Judging from the latest news, that’s probably a good thing.
Category Archives: Big 12 Football
The more analysis I see, the more it sounds like most pundits expect the game to come down to Baker Mayfield versus the Georgia defense. As this chart demonstrates, Mayfield’s had a spectacular season in just about any way you’d expect a quarterback to perform.
There aren’t too many holes to pick there.
Just as daunting is this Seth Emerson piece where he goes about getting some of Oklahoma’s opponents over the past couple of seasons to give their impressions of ways to stop him.
The key seems to be play excellent defense. Seriously. Check out this series of comments from a Texas defensive back.
Texas cornerback DeShon Elliott, a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, was asked how to deal with Mayfield.
Elliott: “Blitz. Get to him. Because if you can just get to him then you should be OK. Other than that you won’t be able to. If you let him sit back there and just pat that ball he’s going to make plays. … You’ve got to be able to keep Baker in the pocket and keep him from being able to extend the pocket. Because if he’s able to extend the pocket and extend plays he’s going to score touchdowns. You’ve got to make sure you do your job and don’t bust coverages.”
Elliott: “To win games you’ve got to stop the run. So first of all you’ve got to stop Rodney [Anderson] and you’ve got to stop the freshman, No. 4 [Trey Sermon]. Other than that you should be good.”
Isn’t that easier said than done?
Elliott: “Oh yeah it’s easier said than done. We had a couple times in our game we thought we had [Mayfield]. Then he got out there and made a play. He’s just a great player; he’s an athlete. He’s going to make some plays. So you’ve got to do your job and just don’t give up big plays.”
Easy peasy. All you’ve got to do is pressure the quarterback, stop the run, keep Mayfield in the pocket and not give up big plays. If only every team that faced Oklahoma this season had known that. (By the way, Mayfield still managed to throw for 302 yards and 2 TDs against Elliott’s Texas team.)
Meanwhile, from SB Nation’s Oklahoma site comes the observation that “The Georgia defense is spectacular, but it’s not invincible“. It’s interesting to get the opposing viewpoint and the post is complimentary, and not in a back-handed way. It’s also not totally convincing.
It’s argument rests on two foundations: Missouri’s 28-point effort in Athens and, of course, Auburn’s blowout performance in the teams’ first meeting. The rebuttal to the second point is both obvious and largely ignored. This is what the article notes about Auburn’s offense in the SECCG:
Auburn sort of went away from the screen game in the SEC Championship, but credit Georgia for creating enough disruption up front to keep Auburn from doing much in the deep passing game that afternoon.
If by “sort of went away”, he means the Tigers had to abandon the screen game because Georgia’s defensive game plan smothered it, I suppose he’s got a point. Just like if “from doing much in the deep passing game” is his way of describing Stidham’s inability to complete a single deep throw all game, well, sure.
Turning to Missouri, there’s no question that Drew Lock burned Georgia on a couple of 63-yard touchdowns in the first half. Again, though, that was just a half. What happened in the second half was that the Missouri offense was shut down — 21 yards in the third quarter and 112 yards in the entire second half (the last score came in garbage time with Georgia up by 26).
Both examples are really examples of a bigger reality, namely, that Georgia is good with its adjustments on defense. Really good. Buuut… when I went to Bill Connelly’s team advanced stat profiles to verify that the Dawgs’ defense owned the third quarter this year (the defense finished second in S&P+), I also noticed something freaky. While Georgia’s offensive S&P+ ranking slowly declines quarter by quarter, you aren’t going to believe what happens to Oklahoma’s offensive ranking. It literally stays the same all four quarters and that ranking is first. The cliché about needing to play all four quarters will be job one for Tucker’s guys.
One other thing worth mentioning is that when it comes to giving up big plays, Georgia’s defense has been more stout than has Oklahoma’s. Here’s how the two teams rank based on distance:
- 10+ yards: Georgia 2nd, Oklahoma 64th
- 20+ yards: Georgia 10th, Oklahoma 68th
- 30+ yards: Georgia 9th, Oklahoma 110th
- 40+ yards: Georgia 8th, Oklahoma 97th
It’s a pretty consistent picture. Now you can certainly argue that those rankings reflect the conferences the two teams play in (“Georgia’s defensive efficiency ranks 2nd, which is very good, but could be argued that it is skewed because the offenses they normally face haven’t been as capable as some of the offenses in the Big 12”), and I wouldn’t totally dismiss that. But you could just as easily argue that Georgia’s defense is more soundly coached to avoid giving up the big play.
The question left unanswered is what to take from all this. Beats me. I’m not the only one.
My final takeaway from all of this is that studying the metrics and statistics all day long will never truly tell me how this matchup will shake out, but the great debate between Georgia’s defense and Oklahoma’s offense will sort itself out on New Year’s Day in Pasadena. However, there’s reason for hope in the meantime.
Hope for both sides. I can’t wait to see how this game plays out.
It’s hard to believe this, but Seth Emerson conducted a Baker Mayfield interview without deposing him under oath or subpoenaing his cell phone so that an independent expert could prove that Mayfield made shit up out of whole cloth. What the hell is journalism coming to these days, anyway?
Mayfield said this season has been one of “ups and downs,” with the ups being on the field, the downs being off it.
“The thing for me is I’m learning and growing. I’ve addressed those things. I’m not going to put on a front and act like I’m some perfect kid. I’m 22 years old. I’m learning and going through life. I’m proud to say I’ve gone through this process and let people know I’m growing and I’m becoming a better person.”
That included taking it in stride when Georgia fans blew up his phone.
“Respect. I respect them,” Mayfield said. “People ask me if I was really that mad. No, not really, it was pretty funny. Creative stuff. I’d hope that our fans would do the same thing if they got a chance.”
Fake news, man.
On a far less snarky note, speaking of introductions, Matt Hinton’s got a nice primer on the offense that Mayfield directs when he’s not otherwise occupied. It’s worth a read. One thing perhaps a little surprising is that Oklahoma has a robust running game.
Coach Lincoln Riley comes out of that tradition, having played and coached for Mike Leach during the peak Air Raid years at Texas Tech, but in fact the Sooners have been much more balanced this season in terms of both quantity (they keep it on the ground about 55 percent of the time) and quality: OU leads the Big 12 in both rushing offense and yards per carry and ranks No. 1 nationally in Offensive Rushing S&P+ by a wide margin, even without producing an individual 1,000-yard rusher – together, the top three backs, Rodney Anderson, Trey Sermon and Abdul Adams, piled up 2,212 yards on 6.5 per carry without any of them claiming the spotlight. The offensive line, which returned all five starters from 2016, ranks No. 2 in Adjusted Line Yards.
It’s gonna be a challenge for Smart and Tucker, methinks.
If there’s ever a decision that deserves to be crapped on by the football gods, it’s the Big 12’s idiotic move to plop a conference title game on top of its regular season round robin schedule.
Friends, join me in rooting for TCU tomorrow.
Awesome doesn’t begin to describe this.
Behind the Oklahoma bench, there were a group of Buckeye fans that were beyond over-served. I mean these dudes were lubed up. And right at halftime, right as Baker Mayfield’s getting treatment on his lower back, he comes out and these guys are just wearing him out. He finally — right before their first possession when Ohio State goes up 10-3 to start the second half and you’re going “uh-oh” — turns around and goes, “Get ready, I’m about to hand six on you bleeping bleepers”. He leads them right down the field, the score’s tied at 10. He goes straight to the bench, stands up on the bench, and just lets the Buckeye fans behind him that were giving it to Baker… he turns at them and says, “You like that one? I’ve got three or four more of those coming up. Get ready”. – Ian Fitzsimmons on Freddie & Fitz
That’s what owned feels like, boys.
Oklahoma whips Ohio State’s ass and this ensues afterwards.
One can only imagine the steam coming out of Urban Meyer’s ears. Which is what probably led to this.
Damn, Baker, fun means never having to say you’re sorry. Although this is a subtle touch.
Eh, kid, Corch could teach you a thing or two about what constitutes a big deal.
As always, though, gallows humor is the best humor.
Jim Delany doesn’t give a damn about your optics, media assholes.
Delany was asked at Big Ten Media Days what the optics are of one of the most powerful men in college sports being against compensation for players while cashing an eight-figure bonus.
“The optics are what the writers make of them,” Delany said. “For me, we have an obligation — legal — to share a 990 [tax return], which we have [with USA Today] …
“For me, I’m active, interested. [College athletics] has been important to me for more than 50 years. I continue to believe in it. I think the apt comparison is probably not with the student. I don’t think it ever has been. I understand people will make that connection. I just don’t make it.”
Note that he doesn’t even bother to refer to players as student-athletes. They’re mere students. Students aren’t worthy of a big check, not like the active, interested Delany is.
This is why his Division III threat if the NCAA lost O’Bannon was so much hot air. He and his peers are going to milk the system for every drop they can get as long as they can. (“On Monday, he formally announced the beginning of a six-year media rights deal with Fox and ESPN worth $2.64 billion.”) They’re not going to lose any sleep over it, either.