Category Archives: Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

Tuesday lunch buffet

A little later in the day, but just as tasty.

  • John Pennington argues that the SEC Network may actually work against national exposure for the conference’s schools at first.  I understand the point he’s trying to make, but I think he forgets that SEC schools have benefited from national exposure on CBS for many years now.
  • Here’s a nice Xs-and-Os preview of the Clemson-Georgia game.  The author thinks it’ll be “all about Clemson’s ferocious defensive line vs. Georgia’s all-world backfield.”  Agree or disagree?
  • Phil Steele has nine sets of power ratings he uses to evaluate teams.  One of those sets has Georgia going undefeated; another four call for an 11-1 season.
  • College football players want NCAA Football 15 back.
  • Bobby Petrino compares the ACC Atlantic to the SEC West.  I guess that’s his way of telling Louisville fans not to expect any division titles.
  • Jimbo Fisher said Jameis Winston was not subject to more discipline for shoplifting seafood at a supermarket in April, because, as he was punished by the baseball coach, double jeopardy attached (“… you don’t punish a guy twice for the same crime.”).  Kinda like a Law and Order episode minus the Lennie Briscoe quip.
  • Be still, mine heart.
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Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Crime and Punishment, Fall and Rise of Bobby Petrino, Georgia Football, PAWWWLLL!!!, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

“I think this Georgia team is capable of being a surprise.”

Mr. Steele explains the case for Georgia being in the national title picture:

“This year my No. 1 surprise team is the Georgia Bulldogs. When you look at Georgia, they had five losses last year. But let’s look at why they lost five games last year. First of all, coming into the year you knew their defense was going to struggle.They had a lot of freshmen and sophomores in the two-deep, and they gave up 29 points per game, which is extremely high for the University of Georgia. Well, now they bring in Jeremy Pruitt, who’s the defensive coordinator, and he’s going to look like a genius. They’re coming off a horrific season for their defense. They’ve got eight starters back. So they’re now a veteran unit and Pruitt knows a thing or two about defense. In fact, he’s been a part of the last three national championships: two with Alabama and one with Florida State. He’s trying to make it four in a row this year. I see Georgia’s defense giving up more like 304 yards per game this year, a big-time improvement. …

“Then you factor in that schedule. They get Clemson at home. Florida, of course, at a neutral site. Auburn comes in at home. As we know, Auburn needed a tipped-pass touchdown to beat them at the end of the game last year, and that was at Auburn. So the only game I have them an underdog all year is at South Carolina, I’ve got them a slight three-point underdog. I think this Georgia team is capable of being a surprise.”

Last year’s defense yielded 375.5 yards a game, so, yeah, lopping almost 20% off of that would be one helluva big-time improvement.  From your lips to Gawd’s ears, sir.

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Steele ranks Georgia’s position groups.

Just thought you might be interested on where he sees Georgia’s position groups from a national perspective.

  • Quarterbacks:  outside top 45
  • Running backs:  2nd
  • Receivers:  10th
  • Offensive line:  42nd
  • Defensive line:  15th
  • Linebackers:  1st
  • Defensive backs:  25th
  • Special teams:  21st

Keep in mind, that DB ranking came before Matthews’ dismissal.

The QB ranking may raise a few eyebrows, but keep in mind how inexperienced Georgia is at the position going into the season.

That being said, if the secondary and special teams turn out to be respectable, this has the makings of being a good season.

As a bonus, here’s another set of rankings that echoes Steele about running backs and linebackers.

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Steele-y Dawgs

Today’s the day Steele 2014 hits the newsstands.  It’s also the day his Georgia preview hit his blog.

If you want the short version,

  • QB play will be “solid”.
  • OL will drop, but not as much as you’d think.
  • Secondary could be “most improved in country” – although he wrote that before Matthews’ dismissal.
  • Special teams will be top 30 nationally.

Now you’d think that would lead to a fair amount of bombast about Georgia’s chances, but all Steele can bring himself to say in summary is that “UGA is a legitimate contender in the SEC East.” Kinda knew that already, Phil.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Steele without some fun and obscure facts, and here are two he mentions:  (1) Georgia has only lost one home opener since 1997 and (2) If Georgia beats Tennessee, it will be the first five game series streak for the Dawgs since 1924.

Also worth noting are Steele’s efficiency stats – yards per point for offense and defense.  Georgia turned in its highest number on offense (lower is better) since 2008 and its lowest number on defense (higher is better) also since the 2008 season.

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Steele sez – you’re only going so far, Georgia.

Now we know that Phil Steele’s got a ceiling to go along with that “Biggest Surprise” floor for the 2014 edition of Georgia Football:  the Dawgs do not fit his national championship mold this season.

Wouldn’t it be easy if there were key indicators that could trim down a list of National Title candidates prior to each year? I recently went and looked through every imaginable stat from each team that won the National Title and also those that got to the BCS Title game. I also included those few #3 teams that had a legitimate beef about being about being left out. I searched for common threads in numerous categories and was very pleased with what I have found.

The downfall for Georgia shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

Naturally the next category was defensive ppg where the 2009 Auburn Tigers the year before their national title in 2010 allowed 27.5 ppg, which was the highest in the last 22 years. In order to fit the National Championship mold the remaining 59 teams would have had to allow less than 27.5 ppg last year. This category would eliminate 7 teams as Old Dominion (34.0), Texas A&M (32.2), San Diego St (31.7), Texas Tech (30.5), Fresno St (30.3), Georgia (29.0) and Toledo (28.6) failed to make the cut. Now we are down to 52 teams.

What stings about this is that Vanderbilt survived two more rounds of cuts.

Now, to be fair, Steele expresses a tinge of misgivings about Georgia not showing up in his final fifteen – “While there may be a couple of teams left out (UCLA, Oregon, Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina), 14 of these teams made my preseason Top 32…” – he doesn’t have Georgia in his bunch making the national semi-finals.

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Surprise, surprise team

Meet Phil Steele’s number one preseason surprise team for 2014:

1. Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia was a much stronger team at the start of last season than the one that finished 8-5 with a loss to Nebraska in the Gator Bowl. The key to the downfall of their season was a huge amount of injuries at the skill positions on offense. This season’s team caught a break from last season’s misfortune, as quarterback Hutson Mason got in nearly three games of experience at the end of 2013. He will also be surrounded by my No. 2 set of running backs in the country, led by Todd Gurley, and my No. 10 set of receivers. The offensive line is a bit of a question but does have 54 career starts among its members.

Last season, they had just three returning starters on defense, and, as you would expect, the inexperienced unit allowed 29 points per game. This season they have eight returning starters, led by a linebacking corps that I rank No. 1 in the country. In 2013, they played Clemson and South Carolina in back-to-back weeks but have a bye between them this time. I really like new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt’s attitude on defense, and keep in mind he has coached on the past three national championship teams (Alabama 2011 and 2012, Florida State 2013) and could make it four in a row here.

For what it’s worth, last year’s pick was FSU.

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Wednesday morning buffet

The buffet line never ends.

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Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles, PAWWWLLL!!!, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football, The NCAA, Tommy Tuberville - Mythical National Champ, Whoa, oh, Alabama

Tuesday morning buffet

Suffering from a World Cup hangover this morning?  Eat something.

  • The Pac-12 distributed only 68 percent of its revenue to members in fiscal 2013.  Man, those television networks are expensive.
  • Would paying college players slow down early exits for the pros?  Maybe.
  • Gentry Estes looks at where Brice Ramsey’s at right now.
  • Kentucky beat writer asks the musical question “Does Georgia have anyone left to play defense?”  More than Kentucky does, I’m willing to bet.
  • Hawaii athletic department fails to pay players summer scholarship money due to clerical snafu, resulting in seven kids sleeping in the locker room until paperwork went through.  AD’s analysis of the situation “When it comes right down to it, we need to plan better.”  No shit, Sherlock.
  • In fiscal year 2012-3, Georgia generated more revenue from football and men’s basketball than your average NHL team.
  • To some extent, Chris Low’s rankings of SEC defensive lines looks like it was determined by throwing random darts.  Which probably means nobody really has a good handle on what the conference has this year.
  • Kevin Scarbinsky wonders if the SEC needs a rule prohibiting dismissed players from returning to the league, and concludes it won’t happen.  “Richt deserves credit for sticking to his principles in letting players go knowing they can and have come back to beat him. Hard to imagine the rest of the schools in the league would line up to save him from his own idealistic self.”
  • Here’s a list of ten toughest non-conferences schedules.  Only one SEC team makes the list – guess who.
  • And here’s Phil Steele’s combined experience chart for 2014.  Georgia is middle of the pack in that department.
  • John Infante points out that if Joker Phillips’ recruiting transgression is deemed serious enough, Boom could face the possibility of a suspension under the head coach responsibility bylaw.
  • Auburn is all about giving players second chances…”  Gah.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, General Idiocy, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football, The NCAA

A picture worth a thousand words?

I don’t have my 2014 Steele yet, and I don’t subscribe to ESPN Insider, so this is just an educated guess on my part, but I’m going to assume that an article entitled “Ranking the top five CFB teams” with this picture…

… means Mr. Steele thinks we’ve got a contenda.

Of course, finish fifth this season…

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Phil Steele’s 2014 Preseason All-SEC Team

There’s a part of me that’s ready to say, “Jeff Driskel, 3rd team quarterback”, drop the mike and walk off into the darkness.

(By the way, Steele has Gurley and Wilson on his first team All-Americans list.)

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