to play the game of football trivia wayne huizenga

To be continued...

 

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