Daily Archives: November 13, 2009

The (football) dating game

There’s a pretty funny piece in today’s Wall Street Journal about the selection process that goes into matching frat boys and their dates at football games.  I think this is my favorite part:

… Of course, too much football knowledge isn’t always a great thing: At a game several years ago, he says, his date surprised him by calling out plays, predicting which way the ball would go and explaining why certain penalties were being called. “It was emasculating,” Mr. Poteat recalls. “At a certain point I was asking her, ‘What happened there?’ “

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Filed under Chivalry Is Dead, SEC Football

Getting situational: Auburn-Georgia

I love wandering around cfbstats.com.  There’s a wealth of detailed information breaking down what teams do that’s great to pour over.  I’ve taken the time to look at some of the situational stats that the Dawgs and Tigers have generated so far to see if there’s much to be gleaned for tomorrow’s game.

Here are a few (you guessed it) bullet points for your consideration:

  • Rushing offense. Two things jump out with regards to Auburn’s running game – the average yards per rush on first and second downs and the third quarter numbers.  Basically, if they don’t turn the ball over or get penalized, the Tigers gain enough yardage on average to generate first downs on back-to-back running plays on first and second downs.  And those third quarter numbers are a beast:  seven yards a pop in the quarter when they run the ball the most.  Clearly, Malzahn is a coach who knows what he wants to do when he comes back out of the locker room after the half.  Georgia’s rushing numbers aren’t as pretty.  Interestingly, Bobo likes to run the ball more in the second half, even though his offense has less to show for it in terms of yards per carry.
  • Rushing defense. Contrary to his offensive counterpart, Ted Roof doesn’t come out in the second half very well.  If you look at Auburn’s defensive numbers against the run, the Tigers give up a whopping 5.89 ypc in the third quarter.  (Auburn’s third quarters this year must look like track meets.)  The Georgia defense’s worst showing against the run is also in the third quarter, but it’s still almost two yards per carry less than Auburn’s.  In any event, the numbers show that the Georgia D is much stouter against the run than is Auburn’s D.
  • Passing offense. Auburn’s passing numbers aren’t that surprising for a team with a winning record.  The Tigers like to pass on early downs and they pass more in the first half than in the second.  The one odd tidbit is that their lowest passer rating occurs in the first quarter.  That’s the opposite for Joe Cox, who’s by far at his best in the first quarter, both in terms of rating and completion percentage.  One other item about Georgia’s passing game:  four interceptions in the first half, ten in the second half.  (With that in mind, though, note that Georgia hasn’t thrown an interception all year in the opponents’ red zone.)
  • Passing defense. Roof’s defense does a good job shutting down the pass in the second and third quarters.  And given what I just noted about Georgia’s propensity for second half picks, those fourth quarter interception numbers make for a bad combination if the Dawgs are in comeback mode at that point in the game.  One thing, though – check out those red zone numbers.  Inside the Tigers’ 20, I expect Joe to have a field day.  On the other hand, the Dawg numbers on passing defense are about as grim as you might expect, with the very notable exception of fourth quarter performance.  Maybe Martinez needs to trick his charges into thinking that the game is almost over for the entire evening.

So what does all that mean?  I still think that the game is going to boil down to turnover margin.  If Georgia goes minus-three, it’s going to be a long night.  However, if that winds up being a non-factor, the numbers suggest that the big key to the game is which side wins the battle between Auburn’s rushing attack and Georgia’s rushing defense.  A game that comes down to the fourth quarter might also favor the Dawgs.  And while you’re at it, guys, it might be nice for the offense to get a few opportunities to set up in the red zone and let Joe Cox kick a little ass.  We’ll see.

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UPDATE: I see that Jerry Hinnen loves him some cfbstats.com, too.  I think he undersells Georgia’s run defense a little and oversells Auburn’s run defense (Jerry, Washaun Ealey is outweighed anywhere from 15-35 pounds by the guys you compare him to – whatever he may be, he’s not a bruiser) more, but other than that, it’s the usual, solid job you expect from him.  Hell, how can you not look at this game without concluding that it’ll come down to turnover margin in the end?  Which, of course, means that the game will come down to something no one is expecting…

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Kiffin watch: Just win, baby.

Please tell me this doesn’t sound like what it sounds like.

Coach Lane Kiffin adamantly stated several times Thursday night that early-morning arrests of Tennessee freshmen Janzen Jackson, Nu’Keese Richardson and Mike Edwards had “nothing to do” with the Volunteers who showed up for football practice.

“That’s got nothing to do with what’s going on with these guys,” Kiffin said. “We needed to have a good practice today to prepare for a big-time game, and I thought the guys came out today and had a really good practice. I thought they were very sharp, very focused.

“Good intensity out here. We still have a lot of work to do before the game.”

Despite Kiffin’s words, the reality is that all three players were in line to suit up Saturday at Ole Miss, and Jackson and Richardson figured to play important roles.

I get the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing, trust me.   And I get not passing final judgment until all the facts are in.  But does Junior really think he’s going to skate in the court of public opinion if he lets these kids play tomorrow simply because he’s going to take his time with the due diligence?  Wow.

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UPDATE: Playing with fire? Even if everything in that post isn’t accurate, there’s enough there that is (such as Jackson being in a car with marijuana in it after curfew) to make this a delicate situation for Kiffin, to say the least.

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UPDATE #2: The Knoxville News is reporting that none of the three players appear on the travel roster for the game tomorrow and thus will not play.  So there’s that.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin

Friday morning buffet

You don’t need to waive a pellet gun around here to get served.

  • While many of us are worried about how Willie Martinez is going to get the troops (and himself, for that matter) prepared for Gus Malzahn’s offense, I’m simply relieved that I won’t see Martinez squaring off against this.
  • Dan Jenkins may be an old curmudgeon, but at least he’s an old curmudgeon who has a point:  “You might be able to guess what I think about [the BCS]. I hate it,” Jenkins said. “I hate the fact that television sets schedules and game times and kickoffs. I hate that the BCS is running the traditional bowl games. I hate that Nike is dictating what everybody is supposed to wear … at their own pleasure.”
  • And while we’re on the subject of TCU, if the Horned Frogs don’t make it to the title game, I hope this BCS scenario plays out.
  • It sounds like Bud Foster wants to be a head coach pretty badly.
  • Here’s a look at what’s made David Cutcliffe a successful quarterbacks coach.
  • The college programs in the city of Houston to Tulsa coach Todd Graham:  you’re dead to us, asshole.  (h/t The Wiz)
  • You may not know much about Al Golden now, but you’re probably going to hear his name a lot in the offseason.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Chivalry Is Dead, College Football, Georgia Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles, Strategery And Mechanics