It's very likely the Atlanta Falcons' first playoff game will be their toughest of the postseason, because all signs point to it being against the New Orleans Saints.
With their 116-101 win over New Jersey on Tuesday at Philips Arena, the Atlanta Hawks are now 4-1 without their most expensive player, two-time All-Star guard Joe Johnson.
Before the football season even started, Flowery Branch was written off and given the "rebuilding year" label, despite reaching the Class AAA state semifinals last year and the finals in 2008. Not only did the Falcons lose all their top playmakers from 2009 to either graduation or transfer, they were moving up a classification and into Region 8-AAAA, headed by Apalachee, Clarke Central and Rockdale County.
A.J. Green's jersey scandal, North Carolina's football team suspensions and a recent Sports Illustrated article have rehashed the issue of student-athletes receiving money by way of violating NCAA rules, either through an agent or other means.
Two more seasons. If I'm new Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity, that's all I'm giving Mark Richt to get to a national championship game. He's had too much time to build a program, too many top 10 recruiting classes - seven since 2002 - and too many arrested players to hang around when fellow SEC coaches Urban Meyer, Les Miles and Nick Saban have combined for five national titles in the time since Richt arrived in Athens in 2001.
So Chipper Jones is hurt again - that's a surprise to no one. But this time, he didn't "tweak" or "pull something" that will keep him out just long enough to not go on the disabled list. Against the Astros on Tuesday night, while making a brilliant stop and twisting across his body to throw out Hunter Pence at first, he said he felt something in his left knee "pop."
LAWRENCEVILLE - The International League is more than a week removed from its All-Star break, and with the return of Triple-A baseball action, the Gwinnett Braves find themselves in the midst of playing 20 consecutive games without a day off.
Who thought the Atlanta Braves would be leading the National League's East Division coming out of the All-Star Break? Granted, it would be more surprising if they were leading the AL East, but the fact remains it would have taken blind faith to believe this Braves team had what it takes to be where they are right now, especially after losing nine straight in April to finish the month 9-17.
ATHENS - By now, we're all used to hearing the words "arrest" and "University of Georgia athletics" in the same sentence. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, like white on rice, like Mark Richt and underachieving.