Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not
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Predictions (no lies): Dogs over Clemson

  • 2:15 pm Thursday, August 28th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
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Against the backdrop of a USC player making up a story about jumping out of a window to save his drowning cousin (a Bobby Petrino starter kit), four North Carolina players suspended for undisclosed reasons (oh look, a teammate was beaten senseless. How’d that happen?) and the Heisman Trophy winner shoplifting crab legs because, well, THESE SCHOLARSHIP ATHLETES ARE STARVING!!! ….

Hello. I am back.

You know how this works. Every week, I give you the winners. It’s your job to find them.

If I went 17-0 every week, it would make it too easy for competing investment services like Charles Schwab, Morgan [More]

Predicting all four teams in Georgia (almost guaranteed)

  • 1:13 pm Monday, August 25th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Georgia's hopes of flying this season hinge partly on Todd Gurley. (AP photo)

The college football season begins this week. You might’ve heard something about it. The first episode of Weekend Predictions will be online Thursday and in print (old school) Friday, and there’s still time to register for the annual “Sack Schultz” contest, where you have a chance to outpick me in a set of 15 games every game. (Hah. Just kidding. It’ll never happen. But click here for details if you want to give it a try for some fabulous prizes.) Until the games start, here are some odds and a few thoughts on the four FBS teams in the [More]

It’s ‘Sack Schultz’ time — how good are you?

  • 11:48 am Friday, August 22nd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Mark Richt and Paul Johnson discuss their strategy for "Sack Schultz" contest. (AJC)

Hello again. It’s almost time for college football season, and that means it’s almost time for the “Sack Schultz” contest, and that also means it’s almost time for Weekend Predictions, so let me start with an off-the-books wager (not to be confused with an off-the-books attorney hire, because Cobb County, it seems, has cornered the market on those).

Bobby Petrino vs. Todd Grantham: boom.

Now, back to football.

Weekend Predictions returns next week. The “Sack Schultz” contest returns now. You can register beginning Sunday at AJC.com/go/sackschultz2014.

This contest provides you with the opportunity to pick the outcomes of games better than me, [More]

On Braves, McGuirk and repairing baseball

  • 9:19 pm Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Three members of the Braves' hierarchy (from left): Terry McGuirk, John Schuerholz, Frank Wren. (AJC photo)

Should Pete Rose be allowed back into baseball, and therefore become eligible for the Hall of Fame? (Yes.)

Does baseball, which is losing a generation of fans and is suffering from long games in the regular season and late starts in its signature event, the World Series, need to make significant changes to improve the product? (Yes.)

Should the 162-game season be preserved? (No.)

Those are some of the issues (and my answers) I’ve addressed in a MyAJC column that you can read here. Commissioner Bud Selig is retiring and Rob Manfred will replace him, so this is a prime opportunity for [More]

Braves find a groove — but so do Nationals

  • 9:21 am Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Braves have won five straight but remain six games behind Washington. (AP photo)

Six days ago, on the eve of the Braves’ “Zombie Night” promotion at Turner Field, I wrote a column on the Braves’ seeming march into the regular season afterlife and the reasons manager Fredi Gonzalez needed to bench the struggling B.J Upton. At that point, they had lost 12 of 15 games and 17 of 26 since the All-Star break.

A follow-up blog and cartoon posed the question to you, “Is the fat lady singing” on their season?” Most readers believed yes. I certainly believed yes. When it comes to the division race, I still think yes. But it [More]

Report: Petrino, Grantham already feuding (updated)

  • 10:20 pm Monday, August 18th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
S.I. reports Bobby Petrino and Todd Grantham are already feuding. Surprise!. (AP photo)

When “reformed” Louisville coach Bobby Petrino hired former Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, it seemed like a perfect marriage — if one were to assume a petroleum truck parking in a warehouse full of plutonium is a perfect marriage.

So maybe this won’t come as a surprise:

According to SI.com, Petrino has “feuded often” with Grantham since hiring him in January. The relationship between the two is so bad, one unidentified source told S.I., that Petrino would have fired Grantham by now if he had not given him a five-year contract worth nearly $1 million annually (which, by the way, wasn’t [More]

Falcons can survive without Baker, not others

  • 10:25 am Monday, August 18th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Julio Jones is one player Falcons can't afford to lose. (Kent Johnson, AJC)

There have been two general reactions from Falcons’ fans since Sam Baker was lost for the season: 1) OMG, we lost our starting left tackle; or 2) That’s OK, we only loss Sam Baker.

Both are understandable. The left tackle protects the quarterback’s blind side. Kind of important. But Baker widely has been considered a bust since the Falcons traded up to draft him late in the first round in 2008, and part of the reason is he’s been injured so often.

He played only eight games (five starts) in his rookie season. He started only six games in 2011 and four [More]

FSU 1, Georgia 12 in poll of insignificance

  • 2:59 pm Sunday, August 17th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Georgia's hopes of flying this season hinge partly on Todd Gurley. (AP photo)

Florida State is No. 1 , Georgia is No. 12 and eight SEC teams are in the top 25 of the Associated Press’s preseason poll. Well, that certainly means . . . nothing.

Preseason college football polls are great for stimulating debate. But they invariably mean little by the end of the season, and their significance has been diminished even more by the four-team playoff beginning this season. Polls are great for feeding perceptions about how good or bad a team may be but those perceptions last only until a highly ranked team loses or a non-ranked team keeps winning.

This was [More]

With Braves six back, is ‘fat lady’ singing?

  • 8:39 am Friday, August 15th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
BravesfatLadyJeff

So is it over?

The Braves lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 Thursday. If you missed the almost-too-perfect inglorious ending, here’s a free link to my column on the game.

In brief, Justin Upton had to leave the game with a strained hamstring. His lesser brother B.J., who had been benched from the starting lineup because he’s hitting .209, was sent in as a pinch runner. He stayed in the game, and, of course, wound up being the key at-bat in the ninth inning. With runners on second and third base, B.J., batting in Justin’s spot, struck out.

The strikeout numbers [More]

Braves’ crowds reflect lack of confidence

  • 9:00 am Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Dodgers at Braves

As the Braves begin to slide out of the playoff race — or at least show no sign of having interest in it — they also are sliding off the radar in Atlanta.

Crowds for the first two games of the weekend series against Washington last week drew over 30,000 but the Sunday night game saw only 18,191 in the stadium. I realize it was the night before the first day of school for many kids, but for a late-summer weekend series against the Nationals with first place on the line, the numbers were disappointing. It also was stunning that the [More]

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