Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Predictions: No Gurley, no problem for Dogs

  • 3:59 pm Thursday, October 30th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

According to suburban legend (defined as Googling outside of the perimeter),  Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as “Samhain” (pronounced, “sah-win,” because Celtics couldn’t spell) and is celebrated at the end of the harvest season, when the worlds of the living and the dead overlap, and mayhem ensues, and the dead rise (except B.J. Upton), and desperate housewives dress up like Lola and Candi on Stages 1 and 2, and evil spirits roam neighborhoods and sometimes go on to coach at Louisville, or get recruited by Florida State, or become president of the NCAA.

(I know. That [More]

Dumb rules are no excuse for Todd Gurley

  • 9:36 am Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Georgia running back Todd Gurley should be considered leading Heisman candidate. (Brant Sanderlin, AJC)

(Updated: 5:45 p.m.)

I understand this is going to be a difficult question for those who bleed red-and-black. But seriously: Did you really believe that Todd Gurley did this only once? Did you really think that one day he acted impulsively, took $400 from some memorabilia cretin named Bryan Allen to sign 80 items, and never did it again?

Logic indicated otherwise, and evidence supported logic.

Gurley is gone for four games, not the two already served. He didn’t receive $400 for signatures. He received more than $3,000. The NCAA hit him with a four-game suspension, or the equivalent of 30 percent of [More]

Muschamp expects NCAA to clear Gurley

  • 2:00 pm Monday, October 27th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Georgia still hoping for NCAA to clear Todd Gurley before Florida game. (Jason Getz/AJC)

While Georgia continues to wait for word on whether Todd Gurley will be given clearance by the NCAA to play in Saturday’s game against Florida, Gators coach Will Muschamp is already operating on the assumption that the Bulldogs’ running back will there.

“Absolutely. I would expect him to play,” Muschamp said Monday at his weekly news conference in Gainesville.

The comments were in response to a question about Gurley’s uncertain status. Muschamp had alluded to Gurley during his general remarks about Georgia to open his conference: “Extremely talented running back in Todd Gurley. One of the best football players in college football. [More]

Will Blank make move with Mike Smith?

  • 9:30 am Monday, October 27th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Mike Smith made some poor decisions down stretch Sunday. (AP photo)

The Falcons have scheduled coach Mike Smith’s weekly news conference for 2:30 p.m. So that should answer the immediate question: Is Mike Smith getting fired today?

Owner Arthur Blank is not a man who takes either defeat or public scorn or mocking well. My guess is he’s torn on this decision, and within the Falcons’ organization some people are advising him against making a change right now, primarily for two reasons: 1) Smith had a strong resume in his first five seasons, going 56-24 (playoff failures, notwithstanding); 2) The Falcons, despite having lost five straight and sitting at 2-6 at the [More]

Short takes: Tech 56 (points), Pitt 6 (fumbles)

  • 6:57 pm Saturday, October 25th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Tech's Broderick Snoddy runs for one of his three touchdowns against Pitt. (AP photo)

For my full column off of Georgia Tech’s 56-28 win over Pittsburgh, click here.

My three, “Short Takes” on the game are below:

1. WEIRDNESS PREVAILS: First this: It was an impressive effort by Tech after losing consecutive games to Duke and North Carolina. But the first half might have been the strangest half of football I’ve ever seen. Pitt fumbled on its first five possessions, and the Jackets turned the first four into touchdowns. The Panthers fumbled six times in the game (five leading to Tech touchdowns). Some credit to the Jackets’ defense, which entering the game was tied for [More]

LIVE: Tech’s defense must improve vs. Pitt

  • 11:34 am Saturday, October 25th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Ted Roof's defense has allowed 79 points, including 11 touchdowns, in last two games.

PITTSBURGH –Paul Johnson, in general, and his option offense, in particular, tend to get the most attention when somebody takes a shot at Georgia Tech. But it’s the Jackets’ defense that has been the program’s undoing more often than not when things have gone sideways, and this season is no exception.

Tech started this season 5-0 and included in that were wins at Virginia Tech and home against Miami. The Jackets had the early inside the track to win the ACC Coastal Division and go to the conference championship game. But then came consecutive unexpected losses to Duke and North Carolina, [More]

Predictions: Jolly old loss for Falcons

  • 5:07 pm Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

According to Thursday’s London Mirror (“The Intelligent Tabloid”), under “Football” news, Tottenham was looking for a win over Asteras Tripolis, a Spanish goalie may rehab with Manchester United, and Balotelli threatened a woman who took pictures of his Ferrari.

According to the London Sun (the more interesting paper), there is still time for women to enter the “Curvy Cover Girl” contest and win 1,000 pounds and a modeling contract with Milk Management (I’m not making that up). Also, Natasha tells her heartbreaking story, “I hid under fella’s bed… as rat romped with another.”

I’ve come to this conclusion: The Falcons left the [More]

Will a fresh perspective elude Braves?

  • 11:44 am Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
John Schuerholz got his man (John Hart), just not as GM. (Curtis Compton)

It was clear to anybody who spoke to John Hart on the day the Braves fired general manager Frank Wren that he did not want the job. When a baseball executive gets to be of a certain age, they learn to embrace the schedule and minimal responsibility that accompanies the semi-retirement jobs of consultant and television analyst.

“The difference now is when you step off the (television) set, you can put the problems that you’ve been discussing aside,” Hart told me when asked about the possibility of becoming a general manager again. “That’s part of the fun of it. It also [More]

Why yes for Mo’ne Davis but no for Gurley?

  • 9:31 am Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Little League star Mo'ne Davis was cleared to do a car commercial by the NCAA. (Brian Garfinkel)

This blog has been updated with the news that Georgia is filing a request with the NCAA for Todd Gurley’s reinstatement. A full column will be posted later today.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the full column.

Here are two updates on the Todd Gurley situation:

•  The Georgia tailback is still under suspension, but school officials announced it will file a request for reinstatement with the NCAA later today and hopes to have him available for “our next game,” which against Florida next week. The question is whether the NCAA will relatively rubber-stamp this and limit Gurley’s suspension to two games [More]

Short takes: Falcons’ offense goes belly up

  • 4:02 pm Sunday, October 19th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent a lot of time in this position Sunday. (AP photo)

I’ll be back shortly with a full column to wrap up some of the ugliness associated with the Falcons’ 29-7 loss to Baltimore. Until then, here are my three “Short Takes.”

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the full column.

1. So where’s the explosive offense? The Falcons were expected to struggle defensively this season. But nobody could have anticipated the offense would border on anemic at this stage of the season, even with injuries to the offensive line. They had only 61 yards in offense at halftime and until the final minutes botched what few chances they had. It was five [More]