Category Archives: Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

Moar Steele rankings

Here’s a nice daily double.

Offense is good, not not quite as good.

Georgia’s problem, of course, is that it likely faces two teams in the regular season ranked higher on all four lists.

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Georgia in Steele’s 2021 position group rankings

Honestly, the first thing I do when I get home with Steele’s Preview is check out where the Dawgs stand (or fall) in his top individual units rankings.

The good news is that Georgia is only one of two teams with all eight position groups finishing in the top twenty.  (I won’t bore you by naming the other program, although it’s worth mentioning that Oklahoma just missed by finishing 22nd in special teams and Clemson was also 7 of 8, outside the top 63 in special teams.)

Here’s where each unit sits:

  • Quarterback.  Georgia is 11th, Ole Miss is second.  Oklahoma is first.
  • Running back.  Dawgs are second, behind TAMU.
  • Receivers.  20th.  (Yes, receivers includes tight ends.)
  • Offensive line.  7th.  (Surprised?  Maybe a little, but Steele sees a lot of talent at the position.)
  • Defensive line.  2nd, behind Clemson.
  • Linebackers.  4th, behind Alabama and Clemson.
  • Defensive backs.  20th.  Alabama is first.
  • Special teams. 2nd, behind Alabama.

All in all, not too shabby.

Head to head, Alabama finished 5-3 against Georgia, but two of those units where ‘Bama ranked higher were back to back with the Dawgs.  It’s close, in other words.

What do y’all think?

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Steelemas, part dos

Here’s how Steele sizes up the SEC, by position group and coaching:

Aside from Mississippi State’s quarterback ranking, what really jumps out at me is how close Alabama and Georgia are.  The former totals 17 points; the latter, 20.  Just to give you an idea as to both how close and how dominant those two programs are, the next two programs each have the same number of points as ‘Bama and Georgia combined.

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Steelemas, part uno

Okay, I picked up my 2021 Steele this weekend and it’s the usual pleasure for me.  I’ll give you a few tidbits here and there over the next few days, but you should go out and grab it for yourself.

What I want to share in this post is probably my favorite thing in the magazine, at least so far.

One of the metrics he’s come up with he calls “Draft Day Party Hangover”.  Quite simply, he assigns a value to every player that goes in the NFL draft (7 points in the first round, 6 points in the second, etc.) adds them up and ranks college programs in decreasing order of points.  So you could say, and you would for sure if you’re a Florida Gator, that it’s a measure of player development in college.

You probably can guess where this is going.

It’s a good thing Mullen is such a great in game coach, I guess.

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Early Steele

The 2021 preview mag hasn’t shown up yet at my nearby Barnes and Noble, but those who ordered it directly from Steele have been rewarded with delivery.

A couple of Dawg-related notes for you…

Dawgs247“On Tuesday, college football analyst Phil Steele released his preseason All-SEC and All-American teams and several Georgia players made the cut. Four were named All-Americans, including a pair of first-team selections – offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer and punter Jake Camarda.”  Jordan Davis made second team and Nakobe Dean made Steele’s fourth team.

Mike Griffith“Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral — whose decommitment from USC four years ago opened the door for Daniels to determine he would reclassify and graduate early to play for the Trojans — was Steele’s choice for first-team preseason All-SEC quarterback.

Daniels, who missed the first six games of last season while still rehabilitating an injured knee, was assigned the second team.”

All told, 12 Georgia players made Steele’s four all-SEC teams.  (I probably don’t need to tell you which program had more selections.)

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Phil Steele’s projected 2021 AP Top Ten, preseason

It’s an exercise he goes through every spring, and he’s been ten for ten the last three years.  Here’s his prediction for the first top ten list of this season:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Georgia
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Ohio State
  6. Texas A&M
  7. Notre Dame
  8. North Carolina
  9. Iowa State
  10. Cincinnati

Is ESPN’s coverage of Georgia’s opener going to be so over the top that it’s a turnoff?  Asking for a friend…

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Steele’s Vegas Power Ratings

When I worked for ESPN full time, I put out a weekly article entitled the Vegas Power Ratings. I still have all the sources that I used to produce that article as it featured my plus/minus ratings which closely resemble Vegas’s numbers as well as three different casinos including the fine folks over at the Westgate Las Vegas Sportsbook @SuperBookSports.

This is not the AP poll but gives you an idea of how much teams would be favored over another team if they met on a neutral field.

And…

Screenshot_2020-12-24 Vegas Power Ratings Week 17 Dec 24th – Phil Steele

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Steele’s revised 2020 toughest schedules

All 14 SEC teams are in his top 25, including the entire top eleven.

Screenshot_2020-09-02 Toughest Schedules for 2020 Updated – Phil Steele

He’s about the only one I’ve seen rank Georgia’s schedule easier than Florida’s.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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Damn, Phil.

It’s a little hard to read (duh!), but that doesn’t stop the last line of Steele’s analysis of the Georgia-Alabama game from stinging:  “Dawgs have led or been tied with Bama 119 of 120 min in L/2 games but lost both.”

Sigh.

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Steele on Georgia, 2020 edition

Steelemas came Saturday.

Screenshot_2020-07-20 Senator Blutarsky on Twitter My 2020 Steele Preview has arrived, so at least I can pretend for an aft[...]

After I got it, I spent the first hour doing what I do every year: figuring out his take on the Dawgs.

His 2020 Preview isn’t too high on Georgia’s prospects.  He does favor UGA to win the SEC East, but his preseason Top 40 has Georgia sixth, behind two SEC teams, Alabama (natch) and Texas A&M (!).  His Power Poll has Georgia seventh, behind those two SEC teams and LSU.

There are several reasons I gleaned for that.

  • Georgia finished fourth-highest in his NFL Draft Day Party rankings, although five of the top six teams are from the SEC.  Georgia’s score translates into an 82% chance of the same or weaker record.
  • Georgia finished 2019 with three net close wins.  Less than 15% of teams with three improve their records in the following season.
  • Defensive yards per play in 2019 was 21.9.  83% of teams that hit that number have the same or weaker records the following season.
  • Georgia dropped from 36th to 120th on his Experience Chart.
  • Concerns about the offensive line, noting the coaching change and only three returning starters.
  • He projects almost no improvement on the offensive side of the ball, with points per game increasing just slightly to 31.2.

His national unit rankings are revealing.

  • Quarterback:  16 (ranking doesn’t include Daniels, so you have to think it’s higher now)
  • Running back:  14
  • Receivers:  28
  • O-line:  17
  • D-line:  5
  • Linebackers:  1
  • Secondary:  4
  • Special teams:  43

There’s only one Georgia player on his four All-America teams, Richard LeCounte at second team safety.  LeCounte is also the only Georgia player he lists at first team All-SEC.  There are 12 Dawgs total on his four All-SEC teams.  (By comparison, Alabama has nine on his first team alone.)

In conference unit rankings, Georgia is in a six-way tie for first at quarterback, which, if you think about it, is a great way to show how mediocre the conference picture is at that position.  Georgia is also first at defensive line and linebacker.  Its lowest ranking, sixth, is at special teams.

If there’s one puzzling thing, it’s how little mention he makes of the change at offensive coordinator.  He cites Monken’s resume, but that’s it.

It’s not a bad picture overall, but considering that Georgia was third in his 2019 Power Poll, it does come off as something of a let down.

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