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Weekly Whatup 12/29
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           It’s hard to believe that 2009 is lurking at the end of this week. It’s also cliché to wonder how the past year when by so fast.

            But so is the case this weekend when we look back at a year which brings out the long-lost pessimist in me – at least on the national stage.

            But I’ll begin with the locals. Unfortunately, across town at the College Boro, there wasn’t much too write home about. The Powers That Be will disagree with me on this one, as is there job, but the facts don’t lie.

            The Eagles failed to win a Southern Conference title in any major sport in 2008 despite great expectations for some squads. The baseball team looked destined for the NCAA Regionals, but couldn’t find enough pitching to get them over the hump. Fourteen home runs in a game – yes. Getting to 40 wins – no.

            Both basketball squads still seem to be missing that one link to put them in the NCAA Tournament in March. I’ve lost count of how long it’s been since either team has made the dance.

             For coach Chris Hatcher and the boys at Eagle Creek, 2008 was disappointing but nonetheless acceptable for many fans. A 6-5 record was close to being 9-2, or 2-9, depending on your mind set. It was a season which included a miracle comeback at Western Carolina and a dominating win over rival Furman. Both victories were said to be, “program changers” at the time. I would guess a 6-5 mark in 2009 won’t be as acceptable after those lofty promises.

            On the prep scene, there was Portal’s run to the Final Four in Class A basketball. There was the Statesboro baseball team making an improbable run before losing to the best player in the country in Griffin, Ga. There was Megan Barnwell cementing her place as one of the best pitchers in Georgia softball history. There was Statesboro and Emanuel County Institute walking off the field one last time in defeat – something not many of us expected.

            Those are just a few of the memorable things that happened in and around the County of Bulloch.


            Like above locally, there were way too many bullet points to check off when looking back at the National – and International – sports scene.

            What continues to stick out in my mind is Super Bowl XLII. Super Bowls, for the most part, usually bore me, what with the pregame, and the extra commercials and the halftime, myven-glaven! But this time, the Giants’ upset of the undefeated Patriots was flat out outstanding. It was one of the best, and will be remembered as so for a long time to come.

            Michael Phelps won eight gold medals in Beijing. Who knows how many young kids turned away from the television and told their parents, “I wanna swim.” It was certainly a special performance.

            The other feats of 2008 won’t go down as impressive.

            Louisiana State waxed Ohio State for the ‘National Championship’, strengthening the argument for a FBS playoff system The 2008 regular season was just as ridiculous, with one-loss Texas being shutout of, not only their own conference title game, but the BCS title game. Absurd.

            In the NBA, Boston won the NBA title, or should I say, ‘bought’ the NBA title. It’s pretty easy to pull off the biggest turnaround in NBA history when three of your purchases could be in the Hall of Fame. The 2008 Tampa Bay Rays were a turnaround - the Celtics were just another rich owner’s toy.       

            But of all the things that happened in 2008 – the Phillies won the World Series, Tiger won the U.S. Open on a torn knee, Big Brown choked away a Triple Crown – one day stands out in my mind: the day Skip Carey died.

            It was a rough day to see him go, and the pain will linger this spring when his voice will be nowhere to be found. What’s more upsetting is to see nearly every national sports review rewinding the year and forgetting about ol’ Skip. Oh well, Braves fans won’t ever forget him, and another turning of the calendar doesn’t change that.

Prediction time!

            As I predicted, quite ironically, my college football predictions have been dreadful. Going into the Bowl bonanza, 90-65 was looking good. Two weeks later and an 8-11 mark, and it may be time for a new year after all (98-76 overall).

            In college football, there’s just too many games to breakdown – I’ll go rapid fire: Rutgers, Northwestern, Maryland, Western Michigan, Oklahoma State, Air Force, Oregon State, Boston College, Minnesota, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Clemson, Michigan State, Southern Cal, Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, East Carolina, Utah and Connecticut. That was exhausting.   

            If there was more space and time, I’d break down the NFL Wildcard weekend in all my ingenuity. Instead, Falcons, Eagles, Ravens and Colts win.

            The end.