Jeff Schultz blog 

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

Mercer (Georgia’s shining light) stuns Duke

  • 2:56 pm Friday, March 21st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

Playing in a state starved for college basketball excellence, Mercer University did more than just drop the Macon Whoopee down a notch in Macon’s modest sports history Friday. It emerged as the unlikely program to set the standard for other college programs in Georgia.

The 14th seeded Bears, playing in their first NCAA tournament game since 1985, shot nearly 56 percent from the field against Duke’s crumbling defense, went on a late 11-0 run and stunned the No. 3 seeded Blue Devils 78-71 in  a first-round game of the Midwest Regional in Raleigh, N.C.

Yes. That just happened.

It was the first NCAA [More]

SEC needs to expand conference schedules (column preview)

  • 10:12 am Thursday, March 20th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
SEC football fans deserve to see more conference opponents.

The SEC’s coaches and athletic directors are balking at going to nine-game conference schedules. The latest evidence of this comes from LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, who told the Baton Rouge Advocate, “That means seven more losses for certain teams.”

Well. So much for the Big Bad SEC.

I’ll have a full column on this later today. But the SEC will be making a mistake on several levels if it doesn’t expand from the current eight-conference/four non-conference-game format.

The Pacific 12 and Big 12 already play nine conference games. The Big Ten will expand to nine games beginning in 2016. Of [More]

Will Georgia school get NCAA bid? Here are odds

  • 12:45 pm Monday, March 3rd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

Welcome to that time of year when we look at the state of college basketball in Georgia and the chance of the state getting a team in the NCAA basketball tournament (generally is commensurate with calling tails with a two-headed coin).

I went through the latest ESPN RPI rankings of 351 Division I basketball programs, and it was as depressing as one would expect. Below are the seven eligible state programs. (If I missed one, let me know.) I’m ranking them by RPI, which is a major factor used by the NCAA tournament selection committee. But because a team’s RPI [More]

Tech’s talent level? Just the facts (no spin)

  • 2:28 pm Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson doesn't think highly of recruiting rankings. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

If we used recruiting “rankings” as a gauge — and I put rankings in quotes because there’s nothing official or impactful about what Scout, Rivals or Creepy Bob from Cedartown think – Georgia Tech pretty much stinks at this recruiting thing. As of this typing, the Yellow Jackets’ recruiting class Wednesday was ranked only 46th by Rivals, 54th by Scout and 60th by 247 Sports (behind Kansas, Marshall, Iowa State, Rutgers, Duke and apparently most of the free world).

It’s no secret that Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is not a fan of these rankings, nor the respective site’s “star” rankings [More]

Signing day advice: Proceed with caution

  • 7:21 am Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
College football recruiting can be as unpredictable as fortune telling.

Good morning. It’s national letter of intent day. I’ve never hidden my feelings about the obsession so many of you have with this day so it wouldn’t be right for me to be disingenuous and start now. The most positive thing I can say about letter of intent day is that it’s more palatable than April 15.

Anyway, about today: Whether you’re a recruiting-obsessed football fan of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State or Georgia Southern, here’s some unsolicited advice: Try to make it through this day with some little perspective.

If Georgia finishes seventh among SEC schools in some site’s recruiting rankings, [More]