Penalties, shmenalties.

I enjoy reading Tony Barnhart’s stuff, but this morning’s reasoning strikes me as a stretch.

I can’t prove it but I believe Georgia’s penalty problems are making it tough for the pollsters to show them a lot of love. Let’s look at the facts. Statistically, Georgia dominated Saturday’s game with Tennessee. But mistakes and penalties allowed Tennessee, a team that is really struggling, to stay close. Georgia had 11 penalties in this game and now leads the nation with 63 in six games. I think the pollsters are looking at Georgia as a good team but not a great team because it makes too many mistakes and can’t put a team away…

So pollsters look at penalty problems when they vote, eh?  Well, Georgia is ranked 116th nationally in penalty yardage per game.  Only three teams have yielded more.  However, one of those three is the team currently ranked #4 in the Coaches Poll and #6 in the AP Poll, Southern Cal.  Highly ranked Oklahoma is 104th in penalty yardage.  Even Florida, who is the subject of much praise in Barnhart’s column, sits at a less than stellar 97th nationally.

The voters aren’t discounting Georgia in the polls because of penalties.  They’re doing it because Georgia got its ass kicked every which way and back in the first half of a big national TV game.  Barnhart is on stronger ground with his “can’t put a team away” comment, but there’s still plenty of time for that to happen, penalty situation notwithstanding.


Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

15 responses to “Penalties, shmenalties.

  1. peacedog

    What of our penalties actually affected the outcome of the game? I think we may have had a penalty or two on UT’s scoring drives, but otherwise our penalties didn’t really have a big impact on our game, IMO.


  2. Um, did Big Ton’ actually watch the game? I don’t recall a single instance when a Georgia penalty entirely kept the Dawgs from doing what they wanted. Penalties didn’t hurt us at all on defense, and were kept to mostly false start types on offense (which we got through anyway). Then there was an intentional delay-of-game for an easier FG. What the heck is Barnhart even talking about?

    Compare that to Tennessee’s penalties, which played a huge part in one of Georgia’s TD drives and should have set the Dawgs up for another one (thanks, Penn Wagers).

    But hey, as long as Tony sticks to a meme and slams our head against it a billion times, it must be true. Didja know that TROY RACKED UP ALMOST 500 YAAAAAAAAAARDS?????? I’m sure that will certainly spell doom for Georgia against Central Michigan, and mean that Auburn will be an offensive juggernaut for years to come!

    I think the pollsters are looking at Georgia as a good team but not a great team because it makes too many mistakes and can’t put a team away

    Whatever. I’d say a drive that ate up the majority of the fourth quarter would be “putting a team away.” And I’d love to hear how Barnhart can explain Texas Tech sticking around the Top 10 after being taken to OT by a horrible, horrible Nebraska team. I’ll stop talking, Tony, you can answer now.


  3. Also, who hasn’t Barnhart picked Georgia to struggle against/lose to over the past two years? Boy, Auburn ’07 really took us to the wire. Same for Central Michigan.


  4. Ally

    I don’t think pollsters are using our penalty yardage against us in the rankings. I do, however, think they are using the argument that Georgia “wins sloppily” or “not-so-dominantly” to bolster the claim that we are overrated. We’ve seen that from game 1.

    The penalties are just part of the equation.


  5. Dawgb1

    Good point Ally.


  6. sUGArdaddy

    We did have one penalty really hurt us on Saturday. We stuffed them on 2nd & 8 to make it 3rd & 8 back on their own 20 or 25. Asher was offsides, which made is 2nd & 3. They got the first down and went on to score their second touchdown. It was an aggression penalty, but that one did bite us a little bit. None of this matters. It doesn’t matter how good Florida looks in the games before we play them. The only thing that matters is the scoreboard late on Saturday night on Nov. 1!


  7. truck

    On the other hand: the Dawgs are 5-1 and in the Top 10, and they still have not played what I consider to be a complete game yet. It took until the second half of the Vandy game for last year’s team to put it all together. When the light finally does come on for this team, I believe we will all be quite content. And I for one would prefer that they peak later rather than earlier in the season. When the Dawgs finally do play a relatively error-free game, I look for the defense’s ability to shut down the run along with the balance we display on offense to make us competitive with any team in the country. Now if we could just develop a rush end….


  8. Richt-Flair

    I think the penalty that hurt us the most was one thrown on UT — the pass interference … ir .. defensive holding call that should have given us a first down. That you have to have a conference midfield to decide if MoMass was an eligble receiver tells me all I need to know about your officiating crew, Penn Wagers.


  9. Hobnail_Boot

    About the whole “got its ass kicked in the first half of a nationally-televised game” thing..

    Did anyone else watch USC play Oregon State?

    Just curious.


  10. Hobnail, I agree with you. That’s why I can’t in good conscience put USC in my top five on my Mumme Poll ballot either. And that’s even though USC’s win over Ohio State is stronger than anything on Georgia’s resume right now.


  11. I don’t think pollsters are using our penalty yardage against us in the rankings. I do, however, think they are using the argument that Georgia “wins sloppily” or “not-so-dominantly” to bolster the claim that we are overrated. We’ve seen that from game 1.

    But it’s ad hoc BS. I saw Alabama in person against Kentucky. That is the very definition of “winning sloppily,” yet no penalty was issued by the pollsters.


  12. And just because I so knew that Tony had to have said something like this before the game:

    I just get the sense that Tennessee is so overdue to play a decent game that they will come to Athens and be able to take Georgia’s best shot. The Bulldogs win it, but not without a scare. Georgia 24, Tennessee 21.

    Uh huh. So Georgia, who was supposed to only land weak blows on Tennessee, whose “best shot” was supposed to be nearly not good enough, who was due for a decent game from Tennessee, and who was supposed to get a 3-point scare from the Vols…controlled the entire game, put Tennessee away with the most minimal of resistance, and basically won the game by the spread. And Tony thinks we’re sloppy and isn’t satisfied.

    Sure. Welcome to the AJC company line. Trash/diminish Georgia pre-game, gloat over…um….something postgame when the smears don’t come to fruition. Just think back to last year. We got a daily dose of Florida is SOOOO young and SOOOO strong and SOOOO talented!!!! for weeks and weeks. Georgia comes out, pops the Gators in the mouth, and comes home with a two-score victory. The AJC’s line? Via Terence Edwards, that Richt was classless for the Celebration.



  13. Ally

    DN – I didn’t say I agree with that horribly biased opinion, but its a fact that those statements have been made and its no secret that it is a part of the journalistic impression of our team. Its also not the first season under CMR that we’ve heard this type of rhetoric. For whatever reason, we have been held (especially this season) to a different standard – see USC, Florida, & Bama.


  14. Bryan Carver Dawg97

    The facts are that after 3 top 5 teams lose this weekend, UGA remains at 9/10 while OU only drops to #4 and USC jumps 2-4 spots. I agree that losing to unranked Oregon State should be a bigger blight than losing to a top 10 Bama squad. But it is obvious that the pollsters are holding a 31-0 halftime deficit against us (much like they did with Va Tech’s 41-7 early loss to LSU thus eliminating them at the end of last season). USC is getting the benefit of the doubt because they’ve been so good for the last 4-5 years. As David Hale noted, our schedule doesn’t look as tough as it once did. BCSGuru has us pegged at #8 in mockBCS with both UF at #7 and USC at #4 (and they now have a better computer ranking than we do which Guru thinks will hold, despite what you know is a significantly weaker schedule). We are not winning convincingly as OU, USC, PSU, Texas and Bama have done so far. Book it – we will be on the outside looking in at the MNC if there are more than one 1 loss teams at the end of the season to choose from. We have to just destroy both UF and Bama/LSU in the SECCG for a chance and I still wouldn’t bet on us getting in. Not that a 1 loss SEC champ shouldn’t get in, but I just think the pollsters are going to look at HOW you lost.


  15. Goallinestalker

    Bottom line penalties are part of the game….The dawgs were helped by UT on that 97yd drive…pass int. plus the whatever penalty on the pass to MM…Focus is the key….SEC titles are not won or loss by the refs….We as a team have been hit by more injuries to starters than any team in the SEC or the country for that matter…whem looking at depth and the overall culture of expecting players to step in, we have come a long way since the days of Ray Goff…and the Donnan era!! This version of the Bulldogs is one made up of players who were stamped by the media as the preseason #1.. Those expectations were then adopted by the bulldawg nation…and now here we sit at 5-1….with no less that 7 or 8 starters who have missed all or multiple games…talk about a coaching job…if any team in the sec or nation can overcome this and still stay competitive and stay in the top 10 please show them to me!!! We are loaded with talent young and old…you honestly win championships with the entire depth chart 1’s and 2’s included…Go Dawgs