If it walks like a bye week, and it quacks like a bye week…

This season’s Alabama-Georgia State game has the stench of epic mismatch emanating from it.

… On Oct. 7, 1916, Georgia Tech beat Cumberland 222-0 in the most lopsided college football game ever. Alabama won’t beat Georgia State that bad. You have to really want to humiliate your opponent to score a touchdown every two minutes for an entire game. But if you examine the rosters, you have to wonder whether Houston’s 100-6 squeaker over Tulsa in 1968 — the modern record for the worst defeat — might be in jeopardy.

Any team that plays in the SEC and schedules marquee non-conference opponents — like Alabama has done again this season with a game against Penn State — deserves a Western Kentucky or Chattanooga on the slate.

But those are at least established programs with experienced college football players. Georgia State, coached by former Crimson Tide head man Bill Curry, has never played a game. The Panthers signed 26 players in February to go with six transfers and a bunch of guys who showed up for an open tryout…

Exactly why does Alabama need the game moved to an earlier night?  If he’s looking to give his starters an extra breather before the Iron Bowl, Saban could start his second string against GSU and likely win by eight touchdowns.

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77 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules

77 responses to “If it walks like a bye week, and it quacks like a bye week…

  1. Tommy

    This is another reason why I wasn’t terribly sympathetic the scheduling concern Bama had. Aside from GSU, they’ve also got San Jose State and Duke on the schedule. And, yes, they’re playing at Duke, but any program that sells out a spring scrimmage can probably make an away game at Wallace Wade feel like a home game.

    Add to that Team Speed Kills’ statistical analysis showing that bye weeks don’t necessarily affect outcomes, and this all seemed like pretty weak sauce with which to compel the rest of the conference to accommodate Bama.

    • The thing TSK’s analysis didn’t account for was the fact that it was only analyzing the affect of one bye at a time. Consider a movie that probably no one else actually saw: Diggstown. The premise is that one boxer (played by Louis Gossett Jr.) has 24 hours to knockout ten opponents. The challenge has nothing to do with the quality of the opponent — he was clearly better than any one boxer he would face were it a single match. The challenge was that he would have to fight each one consecutively while each of the challengers was coming in rested and ready to go.

      • Tommy

        The Diggstown comparison is hardly apt. You’re not playing 10 opponents in 24 hours. You’re getting at least six days to recuperate between bouts. The question is whether a full-bore game or a controlled practice the preceding Saturday is better preparation for the next Saturday’s game. The results are inconclusive. UGA-Ark was a disastrous preamble the the WLOCP the following week. But GSU ain’t Arkansas.

        • How about Alabama losing Brodie Croyle in 2004 to Western Carolina?

          And seriously, are you dismissing the analogy based on the period of time that passes? Why not point out that a round in boxing is only three minutes compared to 15 minute quarters? The point remains that the issue isn’t with the quality of the competition, but the simple fact that one competitor is required to face multiple rested opponents without sharing the same relief. You’ve even acknowledged in other comments that it “sucks.” So why argue with it here?

          • Tommy

            As I said, the more you try to hide behind non-analogous sports as comparisons, the flimsier your point looks. Brodie Croyle could have just as easily been injured in practice as against WCU.

            We’re talking about 125 18-22-year olds with six days between games. For every injured player that heals with an extra week, there’s the off-setting risk that another gets injured, arrested (Carlos Dunlap), etc. Rest is hardly the issue.

            Where an opponent with an off-week might bite you in the ass is if a particularly enterprising coach, such as Urban Meyer, uses the extra week to implement a new look that you don’t have any film of (see: WLOCP 2005, after the empty backfield spread was getting Chris Leak crippled). But how often does that really happen? For the opposing coach, there’s the risk that you don’t install it properly and meanwhile you take time away from correcting issues with your existing scheme.

            I was being charitable with the “sucks” bit. It doesn’t suck enough to warrant the rest of the league accommodating Saban’s routine, as though no one else has such a thing.

            • It sucks enough that the entire league unanimously agreed that measures should be taken to make sure it never happens to anyone again. They also all agreed that something should be done about it this season if possible. The “if possible” part meaning, “if someone else will do it.” No one really expects anyone to help Alabama, but that doesn’t mean the request is unjust. It’s just every team looking out for their own self-interests — just like Alabama.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                Tidefan is right. The SEC is no pushover league. If you have to play an SEC opponent that has had an extra week to rest, practice and get ready for you, you are at a disadvantage. The Tide may be so good that they will win anyway, but that is not the point. The weakness of some of the opponents Bama faces during their opponents’ by-weeks is not the point. Fairness is the point and it ain’t fair for the Tide to have to play 6 games against opponents that have had a week off before playing Bama, when Bama did not. Period. The same thing happened to UT and Fulmer lost his job when the Big Orange lost 7 games. This all gets back to the SEC league office. Those bastards do not give a rip about fairness, sportsmanship or competition. It’s all about money, particularly for Mike Slime. Until the university presidents get together and mandate that all league games have to be played consecutively during an 8 week period this kind of thing will continue to occur. Next time it may be UGA. Put a stop to it–NOW!

  2. Rum-Dawg Millionaire

    The danger for Bama in this game is that if they DON’T beat GSU by at least 50, they’re going to have a lot of people questioning them.

    • Dog in Fla

      Not if the Bammers have the flu. Nick need look no further than Irwin Meyers for that one when the Mother of all Blowouts last season didn’t materialize in the Irwin v. Lane Sleeper in the Swamp.

      Actually, the Mother of all Blowouts for us was delivered by Lane and Monte. I don’t recall CMR using S1N1, (or anything else for that matter) as an excuse, though.

  3. The issue with moving this game comes down to the same thing everything does with Coach Saban: routine. Regardless of the quality of this opponent or how much goes into it, it’s still a disruption of routine, and playing Auburn just six days after playing anyone is problematic.

    So, do you disrupt your routine to play the weak sister from Atlanta (the one that didn’t run away), or the SEC rival the next week?

    It’s an oversimplification to say “start the second team” as those players are still needed to prepare for the next week. You can’t start your routine on a Saturday (the normal week equivalent of Sunday) if there is a game being played that day, no matter what personnel you actually use in the game.

    • If Spurrier can use half the summer to prepare for the Georgia game, I’m betting that Saban can take some preparation time away from the GSU game and direct it towards Auburn without missing a beat.

      • It’s not about time spent, it’s about maintaining rhythm for him. Game prep is very regimented in his system, and even if you accomplish the same steps, you still have to do them in the same order or it doesn’t count for him. Now, someone else may be able to do it that way, but he’s been fairly vocal on his inflexibility. I suppose that’s a weakness, but it’s pretty hard to argue with the results.

        By the way, how well has all that extra summer work paid off for Spurrier?

        • He’d probably argue that the results would have been worse without it. ;)

          • To be honest, I didn’t realize they had done it (put in extra pre-season practice for just one game), but I looked up USC’s success rate against UGA, and if they did this over multiple seasons, it’s time to give it up. USC wins less often against UGA since Spurrier became the top Cock than they did before … at least since joining the SEC. Combine that with the fact that USC still wins more games than they did without him, and that’s a pretty significant indicator of how much success over-preparing has gotten him. He’s beaten Florida as often as he’s beaten Georgia.

            • Unless there’s some link or other evidence the Senator is willing to share here, I’m unaware of any actual evidence that South Carolina prepares for Georgia any more than we do for any other team. It’s one of many things Georgia fans tell themselves because we do — inexplicably — play Georgia tough every year. There has to be a reason for everything, I suppose.

              • Don’t have a link, but it’s certainly been a common enough rumor over the years. And it’s not like Spurrier is the only one I’ve heard it about – Petrino was said to have done the same thing last season.

                If you’ve got a weak opponent in the first game of the season, I don’t see anything wrong with it.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            Bluto, using FLA as an example on this issue is a very bad idea. Remember 2005, when the Gators used the by-week to install an entirely new offense and caught the Dawgs flat-footed. They scored 14 points before the Dawgs D could adjust and won 14-10. It’s not just the by-week. It’s what some coaches can do with the by-week, too.

        • Tommy

          The rest of the conference is supposed to be flexible to accommodate Saban’s inflexibility?

          I swear, it’s like everyone in Alabama — fans, press, administration — is under Orwellian hypnosis by this guy and is completely dumbfounded that the rest of us aren’t.

          • Last time I checked, Georgia State isn’t in the SEC, and they are being compensated well for their game.

            But the question here isn’t whether teams should move for Alabama or not, but the actual impact of the move. In this case, Kennedy is arguing that Alabama shouldn’t even bother with it because playing them doesn’t matter. I’m simply arguing that it does, even if only in a small way. Why is it so egregious that Alabama should make an effort to put themselves in the best situation possible? Isn’t that why you schedule teams like GSU (or Idaho State) in the first place?

            • Tommy

              I’m referring to the earlier efforts by Bama to get the SEC to intervene on the bye week issue, and I’d be shocked if you really needed that explained to you. Georgia State is a scrimmage. I’m not judging Alabama for scheduling them, I’m just not falling for its crocodile tears over any scheduling disadvantage it wants the rest of us to believe it suffers.

              • Then I guess the actual confusion here comes from how you think my explanation of his inflexibility has anything at all to do with the weeks-old bye week discussion? This is about playing an SEC rival on a short week (as the Iron Bowl is on a Friday this year). I realize the standard bias is to find the Alabama fan’s standpoint and then automatically oppose it, but imagine if the WLOCP was suddenly moved to a Friday with Florida having the bye week prior to the game. Does it matter who Georgia plays just six days earlier?

                • Tommy

                  This is taking the tone of a pissing match, so, to get things back on track, I’m just going to answer your question, which I assume wasn’t rhetorical, “Does it matter who Georgia plays just six days earlier?”

                  Yes. Playing Arkansas the week before WLOCP in 2005 cost us our starting QB. Had the opponent been Directional State, I’d have to think the likelihood of a similar outcome would be significantly diminished.

                  And let’s be clear, Georgia State is lightyears from Directional State. You’d be hard-pressed to find a player on GSU’s roster who’d be invited to walk on at Bama. If they’re not a bye week, GSU is the next best thing.

                  Seems a waste of cash to pay GSU to move the game, but whatever, that’s y’all’s business. Regardless, that’s a much fairer resolution than the initial idea of asking teams like Auburn to reschedule, which is what I was referring to my initial post. Yes, it sucks you’re playing a bunch of teams coming off bye weeks, but it’s not like Alabama’s not getting plenty of breathers as well.

                  • When the games are played matters. Georgia State comes after seven consecutive SEC teams (with a bye after the fifth game that corresponds with our next opponent’s bye). That’s not “plenty of breathers.” It’s a single breather that happens to be shorter than the breathers other teams enjoy. And considering it that is to ignore the whole reason the Tide wants it moved which has been stated several times already: routine matters and it breaks up routine.

                    Ask a hurdle jumper how much the placement of hurdles matters even if one of them is significantly shorter than the next. Even if you can step over that hurdle, if it’s too close to the next one, it changes the way you approach it.

                    • Hogbody Spradlin

                      Tidefan: You have a point in there somewhere, and I know this is partly ad hominem, but I think you’re straining to make a small point into something material. You started with the boxing analogy, which has a little merit, but the time frame is different. The Saban preparation routine doesn’t and shouldn’t hold water as an argument for accomodating Bama’s change requests; it might hold water as a valid explanation if Bama gets knocked off stride somewhere in all this.

                    • Hogbody, I’m not following you. It’s not valid as a reason why the schedule should be adjusted, but if they lose against Auburn, then it becomes valid? Seeing how the Auburn game played out last season seems enough evidence to justify trying to adjust this season. It’s important to note that in both last season and this one, Alabama opposed moving the Iron Bowl from Saturday to Friday, but were overruled by the TV contract.

                    • JasonC

                      I couldn’t reply to H.S.’s comments below (there wasn’t a reply button attached), but I agree. Facing the gauntlet of games Bama does is challenging, but messing up Saban’s “routine” is a pretty lame excuse. I mean, what kind of a coach is he that he can’t deal with a little adversity?

                    • Also, let’s not pretend there is any inconvenience being imposed on Georgia State here. They also are coming off a bye week, it’s the last game of their season, and they don’t have to make special arrangements for their stadium as they are playing in Tuscaloosa. Plus, the move increases the likelihood for them that the game will appear on some TV channel somewhere during a less contested time slot thus increasing exposure.

                      I’m just having a hard time understanding why there is such strong objection to Alabama wanting to give themselves an extra day of prep time before the Auburn game, when it’s been widely acknowledged that everyone else getting prep time before playing Alabama is an advantage.

                    • Jason, you at least acknowledge that being able to maintain his routine would be preferable, yes? And that moving the GSU game would allow for that? And that no actual inconvenience is being imposed on anyone to do so? Why the outrage?

                    • Tommy

                      The schedule’s been in place at least two years. Y’all just got around to getting whining about it at the 11th hour. Why is that anyone’s problem but Alabama’s?

                      Quit comparing this to other sports. A team with a roster of 125 scholarship players and walkons with 6-7 days of rest and preparation is completely different from a single hurdler with a second to anticipate the next jump. The fact that you keep hiding behind other analogies shows how flimsy your point has gotten.

                      You play an SEC slate, which we all play, you get a bye week, which we all get, and you get three cupcakes, which not all of us get. For God’s sake, would somebody in Tuscaloosa quit making excuses and just play the games?

  4. D.N. Nation

    I’m actually going to the Bama/Duke game. Should be an interesting little bloodbath. Cutcliffe might have better luck getting some of the guys next door in Cameron Indoor to come down and play.

  5. Chuck

    Bama saying that it needs to move the game is fake juice trying to make GSU look like a legitimate opponent instead of admitting that it was a game scheduled more as a favor to Curry than anything else.

    • No one believes anything other than the game is a favor from Mal Moore to Bill Curry (though why he owes him a favor, I’m not sure). The problem isn’t a question of how difficult the opponent is. It’s a matter of altering the preparation plans for the Auburn game. GSU could be playing with only ten players going both ways and only possessing five arms between them and it would still be something disrupting the game preparation for Auburn.

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        Didn’t Mal Moore carry a grudge for a few years in the 80′s, when he was passed over as head coach? If so, he’s aged nicely into a good AD.

  6. shane#1

    Paulus has left the building, so the b-ball guys can’t provide a QB for the Bama game. However, Smith at WR and the Plumlees at TE could give the Blue Devils some help. I don’t see how they could hurt. A little background on the Tech -Cumberland game. Cumberland had defeated Tech in baseball using pro players. All of their schollys were taken away. Cumberland asked Tech to cancel the upcoming football game because they were somewhat hampered by not having a team. Tech refused to cancel without being compensated. Not having a football team really reduced the football budget so Cumberland formed a team of student volunteers rather than pay Tech. Coach Heisman, [yes, that one], was still po-ed over his baseball team losing so he poured it on the student volunteers, very few of whom finished the game in one piece.

    • Wow. College athletics used to be a lot more interesting prior to the NCAA.

    • “Coach Heisman, [yes, that one], was still po-ed over his baseball team losing so he poured it on the student volunteers, very few of whom finished the game in one piece.”

      stay classy, University of Auburn…

  7. The Realist

    Why are Bama fans so defensive about the scheduling shenanigans? Whether it is excessive bye weeks or moving games less competitive than practices, Bama fans just seem to have the need to defend their team’s honor.

    Just play with the hand you are dealt… we already know you have built-in excuses in case you don’t win all of your games.

    Georgia plays a game against Tennessee the week after going all the way out to Colorado. Georgia played Alabama after going out to Arizona State. One team traveling across the country and having a major opponent the following week is just as bad as a schedule filled with teams that planned their bye weeks before they play you (get the hint, btw?).

    • Have you noticed that Bama fans are only responding to everyone else’s remarks? It’s no different for any other fanbase. Heck, on this very blog, offense was taken that the superlatives used to describe AJ Green were different than those used to describe Julio Jones in a piece that was in no way comparing the two.

      But we do have excuses on hand. We just don’t plan to fire our excuses at the end of the season.

      • Tommy

        “We just don’t plan to fire our excuses at the end of the season.”

        Um, yeah. How many coaches have y’all gone through this decade?

        • We’ve certainly had our share, and we did fire two of them. And one was as an excuse for losing. To be very clear here, though, I was not referring to Mark Richt, as that might be construed considering all the nonsense about him being on the hot seat. I’m referring to Willie Martinez, who was not great, but certainly took an inordinate amount of heat for giving up points when the offense put his defense in compromising positions.

          • Will

            “Inordinate amount of heat”? The man’s defenses got statistically worse every season he was at the helm. Don’t believe me? Look it up. He deserved the complaints, as we went from a defense first team (2002-2005) to an offense ONLY team (2006-2009). The talent level on D got worse every year, and the players were clearly under-coached. “Inordinate” my ass.

            • I’m not saying he was the answer at DC, or that he shouldn’t have been fired. Only that a lot of the “FIRE MARTINEZ!!!” vitriol often came after games where many of the points they gave up were on very short fields. Which gets away further from the point I was making: that when my program finds a reason for a loss, it’s a corrective action, but when yours does it it’s making excuses.

              • Tommy

                Firing Martinez was the definition of “a corrective action” and attempting to convince anyone here otherwise is the height of futility.

                • That’s the point, Tommy. I’m not trying to convince anyone it was a bad decision (as I stated). I’m simply pointing out that as fans, no one is willing to regard another team’s situation in the same light. For example, Alabama regards attempts to change the schedule as a corrective action. Everyone else says we’re just preparing excuses.

                  • Tommy

                    It’s one thing to look at the W/L ledger after several seasons and, in response, fire the coaches accountable for that ledger.

                    You guys were preemptively trying to change the schedule in anticipation of losses that have yet to occur.

                    I fail to see the comparison.

      • jeff

        Aw hell naw!

  8. shane#1

    tidefan, have you noticed how it did not pay one to screw around with the ledgendary coaches? Tech would get back into the SEC over Bear’s dead body. When the SEC decided to expand Bear was still very much alive and even though he wasn’t the coach he had been he still pulled a lot of weight in the SEC. No way were the Jackets getting back into that conference! Bear would not buy a gallon of gas or a sandwich in Atlanta. He talked about packing his “lunch bucket” any time he had to go to the ATL. ” I won’t spend one damn dollar in that town that I don’t have to.” BTW, Tech did not complete one pass in their slaughter of Cunmberland. Heisman pounded those guys with running plays all day long. If Cumberland had wanted a rematch I doubt they would have found any more volunteers!

    • Dog in Fla

      The SEC don’t need no stinkin’ quitters…unless, of course, Tulane or Sewanee wants to re-up. That way Vanderbilt football would no longer be at the bottom.

  9. shane#1

    Sorry guys, I had the time line wrong in my last post. Tech wanted to get back into the SEC before joining the ACC, not when ther SEC expanded. If we can fire excuses I want to fire getting old.

  10. shane#1

    Dog in Fla, maybe Mercer will field a football team again. My Dad played for the Bears.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      One of the biggest mistakes in college history was Mercer giving up football. Mercer would be a major college today if that had not happened. Might not be Miami or Notre Dame, but would be at least Duke or Vandy. I also think it would have improved Mercer’s academic status, having the notoriety of a major college football team.

  11. Well, that thread got rather long, didn’t it? To sum up what I was saying in case anyone is still interested in addressing it:

    1) Regardless of how small you regard maintaining routine, it’s at least recognized that maintaining routine is preferred to interrupting it.
    2) Moving the GSU game does not inconvenience anyone, and in fact could benefit GSU in small ways.
    3) There is nothing outrageous about attempting to move the GSU game. Why is no one decrying the moral impropriety of GSU coyly trying to milk the situation for more money? For the same reason that no one should be harrassing Alabama about trying to move the game — because they can.

    • Will

      I don’t care either way. Unless you’re a Tide fan, why in God’s name would you watch the game at all? And if you were a recruit, why would you want to watch GSU get obliterated by the great Saban?

      • If I weren’t a Tide fan, I would watch it because it’s football on TV. If a better game is on, then no, I probably don’t watch it. As far as why would a recruit watch it? If they are looking to play for GSU, I imagine they are looking for opportunities at playing time. To be honest, I just don’t know, but I do know that every small program cites “tv exposure” as a reason for lining up a sure loss. Perhaps it’s an easy way to demonstrate to potential recruits what type of offense and defense you’ll run so they can evaluate their fit in it. I’m pretty much just grasping here. I don’t know why they would, only that it’s pretty widely cited as a positive for the sacrificial lamb.

  12. Tide Fan…..don’t let these guys get to you buddy, they have never been in the arena.

  13. Dawgfan17

    Outside of the short week when playing AU shouldn’t Saban be happy that other teams have bye weeks before playing AL and his team doesn’t. I mean two weeks to prepare versus one puts them all out of their routine of having a week to prepare while Bama gets to keep its routine. Just a thought.

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  15. Tommy, you keep wanting to make this about an issue that has nothing to do with the topic of this post. But to address your notion that this schedule has been in place “for at least two years,” that’s false. The Auburn game was moved to Friday less than six months ago. This has nothing whatsoever to do with all the bye weeks Alabama’s opponents will face, other than the one Auburn gets while Alabama faces a short week. That’s it. You still have not explained why moving the GSU game to Thursday night is such a big deal.

  16. Sparrow

    I don’t really have much of a reason not to move the game to Thursday night… But I’m not buying the “routine” argument for 2 seconds. Bama could use 100% of their prep time leading up to GSU to get ready for Auburn. I don’t care if GSU runs the A-11, there is no way their athletes, knowledge, experience, etc. can do anything to remotely threaten Auburn. Here’s the thing: Alabama is really, really good at football and Georgia State is the opposite of that. I don’t really see how anything else matters.

    • Sparrow

      I really should review before posting. Replace “remotely threaten Auburn” with “remotely threaten BAMA”. No offense intended, I assure you.

    • Georgia State isn’t the issue, and the amount of time spent on them compared to Auburn isn’t the issue. Last season, Alabama prepared for Auburn instead of UTC during the week of the UTC game. The Tide still got past UTC with no issue just as they would if GSU had been preparing to play Alabama for a year and they told the Tide just the day before who they would be playing. But the routine of the week was changed. The players knew the game plan but the execution was lacking. Just like how your body reacts when you change your sleep and diet schedule. Actually, that’s not even an analogy so much as a direct correlation here.

  17. shane#1

    Dawg in FLA, Notre Dame? I think you are stretching it a little bit. My Dad said that the Mercer Bears would play UGA from time to time. In his words, “We would go up to Athens, get our butts whipped, get the check, and spend the rest of the weekend partying with our fraternity brothers at Ga.” So Notre Dame they weren’t.

  18. shane#1

    However, my Dad was a team mate of Wally Butts’!

  19. Aligator

    because saben is a douche …

    • The Realist

      I thought Urban was the douche… Are there multiple douches? Is there a doucheoisie in the SEC – a clan of douchey coaches? Do they have media days where they “address the media” by setting them ablaze with lasers that shoot from their eyes and disparaging their character until they weep?

      If so, I want tickets.