Daily Archives: May 15, 2009

Stunning factoid of the day

Per the Wall Street Journal’s sports page (still have trouble getting used to that), care to guess which SEC team has the most experienced offensive line going into this season, measured by returning career starts?

Answer:  Georgia, with 99.  The next closest team in the conference is Kentucky (83).  Arkansas is last in the conference, at 43.

Given that there’s only one senior in the bunch, that number should actually rise in 2010, unless somebody leaves early for the NFL.

Barring injuries, of course.

(h/t MGoBlog)

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5 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Run ‘n’ gun

There’s a good debate going on between Jerry Hinnen, at The Joe Cribbs Car Wash, and Smart Football’s Chris Brown over Malcolm Gladwell’s article about how Davids can beat Goliaths in organized sports.  Jerry takes that as inspiration for Gus Malzahn’s offense being the catalyst for the Auburn football program’s return to glory in the SEC.  Chris, as you might guess, is somewhat skeptical of Jerry’s analysis.  You can read Jerry’s response to Chris, with all the links, here.

My question about this is whether Jerry is finding the inspiration in the right place.  Gladwell’s piece, after all, focuses on a defensive strategy, the full court press in basketball.  Malzahn is an offensive guru.

Wouldn’t a more direct analogy be this?

Paul Westhead, the head coach at Loyola Marymount University, has an unusual message for his opponents in the West Regional of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. ”We’re not upset if you get a basket,” he said. ”Just don’t take a long time to do it.”

Westhead’s unorthodox defensive strategy is designed to force the other team into playing an up-tempo, high-scoring game. So far, it has worked. Loyola, which has an enrollment of about 3,500 and is in Los Angeles about a mile from the Pacific Ocean, leads the nation in scoring, averaging 110.4 points per game. And although the Lions give up 95 a game, they went 27-3 and won 24 in a row at the end of the season, the longest current winning streak in the country.

LMU was fun to watch under Westhead.  The program was a great story with  that 1990 NCAA Tournament run when it blew out the defending national champs.  But ultimately?  Well, just go read Westhead’s resume at Wikipedia.  This is my favorite part:

… After the 1989-1990 season, Westhead left LMU for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, a position he held for two seasons. His tenure in Denver was best known for attempting to incorporate the run-and-gun offense that worked for LMU to the NBA.

However, while Denver averaged a league-best 119.9 points per game in 1990-91, it also surrendered an NBA record 130.8 points per game, including 107 points in a single half to the Phoenix Suns, which remains an NBA record. Under Westhead, the Nuggets were sometimes called the “Enver Nuggets” (as in no “D”)[citation needed]. Westhead was fired from the Nuggets after two seasons after posting a combined W/L record of 44-120.

You think that would sit well with Gene Chizik, Defensive Minded Coach?  Wouldn’t you love to hear what Pat Dye would have to say about a future sort of like that?

That’s not to say there isn’t something to Gladwell’s argument.  The question is whether Malzahn will make Auburn into a legitimate David.

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UPDATE: Brian Cook throws in his two cents here.

5 Comments

Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The Blogosphere

Mr. Gunther’s Opus

For some reason, it struck me the other day that it had been a while since I’d seen a post at one of my favorite blogs, The National Championship Issue.  It turns out that Ed Gunther hadn’t retired from the fray, but instead was working on his magnum opus, an eight part (!) post entitled The Arguments For & Against a DI-A College Football Playoff.

Nothing like being a little ambitious.

But give credit where credit’s due here – Ed does one helluva job laying out all the arguments on both sides of the fray.  In fact, I’d say that his post ought to be required reading for anyone who wants to engage in the debate.

If I had to nitpick – and since this is a blog, nitpicking comes with the territory – there are a few things I’d question in what he wrote.

  1. “If there’s one thing in this playoff issue that the vast majority of fans on both sides agree on, it’s that the BCS sucks.” I think that’s an overstatement to some extent.  I’m sure that many who favor a playoff feel passionately about replacing the BCS, but as Michael Elkon pointed out the other day, in one area at least, the BCS has been a raging success in that it’s prevented a 1984 BYU – MNC scenario from occurring again.  Are there flaws in the BCS that could stand fixing?  Sure.  But it’s still the best thing college football’s come up with to determine a #1 at the end of the year that we’ve seen.
  2. “We’ve mentioned this before, that getting rid of the rankings aren’t an option, even if a playoff is instituted.” I’m a little surprised that Ed completely dismisses a purely objective playoff comprised solely of conference champs.  To me, that’s the strongest position the pro-playoff folks can take.  It’s what I’d like to see happen.  And with all of the antitrust threats being tossed around these days, the possibility that D-1 fractures into a power conferences arrangement seems more likely than it did a couple of seasons ago.
  3. “But nobody on the pro-playoff side is saying that we need a 64 team tournament. The most they claim is a 16-team, which would take four weekends, or maybe an 8-team, which would take three weekends.” Not true.  Mike Leach argued for just that the other day.  And if you want to dismiss that because it’s Mike Leach, fine – but go check out some of the comments made at the Congressional hearings about the BCS last week.  The fact is that for those who see a playoff as a means of addressing economic fairness (whatever the hell that is) in D-1 athletics, an extended playoff is a virtual necessity to spread the wealth.

But like I said, that’s nitpicking.  There’s a lot of good stuff there.  Take some time and go through it.

6 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, The Blogosphere

Summer means fun.

You know you’ve hit the off-season doldrums when you’ve got a good old-fashioned pissing match erupting… over Jim Donnan.

I’m just as bored as the next guy, so let me add two more thoughts to the debate.

First, what really did Donnan in wasn’t his occasionally prickly personality, the record against Tech, hitching his wagon to Quincy’s star or the inevitable let down after the now infamous “I’ve been waiting” comment before the 200o season.  It was, instead, the same sin that Ray Goff committed – not hiring a first rate defensive coordinator.  That’s why I’ll always see the 1999 Auburn game as Donnan’s Waterloo.  And why I’ll always believe that hiring VanGorder was the smartest thing Mark Richt ever did.

Second, I’ll never be able to dismiss Donnan as completely as Kyle does, simply because he directed one of the iconic games of the Georgia football program.

Bite me.

Bite me.

56-49, bitches.  Thanks for that, Coach.

7 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Blogosphere

Friday morning buffet

Fresh, hot and tasty… mmmm.

  • Former Dawg great Rex Robinson has started a blog.  I just thought I’d point out in a post of his that he said this:  “Coach Richt comes from the George Bush school of loyalty, and thats not a compliment.” Political injection alert!  Go get him, guys!
  • What do you do when you’re Steve Spurrier and you’re bored?  Stir up a little trouble for Urban Meyer on the Finebaum show.  Yawn.
  • Some ACC folks think the SEC is turning into college football’s version of the American League East.  I hope that makes Tennessee the SEC’s analogue to the New York Yankees.  How would orange and white pinstripes look anyway?
  • This is rich:  a sports reporter bitching about the cost of a Coke and bag of M & Ms.  Come down from the press box and try buying concessions at a football game sometime, pal.  Five bucks for the two is almost a bargain in that setting.
  • The Pac-10 wants a TV network to call its own.  If it’s smart, it’ll give the USC Song Girls a reality show.
  • You moved me with this, man.
  • If you watched ESPN’s coverage of the recent NFL draft, trust me when I tell you that this is the greatest grading of a draft I’ve ever seen.  Mark Sanchez rooolz!
  • We’re seeing and hearing a lot of this in the wake of Delaware’s legalization of sports betting.  While I agree that fixing games is the nightmare that every organized sport has to worry about, I really do wonder how much this particular move will contribute to the problem.  Plus, there’s a little matter of hypocrisy to consider here:  can anyone tell me why injury reports are published?

10 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, College Football, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football, The Blogosphere, The Evil Genius, The NCAA