Monthly Archives: January 2008

“The calendar has accelerated itself.”

With the announcements yesterday that Georgia received three verbal commitments for its 2009 class, this USA Today article on an early signing period for D-1 football is pretty timely.

The recruiting factoid of the day:

… According to Rob Ianello, wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Notre Dame, more than 1,500 high school players had committed to 117 schools in time for an early signing period in December.

“The process is to the point right now where kids have decided where they want to go to school,” says Ianello, the assistant coaches’ representative to the AFCA board of trustees. “The average was about 13.2 per school, which is over half your class…”

What I don’t get is why these assistant coaches are advocating for the extra date in mid-December. Or, more accurately, what I don’t get is why these assistant coaches think a date in mid-December brings much to the table from the standpoint of the recruits and their high schools.

“For me, it would be a hassle,” says Sean Callahan of Armwood High in Seffner, Fla., whose USA TODAY All-USA offensive lineman Matt Patchan has committed to Florida. “I’m hopefully playing football in mid-December. If you said second or first week in January, that would be fine. Our … kids usually wait until January to make up their mind.”

I’m being facetious, of course. Here’s the money quote:

“There’s also a strong academic component here,” Ianello says of his football proposal. “If a young man knows where he’s going, he doesn’t have to worry about getting chased around and hassled in January, and he can concentrate on school. There’s a cost-saving measure, because you have some players you don’t have to go down and see in January. And you eliminate some of this commit-decommit stuff that goes on in January.”

My guess is the last two sentences are of far greater import to Ianello than is the first.

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UPDATE:  ESPN’s Bruce Feldman thinks ($$) an early signing date is a bad idea.

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Filed under Recruiting

Signs of success

Sunday Morning Quarterback dives back into the stat pool to tell us what statistics best correlate (not cause) with winning and losing in 2007.

Much as last year, he finds that what matters most is playing good defense – stopping the run is foremost – and being efficient on offense.

… the best teams in the three major non-scoring defensive categories not only won more than teams excelling in any other category, but the worst defensive teams lost more, too. Among the top 20 teams, this is exactly the same result as last year and in the much smaller look the year before that.

Offensively, we see that the best teams were far more efficient that they were necessarily explosive: turnover margin, passing efficiency and third down percentage correlated to better records at the top and worse records at the bottom than even total offense, and to much better/worse results at the poles than rushing or passing yards per game…

I was a bit curious to see where Georgia stacked up based on his analysis. I took the eight categories that SMQ found the highest correlation with wins and losses and checked them against Georgia’s national rankings at the NCAA stats site. To get some idea of their relevancy, I did the same with four other teams – two schools in the SEC (LSU and Florida), West Virginia (because of the way the Mountaineers stood out when I did this rather crude analysis) and Southern California (the other “hot team” besides Georgia in the national media’s mind at season’s end).

Here’s how it all shook out:

SCHOOL RUSH DEF. PASS EFFIC. DEF. TOTAL DEF. 3RD DOWN OFF. T/O MARGIN PASS. EFFIC. OFF. TOTAL OFF. 3RD DOWN DEF.
LSU 12 3 3 14 2 37 26 29
GEORGIA 16 36 14 24 18 61 74 23
FLORIDA 10 71 41 1 32 2 14 75
W. VIR. 18 28 7 8 9 11 15 36
S. CAL. 4 6 2 28 41 36 8 29

What can we tell from this? First off, if winning programs excelled in these eight categories last season, it’s apparent why LSU wound up as national champs. These numbers also give a pretty clear indication why Florida’s season went the way it did.

Georgia’s numbers, to be honest, are meh for the most part. The Dawgs did lead in one category, 3rd down defense, but it’s the eighth most important stat on the list and it’s the only category in which none of the five schools finished in the national top ten. On the other hand, Georgia finished last in two stats and in both cases they were bad lasts.

Still, the numbers show that Georgia did a fine job stopping the run and playing good defense and that while Bobo’s charges weren’t too great on the passing efficiency front and gaining yardage, they were good at moving the chains on third down. I still think there’s more to this story, though.

In any event, if you’re a believer in room for improvement, it’s a good thing that there are some areas where Georgia can step up next year. You have to think that if Stafford grows into the job even more, this team has a chance to be very good in ’08.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Save a seat for me, please.

From the “dang, that didn’t take long” department: Georgia has its first verbal commitments for the class of 2009.

I guess the message from the Sanders and Hunter sagas has gotten out.

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UPDATE: It certainly has.

“I didn’t want anybody to take my spot,” Vasser said.

To that end, Vasser had a deal with Georgia: He wanted to know the second any other linebacker committed to the Bulldogs. He knew Georgia was going to take only two linebackers in the class of 2009, and he wanted to make sure he was one of those two.

“When I heard [Dexter] Moody committed early today, I called up Coach (John) Jancek and told him I was committed,” Vasser said. “I wasn’t even going to wait for him to call me.”

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

One man’s meat…

The Wizard of Odds has his promised Classless Acts of 2007 up and undoubtedly validates the hurt feelings of countless Gator fans by including the Celebration on his list.  (He does have an interesting thought about what would have happened if the TD call had been reviewed and reversed, though.)

My favorite thing there has to be this quote from Michigan OT Jake Long:

7. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State: After Dantonio was named coach on Nov. 27, 2006, he installed a clock in the Spartan practice facility that counted down the seconds until the Michigan game. “At least they’ll be on time for the game,” Michigan left tackle Jake Long remarked.

Feel free to check all nine acts and cast your vote.

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Filed under College Football, The Blogosphere

You don’t write, you don’t call…

There’s at least one kid we can safely say committed to a program, not the coach.

11 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, The Evil Genius

“In the end, it was all about 66 collegiate wins.”

If you want to know why Rick Neuheisel makes some folks cringe, read this and this. Nauseating stuff.

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UPDATE:  Another story, if you can stomach it.

4 Comments

Filed under College Football, Crime and Punishment

Wreck on the side of the highway

OK, it’s confession time. I admit I have this thing about South Carolina message boards. It’s like a redneck tooling down I-85 passing a bad wreck on the side of the road: you know you shouldn’t slow down and look, but you can’t help doing it.

Needless to say, with the end of the Brian VanGorder era in Columbia, it’s been a fun week to spend slumming there. And while his sudden and unseemly departure has added another villain to a long list of folks that Gamecock fans will hold grudges against as long as there are keyboards and electricity in South Carolina, you’ll be relieved to know that by now, the typical ‘Cock poster has dismissed the episode as a minor bump in the road of Carolina’s inevitable march towards another preseason MNC. After all, Spurrier, being the certified genius that he is, has managed to replace BVG with an even more kickass defensive coordinator (albeit one he passed over in making the original hire).

But that’s not what’s inspired this post. And I do mean inspired.

You have to start with this thread on the South Carolina Rivals board. The initial post contains what purports to be a cut and paste job of a media report on the current state of Gamecock recruiting, entitled “Reality Check for Gamecock Fans RE: Recruiting Worries!!!”

Now, anytime I see “reality check” and “Gamecock fans” linked together in a post, I’m going to slow down and take a look, because there’s a high probability that I’m going to see something especially gruesome yet titillating. And it doesn’t disappoint – not when you get to the oxymoronic conclusion:

And that has to have all reason-based Gamecock football fans excited.

Reason-based Gamecock football fans. Not to be confused with carbon-based lifeforms, surely. We know there must be more than one of these specimens, at least, because the poster that starts the thread with this exhortation…

NOTE: this news service NAILS IT AGAIN!!!!…it is a crying shame not one major newspaper in this state has a single writer on staff with this much insight and knowledge, with the ability to articulate it like this…BRAVO!!!!

… gets two others to respond with virtual nods and yessirs. Eureka!

Yet I felt something was lacking. The article seems somewhat less than polished from an editing standpoint. Who or what is this “BlogSpot News Service” and what crack journalists comprise its staff?

Well, that’s the best part of this story. When I Googled “BlogSpot News Service Gamecock fans”, this is where I was led. Evidently, BSNS is the creation of a disgruntled Gamecock fan who perceives blatant media bias in the way his beloved football team is covered and started a blog to, as he puts it, “deviate from the current norm”.

I give it about a one percent chance that this is some of the best satire I’ve seen, and about 99 percent that it’s the old fashioned Gamecock cocktail (pour in equal parts sincerity, paranoia and delusion, shake thoroughly and serve, with a twist) served in a larger glass. Either way, it’s teh awesome.

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Filed under The Blogosphere, The Evil Genius