Sports musings: Vol. 9

By Justin Hubbard

 

Hello, readers. Congratulations – you got to live one more week here in God’s country.

If you’re like me, you’re probably still reeling from Georgia’s loss to Alabama last Monday. Many of you had your pain compounded Saturday when the Atlanta Falcons lost at the Philadelphia Eagles. (For me, that helped ease the pain a little bit.)

And those of you hurt by the Falcons’ loss were likely happy to see the New Orleans Saints lose in dramatic fashion to the Minnesota Vikings. (For me, that one kind of hurt because I picked the Saints to win the Super Bowl. Oops.)

This has been an interesting week. We officially closed the door on the college football season, which meant it was time for transfer decisions, NFL Draft declarations and whatnot. Because there was so much going on in the sports world, I thought it necessary to write another musings column.

Anyone but the Patriots

The NFL conference championship matchups are set and, by Sunday night, we will know this year’s Super Bowl participants. I sincerely hope the New England Patriots aren’t one of them.

I don’t normally care about the Jacksonville Jaguars and, frankly, I wrote them off last week – as did, apparently, the Pittsburgh Steelers. With that said, I’m a big Jaguars fan this week. I am so sick of watching Tom Brady and company raise Lombardi Trophy after Lombardi Trophy. It’s time for that to end. I don’t expect the Jaguars to win in Foxborough this week but, boy, would I love it.

As for the NFC championship game, I am rooting for the Vikings. I’ll admit it would be a cool story if Nick Foles, who stepped in just weeks ago for the injured Carson Wentz, led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory. However, the Eagles are a big rival of my Dallas Cowboys and it would ruin all the years of “the Eagles are the only NFC East team without a Super Bowl win” jokes.

At the end of the day, though, I think I’d have to root for the Eagles if they face the Patriots in the Super Bowl. I just really, really hope it doesn’t come to that point.

Dawgs lose more than just the seniors

The Georgia football team will have the task of replacing more than just its star-studded senior class.

Junior linebacker Roquan Smith announced Monday he is foregoing his final year of collegiate eligibility to enter the 2018 NFL Draft. Smith is a projected first-round selection, so his decision makes a ton of sense and I don’t blame him one bit. He deserves to go make big money.

Trent Thompson also declared for the draft. This one made me scratch my head. Thompson had a strong finish to the 2016 season but underwhelmed in 2017. He certainly has NFL-level talent; I just don’t think he’d done enough to garner the draft stock a player of his caliber deserves. Thompson’s decision to leave early just feels like a mistake because it will likely cost him a great deal of money, at least until his rookie contract ends.

Jacob Eason was the other big name the Bulldogs lost, but Eason is not going to the draft – he’s transferring. (He isn’t draft eligible anyway.)

Eason publicly handled a rough personal season with poise and class. It’s a shame his Georgia career went completely opposite what anyone expected, but these things happen sometimes. He’s a talented player. He’ll land on his feet and still make the NFL.

The countdown to baseball begins

The end of football season is always a sad occasion. I think it would be easier to handle if there was another sport to occupy my time right away. Sorry, basketball fans, but hoops just doesn’t do it for me.

Luckily, we are inching closer to the beginning of the Major League Baseball season. By the time this paper is released Thursday, Jan. 18, we will be 70 days out from Opening Day, which is March 29.

I can’t wait.

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