Category Archives: Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

Steele on Georgia, 2013 edition

You can find the link to his preview of #9 Georgia here (note the link there downloads as a pdf).  It’s chock full of stuff and it’s certainly not an unreasonable analysis, as this comment about the offensive line indicates:  “With the way this unit has gone I’m not sure how to interpret this, but the line returns intact w/101 car sts and should be one of the top O-lines in the country.”  I feel ‘ya, Phil.

If you’re looking for predictions, he calls for Georgia to win the SEC East again.  But the most interesting tidbit I’ve gleaned so far comes from his statistical analysis of last season.  I’ve mentioned before that Steele puts a lot of stock in a team’s yards per point metric.

Steele makes a very big deal out of yards per point (YPP).  You can read a breakdown of it here.  Essentially, it’s a measure of offensive and defensive efficiency – the lower a team’s offensive YPP is, the more efficient it is at scoring and the higher a team’s defensive YPP is, the better it is at making its opponents less efficient on offense.

Take a look at Georgia’s defensive YPP numbers.  From 2008 through 2011, they ranged from 12.7 to 14.9.  Last season, that number jumped to 18.2.  That number isn’t Sabanesque, but it’s a big swing in the direction of the elite.  And that’s in a year when SEC offenses improved generally and Georgia’s run defense had its ups and downs.  Maybe Grantham didn’t impress us last year, but it looks like he did alright.

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Thursday morning buffet

There’s usually something tempting you can find on the ol’ buffet.

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Filed under ACC Football, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, The Evil Genius, The NCAA

Steele’s 2013 Preseason All-SEC Teams

The link is here.

Here’s how the numbers break down per school, in order of total offensive and defensive players listed on his four teams:

TEAM TOTAL 1st TEAM
Alabama 14 8
Georgia 12 2
Florida 10 1
Ole Miss 9 1
Vandy 8 2
Tenn. 8 2
LSU 8 2
TAMU 5 3
MSU 5 1
S. Car. 4 1
Missouri 4 0
Auburn 4 0
Ark. 3 1
Kentucky 2 0

There are a few things that jump out at me…

  • Alabama has as many or more first teamers than ten teams have total.
  • Tennessee has no skill position players listed.  I wonder when the last time that happened.
  • Loucheiz Purifoy is listed on both the fourth team offense and fourth team defense.
  • Robert Nkemdiche makes the third team defense as a true freshman.  His brother is a first teamer.  And Ole Miss shows out with the fourth-best total.
  • Anybody else surprised by South Carolina’s total?  How ’bout Vandy and LSU showing out equally?
  • TAMU has no defensive players on the list.
  • Very thin crop at tight end, so why not Jay Rome at fourth team?
  • There’s something not right about Jeff Driskel lining up next to Aaron Murray.

What do y’all see there?

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Monday morning buffet

You might as well fill up… we’ve got almost five months before we get some live football again.

  • John Adams on the current state of Tennessee football:  “An offense seemingly bereft of playmakers struggled. While the defense looked both faster and more physical than last season’s bunch, that’s not necessarily a glowing recommendation in that the 2012 defense was the worst in school history.”  Ouch.
  • Phil Steele predicts the SEC will place five teams in the AP’s preseason top ten, six in the top twelve.
  • Anybody remember Josh Jarboe?
  • Seth Emerson reviews the unresolved questions coming out of Georgia’s spring.  Let’s just say they pale in comparison to UT’s issues.
  • And David Paschall looks at what’s up in the air with the Dawg offensive line.
  • Grantham sounded satisfied that the Red team’s second G-Day try at a two-minute drill ended less successfully than did the first try.  (Of course, some of that can be chalked up to Murray quarterbacking the first one and LeMay handling the second one.)
  • James DeLoach is a guy that, when you’re talking about newcomers, has done a nice job…”
  • Rivals buys into the “de-commitment is a problem” meme, blames it on great recruiters who confuse the recruits.  Just wonderin’ – how much less product would Rivals have to sell if some kids didn’t de-commit?
  • If you’re interested, here’s a virtual look at the new College Football Hall of Fame, currently under construction.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, College Football, Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, Recruiting, SEC Football

Your scheduling talk won’t save you now.

Phil Steele breaks down the SEC schedules for this season here.  His South Carolina analysis tells us something we already knew.

South Carolina-Head coach Steve Spurrier has been quick to note that the Gamecocks have the best record against their SEC East competitors over the past 2 years but have failed to make it to Atlanta due to the uneven crossover division schedules. This year that all changes as the Gamecocks avoid all 3 of the best teams in the SEC West, but they do open up with B2B games against North Carolina and a road trip to Georgia. They do get an all-important bye prior to a home game against Florida and then also get in-state rival Clemson at home in the finale.

Hopefully, Spurrier will be honest enough to admit things broke his way this year when the scheduling questions come flying at SEC Media Days.

Miles will probably still be grumbling, because LSU pulls Florida and Georgia, while Alabama manages to dodge the big three in the East again while drawing Tennessee and Kentucky.  But the folks who really have grounds to complain are at Arkansas.

The Hogs play Florida and South Carolina from the SEC East in back-to-back weeks and those two games are sandwiched between Texas A&M and Alabama, which gives them arguably the toughest 4-game stretch of any team in the country for 2013.

Arguably?  I’d hate to see who’s got it worse than that.

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Steele sez… on the SECCG and Florida’s turnovers

Keep in mind this isn’t Phil’s computer talking, it’s his gut, but here’s what he says about Saturday’s game:

In what is, in essence, a national title semifinal, the winner here will advance to play #1 Notre Dame in the national champ game in Miami on January 7th. These two have not played since ‘08 when #8 Bama beat #3 Georgia on the road 41-30, a game that many Bama fans point to as one of the key wins which got the Crimson Tide’s recent run of dominance started. The Tide/Bulldogs have played just 6 times in the last 20 years (3-3 split) and have not met here in the SEC Championship game. In fact, this is the Tide’s 8th appearance in the SEC Title game (3-4) but first against a team other than UF. UGA makes its second straight trip here and its fifth appearance in the Richt era (2-2). While not many can argue that these two don’t deserve to be here as Bama beat LSU on the road 21-17 and UGA handed UF its only loss 17-9 (thanks to 6 UF TO’s), it should be noted that both benefitted from rather fortunate SEC scheduling as UGA skipped out on the top 3 teams in the West (Bama, LSU and A&M) while Bama didn’t play the top 3 teams in the East (UGA, UF and SC). Both come in off blowout wins of their rivals as Bama crushed Auburn 49-0 (most lopsided Iron Bowl in 64 years) rolling up 25-7 FD and 483-163 yard edges and led 42-0 at the half. Meanwhile, UGA rolled to a 42-10 win over GT as they led 42-3 midway through the 3Q but were outgained 426-379 and outFD’d 26-18. They did average an astonishing 10.5 yards per play in the 1H. Both teams are led by veteran QB’s as Murray and McCarron are #1-2 in the NCAA in pass eff and have combined for a 55-9 ratio! They also have stout D’s as while Bama’s ranks #1 in most categories, one could argue that UGA’s is more talented and since S Williams called out the D prior to the UF game, they’ve allowed just 9 ppg in the last 5 games. The Bama D did give up 400+ yards in back-to-back games vs LSU/A&M earlier this year while UGA OC Bobo has called this UGA offense the best he’s ever seen as they are avg a school record 38 ppg. While each has Top 20 units on both offense and defense, Bama does have the significant ST’s edge (#22-71) and Saban is 7-2 in his last 9 games vs Top 20 teams while Richt is 1-6 in his last 7.
PHIL’S FORECAST: ALABAMA 27 GEORGIA 23

As a summary goes, that’s pretty fair.  And he’s picking Georgia to cover, so there’s that.  But I’ve got to get to something he says that echoes what a number of others have said or written:  “UGA handed UF its only loss 17-9 (thanks to 6 UF TO’s)”.  This drives me crazy.  I was at that game and I wonder if I missed something.  Did the Gators politely hand the ball to their opponent and bow?  You’d think from the sound of it, that the Dawgs were mere bystanders to a series of Florida gaffes that basically occurred in a vacuum.  (Come to think of it, that’s actually a pretty apt description of Murray’s third interception.  But I digress.)

Here’s the reality.  One reason Florida finished the regular season 11-1 – one of the main reasons it did so – is that it turned in a stellar turnover ratio of +17.  The Gators lost a total of twelve turnovers all season.  Look at the game log.  Only one of Florida’s other opponents, LSU, forced more than one turnover.  In other words, Florida was in the habit of holding on to the ball.

This year’s Georgia-Florida game, particularly the first quarter, was the most physical football game I’ve watched those two schools ever play.  No quarter was asked and none was given.  Was there a sloppy exchange or two?  Sure, but there was also a lot of hard contact and smart play (Rambo’s pick, for example).  By and large, those turnovers were earned.

This has all the sound of the excuse of Tebow’s shoulder in the 2007 game.  Florida didn’t lose because it was outplayed; it lost because of forces beyond its control.

To be fair, I’ve not heard Muschamp making excuses.  But there are plenty of others out there who keep trotting out this six turnover stuff to diminish the Georgia win.  Funny how none of those folks have much to say about the turnover margins in Florida’s games against South Carolina and FSU.

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Steele picks: Georgia – Kentucky

He likes the Dawgs to cover.

The last time here UGA led 28-3 late 2Q and 41-17 in the 4Q before allowing a couple of garbage time scores in their 44-31 win. Last year at home, UGA just needed to beat UK to wrap up the SEC East Title. The Dogs did have a 317-165 yard edge but in the 1H settled for 5 FG’s, missing one. In the 2H UGA was intercepted in the EZ and fmbl’d at the UK40 and the crowd started getting nervous as they only led 12-10 but got a td on the 1st play of the 4Q to go up 19-10 and UK never really threatened after that. UGA is off a bye after its devastating 35-7 loss to South Carolina but does have Florida on deck. UK is now 1-5 after last week’s 49-7 loss to Arkansas in a game that was called with 5:08 remaining in the 3Q! Due to injuries, UK is going with frosh QB Whitlow who hit just 2-10 last week and was #4 on the depth chart in preseason! He was spelled for two series by Newton, but he couldn’t spark the offense either. Even with a big game on deck, expect the Bulldogs to atone for their performance against SC and continue UK HC Phillips woes.
PHIL’S FORECAST: GEORGIA 49 KENTUCKY 17

Two things worth taking away from that are that UK’s quarterback situation is pretty dire (I didn’t realize that Newton had played; his passer rating of 75.3 was a huge step up from the 24 he garnered against Florida, but still…) and that last year’s game is a stark reminder of Georgia’s endearing habit of playing down to its opposition.  In the case of this year’s Kentucky team, that’s pretty far down.  If that’s all we get, expect an ugly week heading into Jacksonville.

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Phil Steele calls the Georgia-South Carolina game for…

Georgia.  Because revenge is a dish best served as a three-point road win.

The Gamecocks have now beaten UGA in B2B seasons for the first time s/’00-’01. UGA is 7-3 in this series. Last year was a bitter loss for UGA. Generally when a team gives up a defensive td, their odds of winning are slim but UGA gave up an amazing 4 defensive and ST td’s and yet still only lost 45-42. Spurrier said after game, “Georgia outplayed us but we won the game. Somebody was looking out for us tonight.” This is their first non-September meeting since UGA’s 1980 national championship season. Both teams are 5-0 and both were peeking ahead to this one last week. SC found themselves down 17-7 at the half at Kentucky but outscored the Cats 31-0 in the 2H. Meanwhile UGA led 27-10 at home vs Tennessee but a couple of fumbles in their own territory set up short UT scoring drives and a 30-30 halftime score. They were able to pull out a 51-44 win as their two frosh stud RB’s Gurley/Marshall each topped 100 yards. UGA is playing with revenge and SC won’t be able to count on as many lucky breaks as last year.
PHIL’S FORECAST: GEORGIA 27 SOUTH CAROLINA 24

I’ll certainly take it.

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Phil Steele’s prediction

He doesn’t think Georgia will cover.  (PHIL’S FORECAST: GEORGIA 44 BUFFALO 17)

Georgia enters the season with high expectations once again and it will be interesting to see how they handle them just one year after HC Richt was on the hot seat after a 6-7 2010 campaign and a 0-2 start to LY. UGA has won 29 str HG’s by 30 ppg vs non-conf/BCS schools (last loss in the ‘97 opener hosting SM). The Bulldogs are without 4 susp’d players and have a big SEC gm next week with their first road trip to Missouri. On the other side, Buffalo does have 15 returning st’rs and only has Morgan St and a bye on deck but are will be playing without the heart and soul on their D in LB Mack. With a veteran QB the Dawgs will give some playing time to the bkps and expect to see a lot of true frosh in this one incl RB Marshall (PS#2) and OL Theus (PS#3) as UGA rolls.

I can see the defensive backups giving up a late score.  I’m not seeing seventeen points, though.

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Steele’s adjusted starters

One thing I appreciate about Phil Steele’s blog is the way he uses it to update information in the magazine that’s become stale due to events after publication.  So in that light, here’s his chart of teams which have lost starters since May.  There are four SEC schools on the list:  Georgia, LSU, Mississippi and Tennessee.

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