Sports musings: Vol. 8

By Justin Hubbard

 

It’s been a while since I’ve written a ‘musings’ column.

Usually, these are a product of my inability to write about any one topic at length. Typically, I have a short and concise opinion about a few subjects that can’t be stretched into an entire column.

That’s not the case this week. No, I’ve got a lot I could say about these topics. I only get to write one column a week, though, so I’m going to fit in as much here as possible.

So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to offer my take on a few noteworthy items this week in sports.

Georgia’s revenge tour will continue

I expected the Georgia football team to knock off Auburn a few weeks ago and improve to 10-0. Clearly, that did not happen.

The Tigers represent the only loss in Georgia’s 11-1 record. Simply put, they dismantled the Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

But it’s incredibly difficult to beat the same team twice in one year and this Saturday’s game will be in much friendlier confines for the Bulldogs – Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the site of the SEC championship game.  

It’s my belief the Bulldogs will show up with a little extra fire. You see, all season they were seemingly propelled by the desire to avenge their losses from a year ago. They beat the brakes off Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Georgia Tech. Georgia’s dominance may not necessarily continue against Auburn but I do think the Bulldogs will be victorious Saturday evening.

I can’t explain why I feel this way – it’s really just a gut feeling – but I predict Georgia will beat Auburn by 17 points. I’ll probably be wrong but, boy, do I hope I’m right.

Tennessee fans should feel embarrassed

I could not believe what I was seeing/reading Sunday afternoon after news leaked that Tennessee was expected to hire Ohio State assistant Greg Schiano as its head football coach. Vols fans were livid, mostly because many of them seemed to think former NFL coach Jon Gruden was going to leave his post as an ESPN broadcaster and return to the coaching ranks.

Honestly, I knew that was never going to happen. Gruden’s had plenty of more enticing opportunities the past several years and never budged.

I wasn’t surprised someone other than Gruden was set to take over in Knoxville. I was shocked at the way Tennessee fans reacted.

Many were livid and let their feelings known online. Others gathered in protest outside Neyland Stadium. Most of the folks who opposed Schiano’s hire cited his purported involvement in the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky scandal.

The problem is Schiano was never proven to have done anything wrong and has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. That didn’t matter to those Vols fans who were upset someone other than Gruden was coming to town, though.

It’s my guess that they used the loose and likely false allegation that Schiano was aware of Sandusky’s actions yet never reported them as a basis for their displeasure. It was a shame, too, because it gave a fan base I greatly respect a black eye.

Tennessee fans are some of the most loyal and diehard I’ve ever encountered. I have no doubt most of them reacted to the Schiano news is a more dignified manner.

However, they should feel embarrassed about the way certain of their members acted and cost Schiano a job at Tennessee. There was no excuse for it.

Cowboys need coaching changes

The Dallas Cowboys, my favorite NFL team, are in shambles right now.

They have looked dreadful in each of their last three games, which they lost by a combined 92-22, and there isn’t much reason for optimism moving forward.

Dallas couldn’t help the ridiculous number of key injuries the team’s encountered this year, nor could it stop the six-game suspension of star tailback Ezekiel Elliott. A combination of those factors has turned a season in which the Cowboys hoped to play for the Super Bowl into one in which they hope to finish with a .500 record.

The problem isn’t quarterback Dak Prescott, though that’s the popular argument these days. The problem as it stands right now is the Cowboys’ inability to coach up their players.

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has done more with less over the past couple seasons than I think any other coach would’ve done. That was nearly impossible this year considering the defense was obliterated in free agency and has seen a bunch of starters fall injured. So, he gets a pass in my book.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, though, and head coach Jason Garrett do not. Elliott is the only piece of Dallas’ offense that’s been lost long-term this year. As great as he is, it’s still inexcusable seeing the offense fall apart like it has since his suspension began.

The Cowboys have skated by with so-so coaching and it’s finally come to a head. Owner and GM Jerry Jones needs to cut ties with Garrett and most of his staff as soon as possible and take the organization in a new direction.

If not, what should be the return of the Cowboys’ glory years will be their return to mediocrity.

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