Monthly Archives: December 2006

State of Georgia recruiting ’06 – start of a trend or a blip on the horizon?

Morgan Burnett’s decision not to consider Georgia as a place to play college ball has generated a post at the AOL Fanhouse blog for Georgia Tech which concludes “(i)n previous years a player like Burnett would never have gone anywhere but Athens, but the whole dynamic of high school recruiting in the state of Georgia has changed.

While I don’t want to pick apart his post – that’s already been done with this “Jane, you ignorant slut” response at the Georgia AOL Fanhouse blog – I do want to comment on that last thought.

First, there’s no doubt that Giff Smith has done a terrific job as recruiting coordinator for Tech this year, particularly in terms of convincing Chan that it’s foolish for Tech to ignore in state talent to the degree that he had done in previous years. Tech is certainly going to finish with its best class of the Gailey regime and one of its best classes ever.

That being said, which schools are most likely to be impacted by Tech’s recruiting gains? It hasn’t been Georgia, which is looking to finish with yet another top 10 class and will most likely finish with a stronger class than Georgia Tech (again). I would think it’s affecting schools like Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee and Auburn. Given that three of those schools are SEC rivals of Georgia, that’s most likely a net plus for the Dawgs.

I’m also not ready to conclude that Burnett’s decision indicates the beginning of some sort of a trend – you Tech fans should know that trends are long-term movements in time, such as when one school beats its in state rival in football six years in a row – or simply something that’s occurred due to some unique factors this year. Let’s face it, many of Tech’s verbals to date are no doubt as intimately familiar with the Georgia depth chart at their positions as Burnett is. I’ll be willing to concede more on this point when I see Tech winning half the battles for kids that Georgia clearly has an immediate need for. We’re not even close to that day yet.

This year’s developments on the recruiting front do make me curious about something, though: does Tech’s success in Georgia this year mean that all those years of excuses about academics and curriculum were complete and utter bullshit? Or have the high school players in this state suddenly gotten a lot smarter?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

The difference maker?

At the CFA Bowl tonight, it’s either gonna be

or turnovers that decide it for Georgia.   One thing – I don’t think the Dawgs will show up looking as unprepared as they did at the Sugar Bowl last year.

(photo courtesy of Athens Banner-Herald)

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Filed under Georgia Football

Tick Tock

Evidently, according to this LA Times article (h/t The Wizard of Odds), the NCAA is going to give a serious look at revising two rules instituted for the 2006 season: Rule 3-2-5 dictated that the clock start when the ball is free kicked and rule 3-2-5-e, the more controversial, ordered that, after a possession change, the clock would start on the officials’ ready-for-play signal.

Sounds like there may be more than a few unhappy head coaches:

“… I don’t know many coaches that are too happy with” the new rules, said Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden. “They’re trying to speed the game up. All they’re speeding up are [coaching] firings.”

At one point this year, Florida Coach Urban Meyer characterized the rule change as “awful.”

Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti told The Times, “It’s the most dramatic, drastic change I’ve seen. Nobody likes it.”

Bellotti made those comments before the season.

Texas Coach Mack Brown complained after his team’s Sept. 9 loss to No. 1 Ohio State that the new clock rules made it more difficult for a trailing team to mount a fourth-quarter comeback.

“They [the Buckeyes] scored with six minutes left and the game was over before we had a chance to do anything,” Brown said on a conference call after that game. “… I hate it.”

USC Coach Pete Carroll, who didn’t want instant replay in college football, thinks the clock rule has to be changed.

“I don’t like it,” Carroll said. “I don’t like it and I think we made a mistake here with this rule and I think we should fix it…”

Although maybe not everyone is that unhappy:

… Teaff said that, contrary to published reports, many coaches didn’t have a problem with the changes, especially defensive coaches.

“It was very interesting,” Teaff said of the survey. “The coaches were pretty well split on it.”

Ironically, I think that Georgia, which has a history under Richt of suffering through some game mismanagement issues now and then, did a fine job this year handing the new clock management rules. The Tech game was an excellent example of that. So from a selfish standpoint, I’m not on the side of those who think it’s a serious problem. But it sounds like a change is gonna come.

My only question is, if they do change the rules and the games go on longer as a result, should we expect Lincoln Financial and CBS to cut back on commercial time?

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Filed under College Football, The NCAA

PAC-10/SEC showdown, 2007 strength of schedule style

In light of my post from yesterday about conference strength of schedule standings, I thought it might be interesting to post a comparison of the PAC-10’s out of conference schedule for 2007 with that of the SEC. So, courtesy of NationalChamps.net, here we go.

First, the SEC:

  • Alabama: Western Carolina, Florida State, Houston, Louisiana-Monroe (for ‘Bama, that’s an upgrade over some years past)
  • Arkansas: Troy, North Texas, UT-Chattanooga, Florida International (ugh…)
  • Auburn: New Mexico State, South Florida, Tulane, [still looking]
  • Florida: UCF, Troy, Florida Atlantic, Florida State
  • Georgia: Oklahoma State, Western Carolina, Troy, Georgia Tech (mixed bag, but should be two top 25 teams there)
  • Kentucky: Eastern Kentucky, Temple, Louisville, Florida Atlantic (the Wildcats’ first four games of the year, BTW)
  • LSU: Middle Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Tulane, Louisiana Tech
  • Mississippi: Missouri, Louisiana Tech, Northwestern State, Memphis
  • Mississippi State: West Virginia is the only one announced so far (which doesn’t bode well, IMO)
  • South Carolina: Louisiana-Lafayette, South Carolina State, North Carolina, Clemson
  • Tennessee: California, Southern Miss, Northern Illinois, Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Vanderbilt: Richmond, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Wake Forest

Now, the PAC-10:

  • Arizona: New Mexico is the only announced non-conference opponent at present
  • Arizona State: San Jose State, San Diego State, Colorado
  • California: Tennessee, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech
  • Oregon: Houston, Michigan, Fresno State
  • Oregon State: Utah is the only announced non-conference opponent at present
  • Stanford: San Jose State, TCU, Notre Dame
  • UCLA: BYU, Utah, Notre Dame (impressive)
  • USC: Idaho, Nebraska, Notre Dame
  • Washington: Syracuse, Boise State, Ohio State
  • Washington State: Wisconsin, San Diego State, Idaho

Admittedly, the results are somewhat skewed by three of the schools listed only having one non-conference opponent scheduled at present, but is there much doubt as to which conference overall has a more impressive looking non-conference schedule?

Two more questions to ponder: from those lists, which conference would you expect to go into next season with the higher strength of schedule rating? And how much of your opinion do you think is based on the SEC schools having to fill out their schedules with one more non-conference opponent than do the PAC-10 schools?

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Filed under Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

Zen and the art of football coaching

Listen carefully to what Chan has to say about his new starting quarterback:

…But the intangibles, the way he studies the game, the way he handles himself with the team, with the offense. Those are things we know about, but we don’t know about…

Ahhh… pay attention, grasshopper. Those are things we know about, but we don’t know about. Obviously for Chan Gailey, offense is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma (you know how much I love Churchill quotes).

We can see why Georgia Tech has been an offensive powerhouse under the man who is clearly unappreciated as a philosopher of the game…

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Filed under Georgia Tech Football

AJC’s new recruiting blog

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Jeff D’Alessio has started running a football recruiting blog.  Focused on instate and Southeast recruiting, it is surprisingly good so far.  The paper promises that the blog will be updated every thirty minutes during business hours and will run through signing day.

Check it out sometime.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Strength of schedule thoughts

Recently, I’ve seen a couple of posts attacking Jeff Sagarin’s strength of schedule (SOS) computer model, one at Saurian Sagacity (another excellent Gator blog, by the way) and one at AOL’s ACC Fanhouse. Both score some telling points – particularly with regard to the fact that Sagarin won’t disclose the methodology behind his rating system.

But I do want to take issue with one item both bloggers raise as an indictment of Sagarin, namely, that he ranks the PAC-10 as the top conference in his SOS rankings. It’s a criticism I see levelled regularly on the Internet and I’m not sure it’s a justified one. In fact, I can think of a good reason why it may be entirely valid.

First, though, let me say that there’s a difference between saying that a particular conference’s schools play the toughest strength of schedule and saying that a particular conference is the toughest conference to play in. The former simply takes into account which opponents appear on the schedules of the conference members. The latter would be more focused on the strengths of the top teams in the conference, what the conference venues are like to play in, how bad the weakest teams in the conference are, how the teams in the conference fared against top non-conference opposition, etc.

Given that, I don’t have any problem stating that I believe the SEC was the best conference in college football this season while also believing that the PAC-10 had the best SOS of any college football conference in 2006.

The reason that I alluded to earlier as to why Sagarin may not be off base here is a decision the PAC-10 made when the regular season was expanded to twelve games. That conference decided to add a ninth conference game to every member school’s schedule. That’s at least one more conference game than is played in any other major conference right now (the Big East teams play only seven conference games).

With regard to how this plays in to Sagarin’s computations, I would think that one significant factor would be addition by subtraction – the PAC-10 filled the twelfth game void with another conference game, while some schools filled that game with a much lesser opponent.

In fact, looking over the PAC-10 schedules for 2006, I could only find three 1-AA schools listed as opponents for the entire conference. I’m not saying that PAC-10 schools didn’t schedule any weak sisters (of course they did), just that, because of the ninth conference game, they scheduled fewer of them. You might take note that Alabama played two winless non-conference teams this year, or that Purdue’s first two non-conference opponents went 3-20 this year (and Purdue lost to one of them!) or that none of Wisconsin’s non-conference opponents had a winning record to appreciate my argument.

And it’s not like Sagarin is alone in his ranking the PAC-10 first. Massey and Howell, for example, do as well.

I expect that any major conference that joined the PAC-10 in going to a nine conference game schedule – and I’d be thrilled to see Georgia drop the likes of Western Carolina for another SEC West opponent, as an example – would see their SOS rating climb.

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