Daily Archives: May 7, 2010

Finally, somebody else questions the emperor’s attire.

Going back to last season, I keep wondering what the pundits’ rosy view of the Arkansas program stems from.  Yes, Petrino is one of the best offensive play callers in college football and, yes, Ryan Mallett is a terrific talent.  But when you look at the rest of the team, it’s hard to see that it performed last season as much more than a very talented Conference USA squad.

Yet, here the Hogs sit as the media preseason darlings of the SEC.  And up until now, I haven’t seen much questioning of that.  So it’s nice to see some independent confirmation of my skepticism from Jerry Hinnen.  I don’t think I could do a better job of distilling it than he does in the paragraph:

8-5 last year + horrible defense + quarterback misses spring practice = 14th in the country. To be fair to Schlabach, not many of the teams behind them exactly have a juggernautical look, but still; Georgia scored just as many points per conference game last year as the Hogs did, have far greater across-the-board talent and depth, return everyone but Joe Cox on offense, can’t possibly be so bad in the turnover department, actually made staff changes to repair their Swiss-cheese defense, have the best specialists in the SEC by a mile, and, you know, beat Arkansas last year in Arkansas. The Dawgs, however, are 20th. OK.

If anything, you could argue that Jerry understates the case there.  I don’t think he’d get much of an argument from the Georgia faithful about his “Swiss-cheese” characterization of Martinez’ defense, but even so, that unit managed to finish fifty-one slots higher nationally in total defense than did the Razorbacks’.  Joe Cox had a passer rating of 246.15 against Arkansas in 2009.  His season average was over 111 points less than that.

There’s also the little matter of how well Arkansas did in the turnover margin department and how likely a repeat of that is for 2010.

Believe it or not, Hog fans, this isn’t meant as a knock on your team.  For all I know, this may be the year for Arkansas to rise and shine.  What I don’t get, though,  is what the basis for the punditry double standard is now.  Jerry points to Mallett-love as the source; I think that Petrino’s shiny Louisville record explains some of it, too.

Whatever the reason, it still amounts to a leap of faith in the Arkansas defense that Jerry neatly skewers.

… This is not to say that Arkansas won’t be improved defensively this fall. They could hardly get worse. But the evidence for believing in some kind of quantum leap from the Hog defenders that will make them a top-15 caliber team seems to be nothing more than “Bobby Petrino said so.”

I made a Conference USA crack at the beginning of this post, but it seems to me that in terms of style, that’s the kind of team Petrino has fashioned.  (Sorry, Jerry, but you can say the same thing about Auburn.)  How likely is it that that’s a style of play that’s going to prosper in the more rugged SEC?  And why don’t the pundits recognize that?

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football

You know he’s a jerk. I know he’s a jerk. It’s all good, though.

If brevity is the soul of wit, score one for Stephen Garcia.

Jerri Spurrier recently reached out to Stephen Garcia to try to pick up the spirits of the South Carolina quarterback, who has been in the crosshairs of Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier all spring.

She told Garcia her husband was “going to push every button you have” to try to make him a better quarterback.

Garcia’s response: He already has.

My favorite part of the article is the Doug Johnson defense.

… Jerri Spurrier said her husband’s dealings with Garcia are similar to how he treated Johnson, who started 11 games during a five-year NFL career after leaving Florida.

“He and Doug had the same kind of pushing. He really pushed Doug a lot, and Doug would get just as angry as Stephen, and hurt,” she said. “I talked to Doug (recently), and he said, ‘I never would have made it in the pros if it weren’t for him. I couldn’t have done it. I wouldn’t have been that kind of person.’”

If a pro career that includes a 2-9 record as a starter and a passer rating of 69.4 constitutes “making it”, all I can say to the OBC is keep up the tough love with Garcia.  It’s bound to pay off this season.

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Filed under The Evil Genius

When is a football game not a public event?

When it’s hosted by an SEC school trying to squeeze every drop of revenue out of it, of course.

So sayeth the Attorney General of Tennessee, anyway.

May a public institution of higher education, supported by taxes paid by citizens of Tennessee, give approval to an agreement that would restrict the rights of the press and public to use material that is gained at a public event for public dissemination?

Yes. A Tennessee public institution of higher education may take any legal measures that are intended to protect its rights under copyright law to photographs or other visual representations arising from athletic events involving its athletic teams. These events are not “public events.” A member of the press must agree to the terms and conditions of the press credential policies in order to gain admittance and take photographs or video images of the event. The press credential policy of UT reserves the rights of UT and the SEC to images from athletic events in a variety of ways, and thereby limits the use and dissemination of photographs, video, and other representations, based upon copyright law, trademark law, and other legal principles.

Needless to say, local media ain’t happy with that call.

… At the root of the issue is money.

Like the professional sports leagues, universities are coming to see sports media content as product to be marketed and sold. As a result, the day may come when independent media coverage of sporting events will no longer be allowed access, and the university will become a media conglomerate in addition to a sports-entertainment franchise.

If that happens, an organization such as the News Sentinel will have to operate outside of events and make its niche as an unauthorized alternative to the government-run coverage.

Alarmingly far-fetched?  Maybe.  (Although UT is the school that charged the media to attend one of this past spring scrimmages.)  In any event, even if you’re not a particular fan of the media, it can’t be a good thing from a fan perspective if access is limited to those who are willing to pay for it.  Or if the schools restrict what can be covered in the first place…

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Filed under It's Just Bidness