February 10, 2011 · 6:09 PM
No, not the Finebaum listener having the heart attack. That’s just Alabama. It’s all the national writers who follow the show with regularity that stuns me.
February 10, 2011 · 3:05 PM
Cecil Newton, the gift that keeps on giving:
dan (huntsville,al) [via mobile]
Why did miss state have such a weak recruiting class? Also, the big name decommits?
There are several theories. A lot of the Mississippi State people believe the Cam Newton stuff was used against them and that rival recruiters were pounding away on prospects and telling them that the Bulldogs might be facing some NCAA penalties of their own. Can you imagine that? Negative recruiting in the SEC?
Mike Slive has to be pleased.
February 10, 2011 · 2:30 PM
I’ve received quite a few e-mails asking that I share this story on the blog. There really isn’t much to add, except that none of it’s surprising, given what we know about the kind of man Mark Richt is.
February 10, 2011 · 10:23 AM
I can see this having big potential on the recruiting trail.
A fight is brewing in Mississippi over a proposal to issue specialty license plates honoring Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Those plates would make for a terrific negative recruiting prop.
February 10, 2011 · 8:50 AM
Strictly for yuks, I took a glance at this season’s conference scheduling (note: Auburn moved the Samford game to the week before the Iron Bowl after the link was posted) to see which schools might get an advantage/disadvantage over how the 2010 schedules laid out. Here’s my team-by-team, not-even-out-of-February best guesses about that:
- Alabama. The early season slate is similar to last year’s, other than that the Tide travels to Happy Valley to play Penn State. As for conference games, ‘Bama drops South Carolina for Vanderbilt, which is a plus. Arkansas and LSU have to travel to Tuscaloosa (and Alabama’s bye week comes before the LSU game). Florida is a road game. They’ve scheduled Georgia Southern the week before the Iron Bowl, which could be a minor pain in the ass. Overall assessment: slightly more difficult.
- Arkansas. The first three games are a breeze. And they’ll have a good shot at winning five of the last six, as two of the road games are at Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. It’s the three games in between – at Alabama, vs. Texas A&M and Auburn – that will make or break the season for the Hogs. They swap Tennessee for Georgia from the East which, arguably, is slightly better. Overall assessment: unchanged.
- Auburn. Last year’s schedule was soft enough that I thought before the season Auburn was looking at nine wins, for sure (Cam and Fairley made a potentially good season into one for the ages). This year’s? Not so much. The Tigers have five road games and Kentucky drops off the schedule, replaced by Florida. Just from the personnel losses, you’d figure that Auburn was going to find much tougher sledding in 2011, and the schedule doesn’t do them any favors. Overall assessment: significantly more difficult.
- Florida. The Gators draw Alabama, LSU and Auburn from the West this season. As daunting as that sounds, it’s even worse: they
pay play those three on consecutive weekends and LSU and Auburn are road games. South Carolina is a road game. Last season showed FSU isn’t a patsy anymore. This may be the most difficult schedule any SEC team plays in 2011. Welcome back, Coach Muschamp. Overall assessment: more difficult.
- Georgia. If Georgia returns to being a competent, competitive team in 2011, they’ll have the potential to go a long way on this schedule. Getting past the first two opponents (yeah, I know, but remember they don’t leave the state to play either) sets things up nicely for an early season run going into the Cocktail Party, prior to which the Dawgs will enjoy a bye week. And dodging Alabama, Arkansas and LSU from the West certainly doesn’t hurt. Biggest negative is that the Dawgs are tied with Alabama for the most conference opponents which have bye weeks before playing, with three. Overall assessment: less difficult.
- Kentucky. The non-conference slate is the yawner we’ve grown accustomed to seeing the ‘Cats play; the only rub is that Louisville looks to be a team on the rise under Charlie Strong. Still, Kentucky gets that rivalry game in Lexington. They drop Auburn, but add LSU on the road. They finish the season with five straight conference games, which no other SEC school matches. Overall assessment: slightly more difficult.
- LSU. The schedule rivals Florida’s as the conference’s toughest, but for a different reason. These Tigers are the only SEC team with two non-conference opponents from Big Six conferences. And both are credible – Oregon and West Virginia. The East rotation isn’t any more daunting than last year’s, though, as the Tigers switch from Vanderbilt to Kentucky and get Florida at home. Still, if LSU winds up being a national title contender in 2011, as some predict, they’ll have earned it. Overall assessment: more difficult.
- Mississippi. The Rebels have a road game at Fresno State. Why? And they play BYU to open instead of Memphis. The conference schedule is relatively mellow, as they draw Vanderbilt, Georgia (which replaces Tennessee) and Kentucky from the East. The bye week is before Alabama, which can’t hurt. Overall assessment: slightly more difficult.
- Mississippi State. These Bulldogs won’t sneak up on anybody this year and the schedule doesn’t really do them any favors. For some reason, MSU plays two of their cupcake games (Memphis and UAB) on the road, which is weird. Florida is replaced with South Carolina, which isn’t particularly helpful, although SC has to travel to Starkville to play. And the season plays out tough over the last three games: ‘Bama, at Arkansas and the rivalry game with Ole Miss. Still, it’s pretty similar to what they dealt with in 2010. Overall assessment: unchanged.
- South Carolina. Eight home games is good. The ‘Cocks drop Alabama for Mississippi State, which is a plus. Given the way they usually sell out to prepare for Georgia, the Navy game could be tricky, but other than that, things lay out pretty nicely. Overall assessment: slightly less difficult.
- Tennessee. They should start 3-1, as there’s no one on the non-conference slate remotely comparable to Oregon. Having to travel to Arkansas will make the Vols’ November slate more difficult, but they’re likely to finish 3-1, too. It’s the middle four games – Georgia, LSU, at Alabama and South Carolina – when the rubber will meet the road. Still, you have to like their overall chances to improve with only four away games. Overall assessment: less difficult.
- Vanderbilt. Your first impression – does it really matter? – isn’t exactly unfair. Vandy opens with Elon instead of Northwestern, which should help, and Connecticut is a home game. LSU is replaced with a game at Alabama. And the bye week comes before that game, for what that’s worth. In the end, though, it strikes me as being the same as it ever was. Overall assessment: unchanged.
February 10, 2011 · 7:18 AM
The Sporting News’ Dave Curtis notes something that most of the top teams in college football had in common last season.
Almost all of college football’s championship teams in 2010 thrived on third down, according to a study of NCAA statistics from the season.
All five BCS bowl winners ranked among the nation’s top 13 teams in third-down differential. The differential statistic, not officially computed by the NCAA, takes a team’s third-down conversion rate on offense and subtracts its opponents’ third-down conversion rate…
… Of the 57 teams to finish with positive ratings, 51 reached bowl games, and nine went to BCS games…
As you may have guessed, Georgia wasn’t one of those 57 teams. Per the always invaluable cfbstats.com, the Dawgs finished last season with a conversion rate of minus-1.37.
The interesting thing about Georgia’s conversion rate comes in the breakdown of home/away games on the defensive side of the ball. At home, the defense held opponents’ third down conversions to 29.86%, which is outstanding. On the road, though, that ballooned to 51.58%. As the offense was much more consistent, the conversion rates broke down to +10.40 at home and minus-10.88 away.
Georgia was 5-1 in Sanford Stadium last year and 1-6 everywhere else.
February 10, 2011 · 6:47 AM
Three random stories for your reading pleasure:
- In Connecticut, the legislature is considering something called the “Connecticut Student-Athletes’ Right to Know Act”, which would require schools to make public their policies about sports-related medical expenses, standards for scholarship renewals, and the out-of-pocket expenses that scholarship athletes are expected to pay. I don’t see how full disclosure of such things could hurt. But, then again, I’m not from Alabama. (By the way, the article discloses one fact I wasn’t aware of, that the NCAA changed scholarship terms from four years to one in 1973.)
- Trooper Taylor is such a good recruiter that he’s able to enlist Tennessee’s Gerald Jones to help him recruit Gabe Wright to Auburn.
- And Dan Mullen blames oversigning to explain Mississippi State’s mediocre recruiting class: “You hear about how unethical some of those things are,” he said. “It’s hard for me to tell our guys that we’re going to be men of our word, and then I’m not a man of my word during the recruiting process of these young men.”