Daily Archives: May 1, 2008

SI’s Spring Wrap

Spring football is over, so SI.com weighs in with a few things:

Stewart “Montana” Mandel has Georgia at #1 in his power rankings.

Gene Menez has Knowshon Moreno at #3 on his Heisman watch list.

And Andy Staples has a nice note in his “Impact early enrollees” piece:

Georgia: The nation’s most loaded team couldn’t possibly have a true freshman starter, right? Not only is Bulldogs coach Mark Richt considering starting a true freshman, he might also use that freshman at a position typically reserved for a veteran. Ben Jones, a 6-2, 306-pounder from Centreville, Ala., could start at center. Jones impressed coaches all spring, and if he develops in August, he may wind up allowing coaches to move current starting center Chris Davis back to guard, where Davis started every game last season.

Jones earned more respect from his coaches this spring when he played through a sprained ankle to keep himself on the two-deep depth chart. “You can tell he’s trying like mad to do it just the way coach says,” Richt said. “You can see he’s coming. I don’t know if he’s coming fast enough to start in the fall, but I’m not going to put it past him.”

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Low Bowl on the totem pole

It’s a day late and a dollar short for our friends in Columbia, but going forward they should know that the Papajohns.com Bowl has got their backs.

… The Papajohns.com Bowl has a two-year deal to receive the SEC’s lowest bowl-eligible team. That gives the league nine automatic bowl berths — if the SEC has that many eligible teams. If not, the Birmingham game will have to find an at-large team.

South Carolina was bowl eligible last season but sat out the postseason when the SEC filled its eight slots.

There’s nothing like going to a bowl game that the folks in Shreveport get to look down their noses at.

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UPDATE: Speaking of lesser bowls, I grok the mockery. What I don’t get is the self-righteousness:

Fifty-seven percent of teams will be going to bowls this year versus only thirty-nine a decade ago. How can college football fans continue to argue that the regular season means so much more than most sports now? How can it be argued having that many teams going to bowls is good for college football? It seems like the regular season will now only matter to elite teams fighting for a BCS spot. – Phil

A: Simple. They’re bowls; not a playoff. If 57% of the teams got into a playoff, then yeah, there’s a beef that the regular season is as meaningless as it is in all the other sports. But the non-BCS Championship bowls are glorified exhibition games and outside of bragging rights they really don’t matter. If you don’t like them, don’t watch. You don’t see anyone complaining about the NIT in college basketball.

Jeez, how hard is that to comprehend?

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Filed under SEC Football

I’m a man, revisited.

Seeing this ESPN story on Bobby Reid and Mike Gundy (h/t The Wizard of Odds) made me reflect further about that ridiculous segment on Bob Costas’ show regarding blogging and the higher standards of journalism that bloggers are routinely accused of disregarding. Why? Well, read this passage:

… That morning, a columnist from the Oklahoman, Jenni Carlson, wrote that Reid was benched for being soft, for not playing through injuries, for being coddled by his mom. And, to prove her point, Carlson wrote Rajika had fed her son chicken after the Troy game.

In a lot of ways, it was a cheap shot — because Rajika had fed no one but herself and because Carlson hadn’t even been at the Troy game. But, in a lot of ways, the article reeked of everything the OSU coaches had been saying behind closed doors…

This is great on a couple of levels. First, there’s Carlson writing about things she neither directly witnessed nor properly attributed to someone who did. But, even better, Tom Friend, in writing the article for ESPN, does the exact same thing he chides Carlson for doing. He obviously wasn’t a party to any “closed door” meeting, and he doesn’t bolster comments like this – “There was a sense now that Gundy didn’t trust Reid, that Reid wasn’t machismo enough for his tastes. And the gossip got out there, even made its way to the beat writers. They just weren’t brave enough to print it.” – with confirmation from either a coach saying these things or a reporter hearing them.

Now, I’m not going to indulge in what Buzz Bissinger did by painting an entire class of folks with a very broad brush. Quite the contrary. While none of the parties to the Mike Gundy rant story have exactly covered themselves in glory, it would be moronic to take that episode as an excuse to tar everyone in the sports journalism profession. My point here is that blogging should hardly be held to a different standard – particularly by sports journalists.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, The Blogosphere

He blinded me with science.

Tater Tot popped out a piece that gives new meaning to my pet phrase “stats geek”. In it, he attempts to engage in a study of the relationship between the amount of talent college programs lost to the NFL in last week’s draft and the final rankings from the ’07-’08 season.

Charitably speaking, it’s a waste of time.

Here’s his “analysis”:

… In the annual collegiate competition to determine who has the best football players, also known as the NFL draft, USC stole the show with 10 players taken, including four in the first round and three in the second. Virginia Tech came in a distant second with eight players taken. How did your team fare? The easy thing to do would be just to add up the number of players you had drafted and compare it to every other school. There were 11 schools with five or more players drafted and you ought to be able to get a pretty good top-10 list from there.

However, you have to give each draft choice a value based on the round in which it was drafted to get a more realistic picture of who actually had the best draft class. Because having a player drafted in the first round is more valuable than having a player drafted in the seventh round, I have given each round a relative value. A first-rounder gets a value of seven points, a second-rounder six, all the way down to a seventh-rounder, which gets a value of one. I call these power points. I also add one power point if a quarterback is drafted because I consider having a talented veteran at this position to be valuable to a college football team. When they are added together, it should give us a better picture of which team had the best draft class based on the quality of those players drafted.

After matching up his talent list against the top 10 ranked teams, here’s his conclusion:

The most glaring statistic from these two lists is that having a top-10 finish in the NFL draft does not guarantee that you will have a top-10 season, and having a top-10 season will not guarantee that you will have a top-10 day in the draft.

Now that’s helpful.  So what’s the point to this exercise? Beats me – except he tosses out this little tidbit at the end:

Therefore, contrary to the commonly held belief that the SEC is the most talented conference, if the NFL draft is the best true indicator of talent, the Pac-10 was the most talented conference last season.

Fascinating. Clueless, but fascinating. I guess it never dawned on Tot that, as one cheap example, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner wasn’t eligible for the 2008 NFL draft. Or that colleges allow their underclassmen to suit up and play. Some of those kids even start.

With insight like this, it’s hard to believe TB can’t get back into the head coaching ranks.

I can’t wait to see his top 25 players in college football list.

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Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Not this time

After reading the post-mortems from Mark Schlabach and USA Today, some final thoughts (I hope) on the just concluded BCS meetings:

  1. Contrary to the general perception before these guys met, it wasn’t a case of the Big Ten and Pac-10 against the world, as much as Jim Delany seemed to relish that role. In the end, the only conferences that wanted to visit the topic of a plus-one were the ACC and the SEC. And even with those two, there was no clear indication that either was in favor of it, had the matter gone to an actual vote.
  2. Mike Slive seems genuinely motivated by what happened to Auburn in 2004. A good commissioner – which Slive is – should be. But he’s also honest enough to recognize that a plus-one in 2007 would have ginned up its own fair share of controversy.
  3. Fear is a powerful motivator. These guys have an appreciation for what the regular season generates financially – Attendance at major college games averaged a record 46,962 last season, the 11th consecutive year that number has climbed. ABC, whose regular-season college football viewership hit a 10-year high in 2006, dipped 15% to an average of almost 4.4 million households in ’07. But ratings for ESPN and CBS were their highest since 1999, and game viewership on ESPN2 averaged a record 1.027 million households, according to the networks – and simply aren’t willing to jeopardize that. It’s clear that they don’t trust themselves to limit the size of a playoff.

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UPDATE: Yeah, I know. In any case, Tony Barnhart has some final thoughts of his own to share. Not much that’s surprising, but I have to admit this made me blink:

…Goren showed up at Tuesday’s meetings with the Emmy Award that FOX won for its coverage of the Oklahoma-Boise State Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2007.

I’m not sure whether that reflects badly on the Emmys or on sports broadcasting, but I feel like I should be appalled at someone after reading that.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs