Daily Archives: December 6, 2011

Why I blame Bobo.

Interesting observation at DawgSports:

… I personally think that you create a problem on a team by holding one unit, the defense to a standard of excellence, and another, the offense, to a standard of less than excellence. It’s a disservice to the players on the defensive side of the ball who have to shoulder more of the burden to win a game, and a disservice to the offensive players who don’t realize their potential.

I bet if I ran a poll on the subject, most readers here would agree with that.  Funny thing, though – I bet LSU’s players and coaches wouldn’t after winning the SECCG running a Neanderthal offense straight out of the eighties.  (Don’t forget which offense in that game finished the first half with less than 20 yards and zero first downs.)

When you get down to it, this season’s critique about overly conservative playcalling boils down to a dislike of winning ugly.  Should that matter?  How many games can you point to in 2011 that Georgia lost because Bobo pulled in the reins?  By comparison, how many did Georgia lose because of poor special teams play?

Over the years, I’ve been as frustrated as anyone over the mysterious way Bobo approaches playcalling.  This year, though, not so much.  The emergence of a first-rate defense under Todd Grantham has let Mark Richt go back to what’s comfortable for him – getting a lead and controlling the game with field position and defense.  What’s complicated things and made that strategy dicey at times has been abysmal special teams play and the occasional untimely turnover.  (If anything, that tends to make Richt pull the reins in even tighter.  Notice how much punt safe Georgia played in the second half of the season?)  But that’s not Bobo’s fault.

This is what Richt wants and this is what Bobo is charged with carrying out.  The idea that Richt – an offensive guy who’s been used to adding his input on that side of the ball for twenty-plus years now – would suddenly be open to going hands off with that side of the program and hiring an offensive coordinator with a different philosophy to run the offense as he sees fit makes no sense to me.  If Mike Bobo didn’t exist, Mark Richt would have to invent him.

There’s no question that Bobo’s still got a ways to go, although it’s hard to say how much he was hampered by personnel issues this year.  There were times he managed to rise above it in a fairly spectacular manner; let’s not forget that as ugly as Saturday’s game got, Georgia’s offense, which lacked any depth on the offensive line and was a complete mess at tailback,  managed to score more points against LSU in a half than Arkansas’ or Alabama’s did in a game.  No doubt the glimpses we see of what Bobo is capable of make the misfires all the more frustrating, but he’s not the guy dictating strategy, just the guy implementing it, with whatever resources (and however well those are functioning) he has at his disposal.

I’m not married to the guy.  Dumping him (which I don’t think is within the realm of possibility, honestly) isn’t going to upset me.  But the idea that if such were to happen we’d see a new era of offensive strategy is a fans’ daydream.  If the last eleven seasons have told us anything, it’s that Richt expects very different things from his offensive coordinator than he does from his defensive coordinator.  That ain’t changing.

And that’s why I’m snarky about the blame game, at least when it comes to the offense.

On the other hand, if you want to talk blame for the disastrous fall off in special teams this season (Georgia beats South Carolina and plays a very different game against LSU if the special teams had lived up to preseason expectations)… yeah, now that’s a discussion worth having.

176 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

What’s the biggest thing wrong with the BCS?

Subjectivity.  And I don’t mean that in the narrow sense of whether Alabama or Oklahoma State is more deserving of playing LSU in the title game.  I mean it in a systemic sense.

Listen to Chris Petersen’s complaint here:

… Petersen also questioned the polls, saying they lack credibility when teams ranked in the top 10 can’t get into BCS games. Arkansas, South Carolina and Kansas State were top-10 teams that were also left out of the marquee bowls. “When I’m voting, I’m trying to make the best case for Boise State to get in there,” said Petersen, who voted his team fifth in the final USA TODAY Coaches Poll. “I probably shouldn’t be voting. Why are we voting at all if it doesn’t really mean anything?”

On the one hand, you have to admire his honesty for admitting his purpose in voting and acknowledging that he has a conflict of interest in doing so.  On the other hand, is there any doubt at this point that the Coaches Poll is a complete, total and absurd joke?  It’s not as if Petersen is the only voter out there thinking like that.  He’s just the only one saying it publicly.

And don’t stop there.  The Harris Poll shouldn’t be considered any better, at least as long as clowns like this are allowed to cast a vote.

The Harris Poll panelist who voted Houston No. 5 and Oklahoma State No. 6 this weekend said he believes the system that selects the teams for a national championship through polling and computer rankings needs to go, in favor of a method decided on the field.

“I think the BCS is just a mess,” said George Wine, 80, who retired as sports information director at Iowa in 1996 and still writes stories for the Hawkeyes’ official site. “I think college football is crying for a playoff system. This voting is highly subjective. I realize that voting is subjective and often arbitrary. I probably don’t do as much research … but who the hell knows whether Oregon is better than Wisconsin?”

Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecy.  Maybe there’s a question about the relative merits of Oregon versus Wisconsin, but Houston and Oklahoma State?  Either somebody’s not even bothering to make the effort or just wants some attention.  No matter which, that’s embarrassing.

And before you go there, a playoff in and of itself doesn’t fix anything.  In fact, it makes things worse.  Petersen’s understandably pissed because Boise State missed out on playing in a BCS game, but the bowls have always been a popularity contest at heart, BCS rankings or not.  In essence, they’re nothing but gussied up postseason exhibitions.  The Broncos will get a smaller check and their fans will miss eating oysters at Acme Oyster House, but that’s as far as it goes.

But tie this garbage to tournament seedings?  Hoo, boy, are you going to have a mess on your hands.

Petersen’s suggested solution – the establishment of a committee, similar to what’s used for NCAA tournaments, to pair teams in the major bowls, then for a “plus-one” system after the bowls to decide a championship matchup – isn’t workable for several obvious reasons, starting with that his peers have fought like hell to keep the Coaches Poll in play (which is weird when you consider how few of them put the actual time in to cast a ballot).   Further, the bowls simply aren’t going to relinquish their control over the process or agree to be made completely subservient to a plus-one playoff.

College football isn’t at the point where it’s ready for the optimal solution, which is a conference champs-only playoff.  That would drain much of the subjectivity from the swamp.   (A tournament would presumably still seed the schools involved.)  We won’t see it happen until there’s a fairly level field between all the conference participants, though.  It’s something to expect with the inevitable arrival of the super conferences along with the weeding out of the rest of D-1 which will go with that.  But like I said, we’re not there yet.

In the meantime, some serious effort has to be made to weed out the bias, the conflicts of interest and the lack of care that are part of the process now or the rot will eventually consume the system.  The BCS title game isn’t corrupt but it’s in danger of being corrupted by a process that grows ever more cynical.  It’s no way to determine a champion.  College football’s powers-that-be stay blind to that at their own risk.

71 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

My Week Fourteen Mumme Poll ballot

The last week of the regular season is in the books, less Army-Navy, and my ten best are as follows:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Boise State
  • LSU*
  • Michigan
  • Oklahoma State
  • Oregon
  • Southern Cal
  • Stanford
  • Wisconsin

COMMENTS

  • My top eight were easy decisions – those being every team listed above except Arkansas and Michigan – but those last two slots were a bitch to fill.
  • Man, the computers really love Oklahoma.  I thought about keeping the Sooners in my top ten again this week, despite the OSU blow out, but when one of your three losses is to a crappy Texas Tech squad, it’s just a bridge too far for me.
  • At least we won’t have Houston and Virginia Tech to kick around anymore.
  • Yeah, I’m probably screwing Georgia and Michigan State for playing in their respective championship games and losing.
  • Following that, I think Michigan makes a stronger case for inclusion than does South Carolina.

18 Comments

Filed under Mumme Poll

A most indispensable man

Ole Miss has a new head coach.  And he’s movin’ on up:

… Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones said Freeze has a four-year contract that pays a base salary of about $1.5 million per season. Jones said incentives could raise that salary to as much as $2.5 million per year. The Rebels already owe Nutt a $6 million buyout on top of the $2.7 million he was paid last season.

Freeze made just $202,160 last season, according to USA Today, which made him the lowest paid coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Two things make that possible – TV money and…

Ol’ Jimmy’s gets ‘em coming and going, doesn’t he?

6 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness