Monthly Archives: September 2010

“That’s what you look for.’’

Call it being a victim of its own success, but there’s an inevitability to the long-term fate of the Mountain West Conference, based on the new rumor that the Big East has cast its eye on TCU as a potential expansion target.

It’s gotta suck, if you’re the MWC:  you watch your upper-tier programs create national reputations, establish market share and garner increased media attention as you slowly and steadily build the conference’s case to obtain a coveted AQ-slot in the BCS, only to watch conferences which already have that card to play snatch away the Utahs and (potentially) TCUs and see BYU build a better TV contract for itself.

It’s enough to make you scream for Orrin Hatch.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Comments that make you go, “hmmm…”

Pretty common theme running through these:

“Any time you play a team, they’re going to do something new, and whatever is new, they’re going to give it to you in the first series of the game,” Richt said Tuesday. “You can prepare for everything that you’ve seen on film, but the bottom line is that you’re probably going to see something that you haven’t seen that needs to be adjusted to. When you see something new that first series, you hope you adjust well to it, and we just haven’t been able to.”

“I feel like we just need to execute,” senior receiver Kris Durham said. “We’ve moved the ball up and down the field, but we’re not able to execute in the red zone. That has nothing to do with play-calling. That’s about players needing to take a look at themselves, dig down deep and focus on that.”

“I feel like with us that it’s not just one issue,” inside linebacker Christian Robinson said. “It’s a theme, and I think the theme is execution and discipline. I’m practically quoting Coach Grantham.”

Speaking of whom, here’s one straight from the horse’s mouth.

“They’re going to have plays they’re going to run on you,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “Sometimes maybe if it’s a new play or something different and it’s not exactly as you practiced it, you’ve still got to apply your concepts to get through the down. If you do that, you’re fine. If you don’t, you can give up an explosive play like it’s been happening.”

If I’m getting this, it sounds like we’ve swung back from a period where the coaching was the primary roadblock to one in which the players are being shown what they need to succeed, but aren’t following through when they hit the field.  You can certainly hear the frustration.  And the source for the lack of progress – well, that’s hard to put a finger on.  Hangover from three+ years of bad habits?  Little concern for accountability?  Miasmic funk from the Green suspension?  Who knows why, but to continue the animal metaphor, we all know that you can lead them to water.  It’s convincing them to take that drink that’s the hard part.

Maybe the Ealey demotion turns a few heads.  Green’s return to the field can’t hurt.  But for some reason the coaches aren’t getting enough of their guys to buy in right now.  That’s part of how you get off to 1-3 starts.

41 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

This message of inspiration brought to you by…

Steven Orr Spurrier, speaking about his offensive linemen:

“They’re either not smart enough to play or losing doesn’t hurt.”

And yet those guys pushed Georgia’s front seven around all afternoon long.  Sigh.

5 Comments

Filed under The Evil Genius

Wednesday morning buffet

Grab a plate and settle down.

  • One door closes and another one opens:  Washaun Ealey’s fumbles lead to a demotion and Carlton Thomas may get the start on Saturday.
  • If Thomas does, let’s hope that Green’s return opens the field up for him, as Colorado currently ranks seventh in the country in run defense.
  • I read an article like this and wonder why no vintner has thought to package its product in six packs for the Alabama market.
  • Of course, some Alabama fans are just high on life right now anyway.  (big h/t to Elkon, particularly for his observation that “if the rest of the SEC is so mediocre, then why should Alabama go to the national title game over an unbeaten Ohio State and an unbeaten Boise State?”)
  • If there’s anything amusing about the Green suspension story, it’s his mention that the NCAA glommed onto him in the first place from reading rumors in TMZ.  Seth Emerson does the logical follow-up and gets the expected response (which is pretty much an admission of Green’s veracity).
  • As usual, Shakin’ the Southland’s DrB does a terrific job telling you everything you need to know about the 4-3 over defense, first made famous by Jimmy Johnson’s Miami teams in the 80’s.  (For more overall context, you might want to go back and read this piece again.)
  • Why Diddy Bowden was shown the door – the sad tale of FSU’s steady decline in attendance.

26 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA, Whoa, oh, Alabama

Paper trail

Reading the Twitter feeds from the various beat writers covering A.J. Green’s meeting with the press before practice today, I can draw one quick conclusion – when he says that he really didn’t think much about selling his jersey to Chris Hawkins, I believe him.

Consider that (1) he deposited the money he received from Hawkins into his bank account (2) provided the NCAA with copies of his bank statements when asked and (3) explained to the NCAA where the $1000 came from when they saw the deposit entry.  That’s not exactly how you’d expect somebody who knows better to act.

Which leads me to wonder what Georgia’s compliance staff has been doing all these years since Ringgate went down.

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UPDATE: I’m not holding my breath that he’ll actually do this, but if he did, it would electrify the fan base (not to mention his teammates and coaches).

… One of the top NFL draft prospects in the country, Green said there’s a part of him that feels like he owes the school and the fans another season.

“When I lay down sometimes, I feel like I owe the fans and maybe should think about coming back [next year],” said Green, a certain first-round selection if he comes out this year. “I just feel like I owe the fans for missing those four games.”

57 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The NCAA

Wingin’ it.

Derek Dooley isn’t going to bring the maximum number of players he’s allowed to bring for a road game (70!) and he’s not going to bother with a Friday walk through at Tiger Stadium, even though he acknowledges that almost half of his team has never played at that venue before.

I’ve got to admit that’s different.  Maybe he’s hoping it’ll rattle LSU’s field goal kicker.

13 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Technically speaking, he’s been in the arena.

Our fearless leader chimes in.

It’s not the criticism that’s amusing, it’s the deep insight about a solution that is.

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Well, I’ve always hated the designated hitter rule.

One of the things that bothers me about the BCS/playoffs debate is how overwrought some playoff proponents get about the status quo.  Take for instance, this blurb about Dan Wetzel’s new book:

Every college sport picks its champion by a postseason tournament, except for one: Division I-A football. Instead of a tournament, fans are subjected to the Bowl Championship Series, an arcane mix of polling and mathematical rankings that results in just two teams playing for the championship. It is, without a doubt, the most hated institution in all of sports. [Emphasis added.] A recent Sports Illustrated poll found that more than 90 percent of sports fans oppose the BCS, yet this system has remained in place for more than a decade. Built upon top-notch investigative reporting, Death to the BCS at last reveals the truth about this monstrous entity and offers a simple solution for fixing it.

What I can’t figure out for the life of me is how D-1 college football can structure its crown jewel in such a despicable way and still survive.  Yet the sport not only hasn’t gone on life support, it’s thrived, as demonstrated by all the new TV money flowing its way.  So either college football enjoys having the most masochistic fan base on the planet, or the fans’ preference for a playoff – which clearly exists – is being twisted into something harsher by Wetzel.   (His “It’s So Easy” solution, by the way, is a 16-team playoff, which, he assures us, “can solve the problem while enhancing profitability”.  And, a pony.)  Or, he’s projecting.

Wetzel, of course, was pleased by the news that PlayoffPAC is pushing the IRS to investigate three of the BCS bowls’ non-profit status due to large salaries and other forms of compensation being paid to their officials, which led to this hilarious Twitter exchange between him and LA Times sportswriter Chris Dufresne:

Forget bowl CEOS: Pay for top 14 NCAA execs totaled nearly $6 million last year. Yeah, let’s turn FB over those guys!

Fiesta Bowl CEO earned less than half what NCAA prez hauls in annually. NCAA getting 11 billion for hoops and players dont have food money

I’m last person to defend the NCAA. Arguing which suit is more overpaid isn’t a legitimate debate

But that’s who would run a football playoff RT

And, the punchline, from Wetzel:

Who says NCAA would run it? They don’t have to. Altho I’ll say this, NCAA is great at running tournaments

Kinda gets that whole Mussolini-made-the-trains-run-on-time vibe going there, doesn’t it?  And that brings me back to another thing that makes me roll my eyes about another line from this debate – the idea that some sort of gross corruption exists which a playoff will clean up.  Please.  The money’s still going to be there, no matter what, thanks to us.  All the argument is about is who gets their hands on it.  New boss, same as the old boss.

Still, I’m sure he’ll sell a few books.

8 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

You had me at…

There’s a big difference between regression to the mean and regression.

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

The traditional Airing of Grievances begins.

And what, I ask you, would a disappointing start be without a little player disgruntlement about playing time?  Marcus Dowtin, come on down.

… Dowtin doesn’t think the coaches are comfortable with him on the field at all times, he said.

“Yeah, I would say I feel like they don’t trust me,” he said. “What their reasons are, that’s between them. But you know, like I said, I’m just asking that they keep coaching me and eventually one of those days give me a shot to do what I can do.”

There’s a little part of me that actually takes some encouragement from that, at least if it’s an indication that Grantham’s insistence on a return to a meritocracy to earn playing time.  And it’s worth pointing out that the two other inside linebackers he’s rotating with are Dent, who’s having an excellent year, and Robinson, who, while not being the strongest kid on the field, has shown a propensity to line up and run the play properly.

Dowtin did try to walk his comment back a little, but, still, that whole tirade comes off sounding like one of those “Damn, son, I don’t think I would have said that” moments.  Grantham and Belin don’t strike me as the types who celebrate Festivus.

12 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football