Matthew Brown: Raffle winners are NFL, GCSU

Mar. 23—Well, back to the old drawing board, or in this case the new drawing bag. Yes, it's another edition of me having so many discussion topics that I need to pick them out of a bag to decide which one goes first. There's four this time, would have been five but then the reigning National League Cy Young winner finally has a new team and a new contract.

(But wait, Spencer Strider is still with the Atlanta Braves.)

That's true, but Blake Snell's name is still etched on the 2023 award. After he parted ways with San Diego and rejected a much more lucrative New York Yankees offer, Snell's now a San Francisco Giant. That could make the Western Division the toughest in the National League.

No, Atlanta's Eastern Division doesn't compare top to bottom. But if you want a darkhorse for the NL in 2024, try the Cincinnati Reds.

O.K., enough on that topic. Get your tickets ready and let's see what's next out of the bag?

Ah. Who made the most interesting offseason moves so far in the National Football League?

When I saw the news that the Chicago Bears were trading a former University of Georgia quarterback, Justin Fields, to the Pittsburgh Steelers ... and the Pittsburgh Steelers had already signed Super Bowl winner Russell Wilson to a one-year deal ... if this were baseball or basketball, you might think there was another move in the making.

Not quite. Actually, there was another Steeler move before the Fields acquisition. Former starter and first-round pick Kenny Pickett is now a Philadelphia Eagle.

Pittsburgh plans to keep both in the QB room, and there's not going to be a competition between the two. Surely Wilson didn't sign on to be somebody's mentor/back-up. Surely Fields is not going to take a seat on bench with big contract decisions on the horizon.

The latter seems to be the case.

Doesn't matter to me what happens in Pittsburgh anyway since they have the one ex-Bulldog, George Pickens, not on my list of favorites playing in the pros.

It's funny, though, how many other former starters like Fields, Pickett (Jalen Hurts) and ex-Atlanta Falcon Desmond Ritter (Kyler Murray) were traded to be back-ups. Include on that list Mac Jones to Jacksonville (Trevor Lawrence) and Sam Howell to Seattle (Geno Smith). Their former teams, New England and Washington, plus Chicago are clearing room for a new top three overall pick.

Imagine sometime in the near future a Pittsburgh-Chicago Super Bowl. It's more likely, however, that Pittsburgh and/or Chicago will host a Super Bowl.

That got me to thinking, and I had to calculate. How many Super Bowls were won by teams that have not nor never will host a Super Bowl? Count Oakland and St. Louis in that tally even though those towns don't have their franchises anymore.

Try 35 out of 58 (Green Bay, New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, D.C.; Denver, Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago, and two-time defending champs Kansas City).

----Next, a tip of the cap to the Georgia College & State University baseball team for an entertaining series win at John Kurtz Field last weekend against Georgia Southwestern State.

A couple of notes on that. One, reliever Lex Kenny won Peach Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week. Kenny, a sophomore from Canton, has three saves this season, and they all came in the week of this latest honor.

Kenny didn't allow any runs, earned or unearned, to score in more than five innings. At Newberry College, he pitched two innings. The second time was a bit tricky, for he entered first game of the PBC series with Georgia Southwestern State University in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded, one out, and the Bobcats leading 5-3. One run did score on a bang-bang force out at second, then a line drive hits a baserunner. Call it a big shaky, but still a save and a win.

Kenny's work was much cleaner in the series finale, a rare three-inning save where the same batter from GSW was the only one to get hits (two) off him. There was also one walk, but no runs.

There were times in that series, though, when video replay would have come into play if Division II baseball had it. I already described one instance.

Yes, the Bobcats played pretty clean baseball all-around in this series with some nifty double plays and diving catches.

The other note is that GCSU is tied with fellow PBC member Lander as 10th in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association NCAA Division II Southeast regional rankings.

The Bobcats, who received eight votes, are 5-3 this season against teams currently ranked in the region. The Bobcats also have two non-Peach Belt wins against No. 3 University of North Georgia and a win against No. 5 University of Mount Olive. Nolan Belcher took his team to play No. 1 North Greenville, but that was a loss. GSW is No. 8.

They also want you to know that the NCBWA poll is for publicity purposes only and is not used in the selection process for the NCAA Division II postseason.

At Division I, the Georgia Bulldogs took an 18-1 record up to Lexington in the Bluegrass and was swept by the Kentucky Wildcats. It wasn't even competitive, with Kentucky scoring 37 runs in just 25 innings. Georgia, with a one-man Atlanta Braves-like stat line in Charlie Condon, countered with 15.

Condon is a red-shirt sophomore from Marietta who has played both third base and right field this season. What he is doing at the plate is no doubt ridiculous with 40 hits in 78 at-bats (.513) and 14 home runs. It's interesting that he has more runs scored, 34, than RBI, 32, but he has been put on base 30 more times through walks and HBP. And he bats No. 2 in the order, so his home runs may not come with many teammates on the proverbial pond.

I can honestly say, though, I am glad I was at the Georgia College & State U. series instead of listening in to that UGA misery. Talent-wise, even I will admit there are no comparing the two teams. But I would not swap rightfielders having seen the offensive and defensive play of Milledgeville's own Brandon Bellflower the last two years.

How, again, do you pitch to him with first base open, two outs and leading by one run? (Matthew Mebane, who is GCSU's leading home run hitter, is on deck). So what? Georgia Southwestern State had two bases open. Put them both on and make a freshman come through against your veteran hurler, the reigning Peach Belt Pitcher of the Year.

That's analytics before analytics became a buzzword.

And that leaves me two more topics to get a head start with next week.

(If at all possible, give pet adoption a try through the Animal Rescue Foundation in Milledgeville. Donations of any kind are also in great need. ARF is a little red building at 711 S. Wilkinson St., and more information is available at