For some reason, somebody thinks this is a winner.
Bobo probably has something to do with this, but I’m not sure exactly what it is.
As easy as it’s been for most to focus on the cross-divisional break Georgia has with this year’s schedule, I think Bruce Feldman’s hit on the bigger deal:
… And, maybe the thinking is that’d allow for more time for Mark Richt to develop his inexperienced O-line and young backs before potentially facing a conference heavyweight in the SEC title game. That said, they crept into the top 15 last year by the end of the regular season without beating anyone in the top 20.
So does that prove the toughness of a team’s schedule is relevant to the rankings, or is it a red herring?
I’d put it this way: When I do my rankings in the preseason, I try to map out what a team’s record may be. If Michigan opened with Ole Miss or Kentucky rather than Alabama, I’d have the Wolverines with one more win. I just think that’s one bigger hurdle for a team to deal with. Plus playing as physical a team as Alabama is — the Tide will have the top offensive line in the country — can take a toll on an opponent. I’m not saying Air Force is going to knock off the Wolverines in Week Two, but AFA is a big headache to prepare for regardless. Coming on the heels of a game against the Tide only will make it that much more difficult.
A college football season also often becomes a battle of attrition.
As outstanding as LSU was in 2011, the Tigers defeated eight ranked teams, but eventually were knocked off by Alabama. The other part of that is when you do have those nasty early-season games, you run the risk of your team going into a tailspin with that kind of hangover effect…
Last season, Georgia came out of the chute facing the #5 and #12 teams in the country. This year, the Dawgs may not face a ranked team until the sixth week. None of which is to say that there won’t be challenges – three of those early opponents reside in the SEC East – but Richt has a better chance to manage the suspensions and the breaking in of freshmen on the offensive line and in the backfield this go ’round.
For those of you who don’t see the can of worms Mark Emmert opened with the decision to bypass the usual NCAA enforcement process in the wake of the PSU scandal, maybe a couple of points raised in this Pat Forde column will help illustrate what I’ve argued.
First, from Emmert’s own lips:
“One of the grave dangers stemming from our love of sports is the sports themselves can become too big to fail and too big to even challenge. The result can be an erosion of academic values that are replaced by hero worship and winning at all costs.” [Emphasis added.]
As Forde notes, how can you play the academic card and then remain inactive in the face of the North Carolina scandal?
But here’s the real issue that Emmert has created:
And now that a “Damn the Rulebook, Do What’s Right” precedent has been established, is North Carolina’s sad academic sandal a logical second act for the Emmert Posse?
If not, I’d say the NCAA has some explaining to do. So does Josephine Potuto.
Potuto is a former NCAA Committee on Infractions member and chairwoman, and currently is the NCAA faculty athletic representative at Nebraska. She told Yahoo! Sports last month that she’s concerned about the precedent the Penn State ruling sets for the NCAA to jump outside its standard operating procedures. Now, Potuto said, the NCAA will have to explain itself every time it chooses not to get involved in an athletic issue on campus that is not directly related to NCAA bylaws.
Whether the NCAA decides to act or not in North Carolina’s case, it’s going to have to rationalize the call publicly either way or risk further erosion to its credibility – assuming Emmert cares about that, of course.
While I’m in airing-of-grievances mode this morning, this short passage in an otherwise inoffensive piece about Georgia’s move to the no-huddle last season ticked me off.
Georgia used the no-huddle early in Coach Mark Richt’s tenure, but he eventually backed away from the attack that he had employed so successfully at Florida State, claiming that SEC officials would not allow the Bulldogs to snap the ball quickly enough for it to maintain its effectiveness.
“Claiming”? Why, wherever would Richt get that idea?
… SEC officials are required to pause for 12-14 seconds between each play, and that’s not going to change despite Richt’s arguments, Gaston said.
“He doesn’t agree with it, but he knows what we’re doing,” Gaston said.
The mandatory pause is to allow the officiating crew to get in position, Gaston said. Richt argued that the officials should put the ball in play as soon as they are set, regardless of how much time has elapsed, but Gaston said that would provide the offense an unfair advantage.
“Mark Richt would eat their lunch,” he said. “He would go straight to the ball and snap it. He’d get in 100 plays. We have about half the coaches who think we go too fast and about half who think we go too slow so we must be in about the right spot.”
Wisconsin’s AD has a suggestion that should dismay every Georgia fan.
Wisconsin Athletics Director Barry Alvarez threw out Herbstreit’s name as a committee member.
“If I wasn’t doing what I was doing, I’d love to be chairman of that group,” Herbstreit said. “If there’s a way to do it and it’s not a conflict of interest, I would love to do it because I love the sport. I don’t claim to necessarily have all the answers or that I’m right. But at least I watch and I’m educated. I’m not just watching a highlight. When you’re engaged, it makes it very easy to have an educated opinion.”
And when you’re a former Ohio State quarterback, it makes it very easy to have a bias or two.
No wonder ol’ Herbie thinks it would be a good idea to keep the committee’s votes private.
And while we’re on the subject of keeping things private, how about Bill Hancock’s Joe Biden moment?
“The concept has been that each conference can decide what to do with its revenue,” Hancock said. “It’s sort of like states rights. The state of Alabama decides how it wants to manage itself.”
Ah, yes, states rights and Alabama managing itself. What could go wrong with that choice of words?