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.