Jeff Schultz blog 

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

Holiday 6-pack: Will Nats close on Braves?

  • 12:01 pm Monday, May 26th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The Braves' B.J. Upton is reaching base more and striking out less. Honest. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Good morning. This is the day to celebrate our true heroes. Memorial Day began as a day to honor the soldiers who died in the Civil War but now serves to recognize all Americans who died while in the military. This isn’t a day for politics. To borrow from Mark Twain: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

And now, on the backside of this barbecue weekend, a six-pack of thoughts on a six-pack of teams:

1. Braves: Keep an eye on Washington

The Braves are showing signs of coming out of their offensive rut, [More]

Michigan botches recruiting pitch

  • 12:03 pm Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Can you spot the typo in this recruiting pitch?

There are two subjects I generally try to stay away from: Recruiting (because it nauseates me) and mocking somebody else’s spelling mistakes (because, well, you know).

But this item brings the worst of both worlds together, so . . .

College football coaches are going to greater lengths than ever to get the attention of recruits. Tennessee coach Butch Jones sent a player’s recruit a Mother’s Day card. Notre Dame photo-shopped the image of coveted high school quarterback Blake Barnett on a poster of the school’s seven Heisman Trophy winners, with the question, “Are you next?”

Michigan coach Brady Hoke also tried [More]

SEC blew it by not expanding to 9 games

  • 8:56 am Monday, April 28th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

The “C” in SEC now stands for cowards.

The SEC’s presidents, taking a cue from coaches worried about their jobs and athletic directors worried about bowl games, effectively voted to change nothing in its football scheduling format Sunday night. Rather than requiring schools to play nine of its 12 games against conference opponents, the direction most major conferences are going in, the SEC will stick with the eight-game mandate.

In other words, keep the Coastal Carolinas, Appalachian State and Austin Peays of the world on speed dial. Because aren’t those are the games everybody really wants to see? Or not.

There was [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]