Nick Saban defends a college football playoff format with the four highest ranked teams because there isn’t sufficient parity between the conferences. He’s right about that. But here’s the part of what he had to say that I found interesting:
Saban also used parallels with the NFL’s and college basketball’s respective playoff models to defend his point…
“I think the same thing in basketball. Last year, Kentucky and North Carolina played early on and one of them beat the other. And nobody cared. Everybody’s looking forward to them playing again but in college football, if that happens, it’s like ‘How did this happen? This can’t be.’”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but that sounds like he just described college football’s meaningful regular season.
Let bygones be bygones.
“But to me, again, I’m a very emotional, passionate guy. This is personal to me. But on the same hand I’m a guy who once things happen I move on. I have tremendous respect for coach Richt and that program. I have respect for coach Grantham as well and what he’s trying to do. I think coach Grantham was trying to do everything he could to support his players and show them that he had his back. And I was doing the same. And those things happen from time to time.”
I don’t expect this year’s Sanford Stadium crowd to be so understanding.
The latest exercise in futility in creating the new postseason comes in reaction to this:
While site issue is one of many yet to be resolved in the playoff discussion, this development does point out that the commissioners are sensitive to the fairness issue.
They do not want the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds having to “go on the road” in the semifinals. In other words, if the Sugar Bowl were anchored in advance to be a semifinal site, it would be possible that a No. 4 seed – say, LSU – would have the home-field advantage playing the No. 1-seeded opponent in the Superdome.
The discussion seems to center around the SEC and the Sugar Bowl. The conference has the most rabid fan following and its teams are in the closest proximity to New Orleans than the other conferences are to other major bowls. The Sugar Bowl has had a formal agreement to take the SEC champion since 1976. However, its relationship with the league goes back decades.
LSU’s latest rise to prominence has occurred during the BCS era (since 1998). Some would argue because of the BCS. Three times during that 14-year period, LSU has played a “home” national championship game in the Superdome, only 70 miles from its campus.
I bet Jim Delany hates when that happens.
But wait a minute… wasn’t one of those three title games the last one, the one in which the Tigers got waxed by the Sabanator? Well, turns out there’s an explanation for that.
… The Tigers won two of those games — in 2004 over No. 1 Oklahoma and in 2008 over No. 1 Ohio State. Any advantage gained in January’s BCS title game in New Orleans may have been negated by the following of the opponent, Alabama.
So LSU’s real advantage stems from most opponents’ fan bases not being intense enough. It’s not fair!
The notion that these clowns share enough common ground to put together a four-team playoff format that everyone can live with diminishes by the day.
Mark Richt takes a genteel dig at Steve Spurrier.
In its own subtle way, that’s just as good as Spurrier’s recent suspension quip about Georgia.
The SEC is expected to emerge from this week’s meetings with a unified stance on the new D-1 postseason, but it’s hard to see how that’ll be anything more than a bargaining position.
I mean, they’re already talking about needing a backstop.
… Adams expressed confidence that a four-team playoff will come to fruition, but is not certain how the teams would be selected or where the playoff games might be played. He also does not know how the recently announced SEC-Big 12 bowl game will fit into the league’s postseason plan, although its existence will serve as a safeguard if the playoff proposal runs into unexpected opposition.
“I don’t think there’s any belief that some form of playoff is not going to move forward, but I said this morning — you may have heard me — I think there’s both a protection factor and a leverage factor that went into those decisions,” Adams said after last week’s UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors meeting. “Our responsibility is to protect the SEC regardless of what happens nationwide and that’s what we were trying to do there.”
Translation: we know there’s more money out there; we just have to make sure none of the other conferences screw us out of our fair share of it.
Hey, you’ve got your definition of “settling it on the field” and they’ve got theirs.
Per Steele, Georgia returns the 17th best percentage of offensive yardage in the nation… and the 110th best number of returning career offensive line starts.
Figure out which matters more, and you’ve probably got a decent handle on Georgia’s chances for success this year.
UPDATE: Steele adds some context about Georgia’s returning yardage.
I forgot that I’d saved this post with the intention of going back after last season to check it. Georgia’s defensive coordinator set a couple of very specific performance benchmarks for his team in 2011:
- hold opponents’ 3rd-and-10 or more conversion rate under 20%; and
- hold opponents’ yards per pass completion closer to 9 yards than the 2010′s average of 13.5 ypc
So, how did his defense do with those? All in all, not bad.
Yards per completion went from 13.5 in 2010 to 11.3 in 2011. A clear improvement, but still only good for seventh best in the conference. (And, technically speaking, the defense didn’t quite meet his goal.)
As for the conversion rate test, Grantham’s defense aced that with flying colors. Georgia’s 2011 opponents converted seven out of eighteen opportunities in the air and zero out of twenty two chances on the ground. That makes for an overall conversion rate of 17.5%.
I’m curious what the 2012 benchmarks might be.
In the midst of this fairly brutal takedown of UT, John Adams notes this about the Vols’ likely 2013 road schedule:
… Although the 2013 SEC schedule hasn’t yet been set, you can assume it will include traditional West rival Alabama. You also can assume divisional opponents will continue to rotate venues on a yearly basis.
That means the Vols would be playing at Florida, Alabama and Missouri within the conference. They also will have a non-conference road game against Oregon, the week before they go to The Swamp.
Ouch. Even if SOD squeaks by with seven or eight wins this year, it’s hard to see how things get rosier after that.