Daily Archives: October 7, 2008

Mark Bradley’s memory loss

He writes about Matthew Stafford today, and, so typically, finds it hard to boost one person without taking another down a notch.

… Remember the bit about it being a funny position? The quarterback is expected to lift the rest of his team, but it’s possible to wonder if Stafford hasn’t been dragged down by Georgia’s ongoing struggles to build an offensive line. Would Greene, who left school as the biggest collegiate winner ever, have won so often behind a collection of freshmen?

Actually, the answer to that question is yes.  Mark Bradley, meet the 2003 Georgia Bulldogs, who finished the year 11-3 and played in the SECCG.  That was accomplished despite the fact that Greene’s team wound up tenth in the SEC in rushing offense (with a mediocre 3.4 ypc which ranked last in the conference) and finished last in the SEC in sacks yielded, an incredible 47 of them.  For some perspective on that number, keep in mind that the next worst team in that category gave up eleven less sacks and almost 100 less yards in losses.

Greene’s 2003 team didn’t have a running back in the top ten in the conference in rushing; Stafford has Knowshon Moreno.  Greene’s line was recruited and coached by Neil Callaway;  Stafford has Stacey Searels coaching the big uglies.   The cupboard’s not as bare as Bradley tries to make it seem.

There’s no denying Stafford’s obvious physical talents.  And I like the way that Stafford has progressed and think he’s going to keep getting better at Georgia.  But the way Greene was able to hold the offense – and the team – together in ’03 was remarkable.  He deserves a lot more credit than Bradley is giving him here.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Because he won with Saban’s players…

Chris Low writes one of those posts where he doesn’t really argue a position, but just lets the numbers speak for themselves.  In this one, he compares the SEC careers of Urban Meyer and Les Miles.

Meyer Miles
Vs. SEC foes 20-8 22-6
Vs. Top 25 foes 11-5 16-5
Vs. Top 25 foes away from home 7-5 10-5
Vs. Top 10 foes: 6-2 6-2 8-3
Vs. Top 10 foes away from home 4-2 6-2
In postseason games (bowls and championships) 3-1 4-1
In games decided by a touchdown or less 9-5 13-4
Record at home 21-2 22-2
Record on the road 8-6 12-3
Losses to unranked teams 4 1
Top 25 finishes 3 3
Top 10 finishes 1 3

After seeing that, can someone explain why the general perception is that Meyer is a much better head coach than Miles?

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UPDATE: Bruce Feldman has this to say about the two.

… Miles is underrated and doesn’t get the respect he deserves for a couple of reasons: (1) He is quirky, shooting more from the hip than a lot of other top coaches; and (2) He took over Nick Saban’s program, and a lot of folks still believe he’s won with Saban’s players. Then again, some point out that Urban Meyer won with a starting lineup of mostly Ron Zook recruits.

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Filed under SEC Football

He looks good in blue.

Chris Low pretty much sums up why every Georgia fan should be happy David Cutcliffe took the Duke job.

… Cutcliffe never lost to Georgia in nine games as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator/play-caller (1992-98 and 2006-07). In those nine games, the Vols averaged 35.3 points and were held under four touchdowns only once.

In the five trips to Athens with Cutcliffe overseeing the offense, the Vols averaged 35.4 points. In the three trips without him, they averaged just 14 points.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Glass is Half Fulmer

LVSC Top 30 rankings, Week 7, or Vegas hates Vandy.

See any school with a 5-0 record missing from this list?

2008 Las Vegas Sports Consultants Top 30

Rank Team Rating Previous Notes
1 Oklahoma 113.5 1 No letdown for Sooners as they run it up.
2 Southern Cal 113.2 2 Made Oregon Duck for cover.
3 Missouri 110.1 3 Quick start led to solid win at Nebraska.
4 Texas 110.0 4 Longhorns handled Buffs easily.
5 Florida 109.3 5 Gators rebound from Rebel upset.
6 Penn State 108.1 6 Nothing fancy but important road win at Purdue.
7 Alabama 107.5 7 Win a toughie over Kentucky.
8 Texas Tech 107.2 9 Made it look easy over Wildcats.
9 Georgia 106.9 8 Look to get back on the beam.
10 Ohio State 106.6 10 Gritty win as Pryor grows up at Wisconsin
11 LSU 106.0 11 Heading to the swamp.
12 Brigham Young 105.6 12 Big games with Utah and TCU on the horizon.
13 California 104.9 13 Top Sun Devils and get next week off.
14 Kansas 104.4 13 Barely survive against the Cyclones.
15 Oklahoma State 103.9 16 Face stiff test at Missouri.
16 Texas Christian 103.2 17 Bounce back in a big way against Aztecs.
17 West Virginia 102.7 19 Win despite White getting banged up.
18 Utah 102.1 20 Bested Beavers in closing minutes.
19 Wisconsin 102.0 17 Another brutal Big Ten defeat.
19 Clemson 102.0 22 Freshened for trip to Wake Forest.
21 Arizona 101.9 24 Huskies no match for high flying ‘Cats offense.
22 Tulsa 101.2 24 Hurricanes catch their breath after Rice.
23 Boise State 101.1 30 Manhandled Louisiana Tech.
24 South Florida 101.0 15 Lose golden opportunity at home to Pittsburgh.
24 Auburn 101.0 20 Victimized at Vandy.
24 South Carolina 101.0 28 Post road win at ‘Ole Miss.
24 Virginia Tech 101.0 23 Very vanilla against Western Kentucky.
28 Boston College 100.9 29 Win a wild one over Wolfpack.
29 Cincinnati 100.8 26 Nice road win at Marshall.
30 Michigan State 100.5 26 Win a nail biter over Hawkeyes

The Commodores don’t even show up in LVSC’s “Next 10″ list.  But two teams that Vanderbilt beat show up at #24.  That’s cold.

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Filed under College Football

Tuesday thoughts on ol’ Rocky Top

In between reviewing the Mumme Poll e-mails, I watched a replay of the Northern Illinois-Tennessee game last night, mainly to see what the new quarterback, Nick Stephens, looked like.  His good points were that for a kid making his first start he seemed composed (of course it helps to play a mid-level MAC team out of the gate), he was able to hand off the ball without incident (more than you could say for Crompton), he spread the ball around and he was able to throw the deep ball successfully.  The downside?  While he could throw the deep ball with some accuracy, there wasn’t as much velocity as you’d like to see.  He also had a tendency to lock onto receivers, which is understandable considering his lack of experience, but which isn’t going to serve him well with SEC secondaries.

Of course the biggest problem is that UT managed only 13 points and nine first downs (!) against a MAC defense.  The offensive line didn’t do much of anything – Stephens faced a surprising amount of pressure for much of the game and the running attack produced a mere 69 yards on 32 carries.

As for the passing game, much of it is what you’d expect in this day and age for any school that doesn’t run a spread attack.  Lots of two and three step drops from the QB with quick throws with some play action mixed in.  The kind of stuff that ‘Bama ran against Georgia with great success, in other words.  Except that Stephens isn’t as experienced as Wilson and Tennessee doesn’t have Alabama’s offensive line.  If I see Georgia come out this Saturday with its DBs giving the UT receivers 8-10 yard cushions, I won’t be a happy camper.

UT’s two best players are Eric Berry and Gerald Jones.  The catch is that the Vol coaches only know how to deploy one of them successfully.  Stafford had better account for Berry on every passing play this week or he will pay at some point in time.  On the other hand, the “G-Gun” package is a waste of talent.  It’s a very good idea to get the ball in Jones’ hands early and often; it’s just that there’s very little imagination behind the way that they’re doing it with that formation.  Right now he scares me a lot more when he lines up at receiver than when he does so behind center.

Last, I leave you with these musings -

From Chance the gardener in the movie Being There:  “In a garden, growth has its season…as long as the roots are not severed, all is well, and all will be well in the garden.”

From Tennessee wide receiver Denarius Moore:  “I was telling some of the wide receivers that just consider fans like a tree,” he said. “Sometimes you’re going to kind of lose some of the leaves. Sometimes you’re going to lose some tree branches, but you’re always going to have some strong roots.”

A fark waiting to happen.

A fark waiting to happen.

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UPDATE: Say what you will, this is some genuinely bizarre stuff.  “Speak Pterodactyl”?  What is going on in Knoxville?

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Filed under The Glass is Half Fulmer

Mumme Poll, Week 6

Seven schools appeared on all fifty nine ballots cast (one person didn’t show up this week), but thanks to the top five tiebreaker, there are no ties until you get down to tenth in the voting.

Twenty two teams received votes.  Here’s how it breaks down (top five votes):

MUMME POLL – WEEK SIX RANKINGS

1.  Oklahoma (59)

2.  LSU (53)

3.  Alabama (52)

4.  Missouri (51)

5.  Texas (41)

6.  Penn State (31)

7.  Southern Cal (4)

8.  Georgia

9.  Texas Tech

T10.  BYU

T10.  Florida

12.  Ohio State

13.  Vanderbilt

14.  Utah

15.  Oklahoma State

T16.  Boise State

T16.  Virginia Tech

18.  Kansas

T19.  Georgia Tech

T19.  Illinois

T19.  Michigan State

T19.  North Carolina

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NOTES AND COMMENTS:

  • You can see where the gaps occur in the top five balloting.  As for the rest of the voting, there’s a modest drop in votes between Georgia and Texas Tech, a bigger drop from Florida/BYU to Ohio State and a big gap between Vandy and Utah.
  • The four teams tied for nineteenth each received one vote.
  • According to the information I was provided with, the vast majority of participants spent between 15 and 45 minutes putting their ballots together.
  • Alabama’s sloppy game against Kentucky lowered its standing with a number of voters.
  • Vanderbilt caused more soul searching than any other school – by far.
  • One very refreshing thing in reading everyone’s comments was noting a complete absence of angst over where teams were ranked in the preseason.
  • Most of us are Georgia fans, but we watch a lot of college football.
  • Second hardest thing voters struggled with:  the thought of putting two teams from Utah in the top twelve.
  • Most voters can’t wait for the Red River Shootout (or whatever they’re calling the Oklahoma-Texas game now).
  • Bloggers posting about their Mumme Poll votes:  Picture Me Rollin; Thinking Bulldog; The College Football Review; The Dawg-gone Blog.

From my vantage point, this looks like a successful start.  I don’t see where the results are any less credible than other polls I’ve seen – even Georgia sitting in eighth place isn’t really much of a stretch right now.  Let me hear what you think about it in the comments.

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