Daily Archives: September 7, 2010

John Feinstein likes his version of reality very much, thank you.

In writing an utterly predictable piece about how Boise State’s win last night is another sign of the impending BCS apocalypse, John Feinstein can’t leave well enough alone.  It’s not enough to applaud the Boise State team for its resiliency in obtaining a come-from-behind road win over a top-10 ranked opponent.  Nah, he’s got to invent an alternate-reality version of Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech is a very good football team. It is well coached…

Not last night it wasn’t.  Unless this is how you define “well coached”:

… But there were plenty of other plays that had just as much impact on the game: Tyrod Taylor fumbling away the snap on the game’s second play (led to a Boise State field goal); the Hokies getting a punt blocked (led to a touchdown); D.J. Coles going nuts and getting flagged for two penalties, totalling 20 yards, on a Boise State punt (led to a touchdown). And those were just Boise State’s first three drives, all in the first quarter. Boise State’s next drive after those three started at its 40-yard line after Justin Myer kicked off out of bounds. (The fumbled-snap drive began at Tech’s 31, the blocked-punt drive at Tech’s 12.)

Oh, and on top of all those special teams errors, on almost every unit (punt protection, punt block, kickoff), new kicker Chris Hazley missed his first field goal attempt, from 34 yards. That adds up to 17 points for Boise State and three that Tech left unclaimed—all on special teams miscues.

We shouldn’t forget that Boise State started its final drive on its 44 after Tech gave up a 25-yard punt return. The Broncos also were fortunate on that return, because the officials originally called a penalty for blocking in the back, but they picked up the flag.

Other than that…

… they’re perfect, John.  Maybe you should stick to writing about golf.  I don’t know if you’re any better with that, but at least I wouldn’t care.



Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Media Punditry/Foibles

The return of Dawg Stat Watch: what it takes to win, Week One

In 2007, I took a look at what Georgia did well in its three seasons under Richt when it traveled to the SECCG.  Here’s my methodology:

I went back and looked at Georgia’s conference stats for the three years it’s won the East under Richt (’02, ’03 and ’05) to see if there were any common strands of at least above-average performance. (For this purpose, I define “above-average” pretty literally – the Dawgs had to rank no worse than fifth in a given statistical category in each of these three years for it to be significant.)

As it turns out, I found seven conference statistical results that correlated with Georgia winning the East.

  1. Hold opponents under 17 points per game.
  2. Finish at least +.67 per game 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.

For obvious reasons, I didn’t track this last season, but I thought I’d take it back up again as long as it’s relevant (or until the god of hubris elects to punish me for doing so).  So, after the first game, here’s where the Dawgs stack up with their conference brethren:

  1. Scoring defense:  7 ppg.
  2. Turnover margin:  +2 ppg.
  3. Total offense:  377 ypg.
  4. Total defense ranking:  first.
  5. First downs ranking:  tenth.
  6. Passing yardage ranking:  tenth.
  7. Sacks ranking:  third.

All in all, not a bad start, although I think it’s going to be tough for this team to finish in the top three in passing yardage, considering that Arkansas and Mississippi State look like they’re both going to throw the ball all over the place (and certainly a lot more than Georgia will).  We’ll see how things progress.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

One hand tied behind their backs.

One other reason for optimism from the ULL game – going in, how many of you would have expected a Georgia team missing Ealey, Green and King to win by the widest margin of victory ever in the Richt era?

Put it this way:  the Dawgs played well enough to get Finebaum off their backs.  For one week, anyways.


Filed under Georgia Football

I believe he can fly.

If you didn’t see the Navy-Maryland thriller, too bad for you.  The last play of the game is getting most of the attention, but for my money, Adrian Moten’s stop, tackle and strip of Ricky Dobbs was the highlight of the game.

Crazy good play.


Filed under College Football

It’s Alive!: the narrative survives.

Yes, with all the lead changes, Boise State and Virginia Tech put on an entertaining show for us last night, but is there much doubt that Alabama would wipe the floor with either team?

The Broncos offense lived up to its billing last night, but I wasn’t very impressed with the defense, which basically turned out to be a fundamentally sound, less than elite-skilled bunch that gambled all night long.  A competent offensive coordinator with a few good weapons would have picked them apart.

Fortunately for Boise State, Virginia Tech doesn’t have one.  In fact, I was totally underwhelmed by the Hokies’ coaching staff as a whole.  Virginia Tech is turning into the LSU of the ACC – a team that hopes to get by on tossing the better bunch of athletes out on the field.  It almost worked last night because Tyrod Taylor was far and away the best player on the field.  (By the way, Georgia fans, speaking of LSU – have any regrets now about Bud Foster and John Chavis allegedly turning down Mark Richt?)

One myth that needs to be discarded is one that Brent Musburger kept pushing all night long, that both teams boast exceptional special teams play.  The night was full of gaffes by each side’s kicking teams.  The idea that Boise State could win a national championship with a field goal kicker who has a problem kicking from one of the hash marks is fairly amusing when you think about it.  And somehow I don’t think “Beamerball” includes letting punt blockers come in untouched.  Or at least it didn’t use to.

Speaking of Musburger, he was his usual unctuous self, referring to Kellen Moore on a first name basis throughout the game.  Herbstreit was almost as bad, with a style that’s devolved into the broadcast equivalent of typing in all caps on a college football bulletin board.

And while I’m tossing brickbats around, let’s not forget Nike.  Or forgive Nike.  I have a theory that Nike is on a sinister mission to outfit every program in America with jerseys more hideous than Oregon’s.  There’s no other explanation for what was on display last night.

Anyway, back to what will obviously be the big story to spin from last night, the start of Boise State’s march to this season’s BCS title game.  No doubt we’ll get hammered as the game approaches with the significance of the Broncos’ match with Oregon State in a couple of weeks, as that’ll be the last serious opponent they see this regular season, but the real story will be Virginia Tech’s.  Because if last night’s as good as the Hokies are, they’re bound to lose at least twice more as the season plays out.  And the more they lose, the less the computers will like last night’s win.  Combine that with a strength of schedule that will steadily decline as Boise State winds its way through the WAC and you’ll be watching a team destined to sink in the BCS standings.

The odds are good there will be at least a couple of BCS-conference schools that outlast the Broncos in the race to the title game.  Nothing would make the WWL happier.  I’m so pleased for them.

I will say, though, that this totally rocked:


Filed under ACC Football, BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major