Daily Archives: June 10, 2008

Coming back

Here’s what Phil Steele has to say about returning starters as a general rule of thumb:

… When I look at a team for the upcoming year one of the first factors I look at is the amount of returning starters. Last year there were 9 teams in the NCAA that had 18 or more returning starters and 7 of the 9 improved their record from 2006. Making the list were teams like Virginia which went from 5-7 to 9-3 and Florida Atlantic which went from 5-7 to Sun Belt Champs. Teams with 17 returning starters included Central Florida which went from 4-8 to CUSA Champs and Illinois which went from 2-10 to the Rose Bowl!!

On the other end of the spectrum there were 33 teams last year that had 12 or fewer returning starters and of the 33 only 8 managed to improve their record. Some of the less experienced teams that really dropped last year included Notre Dame which had just 9 returning starters and went from the Sugar Bowl to 3-9! Nebraska went from 9-4 to 5-7 with just 11 returning starters and Northern Illinois with 12 returnig starters went from 7-6 to 2-10.

With that in mind, locate Georgia on Steele’s list.  In ’08, the Dawgs don’t play a single school which fields more returning starters.  Then find Georgia Tech.   (Hint:  start at the other end of the list to save time.)  Every school the Jackets will face this season will be more experienced.  Combined with a sea change of offensive philosophy, that doesn’t sound like a formula for success this year.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

Apathy is killing thee.

You want to see a stark difference between college football in the eastern half of the country and in the western half?

… Since 1992, nine others Cal Poly used to play regularly (through an all-time total of 137 games) have also discontinued football. Going back to 1971 puts four more in the cemetery (67 additional games).

Six of the Mustangs’ 10 opponents in 1975 no longer play, and of the four left, only one still plays at their level – the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA), comprised of 125 teams. Three moved up to the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A), now incorporating seven California schools.

According to 2007 U.S. Census Bureau population estimates, of the 38 states with FCS representation, none has as low of a team density per capita as California, with just four members for more than 36 million would-be fans. [Emphasis added.] New York, with just more than 19 million, has 10 teams to choose from. Even South Carolina, with about four-and-a-half million people, can pick from seven.

“It’s tragic,” says Cal Poly head coach Rich Ellerson of the trend, which in 2004 resulted in St. Mary’s informing 14 incoming freshmen who’d signed letters of intent that the team they’d committed to no longer existed, inspiring Neil Hayes of the Contra Costa Times to advise, “Go east, young man. There is little opportunity here.”

Indeed, Cal Poly, which was forced into several reportedly six-figure appearance-fee contracts this season (totaling at least $780,000), and will play twice as many games in the Central time zone (four) as it will against foes from California (two), is something of a football rarity on the West Coast: a survivor.

“There’s nobody out here any more,” says Michael Simpson, athletics director at San Francisco State, which last took the gridiron in 1994.

There’s lots of finger pointing as to why – budget cuts, Title IX woes, inadequate planning by administrators, none of which are problems unique to California  – but the real cause is much simpler.  It’s called lack of interest.

… At some schools, football has resurfaced in club form, as it did at UC Santa Barbara from 1986 to 1991 after being cut in 1971.

Students, however, eventually lost interest, says Bill Mahoney, a Gauchos assistant athletics director.

“I sense a little more indifference to football on the West Coast,” he says.

A similar trend took place at Cal Tech, which last played in 1977, before a club manifestation lasted from 1978 to 1993.

“There’s been a T-shirt for sale in our bookstore that says, ‘Cal Tech football: undefeated since 1993,’” says Wendell Jack, Cal Tech’s athletics director. “That’s kind of our tongue-in-cheek way of looking at things.”

Jack, who pointed to the lack of an NFL team in Los Angeles, shared Mahoney’s sentiment that despite the occasional ground swell, Californians may just not care.

“It’s kind of a mess, from my perspective,” he says. “In Ohio, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, if they talked about dropping football, someone would probably die. There just seems to be apathy here. In California, there’s so much more to do, it’s just different.”

(h/t The Wizard of Odds)

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Filed under College Football

Richt gets ‘em pumped.

Video from the Savannah Golf Club, courtesy of Adam Van Brimmer of the Savannah Morning News. (h/t Dawgbone)

Nothing particularly earth shattering, but it sounds like he’s ready to see what happens this year.

more about “Richt gets ‘em pumped.“, posted with vodpod

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Filed under Georgia Football

You better, you better, you bet.

John Pennington, over at the fine blog mrsec.com, has a post up about the Vegas sportsbooks putting up the lines for the ’08 MNC.  The first part of his piece is a primer on how the sportsbooks operate.  Just remember that the only side those guys take is their own.  Take the way the line is expected to develop for the Tennessee-UCLA game as an example:

… Tennessee will open their season at UCLA on Labor Day. So what might “Sportsbook X” consider when setting the line for that game:

1) Tennessee is not expected to be a national power this year, so there probably won’t be an overwhelming push of cash in their direction. (Which is why I’m using this game as an example, rather than Georgia-Arizona State.)

2) There will be a lot more LA, California and West Coast gamblers in Las Vegas that weekend, which should mean more people putting cash on UCLA in “Sportsbook X” than normally would.

3) Tennessee is expected to be superior talent-wise to UCLA this year, but how much so? Also, the Bruins have a new head coach and offensive coordinator while the Vols have a new offensive coordinator. Those factors could make people more likely to bet on the underdog.

So, it’s likely that “Sportsbook X”, attempting to get an even number of dollars wagered IN their casino, will install Tennessee as the favorite, but not as a heavy favorite. Not as heavy a favorite as the Vols might be if “Sportsbook X” were a off-shore, online sportsbook taking bets from all over.

Tennessee might be set as a 5- or 6-point favorite by an off-shore book. But a Vegas book, like the imaginary “Sportsbook X,” might list them as only a 3-point favorite… because “Sportsbook X” knows they’ll get UCLA, West Coast money, and they want to get an equal amount wagered on the Vols.

Setting UT as a smaller favorite would encourage non-partisan fans to lay cash on the favorite.

And none of that has anything to do with which team will actually win the game.

Of greater interest to Dawg fans comes with the latter part of the post.  If you look, at two of the major sportsbooks, Georgia’s line on winning the MNC has dropped precipitously – from 10-1 to 6-1 at Bellagio and from 6-1 to 3-1 at Harrah’s.  Given the above, is that due to savvy pros seeing a good play, or enthusiastic Georgia fans?  Your guess is as good as mine.

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Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

A look at Central Michigan, through Boilermaker eyes

Here’s a lengthy preview of Georgia’s second opponent of 2008, the Central Michigan Chippewas, from the Purdue blog Off The Tracks.

Bottom line?  Florida-lite on offense.  But that’s one bad defensive team.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Blogosphere