Monthly Archives: July 2009

Bret Bielema’s false bravado

Bret Bielema thinks that when it comes to scheduling a quality non-conference opponent, Wisconsin is too pretty for its own good.

Bret Bielema believes one of the factors preventing the University of Wisconsin from playing a marquee nonconference opponent during the regular season is the Badgers’ home record. Bielema reminded reporters Monday during the first day of the Big Ten Conference preseason football meetings that UW is a combined 30-3 at home over the last five seasons.

“That really becomes evident when we try to schedule nonconference opponents and we try to go after a certain caliber of opponents,” Bielema, 28-11 in three seasons as UW’s head coach, said of the Badgers’ home record since 2004. “In the beginning they start to get intrigued and they are interested in coming.

“But when we start to talk about home-and-home . . . all of a sudden it’s not as good a deal as they thought.”

So exactly which schools outside the Big Ten has Wisconsin built that intimidating record against?  Here’s a list of the non-conference opponents UW has hosted in the past five seasons:  Central Florida, UNLV, Bowling Green, Temple, Bowling Green, Western Illinois, San Diego State, Buffalo, Washington State, The Citadel, Northern Illinois, Akron, Marshall and Cal Poly.  The record against that murderers’ row (only one BCS-conference school)?  14-0.

I am curious which schools Bielema is referring to as being scared off.  All I know is that were I the head coach or athletic director at a competent BCS-conference school, Wisky’s last home effort against a non-conference opponent wouldn’t exactly have me running for the hills.

By the way, it’s not totally on point, but Steele ranks Wisconsin’s home winning percentage for the decade as only 33rd best in the nation over that time.

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Filed under Big Ten Football, Blowing Smoke

Steele’s preseason strength of schedule rankings

He’s posted them over at the Orlando Sentinel’s college football blog.  I prefer his methodology to that of the NCAA’s, which merely ranks opponents according to their won-loss records for the prior season.  As Steele notes,

… in my toughest schedule ranking LSU, which was 8-5 last year and is a Top 10 team, is graded by their 2009 power rating and not last year’s 8-5 record. Using the NCAA method a team like Utah that was 13-0 last year but has just 12 returning starters is graded as a much tougher opponent due to last year’s record. Also a IAA (or FCS) team with a winning record from last year is graded to be a much tougher opponent than a team such as Illinois which was 5-7 last year, but is a team I think will be in a Jan bowl. Also Michigan is a legitimate bowl squad this year but you only get credit for playing a weak 3-9 team using last year’s record.

Anyway, here’s how the SEC schools show in his rankings:

  • South Carolina – 1
  • Mississippi State – 4
  • Arkansas – 6
  • Georgia – 7
  • Tennessee – 9
  • Auburn – 15
  • LSU – 21
  • Vanderbilt – 23
  • Florida  – 34
  • Kentucky – 52
  • Alabama – 68
  • Mississippi – 77

Mississippi is getting a lot of slack for its schedule – not without reason, mind you – but it looks like if Alabama can get past its opener with Virginia Tech, Saban’s crew should have some pretty smooth sailing too.

On the other hand, all three of the new coaches seem to have choppy waters to handle.  As do Spurrier and Petrino.

It’s all worth factoring into your assessments of how the conference season will play out in 2009.

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Filed under Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football

Wednesday morning buffet

Line up, grab a plate… you know the drill.

  • It sounds like Mark Richt’s been getting in touch with his inner couch potato this summer.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
  • Chris at Smart Football ponders life, football and the South.  I’m not sure I agree with everything in his post (in fact, I know I don’t), but it’s definitely an intriguing read.
  • It’s hard to argue with this guy.
  • “You have to spend money to make money. Nowhere is that adage more relevant than in Tennessee football recruiting.” Did I miss something about Fulmer’s last four years?
  • Gene Chizik, gone but not forgotten at Iowa State.  Hope he never needs a reference from his former charges there.
  • Scheduling has been the biggest knock on the nonautomatic-qualifying conferences. Either the nonconference schedule is so difficult that it can’t get what has become a mandatory undefeated season for BCS bowl participation…” Pardon me, but isn’t that the whole freakin’ point in the first place?
  • Methinks Sam Bradford doth protest too much.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Gene Chizik Is The Chiznit, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, The Blogosphere, Tim Tebow: Rock Star

Knowshon Moreno’s final legacy?

I presume most of you have seen the write ups of last night’s meeting of the Greater Atlanta Bulldog Club in the AJ-C and AB-H.  The quote of Mark Richt’s that seems to have gotten the most attention is this one:

“We have declared that every skill guy we have, not counting quarterbacks, will play,” Bulldogs coach Mark Richt told an audience of about 1,000 at the Greater Atlanta Bulldog Club Monday night at the Cobb Galleria.

That means freshman tailback Washaun Ealey will be thrown into the mix even with four other tailbacks on scholarship.

“This year it’s like ‘We’re going to play them,’ ” Richt said. “Get them ready for special teams. Get them ready for scrimmage downs.”

And Richt went on after the meeting to let the reporters know that he’s defining “skill guy” broadly.

… Richt said in an interview after the event, that he’s including defensive backs and linebackers as well – that would include defensive backs Branden Smith, Jordan Love and Shawn Williams and linebackers Mike Gilliard and Chase Vasser.

“When you talk about special teams, you want your runners, your hitters,” Richt said. “You’re trying to decide whether these guys play or not play. We’re starting out saying ‘Hey, let’s play these guys. Let’s get them on special teams and teach them what to do.’ They’ll help us on special teams, and they’ll also be growing as players at their positions, too.

“Sometimes you’re two weeks in and you’re like ‘They’re not ready, they’re not ready.’ Two more weeks, he probably is ready. Two more weeks after that, he may be your starter.”

Now I’m not quite sure I take the man literally on this.  As David Hale pointed out, does Richt really plan on deploying upwards of twelve linebackers this season?  Unlikely.  But I do think he’s reached the point where he’s serious about committing to playing true freshmen far more than he used to.

… Georgia coach Mark Richt says redshirting the players has preserved the team’s future. “The assistant coaches were wanting to let some of these guys play and allow them to work on special teams and get reps and that kind of thing,” Richt said. “I tried to look at the big picture and see if we could hold off from doing it. There are certainly guys that could be helping us right now, there is no doubt.”

I think some of that may be due to the way other coaches, like Urban Meyer, recruit and sell their programs.

“We’ve taken a new attitude. Every freshman, in my opinion, will play next year. Obviously, that won’t happen, but we’re taking that approach. It used to be more, ‘We’d like to save this guy.’ I’ve learned my lesson, and that’s over. Everybody’s playing. We’re going to let you go play and we’ll worry about your fourth year down the road. If it’s in the best interest of the young player, we’ll hold him and redshirt him, but we’re going to play him.”

And I think some of it stems from redshirting Moreno.  I know that Richt has at times kidded about the subject and has at times felt that it might have helped shield Moreno a little bit, but still, you’ve got to wonder how the 2007 season would have played out (in particular, how the South Carolina game that year would have played out) if Moreno had seen the field and made his bones in 2006.

Of course, we’ve heard some of this before, too.  So a degree of skepticism is warranted here.  But I think a change is coming.

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Filed under Georgia Football

It’s just another way to pay for the limo.

Following in Bama’s footsteps, Auburn decides it’s a nifty idea to charge people to tailgate on taxpayer-supported property.

As I wrote before, enjoy the air while it’s free, boys.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

And it’s one, two, three, what are we fighting for?

The Orlando Sentinel has a handy post up listing total athletic department revenues at all D-1 football schools here.  You won’t find any real surprises there.  In fact, this summary in the post is spot on:

As the figures indicate, the athletic departments with the highest revenue typically are from schools that have filled 80,000- to 100,000-seat football stadiums on autumn Saturdays and come from conferences that receive an automatic Bowl Championship Series bid.

That’s how you get Utah with its 80th-ranked, almost $27 million in revenues asking for more fairness in the postseason.

The Sentinel’s got more money stuff here.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

“Who would care?”

Larry Munson’s autobiography comes out next month (h/t Bulldogs Blog).

I expect we’ll find out that Munson is pleasantly surprised by the answer to the question in the post header.

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Filed under Georgia Football