Category Archives: Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

Phil Steele’s got your returning starters right here.

Here’s why that matters:

For instance, last year there were 19 teams that returned 16 starters or more, including their QB. Of those 19 teams, 12 had a better record in 2016 than they did in 2015. Four had the same record, and only 3 of the 19 had a weaker record.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there were 14 teams that returned 11 or fewer starters that did not have a returning starter at QB. Of those 14 teams, 0 had a better record. Of the 14 least experienced teams, 13 had a weaker record in 2016 than they did in 2015 and one had the same.

And here’s why that matters to us.

SEC
RK TEAM TOTAL OFF QB DEF
T3 Georgia 17 7 1 10
T3 Kentucky 17 8 1 9
T9 South Carolina 16 10 1 6
T9 Vanderbilt 16 9 1 7
T25 Auburn 15 8 1 7
T25 Missouri 15 10 1 5
T48 Florida 14 9 1 5
T48 Tennessee 14 7 0 7
T71 Arkansas 13 7 1 6
T71 Mississippi St 13 7 1 6
T86 Texas A&M 12 5 0 7
T103 Alabama 11 6 1 5
T103 LSU 11 6 1 5
T103 Ole Miss 11 5 0 6

That’s right. Georgia is tied for first in the conference and third nationally.  This will also mark Georgia’s first season with a returning starter at quarterback since 2013. (I don’t count Lambert last year, because we all knew he was just holding down the fort temporarily until the coaches moved Eason in.)  I don’t see how that can hurt.

As for the rest of the SEC, a few notes…

  • Yeah, I think we can discount Alabama only bringing back eleven.
  • On the other hand, Ole Miss is really adding up the suckitude for 2017.
  • Only three SEC teams don’t have returning starters at QB.  A sign of better times to come?
  • The top four teams are all in the East.
  • Missouri led the conference in total offense and was fifth in scoring offense.  The Tigers bring back all but one starter on offense this season.  Whoa, baby.
Advertisements

33 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football

Thursday morning buffet

Rounding things up to fill the breakfast bar…

13 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., Auburn's Cast of Thousands, College Football, Georgia Football, Heard About Harbaugh?, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, See You In Court, Stats Geek!

“Kirby Smart could have them believing.”

I picked up my Steele’s 2016 College Football Preview Saturday night and spent much of yesterday with my nose buried in it. From 2012-5, Steele was pretty high on Georgia’s chances.  Not so much this season, though.  The Dawgs sit at 29th in his composite power rankings, although he ranks them 23rd after factoring in scheduling.

It’s pretty easy to sum up his qualms about the team.  Although there’s talent and coaching pedigree, Georgia is lacking in experience and Steele puts some emphasis on the learning curve Smart and his program have to track first.

Here are some bullet points to help you see the picture Steele paints:

  • All-American teams.  Steele picks four teams.  Georgia has two players, Nick Chubb and Greg Pyke, both third teamers.
  • All-SEC teams. Again, four teams of 29 each.  Georgia places a total of nine on them.  Pyke is the only first teamer, as Chubb makes second team.  Two newcomers, Eason and Catalina, make his fourth team.
  • Top individual units.  Georgia makes seven of his eight lists of the top 45-50 at each position group.  The whiff is at special teams, which is understandable.  Best showings are at running back (4th) and offensive line (7th).  Georgia barely makes the cut at two others, though — defensive line (45 out of 46) and quarterback (48 out of 50).  (To add insult to injury, Steele ranks Georgia Tech at 27th in quarterbacks.)
  • Conference unit rankings.  Georgia doesn’t place first in any category.

Put it all together and you’ve got a team that is “a legitimate contender in the SEC East”.  That’s a considerable notch down from labeling Alabama, LSU and Tennessee national title contenders.

But Steele also sees Georgia as one of his Surprise Teams, noting that the Ole Miss game may be the only one Georgia enters as an underdog this season.  He then goes on to say,

In the last 3 years Georgia has been favored in 36 of their 39 games but have a disappointing record of 28-11 in that span.  Sometimes a coaching change (Richt was there 15 years) can bring a different attitude and maybe take care of business in that favorites role.

There are a couple of statistical trouble spots he notes.

First, over the last 14 years, teams with three or more net close wins in a season have an almost 80% chance of having a weaker or the same win total the following season.  Georgia had a net of four close wins in 2015.

Second, over the last nine years, Steele found no school losing more than 34 or more starts from a team that finished with 10 or more wins improved its record the following season.

All in all, there’s enough uncertainty about Georgia’s 2016 chances to reinforce my ambiguity about the season.  I do think the schedule is weak enough for nine wins; it’s that tenth one that makes me feel at times like I’m reaching.  We’ll see soon enough.

36 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

“The Bulldogs… are a legitimate contender in the SEC East.”

Steelemas doesn’t come until next week, but if you hie thee over to his website, you can read Phil Steele’s Georgia preview today.

He ranks the Dawgs 23rd, well ahead of Florida, but likely to be at least as far behind Tennessee.  He thinks the offense will improve from last season and the defense will hold its own, but notes that Georgia won four close games in 2015 and the coaching change as potential limitations.  Overall, as the header to this post indicates, he’s pretty lukewarm about Georgia’s chances.

As far as the individual units go, it’s a mixed bag, but he does point to some concern about the loss of so much productivity at linebacker and, of course, special teams.

There are always a few fun stats tossed in.  In this case, Georgia is riding a ten-game winning streak against Ole Miss, including five straight in Oxford.  (Kirby isn’t, though.)

It’s also worth checking his seven years of offensive and defensive stats.  Based on his yards per point metric, last season marked the most inefficient offense at Georgia since Stafford left, and by a pretty significant margin over 2014.  Defensive efficiency was a different story, as the team turned in its best effort there since 2012, with a lot less NFL draft picks.

Dig through it.  There’s plenty there, as you’d expect from Steele.

17 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

Thursday morning buffet

The chafing dishes are tanned, rested and ready.

11 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, Recruiting, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football

Chubb is coming.

I keep telling ‘ya, the cherry on top of the Chubb hype sundae is inclusion on one of Phil Steele’s preseason All-SEC teams.  It’s almost a thing now.

Any thoughts on where Nick shows up?  I’m leaning third-team right now.

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

Returning offensive line career starts

Phil Steele blogs every year about the number of career starts returning for D-1 offensive linemen.  This year’s post on that subject is out, so, without looking, guess where Georgia ranks nationally.

The answer is here.  Yeah, that surprised me, too, especially the conference ranking.

I will say, based on last year’s experience, the quality of coaching matters a shitload more than returning starts.  Which should be a good thing for the Dawgs…

40 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water