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Augusta remains in Georgia
Sports column
Jeff Whitten NEW
Jeff Whitten

Alas. My bracket was a disaster — Kentucky didn’t win the men’s college basketball title. Heck, thanks to Wisconsin, Kentucky didn’t even get to the title game, but apparently won the riot.
And then Duke and its Eddie Munster-lookalike point guard won it all.
South Carolina didn’t win the women’s crown and, no, the Lady Gamecocks didn’t get to the championship game, either. Connecticut beat Notre Dame to win its 3,000th national title since Geno Auriemma took over.
The upshot: I’m just glad it’s over. And the Buick commercial with the barking dogs gets my vote for best ad on national-championship night. The dog that barked, “I’ve been chasing Buicks for 91 years and that’s no Buick …” was excellent.
Anyway, basketball is so last week, or so earlier this week. The thing about sports — and life, for that matter — is as soon as one “biggest thing to ever happen in the universe” is done, another comes to take its place. It’s the nature of the beast.
This week, the beast is the Masters.
I won’t get too wordy about it, because thousands of other media outlets are out there waxing poetic about the Masters with its azaleas in bloom; pimento-cheese sandwiches; Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus wandering around the golf course under majestic live oaks on sun-sparkled, dewy grass; and all that jive.
It’s also being reported that the Masters is being played in Augusta, though maybe not as much. One BBC reporter even called it a tournament in an unremarkable town or something similar, which obviously is the kind of thing the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce should consider for its next slogan.
Augusta, by the way, remains in Georgia, despite several attempts over the years to give it to South Carolina. But the only way South Carolina would take Augusta is if the Masters came with it and Georgia kept the Bobby Jones Expressway. Georgia, on the other hand, wanted to keep the Masters and con South Carolina into taking the BJE along with the rest of the city, and that didn’t happen.
So both the Masters and Augusta remain in Georgia, at least for now. And both the Masters and Augusta appear to be quite happy, thank you, despite the Bobby Jones Expressway, which can make rush hour on I-95 seem about as stressful as taking a spin on whatever that highway is between Milan and Pitts and then Pitts and Arabi.
There, traffic dwindles down to a slow trickle. It’s relaxing. You can go through entire counties without seeing cars or anything else except trees, cows, farms, birds, roadkill, rusty tractors, churches and the random Shetland pony, and sometimes an occasional barbecue joint or combination boiled-peanut/produce stand.
You even see an occasional human, but what you don’t see much of is traffic. Maybe they all lost their licenses or just have better things to do. Or maybe they’re all stuck in traffic up here, trying to get the heck out of Pooler before the new outlet mall opens and I-95 turns into the Bobby Jones Expressway East.  
As for the Masters, I predict Tiger Woods not only wins, but afterward we learn he’s not really Tiger Woods at all. He’s Tiger Woods’ younger identical twin brother, Bobcat Woods. Just remember, you read it here first.

• The Atlanta Braves are 2-0 as I write this. Only 160 games to go.
The good news is we now know they won’t go 0-162. The bad news is they could still go 2-160. I’m still amazed the Braves traded closer Craig Kimbrel. Guess they didn’t expect to be ahead in the ninth inning of many games.
• Spring football is here and questions abound. Answers, they’re not so easy to come by.
1. Can Georgia Southern build on last year’s success? The feel-good answer is yes, since the Eagles have historically been good early. As a Division I-AA program, Georgia Southern went from nonexistence to national titles in four years. Before the Eagles were 20 years old, they had achieved an NCAA-record six national titles. In its transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision, all Georgia Southern did was go 9-3, finish 8-0 in Sun Belt Conference play and nearly beat both North Carolina State and Georgia Tech.
But even if it’s unlikely GSU will go unbeaten in the conference in 2015 — the team has to replace its starting offensive line — the Eagles definitely have a shot at the program’s first-ever bowl game. I’d be surprised if the Eagles do worse than 7-5.
It’ll be interesting from the outset, too. Georgia Southern opens at West Virginia on Sept. 5, then hosts Western Michigan, which won eight games and played in a bowl in 2014. The Eagles also face Georgia on Nov. 21. This probably won’t be the year GSU finally gets a win over the team many in its fan base point to as public enemy No. 1, but one can always hope. GATA, Eagles.
2. Does Georgia even need a quarterback?
The answer is no. Let the punter take snaps and hand it to somebody. Heck, let Mark Richt take snaps. Georgia has so many weapons at running back — Nick Chubb, for starters, is as good as it gets — there’s really no need for a signal-caller back there. They could get some fat, lard-butted guy out of the stands to stand behind center and probably still win nine games. The one they won’t win is played Sept. 19.
3. Will South Carolina rebound and win the SEC East again?
Of course. Steve Spurrier knows what he’s doing. The Gamecocks played possum last year. Won’t happen again. Yep, Carolina runs the table in the SEC East and then beats ’Bama in the title game. Write it down.
4. Will Savannah State ever win another game?
Anything’s possible. The Tigers, who last won on Sept. 14, 2013, when they beat Fort Valley State 27-20, went winless in 2014. They open the season Sept. 5 at Colorado State. A win there would probably knock the Earth out of its orbit or something, but what with climate change that could be a good thing. So let’s go, Tigers.

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