Daily Archives: March 13, 2012

Don’t cry for me, Gainesville.

This weekend, between the fried shrimp and classic cars, I managed to read this epic troll from Mike Bianchi.  And when I say epic, I mean epic.  I’m not sure how Bianchi ever tops this, for one:

As the years have passed since he was run out of Florida, I’ve often wondered whether Zook got a fair shake — from fans, from administrators and from those of us in the media. When you see where the program is now after Urban Meyer left it in a mess, the Zook years are starting to look pretty good. Zook’s teams were never as pathetic as UF has been the past two seasons, when the Gators won just 15 games and trotted out offenses that were unwatchable.

As the years roll by, UF fans more and more seem to appreciate what Zook did for the program.

Gosh, that almost makes you wonder why Jeremy Foley didn’t man up, admit his mistake and beg Zooker to come back and salvage the program when Corch left.  Who really cares about those two national titles Florida won under Meyer, anyway?

Speaking of which, a man can dream can’t he?

Two years after Zook was axed, Meyer won the national title with 21 of 22 Zook recruits starting for the team. Zook still wonders what might have happened if he had been able to survive longer than 21/2 years at UF. Would he have won a national title?

I don’t know,” he says, “but I sure would have liked to have had the opportunity to try.”

Spoken like a man who was Croom’d.

Zook just shakes his head.

“That’s my legacy to the profession,” he says. “I’m the first guy who had a FireTheCoach.com website. I had no chance. From the day I walked into the introductory press conference, I was fired.”

Bianchi has painted his masterpiece.   A man can do great things when the threat of being banished to Seat 37F no longer looms large.



Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, The Adventures of Zook, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Reading the offseason happy talk tea leaves

I’m as firm a believer as anyone in the position that 90% of what emanates from Butts-Mehre in the offseason should be dismissed as nothing more than happy talk.  And the other 10% doesn’t mean diddly until it’s proven on the field.

That being said, I am intrigued on a certain level with some recent comments made and actions taken by Richt:

  • Strength and conditioning.  Start with Richt’s comparison between Tereshinski and new hire John Thomas“Coach T is kind of a strength, explosive, endurance guy. And John is a little bit more of a high-intensity training kind of guy.”  Add in this about Sherman Armstrong, the other new hire:  “One of the things we really felt like we needed to bolster within our strength and conditioning program is the element of speed.”  Then top it off with this explanation about why mat drills, which were eliminated last year are being reintroduced on a more limited basis:  “If you’re doing it three times a week while you’re trying to lift, it takes away from the eight hours you’re allowed to lift and also it breaks down the body. So a year ago we just went strictly to try to get more strong and more mass and more lean muscle mass throughout the season. And we did that. We accomplished that, we got some of the bigger, stronger guys … in the country.”  All told, it sounds like we’re hearing more specifics about what Richt wants out of S&C than we’ve heard in a while.  Maybe that’s because he’s not as deferential to the current staff as he was to Van Halanger.  Maybe there’s another reason.  And there’s no telling, of course, if he’s correct about what he thinks he’s getting with the new hires.  (By the way, that “The guys are kind of buzzing about the excitement …” comment about Armstrong?  That’s happy talk.)
  • Brain picking. By his own admission, Richt’s brought in three coaches to discuss special teams.  “We feel like we’re on the right track in terms of what we’re going to do,” Richt said. “Now we just have to get the right people and get it taught properly.”  I don’t want to read too much into that, but it sure sounds like he’s conceding there was more to last season’s problems than just personnel issues.  And what to make of this?  Georgia recently flew in its entire coaching staff to meet with Jon Gruden.

Like I said, it’s silly to read too much into all of this.  But it’s clear Richt’s got some specific things on his mind before spring practice kicks in.  Does anyone else find much of this of significance?


Filed under Georgia Football

Jostling for position around the grown-ups’ table at the post-BCS banquet

It looks like the Pac-12 wants to be the lead dog on the playoff debate sled.

Leaders of the Pac-12 Conference agreed in principle Saturday to try to end college football’s Bowl Championship Series, proposing its replacement with a playoff system that would allow only conference winners to play for college football’s national title.

“I don’t hear anyone saying business as usual is acceptable,” said Edward Ray, Oregon State University’s president and chairman of the Pac-12 universities’ CEO group. “We need change.”

The size and shape of the new postseason are some of the kinks left to be worked out – how the Rose Bowl fits in with a four- or eight-team playoff, particularly when there appears to be some disgruntlement over the bowls, looks like a sticking point – but there seems to be clear sentiment to follow Larry Scott’s path towards a conference champion-only format.

“The BCS polls have had unintended consequences that are very negative in terms of the culture around football that places a premium on not losing,” Scott said. “The BCS system really doesn’t have any value around strength of schedule. It’s about won-loss records. It’s encouraged by coaches and conferences to want to schedule games as easy as possible and to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars and sometimes more to buy games and easy wins.”

Well, duh, Larry.  Like your proposal is going to stop that.

But the real 800-pound gorilla in the room with Scott and the Pac-12 isn’t Mike Slive and his conference (and don’t think Scott’s quote wasn’t pointed in the specific direction of the SEC).  It’s Notre Dame.  Dennis Dodd describes the dynamic accurately when he writes,

There is a way Notre Dame could be allowed special access into the new postseason. The question is, should it? With the apparent end of automatic qualifiers, what is the line between the haves and have-nots? Will there be one at all? Notre Dame is the only single entity in the room deciding the future of college football. But the other partners control the football future of Notre Dame.

I have no doubt there will be a full court press put on the Irish to join a conference.  I also have no doubt that Notre Dame will resist.  What is Swarbrick going to hear now that he hasn’t already heard before?

Those of you who think that Notre Dame’s on the field results have made it an irrelevancy which can be conveniently brushed aside in the rush to give the people what they want (hey, don’t forget Michael Adams “feels frustrated for the fans”) are missing the point.  Notre Dame still draws viewership in a way that no other school really does.  Why do you think Swarbrick is the only AD allowed in the room with Slive, Delany and Scott in the first place?  Hint:  it ain’t because they want to discuss the finer points of Brian Kelly’s public etiquette.  He’s there for the same reason that major bowls fight over extending an invitation to an eight-win (hell, seven wins will do nicely, sometimes) Irish squad.  It’s where the money is.

Swarbrick’s no fool, by the way.  He knows why he’s there.

Which is why Dodd’s plus-one format suggestion of the top three ranked conference champs along with the next-highest ranked team getting the last spot screams successful short-term compromise.  I bet Mike Slive would sign on to that.  So would Swarbrick.  Would it last?  Hell, no.  What’s your point?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

“The timing wasn’t very good, either.”

And so the Malcolm Mitchell move to defensive back goes from quasi-vanity project to matter of necessity in a few short weeks.  Mitchell is going to work at corner exclusively during spring practice.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the fall whether he’ll go exclusively defensive back or not yet, but you can’t be in both meetings at the same time,” Richt said. “Early on, we’re going to have to have him help at corner.”

G-Day sure is getting more interesting.  And so is the timing of Branden Smith’s punishment.

Starting cornerback Branden Smith was arrested in Alabama on a misdemeanor marijuana charge. Smith, who will be a senior this fall, will face a suspension of at least one game, according to UGA policy, and it could be more.

“We don’t know everything about it. But if there are arrests or what have you, it’s usually a minimum of 10 percent (of a season),” Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said. “It just depends on, as Mark said (Monday), on how he reacts, and how (Smith) deals with it with his head ball coach.”

If you’re a Missouri fan, you’re hoping Smith has a serious attitude problem.

As noteworthy as it will be to see how Grantham and Lakatos juggle the secondary until it’s back at full strength, I’m just as curious to find out if there’s as much depth at receiver as Richt is clearly banking there is.  At least they’ll have the Buffalo game to get some of the kinks worked out before traveling to the SEC opener in the other Columbia.


UPDATE:  Weiszer thinks Smith’s suspension will only last one game.


Filed under Georgia Football

Envy and jealousy: what hath realignment wrought edition

I don’t always see eye to eye with him politically, but, man, do I love reading Charles Pierce.  He’s angry, funny and insightful.  But more than anything, he’s a brilliant, brilliant writer.  When he’s not posting on politics at Esquire, he takes the occasional foray into sports at Grantland, where you shouldn’t miss him.  His take on the sad demise of the Big East in the wake of its losses from conference realignment may not break any new ground, but it’s undeniably eloquent.  For example,

The Big East is losing big teams and replacing them with smaller ones, because, as is the case with so many colleges in so many conferences around the country, the administrations of some of its members have let their greed eclipse both geography and common sense. Pittsburgh is leaving for the ACC, and West Virginia is joining the Big 12. The latter is a perfect measure for the silliness of the whole affair. The West Virginia fan base is famously fervent, and more than willing to travel, but the state’s median household income is $38,000 a year, and now, instead of trips to New Jersey and Philadelphia, those fervent fans will have to haul that fervor to Lubbock, and Waco, and Stillwater, Oklahoma. It is absurd, but conferences are nothing more these days than the staging areas for extended television programs, and the Mountaineers are simply moving their show to another studio.

That captures some of how I felt when I first heard about the end of the Oklahoma-Nebraska series.  I’m sure many find all this movement exciting, but it makes me more than a little sad to think about what we’re losing and what they’re replacing it with, even if they won’t come right out and say it.

… But most of the dynamic is propelled by the merciless drive for profit and the soulless imperatives that are engaged when sports becomes about “producing content” rather than playing the games. None of this is reversible anymore. None of this is escapable…

Rick Pitino, of all people, as a metaphor.  Make sure you read the whole thing.


Filed under Envy and Jealousy

I go away for a long weekend…

and all hell breaks loose.

Any other traumatic items I missed while I was gone?


Filed under ACC Football, Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, The NCAA