Daily Archives: February 15, 2010

The science of preseason prognostication – the meme goes on.

College Football News lays out its top 30 teams at this pre-spring vantage point.  Here’s some of what it has to say about #1 Alabama:

… Oh yeah … the offense. The backfield is jaw-dropping with a Heisman-winner (Mark Ingram) along a guy (Trent Richardson) who might be a starter in the NFL right now. Throw in top-five pro prospect WR Julio Jones and three starters on the O line, and the offense will be tremendous.

Now compare that to these comments about #20 Georgia.

… There are still big questions about an underachieving group of running backs… There’s speed and athleticism across the board, and WR A.J. Green, C Ben Jones, and DE Justin Houston bring some playmakers to build around…

Let’s skip past the idea that a center is a playmaker on offense.  And the point here isn’t to say that ‘Bama isn’t deserving of a lofty rating or that Georgia is – it’s simply to ask that the pesky details be presented in a consistent manner.

Breaking some of this down:

  1. Alabama’s “jaw-dropping” backfield vs. Georgia’s “underachieving group of running backs”. There’s no question that ‘Bama’s seasonal rushing numbers are the better of the two by a significant amount, but the analysis glosses over the fact that by mid-season, the Dawgs had totally revamped their rotation at running back.  Alabama’s rushing numbers in November (169 attempts; 814 yards; 4.82 ypc; 7 TDs) aren’t better than Georgia’s for the same month (165 attempts; 1008 yards; 6.11 ypc; 8 TDs).  Indeed, if you look at the running backs returning for conference play in 2010, it’s a fair statement to make that Alabama and Georgia return the two best tandems at tailback.
  2. “Top-five pro prospect” Julio Jones vs. “playmaker” A.J. Green. Do I really need to go there?  Okay, I will.  Despite playing in three less games, Green caught more passes for more yards (at more than a yard and a half per catch better clip) and scored more touchdowns than his Tide counterpart.  No knock on Jones, who’s an awesome talent, but, c’mon, guys.
  3. Offensive line starters. Alabama brings back three.  Georgia brings back five.  Alabama’s line finished tied for fourth in the conference in sacks allowed, with 15.  Georgia’s line finished tied for first, with 12.

Again, the point here isn’t to diminish what Alabama brings to the table on offense next season.  But if you’re going to indulge in a nod to synergy to justify broad qualitative differences between it and Georgia, how about at least letting us in on why that’s the case.

And before you point to the 2010 quarterback situation – certainly a valid distinction between the two schools – note that there wasn’t much difference between McElroy’s and Cox’ passer ratings last year, as they finished fourth and fifth in the conference.  Is there going to be enough of a differential between McElroy and Georgia’s eventual starter to validate the perceived gap in overall offensive performance?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Stats Geek!

It’s a good thing ‘Bama doesn’t play on Sundays.

Where are the Bear and Elvis? (photo via Birmingham News)

“If the Blessed Virgin Mary was going to appear in a field in Alabama, and Nick Saban was going to appear, who do you think would draw the most people?” he said.

That’s a question asked in a rather astounding, as in an I-can’t-believe-they-went-there sort of way, Birmingham News article about God, Nick Saban and Facebook by one Stephen Jones, senior pastor at Birmingham’s Southside Baptist Church.  Jones is a 1977 Auburn graduate, by the way.

(h/t Chris Low)

5 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Whoa, oh, Alabama

Monday morning buffet

No snow, federal holiday… things could be worse.

  • Bobby Bowden wasn’t too keen on the coach/ambassador slot FSU offered him to clear the way for Jimbo Fisher to become head coach:  “It reminded me of Barney Fife. They gave him a gun, but they won’t let him put the bullet in there.”
  • Regardless of whomever winds up starting at quarterback, Aaron Murray is pretty pumped about Georgia’s offense this season:  “We have an unbelievable offense for next season. You look at the offensive line; we have, like, seven or eight [players with starting experience].  The skill positions are unbelievable. It’s not going to be all on your shoulders. We have a great running game, two great young running backs. With that offensive line, we should put up some great numbers on the running game.”
  • The sports media adapts – at least, the writers do.
  • Jon Tenuta’s career arc begins to descend.
  • Matt Melton does his annual SDPI thing, starting with the ACC.  Surprisingly, Georgia Tech wasn’t as dominant on offense, or as mediocre on defense as the common wisdom made the Jackets out to be.  But that Virginia offense was every bit as putrid as we thought.
  • Earlier, I missed this quote from Terrence Cody on a college football playoff, but I take it he’s not a fan:  “That’s stupid,” Cody said earlier this week. “I don’t think there should be any playoff. Why should there be a playoff? I mean, in the NFL they’re getting paid to play off and stuff.”
  • More antitrust logic from that bastion of clear thinking, Bleacher Report.  Dude, among several things you don’t get, the NCAA has nothing to do with the money from the D-1 football postseason.
  • Trojan Football Analysis takes a look at Monte Kiffin’s defensive philosophy and draws this conclusion: “Bottom line I don’t expect a whole lot of change in terms of defensive schemes…but I do expect better results than the defensive debacles versus Oregon and Stanford in 2009.” Maybe so, but a quick look at Tennessee’s defensive stats last season don’t indicate that Monte had particularly great success against spread attacks.

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Filed under ACC Football, BCS/Playoffs, Bobby Bowden: Over His Dead Body, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, The Blogosphere

“People aren’t giving up their seats.”

Yesterday’s post about SEC revenue figures for 2008 generated some discussion in the comments about the numbers put up by Georgia’s athletic department and what Georgia’s relative standing in the conference for income production might mean.

Today’s Athens Banner-Herald has an article about the numbers that are anticipated for 2009.

The athletic association expects to rake in about $85 million this year, mainly from its football team, while paying out about $70 million in operating expenses, according to financial documents it released this month.

That’s about a $10 million swing to the good from 2008’s numbers.  That’s not too shabby for a recession year.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Playoff expansion: it’s all good.

Scratch a college basketball coach and you’ll find a guy who thinks the bigger the tournament the better.  In fact, Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan feels that anybody who has qualms about expansion at this point in time is a fool who’s ignoring the historical success story of the NCAA tourney.

… The NCAA tournament began as an eight-team bracket in 1939, moved to 16 teams in 1951, 32 in 1975, 48 in 1980 and 64 teams in 1985, when there were 282 Division I teams.

In 2001, the NCAA adopted its current format. A play-in game increased the field to 65 teams.

“To me, it’s foolish for those people who are saying it’s perfect the way it is,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “Obviously, they’ve lived a very shallow life when it comes to looking at change and what change can do and how it can affect things. The history of expansion with the NCAA has been very successful.

“The only people who would be disappointed would be all those people that have already printed out their 64-game bracket sheets. I think those can be changed.

“For the expansion not to take place, it can only be because there are some people behind the scenes that are controlling certain entities that will not allow us to do this. But, if this doesn’t happen, it’ll be a crime.”

I swear I didn’t make that quote up.

Meanwhile, on another front, the Football Division Formerly Known As 1-AA has run into a bit of  a logistical problem as it considers moving its championship game to Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas:  a conflict with the Cotton Bowl.

The next championship game is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2011, the same day that the Cotton Bowl Classic is to be played in prime time on Fox. Burnett said the NCAA told him that if Frisco gets the game, it would work with local officials and ESPN, which televises the game, on the date.

“We don’t want to be going head-to-head with the Cotton Bowl in this market,” Burnett said.

The game has normally been played in December. But next season, the FCS will add another round to the playoffs, making it five weekends. That will force the final two teams to play in January amid the bowl activity.

Hey fellas, add another round to that and problem solved!  Just sayin’…

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs