# Daily Archives: November 3, 2010

## Chokegate, Chompgate… what’s the difference?

Picture via WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Personally, I’m glad the game mattered enough for Corch to respond to Georgia fans in that classy way afterwards.

Can we drop the crap about how grown men leading students are supposed to act now?

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

## The most trusting soul in the world is…

… Dooley said he doesn’t place limitations on where his players can go or even subject them to a curfew.

“We don’t have a curfew,” Dooley said. “We ask them to use good judgment and he didn’t use good judgment.”

Because who is more grounded than your typical 18-year old away from home for the first time in his life?

He did apologize, after all.

## Mean, mean regression

Here’s a piece from a post by Afghan Dawg over at Dawg Sports that caught my eye (for obvious reasons):

It is no secret that Senator Blutarsky is a fan of a metric known as “Regression to the Mean”.  Regression to the mean is the statistical way of saying that everything averages out overtime.  Things are never as good as they seem and they are never as bad as they seem.  If a variable is extreme on its first measurement, then it will be closer to its average on its second measurement.  It is likely that the first five years of Mark Richt’s tenure at UGA were one extreme, and the past five years have been the opposite extreme bringing us closer to our average.  Assuming we finish the season at 6-6, our mean with Mark Richt is 9 wins per season.

That’s not exactly right.  Here’s a wonky definition of the term, first of all:

Statistical tendency of a data series to gravitate towards the center of a distribution, provided it starts on the either end of the distribution and is free to fluctuate.

It’s the “free to fluctuate” part that’s key.  Regression to the mean is applicable to turnover margin because so much of that is dependent on random occurrences, such as fumble recoveries.  Sure, there’s some skill involved, but luck, for want of a better term, plays a more prominent role.

That’s not the case with a football program.  That’s not to say there isn’t a random element in play – what in life doesn’t have some randomness? – but there are many more controllable factors that work into the success of a program, such as resources, recruiting, scheduling, coaching quality, etc.  Indeed, that’s implicit in Afghan’s call for a new coach who can improve upon Richt’s record.  If wins were as random as turnover margin (and compare the fluctuation of the two in the Richt era to get a quick picture of that), wouldn’t changing coaches be little more than a crap shoot?

Filed under Georgia Football

## One choke over the line

I wasn’t going to return to Chokegate, but, pardon my French, Tony Barnhart’s lost his goddamned mind this morning.

… Grantham, Georgia’s first-year defensive coordinator, did something in the Georgia-Florida game that is so far over the line that it can’t even be debated. He gave a student-athlete from another school, Florida kicker Chas Henry, the choke sign as Henry was preparing to kick the game winning field goal. Grantham was caught in a screen capture and the image went viral in no time at all.  Jeff Schultz showed you the video where Henry told Tracy Wolfson of CBS that coaches on the Georgia sidelines were telling him that he was going to choke.

This is totally unacceptable on any level. And I don’t want to hear this “heat of competition” crap from anybody. I don’t care how intense a game is. A coach does not attempt to intimidate a student-athlete from another school. You don’t do it. Period.

“A coach does not attempt to intimidate a student-athlete from another school.  You don’t do it.  Period.” You mean like calling last-millisecond time outs on game winning kicks that insure a play won’t get stopped until after it’s underway?  Like this?

There are coaches out there that teach their players all kinds of dirty, borderline illegal play (do we really need to go into the Chop Block Hall of Fame to illustrate?) for the sole purpose of intimidating the opponent.  So what if the price is a few unnecessary injuries, right, Tony?  Or did I miss your call for fining and suspending a bunch of other coaches for encouraging that kind of activity?  Do you really think that when Henry was lining up to make the kick, he was keeping an eye on Grantham to see if he was going to run out on the field, or do something worse?

As I wrote the other day, this stuff is batshit insane.  The gesture wasn’t classy, but that happens in the heat of the  moment, as much as Barnhart might wish to dismiss that.  It wasn’t planned and it certainly wasn’t different from anything that 40,000+ fans were yelling at Henry at that moment.  Or that Georgia’s coaches and players were thinking.

Maybe Barnhart should start covering golf.  Things tend to be a lot more genteel at the Masters.

By the way, what’s with this fixation the AJ-C writers have about Grantham’s salary?  Would they be more accepting of his behavior if he were knocking down Al Groh’s paycheck?

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UPDATE: Chris Low, voice of reason – particularly this:

… And, finally, is it possible that the Florida-Georgia rivalry is simply one of those nasty rivalries that brings out the worst in people? I’ll answer this last question with a few of my own. Didn’t the Brandon Spikes’ eye-gouging incident happen in this game a year ago? Didn’t Meyer call two timeouts in the final seconds of a 49-10 rout just to rub it in two years ago? Didn’t Georgia’s whole sideline race into the end zone and start dancing, at the behest of Richt, and draw a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the Bulldogs’ first touchdown three years ago?

One thing we can all agree on is this: It ain’t a picnic when these two teams get together to play a football game.

Never has been and never will be.

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UPDATE #2: Apparently this was typed without the slightest sense of irony.

… On the same day that Mark Richt and Todd Grantham were making excuses for why it was okay for a coach to giving an opposing playing the choke sign and for yelling “You’re going to fucking choke” to the back-up kicker, Urban Meyer was making one of the kindest gestures I can remember a coach making. Maybe this is the biggest statement of the differences between the two programs.

Oy.

## Nick Saban keeps a stiff upper lip – at least when it suits him.

Will Collier catches a moment of cognitive dissonance in this Saban interview:

Do you think it’s fair that so many teams will have had off-weeks before playing you this season?

“It is something we don’t ever complain about… ”

“I don’t think it’s right that last year we played Auburn on a Friday and we had a game the Saturday before, so we had to play them on a short week. And Auburn had a bye before the game. That stuff is not good for the players. It’s not fair, but it’s not good for the players, either.”

Ever is an awfully short time in Alabama, it seems.

Filed under Nick Saban Rules

## There’s a fine line between dedication and masochism.

I like to think that when it comes to college football I’m an enthusiast, but I’ve got nothing on this guy.

… By 1976, Baker decided he was ready to join the Terps on the road. He hasn’t missed a game since.

That means he traveled to Birmingham in 1977, landing in Atlanta the day of the game, driving to the stadium and back, and sitting up in the airport all night. It means he traveled to Clemson the day after Hurricane Hugo made landfall in 1989, enduring repeated cancellations and finally renting two cars to drive back to Maryland. It means he went to bowl games in El Paso and Orlando, Honolulu and Shreveport, Pontiac and Boise.

That’s 34 years of Maryland football, in case you’re counting.  A long stretch of dark moments in that time, but at least he saw this gem.

That’s the kind of stuff that keeps you coming back.

Filed under College Football

## On Nick Bell’s passing

It’s hard to believe that Nick Bell started in the Georgia game just a few weeks ago.  Just a sad, terrible reminder about how unfair life can be sometimes.

Here’s hoping those close to him can find some peace with it.  If you’re interested, here’s the information about Bell’s memorial fund:

The MSU athletic department will establish a memorial fund for the Bell family through the Bulldog Club. More details will be made available at mstateathletics.com, and donations can be made by calling (662) 325-3074. The school will also send messages and cards to the family, and those can be mailed to P.O. Box 5308, Mississippi State, Miss., 39762.