Daily Archives: June 9, 2011

“I’m still in a little shape.”

I don’t think it will ever be possible for Herschel Walker to get this old.

“I was happy they asked me to come back,” Walker said. “Sometimes I think people forget about you when you start getting old. I don’t know if I’m old or not, but you start getting old people forget about you.”

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14 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Terrelle Pryor’s lawyer has a dream.

Liberation!

Phillips: “Does Terrelle have any sort of anger or resentment he still holds against coach and the school?”

James: “No, not at all.  Not at all.  I think he understands that he made a mistake that he’s held accountable for.  He wishes he had some things to do over.  Irrespective of how harsh and idiotic we think some of the NCAA rules are they are still on the books.  You know, they had slavery for all those years.  Those rules are still on the books and courts uphold them so until we bring the right lawsuit to go after the NCAA on some of these issues, they stand.”

Horowitz: “And is that something you’re currently working on?”

James: “I am definitely reviewing it.”

Phillips: “Which issues are the ones that you think are the most closely related to slavery?  That connection seemed odd to me.”

James: “Well, you’ve got a captured system here in college football.  It’s mandated, it’s dictated.  The student-athletes have no rights, they have no relief.  It’s an archaic, draconian process by which you are basically financed for about nine and a half months of your school year and then you’re to find the money for whatever else is left [of] your expenses.  You live in basically poverty through that time period and you’re making a million dollars for institutions.”

Blutarsky’s First Rule of College Athletics Rhetoric:  if you manage to blurt out something which has the effect of making me feel more sympathetic towards the NCAA than your client, you’ve failed.

Basically.

22 Comments

Filed under College Football, General Idiocy, The NCAA

Are they experienced?

If you had to reduce the common perception of their 2011 prospects to soundbites, I think it would be to describe Georgia as a program whose coach is on the hot seat and Tennessee as a program that’s a least a year away from being a serious contender in the SEC East.  (For the latest confirmation of those, see Edward Aschoff’s and Chris Low’s picks for most likely conference upsets this season.)  One implication from that is the Vols’ talent base is markedly greener than Georgia’s; because his team is much less experienced, no one is expecting that Dooley’s team’s won-loss record should be as good as Richt’s.  (Before you go there, “should” isn’t the same thing as “will”.)

But is that really the case?  Two charts from Phil Steele seem to show that the experience gap between the two isn’t as great as the conventional wisdom makes it sound.

The first is his Combined Experience Chart.  Steele looks at the quality of each team’s returning seniors through a number of prisms and assigns a total which he labels “experience points”.  The 2011 numbers range from a high of SMU’s 90.5 to Auburn’s low of 25.4.  Georgia’s score is 60.8; Tennessee’s is 58.9.  That’s a gap of less than two points, which hardly seems that significant.  (Put it this way:  the gap between Georgia and South Carolina, a team the pundits believe Georgia should compete with this season, is almost six points.)

If you want to look at something more than just seniors, there’s a more broad-based measurement to compare in Steele’s breakdown of starters by class.  You can read his method at the link, but again, he ranks teams by points ranging from a high of 94 (Air Force) to a low of 38 (Auburn, once again).  Georgia and Tennessee find themselves scored even more closely by this metric, as Georgia (54) has only one point more than UT (53) does.  (South Carolina, for comparison’s sake, scored a 58.)

Now you can argue that the difference in perception is justified by a talent gap more than an experience gap, but I’m not sure how being “still a year away” fits in with that, as Tennessee’s incoming class isn’t considered more talented than Georgia’s.  So my question is simple:  is Dooley getting something of a pass on this, or are people expecting more out of Richt than is justified?

21 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

Competitive advantage and hoisted petards

I’ve said all along that my dislike of oversigning arises from the mistreatment of recruits and student-athletes.  I’ve always believed the concern over competitive advantage to be a crock, basically, no matter what coaches might say.  (Anybody really think Ole Miss is going to be a powerhouse program this season?  Bueller?  Bueller?)

So you can imagine my reaction to John Pennington’s analysis of exactly that point.

… Let’s sum all this up, shall we?  Many Big Ten backers claim that oversigning is the work of the devil because it’s the only thing keeping the Big Ten from competing with the SEC.

However, when you look at the numbers, you find that the number of signees has very little to do with the number of wins a program rolls up.  Is there some advantage?  Sure.  SEC teams from 2002 through 2010 averaged 3.42 signees per victory.  Big Ten teams average 3.11 signees over the same period.  Hardly the night and day difference one would expect.

But while oversigning isn’t the magic bullet Big Ten fans would want you to believe, things like local talent base, tradition and spending serve as tried and true differentiators.

We at MrSEC.com aren’t fans of oversigning.  As noted above, we would have no problem if every school went to a hard cap at 25.

But the argument that oversigning is the difference between the SEC and the Big Ten?  Well, that doesn’t hold water.  And as you can see above, that argument doesn’t even hold water when you make comparisons within the same conference.

In theory, signing more players than your neighbor should be a big advantage.  But in reality, it’s not.

In other words, there’s all kinds of competitive advantage out there in the world of college football, just not where the people screaming about oversigning believe them to be.  Surprise, surprise.

The punchline is where Pennington sourced his data.

Using the numbers provided by the site Oversigning.com, we examine the 2002 through 2010 seasons in the SEC and Big Ten.  If the theory is, “The SEC is better than the Big Ten because they sign more players each year,” then the same must hold true when applied at a smaller level.  So, when looking at the SEC and Big Ten in those nine seasons, the teams that signed the most players should be the teams with the best records.  After all, if oversigning is the difference between Alabama and Northwestern, then it should also prove to be the difference between Florida and Mississippi State and between Ohio State and Purdue.

Read the whole post.

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UPDATE:  Michael Elkon isn’t convinced by Pennington’s argument, but does make this point.

… The teams that have the greatest incentive to oversign are the middle class or lower class programs that struggle to recruit top players and therefore have to make up with quantity what they cannot acquire in quality.  Thus, we would expect that the most successful teams in the conference would not oversign because they don’t have to do so.

Assuming for the sake of argument that such programs are handling their oversigning protocols ethically, the question I’ve got is why we should care about this.  If Ole Miss makes its program more competitive against the rest of the conference and no student-athletes/recruits are harmed in the making of the film, so to speak, isn’t that a good thing?

I think Elkon concedes that when he writes,

Where Big Ten fans have a point is here: as between elite programs, oversigning is an advantage.  It’s one thing for Ohio State to play Arkansas, a team with a limited recruiting base and a medium recruiting profile.  Ohio State has numerous advantages over Arkansas, so all things being equal, Ohio State should expect to bring more talent to the table.  It’s another thing for Ohio State to play LSU or Alabama – teams with similar profiles and recruiting bases – and then to have to deal with the Tide and Tigers having the extra advantage of their coaches having signed more players and cut guys who did not pan out.  This has always been my point about oversigning: LSU and Alabama have no business engaging in the practice and they deserve the media criticism they get on the subject.

I don’t get why Les Miles oversigns either, but I don’t know how you can fashion a rule that says one thing’s okay for a middle-tier program and not for Nick Saban.  And if you enact a blanket prohibition against oversigning, will Saban and Miles run programs which are any less dominating over the likes of Nutt’s?  I doubt it.

25 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

Be still, Taggart, be still.

After reading Jon Solomon’s epic review of the current state of the SEC’s TV deals, it’s hard to find anyone involved who’s not trying to figure out an angle for better advantage.  Just ask Jeremy Foley:

… What might the SEC be interested in?

“That’s up to the commissioner,” Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Fo­ley said, smiling. “His mind’s always whirling.”

Whirling with transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention, perhaps?

7 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

Go, you Hartford Colonials!

Dan Shanoff has an idea worth trying that’s so sensible it’ll never see the light of day.

If the UFL actually thinks that bringing in Terrelle Pryor alone will juice interest in the largely hapless fledgling football minor league — or if fans actually would have an interest (even passing interest) in the UFL if it did sign a known college star like Pryor — then it makes it all the more obvious what the UFL’s optimal strategy should be:

Undercut the NFL’s draft age-restriction by two years, then recruit star college players after their freshmen and sophomore years directly into the UFL, to spend one or two years getting paid to hone their NFL skills until they are draft-eligible in the NFL.

We’ve been over this before: If the UFL could promise some money and, perhaps more importantly, a full-time focus on maximizing the players’ draft prospects (and, ultimately, their long-term NFL prospects), they could not only bring in the “name” players that would increase interest in the league, but ultimately position itself as a viable development pipeline for NFL talent.

On the surface, it’s a win-win:  players who don’t want to be in school get paid (by teams in an existing league with an existing infrastructure, mind you) and it siphons off a considerable amount of pressure on the NCAA’s amateurism standards.  The catch, as Shanoff notes, is whether players like Pryor would be enough of a commercial draw to make the concept work.  But even if they weren’t, we’d learn something useful about which parties bring value to the table in the world of college football.

8 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness

Of course he would.

That’s mighty big of him:  Fulmer tells ESPN that he’s “open to discussing” the Tennessee AD job.

I’m sure that clears up a lot of uncertainty people in Knoxville had about whether he was interested in the position.

7 Comments

Filed under The Glass is Half Fulmer

Of course he did.

Trooper Taylor chest bumps the President.

Ain't no thang, dog.

The only move that would have made the moment even classier would have been for Trooper to place a baseball cap backwards on Obama’s head.  I can’t believe he left that on the table.

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UPDATE:  The video is even more glorious awkward than I anticipated.

43 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands