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.

8 Comments

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

8 responses to “Coming back

  1. Virginia went 9-3 in the regular season. Virginia.

    ACC football = Awesome.

  2. JG

    Senator –

    I hope you have realized that the ALL-KNOWING Phil Steele is going to have Clemmins in the top 4. Top 4!!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!!

    He has us @ 9. I’m ok with that.

  3. Steele has Clemmins with the #73 schedule in the country… that’s where that top 4 ranking is coming from.

    Hey, the ACC is pretty weak this year and Clemmins is fairly loaded, except for the o-line. They’ve got a shot, if Tommy doesn’t screw it up.

  4. JG

    I agree that they should go undefeated.

    But, as like you said, they are coached by Tommy Bowden.

    Bama is going to beat them in ATL.

  5. tmc1

    I hope Bama does. I thought that Clems would beat the snot out of the Aubbos in the chicken bowl. Then again it is hard to beat a team that chop blocks as well as the Plainsman War Tigers.

  6. Steele’s got Clemmins at #5, BTW…

  7. RC

    Ok, here’s what I don’t understand about Steele’s rankings and many preseason rankings in general…he is ranking Clemson at #5 and Georgia at #9. As you mentioned, he lists Clemson’s schedule at #73. I have no idea how he ranks Georgia’s schedule, but looking at the two, I assume he thinks Georgia has a significantly more difficult road ahead. That being said, I don’t see why a team’s schedule factors into their preseason ranking. For instance, it seemed that last year many folks looked at WVU’s schedule, returning talent, etc., and said, “Ok, they could very conceivably go undefeated and should therefore be a top-5 team going into the season.” It seems like Steele is doing the same thing here….”based on their schedule, Clemson has a better chance of winning more games and should therefore be ranked ahead of a Georgia team with a more difficult schedule.” It’s as if he is attempting to forecast what the rankings will be at the end of the season as opposed to ranking the teams (who are yet to play a single game) relative to one another based on returning talent, injuries, incoming players, spring performance, etc. I simply don’t understand the logic in ranking teams based on what their record projects to be at the end of the season. (Of course I realize that projecting records necessarily considers returning talent, etc., but that still avoids the point I’m making).

    It could be that Steele looks at Georgia and Clemson objectively (and I’m just using them as examples because they came up in the post) and says, “Yep, as things stand today, Clemson is five spots better than Georgia.” But I just don’t think that’s the case.

    Anyway, getting to the point, what’s your take on using schedule strength (or perhaps more accurately, “likelihood of going undefeated”) as a factor in preseason rankings? It just seems absurd to me, and I think it affects deserving teams down the line in that it makes it hard to leapfrog (in my opinion) oftentimes less-deserving teams who had higher preseason rankings and continue to win, albeit against lesser competition. I’m interested in your thoughts.

  8. It’s as if he is attempting to forecast what the rankings will be at the end of the season as opposed to ranking the teams (who are yet to play a single game) relative to one another based on returning talent, injuries, incoming players, spring performance, etc.

    I agree (Steele ranks Georgia as having the third toughest schedule, by the way).

    Anyway, getting to the point, what’s your take on using schedule strength (or perhaps more accurately, “likelihood of going undefeated” ;) as a factor in preseason rankings?

    I’m anti-preseason rankings in any format, Steele’s included. I don’t think the first poll should come out any earlier than the first week of October.