Daily Archives: June 15, 2007

Is Mark Richt underrated?

Over at CFN, Pete Fiutak has some nice things to say about Mark Richt:

… To me, The Sporting News preseason annual is the only one worthy of note, but it lost me when it ranked Richt the nation’s 25th best BCS coach behind coaches like Dennis Erickson, Mike Bellotti, Butch Davis, Houston Nutt and Bill Callahan. On an all-time scale, Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno are on the Mount Rushmore of coaches, but you’d have to be dumber than a box of hammers to take either of those two legends over Richt right now. I’m a huge fan of Frank Beamer (ranked 6th by TSN) and Kirk Ferentz (11th), but if you really think about it, has either of those two accomplished what Richt has?

If we’re all in agreement that the SEC has far and away been the best conference in America over the last six years, than how can Richt be anything other than one of the top ten coaches in college football? O.K., he hasn’t really come close to a national title game, but during his tenure, the Dawgs have gone 61-17 (78%) with two SEC championships and three East titles.

Take that, Tom Dienhart!

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Movin’ on up

If you’ve ever wondered what a school faces when it elects to step up in Divisions with its sports programs, there’s an interesting summary at this blog about what the University of South Dakota is facing in moving up to Division I.

Make sure you click on the links in the post.  As the author notes, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader has done a fine job exploring many of the issues USD has had to consider.

It’s worth the read, considering what we’ve recently heard about what Georgia State and Georgia Southern are interested in doing with their athletic programs.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Saban gets kissed; Fisher gets dissed.

OK, so the Sabanator and the University of Alabama have exchanged vows and are now married to each other. From the coach’s standpoint, he got a helluva pre-nupt:

… But the most buzz about the contract made available to the public Thursday focused on what wasn’t in the contract rather than what was.

There is no buyout clause to deter Saban from taking another job.

There is no obligation for Saban to participate in the traditional slew of school-endorsed ads…

The trustees seem pretty broad-minded about Saban’s demands.

“To my knowledge, a buyout clause has never kept a coach from leaving,” said trustee Finis St. John, the head of the athletics committee. “And if a coach wants to be in another job, then it’s probably in the best interest of the university for him to be in that job.

“It’s also my understanding that Coach Saban has never had a buyout clause anywhere he’s been. We understood that from the beginning.”

Said Witt, “He has never done (endorsements). It’s just not his style.”

Like I said – mellow, dude. As the article notes, it’s quite “a dramatic philosophical shift from the contract approved for former coach Mike Shula just 13 months ago.” No kidding.

And then there’s the money.

Saban will make $3.5 million in 2007 but the contract will gradually increase to pay $4.2 million annually for the final three years of the deal, which expires Jan. 31, 2015.

“From a business standpoint, this board feels very strongly that we made a wise and good investment,” said Joe Espy, the president pro tem of the board of trustees.

Saban’s base salary is $225,000 and his personal service fee starts at $3.275 million per year and escalates to $3.975 million for each of the final three years of the deal.

Other perks include use of two full-size cars, a country club membership, a $400,000 bonus for winning the national championship and personal use of an airplane for 25 hours per year.

“From a business standpoint”? Hmm. Keep in mind that some of these folks are in with the same jokers that prevented UAB from hiring Jimbo Fisher over what was claimed to be a prohibitively high salary. That salary? $600,000 per year – and half was to be paid by school boosters.

Must be that new math thing. One can only hope that karma proves to be a bitch here.

Then, again, if you read HeismanPundit, maybe Bear, Jr. was doing UAB a favor, ’cause that Fisher guy is apparently nothing to write home about.

As noted by Sunday Morning Quarterback, the consensus out there is that former LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher is about to save Florida State’s bacon.

Chalk me up as a skeptic on this subject.

Fisher was the offensive coordinator at LSU from 2000-2006. During that span, the Tigers managed to surpass the 30 points per game barrier for a season just three times. In other words, it’s not like he was tearing things up in Baton Rouge.

Does anyone even know what kind of offense Fisher runs? I guess it’s a pro-style attack, but what’s so special about that?

As it stands, I imagine that Fisher will bring some semblance of stability and maturity to the Seminole offense. So there should be some improvement.

But I don’t think his hiring is the answer to the question: What can Bobby Bowden do to salvage his last few seasons at FSU?

Skip the fact that HP misrepresents what SMQ had to say in his post. What HP is really doing here is letting a certain mancrush of his show (again): Fisher may be an OK coordinator, he may even do some good things at FSU, but he’s no Urban Meyer.

HP is right, if you go by the offensive stats of the two schools for the two seasons both coaches were in the SEC. Fisher isn’t a Meyer – he’s been better. In ’05, LSU averaged more points per game and (very slightly) more yards per game than Florida. The margin in favor of LSU in both categories was much wider in 2006. In fact, LSU scored more points last year despite playing one less game than did the Gators.

No doubt HP can explain this by noting that, unlike Meyer, Fisher didn’t have the luxury of holding things back:

… If the spread works, why did it only score 21 points against SEC teams? Well, I think the answer is clear: it didn’t need to score more. How long should a man’s legs be? Answer: Long enough to touch the ground.

… Going into most conference games, Meyer knew that the other team couldn’t score against his defense, so why open things up? He played the percentages.

That’s because Meyer had a better defense at Florida than Fisher had at LSU… um… wait… oh, never mind.

Maybe Gary Crowton can be the guy to rescue LSU football from the offensive mediocrity of the Fisher years.  I’m sure we’ll hear something like that from HP if LSU is tops in the conference in offense this season.  Although that would mean Meyer’s offense would be playing second fiddle to LSU again, so might that temper HP’s enthusiasm somewhat?  Nahh – I predict a revised Gang of Six is in our future…

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Filed under SEC Football, The Blogosphere, Whoa, oh, Alabama