Make sure you read Patrick Garbin’s post about one of my favorite games of the Georgia-Florida series. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Monthly Archives: May 2010
If you haven’t seen Phil Steele’s preseason All-SEC teams (he sets up four), here they are:
A few choice observations, by position:
- Quarterbacks. I guess Phil’s taken Steve Spurrier’s Garcia message to heart. I’m a little surprised at Newton’s appearance, but the more I think about it, if you think Malzahn’s system works, then it’s not much of a stretch. After all, Chris Todd, a far less gifted quarterback than Newton, finished third in the conference in passing efficiency last year. Bottom line, though: it’s not shaping up as a great year for SEC quarterbacks.
- Running backs. I can’t really question the first or second team choices, but I think you can make a good case for challenging the third and fourth team picks. I like both fourth teamers better than either of the two on the third. In fact, I don’t really know what Demps is doing on the list at all. If Steele is basing this on projected production, it’s hard to see how somebody like Tauren Poole doesn’t make the list, as UT figures to be doing a lot of running this year. And Steele must have a lot of faith in Lattimore’s talent, especially since he doesn’t include a single South Carolina offensive lineman in his top four teams. Any way you look at it, though, the conference looks to be well stocked at the position in 2010.
- Wide receivers. Randall Cobb ahead of Alshon Jeffery? I don’t think so. Darvin Adams is one of those guys who deserves more attention than he’s gotten; it’s a good decision to place him first team. Deonte Thompson’s inclusion feels like one of those “you know Florida’s gonna throw the ball, so put somebody on the list” picks. I’d probably put SC’s Gurley ahead of Bumphis. And Russell Shepard strikes me as a wee bit of a stretch, given it’s his first year at the position full-time and the state of LSU’s quarterback position. Still, you know what? There are a lot of pretty good receivers in the SEC.
- Tight ends. Hard to argue with any of Steele’s picks here.
- Offensive line. I like this part of Steele’s projections. He’s always been good at finding guys who are ready to step up, like Florida’s Xavier Nixon. I really like the Cordy Glenn second-team inclusion, too. MSU’s Sherrod is another guy who deserves more attention. He’s good. On the other hand, and maybe it’s just me, I think Lee Ziemba is overrated. I’d switch him with Sherrod.
- Returners. I’m not sure where Steele came up with his list of punt returners, other than Cobb, who’s a pretty obvious pick. It’s true that most of the top guys from last season are gone, but why Gilmore and Rainey? Kick returners are better, but I’d probably put MSU’s Leon Berry ahead of Grandy.
- Defensive line. Drake Nevis is another one of those guys – he didn’t start for LSU last year, but still wound up as one of the conference leaders in tackles for loss. Omar Hunter looks like a stretch at second team – don’t get me wrong, he’s hugely talented, but he’s battled injuries and he’s not currently listed first team on Florida’s depth chart. It’s not a strong year for defensive tackles in the SEC. The ends are better – look at a guy like DeQuin Evans sitting at third team.
- Linebackers. This position is loaded. Ole Miss’ Walker and Cornell are both underrated guys, so kudos to Steele for recognizing that. I think he’ll regret not squeezing Cornelius Washington in there somewhere, though.
- Defensive backs. Bacarri Rambo, fourth team. Way to go, Phil. Overall, he’s done a solid job with his picks here. Corey Broomfield is another guy to watch.
- Kickers. I’d move Byrum ahead of Jasper. And I’m not sure why Tydlacka makes the punters list and Ole Miss’ Campbell doesn’t.
And some team observations:
- By far, the biggest overall surprise is how few LSU players appear on the offensive teams.
- Alabama has three outstanding players to build around on defense, but there ain’t much after them right now.
- If you want to look at why Georgia should be better than South Carolina in the East, look no farther than the offensive line picks.
- Steele isn’t buying Arkansas fans’ confidence in an improved defense.
- How bare is Tennessee’s cupboard?
- The Florida secondary will be outstanding.
So, your thoughts?
Sample the wares, friends.
- Somehow, College Football News has managed to fashion a list of the top twelve running backs in the SEC without bothering to include Washaun Ealey’s name on it.
- Just what the SEC needs: “The NCAA plans to study whether the on-field head official should be in charge of overturning calls via instant replay instead of a replay official in the press box.”
- We’re not even in June yet and 37 of The Sporting News’ top 100 recruits have already given verbal commitments. The NCAA needs to come up with an early signing rule. It can’t be that hard.
- If Derek Dooley agrees to this, he’s either desperately foolish or foolishly desperate.
- There are fan bases whose trash talk I can accept, but Louisville?
- Despite the economy and the mediocre football season, the Georgia athletic department did quite well this past year, financially speaking.
- Which should be a reminder about the engine that’s driving all of this expansion talk…
Looks like Demetre Baker intends to stay away from alleys in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia:
… I was there and saw the downtown (in Athens) and it’s a little bit wild. But you don’t have to worry about that. I’m not that type of person. I usually stay indoors, try to keep small business and be careful with how I conduct myself. I don’t want any trouble because it’s easy to get into and hard to get out.
I’m not sure what to make of this quote from Mark Richt at yesterday’s meeting of the Albany Chapter of the Georgia Bulldog Club:
… Georgia’s head coach also talked about the timing of Grantham’s hiring, which came after reported discussions with Alabama defensive coordinator and former Bulldog Kirby Smart — a native of Bainbrige — fell through. Richt said he nearly attempted to hire Grantham more than a month earlier than when Grantham accepted the position in January, but also said the Bulldogs might not have been fortunate enough to hire Grantham if he had offered the former Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator that soon.
“I’m not sure we would have gotten him then,” Richt said. “I’m not going to say why but circumstances changed.”
Does that mean Grantham had some initial misgivings about the job that were later cleared up?
The funny thing here is that many of us wondered how Grantham would feel about being the third or fourth choice for the job. Maybe the question we should have asked then was how Foster and Chavis felt about being fall back options for Richt.
Today, Tony Barnhart asks the musical question “Where is it written that the BCS is SUPPOSED to be fair?” It’s a good response to Orrin Hatch’s socialism (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Here’s his money point:
But to say these conferences are the victims of “revenue discrimination” (I’ve got to write that one down for future use) is to presume they had a pre-existing claim to the BCS money pool that is somehow being denied.
That is a totally separate issue from whether dear ol’ Mid-Major U deserves to play for the national title. We’ll have a much more sensible national playoff debate when more folks recognize that. Not that I’m holding my breath – for a lot of people, the playoff debate is merely a cover for directing increased revenue distribution to places like San Diego State.
Phil Steele’s projection of Oklahoma as the preseason number one team has certainly gotten its share of virtual tongues wagging. Here’s something from Matt Hinton’s reflection on Steele’s pick that got me to thinking:
… There are precedent for such a rebound, too. Beginning with Oklahoma’s out-of-nowhere BCS championship run in 2000, three teams in the last decade – the 2000 Sooners, Ohio State in 2002 and LSU in 2003 – have rebounded from unranked, five-loss seasons to win the BCS championship, all with expectations of far more modest improvement. Two others, Washington in 2000 and Auburn in 2004, came off five-loss seasons to finish within very plausible striking distance of a BCS title shot, and Alabama surged from 7-6 in 2007 to within half a quarter of a BCS championship bid following a 12-0 regular season in 2008.
And when you consider the glaring flaws of the Crimson Tide as the consensus No. 1 going into this fall – again, nine new starters on defense; nine – 2010 seems to scream for an outside-the-box contender to emerge from the pack. Frankly, outside of the unanimous top three (‘Bama, Boise State and Ohio State), a healthy, rejuvenated Oklahoma makes about as much sense at No. 1 as anyone else.
Take a look at Steele’s top 10. Or make up your own, if you prefer. Is there any team on such a list that you feel as confident about winning this year’s MNC as, say, Texas, Florida or Alabama did last season? I mean, Matt’s right about the consensus top three: ‘Bama is looking at huge changes on defense and questions about its special teams; Boise State may have a clearly defined path to the title game, but it’s still got to win those games against Virginia Tech and Oregon State first; and, yeah, it’s easy to see Ohio State playing in the title game, but winning it?
You can say the same thing about the SEC. Steele has four teams from the conference ranked between 15 and 21 – Auburn, Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina. We’ve hashed around their flaws and upsides plenty. But what if it turns out that everybody’s PH™ is semi-justified and all of those programs are much improved in 2010? That would have the makings of one wild and crazy season.
To which I say: bring it on. 2007 is my benchmark for college football entertainment (hell, LSU’s season by itself was a benchmark – a MNC with two triple-overtime losses isn’t something you see every day). That year defined “wide open” all the way down to the very last weekend of the regular season. Maybe things are shaping up to give us another year for the ages. I won’t complain if they do, that’s for sure. Besides, it beats listening to more speculative crap about Big Ten expansion.
There’s always something to put on your plate.
- From the nice-gig-if-you-can-get-it department: Kansas AD Lew Perkins makes Mike Hamilton look like Jack Freakin’ Welch.
- In a related matter, Jason Whitlock hyperventilates. “Goldman Sachs has nothing on the NCAA”? Dude.
- The Florida Gators, a team in search of an affront.
- This isn’t exactly what Vanderbilt needs now.
- Patrick Garbin views the Dawgs through the lens of one of my favorite metrics, yards per point.
- In the second quarter of last season, the SEC had eight teams among the top 20 merchandise sellers.
- Ivan Maisel takes a look at recruiting the Rust Belt in an era of economic decline.
- John Pennington defines Dennis Dodd’s “bubble”: “A horrific year and some boosters would call for Richt’s head.” Gee, John, by that standard every coach in America is on the bubble, no?
Via Pat Forde’s Twitter feed, here’s what Phil Steele’s top 25 looks like:
1. Oklahoma; 2. Ohio State; 3. Alabama; 4. TCU; 5. Nebraska; 6. Boise State; 7. Florida; 8. USC; 9. Miami; 10. Oregon; 11. Texas 12. UNC 13. VT 14. Iowa 15. Aub 16. ND 17. Ark 18. Penn St. 19. UGA 20. FSU 21. S. Car. 22. WVU 23. Wisc 24. Hou. 25. Arizona.
Conspicuously absent from that list is the juggernaut on the Flats.
I guess Anthony Allen needs to crank out another video.