Posted 01/29/2010 at 01:18 PM
--I'm writing college hoops today, so I'm just going to use this blog entry for a slew of non-basketball thoughts going into the weekend...
--Arizona QB Kurt Warner is announcing his retirement today. Before he went to the Cardinals, I think Warner was a borderline Hall of Fame candidate. But after leading the moribund franchise to within seconds of winning the Super Bowl two seasons ago AND following that up with a postseason win over Green Bay in an epic thriller earlier this month, his place in Canton is now a no-brainer. Whenever you see someone stacking groceries at Publix, Kroger, Winn Dixie or wherever, think of Kurt Warner. That's what he was doing at Hy-Vee grocery store in Cedar Falls, Iowa, for $5.50 an hour before you had ever heard of him. After that, he played Arena Football for the Iowa Barnstormers. He finally got his break when Trent Green tore his ACL in a preseason game for the St. Louis Rams. After that game, I remember rolling my eyes at another tear-laced presser from Dick Vermeil in which he announced in that emotional tone, "But this team will rally around Kurt Warner." And I thought, 'who the hell is Kurt Warner?' Several months later, Warner led the Rams to a Super Bowl win over the Tennessee Titans at the Georgia Dome. And ever since then, we've all known about Kurt Warner. Class act, HOF quarterback.
--I know Warner doesn't drink Budweisers, but I sure do. And I'll have one in his honor tonight when I go see my favorite band -- the Drive By Truckers -- in Mobile, Alabama. With the Senior Bowl tomorrow, I'm wondering how many NFC scouts and/or coaches will demonstrate their coolness by being at this show. The 'over/under' is 1 1/2.
--If you missed it earlier this week, Ole Miss offensive coordinator Kent Austin left Oxford to take the head-coaching job at Cornell. Ivy League football, you ask? Well, Austin needed to get some (non-CFL) head-coaching experience under his belt. Don't be surprised if we hear his name again in a few years -- as a possible candidate to replace Houston Nutt. Why do I bring up that notion, you ask? Well, the word on the street is that Nutt is not getting along too well with AD Pete Boone. We learned as much with Nutt's brief flirtation with Kansas (of all places) before the Jayhawks hired Turner Gill. Now if I'm an Ole Miss fan (I'm certainly not), I'd just assume Boone get out of town WAY before Nutt, and that very well may happen. But until then, I don't think we should assume that Nutt's going to retire at Ole Miss. Stay tuned on that one...
--And speaking of SEC coaching situations... Mr. SEC justifies his stance on Mark Richt in this column today. The AJC's Junkyard Dawg blogger Bill King took Mr. SEC to task in a recent column. The AJC's Mark Bradley and ESPN.com's SEC blogger Chris Lowe are also mentioned in that piece -- pretty good stuff.
--I have to agree with Mr. SEC on Richt. The dude is on the hot seat going into 2010. If Georgia goes 7-5 or worse, Richt is gone. I'm not saying it's right or fair or anything of that sort, I'm just saying it's FACT. And hey, he might be outta Athens with an 8-4 record, too. I think Georgia has to go 9-3 for Richt to feel safe.
--Same situation in Baton Rouge. Les "The Hat" Miles is feeling the heat barely two years removed from winning it all. Loyal readers and/or listeners of the Power Hours know where I stand on Miles. Great motivator and solid leader, but completely incompetent game coach. And don't even get me started on his clock-management acumen (or lack thereof). Put simply: It's at a kindergarten level. That's why I don't even call him the Mad Hatter anymore. He's just 'The Hat' because NOBODY knows what's going on under that lid between his ears.
--This is a hoops thought(s), but of the NBA nature rather than college: My Hawks are going for the season sweep of the Celtics tonight. I LOVE it! I have a lifetime worth of bitterness to the C's built up. In the 1988 Eastern Conference semifinals, my Dad took me (as a 14-year-old) to Games 3 and 4 at the Omni. The Hawks won both games behind the brilliant play of Dominique Wilkins, Doc Rivers and Kevin Willis. Of course, Boston won Game 6 when Cliff Levingston didn't throw the ball to 'Nique and missed a running left-handed hook shot at the buzzer. Then in Game 7, Bird and 'Nique put on a show for the ages in the final stanza with Boston winning a nail-biter. Twenty years later, I was at Game 3 of another epic seven-game series between the Celtics and Hawks that was eventually won by Boston. But yes, I'm salivating at the prospects of a second-round Atlanta-Boston showdown in the East again this year. My Hawks will get it done this time and hey, I've been saying for weeks that bettors need to go buy a cheap Atlanta future ticket to win it all this year. It's worth the small risk for a potentially monster return (currently 20/1 at most books).
--Have a great weekend, everyone, and as always, best of luck with your bets!