Daily Archives: September 23, 2009

It’s only been 76 years.

I have no idea what the UGA Athletic Board will decide to do today about keeping the Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville, but did want to point out this exceedingly strange argument raised by Jeff Schultz that I assume is inspired by the meeting:

… The contract with Jacksonville runs through 2010, and given that everybody is making a lot of money — a factor at least as important as “tradition,” despite what you may hear — I suspect that’s where the game will stay.

But it shouldn’t. At least not every year. The Georgia-Florida game should be held every other year on the Georgia or Florida campus.

I know. What a novel idea, right? College football on an actual college campus.

This isn’t about some perceived home-field advantage the Gators have playing the game in Jacksonville. Florida has won most of the time in the past two decades because it has had the better team — not because the Gators can bus to the game. And I certainly don’t see the attraction to holding the game at the Georgia Dome, just for the sake of moving it over the border once in a while.

This is about what college football truly is supposed to be about: the campus atmosphere, the student section, the home-field advantage with a small section or two of visiting fans dwarfed by everybody else in the stadium.

Tell that to Georgia State, Jeff.

Besides, what about this tradition?

Evans and Adams previously have said UGA is open to all options but is reluctant to move the game because of its tradition in Jacksonville, where it has been played for all but two years since 1933.

It’s not like Georgia is playing a slew of neutral site games (nor could it afford to, in all probability, even if it wanted to).  But if we take Schultz’ logic to its ultimate extreme, we’d be ditching the WLOCP, the Red River Shootout and the Army-Navy game, all in the name of “tradition”.  Does that actually make sense to anybody?

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Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Mumme Poll update

Things continue to move along at the new site, and we’re in the midst of testing right now.

The game plan is to open up the site to voter registration some time next week and to have a voting dry run after the games of week five are played.

And after reading this, maybe we ought to extend an invitation to Les Miles to participate.  Sheesh.

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Filed under Mumme Poll

All aboard the mystery train.

If you want to see something jaw dropping, check out these two charts at MrSEC.com:

Your eyes are not deceiving you.  Georgia commits a miscue (defined as a combination of penalties, sacks allowed and turnovers) every eight plays.  And it takes less than 20 plays for the Dawgs to turn the ball over.  (It takes Auburn almost 80 plays to commit a turnover.)

Now you can argue how much of this affects the win/loss record.  Doc Saturday has noted on many an occasion that penalties, for example, have little correlation to team wins.

But, still, when you’re screwing things up on that frequent a basis, it’s hard to establish a coherent consistency in your play.  If anything, after seeing this, I’m even more astounded at the level of offensive production Georgia has been at the last two weeks.

So maybe Mark Richt has a point when he lays this folksy comparison on us.

“I always make the analogy of the team being a train,” Richt said. “You want to get that train on the track and you want to get it rolling down the track and gain momentum and energy as you go. … We are getting it rolling pretty good, but I think we’ll roll a whole lot faster if we don’t have the two anchors out the back of the caboose that are stuck in the ground dragging behind us, and that is our turnover ratio is very poor and penalties have cropped up on us. If we can just cut those anchors lose, I think we will fly even better and if we just improve in those two areas, I think everything will improve.”

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Tennessee football: we’re back, baby!

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t comment on observations like this one -

It’ll be a couple of years yet before we know if the Lane Kiffin experiment at Tennessee is a success or a failure. I’d caution against reading much from the game against Florida, or out of this season in general. But I am more optimistic about the future now than I was when he was hired. And I’m hoping it works out, because if Georgia football bloggers’ foreheads burst like they have been while the guy is losing, they’ll be beyond apoplectic when he’s winning. That will be fun to watch.

for all the usual reasons: to each his own, eye of the beholder, yada, yada, yada.  Except in this case it’s such a lovely distillation of the mindset of the Vol Nation I can’t resist.

I mean, this is what it boils down to now for them.  The team sports a losing record, like last year.  It’s lost to UCLA and Florida, like last year.  It’s defense is good, like last year.  Jonathan Crompton is the quarterback, like last year.  The offense is feeble at best, like last year.  And yet, Tennessee football is back for these folks, simply because its coach is very capable at drawing attention to himself.  (And he’s actually expressed it in more skeptical terms than most of his fellow travelers in orange.)

Really, what else is there?  As David Hale noted,

But think about this for a second: A two-score loss to a top-10 team in which your offense struggles to fewer than 250 yards total, the QB looks bad, but the defense is surprisingly effective.

When Tennessee does it, it means every pundit in the country loves them and Lane Kiffin is the next big thing.

When Georgia did it three weeks ago, it was the death knell of the Mark Richt era in Athens and perhaps the end of the world as we know it.

Amazing. And the Vols fans can only wish Crompton was suffering from the flu.

Look, I expect UT to get better, although given the quarterback situation and the likelihood that Eric Berry will turn pro after this season, it probably won’t happen as quickly as Vol fans might hope.  But all the chest beating over the attention paid to Junior’s antics as a sign the program is already relevant again is, well, unconvincing.  Especially when you contrast Tennessee’s 2009 record with that of Auburn’s, a school that essentially followed the same off season path, albeit with much less bombast.

Those two schools meet October 3rd.  It’ll be interesting to take stock of everyone’s position about the Tennessee program after that game.

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UPDATE: Brian Cook elaborates further.

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UPDATE #2: A little mockery at Capstone Report.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin

There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for this.

Now here’s a real shocker:  attorney takes it upon himself to analyze NCAA probation penalties to see if there are any patterns to the punishments levied by the organization and finds – surprise! – that there are and that they’re just about exactly as you’d expect (unless you’re an Alabama fan, of course).

… The study reveals universities who belong to conferences whose champions receive annual automatic BCS bowl bids (BCS automatic-qualifier schools) received less stringent probation penalties from the NCAA infractions committee than other Division I institutions. Also, the research indicates FBS institutions receive less probation years than FCS institutions and non-football sponsoring schools. Finally, the results suggest historically Black colleges and universities in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and Southwestern Athletic Conference (HBCUs) received harsher probation penalties than other Division I institutions.

By the way, this isn’t some random dude who came up with this in his spare time between chasing ambulances.  He’s got a background in NCAA enforcement.

… Mr. Buckner, a licensed attorney and private investigator, assists universities with conducting complex investigations of alleged NCAA rules-violations. Mr. Buckner has appeared before the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions and Infractions Appeals Committee. Mr. Buckner, as an independent consultant for the NCAA (2006-07), also conducted on-site investigative audits of non-traditional and prep schools in the United States and Puerto Rico.

I’m not surprised at the NCAA’s response to all of this.

The NCAA discredited the report, saying the study was based on an inadequate examination of the facts. The NCAA said in a statement, “the research relies on a very small sample size of a handful of institutions and a methodology that fails to tests the claims against standard statistical criteria.”

The NCAA also stated each case is unique, so the Committee on Infractions must consider the specifics of each case individually to maintain fairness throughout the process.

If it’s blind enough to let this develop in the first place, it’s certainly not going to concede that now.  Evidence, schmevidence!

Now it’s possible that the specifics the NCAA alludes to might explain some of this, since the nature of the study is to average the punishment periods the schools received.  But shouldn’t the NCAA give us more than some sort of blanket, indignant denial?  Especially when the patterns break down clearly in favor of the haves of the college football world?

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Filed under The NCAA

Blame where blame is due.

For those of you rushing to grab your pitchforks and torches to join the mob preparing to storm Castle Martinez, could I trouble you to stop and read something David Hale posted yesterday?  It’ll only take a minute.

… I noted in my blog about the defense yesterday that I thought there was a distinct correlation between the success against the run and the lack of pressure and propensity toward giving up big plays. I asked Demarcus Dobbs and Rennie Curran about that today, and they agreed. Dobbs said Georgia’s defensive line has been bad at getting off their blocks on passing plays because they were expecting run, and said the defense has been killed by play action. Rennie said it comes down to needing more film study and being better at reading pass formations, while Dobbs said the linemen have to improve on reading the blocks of the offensive line.

Now that doesn’t strike me as a problem with the scheme, or a failure to adjust.  That sounds like shortcomings in technique and preparation, which I thought were areas that fall under the responsibility of the position coaches.  Where’s all the finger pointing about that?

My point here isn’t to absolve CWM of blame with regard to what we’ve seen from the defense in the past two games.  Not at all.  For one thing, he’s a position coach, too.  It’s still amazing to me how much trouble Georgia defensive backs have with play action, something that was true even during the VanGorder years (remember Thomas Davis’ struggles in the 2004 Tennessee game?).  And this blogger makes a pretty compelling case about Martinez’ failure to adjust his defense in the face of what Petrino was doing last Saturday.

But it seems simplistic to lay off all of the defensive shortcomings we’ve witnessed at Martinez’ feet.

Nor should some of the players be immune from criticism.  Take, for example, this quote from Bryan Evans, whose uncanny deer-in-the-headlights impersonation at one key moment led to one of Mallett’s five passing TDs:

“Some plays we’re in great position to make plays, we just didn’t make them,” Evans said. “Other times, we’re just lackadaisical at getting to our positions where we’re supposed to be at. They hopped on us fast, and that’s just something we have to fight through.”

That’s a rather amazing admission there.  And there’s some hint in Hale’s latest post that Martinez is aware of that and is taking steps to address it.

… After his defense allowed 41 points against Arkansas – a second straight lackluster performance – defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said some changes could be in store.

Arkansas had numerous big plays, and Georgia struggled to stop the opposing passing game for the second straight week. The Bulldogs have allowed 721 passing yards in the past two games, and nearly all of the members of the defensive backfield have been beaten at least once, and Martinez said he thinks it’s time to see what some of his younger players can do.

“We’re going to get some other guys some more opportunities,” Martinez said. “We’ve got some young players we’re trying to get in there.”

What’s particularly striking about all of this is how confident the offense sounds by comparison.  Is that due to coaching, personnel, scheme or all of the above?  I don’t know, but if they figure it out, they ought to bottle some of it and force feed it to everybody on the other side of the ball.  The sooner, the better…

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UPDATE: Martinez speaks.

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Filed under Georgia Football