Category Archives: Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

ESPN’s inescapable logic

The one regular season game ESPN’s FPI projects Georgia to lose?

Georgia’s chances to win each game
09.05 vs. Louisiana-Monroe: 98.6%
09.12 @ Vanderbilt: 82.0%
09.19 vs. South Carolina: 84.9%
09.26 vs. Southern: 99.9%
10.03 vs. Alabama:
53.4%
10.10 @ Tennessee: 49.0%*
10.17 vs Missouri: 79.2%
10.31 Florida (Jacksonville): 71.8%
11.07 vs. Kentucky: 88.4%
11.14 @ Auburn: 53.9%
11.21 vs. Georgia Southern: 92.6%
11.28 @ Georgia Tech: 63.4%

How come?  You can probably guess the reason.

SHARON KATZ, ESPN Stats & Info: FPI sees that the Vols return an SEC-high 18 starters and have signed back-to-back top-five classes, which will pay dividends.

Well, not so much against Alabama.

Tennessee’s chances to win each game
09.05 vs. Bowling Green: 93.7%
09.12 vs. Oklahoma: 58.9%
09.19 vs. Western Carolina: 99.8%
09.26 @ Florida: 58.4%
10.03 vs. Arkansas: 54.2%
10.10 vs. Georgia: 51%
10.24 @Alabama: 31.9%*
10.31 @Kentucky: 73.9%
11.07 vs. South Carolina: 80.7%
11.14 vs. North Texas: 98%
11.21 @Missouri: 60.1%
11.28 vs. Vanderbilt: 87.2%

So Georgia is a slight favorite against the Tide and a slight-er underdog against Tennessee, which is a huge dog against Alabama. Got it.

I think they need to put ESPN’s computer on the selection committee.  It’ll fit right in.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“Tennessee Is and Isn’t a Year Away.”

I see Stewart Mandel joins the list of pundits who pick the Vols to win the SEC East this season.

I’m not buying Tennessee as much as some (as you’ll see, I have them losing at home to Oklahoma), but I still see the Vols winning a mediocre East. Georgia and Tennessee both play Alabama as a crossover foe, but the Dawgs also have to visit Auburn while Tennessee hosts Arkansas.

Okay, so it’s not the most enthusiastic blessing you’ll ever see… in fact, I’m not even sure why, given the recent history in the series, Mandel sees Georgia traveling to Auburn as being that significant a difference from playing the Hogs in Knoxville.  But taking it for the sake of argument as an acceptance that Tennessee is back, maybe not as a conference powerhouse so much as at least not hopelessly outclassed in the division any more, why so?

I get that the Vols have had two very strong recruiting classes in a row.  But Tennessee is far from the only SEC team which can make that claim.  And I also get that, as a result, the overall talent level of the team is better than it was under SOD.  But that’s really damning with faint praise, given what went on with Tennessee recording between the end of Fulmer’s term and Jones’ arrival.

The 85-scholarship era has hurt power teams like Tennessee and Nebraska who reside in states that don’t produce much talent. The Vols specifically have been hurt by a string of coaching mishaps, from the messy exit of Phillip Fulmer to the one-and-done year of Lane Kiffin to the ineffective Derek Dooley. The thought of hiring a recruiting ace in Kiffin wasn’t bad in and of itself after declining results from Fulmer’s classes, but the strikeout rate on Fulmer’s final two and Kiffin’s one class is just crazy. Dooley turned out to be in over his head with the job anyway, but trying to dig out of that hole was never going to be an easy task for anyone.

It’s a deep, deep hole that Jones finds himself trying to climb out of, in other words.  And the big issue there is depth.

The one part of the rebuild that Jones hasn’t had time to do yet is build true depth. Non-Vols fans out there can’t name Dobbs’s backup, and don’t say Nathan Peterman—he transferred to Pitt. There is basically nothing behind Hurd and Kamara at running back. Last year’s offensive line was a mess in part to turning over all five positions, and it’s unclear if this year’s will be leaps and bounds better or just kind of better. The defense is in better shape in this regard than the offense is, although linebacker other than Maggitt (who splits time as an end) and Reeves-Maybin is a question mark.

So what’s it gonna take for Tennessee to win the East in 2015?  Some luck with health, some hope that the schedule cooperates (although Missouri, which is riding a three-game winning streak against UT, has a far easier path than the Vols do) and every other contending team in the division falling on their collective faces.  And remember, this is a team and a coaching staff that has yet to find major success handling a conference slate.  That’s a lot of reaches for a program that barely scraped into a bowl game a year ago.  Admittedly, stranger things have happened.  But that’s a pretty thin margin for error Jones has to work with.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Georgia-Tennessee: have we got your attention yet?

Field Street Forum links to a Vol site’s analysis of this year’s matchup.  Here’s the conclusion:

Georgia’s won five straight in this one, but ever since the 41-14 waxing in 2010, every game in this series since has been decided by one score, with a couple games coming down to the very final seconds.

The Bulldogs clearly have the upper hand right now, but aren’t at the point of owning this series yet.

I don’t know what the author’s definition of ownage may be, but five in a row is pretty damned dominant, regardless of point spread.

And with regard to that, even there, you can find a little back story.  Yes, every one of the last four games came down to a one-score margin.

  • 2014:  35-32
  • 2013:  34-31
  • 2012:  51-44
  • 2011:  20-12  (Note:  UT scored with 2:45 left on the clock in the fourth quarter.)

But you know what else every one of those four games sported?  A big (at least two scores) Georgia lead.

  • 2014:  21-10
  • 2013:  17-3
  • 2012:  27-10
  • 2011:  20-6

This team has recently had a bad habit of relaxing against Tennessee.  Maybe it’s time to take the Vols seriously for a full sixty minutes.  Try hanging on to that big lead, guys, or stay focused by struggling for the game’s entirety.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

Tuesday morning buffet

I’m not in Hoover.  You’re not in Hoover.  So, eat.

  • Speaking of Hoover, CFN’s Pete Fiutak has some pretty amusing observations about his first day there.  My favorite:  Because it’s 174 degrees outside with 139% humidity, and considering most media types get paid in buttons and some of those fans who actually did show up look like they’ve been wearing the same jersey for three straight weeks, every ten feet or so in this cramped, confided space there’s a waft of pure evil. This is one place where the term “smell you later” really does apply.  Ew.
  • Melvin Robinson, Georgia’s Assistant Athletic Director for Facility Operations, about the ongoing improvements at Sanford Stadium “The fan experience is so big and when they see the improvements we’re doing at the stadium, they’re going to be blown away…”  No offense, Mel, but we’ll believe when we see it… or don’t have to spend fifteen minutes in a concession line.
  • Bruce Feldman points out that, for all the preseason hype about Auburn, the Tigers return fewer starters on offense than any team in the SEC.
  • This looks pretty cool, if you ask me.
  • “Everybody is the media. Everybody with a camera phone is the media…”
  • Fiutak’s SEC team likely to disappoint?  Tennessee.
  • And here’s a detailed look at D-1 athletic spending, with an emphasis on bang (i.e., wins) for the buck.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, College Football, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

UT’s “switch to the Swoosh”

I knew that Tennessee is in the process of abandoning its long-held “Lady Vols” label for its women’s sports teams except basketball.  I didn’t know the decision was tied in as part of the process of changing suppliers from Adidas to Nike.

Tennessee’s path to Nike hasn’t been entirely smooth, though.

The university’s decision, announced in November, to unify all sports except for women’s basketball with the Power T logo and “Volunteers” name as part of the university’s rebranding structure initially didn’t create much of a backlash, but it’s received more attention and more criticism the past six months.

The response to the perceived elimination of the Lady Vols logo and brand has included some informal protests, petitions to state representatives in Nashville and the creation of websites and social media accounts aimed at “saving the Lady Vols.”

Hart has been the target of most of the criticism, though the decision wasn’t solely his.

“I’ve never, ever — my entire career — been offended by people’s opinions,” he said during an interview with “The Nation,” a statewide Vol Network show, in late February. “It’s part of it. When you make tough decisions, then you’ll get that type of reaction, because everyone’s not going to be in agreement with those decisions.”

In its announcement of the decision, Tennessee cited an internal audit, done with consultation from Nike representation, that determined the Power T logo was the university’s primary mark.

This isn’t meant as a knock on the Vols in particular.  College athletics these days are, sadly, rife with similar examples of programs choosing money over tradition. (Although, strangely enough, UT is taking a pay cut in the move to Nike.)  In fact, you could say that choice will be left as the only meaningful tradition remaining.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, It's Just Bidness

Friday morning buffet

A little of this, a little of that…

  • Tennessee goes from firing a basketball coach after just one season amid an NCAA investigation into his former program… to hiring a basketball coach linked to questions about of academic misconduct alleged to have occurred during his tenure with his former program.  The spirit of Mike Hamilton lives on.
  • Dial into the audio clip here at about the eleven minute mark and you can listen to CBSSports’ Jerry Hinnen talk some Georgia football.
  • Brian Kelly is brutally honest about player academics at Notre Dame.  And I mean brutally.
  • The board of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges slaps North Carolina with a 1-year probation penalty.
  • Dig into Florida’s budget numbers, and you’ll find that the Gators lost money on football last year.  Can you say Boom’s buyout?  I thought you could.
  • The early signing period for football comes up for a vote next week.  The SEC is the only major conference on record opposing it.
  • You want to see a list of Georgia’s freshmen jersey numbers?  Here you go.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gators Gators, Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

Friday morning buffet

Getting you ready for a holiday weekend with a few tasty morsels…

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Filed under 'Cock Envy, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, College Football, Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football