Hold on to your horses, boys.
Daily Archives: October 12, 2015
This is called working the refs.
And it worked! Much to the outrage of Roll Tahd World, I’m sure.
SEC refs get suckered into all kinds of dumb calls. Hard to see how this is any different, other than the manner of sale.
The Coaches Poll has been reduced to an irrelevancy, but the Mumme Poll abides. That’s right, the brainchild of Get The Picture and the late, lamented 3rd Saturday in Blogtober is back for another season. (It’s eighth, I believe.)
Tidefan and I have made some changes, though. Not in the basic concept, which is to offer a platform for a fan-based approach to ranking college football’s best teams with a process that is easier and less biased than the traditional way of doing so, as shown by what the coaches do, but in the way we’ll go about casting our ballots in 2015.
No longer will you be asked to fill a ballot of a predetermined size. Instead, we’ll leave it up to you do decide how many teams you think are worthy of consideration, based on your own personal criteria. You think there’s only one team deserving of recognition? Fine. Want to stick to picking a four-team field for the semi-finals as the proper way to define the best? Works for us. You consider yourself a forward thinking person who would rather move ahead to the day when the postseason field is your perfect eight schools? Go, dog, go. Or do anything in between – I will, as I’ll test my theory that, at most, there are never more than four or five teams in a given season worthy of national title consideration.
It all works. We’re counting total approvals to rank teams, and that’s all we’ll do. (Click on the link on the Mumme Poll page if you want to learn more about how approval voting functions.)
This should make it even less time-consuming to construct a ballot, at least if your experience is like mine, spending the bulk of my time deciding which school gets the last slot, usually because as the season progresses, it’s impossible to find a team worthy of making the list.
The other changes are minor. Tidefan, who is the brains of this operation, by the way, has removed the comments section at the site, as it was getting little use. All commenting on ballots will be here. I’ll try to make sure we have a few posts every week for that. Also, we’re ditching attendance requirements. If you miss, you can play again. And you can register to vote when you’d like.
Rules? Ah, rules. There aren’t many left now.
- Registration. To cast a ballot, you’ll need to register at the Mumme Poll site.
- Voting period. In most weeks, balloting takes place at any time between 9:00 A.M. on the Sunday after the games and 9:00 P.M. on the following Monday. On those rare weeks when a Sunday game is played, the voting is pushed back 24 hours.
- The one commandment. Don’t try to game the system. Don’t subvert the vote by submitting a ballot with your favorite school and the nine worst teams in D-1, for example. The ballots are monitored and if something questionable comes up, a voter will be given a chance to explain. If we’re convinced there’s a deliberate effort to muck things up, we’ll toss the ballot and the voter.
As far as registration goes, if you voted before, you should still be in the system and don’t need to register again. See? Easy.
First ballot casting will take place starting next Sunday morning.
Any feedback, questions or complaints feel free to bring up in the comments section.
Please vote. Tell your friends who are football fans to jump in, too. The more, the merrier, particularly if we’re able to broaden the geographics of our voting pool.
Besides, if you’re a Georgia fan, you could probably use a distraction right now.
With what I wrote about Brian Schottenheimer in today’s Observations post, you might want to take a look at Trevor Sikkema’s film review of Lambert. Particularly this:
… One-read, quick throw plays on third down are a place Lambert really struggles. There’s no deception in the routes, and you can see Lambert will force a throw because the timing calls for it rather than be given the freedom to think. Extra time in the pocket isn’t a guarantee he’ll make a good decision — UGA fans know that — but they seem to be more effective.
On this play action, Lambert has layers to his reads because the play has more options. He looks much more comfortable when delivering the ball after he’s the one who gets to chose where it goes. I’m not saying Lambert’s decision making is perfect by any means, but Schottenheimer needs to realize a choke hold on Lambert isn’t making the offense any simpler. UGA has much better success on third down when they call plays with simple reads. Not giving Lambert reads at all is what’s causing the panic.
You could see Lambert settle down when Georgia got a little traction running out of the I and it became easier to sell the play action pass. Some of that was due to not having to force a throw.
I’ll say it again. When you consider it’s his first season in Athens and that he’s working with a quarterback who’s had maybe two months in this offense, Schottenheimer hasn’t had a tremendous amount of time to figure out how all the moving parts fit together.
My theory about how coaches feel about the issues roiling the NCAA and schools right now – primarily amateurism and unionization – is that the coaches don’t oppose the players’ interests out of a lack of sympathy (Dabo Swinney’s “they’re lucky to be here” attitude notwithstanding), so much as they don’t relish the potential threat to their control resolution of these issues might pose.
So that, plus what’s probably a lack of general understanding or attention to the issues, is probably why you don’t hear coaches dismiss the need for an antitrust exemption for college sports. Judging from a comment from Wisconsin chancellor Rebecca Blank, maybe they should brush up on the issue.
Blank, chancellor since 2013, has given the issue of coaches’ salaries a good deal of thought — and she offers a radical fix.
“Coaches are being paid, especially in a couple of big sports, increasingly like professional leagues,” she says. “It immediately raises the question of, ‘Why aren’t your athletes being paid similarly?’ If I could redo this, I would try to get some sort of antitrust exemption here and say, ‘We run a college sports program — and college sports programs are different. And we do have the right to cap salaries, given the salary levels that exist elsewhere around the university.’
“And the expectation is that these students are students, as well as athletes, meaning it is not a for-profit program. People who want to make those kinds of salaries need to be in professional sports. I’m a losing voice on that right now. … I don’t think anyone believes it’s going to happen.”
Although she expresses an attitude that’s been expressed before by college administrators, Cheek isn’t exactly a tyro when it comes to economic issues. She was acting secretary of commerce in the Obama administration and holds a doctorate in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Coaches aren’t the only people who like control, you know.
Can I just say I find it more than a little amusing that some of the same people who castigate Richt supporters for elevating the coach above the program are now hoping that Georgia loses more games this season so there will be pressure to force Richt out?
You’ve become what you bitch about, peeps. Of course, that’s Richt’s fault too, amirite?
Really, part of me is reluctant to post this, because it feels like piling on. In the end, though, I think I’m too numb to feel any guilt about that. Georgia’s fall from grace this season has been so precipitous, it’s been difficult for me to get a real handle on what’s happened. So let’s take this with baby steps.
That being said, I don’t have the stomach to delve into what I watched on Saturday in the usual amount of detail, so this will be a somewhat truncated version of an Observations post. Brace yourselves.
- The offense. The best I can say is that it was underwhelming. There were moments, of course. Lambert can throw a pretty deep ball when the stars line up properly (meaning he gets protection and is mechanically sound). Sony Michel looks like he can handle the load with Chubb out. Malcolm Mitchell is a warrior, and the best example of an exception to my complaint about mental toughness. Georgia averaged a more than respectable seven-plus yards per offensive play. But… third down conversions were close to nonexistent. The offensive line was hit and miss and there were breakdowns in execution, such as when Barnett got his first sack because no one blocked him (Houston, for some reason, double-teamed the left tackle on the play). Receivers, outside of Mitchell, were inconsistent, too. Lambert went from being awful against Alabama to about average. He clearly made an effort to go through his progressions, at least sometimes. But his mechanics are still sporadic, which resulted in a few awful pass attempts. How much of that’s on him and how much on his surrounding cast is hard to say, but it’s not hard to see why he still might have a few trust issues.
- The defense. My goodness, that was bad. The regression we’ve seen on Pruitt’s side of the ball is nothing short of astounding. Tackling that looks straight out of 2009. The continued open spots in the middle of zone coverage that previously mediocre passing attacks exploit ruthlessly. Defensive backs out of position regularly. Little pass rush, unless it’s blitz aided. Whatever Pruitt is doing, it ain’t working. The sad thing is that a decimated UT offensive line managed to hold its ground against the Dawgs’ front. An even sadder thing is that if Georgia stops either of two fourth-down conversion attempts on Tennessee’s first touchdown drive, the game is over.
- Special teams. Outside of Reggie Davis’ punt return for a touchdown, nothing short of a hot, steaming mess. Again. Morgan shanked another makeable field goal. Barber can’t make a decent punt when his team needs one. Of course, the Michel fumble that turned out to be the nail in Georgia’s coffin. And I can’t think of a single kickoff return where there weren’t at least three Tennessee players who went unblocked. Another major area where whatever the coaches are doing isn’t working at all.
- Pruitt. His goal of limiting big plays was blown to shreds for the second straight week. His defensive backs are playing soft, but because there’s no pass rush, it’s an invitation to throw for easy completions. He’s not getting many takeaways, either. (Although I have to admit it doesn’t help when, for the second straight week, Georgia forces an early turnover and winds up punting inside the other team’s side of the 50.) He still hasn’t developed an inside linebacker who can play in coverage. (Ganus is a nice story, but he got killed in coverage.) All in all, not getting it done is not what you get paid a million and a half bucks a year for.
- Schottenheimer. He wasn’t bad so much as, like his offense, underwhelming. Yeah, losing Chubb on the first play of the game was a tough thing to have to deal with. He deserves credit for making Lambert a more functional quarterback in this game. He took several deep shots with some success. I’ll even concede that his offensive line didn’t do him many favors. However, there are stretches where his playcalling is lacking in purpose; perhaps that’s because he’s still trying to figure out what he’s got to work with. It sure seems like he’s ignoring some weapons, like his tight ends, though. One can say that if Reggie Davis makes that catch, it’s a different result. I’d say if Georgia had done a reasonably decent job of converting third downs on offense, it wouldn’t have needed that catch in the first place.
- Richt. I’ve already vented about his inability to get his players to focus when times get hard, but it’s probably worth mentioning that the same goes for his staff management. To say that three penalties for illegal substitution is inexcusable hardly seems adequate, but it’s the best I can come up with. (The game would have ended on the last one, had the clock been running. Wouldn’t that have been the cherry on top of the sundae.) Letting Butch Jones off the hook means Mark Richt had a bad, bad day.
Even with Chubb’s injury Georgia didn’t lose on Saturday because it was the less talented team. I don’t think the talent was even equal. Georgia got beat because it wasn’t fundamentally sound, plain and simple. And while you can blame the players in spots for lapses in execution – it’s hard to chalk up the Davis drop or the Michel fumble otherwise – most of Georgia’s shortcomings fall on the coaching staff. And it’s hard to excuse that at this point.
Two straight weeks when Georgia has made a quarterback previously meh look otherworldly. If that happens against Missouri, look out.
One of the more curious developments in a season that’s had more than its share of curious developments is how long it’s taken for the NCAA investigation of Laremy Tunsil to reach its conclusion (although reports surfaced over the weekend that things may finally be coming to a head). It’s curious because the usual approach taken by SEC teams not in Athens, Georgia defending their star players is to take a fairly aggressive approach with the NCAA. That doesn’t seem to have happened in Ole Miss’ case.
Perhaps there’s a reason for that.
One other thing that cropped up of the weekend was the news that the NCAA was preparing to bring the hammer down on Louisiana-Lafayette over allegations of a former assistant coach’s engaging in exam fraud and providing recruits payments for living and educational expenses, as well as failing to comply with an NCAA investigation. (That last thing always makes it worse.) But what’s interesting about that matter can be found in this timeline of the investigation. Read through it, and notice that the phrase “legal counsel for the University of Mississippi” crops up more than once.
I doubt that was because somebody was bored and looking for a little entertainment on the side.
As we saw when McGarity was fighting a two-front war with the NCAA about the problems stemming from Todd Gurley and Jack Bauerle, an athletic director’s gotta choose how best to play the hand he’s dealt. It would seem fair to say that between an existential threat to a school’s athletic program and a suspension of a player who’s likely turning pro after the season anyway, it’s not hard to see where priorities might lay. I have no proof that’s what’s going on with Ole Miss now, of course. I’m just sayin’.
The West is still a fight, but the East is starting to shake out. Overall, it looks like there are five quality teams in the conference.
What else needs to be said?
- Texas A&M. Not gonna give the Aggies a bye week drop. Besides, we’ll find out who deserves to be at the top of the power poll after Saturday.
- Alabama. Okay, you’ve had your fun against power offenses, Nick. Let’s see if you’ve got Sumlin’s number again.
- Florida. What does grinding away get you? In Florida’s case, a commanding lead in the division. This one could be over by the Cocktail Party.
- LSU. Seal clubbed a hapless South Carolina, which isn’t much of an accomplishment right now. Let’s see how the Tigers do against a resurgent Florida team.
- Mississippi. Turned things around against New Mexico State. Woo hoo!
- Mississippi State. Last Saturday, cupcakes were on the menu all around the state of Mississippi.
- Kentucky. The ‘Cats find themselves second in the East, largely by keeping their heads down.
- Tennessee. Georgia was chicken soup for the Volunteer soul.
- Arkansas. Did the best with what they had against Alabama. The final margin indicates they didn’t have enough.
- Georgia. Last week I asked, “Okay, there’s the inexplicable, yet inevitable, embarrassing loss. The question remaining is whether Georgia has any more of those in its future this season.” Thanks for getting back to me so quickly on that, Dawgs.
- Missouri. A slightly more talented version of Vanderbilt.
- Auburn. It’s sad to think that Auburn needed two weeks to get ready for Kentucky, but the Tigers probably do.
- Vanderbilt. Gettin’ that bye week bounce in anticipation of this week’s epic Battle of the Dipshits at South Carolina.
- South Carolina. Steve Spurrier has coached SEC ball for 23 seasons. This is the first time he’s had a team start 0-4 in the conference. Whoa.