Parity, where is thy sting?

This is why you shouldn’t read too much into week one poundings of mid-major programs:

Did you see what happened in Week 1? Games matching the Power 5 against the so-called “Group of 5” were about as competitive as insects against windshields. In 20 matchups on opening weekend, only three teams from the so-called “Group of Five” were able to win and just three others were competitive. The average scoring margin was 20.7 points — three touchdowns — and even teams that have been recent standard-bearers for small conference success such as Boise State, Rice and Utah State got stomped.

“That’s not a spot we’ve been in very often,” Utah State coach Matt Wells said Sunday night following a 38-7 loss at Tennessee that might have been the most revealing result of the weekend in terms of the gap that currently exists between the Power 5 and everyone else.

On paper, this was a classic opportunity for a program that plays in a 25,000-seat stadium and has to recruit two-star players almost exclusively to come into one of the sport’s historic venues and embarrass the crown jewel of an athletic department that spent $86 million more on sports than Utah State did last year.

Though nobody would have argued before the game that Utah State is more talented, Tennessee is in the midst of a rebuilding process as Butch Jones tries to clean up the mess from three disastrous years of Derek Dooley. With dynamic senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton, whose national reputation had been formed in close losses to brand-name programs each of the last three years, it stood to reason that Utah State might be able to take advantage of a Tennessee roster with no proven quarterback and 21 true freshmen who will play some role this season. Even Las Vegas expected it to be close, with the point spread bet down to 4.5 points by kickoff.

But after the game was a few minutes old and the vast differences in size and speed became evident, it was obvious the Aggies would need to play virtually mistake-free just to have a chance going into the fourth quarter. They were overmatched even by a Tennessee team that will likely struggle to finish .500 this season…

All that doesn’t bode well for Vanderbilt, of course, but the bigger implication is that throwing the “Group of 5” a bone in the form of a spot in one of the major bowls is largely a waste from a competitive standpoint (although it’s really being done to send a little of the postseason revenue the mid-majors’ way).  And don’t get me started on mandating a guaranteed mid-major berth in an expanded playoff.


Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

28 responses to “Parity, where is thy sting?

  1. Russ

    Really surprised by Tennessee. I fully expected Utah St to make a good game of it but it wasn’t even close.

  2. uglydawg

    Me too, but I was more unimpressed with USt. They looked small, slow and inept. I think most teams in the major confs would have given them the same treatment. Tennessee is still untested.

  3. uglydawg

    Remember last week when we had a discussion about the sportsmanship and legality of swinging a fist to unhinge a ball? Did you see what happened in the NC State, GaSouthern game? On a late, game clinching drive, an NC State player swung a fist at the ball and hit the GSU qb’s upper throwing arm instead (no penalty btw)…He came out and the backup was inept and it cost GSU points and very likely the game, as NC State took their first lead very late and right after the indcident.
    The guy who swung the fist should have been ejected.
    But anyway..however you feel about that, GSU gave NC St. more than it wanted and NC State was very fortunate to pull out a win…and wouldn’t have won without a lot of “luck” and “favorable no-calls” from the zeebs.
    La. Monroe, (I believe) beat Wake…
    Just what did the ACC prove this week in out of conference play…even against the mid-majors?

  4. AthensHomerDawg

    I did not appreciate that shot at Agent SOD! He did a fine job. Sooo….uT is now officially back?

    • Biggus Rickus

      Opportunity is nowhere.

      • uglydawg

        Butch Jones works the sideline in much the same fashion as Agent Muschamp….Screaming, red-faced, head blowing up….If only we had some Dawg ties to his past, maybe we could recruit him too.

  5. AdmiralNelsonDawg

    What???? Nobody on here willing to give CTG his props for a strong defensive effort against Miami? And who the hell let that Louisville QB get away, especially after hearing on the ESPN broadcast that he was a Dawg fan growing up?

    • Decidedly green Freshman quarterback played like Freshman QB for da U.

    • Sh3rl0ck

      I’ll give him props for calling a decent game against a not-so-strong Miami offense. He did have the same problems of late substitutions and players being out of position. I only watched the first half, but they lucked into the turnover after the Louisville fumble. They had a late substitution, the secondary was completely out of position, and they would have given up a touchdown if they Miami QB threw a decent pass on the screen. He was wide open to the endzone but, the receiver dropped it and never picked it up. I will reserve judgement on his efficacy until after the Clemson and FSU games. I’m not one of those that though Grantham was terrible, but I believe that the up-tempo teams will continue to give him fits.

    • Biggus Rickus

      I expect Grantham to have a decent year in Louisville. He inherits players who were coached properly under Strong, and Grantham understands how to scheme. You can no more entirely develop bad habits overnight than you can entirely correct them.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      “And who the hell let that Louisville QB get away…”

      So if we’d signed him, you think L’ville’s QB would have played ahead of AM? Or ahead of 5th year SR HM? If I’m gonna bitch about a GA QB we didn’t sign (after 1 game), it would be Watson.

  6. Macallanlover

    TN played with great enthusiasm and desperation in a game they had to win if they are to make bowl eligibility (as the schedule was originally evaluated.) Utah State looked like a HS team and never knew what hit them. UGA can expect to see an effort just like that when we roll into Columbia next week and we need to prepare for the initial surge that is sure to come from both the Cock team and crowd.

    I thought TN’s defense was better than expected but saw nothing in their running game, cannot see Worley able to carry that team against a quality defense. Still, with them looking better than expected and some on their schedule not looking as formidable as expected, they look like they should get to a bowl this year, which is their primary goal.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Yes. And uT came out with attitude last year against our dogs. We looked a little bewildered at all their enthusiasm and then they punched us in the mouth! Then Murray put the team on his back and willed them to victory.

      • Biggus Rickus

        Georgia led 17-3, and then a bunch of players got hurt.

        • Macallanlover

          You both are right, we did jump to early control before the Mash Unit took over but TN laid it all out for us. I think we were designated as the most vulnerable highly rated team they could make a statement with. We got those butt-ugly gray unis, a pumped up crowd and team, and a desperate effort. We will see that in Columbia next week, with more talent, and TN will again try to make our game larger by treating it as a “revenge” game for their close loss. It will not work, their offense is one of the weakest we will see in conference play behind everyone but Vandy. I also think the trip to Norman and game with FU before us will knock some of the rowdiness out of them.


    Georgia Southern’s Coach should have his butt kicked. He had a chance to salt the game away and made the call to take a FG and a 6 point lead.

    • Macallanlover

      Exactly, the pass defense had been exposed in that 2nd half so you had to play to be more than 6 ahead. Dumb, dumb. Shame was the QB getting hurt on a drive where they could have put a nail in NCST.

  8. I thought Tennessee looked pretty solid. I thought they might exceed expectations and I think they will. For sure, it’s a very dangerous game for us.

    Vanderbilt – I don’t know when I’ve seen a SEC team that poorly prepared for a ballgame. They have serious issues, and I don’t mean talent. I don’t see how Mason survives past December.

    • UT lost a starting offensive lineman for the season. The Vols are playing double-digit true freshmen this season. It’s only a dangerous game if the Dawgs allow it.

      No way Vandy fires a coach after only one year on the job.

      • You could certainly be right. We’ll see.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          Well done sir.

          • Hey, I meant it. And at the time I didn’t realize UT’s LT was hurt in the game, I’d assumed he was already lost and didn’t play. That makes it a little bit of a different situation, with their OL already shaky.

            Vandy – Their OC, whoever he is, looks like a huge mistake. Those QB’s were terrible. We’ll see, but in my mind Mason is already on the hot seat.

            • Macallanlover

              Hate it for the TN lineman, he was living his dream after earning the starting spot against long odds, but TN’s offense is not going to be a problem for many teams at all. No running game and a QB who might run the scout team for most SEC teams. They played inspired defense in a game they felt they had to win to have a shot at bowl eligibility but they offense took forever to take advantage of excellent field position due to Utah State’s inept offense. Dawgs will not be surprised at home, with any luck we could be defending a Top 5 ranking in a blessed night game in Sanford.