Daily Archives: November 28, 2011

Reality check

Suddenly, the situation dawned on Bacarri Rambo:

Georgia is keeping its regular schedule this week, and so that meant a run-through on Monday night – despite the near-freezing temperature and occasional rain.

But safety Bacarri Rambo said he didn’t mind that at all.

“I just realized that football season is over with for some teams,” he said. “Last year at this time we’d be just chilling, going to school right now. But we’re preparing for the SEC championship. I just realized that the other 10 teams in the SEC, they’re just chilling, going to school. I didn’t even realize that. Until today that didn’t hit me.”

That’s okay, man.  It’s been a while since you guys have had to change your routine.  Hopefully it won’t be a surprise next year.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Perseverance pays: first SECCG week thoughts

I really, really like Groo’s take on what the winning streak means.

… As Saturday wound down, this was the question on my mind: was South Carolina’s 16-13 loss to Auburn the most shocking SEC regular season outcome in 2011? The Tigers lost to Alabama, LSU, Georgia, and Arkansas by a combined 170-45. None of those teams scored fewer than 38 points, none gave up more than 14 points, and none won by fewer than 24 points. South Carolina picked a bad time to have a poor game against a team that was a whipping boy for the rest of the top of the league. What’s more, they flopped at home and with Lattimore and Garcia in the lineup.

That Gamecock performance against Auburn is a good illustration why it’s so hard for any team to sustain winning over the course of a season. On any day, your starting quarterback can go 9-for-23, or your stout defense can give up 141 yards to a good tailback that didn’t manage but 67 YPG against the top four teams in the league. If Georgia had one of those games against, say, Florida, they were able to find a way to overcome it and still win. That’s why Georgia is representing the East this week, and they deserve to do so.

Was Georgia fortunate to avoid the big dogs of the West?  No doubt.  But that’s not the same thing as saying it was lucky to win the East.  Luck doesn’t account for 10-game winning streaks.  Not in this conference.  This team put in the work and ground it out week after week.  This trip to Atlanta has been fully paid for.

Okay, that’s the uplifting part.  The reward for all that is playing the best team in the country.  You don’t have to check the stats to confirm that, just the schedule.  LSU is the only team in the country with three wins over Sagarin’s top ten ranked schools.  No other team in the country has more than one.  But, yeah, since I mentioned the stats, consider this:  the SEC keeps a statistical ranking comparison at its official site of fifteen key stats and LSU leads Georgia in eleven of them.

More sobering information – Georgia is the fifth biggest underdog in the history of the SECCG.  As Marc Weiszer notes, “(t)he favorite has a 15-4 overall record is 8-9-2 against the spread…”

So it’s fair to say that I approach this game with a certain amount of trepidation.  But that’s just me.  The one huge advantage these Dawgs have going into this game is that they can afford to play without an ounce of fear in their hearts.  They have nothing left to prove at this point other than being deserving of sharing the field with the Western Division champs.

I don’t mean that in the sense that LSU is going to be burdened in some way by what’s at stake.  If there’s any team in the country which has proven its big game mettle this season, it’s LSU.

What I mean is that this is a game in which Georgia shouldn’t be burdened by timidity and uncertainty.  There’s no reason to wave Logan Gray out there to fair catch punts.  Richt doesn’t have to send a message to his team that they have to be tougher on third-and-short if they don’t want him calling for a field goal early against a CUSA squad in a meaningless bowl game.  No, they’ve proved themselves by regrouping and clawing their way into the title game.  They’ve accomplished their primary preseason goal.  In a sense, they’re playing with house money now.  They can afford to be a little loose.

That’s not the same thing as being reckless.  There’s nothing wrong with a bit of prudence when you’re playing a Miles-coached team.  Given Georgia’s special teams’ issues, guarding against a little trickeration in a tight game seems a wise move.  But that’s far from the same thing as trying to avoid the worst possible outcome of every play instead of trusting your players and coaches to make the right move and execute it.  This team has learned a lot about itself over the last ten games.  Now’s the time to apply those lessons.

It wouldn’t hurt if Isaiah Crowell were healthy for the entire game, either.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“If it’s what Urban wants, I’m happy for him.”

I strongly doubt this has even a snowball’s chance in hell of happening, but damn, would I love it if it did.

54 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Mama, I got dem cosmic rematch blues.

Honestly, I’m not getting some of the anger being directed towards LSU and Alabama potentially facing off again in the BCS title game.  Check out this tweet from Chris Fowler:

Defend that?  If LSU and Alabama are the two best teams in the country, what’s to defend?  Isn’t that what the BCS is supposed to do, match the two top teams in its rankings?

Note I’m not defending the method that goes into ranking ‘Bama and the Tigers at the top.  And this isn’t a BCS/playoffs debate.  All I’m going after here is why Fowler and others think it’s a big deal that this weekend’s games may not impact the BCS title game.  As this AP voter put it,

“Honestly I don’t get all of the venom toward a rematch,” said AP poll voter Jeremy Sampson from WILX-TV in Lansing, Mich. “Isn’t the whole idea to have the two best teams play for the title? Clearly these (LSU and Alabama) are the two best teams in the country. I just hope we see a touchdown scored in the National title game.”

Besides, I’m not entirely sure about the premise.  Here’s something intriguing that Jerry Palm wrote the other day:

… One thing that baffles me is the notion that we will have an LSU-Alabama rematch for the BCS title no matter what happens next week.  That’s silly.  There is no justification for rematching those teams if Georgia wins the SEC.  If there is going to be a rematch at that point, it should be Georgia-LSU, not Alabama-LSU.  Alabama would have won nothing.  Not the division, not the league, nothing.  I realize that is true even if LSU wins the SEC, but it’s a lot easier to make the case that the Tide is the second best team in the league (and country) if only one team was more successful than them in conference play[Emphasis added.]

For the record, I’ve always thought the suggestion that you have to win your conference to play in the national title game was silly.  It’s not in the rules, not every league has divisional play, the Big Ten until this season had neither divisional nor round robin play, Notre Dame doesn’t even play in a conference, etc.  If Alabama and LSU are the two best teams in the nation and the system is committed to having a title game matching #1 and #2, then you have to let them play, rematch or not.

Before anyone goes there, I don’t say that because of what happened to Georgia in ’07.  I didn’t think it was wrong for Georgia to fail to make the title game, just that it was wrong for Herbstreit to argue that Georgia should be disqualified for consideration due to it not being the conference champ.

And I hope this isn’t some backdoor this-is-why-we-need-a-playoff argument, either.  Because the only difference between a playoff scenario and what’s going on right now is that in the case of the former, Fowler’s network would be spending this entire week speculating about how the upcoming games could affect seeding in the first round of the postseason.  I get enough of that from ESPN in March.  Thanks, but I’d rather listen to the bitching about whether Alabama really is the second-best team in the country right now.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football

Winning the double positive, Georgia Tech edition

Here’s something I posted last week:

… After the opener, Georgia hasn’t lost a game in which it’s come out ahead in explosive plays and not finished behind in turnovers.  Given Georgia Tech’s undeniable prowess in explosive plays (now there’s something for you to fixate on, Yellow Jacket stat freaks), focusing on those may very well be job one for Bobo and Grantham.

So how did things turn out?  Pretty darned well, thanks for asking.  The Dawgs finished +1 in turnover margin.  They lost the explosive plays fight 11-8, but if you dig a little deeper, that’s not the whole story.  Georgia finished the third quarter (by which time the game was over for all intents and purposes) ahead 8-7; Tech won that battle in garbage time.  Mission accomplished, in other words.

Now if Georgia can do that this week…

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Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

Monday morning buffet

Dig in.  Everything tastes good this week.

  • Pat Forde flays Urban Meyer’s credibility.
  • The NCAA is opening a real Pandora’s Box with its Penn State inquiry.  Not that I’d expect anything less from Mark Emmert.
  • Illinois becomes the first team in D-1 history to open the season with six wins and finish with six losses; the Zooker is canned and essentially calls the disastrous end a flesh wound.
  • The Florida Gators are anything but all in right now.
  • Girl, do you eat with that finger?
  • If Mike Leach can’t land a coaching job this offseason, he never will.
  • “If we don’t give away points, there’s no way they can beat us.” – Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones to the Associated Press, about LSU in Saturday’s SEC title game.  (Makes a nice bookend with Tech’s Julian Burnett’s quote a few paragraphs down.)
  • Missouri is about to find out with its move to the SEC that it has to spend money to make money.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, It's Just Bidness, Mike Leach. Yar!, SEC Football, The Adventures of Zook, The NCAA, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Dawg Stat Watch, Week 13

And so we reach the end of another regular season – at least as far as pre-SECCG regular seasons go – and the final DSW is in the books.

Here’s how they wrapped things up:

  1. Hold opponents under 17 points per game.  As a team, Georgia is yielding 17.8 ppg.
  2. Finish at least +8 in turnover margin.  Georgia’s turnover margin is +10.
  3. Average better than 380 yards per game on offense.  Georgia’s offense is averaging 423.7 ypg.
  4. Finish in the top five in total defensive yardage.  Georgia’s defense ranks fourth in total defense.
  5. Finish in the top three in first downs.  Georgia is second in first downs.
  6. Finish no worse than third in passing yardage.  Georgia is second in passing yardage.
  7. Finish no worse than third in sacks.  Georgia is second in sacks.

They hit the target in every category but one, so next year’s DSW will see a slight change to defensive scoring.  It’s just nice there’s a reason to have to do that.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

SEC Power Poll, Week 13

With this last regular season power poll, I’m going to repeat something I did last year and include the net conference per game yardage numbers for each team.  There should be a rough correlation between the net numbers and won-loss records.

  1. LSU (12-0, 8-0) [+167.1 ypg].  First, the Tigers won the Arkansas game.  Then Les Miles won the postgame.
  2. Alabama (11-1, 7-1) [+233.5 ypg].  Nice of Nick Saban to recognize LSU as “probably” the best team in the country, don’t you think?
  3. Arkansas (10-2, 6-2)[+37.9 ypg].  It’s tempting to drop the Hogs behind Georgia, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt from the schedule.
  4. Georgia (10-2, 7-1)[+155.0 ypg].  The gaudy net yardage number suggests the Dawgs deserve more credit for their record than they’re getting.
  5. South Carolina (10-2, 6-2)[+82.3 ypg].  Spurrier’s happy with that tenth win, but it’s the Auburn loss that’s going to stick with him in the offseason.
  6. Auburn (7-5, 4-4) [-93.9 ypg].  At first glance, you might argue they overachieved, but the reality is that the Tigers started off decently and faded badly.
  7. Florida (6-6, 3-5) [-39.0 ypg].  Speaking of starting off decently and fading badly, the Gators’ offense scored more than one touchdown in only one of its last six conference games.
  8. Vanderbilt (6-6, 2-6) [-28.5 ypg].  Vanderbilt improved its net yards per conference game by more than 200 yards from last season.  It’s too bad James Franklin lets his antics get in the way of the great coaching job he’s done this year.
  9. Mississippi State (6-6, 2-6)[-61.2 ypg].  I think it’s safe to say the bloom has worn off the Dan Mullen rose a bit.
  10. Kentucky (5-7, 2-6)[-182.8 ypg].  Will Matt Roark be the SEC offensive player of the week?
  11. Tennessee (5-7, 1-7)[-97.5 ypg].  An ugly loss to Kentucky caps the Vols’ first back-to-back losing seasons since 1911.
  12. Mississippi (2-10,0-8)[-174.2 ypg].  Is Ole Miss still in the league?

Was the SEC weaker this season?  Not exactly.  A better way to describe the conference would be to say that it was less balanced than last year.  Only five schools had positive net yardage numbers in SEC play, compared to eight in 2010.  No school was as bad as Vanderbilt was a year ago, but three schools posted better net yardage numbers than the top rate last year (and Alabama more than doubled it).

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Filed under SEC Football