Seriously, what gives with Mike Hamilton at this point? Here’s what Junior had to say in the wake of this week’s embarrassments of two new investigations into UT recruiting:
“I used to say things about Florida, and I’d say, ‘I’d like that if I was them, because they’re at the top, and people are shooting for them,’” Kiffin said. “And I think when it comes to recruiting, we’re at the highest level, and I think that people really want to know what we’re doing. They want to know how are we able to get interest from so many great players, and sign so many great players, so I think you have a lot of people coming at us.
“You know, ‘If you can’t beat them, figure out a way to figure out if they’re doing something wrong.’”
Hamilton’s reaction? Just this: “… (M)en’s athletic director Mike Hamilton maintained that the football program hasn’t knowingly violated any NCAA or Southeastern Conference recruiting rules…”
Knowingly is such a weasel word. Just ask Junior, who had this to say about the allegations regarding the actions of a volunteer assistant coach’s actions which are the subject of one of the inquiries:
“I know that he went in there and saw some of his old teachers and saw some of his coaches. I don’t know that he did (recruit) at all. I never want to say never, but I will pretty much say that he did not while I was with him…”
“Pretty much say”? Kiffin can’t even fully vouch for his actions while he was in his presence? Hoo, boy.
The big mystery to me at this point is why Hamilton doesn’t tell Kiffin to keep his mouth shut for a while and try to let this blow over. Of course, I guess the sad possibility exists that he’s made that suggestion already…
We’ve noted the comments from Mark Richt about Georgia’s woeful showing when it comes to fumble recovery this season. Richt’s lamented that the ball simply hasn’t bounced the Dawgs’ way.
If you read the Bill Connelly post I linked to in my previous post, you might have noticed a section in it devoted to fumble recovery percentage in 2009. And he does indeed find that Georgia’s numbers are an atrocious 114th nationally, based on a 36.8% recovery rate. But check out who finished dead last on his list.
|Bottom Ten, Fumble Recovery Percentage
Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, but sometimes it doesn’t matter at all.
I’ve seen a lot of Internet sentiment similar to that expressed this week by Stewart Mandel:
Conversely, Texas’ closest thing to a “statement” victory was a 41-14 win at Oklahoma State, a team that lost its last regular-season game 27-0. If the Longhorns had some equivalent to Alabama’s Florida win — or even its Virginia Tech or LSU wins — I’d be more likely to chalk up the Nebraska game as a fluke. As it is, the Longhorns basically faced two elite defenses the entire season, Oklahoma and Nebraska, and Colt McCoy and the offense struggled miserably against both. [Emphasis added.]
And that’s true. Bill Connelly spells it out a little more over at Football Outsiders.
… Meanwhile, Texas has faced two of the country’s top four defenses in terms of Defensive S&P+, second-ranked Oklahoma and fourth-ranked Nebraska. Their combined output? A whopping 29 points, 471 yards (311 passing yards, 55 percent completion rate, 4.1 yards per pass, one touchdown pass and four interceptions from Heisman Finalist Colt McCoy), six turnovers, and two wins saved by a dominant Texas defense. The good news: Texas did indeed win these games, and their seventh-ranked defense rose to the occasion each time. The bad news: Alabama’s defense is ranked first in the country, ahead of both Oklahoma’s and Nebraska’s. We will get into how Alabama’s defense differs from that of Nebraska and Oklahoma later; for now, Texas is indeed resting most of its title hopes on “Hey, we just have to better than them once.”
So here’s my question – is this an issue of Texas being overrated, or simply that no team can be expected to play with ‘Bama’s defense? Keep in mind that the top four teams nationally in total defense have combined to lose only one game, Florida’s loss to Alabama in the SECCG. Is Texas being written off prematurely in the way that Florida was in 2006? Is there a good case to be made that there’s a team out there that would fare better against the Tide than the ‘Horns? I honestly don’t know, but I’d be curious to hear what everyone thinks.