Daily Archives: November 12, 2008

John Feinstein still has his BCS panties in a wad.

In light of the new BCS contract negotiations, this John Feinstein piece (h/t EDSBS) manages to impress with both its cluelessness and its timeliness. That’s tough act to pull off, but as this passage shows, Feinstein’s up to the task.

… But the others [ed. - BCS conference commissioners besides Delany] don’t have that excuse. They need to get together, go to the presidents and say, “Enough. The BCS needs to go away before another TV contract is signed. Here is our playoff plan; here is how you will make more money with a playoff system.”

That will get the presidents’ attention. It will get them moving. It will end the pox that is the BCS…

Oops!  Looks like the train’s already left the station on that one, dude.  You can always recycle the column in a few years…

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles

Inside the numbers: first look at Georgia-Auburn

I still stand by my general statement that the rest of Georgia’s season will be defined by whether the offense shows up to play for each game.  If it does, I don’t think either Auburn or Tech has enough firepower on offense to keep up with Stafford, Moreno and the receivers.

That being said, I thought I’d peruse the current SEC stats to see if they shed any further light on what we might expect on the Plains this Saturday.

What Auburn does well – honestly, not much that really jumps out at you.

  • fourth in scoring defense
  • fourth in pass defense
  • first in kickoff returns (gah!)
  • first in net punting
  • fourth in sacks
  • second in opponent third down conversions
  • third in red zone defense

And, remember, on that third down conversion thing, at one point in time the Tigers led the country with some obscene percentage.  They’re at almost 28% now, which is still very good, but clearly the trend is running against that of late.

What Auburn does poorly – same deal, not that much jumps out here, either.

  • tenth in scoring offense
  • ninth in rushing defense
  • ninth in passing offense (Tony Franklin, we hardly knew ye)
  • ninth in field goals
  • ninth in third down conversions
  • ninth in turnover margin
  • last in red zone offense

When you look at Auburn’s stats as a whole, they scream mediocrity.  It’s no surprise that the Tigers are 5-5 right now.  But you know what?  The SEC team closest to Auburn’s statistical picture is Kentucky (although Sagarin ranks UK’s strength of schedule as somewhat stronger than Auburn’s), and we saw how well that worked out last weekend.

Georgia should be able to move the ball on these guys and I’d look for Moreno to do well against that run defense.  Auburn obviously is not a particularly strong offensive team and so presents an opportunity for the Georgia defense to begin to get its bearings again.  Auburn gets bogged down in the red zone more frequently than does Georgia and its field goal percentage is also worse, so expect a healthy dose of bend but don’t break in the defensive scheme from Martinez.  As far as special teams, there’s enough there to make me a little nervous, particularly with regard to kickoff returns.

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Filed under Georgia Football

2008 Las Vegas Sports Consultants Top 30, Week 11

I never thought I’d see the day, but Southern Cal no longer graces the top of the money guys’ power rankings.

Rank Team Rating Previous Notes
1 Florida 113.5 2 The Gators look impressive.
2 Southern Cal 113.1 1 Crept by Cal in low scoring affair.
3 Oklahoma 112.6 3 Showed Texas A&M no mercy.
4 Texas 111.8 3 Baylor no match for Longhorns.
5 Texas Tech 110.9 6 No letdown against Cowboys.
6 Penn State 109.4 5 Cough up title hopes late at Iowa.
7 Alabama 108.0 7 Created turnovers to survive at LSU.
8 Missouri 107.2 8 Easily handled Kansas State.
9 Georgia 106.0 10 Worked hard for win at Kentucky.
10 Oklahoma State 105.8 9 Found out Red Raiders are for real.
11 Ohio State 105.7 11 Buckeyes buried Northwestern.
12 LSU 104.1 12 Heartbreaking loss to ‘Bama.
13 California 103.6 14 Gave USC a run for its money.
14 Utah 103.4 18 Utes know how to win close games.
15 Texas Christian 103.1 13 Devastating loss at Utah.
16 Boise State 102.9 18 Broncos cruise by Utah State.
17 Arizona 102.7 17 Heading up North to face the Ducks.
18 South Carolina 102.5 22 Spurrier heading to the Swamp.
19 Oregon 102.3 20 Held off Stanford.
20 Florida State 102.1 23 Clobbered Clemson.
21 West Virginia 101.9 15 Tough OT loss to Cincinnati.
22 Oregon State 101.8 24 Host Cal this week.
23 North Carolina 101.6 25 Solid victory over Georgia Tech.
24 Brigham Young 101.3 21 Pay a visit to Air Force.
25 Michigan State 100.8 28 No problem with Purdue.
26 Cincinnati 100.7 26 Momentum building win over WVU.
27 Iowa 100.5 NR Big win over Nittany Lions.
27 Pittsburgh 100.5 29 Manhandled Louisville.
29 Kansas 100.4 16 Upset at Nebraska.
30 Tulsa 99.8 NR Move up while idle.

Texas Tech and Alabama sure aren’t getting the love, are they?  And LSU, which seemed underrated by Vegas earlier in the season, now seems to be locked into the #12 slot no matter how many interceptions Jarrett Lee may throw.  They like their Gamecocks, too.

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Filed under College Football

And the bathroom lines were short, too.

Proving once again that you can find a silver lining in the darkest cloud, The Wizard of Odds shares this factoid with us:

… Last but not least, some good news for Volunteer fans. The shortest game of the week was Wyoming at Tennessee.

Real short, like in 2:38 short.  Although it probably seemed like an eternity to Fulmer in the fourth quarter.

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Filed under The Glass is Half Fulmer

College football fans hate the BCS so much…

that ESPN’s reported to have thrown down a four-year, $500 million offer for the whole shooting match after the Fox contract expires in 2010.  (h/t The Wizard of Odds) That’s a mere 50% increase over what Fox currently pays for the right to promote Jumpers during a craptastically broadcast game.

Before you begin wildly celebrating the possibility that robot graphics may soon become a relic of the BCS’ past, three sobering points to consider:

  • Fox has a right of first refusal that runs for approximately another week, so it’s possible that it could elect to pay more for what it’s currently got, which I suppose wouldn’t mean fewer minutes devoted to advertising, would it?  Naaaah.
  • The World Wide Leader would pull all of the BCS games, including the Rose Bowl, off of over-the-air broadcast and onto cable.
  • It would also put off the possibility of a D-1 football playoff until after the 2015 season.  (That’s not a drawback to some, of course.)

Doc Saturday, who’s a playoff proponent (albeit a level headed one) sees a different drawback.

… From a pro-playoff perspective, though, the real consequence of a ridiculously lucrative deal between the BCS and the Worldwide Leader is the potential for the playoff argument to disappear altogether from the discourse of the sport’s most visible, agenda-setting media giant. With no major corporate stake in the Series or the legitimacy of The National Championship Game as an actual championship game, playoff talk gets bandied about pretty regularly on ESPN’s various outlets. It comes up on GameDay and studio segments with Rece, Lou and Mark; Kirk Herbstreit has gone out of his way for years to argue on-air for a “Plus One,” the bridge to a playoff (or a mini-playoff in itself, depending on your definition of “Plus One”) in a less revolutionary guise. Even if it comes out in half-baked form, the concept of a playoff still exists in the mainstream discourse for the average fan who tunes in to College Football Live or GameDay Final, or to any random game wherein Chris Spielman or Andre Ware or somebody might bring it up. Online, Pat Forde was setting up hypothetical brackets just last week.

But corporations are usually loathe to allow employees to pull the legs from underneath a $500 million investment. My concern as playoff advocate is that the Worldwide Leader — which really is that, in terms of influence and agenda-setting — will start to look like a more slickly-produced, less obvious version of the shameless BCS home page

I dunno… giving Herbie and Mark May one less hypothetical thing to whine about strikes me as more of a feature than a bug, but what do I know?

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, It's Just Bidness, The Blogosphere