Daily Archives: November 19, 2012

I have seen the future of college football.

And, quite frankly, it doesn’t thrill me.

… The switch would shore up a struggling athletics department’s finances, but angered some alumni and fans by leaving behind longstanding rivalries and tradition within the ACC.

Multiple individuals with knowledge of the situation told The Post that the Board of Regents had received no formal briefing of the situation as of Monday morning, but were expected to speak with University President Wallace Loh on an afternoon conference call. The regents then reconvened via telephone on Monday morning to vote.

Earlier this year, Maryland eliminated seven varsity sports due to the department’s multimillion-dollar deficit, and now will be subject to a $50 million exit fee from the ACC…

A group of people tasked with the responsibility of monitoring the affairs of a charter member of a long-standing, storied athletic conference watches as its administration runs its athletic department into the ground with a series of bad decisions and then elects to take the money and run with “no formal briefing of the situation”.  Screw the fans.  Screw the alumni.  See you on cable TV.

How many ways do you need to hear it from those in charge of the sport we love before you get the message?  Our passion means nothing.  Only our wallets count.

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UPDATE:  The regents were given two whole days to make the decision.

“If I were a policy maker in government, I would be taking a hard look at this right now,” he said. “I don’t think these conferences should be telling our great universities how to handle their governance matters.”

They’ll get right on that after they cash the first check.

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UPDATE #2:  Brian Cook looks at the move from the other side of the cloud.

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68 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness

We blew a 17-point lead to the division winners and all we got was this lousy Championship Game berth.

Congratulations to Georgia Tech for the mother of all back-ins, as Miami elects to self-impose another postseason ban in the face of the NCAA investigation.

Needless to say, this is Chantastic.  I wonder if it means the genius will rest his key starters this Saturday.

The good thing, if you’re a Tech fan, is that you can blame the loss on the team looking past Georgia to the game in Charlotte.

32 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football

“Anybody want to talk about Georgia Tech?”

Coach, we’ve got your back here at GTP.  By all means, let’s talk about this week’s game.

First topic of note – contrary to the talk before last Saturday’s game, it now seems that there’s a feeling that playing Georgia Southern was helpful preparation for the genius.

“Seeing it live in full speed in a game right before playing Tech, it definitely helps us,” Georgia cornerback Sanders Commings said. “Our scout team offense can only simulate it so well. They do a great job, but seeing it live from an offense where that’s what they do every week, it will definitely benefit us.”

You could see it as the game progressed and the defense grew accustomed to the speed of GSU’s offense.  As Ching noted, the defense completely dominated the third quarter:  “The Bulldogs limited the Eagles to 31 rushing yards on 12 carries in the third quarter, resulting in three punts and a lost fumble by fullback Dominique Swope.”

I’m sure Johnson will have a few playcalling tricks up his sleeve, but needing a shorter period to adjust to the timing of the execution of Tech’s offense can only help the Dawg defense this week.

24 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

What the BCS got right

As Roy Kramer put it,

“All the people who thought it was bad for college football enjoyed last night, didn’t they?” said Kramer, a former SEC commissioner. “We thought we could add a little excitement and interest to the college game and I think last night demonstrated it.

“What was interesting is how many people in Tuscaloosa were watching the game in Eugene, Oregon, and how many people in South Bend, Indiana were watching the game in Waco, Texas. For all the critics, well, I’m a little prejudiced. We saw enormous excitement play out last night.”

Yeah, we did.  Well, maybe except for Stewart Mandel, who’s a little miffed over last weekend’s SEC schedule.

Saturday was the most chaotic, season-altering set of games in 2012, and the SEC played almost no part in it. In fact, if you didn’t watch a single SEC game Saturday (And why would you, with such offerings as Alabama-Western Carolina, Auburn-Alabama A&M and Texas A&M-Sam Houston State?), you were no less entertained or informed. LSU’s dramatic 41-35 win over Ole Miss was the lone exception, and even there, the biggest highlight was Les Miles’ postgame press conference.

And yet, despite seven conference teams facing FCS foes, one team (Missouri) losing to a 5-5 Big East squad (Syracuse) and another firing its coach (Tennessee’s Derek Dooley) for losing to Vandy, no conference had a better weekend than the SEC.

All of that rather conveniently ignores that the upper level SEC squads beat themselves up over the past few weeks.  All of Alabama’s, Florida’s, Georgia’s, LSU’s, South Carolina’s and Texas A&M’s losses have been to each other.  Considering those teams occupy the 2, 3, 4, 7, 9 and 12 slots in this week’s BCS standings, I don’t think that’s something worth sneering at.

And that gets to the larger message here.  The regular season, college football’s crown jewel, the thing the sport does differently and better than any other, by and large does a good job of separating the wheat from the chaff.  It’s not perfect, as seasons like 2004 demonstrate, and I can understand the justification for a four-team playoff on those grounds.  But here’s what I never have gotten:

… You’ve heard it: The whole college football season is a playoff. I know that’s the lame line that BCS supporters used to defend their indefensible system … but it still rings true. What other sport has this? Baseball’s individual games were always teetering on irrelevance anyway because there were so many of them; now eight teams make the playoffs, so the games mean even less. The NBA and NHL don’t even pretend that the regular season matters — especially the NHL, which, every now and again, just for fun, cancels entire seasons. Each week matters in the NFL, but no one week in October or November turns the entire league upside down.

This is only true in college football. Sure, you can say — people do say — that a playoff wouldn’t change any of that. The regular season would still be epic … only now there will be a playoff at the end!

Everything good will stay good, but now the bad will be good too! The incredible tensions of week-to-week college football will remain, but December and January will now light up! Everyone gets a new car! Trees will be made of chocolate! Televisions will start pouring beer!

Maybe. But you might know the line from Inherit the Wind: “Progress has never been a bargain. You have to pay for it. Sometimes I think there’s a man who sits behind a counter and says, ‘All right, you can have the telephone, but you lose privacy and the charm of distance. … Mister, you may conquer the air but the birds will lose their wonder and the clouds will smell of gasoline.'”

A college football playoff is progress. We want it — almost all of us. But I can’t help but think that we will be giving up something too. Days like Saturday will still be amazing, I have no doubt about that. I wonder though, if they will be quite as amazing.

They won’t be.  They can’t be.  There simply won’t be as much on the line.  What’s happened over the last two weeks would just offer programming fodder for ESPN’s Playoff Selection Show under a four-team playoff format.  Go to eight teams and all you’re talking about is who has to travel for the first round.  Oh, and how the ninth-ranked team in the country got screwed.

I get why change is coming.  On one level – multiple major-conference undefeated teams deserve more than a one-game format – I can accept it.  But I’ll never understand why playoff proponents find it so easy to dismiss what saddens people like me.  My worst fear is that one day they’ll come to appreciate that.  Unfortunately, by then, the horse will be so far out of the barn that it won’t matter.

119 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

The cut block blues

Jeff Monken is a little defensive about all the cut blocking talk.

Several of Georgia’s defenders spent the week leading up to the game complaining about GSU’s style of blocking, and what appeared to be a legal play took the Eagles out of a first-and-goal situation.

“On that play, (UGA nose tackle) John (Jenkins) came towards me and I scooped him, just like it’s legal in the rule book,” McBurnett said. “I haven’t seen the play or anything, but if the ref called it, you’ve got to live with it.”

Monken said it was exactly like a play he reviewed with the officials before the game, on video taken from Georgia Tech’s game against Georgia in 2011. He said the refs agreed that the play they reviewed on tape was legal.

Monken was surprised how much attention was paid by the media to GSU’s blocking during the days leading up to the contest.

“I’ve never heard so much talk about blocking below the waist, and cut blocks, and oh my God,” Monken said. “We coach our guys to play legally. Blocking below the waist is legal. I don’t think it’s any more dangerous than tackling below the waist. In fact, tackling below the waist might be more dangerous.”

Yes, yes, yes, cut blocking is legal, as we’ve been told time and time again.  But allow me to have the nerve to suggest that any technique that motivates a coach to educate the officials on just where the edge of the envelope lies is probably a technique that isn’t in college football’s best interest to allow.  It’s really something the NCAA needs to take a hard look at if player safety concerns aren’t just a bunch of talk.  Because it’s too easy to cross that edge, even if you play with the best of intentions.

16 Comments

Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Hey, hey, hey, hey

A large hat tip to Thinking Bulldog for pointing me to this picture of the Godfather of Soul funking out in 1980.  Check it out.

 

9 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Observations from the 35, GSU edition

Gorgeous day and a game that went almost exactly as expected.  The offense screwed around for much of the first half, but there was little doubt that Georgia was going to put up points.  Once the defense adjusted to the real-game speed of the triple-option, this puppy was over.  In all, it was what we hoped for – a good tune-up for Georgia Tech.

  • There was a certain amount of poetic justice in watching the first half turn on a chop block penalty.
  • I was a little puzzled why Georgia used its last time out in the first half when it did, thinking it might need to hold one in reserve in case of a sack during the one-minute drill.  But Bobo got the offense across the finish line with four seconds to spare.
  • Speaking of time outs, calling one with eleven seconds left in the game down by 31 was a dick move.  Which is why I loved Georgia calling one after the GSU offense set up.
  • I know he has to appease the god of balance, but the way the Eagles sold out with constant blitzing, I’m not sure why Bobo ran the ball as much as he did.
  • Between Conley and the tight ends, what was it, something like nine or ten catches?  Good use of making up for the losses of Bennett and Brown.
  • Christian Robinson, excellent game, sir.
  • My favorite defensive call of the day came on GSU’s first turnover, the quarterback fumble.  It happened because he double-clutched when he saw that his receiver was double-teamed.  I have no idea why Grantham was looking for a pass there, but he sure had it covered.
  • No, Georgia Southern isn’t better or more talented than Georgia Tech.  But I’m not so sure Tech has a better B-back than Swope.
  • Gurley still is a work in progress when it comes to pass protection.
  • I think we can say that Ogletree has completely shaken the rust off.
  • There were stretches in the third quarter when the defense was literally playing the triple-option perfectly – nailing every assignment, containing the play and swarming to the ball when GSU committed.  Just a pleasure to watch.
  • I bet Grantham’s pissed about that fourth-quarter scoring drive.
  • Congrats to Welch and Scott-Wesley for their first collegiate scores.
  • Give Jarvis credit.  It wasn’t the kind of game where he was going to rack up gaudy numbers, but he played his role well.  And damned if he wasn’t held on Southern’s one pass completion of the day.
  • You don’t see field goal attempts returned every day.  I presume from the way the GSU player danced when he caught the ball and that the play was reviewed there was a question about where he fielded the ball, but I didn’t have a good angle to judge.

No serious injuries and so the focus now turns to Tech.  All in all, an excellent day.

18 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football