Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not
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LIVE: Georgia gives it a go minus Gurley

  • 10:47 am Saturday, October 11th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
If the Vanderbilt game was Todd Gurley's exit from UGA, the Dogs must improve in other areas. (Brant Sanders/AJC)

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Good morning and welcome back to actual football. It should be a nice departure from everything else that’s happened since 5:23 p.m. Thursday night, when Georgia sent out the following email: “University of Georgia tailback Todd Gurley has been indefinitely suspended from competition by the UGA Athletic Association during an ongoing investigation into an alleged violation of NCAA rules.”

The NCAA is expected to resolve the Gurley matter by early next week. The AJC’s Danny Robbins and Chip Towers reported that the ongoing probe into Gurley’s relationship with memorabilia dealers who allegedly paid him to sign items may [More]

Minus Gurley, Dogs have flaws to overcome

  • 2:19 pm Friday, October 10th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Hutson Mason may not have Todd Gurley to hand ball to for rest of season. (AP)

Georgia plays its final regular-season game in seven weeks. In the perfect Bulldog world, there will be a berth in the SEC championship game in two months and a golden ticket to the inaugural college football playoffs in the first two weeks of January.

In other words, at worst — or best — Georgia running back Todd Gurley would be free in three months to start making his millions as a professional athlete. But there are growing indications that Gurley couldn’t wait and now there’s a good chance he has played his final college game.

A source has told the AJC [More]

Predictions: No Gurley, no Dogs, no kidding

  • 7:14 pm Thursday, October 9th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
chalkboard

Welcome back to Weekend Predictions and Occasional Spectacular Grease Fires, Inc., where we will vigorously defend your right to deduct all incorrect financial assumptions that the Falcons’ defense might someday force a punt but never will defend Adrian Peterson, who is alleged to have pilfered donations meant for his fraud foundation to fund an orgy, leading to the question, “Wait. Hookers are deductible? Or does that go under “miscellaneous business expense” with printer ink, desk chairs and Swedish independent contractors?

More on A.P.’s option offense later.

But first, we go to the big story: The End of the World.

There was an incorrect [More]

With Gurley suspended, is Georgia done? (UPDATED II)

  • 5:59 pm Thursday, October 9th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Todd Gurley has been one of the nation's top Heisman candidates all season. (AP photo)

Is it possible for a college football team’s realistic title hopes to end on a Thursday night in October?

Georgia running back Todd Gurley, a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy and the Bulldogs’ single biggest hope for winning the SEC East title and possibly playing in the inaugural college football playoff, has been suspended indefinitely.

The school announced in an email Thursday night that Gurley has been suspended from competition for “an ongoing investigation into an alleged violation of NCAA rules.” The assumption is Gurley will not play in Saturday’s SEC game at Missouri but that’s not mentioned in the news [More]

Blank stands by Smith, Dimitroff. What say you?

  • 12:18 pm Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Falcons owner Arthur Blank is standing by Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

All together now: The Falcons are 2-3. The Falcons can’t win on the road. The Falcons are weak on the defensive front and can’t sustain a pass rush. The Falcons aren’t using Antone Smith enough.

That about cover it for now?

So here’s another voice on the subject — the most important voice.

I spoke to Falcons owner Arthur Blank on the subject of his struggling team. He said some things that I expected. He maintained confidence in coach Mike Smith and his staff and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. But I found it noteworthy that he chose not to issue public mandates like, [More]

Falcons turned this week into must-win game

  • 11:17 am Monday, October 6th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Tom Coughlin's and Mike Smith's teams are going in different directions in the NFC.  (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

This isn’t a question I generally ask in the first week of October: But is it possible the Falcons’ season will come down to the next game?

They’re 2-3. That’s not great but it’s also not end-of-the-world stuff because they play in the NFC South, which is the NFL’s Mediocrity Central. Carolina is in first place at 3-2, and the Panthers have a net points differential of minus-16.

The Falcons’ problem — well, one of their problems — is they can’t win on the road. They’re 0-3 this season, 1-10 over the last two and have lost 10 straight games outdoors (going [More]

Georgia Tech’s special season taking form

  • 12:19 am Sunday, October 5th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Georgia Tech players and fans celebrate after Saturday's win. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Thought Georgia Tech’s win at Virginia Tech was impressive two weeks ago? The Jackets did something even more impressive Saturday night, following up that performance with a 28-17 win over Miami.

Here’s a link to my column off the game.

And below are my three “Short Takes” on the game:

1. DEFENSE: This might be the first time Georgia Tech’s defense has ever been one of the short takes … well, at least in a positive way. The Jackets allowed Miami to drive for long touchdowns on two of its first three possessions, but gave up only three points the rest of [More]

Live: Tech can take charge in Coastal

  • 5:50 pm Saturday, October 4th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Paul Johnson and Justin Thomas can take control in the ACC Coastal Division.(Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

When the a preseason poll of media members projected Georgia Tech to finish in fifth place in the ACC Coastal Division, Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson  was emotionally crushed.

Not really.

Johnson actually used the prediction as a punchline. That should have been expected by anybody who knows: 1) The coach; 2) History.

“They haven’t been right yet, so what makes them so smart this time?” Johnson said.

Disclaimer: I didn’t vote in the preseason poll, which projected the Coastal standings as: Miami, Duke, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Pitt, Virginia. But I did have the Jackets finishing 5-3 in the ACC and [More]

Braves’ new GM should’ve decided on Gonzalez

  • 12:29 pm Friday, October 3rd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Fredi Gonzalez watched the Braves spiral down the stretch again. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

There were reasonable arguments to keep Fredi Gonzalez as the Braves’ manager. There were reasonable arguments to fire Fredi Gonzalez as the Braves’ manager.

But there was no reasonable argument to do what the Braves did Friday.

Interim general manager John Hart announced Gonzalez will return for a fifth season in 2015, despite the Braves going 7-18 in September, missing the playoffs for the second time in four years and finishing with the franchise’s worst record since 2008 (79-83).

I was neither in the “Fire Fredi” nor “Don’t Fire Fredi” camp.  I merely believed the Braves should wait and leave that decision [More]

Predictions: More Falcons’ kindness

  • 3:28 pm Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
It's not a depressed job market in Flowery Branch. They're hiring.

As the Falcons go into their fifth game still looking for a defense, or even a speed bump, or even just a good joke to tell a receiver during a pass route on the chance that he might laugh and fall down — hey, how about setting up a lounge in the secondary with a two-drink minimum? — it’s worth noting Sunday is (and I’m not making this up, unlike most of what you read here): National Do Something Nice Day.

This is the Falcons’ week! The only thing more appropriate for the defense would be National Grease Fire Day.

The Falcons [More]

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