Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Landscaping

Tuesday October 2, 2007

A look around the college football landscape after five weeks:

It was, to say the least, an interesting weekend for college football. I won’t go so far as to say "good" or even "entertaining" in many cases. Alabama – FSU was just painful to watch. I’m sorry to have missed out on some of the few watchable games like Cal-Oregon.

Saturday, at least in Athens, was why we live for football in the South. Perfect weather, perfect setting, and (for us, anyway) a perfect outcome. To some, college football heaven is a sports bar with televisions as far as the eye can see. That’s fine for the NFL. College football is all about the immersion – the campus, the outdoors, the partisanship, and the tailgate. I have sympathy, not admiration, for those who hunker down in a bar to watch 111 games each week.

What to think of Auburn? The loss to Mississippi State is still glaring. Beating Kansas State looks a lot better now, and they played South Florida even. Now the win over Florida changes things a little. I was glad to see them beat Florida, but there was also this uneasiness that reminded me of way too many Georgia-Auburn games at Sanford Stadium. Is all of their road magic used up now?

Hey, didn’t you used to be Kirk Ferentz?

A common theme after this weekend’s carnage is to point to the results through five weeks as evidence that polls shouldn’t be release before (five, six, seven) weeks. My question remains the same as it was the first time I discussed this issue: how much would a poll released for the first time today vary from the current polls?

I know this sounds crazy given all of the Florida and Tebow hype since the season started, but I think many people are underrating Florida’s chances at LSU. Key to the game is LSU’s offense. It didn’t really set the world on fire against South Carolina and Tulane. Playmakers abound, but questions on the offensive line and an unsettled quarterback position keep me from enthusiastically jumping on the Tiger bandwagon. South Carolina showed that points, though not many, can be scored against LSU’s ridiculously good defense. Florida’s offensive system was able to put up points on a good LSU defense last year. A critical LSU turnover last year really changed that game, and this year’s meeting might turn on something similar.

Seeing teams like South Florida, Kentucky, and to some extent Wisconsin ranked so high at this early point in the season doesn’t really bother me. All are deserving of recognition for their seasons to date, but I don’t think any has the staying power to be a factor in the national (or even conference) title picture. Things will begin to sort themselves out in a few weeks. Kentucky has just one SEC game under its belt and will soon run its conference gauntlet. Seeing them atop the SEC East is just a temporary novelty. South Florida feasted on Auburn and West Virginia turnovers, and it’s hard to expect that kind of turnover margin to be there every week.

Ohio State deserves a bit more credit than they get for a win at Washington, but that’s been their only test so far. The Big Ten isn’t easy to read (or watch) this year, and the story might be which team just gets by from week to week. Penn State isn’t much of a factor after two losses. If Wisconsin and/or Illinois (!) stumble, are we looking at Michigan and Ohio State once again?

The way the conferences are setting up, we are looking at some potential BCS bowl matchups that are pretty ugly on paper. Then again, people thought that Georgia and Oklahoma would have an easy time with West Virginia and Boise State.

Washington has been a good story this year, but they are still 2-3. They get props for the tough schedule, the win over Boise, and playing Ohio State and SoCal close. But the program badly needs a win, and they have a bye week to get ready for Arizona State.

Cal has proven enough to say that a loss to Southern Cal, even if it is their only loss of the season, would leave them a good bit empty. They are in the position Texas faced circa 2004.

Finally, Ching points out that Georgia is the only SEC East team to beat Auburn since 2002. Impressive indeed. At the same time, Auburn is the only SEC West team to beat Georgia since 2003. Including the postseason, Mark Richt has just five losses in 6+ seasons to SEC West schools. Richt is currently 18-5 against the West. Coincidently, Richt has the same winning percentage (.783) in all games to date.

2 Responses to 'Landscaping'

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  • Speaking of landscaping, anyone else notice how dry the field was at Sanford on Saturday? Oh, and they won’t be watering it. At all. For weeks. Maybe even the rest of the year.

    Adams has decided to subject the field to the watering ban covering all of North Georgia, even though the field could arguably be covered by the commercial watering exception. The field will probably be brown by November, and a vegetation-free dust bowl by the time Auburn arrives.

    Can you imagine this happening in 1980?

  • Hoo, that’s a great point. Watering Sanford Stadium isn’t the same as watering one’s front yard. Georgia football is a business, and the condition of the field matters.

    Anyone at the game saw some people replacing divots and filling in holes with sand during halftime. I’d never seen that before, but the center of the field is more or less a beach volleyball court now.

    Short of every 92,000+ attendee bringing a case of Dasani to the game, the field is toast.