Monthly Archives: January 2007

The usual suspects

If you’ve been wondering how much effect the new clock rules had on the game in 2006, here are some interesting – but not surprising – answers, courtesy of Oklahoma Sooners & NFL Blog:

Number of teams averaging at least 400 yards per game on offense:

2000: 38
2001: 43
2002: 30
2003: 39
2004: 33
2005: 40
2006: 17

Number of teams averaging 30 pts or more per game:

2000: 37
2001: 33
2002: 36
2003: 34
2004: 29
2005: 36
2006: 20

Number of teams allowing fewer than 300 yards per game on defense:

2000: 13
2001: 10
2002: 12
2003: 11
2004: 13
2005: 9
2006: 26

Number of teams allowing fewer than 14 pts per game on defense:

2000: 4
2001: 4
2002: 2
2003: 1
2004: 3
2005: 2
2006: 7

Number of teams averaging 200 yards rushing per game or more:

2000: 20
2001: 23
2002: 27
2003: 19
2004: 19
2005: 21
2006: 8

Number of individual rushers averaging 100 yards rushing per game or more:

2000: 26
2001: 30
2002: 35
2003: 28
2004: 23
2005: 34
2006: 18

Not exactly subtle, is it?

There’s one other stat of consequence, and it comes via Saurian Sagacity:

… If we take the number of plays that were run in an average CBS game in 2006 (139) and multiply it by the time per play from 2005 CBS games we should have had games that were 194.6 minutes (3:14:36) long. The difference between how long the games actually were and how long they “should” have been was 9.6 minutes (9:36). That’s enough time to run at least nineteen 30-second TV spots.

In the end I think it’s pretty obvious that, like a lot of product manufacturers, the NCAA created a new package with less “stuff” (game) in it and lowered the price (the time of the game) slightly to fool us into thinking we were getting a better deal. We’ve been had.

NOTE: Initially I had only calculated offensive plays for the Gators and the opponents in the games analyzed. The updated numbers include kicks and punts. The addition of kicks and punts to the analysis did not change the ultimate conclusion, in fact it exacerbated it. The amount of commercial spots that the networks were able to milk out of each game in 2006 increased from 17 to 20 (14 to 19 for CBS games) after the analysis was tweaked. We were had worse than I thought.

Captain Raynaud is shocked, shocked to find that the networks benefited from the new clock rule…


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Filed under College Football

How the mighty have fallen.

Without much fanfare, the ACC 2007 football schedules have been released.

The big surprise: FSU and Miami won’t play on Labor Day this year. Their game has been moved to October 20.

Dennis Dodd thinks the move will hurt the ACC’s BCS hopes. A look at FSU’s and Miami’s schedules makes that a somewhat questionable assumption.

The real story is that this game simply doesn’t look to be that critical this season. Ouch.

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Filed under ACC Football

So who’s Miss Congeniality?

There sure has been a lot of blogging lately about ranking the coaches in the SEC.

are just a few (Westerdawg links to several more posts on the subject).

Rather than retrace everyone else’s steps, I thought I’d throw out some of my bests, worsts and other notables among the coaches, in no particular order.

  • Best recruiter – Urban Meyer. Yeah, he has a great program to sell, but so did Spurrier and the Zooker. Meyer has taken things up a notch in the last two years at UF.
  • Worst recruiter – Sylvester Croom. He got handed a shit sandwich to start with, no doubt. But he’s three years in now and the talent level there doesn’t seem to have been upgraded much, if at all.
  • Biggest asshole – Steve Spurrier. Sure, Fulmer can be less than gracious with opponents and Tuberville has his moments, too. But the Evil Genius is still the gold standard in this category. Moving to a lesser program like South Carolina hasn’t diminished his arrogance and charm one bit.
  • Best CEO – Urban Meyer, Tommy Tuberville and Mark Richt (tie). All have taken solid programs with plenty of resources and raised the performance levels in Gainesville, Auburn and Athens over their immediate predecessors. All three recruit well, hire good assistants and do the PR thing that a modern day head coach needs to handle to keep the supporters of the program happy, or, at least, at bay.
  • Worst CEO – Houston Nutt. If I have to explain why, you’ve been living in a box somewhere for the past two months. The sad thing is, I’m not really sure if they could do better if Nutt left.
  • Luckiest – Urban Meyer. Let’s face it, he played the same hand that Richt had in’02 and actually not as good a hand as Tuberville had to play in ’04. But he’s the guy that got to go to the Big Dance because he only had one undefeated team ahead of his in the end.
  • Best addition to the lexicon – Sylvester Croom. When “croomed” makes Wikipedia and the Urban Dictionary, you know it’s arrived.
  • Best Strategerist – Steve Spurrier. Okay, things didn’t work out in the pros, for whatever reason. But at the college level, he’s shown himself to be the embodiment of the Bear Bryant adage about taking his and beating yours and vice versa. I’m still amazed that he beat Tennessee and Florida in his first season in Columbia.
  • Worst Strategerist – I’m not sure about this one anymore. Mike Shula would have been named here in a flash if he were still at ‘Bama. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any current SEC coach that can live up to his legacy of letting key players suffer horrendous injuries in meaningless circumstances (although if Prothro doesn’t get hurt in the Florida game, Shula is still the coach there, so maybe there is some karma at work). I guess I’ll say Les Miles for the moment, since he pissed away the most talent in the SEC this past season with two losses (3 lousy points against Auburn?).
  • Doesn’t get enough credit – Bobby Johnson. He’s coaching at the SEC equivalent of Duke or Stanford. Except he’s in a much tougher conference. His college president doesn’t believe in a normal athletic department. Despite all that, he’s done a decent job of fielding competitive teams in the past couple of years. And that knock on him that he didn’t win enough with Jay Cutler? How many of those people knew about Jay Cutler when he enrolled at Vandy in the first place?
  • Gets too much credit – Houston Nutt. Sure, it’s in the middle of nowhere and his AD is the biggest meddler in the conference. But the facilities in Fayetteville are first rate and he has no real in state competition for talent. His good years are generally the result of weak schedules and/or good fortune (2002 ‘Bama on probation, McFadden turning out to be a freak of nature). You see his name pop up all the time for other HC jobs – Nebraska, for one, and now supposedly he’s being considered for the Cowboys’ HC job – why?
  • Nobody asked you – Tommy Tuberville. He’s the kid that sat on the front row in sixth grade and irritated his classmates. He always seems to be there with the smarmy advice. (“You gotta run the ball to win in the SEC. He’ll learn.”) ‘Fess up now: whenever you read the quotes from that anonymous coach in the preseason magazines that are critical of other coaches in the conference, isn’t his the first name that pops into your head as the source?
  • Wouldn’t say shit if he had a mouthful – Mark Richt. I wonder what he really thinks of Michael Adams.
  • What did he say? – Ed Orgeron.

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Filed under SEC Football

“Support the troops”

Yeah, I know I said we should show sympathy for the Arky fans dealing with the fallout from the Broyles-Nutt-Malzahn-Springfield Three (and their parents) mess.

But I only meant the sane ones:

… Away from the road, one of the protesters amplified his discontent through a bullhorn.

“ It’s third down and 7, we don’t have Malzahn, what’s the play going to be ? ” said Matt Gaines, a 31-year-old truck driver recruiter from Rogers, through his bullhorn. “ A draw play. ”

Gaines also offered the platitude, “ Support the troops, not the coach, ” another reference to Nutt…

“ I’m tired of all the crap that’s happened ever since Coach Nutt’s been hired. He had two straight losing seasons [2004 and 2005 ] and we gave him a pass. It’s absurd. He should’ve been fired a long time ago…”

“… I’ve been waiting for Malzahn to get hired for years, ” Duncan said. “ He’s a great offensive mind. He can turn our program into something exciting if given the chance…”

Umm… Earth to delusional Hog fans:  your team won 10 games last season, played for the SEC championship and finished up in a New Year’s Day bowl game.  You have the single most exciting player in the conference.  That’s not exactly chopped liver.

Today’s words of wisdom come from UA freshman Harry McCarney:

… McCarney thought the rally was much ado about nothing.“ It’s just ridiculous, ” McCarney said. “ There’s not really a call for all this. People are just caught up in the moment. They’re just caught up in the frenzy and they smell blood.

“ The main reason I came to school here is because of Razorback football, but there’s too much emphasis on football here. Humphries Hall doesn’t even have air conditioning and no one is protesting that. These people are protesting because three of our four losses came to teams [USC, LSU and Florida ] that played in BCS bowl games. ”

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal

One more thing

In his post about the Florida-Tennessee rivalry, Mergz writes:

… To you fans of other conferences, imagine if your conference deciding game was played virtually in mid-September every year since 1992? Take Tennessee’s 1993 season as an example. After losing by 7 to Florida in Gainesville the 3rd game of the year, they ran the table to finish the regular season 10-1. Their reward? A trip to the Citrus Bowl, while Florida beat Alabama for the SEC title and went to the Sugar Bowl. Or, take Florida’s 1998 season. A 3 point loss to Tennessee at Knoxville in overtime kept a 9-2 (1 conference loss) Florida team from the SEC championship game, which UT won along with the 98’s MNC.

For Florida and Tennessee, it is not only the shot at a conference championship that is played for the second or third Saturday in September, it is a shot at the MNC. For two teams with 3 MNC’s since 1996, no year was that more evident that the present one, where Florida’s come-from-behind 1 point victory in Knoxville kept the train going that rolled all the way to Glendale on January 8th.

Honest question (since I know the guys at SS favor playoffs for D-1 football): given how much what’s at stake fuels this rivalry, what sort of an impact would a sixteen team playoff have on it?

You probably know my answer…

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Unrivalled rivalries?

Mergz, at the excellent Gator blog Saurian Sagacity, has written a thought provoking post that’s the start of a series exploring Florida’s rivalries.

His primary point is that outsiders have a hard time understanding the difficulty of a typical SEC schedule due to the number of heated rivalries that are standard fare throughout the conference. That’s a fair statement, although those outsiders could raise the same question of us SEC fans (Mergz, to his credit, does ask outside fans to contribute to his understanding of their rivalries).

I think where one has to start with this discussion is to ask what makes a rivalry. For his part, Mergz lists six teams with which he believes the Gators have that level of intensity: Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, Georgia, FSU and South Carolina. I look at that list and see a variety of factors that would affect the competition between those schools and Florida; to me, some of those schools have almost nothing in common, yet I believe I can see the arguments Mergz intends to muster to make his case for each.

Let’s look at a few overriding characteristics that go into making and sustaining a rivalry:

  • History. Two things factor in here. How often have the teams faced each other? And, over time, how competitive has the series been?
  • Scheduling. How often do the teams play each other at present?
  • The Stakes. In terms of winning championships, how often do the games between the teams assume importance?
  • Geography. This one is pretty obvious.
  • Miscellaneous Factors. Mergz lists South Carolina as a rival. That can only be for one reason – Steve Spurrier. (It helped that Spurrier beat Florida in his first crack, which is something USC had never accomplished previously.) I expect LSU-Alabama to attain a similar level of intensity because of Saban.

Looking at Georgia’s rivalries from this perspective, here are the schools I’d list (by alphabetical order):

  • Auburn, by virtue of almost every factor I’ve listed above;
  • Florida, again, for all of the above;
  • Georgia Tech also reflects all of the above (true, there are no conference stakes anymore, but being an end of season game, there are potential BCS stakes in most years);
  • South Carolina may not seem deserving from a historical perspective, as Georgia has dominated the series. But it’s been intense since I’ve been following it, starting in 1980 (Rogers vs. Walker!). And Spurrier’s presence certainly adds some spice. Also, Georgia hasn’t won the SEC East in any season that it didn’t beat USC.
  • Tennessee is a rivalry born out of divisional realignment. It wasn’t a historically significant series, as the teams didn’t play that often. Since 1992, though, in most years, Georgia, Florida and UT have to dance the dance with each other to decide which school makes it to the SECCG. Fulmer’s recruiting tactics (and success, unfortunately) and Donnan’s hiring away of Garner have contributed heat, as well.

I couldn’t bring myself to list LSU or Alabama, as I don’t think the Dawgs play either school on a regular enough basis these days to qualify, although ‘Bama was a closer call, mainly due to the fact that historically Georgia and LSU just haven’t played each other that much, surprisingly. Clemson fails to make the list for the same reason.

Five is still a lot of rivalries, in my opinion. I’d be curious to know if that’s an unusually high number, or if many schools consider themselves to play that many rivalry games.


Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, The Blogosphere

If you can’t beat ’em…

change the rules.

According to the Knight Commission, the NCAA is considering asking for an antitrust exemption for college sports. You just can’t have those coaches making too much money. My concern is what the NCAA’s quid pro quo for the exemption would be.

For political double-talk, it’s hard to beat the honeyed tongue of University of Georgia president and uber-weasel Michael Adams:

“We’re seeing renewed interest in looking harder for solutions” to high coaches’ pay, Michael F. Adams, president of the University of Georgia and a member of the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors, said in an interview after the commission’s meeting. “The competitive pressures are as great if not greater than they have ever been.”

I’m sure the coaches would welcome your solutions, bud.

Check out Mr. Miller’s two comments that appear at the end of his post. Somebody sure has a dry sense of humor.

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Filed under The NCAA