Monthly Archives: November 2010

My Week Thirteen Mumme Poll ballot

  • Arkansas
  • Auburn
  • Boise State
  • Missouri
  • Ohio State
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Stanford
  • TCU
  • Wisconsin


  • My ballot is full of equivocation and second thoughts this week.  For example, I still think Oregon is the best team in the country, but I’m not so sure the Ducks will beat Auburn in the title game should they face off.
  • Curse you, Big Ten, for your stupid scheduling.  At least that’s something that’ll change next year.  In the meantime, it cost Michigan State a spot in my top ten.
  • If Ohio State (Sagarin #64 SOS) and Wisconsin (Sagarin #71 SOS) deserve to be on my ballot, then so does Boise State (Sagarin #62 SOS).  Take that, Gordon Gee.
  • But Nevada still doesn’t.
  • Still missing:  ACC and Big East.
  • This ballot took a while longer than the last few weeks’ to construct.  Call it 35 minutes.
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Filed under Mumme Poll

SEC Power Poll, Week 13

As the regular season is over, I thought I’d spice my last power poll up with a look at how every team did in net yards per conference game.  There should be a rough correlation between net yardage and wins/losses.  That’s a little distorted this season, as eight teams finished in positive territory, thanks to a truly egregious number racked up by Vanderbilt.

  1. Auburn (+91.70). Can you say team of destiny?  I thought you could.
  2. Arkansas (+101.4). They got better as the season went along.  With apologies to Gus Malzahn, Bobby Petrino is the best offensive mind in the SEC.
  3. LSU (+39.6). Les says some strange things and may have a few clock management issues, but as the net yardage number indicates, he can coach a little.
  4. Alabama (+62.0). Coach Saban, Coach Saban.  You had the tape of the Georgia game and you still decided to take your foot off the gas against Auburn.  Big mistake.
  5. South Carolina (+38.8). Closed with a great November, which is unusual for the Gamecocks.  The Chicken Curse may indeed be dead.
  6. Mississippi State (-36.5). Classic overachiever story.  Dan Mullen squeezed every drop he could out of his players this season.
  7. Georgia (+27.2). Really, almost a coin toss with Florida here.  The Dawgs get the nod because their finish wasn’t as abysmal as the Gators’ was.
  8. Florida (+42.2). Yesterday, Mark Bradley referred to Urban Meyer as “my role model in all things”.  That explains a lot.  There’s no way this team should have finished with four conferences losses, or as badly as it did.
  9. Tennessee (-52.3). Call ‘em Kings of the Dipshits, if you’d prefer.  But as poor as that net yardage number is, the Vols still finished with more conference wins than any of the last three teams on this list (and beat two of them).
  10. Kentucky (+6.0). They were one Marcus Lattimore injury away from having a completely forgettable season.  Not an auspicious start for Joker Phillips’ head coaching career.
  11. Mississippi (-74.9). I don’t think Dan Mullen started the Houston Nutt-to-Colorado rumors that surfaced yesterday, but you can be damned sure he’ll be mentioning them on the recruiting trail this week.
  12. Vanderbilt (-245.4). Twelfth place with a thud.  And, yes, that net yardage number is epically bad.  No, make that apocalyptically bad.


Filed under SEC Football

Observations from the 35, Tech edition

Okay, so it wasn’t the prettiest of games – after the third fumble in the space of two-and-a-half minutes, you’d be excused if you wondered if either wanted to win the sucker – but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Georgia has now won nine of the last ten games in the series, which is as dominant a stretch as a Georgia fan will likely ever see.

Even better, those last two wins were delivered by the two worst teams of the Richt era.  So, good times, people.

Speaking of which, how badass was it seeing Samuel L. Jackson decked out in red before the game on the big screen?  The only thing better would have been him delivering a little righteous Ezekiel 25:17 on Tech’s butt.

Anyway, on to the game:

  • At the start, the joint was rocking as Tech kicked off.  Unfortunately, Chapas’ mishandling of the kick sucked all the oxygen out of the place.
  • The defensive line simply got destroyed for most of the night.  It’s commonly thought that the first thing a defense has to do to stop the triple option is to shut down the dive play and that didn’t happen.  The greatest recruiting priority Georgia has in this offseason is to find some viable options for the defensive line.
  • The other member of the defense who got blown up most of the evening was Branden Smith, who was taken out of every outside play run to his side (and Tech went out of its way to find him) with ease.  The option is hard enough to defend playing eleven on eleven.  How bad was it?  Grantham had no choice but to pull Smith and replace him with Jakar Hamilton – and the outside coverage improved.
  • Needless to say, Justin Houston had a tremendous game, not just with the turnovers, but also in playing the quarterback on the option.  Too bad his support on the pitch man was spotty.
  • I thought Brandon Boykin had a good game on defense, with one spectacular play when he tossed off the blocker and blew up an outside pitch for a loss.
  • Yeah, in hindsight, it would have been nice if Washaun had taken a knee at the one after Tech’s defense let him run through untouched for the last score.  But why wasn’t Georgia in victory formation there in the first place?  There was only about 1:30 left in the game at that point and Tech had no timeouts left.  Three running plays (if Richt didn’t want to risk a field goal) would have delivered the ball back to Tech deep in their territory with only a few seconds remaining.
  • I’m not going to link to today’s Mark Bradley fellatio-fest extolling Paul Johnson’s coaching genius, but you wanna bet that Johnson would have liked a mulligan on his fourth down decision to go for it on Tech’s first drive after Chapas screwed up the opening kickoff?  Those three points he passed up sure would have come in handy at the end of the game.
  • As big as the Houston fumble recovery for a touchdown was, don’t forget that it was set up by a tremendous effort from Alec Ogletree on the first down pass attempt to Stephen Hill.  That may have been the best play I’ve seen from a Georgia safety in pass coverage all season.
  • I really, truly hope that Isaiah Crowell enjoyed himself last night.  Georgia’s second biggest personnel need is a game-breaking tailback to complement Aaron Murray.
  • Nice save, Marlon Brown.
  • Caleb King, you’re supposed to follow Chapas when he’s your lead blocker clearing traffic, not turn into the line where all the, you know, tacklers are.
  • Man, that touchdown pass to Orson Charles was a thing of beauty.
  • Georgia did an excellent job bottling up Tech’s kickoff return team.  Other than that, special teams play was hardly that.  Although at least Blair Walsh didn’t, um, you know what.
  • And the defense wasn’t burned on the wheel route.


Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

Mike Bobo, international man of mystery

Last night I saw everything about Mike Bobo that’s driven me crazy all season.

Let’s start with the easiest part.  Bobo and Belin are the two best position coaches on the staff.  The job Bobo has done with Aaron Murray this season is nothing less than phenomenal.  Murray finished last night with an otherworldly passer rating of 250.86.  He didn’t throw an interception in his last three regular season games.  Barring injury, when all is said and done in 2010, he’s likely to surpass 3,000 passing yards and has a legitimate shot at setting a new season passing TD record at Georgia.

Nationally, his accomplishments are dazzling for a redshirt freshman:  ninth in passer rating, top thirty in passing yards per game, top thirty-five in total offense per game and top thirty in points per game.  He accomplished all that despite ranking only sixty-seventh in the country in passing completions per game.

It’s not just the cold, hard numbers, either.  The two touchdown passes Murray threw to the tight ends last night showed him to be one cool customer, buying time in the pocket waiting for a receiver to come open and putting throws right on the money for the score.  The toss to Figgins was particularly impressive.

What was he, the fourth option on that play?  It’s play like that which makes me slightly less concerned about next year’s offense post-A.J.

Anyway, all this praise has a point.  Mike Bobo has done a whale of a job with a kid whom a decent chunk of the fan base was ready to demote after the G-Day game.  That’s nothing to be sneered at.

Which makes Mike Bobo the playcaller all the more frustrating to watch.  When I checked the game stats in the parking lot after the game, the number that jumped out was 14.3 – the average yards per passing attempt.  (Not per completion, per attempt.)  In other words, every time Murray looked downfield, the odds were good his team was going to get a first down.  As was the case with Auburn two weeks ago, the Tech secondary simply wasn’t capable of handling Georgia’s passing game.  Bobo deserves credit for taking advantage of that.  Georgia’s longest scoring drive of the night took all of 4:26 to run; it was the only score that took more than three minutes to carry out.

And yet… and yet, as we’ve seen so many times this season, Bobo hits these inexplicable stretches where he can’t stand success.  The first half would-be scoring drive that stalled when Georgia couldn’t convert the fourth-and-short, the drive which took four running plays and two time outs to pick up a measly six yards to put Georgia up 28-21 (all that after Tech proved it simply couldn’t cover A.J. on three straight completions to open the drive) and, most inexcusable of all, the patented three-and-out series in the fourth quarter – all of that was both utterly predictable and maddening to watch at the same time.

Am I nitpicking here?  Maybe I would be, except that in a game in which Georgia Tech ran a whopping 92 offensive plays to Georgia’s 48, every call was precious.  Once it was clear that Georgia’s defensive line couldn’t stop the dive play, Paul Johnson’s offense was going to get its yards.  It was also clear that Georgia’s defense was gassed in the fourth quarter (how could in not be?).  Georgia averaged a better than decent 5.3 yards per rush, but so what?  When the downfield passing game was getting as little resistance as it was and when the quarterback whom you’ve done a first-rate job of developing is having his game of the season, only throwing the ball 19 times, compared to 29 rushing calls, is doing a poor job of utilizing your resources.

I believe Bobo has it in him to be an excellent offensive coordinator, I really do.  But he’s not going to get there unless he comes to realize that balance in and of itself doesn’t win football games.  Balance is nothing but a means to an end.  Last night, just like two weeks ago, Georgia’s defense desperately needed the offense to keep its foot on the gas.  There’s no reason that couldn’t have happened except for the caution of the driver.


Filed under Georgia Football

Game day thoughts: Grantham vs. Johnson

I’m on my way up for what I expect will be a long, chilly day (and night) in Athens, so for a game day thread, I leave you with what Phil Steele expects to see:

Georgia vs Georgia Tech-The Bulldogs new 3-4 defense has had mixed results this season and the last 6 games have proven that as they have held 4 opponents to under 75 rush yds while in the other two games they allowed 231 and 318 rush yds. This week they take on the nation’s #1 run offense in Georgia Tech but Georgia has several things in their favor. First, they have had an extra week to prepare for the option and last year they held GT to 205 rush yds (more than 100 yds below their ssn avg). They also need a win to clinch a bowl bid and possibly save HC Richt’s job. GT is playing with a backup QB and I think the Bulldogs hold the Yellow Jackets well below their season averages.

After you read that, go back and check out DrB’s post at Shakin the Southland about the Tech-Clemson game.  Todd Grantham’s job tonight begins with defending the dive play and likely ends with finding a way to involve Justin Houston in shutting Tech’s offense down.  I expect Paul Johnson to run away from Georgia’s best defender as much as possible; it’ll be up to Grantham to figure out how to move Houston around to thwart Johnson’s game planning.  It should make for a great chess match.


Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

I know nothink! Nothink!


This is not a picture of Auburn’s assistant athletic director for media relations. Really.


The biggest win in Auburn’s recent history, an incredible comeback led by its likely Heisman Trophy candidate – who doesn’t speak to the media about the victory after the game.  How come?

Nobody really seems to know, actually.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on,” Auburn wide receiver Emory Blake said.

Give credit to Blake for at least being honest about Newton, who also completed 13 of 20 passes for 216 yards and ran for 39 yards against Alabama’s physical defense. His teammates are apparently in denial about Newton and why he’s not talking to the media.

“I don’t know what’s going on with that,” Auburn tailback Michael Dyer said.

“I have no idea about any of that stuff,” Auburn defensive lineman Zach Clayton said. “That’s between him and the coaches.”

So, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, what’s the reason for Newton’s silence?

“I don’t know,” Malzahn said. “You’d have to ask somebody else that. Don’t ask me.”

How about Kirk Sampson, Auburn’s assistant athletic director for media relations? He initially claimed to be the sacrificial lamb for Newton’s media absence and said it was his decision that Newton not talk.

He then backtracked and declared that he is only “part of the decision-making process.”

“I don’t know what the official explanation would be,” Sampson said.

I’m surprised nobody tossed out the “Cam does his talking on the field” cliché.  Maybe they’re holding that in reserve for the SECCG.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Looking at the Iron Bowl through red and black colored glasses

It was a fantastic game to watch, even if I didn’t care which team won.  I did have two Dawg-related thoughts, though, as the game progressed:

  • Give Todd Grantham Kirby Smart’s defensive line and I bet he looks a lot smarter this season.
  • Why isn’t the three-step drop slant pass which ‘Bama used successfully in the first half in Bobo’s playbook?  Between Murray’s quick release and Green’s ability on the move, that would be a devastating play to call against the blitz.


Filed under Georgia Football

Kiffin watch: biting the hand

Sounds like Junior and his old boss aren’t exactly letting bygones be bygones:

… Kiffin was asked Thursday about Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd, who is the Irish’s leading receiver with 62 catches and only three touchdown passes away from breaking the school’s career record.

“The last time I was here (as an assistant coach), he said USC was his dream school,” Kiffin said. “He’s a classic big, dominant receiver.”

So why didn’t Floyd come to USC?

“I wasn’t here,” Kiffin said.

The fact Kiffin even mentioned Floyd wanted to come to USC made up for an incident earlier in the year, when Carroll was recorded having a conversation with Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester during warm-ups. Hester asked Carroll why USC failed to recruit him?

“Ask Lane Kiffin,” Carroll replied.

Carroll also told Hester that Kiffin recruited the area (Florida) where Hester went to high school…

Ol’ Pete must be mistaken.  Nothing is ever truly the Laner’s fault… unless there’s a benefit to it.


Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin

Close call

Bill Connelly goes back and tries to figure out what made the Georgia-Kentucky game such a blow-out, or, as he puts it, “(h)ow does a 13-point victory over an average team rank as one of the season’s best performances (and help to vault Georgia into last week’s Weighted S&P+ Top 10)?”

Basically, the answer is that Kentucky did virtually all its damage in garbage time.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

What passes for my Iron Bowl insight

Although ‘Bama is favored today, there are a number of pundits who like Auburn’s chances to win.  What’s interesting to me is that the vast majority of those folks, like Stewart Mandel, think that in doing so, Ted Roof’s defense is going to hold Alabama to around 28 points.  Considering that Auburn has yielded more than thirty points to three teams which have had less success scoring this season than the Tide, how realistic is that?


UPDATE: I have to give credit where credit is due.  Who knew Jim McElwain would decide to channel his inner Mike Bobo today?


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Nick Saban Rules