Daily Archives: August 18, 2008

Doin’ the left tackle shuffle

Check out this blurb from Bruce Feldman’s blog today:

• Missouri is shuffling its O-line, Stu Durando writes: “Gary Pinkel and his staff have been working on the best way to restructure the line since losing their best two linemen — third-team All-America center Adam Spieker and left tackle Tyler Luellen — after the 2007 season. The latest configuration includes Colin Brown and redshirt freshman Elvis Fisher at the tackles, Kurtis Gregory and Ryan Madison at the guards and Tim Barnes at center. Even a first-year freshman is in the mix for playing time.”

My three cents: this is interesting since Pinkel’s now protecting Chase Daniel’s blindside with a guy (Fisher) who has never played in a college game and will open up with an Illinois team that has a lot of speed coming off the edge.

ZOMG!!!! Missouri must be in crisis mode!  Isn’t Pinkel aware of the potential national implications of this?  By the way, citizens of Montana -  Missouri was ranked fourth in SI.com’s preseason poll.  Do your duty.

Closer to home on the same topic, David Hale rates the odds of each of contenders to become Sturdivant’s replacement this season.

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8 Comments

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

Evidently, somebody didn’t get the memo.

A sample of AP voting guidelines:

Avoid regional bias, for or against. Your local team does not deserve any special handling when it comes to your ballot.

Please be advised: “Homerism” will be challenged and could lead to dismissal from the poll board.

Now, meet AP voter Taylor Zarzour,

… host of The Big Tailgate show on WPTF-AM in Raleigh, N.C. Zarzour formerly hosted a show on WNSP-FM in Mobile.

In Zarzour’s bio on his show’s Web site, he is described as an “avid Alabama fan” and lists his greatest moment as a sports fan as Alabama’s 34-13 win over Miami in the Sugar Bowl to win the 1992 national championship.

Roll Tide!  Why should this matter?  Well,

… Auburn was picked to win the SEC West by the media at SEC Media Days last month.

In the preseason polls, Auburn was ranked No. 10 in the AP poll, No. 11 in the coaches poll, No. 7 by Sports Illustrated.

Auburn was left off of the AP ballot of Taylor Zarzour…

At least the guy’s not a coach.

(h/t The Wizard of Odds)

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UPDATE: Mr. Zarzour has inspired some amusing thoughts over at Our Honor Defend worth a read.  (h/t Eleven Warriors)

5 Comments

Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

And while we’re on the subject…

I don’t know if this is one of those “Alex, I’ll take football myths for $200, please” topics, but in a recent comment, KelticGator (of O & B Hue fame) made the following point:

I’m not saying that Stafford won’t improve, he likely won’t make the same jump as he did freshman to sophomore (historically the largest improvement)…

So I’m curious – how true is that?  I mean you hear it all the time, but I’ve got no idea if that’s really the case.

I took a look at seven quarterbacks who had recent four year SEC careers to see how their passer ratings played out over each season they played.  Here’s what I found at ESPN.com [NOTE:  see comments about '01 passer ratings for Campbell and Greene.]:

  • J. Campbell (Auburn) – 69.7; 149.2; 132.6; 172.9
  • E. Ainge (Tennessee) – 135.9; 89.9; 151.9; 135.5
  • A. Woodson (Kentucky) – 113.6; 115.4; 154.5; 144.5
  • J. Cutler (Vanderbilt) – 112.4; 127.7; 134.8; 126.1
  • D. Greene (Georgia) – 84.1; 137.3; 128.5; 148.4
  • C. Leak (Florida) – 132.9; 144.9; 136.5; 144.9
  • B. Croyle (Alabama) – 125.5; 118.0; 164.6; 132.8

Granted, take the sample size with a grain of salt, but I’m not seeing any sort of recognizable pattern in that data.   Some of these kids got better in their second year and some didn’t.  Some got better in their third year; some regressed.  You can see all kinds of underlying reasons in these patterns – coaching changes, offensive line turnover, injuries, etc. – that impacted the stats, but that’s the point.  Sometimes a player gets better but his surrounding cast takes a step back.

I just wouldn’t take it for granted that Stafford’s improvement this season will be minimal at best because he’s a junior.

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UPDATE: And in the “from your lips to God’s ears” department, Stafford’s set some ambitious goals for himself this season.

“I want 35 (touchdowns) and anywhere from 3,700 to 4,000 yards, about 64 percent completion percentage,” he said.

I think it’s safe to say that if he hits those targets, the Dawgnation will be partying in South Beach come early January.

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

It’s another know thy opponent post.

The Quad takes a look at #12 Auburn.  It’s well done – probably because I agree with much of what’s written, starting with this “on the one hand, on the other” overview:

In the eyes of the Countdown, this fall presents Auburn with its best chance at a national title since 2004, when the Tigers were left out of the national title picture by those always fickle B.C.S. computers. However, a few impediments stand in their way, all related. First, a pair of new coordinators; second, and in the same vein, wholesale changes on the offensive side of the ball; and third, no matter who gets the starting nod, a new, untested quarterback. While we’re making lists, two reasons why the Tigers could be able to overcome these question marks: One, Tommy Tuberville, one of the best coaches in the business; and two, it’s not as if the Auburn coaching staff has historically been the model of consistency under Tuberville – this will mark the third defensive coordinator since 2005. At 42-9 since 2004 (the fifth-best mark in the F.B.S.), Auburn has been as good as any program in the country…

And I give ‘em bonus points for this perspective on Auburn’s 2004 season.

… Hindsight is 20/20, etc.; however, the real reason for Auburn being left out in the cold was its preseason ranking, which, at No. 17, gave it too much ground to make up with voters.

The Quad sees a likely 10-2 finish, which I think would put the Tigers in the top ten at season’s end.

7 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Tommy Tuberville - Mythical National Champ

More shed-yool navel gazing

Yeah, yeah, yeah… we’ve all heard about Georgia’s schedule until we’re sick of it.  Here’s something to remember though:  who in the hell really knows how it’s gonna turn out?  Things change in college football at the drop of a hat.  Just ask Michigan.  Players get hurt or just don’t pan out.  Teams like Auburn in 2003 don’t have the mojo that the experts attributed to them before the first ball was snapped; teams like Auburn in 2004 find that lost mojo.

Certainly the task looks daunting from our preseason perspective.  But what are the odds that the schedule doesn’t wind up being as formidable as it looks from our preseason vantage point?  In other words, what’s the likelihood that any of Georgia’s opponents wind up as disappointments in ’08?  Because you know if the schedule doesn’t pan out, what is presently seen as a strength will be thrown back in Georgia’s face as a weakness.

Let’s look at each and assign a valuation to the possibility that a school doesn’t pan out as a contributor to a tough strength of schedule rating for Georgia when the season concludes.  We’ll call that the suckification factor.  A team with a high suckification factor is a team that is currently perceived as being an opponent of at least some quality but winds up the season being acknowledged as a major disappointment.  So the schools on Georgia’s schedule are being judged both on their preseason merit (oxymoron alert!) as well as the degree of probability that they won’t live up to their promise.

Here you go.

  • Georgia Southern.  Let’s face it; you can’t lose what you never had.  Suckification factor: non-existent.
  • Central Michigan.  To the extent that there’s some cachet to beating the MAC champion, I guess there’s a downside if these guys don’t live up to preseason expectations.  Suckification factor:  slight.
  • South Carolina.  Last year’s loss still gets rubbed in the Dawgs’ faces by those who argue that Georgia was overrated last season.  That being said, the ‘Cocks aren’t getting the love right now that they were receiving then, including the OBC’s.  Suckification factor:  marginal, but can’t be ignored.
  • Arizona State.  There’s a decent amount of Internet chatter that says these guys are overrated.  But ASU is getting decent love in the polls right now.  If things don’t pan out well for the Sun Devils, this is one of the schools that could really hurt people’s perception of Georgia’s schedule.  Rudee!  Rudee!  Suckification factor:  significant.
  • Alabama.  The Tide is on the fringe of the preseason top 25.  Realistically, ‘Bama is still a year away from a talent standpoint.  But it’s Nick Saban, bitches.  An early run of success and the press will push this team up fast.  If his team comes out strong, but fades down the stretch, that doesn’t help.  Suckification factor:  decent.
  • Tennessee.  Eighteenth in the polls to start seems about right to me.  As much as the Vol faithful like to argue otherwise, this team has a lot of questions surrounding it going into the season.  I don’t think they’ll all be answered favorably.  How many losses will that translate into?  Four or less, UT will still finish in the top fifteen.  If it’s more than four, these guys won’t finished ranked.  Suckification factor:  modest at best.
  • Vanderbilt.  Boy, that Bobby Johnson is one heckuva coach, isn’t he?  Lack of experience translates into lowered expectations.  Unless the Commodores go winless, there isn’t much they can do to the Dawgs’ SOS.  Suckification factor:  minimal.
  • LSU.  These guys are being underestimated because of the QB situation.  The reality is that LSU is loaded, and the schedule looks easier than last year’s.  If you’re of the opinion that losing Perrilloux trumps that, think back to some of the Tigahs’ recent starters at that position.  Outside of Miles doing something really crazy, there’s very little downside here.  Suckification factor:  minimal.
  • Florida.  Hey, it’s onwards and upwards for Meyer’s charges.  They can’t be any worse than they were last year – just ask anyone.  Ranked in the top five, there’s some room to fall if they lose more than two games.  But the voters won’t let Florida fall too much.  Four losses would still leave Florida ranked around fifteenth.  And if the Gators lose in J’ville again, it will be due to someone having suffered a key injury.  Suckification factor:  some, but not as much as we’d like.
  • Kentucky.  Having lost a ton on offense, this team is generally expected to regress this season.  Again, it’s unlikely the ‘Cats can hurt the perception of Georgia’s schedule unless the wheels come completely off the wagon.  Suckification factor:  slight.
  • Auburn.  This team starts out the year hovering around the bottom of the top ten.  It’s gotten some darkhorse national contender buzz.  A lot of pundits think Auburn will wind up playing in the SECCG.  Maybe so, but it’s also a team breaking in two new coordinators and a quarterback.  And the offensive scheme is wildly different from what was being run last season, which raises some legitimate questions about whether the personnel is suited to run it well this season.  Suckification factor: significant.
  • Georgia Tech.  It’s somewhat hard to get a handle on this team right now, but most people appear willing to give Paul Johnson some slack.  In terms of Tech’s chances to win some games, it doesn’t hurt that the perception of the ACC is down these days.  That being said, because of depth and personnel factors, this team could implode before season’s end.  If Tech only wins three games instead of the six or so expected, that could hurt.  Suckification factor:  not insignificant.

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UPDATE: Barnhart posts some more schedule-related thoughts here.  You can keep trying to push Dan LeFevour, but that’s one horrid defense.  If Georgia doesn’t beat Central Michigan by at least four TDs, something’s wrong.  (BTW, I’m glad to see that Barnhart’s blog will continue through the ’08 season, even if his journalism career at the AJ-C “changes”, as he puts it, in late September.)

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Filed under Georgia Football

Your Monday morning tidbits

Let’s jump right into it:

  • Georgia who? Chris Hatcher hasn’t begun preparing for GSU’s season opener yet.  In fact, as of August 14, 2008, he hasn’t even looked at Georgia.
  • I remember the day when Tommy Tuberville used to give advice to Mark Richt about running the ball in the SEC.  Now, “It’s tough to win just trying to play smash-mouth.” Cry me a river, pal.
  • You know that whole “focus” thing, the number two excuse as to why Georgia won’t be in the MNC mix at the end of the regular season?  Read the first Brannan Southerland quote in this David Hale post for a different perspective.  Not that Southerland would know, of course; it’s not like he’s around the team as much as your typical national college football pundit.
  • But they’re in the top one percent of the top one percent of focus in Gainesville, my friends. (h/t The Wizard of Odds)
  • Stephen Garcia continues to impress in Columbia.  Not.
  • They haven’t named the announcers for the Tech-Jacksonville State broadcast download on ESPN360.com as of yet.  Rumor has it that they’re trying to coax this big fellow out of retirement:
Danger, Paul Johnson!

Danger, Paul Johnson!

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, The Blogosphere, The Evil Genius, Tommy Tuberville - Mythical National Champ