Monthly Archives: May 2009

One more thought on the Coaches’ Poll revision, and a shameless plug

It’s not the homer voting that’s likely to be abused with the anonymous balloting, it’s the opposite.  Just ask the OBC.

… As for Spurrier, the former Florida coach recalled the 1995 season when one voter dropped the Gators to 13th on his final ballot after Nebraska beat Florida 62-24 in the Fiesta Bowl for the national championship.

That allowed Tennessee to finish ahead of Florida at No. 2 in the final poll, despite the fact the Vols had lost to Florida 62-37 that season.

“Yeah, I don’t know who that (voter) was,” Spurrier said. “Tennessee snuck in second, didn’t they, in one poll?”

What a coincidence.

Anyway, honorable outliers like Mark Richt aside, the appearance of conflicts of interest are going to plague the CP’s perception by the public.  Which is why the AFCA ought to ditch the current format and go in another direction.

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Filed under College Football

Kiffin watch: I just don’t get it.

Today, I’ve got a non-snarky post about Tennessee and Lane Kiffin – no nicknames, just a few sincere questions.

I keep reading quotes like these -

From Andy Staples:

Without playing a down, Kiffin has made Tennessee the most talked-about program in the country. For a guy who must scour the country to populate a program to compete with the juggernauts at Alabama, Florida, Georgia and LSU, publicity is crucial.

And from Dennis Dodd:

“He’s playing you guys perfect,” Tennessee hoops coach Bruce Pearl said of Kiffin.

Pearl is the guy who advised Kiffin that it’s good to be hated. That means you’re doing something right in the SEC.

“My goal was to be the least popular coach in the SEC in a year,” Pearl said. “He managed to do it in a week.”

- and I have to confess that I feel like I’m missing something here.  What is it about the Tennessee program that requires its head coach to behave in the way that Kiffin has in order to succeed?  Or is this simply an exercise in after the fact justification?

I mean, is this really what Mike Hamilton had in mind when he made the hire?

… But Kiffin understands he’s essentially in the entertainment business. Like the WWE wrestler who realizes he’ll make a bigger splash as a heel than as a babyface, Kiffin considers his words and their consequences to be occupational hazards.

“Do I love everything that I had to do to get us to this point? No. I don’t,” he said. “But my job is not to love everything that I do. My job is to do the best thing for our university and the best thing for our people.”

If Kiffin’s telling the truth there – and who knows at this point, given the “gas pumping” and Pahokee fiascoes – that comes across as incredibly cynical.  If he wins (games, not recruiting rankings), no doubt Vol fans will be thrilled, but what will they be left with if he doesn’t grab a few titles?

It’s not just this scorched earth approach to achieving notoriety, but also that whole thing about promoting the program as an NFL pipeline that strikes me as questionable.  It all seems calculated to devalue a justifiably proud program’s tradition.

I know, I know, I’m coming at this from the perspective of an outsider who’s a fan of a rival program, so my opinion doesn’t mean much.  But there’s one thing I keep wondering.  If this is such a great approach to resurrecting a national powerhouse, how come the first guy to think of it is a 33-year old whose prior stop as a head coach was a miserable failure?

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Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin

Out of the coaching clinic pan, into the fire?

Meet Mark Richt and Urban Meyer, lobbyists.

… Georgia is pushing for a change in a Southeastern Conference regulation that restricts assistant football coaches from attending coaching clinics in their home states unless the coach is a speaker. Georgia Tech isn’t prohibited from attending such clinics because the Atlantic Coast Conference doesn’t have a similar rule.

“Any time there’s a function, especially a gathering of high school coaches, we want the same access of everybody else in the country and everybody else in our state, especially,” Richt said Tuesday at the league’s spring meeting. “We don’t want to have a function going on in our state and our rivals can go and we can’t. That’s not good at all. That doesn’t help the Southeastern Conference. It doesn’t help Georgia.”

Florida coach Urban Meyer has the same issue with the ACC’s Florida State.

“You hate to have an ACC school get there and an SEC school can’t,” Meyer said.

Doc Saturday looks at the recruiting ratings and finds the whole effort worthy of mockery

I’d hate to see what the numbers would look like if the SEC — and Georgia, in particular — was actually on equal footing in this thing.

… but in Richt’s defense, I think he’s motivated by something more mundane than the rankings.  To Paul Johnson’s credit, he’s gotten far more aggressive with regard to in state recruiting that the Chanster ever was.  Richt seems concerned – and maybe a little irritated – about having to explain over and over again to high school coaches about an arcane conference rule that keeps his guys away.

“It happens enough to where it could be an issue,” Richt said. “All the high school coaches, they don’t know our rules and they don’t probably care about our rules. All they know is they go to a function and everybody in the ACC is there. Georgia Tech is there and Georgia’s not. That’s not a good thing.”

Bruce Feldman touches on the subject (although he provides contrary information as to the ACC’s position) as it relates to something UCLA’s coaching staff is doing, and notes a reason for the prohibition:

… One of the biggest challenges for Rick Neuheisel is getting more Los Angeles kids interested in attending UCLA. This past weekend, the Bruins took a big step in that direction. James Washington, a former UCLA great at safety and two-time Super Bowl winner with Dallas, staged a free football camp for more than 500 Southern California kids on Saturday at Los Angeles Southwest College. Neuheisel and his staff coached the four-hour Back to Basics clinic, now in its third year and operated by Washington’s Shelter 37 foundation, Brian Dohn reports:

“For UCLA, most of the kids from our area don’t know anything about them, unless you see them on TV,” said Henry Washington, who coached James Washington at Los Angeles Jordan High. “This is huge for the kids to come out here and rub elbows with UCLA’s coaching staff. Rick Neuheisel, I really applaud him for bringing all of his fellows out here.

“Our inner-city kids, when it comes to UCLA, they just know nothing about them. [USC coach] Pete Carroll does a great job in the inner city. Any top inner city really leans toward USC.”

Great idea, right? No doubt, but don’t get hung up wondering whether your favorite school could stage similar camps. It might be against your conference’s rules. The SEC and ACC do not allow such off-campus camps because, as one school official explained, it would prompt every member school to scramble and set up its own roving camps just so it could recruit kids. These conferences are scared of that.

I wonder if Richt and Meyer have considered that.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

Thursday morning buffet

Grab a plate before the line gets too long.

  • The Independence Bowl, once sponsored by a yard tool known as a “Weed Eater”, now tries its luck being sponsored by a multi-vitamin.  Glamor resides in Shreveport, Louisiana.
  • And from the same article, we learn that Junior can’t count:  “Three of them [SEC coaches] have won national championships.” Actually, it’s four, but that’s so in the past, it really doesn’t matter now.
  • Mike Slive threatens to fine SEC coaches who won’t “play nice”.
  • Florida 51, Tennessee 6.  You heard it here first.
  • Oh, and in case you were wondering, Tennessee-Florida will be CBS’ SEC TV opener.  Big surprise, there.
  • Mark Richt, dean of SEC coaches.
  • Anybody looking for a contemporary in the Greater Chicago area?  Bueller?  Bueller?

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Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, SEC Football, Uncategorized

Where’s the outrage?

So, yeah, the American Football Coaches Association has announced with great fanfare today that it’s making some changes to the Coaches’ Poll, most notably this:

Do not release the individual coach’s ‘final end of the [regular] season’ ballot. Gallup recommended the voting process remain confidential. Historically, until four years ago, the AFCA kept the ballot confidential.  (The AFCA does not restrict a coach from releasing his ballot).

The AFCA Board decided to delay the implementation of the confidential ballot for one year, until the 2010 season, to coincide with the current BCS bowl cycle.

I’m trying to work up the appropriate level of outrage over this, but I’m having trouble getting there.  Certainly, it’s a tone deaf decision in terms of public perception, but it’s not as if the coaches haven’t been above making biased voting decisions during the period when the final regular season poll ballots have been released.  None of the remaining regular season ballots were released, either.  The decision will deprive me of an annual blog post where I get to mock some of the voting, so I guess there’s that to tick me off.

That’s not to say that AFCA’s claim that this will improve the Coaches’ Poll isn’t total BS, because it is.

There is an interesting part to the press release, though.  It involves two recommendations that the folks at Gallup made that aren’t being implemented, naturally.

•    Reduce to 10 or 15 the number of teams ranked.

•    Evaluate with other shareholders in college football the value of a preseason poll.

I find those to be excellent suggestions that would improve the quality of the poll.  As we’ve learned here with the Mumme Poll voting, it’s much easier to evaluate 10-15 schools than it is 25 – and we’re not coaches who likely don’t have the time to spend evaluating that many programs every week.  And preseason polls are at best worthless and at worst a contributor to stacking the deck against schools who start out ranked lower than they should, based on their play.

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Filed under College Football

Other schools’ money question

How are you going to get the BCS and non-BCS conferences to agree to share revenues more equitably, when all of the BCS conferences can’t even agree to revenue share amongst themselves?

As I like to say, it’s so easy.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

Knowing your audience

Let’s give it up for Tennessee associate athletic director Bud Ford, who, in defending the need for printed media guides in the current era of cost cutting, had this to say:

“I realize there is money to be saved, but in reality, you’re still reading the newspaper when you go to the bathroom,” he said. “You don’t take a zip drive. I think people physically want an item in their hands, in their library or at their desk that they can quickly grab if they need to answer a question.”

Besides, you can’t wipe your ass with a zip drive when you run out of toilet paper in your outhouse.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Science Marches Onward

A little gratitude, a little hero worship

At the risk of sounding like a complete and utter dork, I found this post at Rex Robinson’s blog really neat.

First off, from Robinson’s standpoint, how great is it to (1) have the opportunity to nail a game winner on the road with just a few seconds left; (2) pull it off; (3) find out subsequently that the play is the centerpiece of one of Munson’s iconic game calls and (4) get to sit down with Munson and talk about the whole thing?

And for Larry, it’s got to be gratifying to hear the appreciation from a former player like Robinson for helping to make the moment what it was and will always be.

As I’ve said before, I’d followed Georgia football before, but that game was what really hooked me on the program.  I wasn’t even at the game – I was standing in front of a radio in somebody’s kitchen during a party with some friends listening to Munson make that fourth quarter almost apocalyptic.  You felt like the fate of the universe was being decided as Larry agonized over the clock.  And then came the topper, that cathartic “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!” call.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Anyway, read the post.  And throw a little thanks Messrs. Robinson’s and Munson’s way.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Scheme über alles.

If Heisman Pundit were a Vegas book, he’d be overwhelmed with action about now.

At Auburn, Malzahn will have a bit more talent at his disposal.  Heading into the fall, both Neil Caudle and Kodi Burns have a shot to be the quarterback.  If history is any guide, one of these guys will probably lead the SEC in passing in 2009.

Oy.

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Filed under The Blogosphere

Everybody’s a comedian…

at the SEC Spring Meetings.

Take the Nuttster, for example.

Ole Miss’ Houston Nutt joked that he was going to get to the meeting room early “to get a good seat.”

Or Bobby Petrino.  (Bobby Petrino has a sense of humor?  Who knew?)

“I’ve laughed about it, it has put a smile on my face,” said Petrino, who was on the staff with Kiffin with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL. “Maybe if we want to quit talking about it, those guys (Meyer and Kiffin) can go jump in that Ultimate Fighting ring. That would sell some tickets.”

On the other hand, this sounds kinda awkward.

… As the coaches were filtering out of their meeting room and waiting for an elevator, a reporter informed Spurrier that Kiffin, albeit jokingly, had said earlier in the day that he never got an apology from Spurrier about questioning whether Kiffin had taken the recruiting test.

Spurrier sighed, slumped his shoulders and then wheeled around toward Kiffin, who was standing about five feet away waiting on the same elevator.

“I didn’t accuse you of cheating,” said an animated Spurrier, motioning toward Kiffin, who stood there with his face reddening by the second.

“What I said was, ‘Was it permissible to call recruits before you were announced head coach and had taken the (recruiting) test?’ Now, you took the test online, and I didn’t even know you could do that. I thought you had to take the test on campus … and then start calling (recruits).”

Yeah, that meeting today with Slive and the coaches ought to be a real hoot.  I bet Junior sits in the back of the room.

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Filed under SEC Football