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Some things in sports are too surreal

Back in the old days football coaches wouldn't dare pass the ball in rainy conditions. The idea was the ball was too wet to grip; and to throw it would be ludicrous. Maybe it was Brigham Young University in the snow and ice of Utah that changed that theory. They passed it every down regardless of the weather and discovered that defensive backs did most of the slipping when receivers made their predetermined cuts on pass routes.

Last Saturday I saw Georgia and Georgia Tech combine to throw eighty passes in a game that was played mostly in the rain. Many of these passes were thrown into the ground or over the receivers' heads. Fortunately, Georgia managed to catch two of theirs for touchdowns to help win the game 19-13.

Georgia Tech's best pass play was the lob to their tall freshman, Calvin Johnson, and hope for a pass interference call. It worked twice on the Yellow Jackets' 10-play, 14-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. That's not a misprint folks, 10 plays, 14 yards.

In the old days coaches stuck to the three yards and a bog of mud running game on days like Saturday. Georgia and Georgia Tech combined for 68 running plays, several of which were actually pass plays where the quarterback was sacked. Obviously, these aren't the old days.

In case you missed it -- in a big surprise to me -- Georgia Southern lost to New Hampshire 27-23 in the first round of the 1-AA playoffs. I had them pegged to at least make it to the championship game, and hopefully win it.

Tomorrow night, Statesboro will play host to Warner Robins for the Class AAAA championship and Clinch County will travel to Hawkinsville for the Class A championship.

Saturday night championship games will see Lowndes visit Parkview in AAAAA, Washington County will go to LaGrange in AAA and Charlton County will travel to Buford in AA.

The big school championships will both be televised by Georgia Public Broadcasting, AAAA in Statesboro on Friday night and AAAAA from Parkview in Gwinnett Co. on Saturday night.

One legend replaces another. As I hinted in this space a few weeks ago, Steve Spurrier replaced Lou Holtz as the football coach at South Carolina. The Gamecocks know how to get media attention without winning a lot of games, or even playing a down for that matter. They're counting on Spurrier to change the environment and maybe even out quip Holtz. Both will be tall orders to fill.

After Spurrier's hiring, I read columns from the Atlanta, Augusta, Columbia and Gainesville (Fla.) newspapers. Every scribe used the word "surreal" to describe the press conference. Just to make sure, I looked it up. Surreal means bizarre, or better yet, activities of the unconscious mind. I think that's what Spurrier was when he accepted the job.

The Atlanta Falcons have clinched at least a tie for the NFC South championship with a 9-2 record. That should pretty much guarantee them a playoff spot.

My son, Wesley, has developed a habit of correcting my grammar when he hears me speak a boo-boo. I'm hearing one over and over from TV sports commentators that's driving me crazy. Many are calling a hypothetical or unnecessary point a "mute point." Mute is the button that one should push on the remote control when these announcers are talking. I believe "moot" is the word.

By next week this mess of a college Bowl Championship Series as well as the 24 other bowls should be settled. You can look forward to my thoughts on a playoff system and bowl games in the very near future. It will be surreal.



Web posted on Thursday, December 2, 2004











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