Steele has a post up showing the NCAA rankings for teams based on opponents’ won-loss totals. The NCAA doesn’t account for schedule strength in these calculations, so they should be taken with a grain of salt, but, still, ranked at #1, projected to play more teams with winning records (10) than any other school in the country, ladies and gentlemen, your Georgia Bulldogs.
Monthly Archives: October 2008
In case you haven’t noticed, Michigan isn’t enjoying a very good season in the first year of Rich Rodriguez’ regime. In response to a reader’s query about how to deal with certain failings of the Wolverine offense, MGoBlog’s Brian Cook offers some succinct advice:
Bet on Michigan’s opponent. This is called a “hedge,” and works great in the financial industry!
That made me laugh. I mean, I’m not floating in the same emotional boat right now, but if that ever were to come to pass, I’ll wish I had said that.
Mark Weiszer has the first of what will no doubt be many articles illustrating how the Celebration really isn’t on the collective minds of Gator Nation, but what caught my eye was a quote from Urban Meyer that seems to equate the place where his team plays with, um, Earth.
The whole Earth.
But [Meyer] said on Sunday: “If someone says this was the focus of the offseason, then they’re from a different planet than Gainesville, Fla.”
Hokay, dude, consider me a blogger from another planet.
I was driving home yesterday listening to Herbstreit on Belue-Kincaid and for some reason it suddenly dawned on me that I had left out a big factor in LSU’s apparent decline this season: turnover margin.
Last year, LSU had one of those off the chart type seasons, finishing +20 in turnover margin (1.43 per game). So far this year, the Tigers are a not so scintillating -5 (-0.71 per game). That’s a negative swing of over two turnovers a game. No wonder they don’t look so dominant this time around.
Some other noteworthy points about this:
- Florida’s enjoying the biggest increase in turnover margin ratio in the SEC from last year to this year. The Gators, currently +10, are on pace to match LSU’s total from last year, which would be outstanding. They’ve improved more than a turnover a game from last year’s average. No other school in the conference has increased its ratio that much.
- Kentucky and Vanderbilt have also improved significantly from 2007, although not at Florida’s pace. Vandy’s positive turnover margin has been slowly declining of late, which no doubt has contributed to its losing streak.
- While no school in the SEC has dropped as precipitously as LSU in this statistical category, other teams that have fallen significantly are Georgia (second in the conference last year, currently sixth) and Arkansas, which has gone from +4 (0.31 per game) to -8 (-1 per game).
- And a special shout out goes to South Carolina. The ‘Cocks were eleventh in the conference in 2007, with a -0.58 per game average. They’ve managed to drop to twelfth this season, almost doubling their mark to a -1.12 average per game. That’s your Vandy loss right there.
- Penn State
BEST OF THE REST
- Boise State
- Oklahoma State
- Southern California
- Texas Tech
- The only tough call for me was at #12. In the end, I like Boise’s win against Oregon over anything Ohio State’s done so far.
- Florida’s resume strikes me as a tiny bit better than Georgia’s and Southern Cal’s right now. The Gators’ loss was due to sloppiness with the ball; the Dawgs and Trojans simply got dominated, at least for a half, in their losses. That, of course, will not matter after Saturday, I hope.
- LSU, you’re dead to me now.
- I don’t think that Texas Tech’s win over Kansas was as big as a lot of folks make out – the Jayhawk defense looked flat out awful – but I don’t feel bad about including Leach’s crew in the dirty dozen this week. Now if they beat Texas, that will make things interesting composing a ballot next week.
- No school from the ACC or the Big East even crossed my mind in putting this ballot together.
Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News looks up and notices, hey, that Tuberville fella sure burns through some coordinators, doesn’t he?
Along with an 84-37 record in 10 years at Auburn, Tommy Tuberville carries a dubious distinction: Most coordinators by one Division I-A coach in the past decade.
Tuberville stands at 10 coordinators since 1999 – five on offense and five on defense. Following the midseason firing of Tony Franklin, Tuberville’s next offensive coordinator will put Auburn at 11 total coordinators.
Note to Solomon: it’s only dubious if that’s the reason you don’t win. Yeah, Franklin was a bad choice this time and Tubby’s paying the price for it, but if you’ve an Auburn fan this year, the lack of talent at quarterback and wide receiver should be a much bigger concern.
(h/t The Wizard of Odds)
Comes via Brett Edgerton of ESPN.com:
Didn’t a combined 90 points in that Georgia-LSU game look a little strange for a Southeastern Conference matchup? Well, it was. Not only had no game involving an SEC team this season totaled more than 72 points, but the shootout in Baton Rouge was only the fifth conference game in the 76-year history of the SEC — and first since 1995 — to get to 90 points in regulation.
An impartial observer would have to say that it’s shaping up to be a down year in the Southeastern Conference. The conference looked much stronger three weeks ago, but in that time it’s become apparent that several teams aren’t going to hold up and have credible years. In fact, there is some question right now as to whether the SEC will be able to field a full contingent of bowl eligible teams.
Right now, here’s how the conference breaks down for me:
- Alabama (5-0 SEC; 8-0 overall). The one big, pleasant surprise in the conference this season. Very well coached, Alabama is probably a year ahead of schedule in getting back to being a conference power. Not flashy at all, this is a team that plays to its strengths and weaknesses better than any school in the SEC. The remaining schedule is a dream. It would take a plane crash for the Tide not to appear in Atlanta.
- Florida (4-1 SEC; 6-1 overall). First in the conference in scoring offense. First in the conference in scoring defense. Dynamic special teams. But for some unfortunate turnovers against Ole Miss, the Gators would probably be the #1 team in the nation right now. The only caveat about the Gators is that they really haven’t been tested defensively so far. They’ve faced the #s 34, 48, 77, 82, 88, 100 and 105 nationally ranked schools in rushing offense. And they’ve only played one team to date which returned a starting quarterback from the season before – Arkansas’ Casey Dick. That’s not to say they’re not a good defensive team, but it’s something we’ll know a lot more about after this week.
- Georgia (4-1 SEC; 7-1 overall). Given the injuries, Mark Richt is doing as good a coaching job this year as he did in 2003. Similarly to that year, he’s riding three players to carry the team, although this time they’re on offense. If the Dawgs can survive Jacksonville, the rest of the schedule is doable – having that extra week to prepare for Georgia Tech’s offense is a big help.
GOOD, BUT NOT ELITE
- LSU (3-2 SEC; 5-2 overall). Hmmm… maybe Miles did win with Saban’s players. Florida and Georgia have exposed some weaknesses with the Tigers. The secondary and the wide receiving corps aren’t as dominant as in years past and it’s obvious that they’ve taken a step back at quarterback. Still, the talent at running back and in both lines is as good as ever and leaves these guys a step above every one else in the SEC besides the top three. I suspect LSU is going to give Alabama a better game than most expect because of that.
THE MEDIOCRE MIDDLE
- Vanderbilt (3-2 SEC; 5-3 overall). Ask me again in three weeks. The word is out on how to play this team: don’t give them any opportunities to take advantage of. The Commodores are last in the conference in total offense and tenth in total defense. Over the course of a season, that’s not a winning formula. Getting bowl eligible isn’t an impossible task with Kentucky and Tennessee left on the schedule, but it won’t be easy, either.
- South Carolina (2-3 SEC; 5-3 overall). Same song, different verse. This may be Spurrier’s last opportunity to beat Fulmer. The remaining schedule looks like it could yield as many as three wins, but in the end, really, what difference does it make?
- Mississippi (2-3 SEC; 4-4 overall). Turnovers have been the story with this team. They got the Rebels a huge upset win in the Swamp, but they cost them a couple of games as well. Because of their unpredictablity, it’s hard to handicap the remaining schedule, but it looks like there’s a decent chance for six wins. At least they have a pulse right now, which is more than you can say about the next school.
- Auburn (2-3 SEC; 4-4 overall). The biggest disappointment in the SEC this year, this team has fallen from being a darkhorse national title contender to most likely needing to beat Mississippi to avoid a losing record. The offense has been a black hole all year, but what really has to concern Tuberville right now is the collapse of the defense in the West Virginia game. The only ray of hope is that the Tigers have been competitive in all of their losses, leading at the half in all of those games. Of course, they did lose all four.
- Kentucky (1-3 SEC; 5-3 overall). Mediocre teams don’t lose 63-5 in a game where the score didn’t indicate how uncompetitive the ‘Cats really were. To be fair, injuries have decimated a team that wasn’t that strong to begin with. They’ve got their share of games left to become bowl eligible, but if they don’t play any better than they did last Saturday, they won’t make it.
- Tennessee (1-4 SEC; 3-5 overall). On paper, maybe it’s hard to believe the Vols reside here, but if you’ve seen them play, it’s deserved. The lack of elite talent on offense is shocking. The good news is that three of the last four teams they play are just as bad on that side of the ball. Who would have thought at the beginning of the year that both teams might have bowl eligibility on the line when UT plays Vandy?
- Mississippi State (1-4 SEC; 3-5 overall). Again, I have to ask: how does Woody McCorvey have a job? This is simply an awful offensive team. The difference between this year and last is that MSU isn’t having those games where they were able to take advantage of turnovers to pull off a couple of upsets. Bowl eligibility is doubtful at best.
- Arkansas (1-4 SEC; 3-5 overall). The Hogs are starting to show some signs of life over their past three games. It would be nice for the conference’s reputation if they could take care of business against Tulsa. The other three remaining games on the schedule most likely break 1-2 for Arky; if things came out 5-6, given preseason expectations for this team, that’s not a bad year.
Once more, let’s take a look at how Georgia is faring in certain statistical categories in which it excelled in each of those seasons in which it played in the SECCG under Richt (’02, ’03 ’04 and ’05). Those are as follows:
- Hold opponents under 17 points per game.
- Finish at least +8 in turnover margin.
- Average better than 380 yards per game on offense.
- Finish in the top five in total defensive yardage.
- Finish in the top three in first downs.
- Finish no worse than third in passing yardage.
- Finish at least third in sacks.
And here’s how things stand after week nine for Georgia in the SEC statistical rankings.
- Defensive scoring: 20.2 ppg
- Turnover margin: +3 (.38 pg)
- Total offense: 431.2 ypg
- Total defense: 6th (298.1 ypg)
- First downs: 1st (21.8 pg)
- Passing offense: 1st (258.8 ypg)
- Sacks by: 7th (15)
Garbage time or not, LSU managed to wound those defensive numbers quite a bit. On the other hand, the Dawgs remain solid on the offensive front and managed to move the turnover margin number in the right direction.
Florida isn’t likely to help improve the defensive numbers, but after that Georgia has Kentucky, Auburn and Georgia Tech left on the regular season slate. None of those schools is an offensive powerhouse right now.