Daily Archives: October 22, 2008

Bizarre comment of the day

From an otherwise very favorable analysis of Mr. Moreno’s attributes for a potential draft by the NFL comes this:

A much better athlete than given credit for…

Say what?  The only knock I’ve seen on his game is that he lacks that ultimate, freakish, McFadden-straight-line-for-80-yards speed (then again, who doesn’t?).  But I’ve never heard a critical comment about Knowshon’s athleticism.  This is, after all, the guy who’s been leap frogging defenders in a single bound.

Although, come to think about it, maybe this is meant as extreme praise – you know, as much as we’re impressed by his athleticism, it’s even greater than we give him credit for.  That would make him the human equivalent of Nigel Tufnel’s amp.

Knowshon goes to eleven.

Knowshon goes to eleven.



Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

We’ve got questions…

I have to give the AJ-C’s Chip Towers credit for getting answers on some nuts and bolts questions about what Georgia’s been doing recently.  He’s got a post up today that is inspired by questions from his readers, some of whom are disgruntled enough to ask him to pose some irrational questions (I can just see Richt’s reaction to Towers asking him“why don’t you fire Willie Martinez?”), but in the main, there are some informative answers there, maybe a little frustrating to read, maybe a little scary but at least in one case, comical.

In response to a question about why Georgia plays a soft defense, here’s what a coach (presumably the still employed Martinez) had to say in part:

… Georgia rarely “sells the ranch” and blitzes a lot of players at once. But it sends at least one player or sometimes two more often than you think, usually the boundary corner a safety or a middle linebacker. The problem has been they aren’t getting there as much.

As for red zone problems, Bobo’s response was to point to issues with execution.

… Bobo’s real careful not to throw his players under the bus but he said they’ve have some real ugly plays at times because of major assignment breakdowns…

Richt says that kickoff coverage has suffered recently because “frankly we quit blocking as well”, which is a bit troubling to read.

You can see there’s a pretty common thread throughout this – execution.  At least that’s something that can be addressed, unlike, say, talent.

The part that made me laugh out loud was this response on why Georgia wasn’t getting any pressure from the defensive ends to help out with the pass defense.

… I’ve asked CWM about this several times the last few weeks. Bottom line answer has been players there haven’t gotten it done. Injuries haven’t helped. Jeremy Lomax has been playing all season with real bad turf toe and Rod Battle (neck) just came back this week. Jarius Wynn has been good but not great and Demarcus Dobbs has been occasionally great but not consistently good. They like the athleticism of freshman Justin Houston but he gets out of position too much. Martinez categorically has said that they’re not interested in moving any of the linebackers there, which is mainly a depth issue there. Georgia’s strong in all aspects of defense except against the pass… [Emphasis added.]

Heh.  And other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?


Filed under Georgia Football

The art of frontloading

ESPN.com’s Ted Miller launched a screed against the Big XII’s pathetic early schedules, mainly  to argue that the Pac-10 should give up the good schedule fight and join the party.

… Scheduling matters.

And it’s become clear that teams are not penalized for scheduling weak opponents in order to pad their record, nor do teams — or conferences — get credit for ambitious scheduling.

He scores a telling point about Oregon State:

… How many times have you heard or read that USC lost to a “mediocre” Oregon State squad?

If Oregon State, winners of four consecutive bowl games and 19 games the previous two seasons, had played Texas Tech’s schedule, the Beavers would be unbeaten, too.

Without changing any players or coaches they’d transform from “mediocre” to a ranked team.

Instead, they played at No. 3 Penn State and at No. 11 Utah and went 0-2 and became mediocre, even though no other team in the nation has played two top-11 foes on the road.

It’s not worth it.

Since his column is more about the Pac-10’s choice of scheduling (although it looks like Arizona’s Stoops has learned from his brother), I think Miller missed making a strong point about the consequences of the Big XII’s actions, but over at Saurian Sagacity, Mergz gets it.  It’s not just who a school’s non-conference opponents are, but when they’re scheduled.

… I’m not making a statement about the relative conference strengths here, just that by week 5 the SEC and other conferences WERE playing conference opponents. Because in conference play, as the Big 12 knew well that almost anyone can beat anyone. So they avoided it.

However the Big 12 had a built in advantage by week 5 – the firm knowledge that in college football impressions linger. Even now, after week 8, most of the Big 12 teams listed have a solid image of strength in the minds of voters and fans, regardless of whether they deserve it.

Moreover, the impression of strength has played to the Big 12’s advantage since it was mathematically certain someone from the conference would end up number one by now, the way the schedule was set up. To see how this worked, follow the odds. The 6 teams mentioned were virtual slam-dunks to be 4-0 by week 5 when they began conference play. Since a few of them would play each other, and there had to be a winner, that winner would be favorably disposed to be ranked 1st, based on the impression they had beaten a high-quality team.

One thing that governs voters in these polls is inertia – at least for BCS conference schools.  Even after that first loss in week six or week seven, a voter is still looking at a team that’s 5-1 or 6-1.  He or she is invested in that record, regardless of which schools it’s been compiled against.  It’s hard to choose to knock that record down behind a 4-2 or 5-2 team, even if those two losses may be to other ranked teams.

So what should you do if you’re in charge of SEC schedules and you want to counteract this?  Mergz knows:

… Were I in charge of Florida or other SEC school’s scheduling I would move the non-conference schedule immediately to the front. UF could have very well started the year 5-0 if Citadel and FSU got moved up, and the same with other SEC schools.

Nobody is saying that there aren’t some quality teams in the Big XII.  But the deference in the polls given to schools like Texas Tech, questionable resume and all, should tell us that something ain’t quite right.  At a minimum, the powers that be running the BCS need to make sure that a heavy dash of strength of schedule gets added to the mixture that ranks the teams in the running for the title game.


UPDATE: The AJ-C’s Tim Tucker throws out some stats that suggests Ted Miller may be overstating his case about Pac-10 scheduling.

… The average margin in the 25 SEC games this season is 10.36 points.

The only conference with a lower average margin is the Big East, which has played eight intra-league games. The average margin in those games is 9.38 points.

Rivaling the SEC in competitiveness is the ACC, where 13 of 19 intra-conference games — 68 percent — have been decided by 10 points or less. The average margin in ACC games is 10.95 points.

At the other extreme, the average margin in Pac-10 games is a whopping 25 points.

In other words, the teams at the bottom of that conference suck.  Really suck.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football

2008 Las Vegas Sports Consultants Top 30, Week 8

The money boys put it out there after last week’s slate:

Rank Team Rating Previous Notes
1 Southern Cal 113.8 1 Schedule sets up nicely.
2 Texas 112.2 2 Made major statement — again
3 Oklahoma 111.4 4 Sooners take care of business against KU.
4 Florida 111.1 3 Host Kentucky off the bye.
5 Penn State 110.1 5 Big Ten Title on the line in Columbus.
6 Georgia 107.8 7 Bulldogs post solid win over Vandy.
7 Alabama 107.5 8 Survive and advance over Mississippi.
8 Texas Tech 106.6 9 Put rally cap on at Texas A&M.
9 Ohio State 106.5 10 Staring to come together.
10 Missouri 106.4 6 Reeling from back to back beatings.
11 Oklahoma State 105.5 13 No letdown off huge win.
12 LSU 105.3 12 Battle past Spurrier’s boys.
13 Kansas 103.5 15 Hung tough for a while at Norman.
13 Texas Christian 103.5 16 College football’s Rodney Dangerfield.
15 Brigham Young 103.4 11 Horned Frogs spoil BYU’s BCS.
16 California 102.5 13 Struggled to keep pace with ‘Cats.
17 Utah 102.3 17 Ram tough versus CSU.
18 Arizona 101.9 26 Offense came to play against Cal.
19 West Virginia 101.7 19 Host Auburn Thursday night.
20 Oregon 101.5 21 A date with the Sun Devils on deck.
20 Boston College 101.5 25 Eagles get big win over Holies.
22 Boise State 101.4 20 Another solid effort at home.
23 South Florida 101.2 23 Too much talent for Syracuse.
23 Tulsa 101.2 27 Put up 77 on UTEP.
25 South Carolina 101.0 18 Tigers a little too much to handle.
26 Oregon State 100.9 28 Beavers big over Washington.
27 Florida State 100.2 NR Post win over NC State.
28 Georgia Tech 100.1 NR Big win at Clemson.
29 Cincinnati 100.0 30 Visit UConn this week.
29 Pittsburgh 100.0 NR Panthers blast Midshipmen.

Man, these guys like USC, don’t they? I’m not sure if Texas went out and beat an NFL team whether that would get it in the top slot.  And before you accuse me of gross exaggeration, take a look at where they’ve got Oklahoma and Missouri ranked.

The three loss teams at 25 and 26 seem like a bit of a stretch, too.


Filed under College Football

Dawg stat watch ’08, week eight

And we’re back to the weekly feature looking at how Georgia is faring in the statistical categories in which it excelled in happier times, i.e., seasons in which it played in the SECCG under Richt.  Those are as follows:

  1. Hold opponents under 17 points per game.
  2. Finish at least +8 in turnover margin.
  3. Average better than 380 yards per game on offense.
  4. Finish in the top five in total defensive yardage.
  5. Finish in the top three in first downs.
  6. Finish no worse than third in passing yardage.
  7. Finish at least third in sacks.

And here’s how things stand after week eight for Georgia in the SEC statistical rankings.

  1. Defensive scoring:  17.7 ppg
  2. Turnover margin:  0
  3. Total offense:  429.6 ypg
  4. Total defense:  3rd (269.7 ypg)
  5. First downs:  2nd (22.6 pg)
  6. Passing offense:  1st (260.1 ypg)
  7. Sacks by:  8th (13)

There’s a lot there to like in all of that, but that fault line I mentioned last week is becoming more pronounced.  The turnover margin and the sacks figures point to a problem on defense that we have to hope begins to turn around this week.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Wednesday random bits

You know the drill.

  • Here’s one of those obscure stats that gives you pause for thought when you see it:  of the nation’s top 10 punt returners, Georgia has or will face seven of them.  So far, Georgia has held up pretty well in that department, as the longest punt return it’s allowed this season is 17 yards to ‘Bama’s Arenas.
  • How do you think Tony Franklin would be doing right now at Auburn with this guy at quarterback?
  • David Hale has a good piece up about Georgia’s leadership search.
  • If you’re looking for a rundown of the computer rankings used for the BCS, then this post at The National Championship Issue is a must read.
  • Just snap the damned ball.
  • There’s another cool post up at cfbstats.com, about which teams in the country have spent the least amount of time trailing in games this season.  One of those teams is not like the others.
  • Travis isn’t into this whole audacity of hope thing, I guess.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, The Blogosphere, Tony Franklin - Misunderstood Genius, Uncategorized

What are they feeding them in Baton Rouge?

Say what you will, this is some serious beef:

… The Bulldogs lead the SEC and rank third nationally in rushing defense, allowing 61 yards a game, but will be tested Saturday. The Tigers, led by the beefy tailback tandem of Charles Scott (5-foot-11, 233) and Keiland Williams (5-11, 229), rank third in the league and 36th nationally with 178.3 yards a game.

LSU has the largest left side in the league with guard Herman Johnson (6-7, 375) and tackle Ciron Black (6-5, 325).

Whoa.  Those toss sweeps could be a little daunting for a defensive end.


Filed under Georgia Football