NEW ORLEANS - If I have to leave this town tomorrow, which I will if Georgia doesn't win tonight, then I can at least now say I've taken in Nawlins:
1. Bourbon Street. Check. (Tuesday night. Propositioned by several ladies of the night.)
2. Cafe du Monde. Check and check. (Each of the past two mornings. The esteemed Cafe Au Lait was okay, but the beignets were quite divine.)
3. Gumbo. Check and check. (Each of the past two nights. I give the edge to the Bourbon House gumbo, which claimed to be award-winning, and backed it up.)
4. Po Boys. Check. (Thursday for lunch. I went to Mother's, where I also partook of the red beans and rice. The Po Boys was excellent, while the red beans and rice was a bit disappointing, but perhaps that's because it was built up so much.)
So now, it's time to cover a basketball game and do some actual work.
Before you snipe, yes I realize that Nawlins still has more to offer. But hey, there's only so much I can fit in. In my defense I also partook in jumbalaya, the Andrew Jackson statue, the church that Pope John Paul II visited, and at one point saw some actual Georgia Bulldog basketball fans. (It was actually the pep band members, but whatever.)
A few work-related items:
1. Nothing much today on the future scheduling. The athletics directors continue to meet, but speaking to a couple well-informed individuals, it doesn't look like anything firm will be decided this weekend. Or at least it won't be announced. I was told by one person that this could take until the league meetings in Destin to decide, while another said it may be settled sooner.
Right now I do think the cross-division rivalries will be maintained, so Georgia-Auburn remains safe. And I've still yet to see any evidence that the SEC is seriously considering a nine-game schedule. The big change could be an end to home-and-home series between non-rival, cross-division opponents. In other words, if Alabama comes to Georgia in 2013, that doesn't automatically mean Georgia will return the trip in 2014. That would be a way to keep the eight-game schedule but not make it so some teams don't play each other for nearly a decade.
2. The big talk has been the Auburn basketball story. If you haven't heard, the FBI ... it's never good when a sentence starts like that ... the FBI is investigation an allegation of point-shaving by suspended by Verez Ward. The story was broken by Yahoo, as most college sports scandal stories are these days. Here's what the Ledger-Enquirer's Joel Erickson has on the situation.
Auburn head coach Tony Barbee will be available to the media following his team's first-round game. But I suspect he won't say much.
3. Finally, it's possible today marked the final game of the Darrin Horn era at South Carolina. I try not to talk much about my time covering the Gamecock beat, because I cover the Bulldogs now and you don't want to hear much about it. But if you'll forgive me a bit of pontificating, because I covered the first two years of the Horn era, and here's what I think:
The talk has been that the Gamecocks will keep Horn around because it would cost more than $2 million to buy him out. That shouldn't be the reason they keep him. This is the SEC. Everyone has money. And it will cost the program more next year not to fire him, because of lagging fan support. Ultimately, the administration there has to keep Horn only if they believe that in two years (because next year won't be much better) Horn will have the program turned around.
And by the way, this is actually relevant to Georgia in one way, besides being an SEC opponent. The Gamecocks haven't gotten any recruits out of Georgia the past few years, in large part because several powerful AAU coaches aren't pleased with Horn. A new coach at South Carolina might be able to cut into Georgia's recruiting. Or, Horn might be able to mend those fences if he's given a vote of confidence.
Okay, enough of all that. I'm off to get some healthy New Orleans Arena-catered dinner, and then I'll cover what might be Georgia's final game of the season, or the start of a glorious run, or at least a short run. Let's go find out.