Daily Archives: January 25, 2007

“Support the troops”

Yeah, I know I said we should show sympathy for the Arky fans dealing with the fallout from the Broyles-Nutt-Malzahn-Springfield Three (and their parents) mess.

But I only meant the sane ones:

… Away from the road, one of the protesters amplified his discontent through a bullhorn.

“ It’s third down and 7, we don’t have Malzahn, what’s the play going to be ? ” said Matt Gaines, a 31-year-old truck driver recruiter from Rogers, through his bullhorn. “ A draw play. ”

Gaines also offered the platitude, “ Support the troops, not the coach, ” another reference to Nutt…

“ I’m tired of all the crap that’s happened ever since Coach Nutt’s been hired. He had two straight losing seasons [2004 and 2005 ] and we gave him a pass. It’s absurd. He should’ve been fired a long time ago…”

“… I’ve been waiting for Malzahn to get hired for years, ” Duncan said. “ He’s a great offensive mind. He can turn our program into something exciting if given the chance…”

Umm… Earth to delusional Hog fans:  your team won 10 games last season, played for the SEC championship and finished up in a New Year’s Day bowl game.  You have the single most exciting player in the conference.  That’s not exactly chopped liver.

Today’s words of wisdom come from UA freshman Harry McCarney:

… McCarney thought the rally was much ado about nothing.“ It’s just ridiculous, ” McCarney said. “ There’s not really a call for all this. People are just caught up in the moment. They’re just caught up in the frenzy and they smell blood.

“ The main reason I came to school here is because of Razorback football, but there’s too much emphasis on football here. Humphries Hall doesn’t even have air conditioning and no one is protesting that. These people are protesting because three of our four losses came to teams [USC, LSU and Florida ] that played in BCS bowl games. ”

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal

One more thing

In his post about the Florida-Tennessee rivalry, Mergz writes:

… To you fans of other conferences, imagine if your conference deciding game was played virtually in mid-September every year since 1992? Take Tennessee’s 1993 season as an example. After losing by 7 to Florida in Gainesville the 3rd game of the year, they ran the table to finish the regular season 10-1. Their reward? A trip to the Citrus Bowl, while Florida beat Alabama for the SEC title and went to the Sugar Bowl. Or, take Florida’s 1998 season. A 3 point loss to Tennessee at Knoxville in overtime kept a 9-2 (1 conference loss) Florida team from the SEC championship game, which UT won along with the 98’s MNC.

For Florida and Tennessee, it is not only the shot at a conference championship that is played for the second or third Saturday in September, it is a shot at the MNC. For two teams with 3 MNC’s since 1996, no year was that more evident that the present one, where Florida’s come-from-behind 1 point victory in Knoxville kept the train going that rolled all the way to Glendale on January 8th.

Honest question (since I know the guys at SS favor playoffs for D-1 football): given how much what’s at stake fuels this rivalry, what sort of an impact would a sixteen team playoff have on it?

You probably know my answer…

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Unrivalled rivalries?

Mergz, at the excellent Gator blog Saurian Sagacity, has written a thought provoking post that’s the start of a series exploring Florida’s rivalries.

His primary point is that outsiders have a hard time understanding the difficulty of a typical SEC schedule due to the number of heated rivalries that are standard fare throughout the conference. That’s a fair statement, although those outsiders could raise the same question of us SEC fans (Mergz, to his credit, does ask outside fans to contribute to his understanding of their rivalries).

I think where one has to start with this discussion is to ask what makes a rivalry. For his part, Mergz lists six teams with which he believes the Gators have that level of intensity: Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, Georgia, FSU and South Carolina. I look at that list and see a variety of factors that would affect the competition between those schools and Florida; to me, some of those schools have almost nothing in common, yet I believe I can see the arguments Mergz intends to muster to make his case for each.

Let’s look at a few overriding characteristics that go into making and sustaining a rivalry:

  • History. Two things factor in here. How often have the teams faced each other? And, over time, how competitive has the series been?
  • Scheduling. How often do the teams play each other at present?
  • The Stakes. In terms of winning championships, how often do the games between the teams assume importance?
  • Geography. This one is pretty obvious.
  • Miscellaneous Factors. Mergz lists South Carolina as a rival. That can only be for one reason – Steve Spurrier. (It helped that Spurrier beat Florida in his first crack, which is something USC had never accomplished previously.) I expect LSU-Alabama to attain a similar level of intensity because of Saban.

Looking at Georgia’s rivalries from this perspective, here are the schools I’d list (by alphabetical order):

  • Auburn, by virtue of almost every factor I’ve listed above;
  • Florida, again, for all of the above;
  • Georgia Tech also reflects all of the above (true, there are no conference stakes anymore, but being an end of season game, there are potential BCS stakes in most years);
  • South Carolina may not seem deserving from a historical perspective, as Georgia has dominated the series. But it’s been intense since I’ve been following it, starting in 1980 (Rogers vs. Walker!). And Spurrier’s presence certainly adds some spice. Also, Georgia hasn’t won the SEC East in any season that it didn’t beat USC.
  • Tennessee is a rivalry born out of divisional realignment. It wasn’t a historically significant series, as the teams didn’t play that often. Since 1992, though, in most years, Georgia, Florida and UT have to dance the dance with each other to decide which school makes it to the SECCG. Fulmer’s recruiting tactics (and success, unfortunately) and Donnan’s hiring away of Garner have contributed heat, as well.

I couldn’t bring myself to list LSU or Alabama, as I don’t think the Dawgs play either school on a regular enough basis these days to qualify, although ‘Bama was a closer call, mainly due to the fact that historically Georgia and LSU just haven’t played each other that much, surprisingly. Clemson fails to make the list for the same reason.

Five is still a lot of rivalries, in my opinion. I’d be curious to know if that’s an unusually high number, or if many schools consider themselves to play that many rivalry games.

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, The Blogosphere