Where are the Braves in 4 to 5 years? Looking GOOD!

FILE – The Braves are looking to players like Cole Hamels to make the pitching rotation dominant like Houston’s has been over the last three years. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

By CHUCK OLIVER
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – There’s a great comparison for what the Braves can be over the next 4-5 years. And it’s about 90% positive.

The Braves can look at Houston for what might be in the next several seasons.

The Astros stocked the farm system so damn deep that the front office decided “All in!” each of the past THREE Julys. As proof, witness the 8 top 100 prospects the team traded for Verlander, Cole and Greinke. The results have been impressive:

311 wins, two pennants and a World Series title.

For three seasons leading up to 2016 the Astros system never really wavered outside the top 3. Now? Probably bottom 5 in all of baseball and there are only 4-5 prospects that the team feels confident are close. Right now they have 1 in the top 100, lowest total since 2012.

At some point you start dealing the REALLY good prospects, not the Demerritt’s and Wentz’. That’s when you better start being right, because you’ve got a relatively short time before the combination of a dried-up farm system and really expensive veterans you’ve either traded for or signed make up the majority of your roster.

The 10% that’s not positive is that thing where you have to fire your manager and GM and asst GM and you cheated so bad two mangers on OTHER teams lose their jobs, as well. We’re really more about that first 90%

Why The CFB Champ Game Sites Don’t Work For Me

I have two words for a few of our CFB championship game sites, and it’s 100% based around crootin’: “Suck it.”
Yes, Glendale. You heard me, Santa Clara. “Suck it!”
Or perhaps a less combative, less crude 2 words:
“Sorry, Brah.”

College choice for the Top 6 recruits this year in California:
Oregon
‘Bama
Clemson
UGA*
Utah
UGA*
*That’s right, TWO of the top six California recruits are coming to Athens!

 


For the Top 4 recruits this year in Arizona:

UGA
Texas
ND
Ohio State

For the Top 6 recruits in Colorado:
Virginia
Washington
Northwestern
ND
LSU
Michigan

The HAWAII (For gosh sakes) Top 3:
ND
Wisconsin
Michigan

And From the State of Florida this year?
In the top 50 the only school west of Texas to sign even one kid is Nebraska. With their new head coach being the guy who was just running things in Orlando. 46 of 50 stay Austin-CBus and East.

You teams out West aren’t winning because so many of the best players that you should have a built-in advantage with are all heading East, while virtually zero, zip, nada, and NONE head back your way.

Sorry, we’re doing something for the fans. The championship game never goes West of Dallas. Until the Pac-12 and Big 12 combine for 2 titles.Until then, no more Santa Clara or Glendale or in three years Inglewood**.

**Always up to no good.

One Braves Position Features “Just Guys”

FILE – Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann (16) bats against the Washington Nationals in the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, in Atlanta. (FILE – AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The Braves went from Best in the NL at one position to “Just Guys at the spot.” The problem is it happened in 2013!

When your starting catcher is 29 years old and already a 7-time All Star? Yes, you’re as good as it gets in the National League. Since McCann left:

Gattis

Gerald Laird

A.J.

Bethancourt. Before he was traded. And then became a pitcher.

Ryan Lararnway

Flowers

Anthony Recker

Suzuki

Chris Stewart

Renee Rivera

Carlos Perez

David Freitas

Alex Jackson

John Ryan Murphy

And, in a strange twist, the Braves still trying to replace McCann and turning in-part to McCann.

Just on its face: this is too many guys given an honest shot to take the job on a more or less full-time basis. That means no one really has, and we’re now entering Year 7 of this search. No bueno.

I’m an Idea Man, & I just made college football the best it can be!

CHUCK OLIVER
ATLANTA, Ga – Treat college football like professional sports: “Here’s your schedule.”

Just like professional conferences and divisions determine a certain number of games v specific teams, same could happen here. Then there’s your non-conference slate and that IS a very different thing. But your Idea Man has that locked down, too.

Even with the worst pro teams ever they were still pro teams so the imbalance is always at least a little reined in. Not so when Ohio State plays Miami-O. That score could literally be whatever Ryan Day wants it to be, the Buckeyes could win by 100.

So each program submits a range of *preferred* opponent strength (based on previous season) they are wanting to schedule and number of games in a particular range and CFB Schedule Center sets the Commodore-64 to crunching everything until it all works out, preferences considered but that’s the only promise.

FWIW, can you imagine the CFB schedule reveal show?? Lot to work out, but I’m in for that. And the schools will have to agree to the money range based on how far you play up or down, etc, details, son, details. But we’d wind up with far fewer Ohio State v Miami-O games, if any at all.

This would change the entire season from about 8-weeks of awesomeness with a scattered month of Saturdays where you might not miss much into a 13-week palooza of college football. Imagine the yuge change just this season, instead of Miami-Ohio and FAU the Buckeyes had non-conference games v USC and Kentucky. Still would likely win both, maybe by a bunch. But now we’ve started using “maybe” and “likely” and words other than “45-21” and “76-5” which were the scores of those two games.

I’m your Idea Man. I got your back.

Two SEC Coaches With Different Approaches To Injuries

FILE – Chuck Oliver speaks with LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron at SEC Media Days 2018. (Photo – 680 The Fan)
FILE – Alabama head coach Nick Saban walks the field before the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (FILE AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

CHUCK OLIVER
ATLANTA, Ga – Two SEC head coaches took very different approaches to handling injuries. The Football Gods did not like one of those.

Yet again, the biggest Bill Clinton injury report in the conference comes from Baton Rouge. While legally accurate, it may be misleading.

Just as Coach O did the two or three weeks leading up to UF, he’s putting healthy-enough players on the shelf not just this week, but depending on the condition A&M exits Athens in, possibly next week, too. The goal is December 7 and that’s carrying the day for Ed Orgeron.

Saban’s in a much different position because he decided to play Tua, at all. I said on Monday that the conversation/criticism about Saban was way off base because it was centered around, “Why was Tua still in?” It wasn’t about “still” in the game, it was about in the game, at all.

When you put a kid on the field, at all, that’s what can happen. You know the conversation you never really hear from coaches? “How much can he play Saturday?” It’s IF he can play, and once you send him out there it’s almost irrelevant one play or 30, brah, you’ve picked up the dice. You got to hit your point or throw a 7. Saban’s decision was fine, the outcome just happens sometimes.

One SEC head coach is testing the limits of what I thought I knew about the conference.

South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, center, calls for a touchdown against Vanderbilt during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

CHUCK OLIVER
ATLANTA, Ga – An SEC head coach needs to win games, eventually, at some point, and Will Muschamp doesn’t.

So, what’s the goal in Colubmia? What’s the measuring stick? What is the South Carolina administration trying to accomplish?

8-4 would have been a good record v this particular schedule, but you are supposed to be getting the program to a point by the end of season 4 where YOU are the landmine on someone else’s schedule and that’s not the case.

And that 8-4 imagined record? In reality the Gamecocks have had four games they lost by at least 20 points. This is a bad product and while the overall talent level on the Gamecocks’ roster has improved, that’s only in comparison to the Gamecocks’ roster from before Will arrived.

That’s the toughest part here: the team is getting better, but losing ground. We’ve talked about that concept in the East regularly since Kirby arrived in Athens. So you need to decide what your actual goal is, because if “Slugging it out with the other five schools for 2nd place” is what you’re aiming for it’s time for a new target.

Only A Short List of Games Will Affect the College Football Playoff Field

LSU coach Ed Orgeron and players celebrate after an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. No. 1 LSU won 58-37. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)

CHUCK OLIVER
ATLANTA, Ga – The list of games that will truly affect the playoff field is far shorter than we expect this time of year. 

Two full weekends of games, virtually all bye weeks are done and we’ve got Championship Saturday, to boot. Surprisingly, there are only a few games remaining that will have an actual affect on which four teams will head to the playoffs.

Part of that is I’m convinced Georgia is the only 1-loss team that 100% controls its season. Part of it is the remaining games involving the top 3 only don’t seem likely to produce an upset.

The short list of games that actually “will” affect the playoff field? You really have to go outside the top 5 right now, to find the most intrigue.

Some of those games are the Oregon-Utah variety, truly a coin flip. Others are the Maybe, But That’s All I Got scenarios of Penn State beating Ohio State, Michigan beating Ohio State, Wisconsin learning enough from the 38-7 loss a month ago that the Badgers earn the dub in the Big 10 title game. All three of those teams are good enough to represent a Power 5 conference, just not THIS Power 5 conference this season, not with the Godzilla that Ohio State is.

Even the LSU – Georgia game, if the Bulldogs get the upset, that’s not chaos, that doesn’t throw the playoff field wide open. It actually makes it narrower, it claims half the playoff seeds instead of SEC taking just one.

The most likely outcome is the current top 3 of LSU, Ohio State and Clemson, with the 4th seed to either Georgia with a win in Atlanta or Oregon beating Utah paired with an LSU victory in the SEC CG and your playoff field is set.

Yes, I’m aware I haven’t mentioned Alabama at all here. I don’t believe the Tide gets in regardless of any realistic outcome in the Iron Bowl. 60-3? Alright, different conversation. But that’s not happening and it’s likely what it would take for Bama to get in the field this year over at least two more deserving teams, if not four.

Excuse making for Ronald Acuna that I’ll actually go along with

FILE – Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. drives in the go-ahead run with a base hit in the eighth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in Atlanta. The Braves won 4-1. (FILE AP Photo/John Bazemore)

CHUCK OLIVER
ATLANTA, Ga – There’s one part of excuse making for Ronald Acuna that I’ll actually go along with.

“It’s not that big a deal he (fill in the blank). He’s a young player.”

Actually, he’s not even a young player yet. Not by most measuring sticks.

Big picture, I dismiss most of what I hear defending Acuna’s lack of hustle and focus and maturity, almost always.

You’re a pro. So be a pro.

There, that’s about 95% of all that needs to be said.

But the rest of the garbage reasoning is exactly that: it’s not a big deal (it is). It didn’t cost us (maybe, in that specific instance). He pimps a lot of fly balls that DO leave the yard (that makes it worse, not better). About 10 more.

But the one I’ll ride with, to the point of taking it even further, is “He’s a young player.”

Even his age as of right now, 21 years and 300-ish days, after two seasons in the bigs he’s just now the age so many great players were who were just making their debut or hadn’t even reached the bigs yet. Chipper, Bregman, Yelich, Bellinger .  .  . if those guys had Jack Leg moments at the exact same age as Acuna it was in AA Tucson or AAA Carson City. Acuna’s was in a playoff game v the St. Louis Cardinals.

Doesn’t excuse it and certainly doesn’t make it right. But I’d say he’s not even a young player yet. He will grow beyond this. Most likely.

Betting Expert Jon Price Picks LSU To Win Outright

680 THE FAN
ATLANTA, Ga – Each Friday of the College Football season at 1:40 eastern time you can tune in to hear Chuck Oliver live on air with sports betting expert Jon Price. Price the CEO of Sports Information Traders is one of the most recognized and well-known sports handicappers in the world today and it’s been a pleasure to have him on board reviewing and giving out college football and NFL betting picks this year here on the syndicated Southern Sports Show Today. He’s made a number of big headline grabbing wagers over the years like a few million dollar Super Bowl wagers and an MLB futures wager on the Kansas City Royals to win the World Series before the season even began. Making big calls is what Jon does and he’s no stranger to success as he’s been doing this for over 20 years on the national stage and has been practically featured in more publications than Oprah. From Forbes to Yahoo Sports, the Huffington post, Gambling911, ESPN Radio, and the man even has his own Wikipedia page… With as much clout and respect as Jon has around the sports handicapping circles, when he says something it’s wise to listen.

On Chuck Oliver’s Southern Sports Show last week, Jon went on to make one of his boldest predictions to date. He picked the LSU Tigers to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide outright in Alabama. To give some context to his big prediction, LSU had not beaten Alabama in just over 8 years. Every talking head in the country was loading up on Alabama to make it 9 consecutive years beating LSU, but Jon saw the tide had turned. He went on to Chuck Oliver’s show and didn’t just say LSU would cover the 5 point spread, he said he’d put the entire reputation of his company and himself on the line and promised that LSU would win the game outright. It was one of Jon’s strongest convictions in a pick in years. Never would any handicapper risk their entire company’s reputation on a single pick, and not just any pick, but LSU vs Alabama, a rivalry dating back a century and one that has been very lopsided in Alabama’s favor over the decades.

This major winning prediction from Jon on national radio wasn’t a rare occurrence either. He’s been on the air this season with Chuck Oliver giving out big picks all year long. The last 3 weeks alone have been some of his biggest winning predictions as the College Football regular season begins to wind down, he had his massive Vegas oddsmakers mistake where he gave out Western Kentucky +5 points vs. Marshall which was a huge winner. Most of Chuck Oliver’s listeners that bet on sports cashed in big on that game, and then he followed it up with his even bigger LSU over Alabama prediction with an outright win.

You don’t get to the level Jon Price is at without going all in on picks you believe in. Putting his reputation on the line on national radio was a huge, gutsy call and one that paid off, but this isn’t anything new to Jon. For over a decade now his sports handicapping service, Sports Information Traders has been built to be one of the biggest powerhouses in all of the sports betting world. Jon’s picks are wagered on by thousands of people each and every week of the year and it’s been said that tens of millions of dollars are wagered on his picks weekly. He’s no stranger to success and he’s been featured on nationally syndicated radio programs across the country for the better part of the last 10 years. If you’re looking to join a reputable sports betting source with a proven and documented history of success, Jon Price and his team at Sports Information Traders is one to keep an eye on with bold predictions each and every week of the football season.

The Myth About Auburn Football This Season

FILE – Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm is tackled by Auburn linebacker K.J. Britt during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

CHUCK OLIVER
ATLANTA, Ga – There’s a myth about Auburn football this season. If everyone sees behind the curtain Saturday afternoon don’t act like you knew it all along. 

Where is the offensive line “being good,” “coming around,” having three NFL draft prospects on it, etc, this entire fairy tale, where has that actually come to pass this season?

They’re not “good.” They’re “good enough,” most Saturdays, and that’s a far different level of play than “good.” They’re experienced, they’re tough for the most part, they play together, always good effort, all of that is awesome. For real real. They’re just not that talented. And if your best trait is “I’ve Played a Lot or I Always Try Hard,” well, that gets trumped almost always once you go from Friday night to Saturday at 3:30.

I suspect it’s going to be an afternoon full of 3-and-outs. If wide receiver Anthony Schwartz hits three pop plays Auburn wins, if he hits two they lose. There’s your ball game.

And by “Schwartz” I mean him or Seth Williams or another flyer who happens to get loose because a corner plays the wrong coverage or a contain guy goes screaming down the LOS because he reads off-tackle when it’s a bootleg. That’s the most likely chance for Auburn’s offense to find the end zone and that’s not normally how you beat a potential national champion.