Daily Archives: May 13, 2009

Uncanny

You know, I read this story

Though he never mentions Matthews by name, Meyer said at a recent Gator club meeting, “If you want to be critical of a player on our team or a coach on our team you can buy a ticket for seat 37F, you’re not welcome back in the football office. You’re either a Gator or you’re not a Gator.”

Does Meyer really have the right to control what former players say, especially those in the media who have a job to do? He seems to think so…

and it suddenly dawns on me that if they ever make Urban Meyer – The Movie, I know who to cast in the lead role.

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Filed under Urban Meyer Points and Stares

In Gus they trust.

I know there’s a lot of unbridled optimism on the Plains right now about Malzahn’s new, supercharged offense… and I know we heard a lot of the same stuff about Tony “Troy racked up 488 yards on Georgia” Franklin’s scheme… and I know that we’re being assured that it’ll be different this time…

but as a Georgia fan, I’ve got a responsibility to rain on their parade.  A little, anyway.

So take it away, Chris Brown.

… One brief thought on Malzahn, however. Gus’s big thing is that he believes in tempo. Of course, he hasn’t really had a chance to go breakneck speed yet at Auburn (at least by the reports of those who have seen both Tulsa, his former stop, and Auburn practice), though the offense is apparently looking much better already. Ironically, he’s improved — over both Tuberville’s prior offense and the Tuberville Franklin mash-up — by just bringing some sound, simple schemes. Sure he has a lot of window dressing, but that offense had just gotten bad. Yet, at least in year one I’ll be surprised if he works miracles.

What they did at Tulsa was wonderful, but Herb Hand — who brought the zone blocking aspect of the running game to go with Malzahn’s pace and power game schemes — was an integral part of the Tulsa attack: they were co-offensive coordinators for a reason. And though Malzahn seems reasonably committed to the running the ball, he was always a pass first guy, so we’ll just have to see how that flies without a true quarterback. And the X factor is Chizik, the head coach. Even if Malzahn’s offense is good, there are few defensive minded guys who appreciate a three-and-out (which can happen to any offense) that takes about eight seconds to occur. How long is his leash? Time will tell.

That strikes me as pretty accurate.  Auburn was a team last year that didn’t have the personnel to run the scheme.  The fact that the coaching staff couldn’t get on the same page just added to the train wreck.  So even if everyone is full of peace, love and understanding now, they still need a quarterback.

Is there a quarterback? Bueller?  Bueller?

… Chizik, who was in Robertsdale on Tuesday for the Mobile and Baldwin County Auburn Clubs’ annual scholarship dinner, said before the event that it could be late August before a starter is named. Kodi Burns and Neil Caudle got most of the reps during spring drills, but Chizik said he expects incoming freshmen Tyrik Rollison and Clint Moseley to join an ongoing competition this fall.

“The position has not been won; that’s the main point of emphasis,” Chizik said. “We’ve got some young guys who will come in and challenge for the job. Certainly the ones who have been on campus have an advantage of 15 days anyway, but the quarterback situation probably won’t be solved until right before the season starts.”

Uh, that’s “solved” in the sense that somebody has to trot out there on September 5th and take snaps from the center.  “Work in progress” might be a more accurate description.

Ironically, since he’s the new kid on the block, Chizik will have more time to allow the offense to round into shape than Tubby was granted a year ago.  The odds are he’s going to need it, although Auburn’s early schedule of four home games against two non-BCS conference schools, a diminished West Virginia team and SEC bottom dweller Mississippi State should give his team plenty of opportunity to start sorting things out at the position.

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Filed under Gene Chizik Is The Chiznit

Statistical analysis is always better when somebody else does the heavy lifting.

As I’ve said repeatedly here, I’m a bit of a lazy goat.  My intentions are well meaning, but I’ve never had a problem with somebody else actually toting the water.  So believe me when I say that I enjoyed this Michael Elkon post analyzing the last ten teams to claim a MNC on the basis of yards per play.  I thought about doing something similar, although more from a Georgia perspective, ever since I blogged about LawPundit’s college football rating system, although I never quite got around to doing the research.

But Michael’s done a better job than I would have, so it’s all good.  He makes three observations in particular that are worth your attention.

  • “The BCS may not be perfect, but it has prevented a recurrence of 1984 BYU winning a national title without playing a quality opponent.” While there are strong debates about the two teams in the BCS title game almost every year, it’s worth considering that the BCS has succeeded in making sure that the pool of teams in the hunt for the MNC are bona fide.  Perhaps that’s a factor in why it’s been a regime that’s resisted significant change in the last decade.
  • The anomaly that is Ohio State, 2002 National Champs.  I can’t find my post on that subject, but I remember running numbers a couple of years ago on the most recent national champs’ NCAA rankings for running/passing and stopping the run and the pass and Ohio State’s numbers from that season stood out like a sore thumb from its peers (in one of the defensive categories, it ranked in the 90’s nationally).  That being said, notice that OSU’s ypp differential is still better than Georgia’s from that same season.
  • I was going to post something snide about Corch Meyers’ latest grandiose pronouncementLast year’s team was “one of greatest football teams in history of the game.” – but Michael’s stats took the wind right out of my sails on that, damn him.  If the Gators’ loss to Ole Miss proves anything, it’s that with enough turnovers and poor special teams play, even a dominant team can lose.

If this stuff intrigues you, you may also want to visit Trojan Football Analysis and check out Art’s stats to win correlation for offense and defense(h/t Smart Football)

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UPDATE: I found my earlier post on the rankings of previous MNC winners.  I won’t bore you with the entire thing, just the pertinent part.

If you go to the NCAA D-1 football statistics website, here’s what you find where the MNCs for each year beginning in 2000 were ranked nationally in rushing offense and rushing defense:

  • 2000 (Oklahoma): 68 R/O; 23 R/D
  • 2001 (Miami): 21 R/O; 40 R/D
  • 2002 (OSU): 31 R/O; 3 R/D
  • 2003 (LSU): 27 R/O; 1 R/D
  • 2004 (USC): 33 R/O; 1 R/D
  • 2005 (Texas): 2 R/O; 33 R/D
  • 2006 (Florida): 38 R/O; 5 R/D

Over that seven year period, national championship teams have averaged 31st nationally in rushing offense and 15th in rushing defense. And in each of the last five years, a national champ has ranked in the top five in either rushing defense or rushing offense nationally. That looks like a pretty decent indicator to me.

By the way, the national passing rankings from that same period aren’t quite as consistent a measure as the rushing rankings are:

  • 2000 (Oklahoma): 13 P/O; 9 P/D
  • 2001 (Miami): 35 P/O; 2 P/D
  • 2002 (OSU): 92 P/O; 95 P/D
  • 2003 (LSU): 43 P/O; 18 P/D
  • 2004 (USC): 13 P/O; 34 P/D
  • 2005 (Texas): 40 P/O; 8 P/D
  • 2006 (Florida): 28 P/O; 33 P/D

Check out those ‘02 rankings. Larry Coker is probably still trying to figure out how he lost that Fiesta Bowl.

My bad – Ohio State was ranked in the 90’s nationally in both passing categories.

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Filed under Stats Geek!

It’s still not about the money.

When times are tight, that’s when you can count on creative solutions to a budget crisis, right?

The Knight Commission is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.

The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics heard all about the problems facing athletic programs in a meeting in Washington, D.C., today. This was the second public discussion in a year-long examination of the economics of big-time collegiate sports. The commission wants to find out why spending on athletics has increased while budgets have decreased, and come up with creative solutions for an unsustainable economic model.

“The struggling economy presents a prime climate for all stakeholders in college sports to take action,” said R. Gerald Turner, co-chairman of the Knight Commission and president of Southern Methodist University. Through innovative solutions, we can take measures to reign in ever-increasing athletics spending and preserve all that is good about college sports.”

Who could argue with that?  Well, other than the potential scapegoats, anyway:

Andy Geiger, former athletics director at Ohio State, Stanford and Maryland, said 50 percent of athletics spending is for coaches, staff, and scholarships – and pointed to these areas as a way to cut costs. But Geiger said significant change is unlikely until administrators address those expenditures.

Any suggestions on how to go about doing that?  Funny, but now that you mention it…

… John Colombo, University of Illinois tax law professor, explained how it would be difficult to remove tax-exempt status from “big-time college” football and basketball programs. Colombo argued, however, that Congressional action would be justified in attaching special limitations to athletics programs, such as restricting expenditures and/or mandating disclosures so that programs could continue to receive “tax-favored status.”

Colombo’s not some fringe character they trotted out for effect.  These guys are seriously looking for a way to rein in what they pay coaches.  If Congress gives them their quid, how much of a pro quo do you think they’d be willing to pony up in exchange?

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

Wednesday morning buffet

Dig in, boys and girls.

5 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Crime and Punishment, Science Marches Onward, The NCAA