Daily Archives: December 24, 2012

Now that’s a shame.

Care to guess which quarterback voiced this complaint?

“During the heat of the moment, I felt as if he finished the hit and I had already thrown the ball. I felt like after I threw it, he still finished and drove me into the ground. With the referee right there, I questioned his decision not to throw the flag on him.”

This one.  Aaron Murray knows just how he feels.  He handled it better, though.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Cap One Bowl, view from the other side

Here’s how the bowl game sets up in the eyes of an Omaha World-Herald writer:

The game within the game as we run headlong into bowl week is this: Pelini’s complex, match-read defense — excellent one game, befuddling the next — against Georgia coach Mark Richt’s complex, pro-style offense. Richt — every bit the offensive coordinator at Florida State that Pelini was the defensive coordinator at LSU — likes young coaches on his side of the ball as much as Pelini does.

Richt has former Bulldog quarterback Mike Bobo calling the plays. Bobo, 38, is essentially a wunderkind, a full-time assistant by age 27, a Georgia lifer, perhaps Richt’s successor. The Bulldogs’ offensive line coach is 37 and was a four-year starter at Alabama. Running backs coach Bryan McClendon — who coached up true freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall this year — just turned 29.

You know how Pelini rolls. There might not be a younger defensive staff in the country. But they’re all on same page — Bo’s page. That’s why, after the 70-31 debacle against Wisconsin, they were all equally stunned by the meltdown.

There are no easy answers for Bo in this game.

Georgia is comfortable spreading out and running into an emptied-out defensive box. It’s comfortable throwing downfield to lanky wide receivers. It’s comfortable testing safeties up the seam. It’s comfortable getting the ball in space to Gurley and Marshall, two explosive athletes who combined for more than 2,000 total yards, and letting them work. It’s comfortable working corners in the slot.

All the things an offense could do to exploit the weaknesses of NU’s defense, the Bulldogs can, except one — Murray doesn’t run the zone read. Murray’s second nationally in passing efficiency, though. That makes up for it.

I admit that’s the first time I’ve seen “Bobo” and “wunderkind” used in the same sentence.

And here’s your stat matchup for the day:

>> 21: Fumbles lost for Nebraska. Tied for last in the nation with Memphis. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck cited a “high-risk offense” for some of the turnovers, and frankly I agree — NU needs more takeaways. But ball security is a learned skill. The Huskers — especially Martinez — need to learn it better.

>> 20: Forced fumbles by Georgia. That’s No. 3 in the country. The Bulldogs recovered 16 of them. That’s No. 2 nationally. Linebacker Jarvis Jones, just another guy, has seven forced fumbles by himself. That’s No. 1 among defensive players. Makes you feel a lot better, right?

You give me a +2 in turnover margin for Georgia in that game and I’m liking the Dawgs’ chances a lot.

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Filed under Georgia Football

On being a little bit pregnant

Am I the only one who finds this amusing?

In denying the state’s request to dismiss the lawsuit by the NBA, NHL, NFL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp agreed that they have standing to file the suit because expanding legal sports betting to New Jersey would negatively affect perception of their games.

In his ruling, Shipp cited studies offered by the leagues that showed fans’ negative attitudes toward game-fixing and sports gambling.

Stacey Osburn, director of public and media relations for the NCAA, said the association was “pleased with the court’s ruling. The NCAA has long maintained that sports wagering threatens the well-being of student-athletes and the integrity of college sports.”

Aside from the legal wagering on college sports in four states and the illegal wagering that goes on every place else, they may have a point.

If it were illegal to post a spread on a college football game, ESPN’s viewership on Thursday nights would be nonexistent for much of the time.

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Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

“What brought us was back was Rodney.”

Garner’s return to the Plains seems to have been met with much rejoicing.  Which makes me wonder about a couple of things.

  1. How do you think VanGorder feels about having coached at a second institution where Garner more popular than he was?
  2. You think Auburn’s on a run where it’s decided to recycle Richt’s old staff to see if it can recapture the magic?

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

“None of this had to happen.”

Andy Staples illustrates his “nothing new under the sun” point about present-day college football with this brief story:

The other quote about realignment came from Pittsburgh chancellor Mark Nordenberg in 2003 when the remaining members of the Big East sued Miami and Boston College after those schools announced their intention to leave for the ACC. Eight years later, Nordenberg would plunge a knife into the Big East himself when he led the Panthers to the ACC. Conference memberships have always been relatively fluid. They always will be.

Fair point, to an extent.  The key word there is “relatively”.  Because there is something different about today’s version of realignment.  The pace.  Conferences rejigger themselves and schools skip around from marriage to marriage seemingly in a matter of months, not years.  It’s like watching the no-huddle spread, except there seems to be less purpose behind the conference moves.

The last round of realignment that made sense was what occurred as conferences adapted to the advent of the 12-school, 2-division alignment that Roy Kramer birthed in the SEC.  That introduced the revenue producing conference championship game.  If you were a ten-team conference that wanted the extra juice, you had to go out and find a couple of new participants to grow your conference.

What we’re seeing now is a mad dash for the exits driven strictly by television money.  A quest by the sport’s major players to maximize regular season revenue has resulted in widespread cannibalism and a complete disregard for geography by desperate mid-major conferences trying to remain viable.  It’s musical chairs for millionaires and nobody wants to be the last school (or conference) standing.  The consequences of this are that as college football becomes ever more TV-oriented, it loses its regional focus and becomes more of a national animal.

It may be unseemly, but, given the sums of money being tossed around, it was still inevitable in one form or fashion.  All Dufresne’s whining about what changed in 1984 aside, there’s no way the major power football schools and conferences would have let the NCAA retain control of the huge revenue stream ESPN, Fox and others have promised.  Because, as a TV consultant put it,

“Greed was involved,” he said. “Panic was involved.”

Staples is right that college football will survive.  The game is resilient.  (A cynic might say that the NFL needs it too much for it to fail.)  But you could say the same thing about college basketball.

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Filed under College Football