Monthly Archives: July 2008

The unified theory

The national media loves Georgia, as we’ve seen with several publications and sites blessing the Dawgs with a preseason #1 ranking.  Yet the SEC media didn’t even see fit to anoint Georgia as the preseason favorite to win the SEC East.

Tony Barnhart gives us his theory as to why that’s happened here.  He lists five reasons (mind you, they’re not his thoughts personally, just his explanation for the disparity):

1. A lot of national media saw Georgia beat Hawaii-and fell in love.

2. The SEC media knows how tough this league really is.

3. The Tebow factor.

4. Florida’s SEC road schedule.

5. Gators will have mental edge.

Barnhart rightly dismissed the last item, but finds #2 and #4 compelling.  I don’t get the respect for the SEC media on this – it’s only gotten the conference champ right twice in the last fourteen years.  What makes its insight any better than the national media’s?

Judging from the preseason All-SEC teams, I think that #3 deserves more credence than he’s giving it.  Plenty of people are buying into the “even better Florida offense and the defense is bound to improve” line.

This is far from the last we’ll hear on this, but it’s the kind of debate that’s bound to keep Georgia in the minds of people nationally.  That’s a good thing – unless it can’t handle the pressure from the attention and pulls off an 8-4 season.  Then we’ll be hearing a very different narrative.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

The Quad looks at South Carolina.

There’s always one little fact the writers at The Quad come up with in their college football countdown that makes my day, and they don’t disappoint with their look at #31 South Carolina.

While most of us look at the Spurrier era in Columbia with a sense of some disappointment – not with regard to the OBC’s quipping, which is as funny as ever, but as to results – The Quad manages to put things in perspective.  Which, since we’re talking about South Carolina after all, means mediocrity is about to rear its ugly head.  Again.

Head coach: Steve Spurrier (’67 Florida), 21-16 with the Gamecocks since taking over in 2005. He has a career record of 163-56-2. Though some may have been expecting more out of Spurrier’s start, his 21 wins are the most by a South Carolina coach in his first three seasons, besting Joe Morrison’s 20-win total from 1983-85. [Emphasis added.]

Rejoice, Gamecock fans.  These are the glory years.

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UPDATE: Inspiration from the OBC.

“With the schedule we play, it isn’t going to be easy,” says Spurrier. “But it can be done. I keep telling everybody if Wake Forest can sneak in there and win an ACC championship, certainly South Carolina can sneak in there and win an SEC.”

What does it say when your head coach is looking up to Wake Forest?

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, The Evil Genius

Opening the floodgates?

After three years, the SEC has finally cleared Ole Miss recruit Jerrell Powe and will let him see the field of play.  This comes as a result of the recent change in the conference’s partial qualifier admission rules.  It will, of course, be interesting to see what happens with the next candidate… and the one after that.

And if you think this is something the conference wants to direct much attention to, ask yourself why it waited until after SEC Media Days wrapped up to make the announcement.  Although with the craziness of last week, maybe less notice would have been paid than was likely expected.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Recruiting, SEC Football

Thoughts from a meeting

So I’m at the Cobb Galleria last night to take in the meeting of the Greater Atlanta Bulldog Club, and in the middle of it all I can’t help but notice the mood of the crowd with regard to the Florida game – not exactly giddy, but certainly confident.  And Richt played into it, both with a little humor and some feistiness (the “it’s not the Celebration, it’s the fact that we won” line plays well, trust me).

I daresay the mood in Gator Country on the game is somewhat grimmer right now.  Just ask Franz Beard.  Or Phil Trautwein.

As for the substance of what Coach Richt had to say, if you’re a regular on Georgia boards and blogs, there wasn’t really anything new or shocking.  I thought the best Q & A of the night was about the new clock rules.  Richt downplayed the effect of the new 40-second clock, based on his belief that there have always been 10-15 seconds between plays in addition to the running of the old 25-second play clock.  But he feels that the new rule related to out of bounds plays will have a significant impact, because the game clock will start with the 40-second play clock.

All of which took me back to a realization I had during the G-Day game.  Sometime during the action, I looked at the clock and was struck by how much game time had run.  My initial feeling was that time was being bled off purposefully to lessen the possibility of players getting hurt.  But it dawned on me as I watched the officials:  they’re playing with the new clock rules.

The more I think about it, the more I believe it’s likely that we’re in for a decline in the number of plays run this season as a result of this.  And not as much of that will be the result of coaching strategies as we may want to credit.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The shocking truth

The LA Times’ Chris Dufresne is a funny guy.  From his “Looking Ahead” column today:

* Dec. 7: Final BCS standings release.

Aftermath: National sports columnist from hometown team left out of title game discovers the sport is controversial.

Aftermath II: President of school that finished No. 3 in standings calls news conference to unveil his eight-team playoff plan.

Aftermath III would have something to do with an over the top John Feinstein piece, but we’ll leave that for another time – like when Feinstein writes it.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles

Don’t be a hata, Jim Rome.

Damn… Florida’s got the better gameplanner, the superior program, superior athletes and the superior system.

So how in the hell did Meyer’s boys lose last year?

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

If at first you don’t succeed, will they let you try, try again?

With all the drama we witnessed in fashionable Hoover, Alabama last week, it’s easy to forget that the SEC wasn’t the only conference busy entertaining the media.  The Big Ten held its media bash last week as well, and though the focus was no doubt on RichRod, there was another story to consider:  how will the conference’s best team fare in the national title hunt?

Make no mistake about it, Ohio State has two very strong things going for it this season, as College Football News highlights – a loaded, experienced team and a favorable schedule.

It’s just that there’s this nagging bit of baggage trailing after these guys.

Tired of scarlet and gray in the national championship game? You might not be alone. Ohio State’s poor showings in the past two BCS title games could have reached critical mass with the pollsters.

At least that was the opinion of Buckeyes quarterback Todd Boeckman on Friday at the Big Ten media days. This might be news to those in Ohio, but Ohio State has been ripped by critics after being dominated by Florida and LSU in the final game.

Asked if his team would get the benefit of the doubt from voters if they are in position to play for the championship again, Boeckman said, “If it comes down to it, probably not because of where we’ve been in the past.”

Obviously, OSU will start in the top five in the polls this year.  Beat Southern Cal and the Buckeyes can start shopping for sunscreen to pack for Miami.  But what if they lose in LA?  What if they lose in a close one in LA and run the rest of the table?  Or alternatively, what if they win in LA, but drop a conference game?  Where does a one-loss Ohio State team fit in the mix and how long are voters’ memories, anyway?

Those will be interesting questions to follow all year, particularly if in the end there are no undefeated BCS conference teams in D-1 football again.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big Ten Football