Daily Archives: August 4, 2008

Ooh, ooh, growin’ up

ESPN.com’s Chris Low has a two part interview with Matthew Stafford up:  Part 1Part 2.

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s a strong sense of maturity and purpose to Matt that’s new.  Some of it is reflected in his physical shape…

Had a chance to sit down with Georgia junior quarterback Matthew Stafford earlier today, and the first thing you notice is how much he’s trimmed down…

and some of it is reflected in the confident way he answers Low’s questions.

Plus, I’m a sucker for questions like this:

If you could pay to watch three other guys play in the SEC not on your team, who would they be?

MS: I’d put Percy [Harvin] and [Tim] Tebow together. That’s a good one. Jasper Brinkley from South Carolina’s a player and then probably LSU’s whole defense. Eric Berry at Tennessee is a good player, too. I won’t have to pay to watch any of those guys. I’ll get to see them all up close.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

No hype, no worries, mon.

From ESPN.com’s college football front page:

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football

In which Rudy Carpenter blinks rapidly, holds his breath, etc.

When your offensive line comes off a season when it yielded 55 sacks, this can’t be welcome news if you’re the starting quarterback.

On the other hand, if you’re a Georgia defensive end…

(h/t EDSBS)

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Filed under Georgia Football

You can’t stop the schedule. You can only hope to contain it.

Two more preseason predictions up today about Georgia’s chances in ’08:  College Football News likes the Dawgs to go 10-2, while Sunday Morning Quarterback sees Georgia finishing fifth best in the nation.

In both cases, they find much to admire, but in the end, it comes down to you-know-what.

From CFN -

One Bold Prediction
Not only will Georgia not win the national title and not only will it not win the SEC, it’ll have to battle to win the East. While the team will be among the three best in America, things won’t go as expected because of three things: schedule, schedule, schedule. It’s asking way too much for anyone to get through unscathed at South Carolina, at LSU and at Auburn while hosting Alabama and Tennessee. Of course, there’s the Florida showdown to deal with, too..

And from SMQ -

… I emphasize “survival” because my main argument against UGA in the penthouse is the unusually brutal nature of the road it faces: as we saw Friday, only one of the mythical champions of the BCS era (Miami in 2001) has faced more than four teams that wound up in the final AP poll in their championship season, and Georgia likely faces six teams projected for the poll going into the season (Arizona State, Alabama, Tenessee, LSU, Florida, and Auburn). That doesn’t even include games at South Carolina and Kentucky, and the finale against Georgia Tech, maybe the most mysterious team in the country going into the year. After the first week of September, other than Vanderbilt (knock on wood) and a couple of actual bye weeks, Georgia has no breaks; LSU, Florida and Auburn in a four-week span, all away from home, is particularly brutal, almost unfairly so, and I think almost precludes a run to the top barring the same kind of highly unlikely assistance LSU benefitted from last year. Consider, for comparison, that division mate Florida, even while getting Miami and Florida State outside of the league, only plays three teams in the preseason rankings, draws Ole Miss and Arkansas from the West instead of Auburn and Alabama, and gets LSU and South Carolina at home. Even if the Dawgs beat the Gators in the Cocktail Party and drag home another big win or two — and there are enough of them that two or three high profile victories should probably be taken for granted — that’s too many mines in the field, too long to be “on,” to stagger out on top in December.

OK, so there’s that.

Aside from the schedule focus, there are some interesting points made at both sites.  I find myself in pretty fair agreement with Fiutak’s overall records for the SEC teams – although I think he’s slightly optimistic about Auburn’s chances and he’s got LSU and South Carolina losing to each other (if only that could happen in the Florida-Tennessee game).  And while I don’t agree with SMQ’s assessment that Florida will finish #1 when the dust settles, he’s spot on with this:

… in fact, if there were any offensive issues last year, it was that the Gators couldn’t get their hands on the ball enough:

You cannot score if you do not have the ball, and in each of its losses, Florida suffered from at least a four-and-a-half to five-minute deficit in possession due mainly to the epic drives allowed by the defense.

It’s just that, again, looking back, those three SEC losses weren’t flukes.  They came against teams that had a clue about how to play good defense from a scoring perspective – those were your top three in scoring defense in the SEC last season.  On the plus side for Florida, Auburn drops off the schedule this year.  On the down side, I have to think that most SEC coaches aren’t idiots and are likely to absorb some of the lessons that this data reinforces.

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UPDATE: Fiutak’s rejiggered a few of his projections.  He’s now got Auburn at 9-3 and LSU losing to South Carolina.  Ole Miss picked up a mystery win in there somewhere, which would make every school in the West bowl eligible.

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Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, The Blogosphere

Geese and golden eggs

I may be completely off-base as to where he’s going with this post, but even if I am, this post is depressing enough as it is.  I do see a link, though.

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UPDATE: Ah well, it wasn’t a metaphor for pointless marketing.  It’s about pointless marketing.  I like where I wound up better, though.

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UPDATE #2: Brian Cook lets Dodd know that his math’s off.

… Your math completely ignores the biggest timing difference between college football and the NFL: on a first down, the clock stops until the chains are set and the ball is ready for play. This takes somewhere between 10 and 15 seconds — looks like 12 is a good average — and last year the average Big Ten game had 40.6 first downs. Approximately eight minutes runs of an NFL game clock that does not run off an NCAA game clock because of this rule change, which means a college game is 15% longer than an NFL game because of this rule’s effect*. 72 is 115% of 62.76: virtually the entire difference the length of pro and college games is explained here.

Fine, but it’s the underlying attitude here that gives me the willies.  Math or no math, there’s absolutely no reason that college football needs to be remaking itself to be more like the NFL on the field.  I’m not a big Dennis Dodd fan by any means, but he’s raised a legit concern here.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles, The Blogosphere

Another know thy opponent, Tide edition

The Quad has its preseason review of #25 Alabama up.

For once, there aren’t any nifty factoids to latch onto, so I’ll just leave you with his prediction, which amounts to ‘Bama taking baby steps this season:

… However, I predict Alabama takes its first step forward this fall. This is partly because of an experienced offensive line and Wilson’s potential improvement, and, though linebacker is a concern, another strong defensive unit. Mostly, it’s because of Saban, who has done nothing on the college level to expect anything less than an at least one-win improvement over last fall. So that’s where the Countdown predicts Alabama to fall: 8-4 over all, 5-3 in conference, with a loss at Georgia and only one win out of the trio of Tennessee, L.S.U. and Auburn. In the SEC, that’s good enough for the top 25. While an 8-4 finish seems a far cry from the days of Bear Bryant, it is an even farther cry from the nadir of the Mike Shula era. More so than the other top programs on hard times, Alabama is close to a return to glory.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles