Maybe this is a minor point that won’t get much attention, at least until it occurs, but here’s something to think about regarding the Arkansas game.
Remember this series from the South Carolina game?
Take a look at this intriguing article about decision making on fourth down (h/t Smart Football), which argues in part that “Every single serious study of 4th-down decisions has found that, in most situations, teams would be better off by going for the conversion attempt rather than kicking.”
And then read this set of facts.
Bobby Petrino hasn’t been given that nickname in his second year at Arkansas, but how’s this for gambling?
Arkansas led the country with eight touchdowns on fourth-down plays last season, according to cfbstats.com.
The Razorbacks scored eight of their 22 touchdowns in SEC play last season on fourth down.
Arkansas converted a fourth-down play on 12 of its 32 touchdown drives last year.
Only 12 Football Bowl Subdivision teams converted more fourth-down plays than Arkansas’ 14.
Something to keep an eye out for, is all I’m saying…
Before you read any further, let me state for the record that I would never root for anyone playing organized athletics to suffer serious injury. That being said, I can’t help it if my mind pondered the unthinkable after reading what Barnhart had to say about this week’s meteor game.
At any point in Saturday’s game with Tennessee, will Urban Meyer take his foot off the gas? Not only no, but hell no. I understand that when Lane Kiffin accused Urban Meyer of cheating in recruiting (he later had to apologize because Meyer did not cheat) the Tennessee coach basically wrote a check with his mouth that he knew his team would not be able to cash. But back then Kiffin wanted to rally his fan base and a little controversy was a small price to pay in order to do that. But Saturday the bill comes due. Tennessee is an undermanned football team (compared to Florida) right now. But also understand that this game is about recruiting. Tennessee came into the state of Florida and picked off a kid (Nu’Keese Richardson) that the Gators really wanted and thought they had. Meyer wants to send a message to future recruits from the state that it’s probably not a good idea to go to one of Florida’s biggest rivals. You can always expect Meyer to pour it on when he plays Tennessee or Georgia. That’s just the nature of the business.
OK, fine. Let’s say it’s early in the third quarter and the Gator defense has just returned Crompton’s third pick of the day for a touchdown, making the score, say, Gator Chomp 41, Rocky Top 0. Tempers begin to fray. After Tennessee goes three-and-out (again), Corch Meyers sends the GPOOE™ back on to the field to get even more medieval on the collective Volunteer ass only to watch as a Tennessee defender – a frustrated Tennessee defender – injures Tebow and puts him out for the rest of the season.
I think it’s fair to say that all hell breaks loose at that point, but can you imagine the reaction from something like that happening? And not just the questioning as to whether the injury was deliberately caused; how about Meyer dealing with the issue of what Tebow was still doing in the game at that point? Like I said, I certainly don’t wish injury to Tebow, but, man, the aftermath sure would be entertaining, as least from a neutral party’s point of view.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I’ll try to think innocent thoughts the rest of the day.
Phil Fulmer refuses to go graciously into the night.
Less than 10 months ago he stepped down as Tennessee’s head coach, but not necessarily willingly. UT fans and administration had become restless, and in early November he agreed to step away at the end of the season.
“I’m still PO’d to say the least. There’s probably a couple of people there that I’m not going to invite to Christmas dinner any time soon,” Fulmer said. “I’ve chosen the best I can to take the high road. I really love Tennessee, so let there be no doubt about that. It’s very much a part of me.”
Yeah, that’s some high road you’re taking there, dude. At least after that hefty contract extension and settlement you can afford the transportation.
I gave a few initial thoughts about Saturday’s game in a post yesterday. Here’s what an Arkansas blogger thinks are the keys to the game from the Hogs’ perspective:
Say what you want, but this comes down to: Can the Hogs get pressure on Cox, and keep All-American wide receiver A.J. Green in check? If they can do both, and let the fans do the rest, the Dawgs will be leaving Fayetteville asking: “What just happened here?”
Rivals reboots its 2009 recruiting rankings by going back and looking at which prospects actually wound up enrolling. Georgia, as we know, didn’t lose any of its signees, but what’s striking about that list is that there were three others in the final top ten which accomplished that, including LSU and Florida. Tennessee and Alabama only lost one apiece (three of ‘Bama’s signees are grayshirting).
On the other hand, check out these numbers from around the SEC: South Carolina lost four; Arkansas lost six; Ole Miss lost twelve (no shocker there, given the overall math of that class of 37); Auburn lost seven.
That’s a significant disparity. You can survive a shortfall like that in a given year, but as a trend, not so much. Especially in light of the new SEC signing cap.
As much as we’ve been fretting over the occasionally porous Georgia kickoff game, it could be worse:
Each of Alabama’s opponents has returned a kickoff for a touchdown. After Dyrell Roberts of Virginia Tech took one back 98 yards, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban made no changes in his kickoff team. After FIU’s T.Y. Hilton took one 96 yards, Saban said the errors could be corrected. An optimist would say that if Alabama is kicking off, at least it’s scoring. A pessimist would note that Dennis Johnson of Arkansas, who took the Hogs’ season-opening kickoff 91 yards for a score, comes to Tuscaloosa in 10 days.
Georgia’s only given up ten points after its opponents’ two long returns, so they’re ahead of the game in comparison. Which program cleans up its problem first?