Monthly Archives: September 2007

Building a new tradition at Notre Dame

The humiliation is complete. The Irish are now a punch line, a reference point for crapitude. Just listen to Nebraska LB Corey McKeon defend his program against criticism after the embarrassing near loss to Ball State.

“This isn’t a down year for Nebraska,” he said. “We’re 3-1 and people are looking at it like . . . we’re Notre Dame, like we’re 0-4.”

It’s a long way from the Gipper and Rudy, ain’t it?

(h/t The Wizard of Odds)

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Filed under Charlie Weis Is A Big Fat...

The best things in life are free.

Over at CBSSports.com, Spencer Tillman purports to take a look at what he refers to as “… the gross imbalance in what football players at major college institutions give in comparison to what they really get in return.”  While he does give lip service to the idea that D-1 football players do derive some positives from the current arrangement, it’s apparent where his sympathies lie.

He promises some surprising solutions to the issue he’s raised in his next article.  I’m curious to see how he proposes to get around the biggest problem with paying college football players, namely, that at most schools there just isn’t enough money in the athletic department budget to do that.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Dawg stat watch: what it takes to win, week 4.

If you’ve followed me on this so far, you know the drill: there are seven statistical categories that Georgia excelled in for the three years that it’s gone to the SECCG under Richt (you can read the background on my analysis here). They are

  1. Hold opponents under 17 points per game.
  2. Finish at least +8 in turnover margin.
  3. Average better than 380 yards per game on offense.
  4. Finish in the top five in total defensive yardage.
  5. Finish in the top three in first downs.
  6. Finish no worse than third in passing yardage.
  7. Finish no worse than third in sacks.

I’m keeping track of the Dawgs’ progress in each of these statistical categories during the 2007 season. Here’s where Georgia stands in these categories after the ‘Bama game:

  1. Points allowed per game: 17.2
  2. Turnover margin: -2
  3. Total offense per game: 364 yards
  4. Total defense per game: 282.5 yards, 2nd in the conference
  5. First downs: 79, 7th in the conference
  6. Passing yardage per game: 223.2, 6th in the conference
  7. Sacks: 9, 2nd in the conference

They aren’t gaining any serious ground in the offensive categories, but the good news there is that the next two games are against #s 11 & 12 in the SEC in total defense. The bigger concern is that Georgia still isn’t making any headway in turnover margin. The Dawgs survived a -1 in Tuscaloosa, but that’s something that will come back to bite them, just as it did last year, if they don’t start making improvement there.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Wildcat luck beats Wildcat formation.

If you wonder why I’m hesitant to start slobbering all over 4-0 Kentucky, here’s a good reason from Phil Steele:

Arkansas outgained Kentucky 373-131 in the 1H but the key play of the game happened with the Hogs driving for a late TD. They were at the UK 35 with under 1:00 left in the half when they fumbled and Lindley ret’d it 66 yds for a TD with just :26 left and Ark only led by 6. Ark had 7 players catch a virus during the morning including McFadden and Jones who both were suffering from heat exhaustion due to the virus in the 2H. Ark still led 29-21 with 11:40 left but UK rallied for the win.

Sure, a good team takes advantage of the breaks, but, geez, UK’s been living off of stuff like that all season. How long ’til the dam breaks?

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Filed under Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football

Finebaum in love

What else can explain this over the top paean to the four million dollar man?

However, the Tide is the most exciting team in college football. Hands down.

Maybe he and Saban can double date with Lemming and Weis.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Whoa, oh, Alabama

More paranoia

I guess Coach O worked for Bill Belichick, too:

Georgia is 1-0 with a win over a top-20 team since Richt closed down practices last week. Guess what? Practices were closed again Monday and appear likely to be all week.

Sports information director Claude Felton said he did not know if Richt had decided if the move is permanent for the rest of the season. Richt is unavailable to speak to reporters on Mondays.

Richt never closed an entire week of practices before last week in his seven seasons.

I await further commentary on this development from ‘Bama bloggers.

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

UPDATE: Ching reports that Richt has decided to loosen the reins a bit – the media will be allowed into practice for twenty minutes once a week. Every thing else remains closed. So I guess those ‘Bama bloggers can continue to take things personally. Sort of, at least…

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Blogosphere

Smokin’ in the girls’ room

If you don’t laugh when you read this story, you have problems, my friend.

It’s a tossup as to my favorite part.  I try to picture this…

Because the UW has a policy in place to revoke season tickets of people who cause disturbances, the officer asked couple to produce their tickets and the man was able to find his — the seats were in section KK — but the woman couldn’t find hers, what with her pants being inside out.

… “what with” and all, but it’s hard not to be moved by gallantry like this:

The pair were taken to the police office in the stadium and told they would be arrested for lewd and lascivious conduct when the man said they were “only peeing together.”

(h/t EDSBS)

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Filed under Crime and Punishment

Upon further review: Georgia vs. Alabama

(photo courtesy al.com)

I went back and watched a replay of Saturday night’s win. There weren’t many things that jumped out on a second viewing that most of us didn’t see the first time around, so what additional observations I have may be pretty apparent to most folks.

  • This is a young, talented team, or, if you prefer, this is a talented, young team. Duh. There were some absolutely spectacular individual plays made by guys in the secondary (Asher Allen, in particular, looks like he’s really coming on), by Stafford (his throw on the completion to Bailey in the third quarter was incredible; so was his ability to tightrope the sideline and pick up the first down earlier) and by Moreno, but there were an equal number of dumb, careless plays and decisions to go around, too. A more experienced team would have left ‘Bama in the dust in the first half; a less talented team would have lost the game. Face it, Dawg fans, we’re looking at a wild ride for most of this year.
  • Willie Martinez, or how I learned to like the blitz. He’s never going to be Jon Tenuta, but he was pretty aggressive (for Martinez, at least) and effective with his blitz packages Saturday night. One advantage to having a fast, undersized DE like Marcus Howard is that he makes it easier to zone blitz and drop him into coverage. And I loved bringing Thomas Flowers on the run blitz to stop ‘Bama from picking up the second and inches late… too bad Prince Miller got called for pass interference on that fourth down play.
  • Stacy Searels may not be God, but he’s got His number in his speed dial. Just go back and look at the blocking on Moreno’s TD run. Vince Vance played something like 15 snaps at guard, after lining up there for the first time in practice four days prior to the game, and survived. Yes, the line is getting some help from Stafford and the backs – OK, a lot of help – but it’s still pretty amazing what he’s been able to wring out of them so far. One concern: Cheese had trouble handling Gilberry’s speed. That doesn’t bode well with guys like Harvey and Groves coming up.
  • Go to receivers. If you look at the game stats, they confirm what I sensed watching the game – the staff is winnowing down who gets the chance to play catch with Stafford. For all the talk about new found depth in the receiving corps, only seven players caught passes against ‘Bama, and that included Chandler, Brown and Moreno. Wilson played a decent amount, but it looks like he was being called on for his blocking skills, as almost every play I saw him on the field for was a run. Goodman looks like he’s being given the chance to be the first option after the big three. Durham (not Duncan, you production mopes at ESPN) caught one ball. No other receiver made an impact. Drops have consequences, a lesson Tripp Chandler may be dangerously close to learning.
  • Linebacking may be starting to sort out. I was skeptical about the rise of Marcus Washington (Ching has some good stuff on MW, by the way), but he played a solid, physical game against ‘Bama. He and Ellerbe are starting to look like contributors. Now if the coaches can just find someone for the third slot…
  • Miscellanea. For some reason, ‘Bama really focused on not letting Brannon Southerland do anything with the ball… Georgia continues to get very good production out of its defensive tackles… you had to feel sorry for poor Roderick Battle, who got stuck dealing with Andre Smith most of the game… horrible non-call on what looked like an obvious push in the back by Castille on Goodman late in the game… speaking of Castille, Massaquoi obliterated him with a crushing block in the first half, just another example of how MM has improved his game this year by being much more physical… and is there a defensive formation that Saban didn’t call in that game? Give Stafford credit for not being completely overwhelmed by Saban… he got burned on occasion, but handled himself pretty well overall.
  • Mike Patrick is bi-polar. Seriously, somewhere beneath the avalanche of non-game related rambling lies a fairly competent announcer. If you don’t believe me, go back and listen to the now infamous “Britney” clip leading up to Georgia’s one play on offense in overtime. After he freaks Blackledge out, Georgia trots on to the field and Patrick suddenly snaps back into game mode to make a succinct call of the winning play with just the right amount of excitement (nicely punctuated by Blackledge’s quiet “Got it”). Weird.

And if I can take a moment to indulge in some back-patting, here were my four keys to the game:

So what does Georgia need to do to win Saturday?

  1. Score first. Believe it or not, so far in 2007, SEC teams are 21-0 when they get on the scoreboard first. Plus, scoring first helps establish a tone for the game when a school is on the road.
  2. Stick with the running game. 47-24; 31-45; 34-26. That’s the run-pass ratio in each of Georgia’s first three games. Can you guess which one is the loss?
  3. Be patient. Georgia has more depth. Play a tough, physical game and wear ‘Bama down. It would have worked for Arkansas (which came back from 21 down) if Nutt had been a little smarter on Arky’s last offensive series in the game.
  4. Get kickoff coverage under control. Special teams haven’t been that bad for Georgia (4th in punt return average, 4th in kickoff return average and 1st in net punt yardage in the conference), except for kickoffs. Even Western Carolina had decent success returning kicks. In a grind-it-out type game, which favors Georgia, field position is huge, especially on the road.

Four for four, baby! Throw in my conclusion…

In the end, I think the intangibles favor Georgia. The Dawgs have a lot more to lose with this game and the staff knows it. And I have a hard time picking against a Mark Richt coached team in an SEC opponent’s stadium. Most folks see about 44-51 points being scored Saturday night. I believe Georgia will get the majority of ‘em.

… and I nailed the sucker. Feel free to ignore all of my predictions from here on out. Trust me – I’ve used up my quota for the year.

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Filed under Georgia Football

It can’t happen here.

From the more, the merrier department:  Division 1-AA looks to expand its football playoff to 18 teams.  Why in the world does the NCAA think there’s a need for that many schools to participate in that tourney?

Please – keep reassuring me I don’t need to worry about mission creep, playoff proponents.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Worth every penny.

You hope Ty Willingham has a sense of humor.  It sure seems like God has one.

Not only does Notre Dame have the distinction of being the only 0-4 Irish football squad in school history, it’s the only team from the BCS conferences and the independents not to have won a game this season. [Emphasis added.]

Anyone call that before the start of the season?

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Filed under Charlie Weis Is A Big Fat...