Monthly Archives: May 2007

Matt Hayes inspired this post.

In fashioning a response to Matt Hayes’ ignorant shot at Georgia’s defense, I took a look at the Dawgs’ defensive stats for the past three seasons – VanGorder’s final year and Martinez’s first two years as defensive coordinators.

First, check out average yards per carry (ypc) rushing from month to month.

In 2004, it goes like this: 3.45; 3.19; 2.78; 1.71.

In 2005, it goes like this: 2.86; 3.75; 4.37; 4.61.

In 2006, it goes like this: 2.87; 3.33; 4.21; 1.62.

There’s a disturbing trend there. In ’04, the average ypc improved from month to month. With the exception of last year’s bowl game, the direction under Martinez has been the opposite.

Now look at the season rushing totals. [Totalled by games, attempts, yards, ypc and TDs.]

2004 12 421 1283 3.05 7
2005 13 486 1870 3.85 17
2006 13 433 1407 3.25 15

While the defense certainly made strides in 2006 in reducing average ypc, the number of rushing touchdowns remains significantly higher than it was under BVG. And don’t forget that the 2006 schedule was far softer than the ’04 and ’05 slates were (no LSU, no SECCG, for example).

Here are the passing defense stats for the same three seasons [totalled by games, attempts, completions, yardage, interceptions, TDs and passer rating]:

2004 12 326 180 2184 5 13 121.58
2005 13 369 211 2205 16 8 105.86
2006 13 342 182 1950 19 11 100.62

Not surprisingly, given Martinez’s prowess as a secondary coach, these numbers have improved noticeably over the past three years, particularly interceptions.

What this tells me roughly a hundred days out from the season opener is that Georgia fans should be much more concerned about the ability of the front seven to shut down the run in 2007 than about Bryan Evans’ inexperience.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

You had me at “unproven”.

Today’s exercise in lazy journalism comes courtesy of TSN’s Matt Hayes, who writes:

… The loss of star CB Paul Oliver (academics) leaves Georgia in a precarious situation in the secondary. The unit is just not that good in coverage and played poorly this spring. There was hope that the quick front seven–and Oliver’s ability to shut down one side of the field–would allow the unit to jell. Now the team likely will use unproven Bryan Evans and Asher Allen at corner. Though both have potential, they’ll struggle with little help from Ss Kelin Johnson and CJ Byrd, who aren’t necessarily cover guys. The loss of Oliver puts more pressure on FS Reshad Jones–a top recruit in 2006–to learn the nuances of the position and win a starting job in fall camp. Then there’s this hanging over the unit: The season opener is against Oklahoma State, one of the nation’s best passing teams. . . .

Look, it’s not unreasonable in any sense to have some questions about Georgia’s defense right now.  But to call Bryan Evans unproven is a reach, as he started several games last year and, along with Weston, significantly improved down the stretch.  Which, in turn, was a large reason the Dawgs’ pass defense stepped up in the last four games of the year.

How hard is it to do a little research before acting like you know something about a program?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Around the Internets, Memorial Day edition

In no particular order, a few columns that caught my eye today:

  • In what no doubt seemed like a great subject until he actually sat down and penned a piece on it, this writer for the Greenville News ranks the SEC schools in the order of post spring practice enthusiasm. Or something like that. Don’t miss the Georgia cheap shot. The irony of someone in South Carolina bitching about Georgia fans arrogantly thinking that their program “isn’t too far away from an SEC title” shouldn’t be lost on any Dawg fan.
  • More rumblings here about Congress taking a look at the NCAA and the tax exemption. Actually, it seems like more of the same rumblings from Senator Grassley. Once again, there’s at least a whiff of jealousy from academia behind this: “Dr. James Duderstadt, president emeritus of the University of Michigan, said last week that the spending spree of big-time athletics department could be the ultimate downfall of higher education.” Who knew Mal Moore had that kind of pull?
  • The Lincoln Journal-Star has an interesting article about scheduling problems the twelfth game presents for Big 12 schools. It’s something I’ve wondered about for a while, or at least since the New York Times published a piece about the rising costs of scheduling cupcake schools. Here’s it’s noted that the payout for such games has roughly tripled. More problematic is the fact that many mid-majors are asking for 2 and 1 deals, requiring the big boys to play one game on the road to get two at home. Not surprisingly, the BCS schools object to playing in a much smaller venue. Where this trend takes college football is uncertain right now, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see it lend support to adding an additional conference game to the schedule.

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Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football, The NCAA

I love Notre Dame, how ’bout you?

Notre Dame’s attempt to extort… er, uh, renegotiate its current deal with the BCS has drawn some fire.

Kyle King’s take on it can be found here. In reading it, I was reminded of an exchange from My Cousin Vinny:

Judge Chamberlain Haller: Mr. Gambini?
Vinny Gambini: Yes, sir?
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Mr. Gambini, that is a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out objection.
Vinny Gambini: Thank you.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Overruled.

Then, there’s this somewhat more breathless post on what Irish AD Kevin White is up to.

Kyle likens the situation to welfare – “Notre Dame has been on the dole for too long without pulling its own weight, much less Charlie Weis’s” (great shot, by the way) – while Mr. Apple analogizes it to a spendthrift teenage daughter flunking out of college. Kyle is much closer to the mark, in my opinion.

Except this isn’t about performance on the field. It’s about putting asses in the seats (stadium and EZ-Boy recliners in front of TVs). As long as Notre Dame delivers on that in a way that no other school in college football can, it’s going to get special treatment.

The funny thing to me is that Notre Dame used to refuse to play in the postseason. And college football seemed to weather its absence just fine.

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Filed under Charlie Weis Is A Big Fat..., The Blogosphere

A holiday cheap shot

All I can figure is that Michigan may be the fastest team in the Big 10:

… Harbaugh’s comments have brought to light two academic issues related to football:

First, that 82 percent of scholarship football players who have declared a major are pursuing a degree in general studies, compared to just 3 percent of the overall student body.

Second, that in the last four graduating classes measured by the NCAA, just 38 percent of African-American football players have received their Michigan degrees.

These are significant numbers.

When more than four-fifths of your football team is clustered in one academic area, you’ve not only created a situation ripe for academic fraud, you’ve set up the perception that general studies is the least-demanding route to a Michigan degree.

Over time, that perception will make a general studies degree significantly less valuable, if not worthless.

And if six out of every 10 African-American recruits are – for whatever reason – not graduating, that hurts the kids involved, future recruiting and the university’s overall reputation…

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Filed under Academics? Academics.

Some football nuggets to nosh on

A few articles from the big boys, as the college football season is now less than 100 days away:

  • Dienhart gets around to rating the SEC schedules here. No big surprises, really, as he lists Georgia with the toughest and Arkansas with the easiest. One little point of interest: Georgia and Tennessee each play nine teams that were in bowl games in 2006.
  • The Worldwide Leader turns its eye to the SEC, as well. Schlabach breaks down the conference team by team, with a pretty good analysis of where the pluses and minuses are right now. But the Maisel/Schlabach “Three things I’d like to see” feature is bland, at best. Although we do get our first hint of how the WLOCP will be promoted by the media if Stafford gets off to a good start next year:

Who is the better quarterback two years from now — Georgia’s Matthew Stafford or Florida’s Tim Tebow? Tebow has a better supporting cast of receivers, but Stafford has a stronger arm and more experience in the SEC. Both players seem destined for greatness, but Stafford would go a long way in legitimizing his hype by beating the Gators on Oct. 27 in Jacksonville, Fla.

  • CFN’s Pete Fiutak throws out his (admittedly) very early BCS projections. Michigan and Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl is pretty bizarre looking. And yes, Southern Cal vs. LSU for the MNC is a safe pick on paper, but I’m predicting now it won’t come to pass.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football

Playoff blowback

I have to give Bernie Machen some credit. He does stir discussion on the BCS/playoffs. Here’s a couple of responses he inspired.

Somebody really, really doesn’t like what USC president Andrew Sorenson had to say about a playoff in college football yesterday.

It’s the birth of a catch phrase: “You have to be insane not to want a playoff!”

And a while back, I tossed out a modest proposal to reform college post-season play. This guy trumps my ass. In spades.

I wish Machen would pick up on an idea I was fooling around with back in the fall: The SEC should secede from the BCS, challenging the “champ” of the rest of college football to a post-bowls title game that guarantees the opponent an unprecedented $25 million payout.

(1) Who is going to turn down that money? (2) It’s not like everyone doesn’t agree the SEC is the best league, year in and year out. (In fact, some are already claiming that the SEC in 2007 is quite possibly the toughest conference in CFB history.) (3) Without incorporating the SEC (at all), I’d like to see the other schools try to claim they are the best.

(h/t AOL Fanhouse)

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Bernie, Bernie, Bernie…

Bernie Machen is about to take his traveling playoff medicine show to the SEC presidents’ meeting in Destin.

I’ve got to say that he has an interesting sales pitch for his peers.

Machen also sees a playoff bringing a more equitable split of postseason revenue, which last season total­ed almost $218 million. Of that, 86 percent pocketed by schools in six conferences — Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Pacific-10 and SEC — and Notre Dame.

Less money for the conference. Sure, that ought to work.

Of course, Bernie would like everyone to believe the pie will expand so much with a playoff that the SEC won’t notice it’s getting a lesser share.

“The big (unknown) is: ‘Is there a lot of money that’s not on the table?’ ” he said. “It could be sizable. More than $100 million more than is on the table now.”

The technical term for such an argument is bullshit. He has no idea if there’s anything like that kind of money sitting out there.

And he’s got other issues to worry about. Or, at least, others are already worried about:

How Machen’s pitch will be re­ceived is uncertain, says Sore­nson, who himself is skeptical: “We’ve got the 12-game (regular) season. We’ve got the (32) bowls with the communities that spon­sor them feeling passionate about maintaining them. And then we have in many conferences, in­cluding ours, a game to de­termine a conference champion. That’s 14 games before you start a playoff, and that’s a long season.

“You couldn’t possibly add a national championship that wouldn’t take at least three rounds. So now you’re talking about a 17-game season that’s in­terrupted by the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. … The logistics are difficult.”

“The logistics are difficult.” In simple English: “we ain’t playing a 17-game season, we ain’t giving up a championship game that generates millions in revenue for the conference and we ain’t taking a smaller share of the post-season bucks to help out the Mountain West Conference. Other than that, we’d be happy to listen to your proposals. Oh yeah, don’t piss off the bowls, either.”

Unfortunately, I still believe that much of that is negotiable, especially over time. Just check out the quote at the end of the article from the ACC Commissioner:

Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford dis­cussed it with officials in his league last week.

“My sense,” Swofford says, “is that if it were to change, it would be more toward a plus-one model rather than the more extreme playoff model.”

In the short run, they’ll blow Machen off. Over time, though, I still feel a playoff is in college football’s future, for better or worse. Given the players involved in the decision making, it’s likely to be the latter.

***************************************************************************

UPDATE: Big 12 to Bernie: Drop dead.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

“It’s so close, you can spit on Fulmer from here.”

How do you market to that special ‘Bama fan who’s won the Lotto and wants to move out of his doublewide?

Here’s how:

Feel like spitting on Fulmer? You’ll be close enough to do it. Want to chunk a corn dog at those annoying LSU fans? Do it from your balcony. That’s how close Houndstooth is to the action. Avoid the traffic and parking stress. Walk to the quad to capture those moments that make Tuscaloosa special. Houndstooth Condominiums are located only a very short walk from the newly renovated Bryant-Denny Stadium.

He’ll feel like he died and went to heaven, I bet.

(h/t The M Zone)

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Whoa, oh, Alabama

A couple of Dawg articles

There are a couple of pieces about the Georgia program in today’s Columbus Ledger-Enquirer worth a look.

David Ching notes that the offense may need to carry the defense in ’07, at least early.  I think he’s more sanguine about the young talent on defense than is justified (there are only three healthy bodies at linebacker right now, for example).  It does seem fair to say that there is some unease about the defense right now.

This article illustrates Richt’s enthusiasm for early admission of some recruits:

“They get a spring under their belt and an offseason,” said Richt, who has welcomed a combined 12 signees onto campus the last two winters. “They get an entire summer knowing exactly what to practice while other guys don’t know that (when they arrive in August).

“These guys got coached . They went through mat drills and they learned that it’s no (walk). It helps them quite a bit.”

The mid-year admissions over the last two years seem driven more by necessity than by some deep seated philosophy on the part of Richt, but it’s to his credit that he’s been flexible enough to pursue them.

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Filed under Georgia Football