My SEC Power Poll ballot, Week 1

A reminder to everyone who’s about to jump my ass with this post – this is a power poll.  I’m not guided by resume ranking (if I were, UT would be no worse than third); this is about which team would beat which team if they faced off in the here and now.  That’s not to say I’m ignoring the week’s results.  I’m not.   It’s that I’m looking at them to see which teams are answering preseason questions.

Minor gripe:  this is absurdly early to run a power poll.  (Others’ mileage may vary, of course.)  There’s no way we’ve got a sample size of events worth a durn (especially when one team didn’t even see the field).  Were it up to me, you wouldn’t see anything until every SEC school had a conference game under its belt.  But as I’m not the one calling the shots, here goes:

  1. Alabama.  LSU kickstarted its 2011 run at the top with a win over a top ten team, so it only seems fair to return the favor to the Tide.  Besides, you never want to get between Nick Saban and a signature game.
  2. LSU.  If ‘Bama is #1, there really isn’t much choice as to who goes in the second slot.
  3. Arkansas.  Obviously, a big drop from second to third.  Not the strongest of starts, either, trailing a 1-AA team in the second quarter.
  4. South Carolina.   3B to Arky’s 3A. With a road division game on the line, S. Carolina came back to win with a one-armed quarterback.  That’s what good teams do, people.  Shaw’s health is a concern, of course.
  5. Georgia.   3C, although I’d move the Dawgs with no suspended players ahead of both Arkansas and South Carolina.  If you’re a Georgia fan, you’re probably not happy the Dawgs failed to cover a cupcake game.  But if you’re somebody who identified running back and special teams as weak spots this season, Georgia may have answered a few questions.
  6. Tennessee.  Had one of those wins that’s hard to evaluate fairly until we see more from NC State.  But it doesn’t look like the Vols are going to miss Da’Rick Rogers.
  7. Missouri.  Destroyed a 1-AA team.  That’s nice.  What, you want a cookie or something for that?
  8. Mississippi State. Ditto.
  9. Florida.  Deploying Brissett and Driskel together on the first play of the game?  That’s a clown call, bro.
  10. Texas A&M.  Can you have a bye-week bounce when you haven’t played a single game?
  11. Auburn.  Defense gives up 528 yards but only 26 points.  Brian VanGorder, master of the bend but don’t break approach.
  12. Vanderbilt.  The flip side to what I said about South Carolina: blowing a lead and losing to a team with a one-armed quarterback doesn’t even qualify as a moral victory.
  13. Ole Miss.  The Rebel Black Bears won, if you want to call it that.  Losing to a 1-AA team midway through the third quarter isn’t exactly the stuff of legends.
  14. Kentucky.  The Wildcat defense yielded scoring drives of 99, 85 and 93 yards on its first three series.  It’s gonna be a long year in Lexington.
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32 Comments

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32 responses to “My SEC Power Poll ballot, Week 1

  1. No bone to pick with your assessment, Senator. Bama looks like the class of the league at this point. Arky is going to get pounded by the Bullies of the West. SOS is going to get both Shaw & Lattimore killed at some point this season out of desperation to win something before he retires for good. I’m not sold on UT given Bray as a potential head case and SOD as a coach. I listened to the UF game and they were flat out terrible on offense. If BVG has gone bend but don’t break, they are tracking to at least 4 more losses in 2012, and Chizik enters ’13 squarely on the hot seat.

    • Macallanlover

      BVG was “bend don’t break” when he was in Athens, imo. He had exceptional talent but I think many UGA fans loved his sideline demeanor most and it made everyone think he was the “new Erk”. Nothing wrong with the bend don’t break approach but some seem to remember us as an all-out “grits blitzing” team in the BVG years, that is not my recollection. I am not anti-BVG but as we have seen, his star hasn’t exactly risen since his abrupt departure from Athens. Good DC, but barking and jumping up and down can only get you so far….ask Muschump and BVG about their HC resume.

      • Those defenses in 02-03 didn’t bend or break until the 2nd LSU game. All three of the other losses those years were due to offensive mistakes and missed field goals. While BVG didn’t go grits blitz, we got pressure pretty much whenever we wanted. If I remember correctly, the defense gave up 20 (UF ’02), 17 (LSU ’03), and 17 (UF ’03 – little shaky in this one). They absolutely could defend in the red zone.

  2. Will Trane

    His name is Joey Bennett. Buck Belue knows who he is. So does Will Friend. Perhaps the D line and some other coaches in the Grwinnett County football teams are familar with him.
    Another site, the Leather Helmet, has posted grades of the Dawgs O line play for the first game. Two second teamers graded 100%…a sophomore coming off a knee injury and the other a true freshman preferred walk on.
    Jimbo Fisher at FSU says Cameron Irving is the best O lineman he has ever had. There are a few other underclassmen at places like Arkansas State and Georgia Southern.
    Bennett and Friend have University of Alabama connections. Bennett use to be on the staff of Hoover High school until 2007. I think Bennett is the best position coach in Georgia high school coach. Bennett is the O line coach for Colquitt County High School.
    Since his arrival in Athens no Dawgs coach has had to coach, recruit, and work like Will Friend. In his second year his product has shown some promise. It is going to be fun to see how he moves his players along in a very tough conference. It takes awhile to get lineman physically and mentally ready in the SEC.

    • UGA70

      Will, I certainly know who he is. Colquitt County/Moultire is my HS ’66 alma mater. I hope Will Friend will decide to give Mosley, Ward and even Ty, a little more playing time.

  3. Just based on performance, I will not be surprised to see FSU jumped over GA on AP however.

  4. I have yet to hear from the Fire Mark Richt alliance. It is obvious that all GA fans are waiting for the Missouri game.

  5. Macallanlover

    Everyone has their own ideas/opinions, and at this point the sample is so small nothing is worth arguing much about. I usually have minor differences with your assessments in these power polls, on this one we are far apart on some teams but there are many head to head match-ups yet to be played so all will be answered.

    What I am really pleased about is the ability to have seen almost all of UGA’s scheduled opponents play, and both of the teams likely to meet us in Atlanta, should we get there. That puts me far ahead of where I usually am at this point in having seen so many teams play, unfortunately some of the games were such bad mismatches you did not get the full picture you would like. Still, UGA would probably be favored in a game against any of our scheduled opponents if they were played this coming weekend. That said, my guess is three losses, two if things go well. The Mizzou and TN matchups seem to be the most dangerous to me.

    • Bubs

      Who is the third loss, if you don’t mind me asking? I ask only because I, too, see 3 (maybe 4) losses on the horizon.

      • Macallanlover

        I always leave at least 1-2 for general screw ups so it could be any of Vandy, SC, UF, Auburn. I am not calling the UT and Mizzou games as losses, just saying the match-ups for what they do well and where we are soft. Mizzou’s emotional edge, mobile QB, and willingness to take short, underneath throws worry me the most. TN is less troublesome, but Bray looked very accurate Friday night, but he was allowed to set his feet and find a target; in the past he has made some very bad decisions under duress. The problem is we didn’t bring much heat to Buffalo.

        My change from 2 to 3 losses is based on how weak our defensive backups were, my expectation was we were damned solid in the 2 deep on defense so we could hold any opponent down at any point in the season. I now see a vulnerability with the defense, combined with the questions at OL and PK, it just looks like we may struggle with teams I felt we could get by with less than our A game.

  6. lrgk9

    Van Gorder had his troops tackling in a swarming manner. However, given his Secondary coach – there is only so much that casn be done.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Feel bad for BVG. Since leaving UGA everywhere he’s landed has had little talent. The guys a terrific DC, but can’t work miracles. I expect the Falcons D to be considerably worse. BVG was a scapegoat for Dimitroff’s inability to draft defensive talent.

      • lrgk9

        Yeah, Am a BVG fan. Talked to him about the GSU job. He basically fell for Erk’s cagey personality as many have done. (Althogh Fish Face At NATS denies that BVG ever even met Erk – LOL.) Erk was running interference with the alumni and BVG was going about getting the job done. The program was in disarray when he came in and he was making the hard choices to get the program back on balance.

        When Erk died – the alumni relations job was waaay too much for BVG and his personality so he bailed. (Those same alumni screwed Chris Hatcher as well – bunch of puffed up personalities and backstabbers running things down there. Monken will bail on them when something better comes along.)

        Then when he took the USCe job it was the year of the kickback by the Carolina HS coaches against SOS cutting all the players – BVG was told point blank by a couple of coaches that he was not welcomed at their HS so BVG told SOS that he (SOS) had screwed up and took the Falcons job. SOS had to hire Ellis – who has SC roots – to come in and fix the HS relationships. SOS held a big banquet and made pretty with the HS coaches and told them he would not cut boys loose w/o cause going forward.

        Agree with the lack of talent provided by Dimitroff – BVG is a whale of a coach. Hope he is successful except for one game a year.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          “Yeah, Am a BVG fan. Talked to him about the GSU job. He basically fell for Erk’s cagey personality as many have done.” While not a BVD fan and not
          trying to nit pick… but cagey personality is not a trait I would ascribe to Coach Russell. Anyway I’ve been fortunate enough to get an invite to a few bar b ques in South Georgia and I learned a few things while there. If you must use cagey apply it to Coach Sewak. After, PJ left to go to Navy the HC position was between Sewak and Rusty. Sewak got it. When some of the playoffs didn’t pan out …. Rusty was shown the door. No more competition. This really hurt Coach Russell. He separated himself from football at Georgia Southern when that happened. All in all Sewak did a fair job while HC but couldn’t close the deal … but he did get close. They weren’t in disarray but Erk wasn’t having it and Sewak was finally shown the door. Enter your boy wonder. “Erk was running interference with the alumni and BVG was going about getting the job done.” BS. Erk was just enjoying being back among his own. Yeah he was enjoying himself but BVD wasn’t his focus. ESPECIALLY after Mr. BVG dumped the school buses and changed up the O from the option to a more pro style. That was bad … but 3-8? Has Brian ever finished the drill? I was through with Brian when he skated on CMR.

          • Macallanlover

            +1 Bastard left during recruiting after having a tandrum. And he did it for a position job. Geez

            • AthensHomerDawg

              Erk could have been anything he wanted to be. Not too sold on what Brian wants to be. We all have those career changes and wanna do better but….. BVG gets no love from me per his. You dance with the one that brought you …. but that is “old school” I know . And yet….

            • W Cobb Dawg

              I strongly doubt CMR would have his present job if not for the ‘bastard’ being on the staff. As recently as Thursday night, I heard David Pollack say how great a coach BVG was. I’ve heard similar comments from other past players, like Thomas Davis. BVG was selected the #1 assistant coach in cfb precisely because he was the best assistant. If someone’s going to criticize any of our coaches I can think of plenty candidates other than the best one we’ve had in the last 20 years.

              • Macallanlover

                Yeah, your and Skeptic’s continual “support” for CMR has been noted by many. Defend the guy who bolted like a 12 year old, at a critical time, when things didn’t go his way, that is certainly what I would expect. I think CMR has been fine with, and without, BVG. I don’t hear many listing him as one of the top DCs since his UGA days. Maybe he will regain his reputation, but for now the last 7 years haven’t exactly seen him improve his station in life. There have been many HC changes in CFB, and DC changes in the NFL, looks like he is where he started when CMR gave him his chance, except now in Auburn. Why don’t you support the coaches we have and stop hanging on to the past?

        • JaxDawg

          With respect, I was a player at GSU when the above described events took place. I grew up about 30 miles away, and attended, with my parents, most of GSU’s national championship games. Memories of listening to Lee Greenwood sing “God bless the USA” at halftime still gives me chills to this day. I still remember the day that they changed the sign out in front of the college on 301 to Georgia Southern University from Georgia Southern College.

          Anyway, to my recollection, things did not go exactly as described above. The entire team had been recruited based upon the expectation and needs of the triple option attack; BVG made it clear immediately that a change was needed to adapt to his own vision of a successful GSU offense, and the triple option was scrapped. To put it bluntly, he realized quickly that he bit off way more than he could chew. When he left, the program was in complete shambles, a stark contrast from where it had been when most of us enrolled at GSU. We were left stunned and without direction. I do not recall any expression of remorse given from him to the players.

          You know the saying, if you don’t have something nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all? That’s where I would like to leave it as far as BVG made is concerned. To those who would still stand up for his character, I would point out that he also went back on his word to Steve Spurrier after agreeing to take over the defensive coordinator position at South Carolina. He is, and will always be, a hired gun. Obviously he can live with himself, no matter how many people he has stepped on, so there is really nothing left to say. Good luck to him at Auburn.

          • AthensHomerDawg

            Congrats on the ball at GSU. My bride was a coed there before heading on to Disgusta. I spent some time listening to Statesboro Blues road tripping down there from Athens to see her. I had a buddy who was a boro local and he headed back down often. Slept on the beach and had picnics on Blind Willie McTell Trail. Of course Snooky’s is closed now. I still have a t shirt somewhere. Lot of folks have connections to that University.

      • 69Dawg

        Well BVG is not going to recuit. It’s the reason he left UGA. Auburn will have to get him playa’s and the money is low on the Plains right now.

  7. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Senator, I’m pretty much OK with your ranking above except I do not see how you can put USCe ahead of Georgia given that USCe almost (and really should have) lost to Vanderbilt.

  8. Macallanlover

    True, or put them ahead of TN, and even Mizzou. They showed no passing threat at all. The defense will have to keep things close for them to finish 3rd in the East, imo. But, none enough of a sample to argue loudly at this point. It will all play out over the next few weeks.

  9. RocketDawg

    No one is the East really impressed me this weekend to be honest. Every team has it’s warts and it will be interesting to see who can cover them up enough to win the division and have the honor of getting slaughtered by Alabama.

    UGA-I think we have beaten this horse enough in other threads. Safe to say we need to play better or it’s going to be a long ride home from Missouri.
    SCar-Their one armed QB couldn’t throw with any zip before his shoulder injury, do we really think his arm strength is going to improve coming off a shoulder contusion. (BTW-I heard from a friend that works over there that Shaw has been in a sling ever since the Vandy game and it doesn’t look good for him playing against E.Carolina this weekend)
    UT-Nice passing game against an awful defense. Still no run game to speak of and the defense wasn’t very impressive.
    Missouri-I suppose we will find out all about this team on Saturday. Their win against a bottom feeder in I-AA tells me nothing.
    Vandy-Still Vandy. Defense looked good, outside of a couple of nice throws and runs the offense was non-existant.
    UK-Is it basketball season yet?

    • RocketDawg

      Crap I forgot Florida….all I can say is that they made US look good on Saturday. Offense was a mess and the defense wasn’t as dominant as advertised.

      • Macallanlover

        That may be a very interesting game in College Station on Saturday. TAMU may not be ready to compete for SEC titles yet but their traditions and spirit at Kyle Field take a back seat to no one. And they have no fond feeling for Boom, wouldn’t that be great to see him get a rude welcome?

  10. Signal Mtn Dawg

    Can’t argue too much with the power poll. Except I think Tennessee would have beaten us this past weekend based on the two performances.

    However, the fallacy with my thinking is the fact that Tennessee was preparing for NCState and UGA has been prepping for MO which makes the Buffalo game a scrimmage.

    What concerns me is we have seen this before. Time will tell if the 2012 team is good…….. or great. I can not defend this staff as the last 3 years results speak for themselves and to be honest, we have not been great since we finished the 2007 season beating Hawaii.

    This season has great promise, but the Dawgs are no way near the likes of Alabama, Lsu, USC …or Boise.