Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! Pretty slow news for college football since the announcement of a four-team playoff last week. In local sports, the week has had its ups and downs. Unfortunately, the NFL has had a week of mostly downs.
College football is indeed moving to a four-team playoff after the 2013 season. Other than that, not much new to report. Hopefully they’ll have most of the details hammered out by the end of June. BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock on the Dan Patrick Show today, said they were seriously debating on whether the semi-finals/first round would be played on campus or at neutral sites. I understand home games for the no. 1 and no. 2 seeds would be a way to reward them for regular season success, but I hope to see neutral site games rotating at the sites of current BCS bowl games (and still think they should replace the Fiesta with the Cotton).
Of other note in college football:
- Conference-USA is expanding. C-USA will be adding new powerhouses North Texas, Louisiana Tech, Texas San Antonio, Florida International and Charlotte (Charlotte has a football team?). I guess C-USA is trying to stay relevant in the expansion landscape.
- Clemson wide-receiver Sammy Watkins could be facing a possible suspension. Watkins was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors early this morning: Possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance. Good thing Watkins plays offense, because the Clemson defense needs as much help as it can get after their Orange Bowl performance against West Virginia.
- Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees is also in trouble with the law. He was arrested early Thursday morning and faces four misdemeanors (minor consumption, two counts of resisting law enforcement and battery). This may not have much impact, as Notre Dame hasn’t been relevant in the past 15 years.
- For us Georgia fans, Michael Adams announced that he will step down as president of the University of Georgia. Adams is really only famous for two things: 1.) Not extending Vince Dooley’s contract as Athletic Director in 2003 and 2.) trying desperately to rid the Georgia-Florida game of its popular moniker of “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” He did do a lot to enhance the University’s academic status, so in regards to the worth of my degree, I give him a half-hearted thank you. However, the fan in me says “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
- New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has been suspended for the entire season for his participation in “bounty-gate.” Quite a significant suspension handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Saints defensive end Will Smith is also suspended for four game. With the signing of former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton, it seems like the Saints were prepared for this. Vilma plans to fight his suspension.
- In a sad story this week, it is apparent now that 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau’s death was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. His family is allowing his brain to be studied to see if the long-term effects of concussions may have contributed. Of course, there is a lot of speculation right now about this being a contributing factor.
In local sports, the Atlanta Braves pulled out a win in a wild one Wednesday night over the Philadelphia Phillies. The game saw a Brian McCann grand slam and a Chipper Jones 2-run walk-off home run. Unfortunately, they lost the series, getting shut out by Joe Blanton yesterday afternoon. And of course, the Atlanta Hawks with a chance to go up 2-0 in the series with the Boston Celtics, lost Tuesday night. The Hawks play at Boston tonight with the series tied 1-1, with Josh Smith a game-time decision. There’s Atlanta sports for you.
Let’s get to some mail…
Brandon writes: In your opinion, who is the best kicker UGA has had since Kevin Butler?
Georgia has had a number of great kickers over the years, and it’s safe to say Kevin Butler is at the top of that list. John Kasay no doubt has had the best pro career since Butler, but never played on a great team at Georgia, so he tends to get overlooked in these discussions.
I think the debate comes down to two guys: Billy Bennett and Brandon Coutu. Bennett was the kicker for the first SEC Championship team in 2002 (Georgia’s first since Butler’s playing days) is holds the UGA record for “most points scored.” Bennett’s game winning kick at Alabama in 2002, when Georgia wasn’t “man enough” to win in Tuscaloosa tops of his highlights.
Coutu was also the kicker for an SEC Championship team in 2005, and had the stronger leg of the two. He hit a big game-winner at Vanderbilt in 2007 that catapulted the 07′ team into winning the remainder of their games en route to throttling Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. Coutu also missed the majority of the 2006 season with an injury, a season that saw Georgia lose a number of close games. His career statistics would have been even more impressive if he had played the full season, and his injury showed how important Coutu was to the team (Georgia lost four games, three by 7 points or less).
So while statistics may favor Billy Bennett, I personally think Coutu is the best kicker Georgia’s had since Kevin Butler.
Still, Kevin Butler is no doubt, the greatest kicker in Georgia history (no disrespect to Rex Robinson). Here’s a video of Butler narrowly missing a 71-yard field goal attempt against Florida State in the 1984 Citrus Bowl. The game ended in a 17-17 tie, but the fact that Georgia even attempted this (and the narrow miss) speaks volumes of how great a kicker Butler was.
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