Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post FAU added to 2012 football schedule

Tuesday November 30, 2010

We knew that the cancellation of the Louisville series would mean an additional home game in 2012. Reports today indicate that Florida Atlantic will be that opponent, and they will reportedly receive a guarantee of around $1 million for the trip.

That’s right – Howard Schnellenberger (and his suspenders) between the Hedges. The game sets up a potential reunion of coach and player as Mark Richt played for Schnellenberger at Miami. FAU is currently 4-7 with their season finale upcoming this weekend.

With this announcement, Georgia has traded a home-and-away with Louisville for a neutral-and-home with Boise State and FAU. The Bulldogs’ non-conference schedule in 2012 now consists of Buffalo, FAU, Georgia Southern, and Georgia Tech. In addition to those four games, Georgia’s 2012 home slate will include Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.

Post Thumbs up on TCU’s move

Tuesday November 30, 2010

Everyone seems to win with TCU’s new arrangement.

  • TCU gets what they want: access to the process. That means a better class of opponent, higher visibility, better TV coverage (especially in key eastern markets), and more revenue with which to build the program. Membership is also instant additional credibility on the recruiting trail in a talent-rich part of the country.
  • The Big East gets to fend off questions about their claim to AQ status. TCU might not even win the conference in coming years, but their staying power as a strong program will buoy the rest of the league. The conference will also gain penetration into the competitive DFW media market. The Big 12 will still be the dominant player in town of course, but the rest of the Big East should be able to steal a prospect or two out of the vast recruiting territory in this new market.
  • Even members of other AQ conferences should be happy: TCU will be removed from the pool of possible BCS crashers.

Geography is a big part of this story. It shouldn’t be. Forth Worth is only about 300 miles farther from Morgantown, WVa. than Tampa is, the home of current Big East member South Florida. Miami used to be a Big East member, and that’s only about 100 miles closer to Morgantown than Forth Worth is. ACC members Boston College and Miami are separated by over 1,500 miles. That’s about the distance from TCU to Syracuse. Those of us in the East and SEC territory tend to think of conference games in terms of day trips or short weekend treks. TCU’s road destinations this year included Fort Collins, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Albuquerque. Albuquerque – at over a 10-hour drive – was the closest of those road trips. For perspective, every SEC school but Arkansas is a shorter drive from Athens than TCU’s shortest road trip of 2009.

Every other Mountain West school is at least a 12-hour drive from Fort Worth. TCU might not be in the Big East’s neighborhood, but the Horned Frogs are already used to a bit of travel. Additionally, the proximity of most Big East schools (except West Virginia) to major airports with frequent flights to and from DFW could make the occasional road trip a reasonable possibility for fans. Again, though, this isn’t the SEC. The number of fans who travel to watch Big East football just doesn’t compare. From a football perspective, it’s much more about access and markets than it is about filling seats. As college football continues to have more of a national outlook, moves like this will feel much more normal.

In our football-centric world, the basketball angle is getting secondary attention. Dashiell Bennett does a good job of illustrating why a sport at which the Horned Frogs are much worse is actually a stronger financial incentive for this move than the payoff from football. TCU can get BCS money whether or not they’re part of a BCS conference – they’ll do so this year. But their new conference receives over 5 times as much revenue from the NCAA Tournament as the Mountain West does, so TCU should expect a much bigger kick from the basketball side of things.

I’m just looking forward to seeing the 17-team Big East Tournament bracket. They might have to start that thing in mid-February.

Post Bowl ticket ordering is underway

Monday November 29, 2010

Members of the Georgia Bulldog Club can begin pre-ordering football bowl tickets today. All Georgia Bulldog Club members will be emailed an online application today and Hartman Fund contributors will also be mailed a football post season ticket application by the end of this week, so keep an eye on your inbox and your mailbox. The priority deadline will be 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 10.

As in previous years, all possible bowl destinations will be listed on the ticket application, and you can request tickets to any of them to which you’re willing to travel. You’ll only be charged for Georgia’s eventual bowl destination if that’s one of the games you pick. Once Georgia’s bowl is known, tickets will be first assigned based on Hartman Fund cumulative score and then opened up to other Georgia Bulldog Club members and then the general public.

Post The path of the righteous Dawg is beset on all sides…

Monday November 29, 2010

Samuel Jackson at UGA/Tech game
Photo: Radi Nabulsi/UGASports.com

Post Running the state

Sunday November 28, 2010

Yes, Georgia still runs the state. About as efficiently and wisely as a third world military dictatorship runs their state. Georgia maintained their hold on power as any despot does – through sheer dumb luck, the resistance being even more inept, and the exploitation of a wealth of natural resources.

During a game in which both teams looked every bit the frustrating 6-6 programs they are, the difference turned out to be that Georgia had a Justin Houston to make plays on defense, and Tech didn’t. If that turns out to be the final Sanford Stadium performance of his career, Houston leaves knowing that his two huge second half takeaways won’t soon be forgotten by a grateful Bulldog Nation.

Post Hoops roundup: So far, so good

Monday November 22, 2010

It was the dark cloud to the silver lining of Mark Fox’s debut season last year: Georgia still couldn’t win a road game. Not even at Auburn. Going back several seasons, Georgia’s road woes have been beyond parody. So it’s no surprise that Saturday’s buzzer-beating win at St. Louis got a lot of Bulldog fans talking during the football bye weekend.

We shouldn’t kid ourselves that winning at St. Louis is anything like winning at Tennessee (or Ole Miss for that matter). But St. Louis was the opponent, and they were a quality early road test for a team learning how to play and win without Trey Thompkins. It looked as if it would be just another Georgia road game after the hosts took a 10-point lead into halftime. Georgia held St. Louis to just 22 second half points and had reduced their deficit to just one point with ten minutes left. St. Louis managed to pull back in front by six points but only scored four more over the last five minutes of the game. The Bulldogs had the final possession, and Gerald Robinson handled the situation with a lot of composure. With the clock winding down, Robinson drove, drew the defense, and delivered a nice pass to an open Jeremy Price under the basket in the final second for the game-winner.

The one big area of concern from the St. Louis game was bench play: Georgia got only two points from its reserves. Some of that’s to be expected: we’re talking about a number of young guys getting their first road experience. Still, the lack of much bench production put a ton of pressure on the starters, and the Dawgs got just enough from their first five. Four Bulldog starters ended up in double-figures with Travis Leslie’s 19 leading the way. Jeremy Price continued an impressive start to the season with 16 points.

The win in St. Louis improves Georgia to 3-0. All three wins have had their moments of anxiety, but they’ve also provided useful experience for those conference games that always seem to come down to the wire. The team is learning how to play, and win, close games. They’re doing it without their leading scorer. In the case of the Colorado game, they had to find a way to close out a game without Travis Leslie too.

We’ll soon find out if that experience can pay off against tougher competition. Georgia heads to Orlando this week for the Old Spice Classic. The tournament features eight programs that should be familiar to any basketball fan, and Georgia will face three of them throughout the weekend. They open with Notre Dame on Thursday (7:00 p.m., ESPN2), and the opponents and times for games on Friday and Sunday will be determined by the bracket. All games should be on ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU.

Lady Dogs also improve to 3-0

Andy Landers marked 1,000 games as Georgia’s coach on Friday night, but visiting Chattanooga . Chattanooga, a perennial contender in the Southern Conference, tested Georgia’s perimeter defense by hitting 13 three-pointers. The visitors led as late as the final two minutes of the first half. The Lady Dogs gained control of the game with a 25-9 run in the second half and opened up a 71-53 lead with eight minutes left. Georgia cooled off and scored only six points in the final six minutes, but it was enough to emerge with a 79-69 win.

The Lady Dogs rebounded from Friday’s shaky start with their best performance of the young season with an 84-51 rout of Indiana on Sunday. Jasmine James helped Georgia control the game from the opening tip by scoring all but three of her 21 points in the first half. James might have easily gone for 30, but she began to get her teammates involved. Before exiting the game midway through the second half, James had a team-high 21 points and 7 assists. Anne Marie Armstrong and Jasmine Hassell joined James in double figures, and all ten Lady Bulldogs played and scored in the game.

Georgia will see their first action away from Stegeman Coliseum this week as they head to the west coast for three games. They’ll face USC on Tuesday night, and then they’ll participate in a Thanksgiving tournament at Loyola Marymount.

Post The Tenzing-Hillary Airport of college football

Friday November 19, 2010

If you ever get the itch to climb Mount Everest, chances are you’ll fly into Tenzing-Hillary Airport in the mountain town of Lukla, Nepal. As you might imagine, flying into an airport at 9,100 feet elevation comes with certain risks. Unpredictable weather, mountainous terrain in the area, and high winds can all make the flight in about as much of an adventure and risk as the ascent of Everest itself.

There’s also this: there’s only one usable end of the single 1,500-ft. runway. The “open” end of the runway is bad enough – there’s a 2,000 ft. drop at the end of it. But it beats the other end of the runway which is pretty much built into the side of a mountain. You can’t approach to land from that direction, you can’t take off in that direction, and your landing attempt coming in the other way had better work, because there is no going around for another try. The runway actually ends at a stone wall cut into the mountainside.

Lukla Airport

If you look at that picture, you can see where they must have come up with the field alignment at Wrigley Field for this weekend’s Northwestern-Illinois game. When they laid the field out, they used every inch of space…right up to ending the east end zone up against the famous ivy-covered brick wall. Pundits have spent most of this week wondering when, not if, some receiver going at full speed would have his post pattern cut short by masonry.

It’s amazing that it took until the day before the game to do something about the potential danger of the east endzone, but the right decision has been made: as with the Lukla Airport, only one endzone will be operational for this game. The team on offense will always drive towards the west end zone, and the teams will flip-flop after each change of possession. The only time the east end zone could come into play is on a defensive score, and the back boundary of the end zone isn’t likely to come into play then (at least we hope not).

Wrigley Field east end zone

Post Georgia vs. Boise State in the Dome?

Friday November 19, 2010

My position on Georgia adding a second neutral site game to the schedule is pretty clear. It’s not a good idea, least of all because the state’s biggest and best football facility is in Athens. Georgia would have to give up a home game in order to play at the Dome, and Greg McGarity has made a priority of playing seven home games each season.

So I was a little surprised to read tonight that Georgia was possibly part of a deal that would break up the scheduled Boise State vs. Ole Miss season opener in 2011.  Ole Miss would play BYU instead, and the Broncos would come to Atlanta to open in the Georgia Dome against Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The Dawgs are currently set to open the 2011 slate in Athens against Louisville. Surely McGarity wouldn’t take a home game away after all of the talk this fall about a new scheduling philosophy. 

There’s one way though that a game with Boise State would make sense:  Georgia must cancel the home-and-home with Louisville.

When you look at the impact of the deal over two seasons, it begins to make sense.  In 2012, the Dawgs are scheduled to return the game with Louisville.  If that deal is canceled, the game gets replaced with a home game against a team more in line with McGarity’s preferences (i.e., a non-conference cupcake). So you’d gain back the home game you gave up in 2011. Instead of a home-and-away with Louisville, you’d have a neutral-and-home with Boise and whichever team fills the 2012 spot.

Georgia would actually make money in this scenario.  The buyout for the Louisville series is $600,000 per game.  UNC and LSU each took home around $2 million by playing in the 2010 Chick-fil-A kickoff game.  That’s at least a net of around $800,000 to Georgia to play what would have been a road game with zero revenue in 2012.

There are still some negatives.  This would arguably be one of the biggest games on Georgia’s 2011 schedule, and it wouldn’t necessarily be accessible to all season ticket holders. Next year’s season ticket holders will get to see teams like Coastal Carolina and New Mexico State while the Boise game would be an extra just as Florida is. The crowd would still be predominantly Georgia fans, but a similar disadvantage didn’t bother the Broncos much in their 2010 opener.

Georgia also wouldn’t be able to host recruits since it’s not a home game.  Top prospects usually find their way into games like this, but they’ll have to have a ticket or watch from home. Ideally, you’d like to show off your campus and stadium for a big national game; Georgia would pretty much just have Auburn and South Carolina as marquee home games next year.

I’m not as down as I was on this idea before I understood the role of the Louisville series.  Would I rather the game be played in Athens?  Yes. I also understand that it’s not 2005 and a home game without a return visit probably wouldn’t happen.  There’s also no harm done getting out of a pointless series with Louisville; a single game against Boise State would be much higher profile for the program without the cost of a return visit.

Coach Richt hinted that we might find out more on Monday. At any rate, it’s nice to have a rumor to talk about that doesn’t involve Georgia’s previous opponent. 

Post Auburn 49 – Georgia 31: on a valiant effort, and what the heck were Gary and Verne watching?

Monday November 15, 2010

They played hard. They really did, and that’s what makes the outcome disappointing. After four straight wins in this series, putting up a good fight (literally, as it turned out) isn’t much solace. Yes, it would have been worse had the Bulldogs accepted their role and come in scared of the #2 team, and it would have been worse to look as outclassed as Florida did on Saturday. So there’s that. It felt a lot like the Blackout game did in 2007. Georgia had hit its stride after the Florida game, and there was no way that they were going to lose in front of the frenzied home crowd. Auburn shook off a close call at Kentucky, shifted to the next gear on Newton’s long touchdown run against LSU, and no one has come close to touching them since.

In that context, I understand why a lot of Georgia fans are patting the team on the back for a decent effort. The Dawgs ran into a good team and a great player on a roll. It’s a little depressing though to think back to when Georgia was that team. It wasn’t long ago, but it’s getting longer. Georgia might be better than their record indicates, but there are some very good reasons why they are a 6-loss team. You can start in the trenches – neither the offensive or defensive lines are bad, but that’s not what we expected. The offensive line was billed as one of the top units in the nation. It’s not. The defensive line just doesn’t have the size and depth it needs to be effective, and that’s shown up in a lot of these close games where a stop against South Carolina, Mississippi State, or Auburn might have made a difference.

Shrugging off the Auburn loss as a valiant effort against a juggernaut is fine – it was overall a pretty good effort, and the team didn’t quit. There are a lot worse things you can say about a team. You’d hope that some wins come from that resolve, but that takes something more. Even little things like the disappearance of the return games make a difference, and it explains why some teams are better than others in close games. Take the final series of the first half. The decision to run out the clock changes (we hope) if the drive starts on the 35 rather than the 21. Auburn’s secondary is getting roasted in post-game analysis, but did Georgia’s fare much better? Rambo was fortunate to be out of position on his interception, and did the unit make another significant play all day?

The “play” of the game? There were a number of big plays in the game, but a misfire on two similar play calls served as turning points. I need to set aside a separate post for this, but Georgia just isn’t good at executing the screen pass. I don’t know it it’s a skill Murray has yet to refine, something to do with blocking, backs who aren’t the best receivers, or something being telegraphed that allows defenses to read the play. As with most plays, a screen isn’t intrinsically a bad call. A lot of teams run them against pressure or in long-yardage situations. A screen is a bad call though when 1) you’re not particularly good at them, and 2) you have better options. Georgia’s two attempted screens were disasters and killed significant drives. Throwing to a triple-covered A.J. Green would have had a higher chance of success than throwing it off the back of Caleb King’s helmet.

Speaking of Green, his performance on Saturday was at once breathtaking and heartbreaking. Did Georgia get away from Green? His receptions were split pretty evenly – five in the first half, four in the second half. The yardage tells a different story. At halftime, Green had 114 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with 164 yards and two touchdowns. Facing a secondary on its heels, the offense gave Green four catches and 50 yards in the second half. Certainly other receivers became involved as Green opened up opportunities: had Georgia won, Kris Durham’s third quarter catch would be one of the biggest plays of the season. For whatever reason, Green just had far less of an impact the later the game went. Is it a coincidence that the Dawgs managed only 10 points after the first quarter? The heartbreaking part? The best Bulldog receiver of all time is playing during a stretch of years we’d just as soon forget.

There have been enough words wasted on Nick Fairley, and if that outrage gets the players good and fired up over the next two weeks, great. Otherwise – yes, he’s a cheap shot artist, and none of it changes the scoreboard. I do want to say something about an incident from the game that’s getting slightly less play – the injury to Reuben Faloughi. If your memory needs jogging, it’s the only injury you’ve seen outside of Philadelphia that got booed by the crowd. As much as we like this CBS crew, we all know of their propensity to go over the top with the cheerleading. But it was a reach even for Gary to lavishly congratulate the Auburn crowd for its savvy in booing the hurt Georgia player – as if it were a calculated bit of gamesmanship (by a former walk-on) to slow down the momentum of the Auburn offense. The crowd at least has the excuse (though not much of one) of not having ready access to replay. Faloughi did go to the turf a ways from the play after trying to walk it off. Verne and Gary, if they had looked at their monitors, would have seen the same replay we all did – Faloughi, coming off the bottom edge, taking a legal cut block from #32, Eric Smith. The left knee takes most of the impact. Watch this segment and pay special attention to what the replay is showing right as Verne claims that the injury occurred on the opposite side of the field.

I won’t waste much more time on Auburn because my most important game of the year is next. Justin Houston’s ominous quote about assignments is going to bother me for the next two weeks. If there’s one trait you want in a defense going up against an option attack, it’s attention paid to assignments. Tech doesn’t have Cam Newton; they don’t even have Josh Nesbitt. But what they do have is a similar offense that can use numbers and misdirection to hurt a defense that isn’t playing its assignments. If you got tired of seeing Onterio McCalebb go for big yardage on the sweeps, wait until Paul Johnson runs the toss to his A-back over and over.

Post Break out the tailgates: UGA-GT to be a night game

Monday November 15, 2010

We’ll finally get some use out of the Sanford Stadium lights this year.

The ACC has announced that the November 27th game against Georgia Tech will be at 7:45 PM. ESPN will broadcast the game.

Georgia hasn’t had a home game start later than 12:30 this season. The unpredictable late-November weather makes a night game at this time of year less attractive than one in September or October, but we’ll take it. We’ll also finally get to see a real test of the new tailgating policies put into place after night games in recent years left North Campus full of trash.

North Campus has pretty much been vacated during this football season, but tailgating all over campus has been subdued thanks to the early starts. It’s not worth it for many fans to make the effort of an elaborate tailgate just for a few hours in the morning. In fact, downtown business have had a pretty decent football season, thanks in part to increased traffic from fans who might have tailgated if the game times were later. That’s the case for our group – we’ve found it easier just to meet up at a downtown restaurant until 11:00 or so rather than try to set up and take down a decent tailgate within the span of 2 to 3 hours.

Post Preparing for the biggest challenge of the year

Friday November 12, 2010

Not only do I think Cam Newton will play, I think Auburn should play him, even if the NCAA ends up recommending otherwise. It’s one thing if we’re talking about the various investigations that were in the news at the beginning of the year. Teams could sit the players under investigation and proceed with the season knowing that the damage was limited to the absence of that player. But at this point of the year Auburn is all in. If Newton is ineligible on Saturday, he was ineligible in September. If the rest of the season has to be vacated anyway, I don’t see the point of stopping now. It would take an actual ruling on Newton’s eligibility status for me to sit him and not a just-in-case recommendation.

With the two offenses getting much of the attention and buildup going into the game, it’s reasonable that the game could be turned by a defensive or special teams play that creates a short field or points. The game features the SEC’s top kickoff return unit (Auburn) against the league’s top kickoff coverage unit (Georgia). Both teams are net positive in turnover margin for the year. Each team has turned it over 12 times on the year, and Georgia has three more takeaways. Cam Newton hasn’t thrown an interception since the Kentucky game over a month ago after throwing five picks over the team’s first six games.

The role of Georgia’s running game will be interesting to watch. The Senator’s point here about the dangers, especially in this game, about being stubborn with the run for its own sake is well taken. But if only to give the defense a chance to catch its breath, Georgia is going to have to find ways, either on the ground or through a consistent passing attack, to keep Auburn’s offense on the sideline.

It’s clear why the ground attack shouldn’t be the primary focus of Georgia’s game plan. Auburn, despite overall defensive rankings towards the middle or bottom of the conference, is 3rd in rushing defense. That makes sense with good linemen like Fairley and Carter, but it also could have to do with the pressure Auburn’s offense puts on their opponent to keep up. In other words, are teams having less success running against Auburn because they have a good rushing defense, or is it because they’re having to pass a lot? It’s probably some of both. LSU ran the ball 37 times against Auburn but only racked up 115 yards. The Tigers are giving up just 3.5 YPC which is still no worse than 4th in the league.

Georgia had a pretty good day on the ground against Auburn last year. Ealey was just short of 100 yards, King added 66 on just 10 carries, and the team ended up with 169 yards and three scores from the running game. Auburn has only given up in excess of 150 yards rushing twice this season: 218 yards to Ole Miss and 187 yards against Clemson. Ole Miss got 83 of their yards on a single run. Clemson did a good job of using the running game and the short passing game to gain an almost 10 minute advantage in time of possession, but few teams have had nearly that kind of success on the ground. Clemson was, though, one of the few teams to hold Auburn under 30 points.

Georgia fans have been beaten over the head with the need to start well. No one wants to get into another situation like a year ago where Auburn jumped out to a 14-0 lead while Georgia struggled to even get positive yardage. But, surprisingly, Auburn’s also had their moments this year where the offense hasn’t been that productive. We saw it last year – after jumping out 14-0, Auburn’s offense didn’t score another touchdown in the game. Whether it was the second half at MSU, the first half against Clemson, or the second half against Kentucky, Auburn’s close calls this year have come where their offense has all but disappeared for a while. They’ve been better at consistency since that Kentucky game, but the Georgia coaches have to have looked at those games to see if there was some common approach that succeeded in keeping Auburn off the scoreboard for extended periods.

Newton’s counterpart, Aaron Murray, has a lot on his shoulders in this game. Georgia really hasn’t seen a crowd like this since South Carolina, and even that was a noon crowd. He was admittedly a little anxious for Florida, and the cold or wind or whatever it was had him missing badly at the outset last week. Conditions should be a little more favorable at Auburn, but it’s still a game in which he needs to come out settled and composed. Murray nearly had his big moment against Florida, but the overtime interception erased a great comeback effort. The Dawgs have been in so many close games this year but have had the turnover or bad decision kill those opportunities to win three or four more games. Murray – and Green – won’t get a bigger stage this year.

Post For your viewing pleasure…

Thursday November 11, 2010

The SEC Digital Network has posted the entire 1994 Georgia-Auburn game.

The game will go down as the last tie on the record books for both schools, and the 23-23 result was the first blemish on Terry Bowden’s record after a 20-0 start over 1993 and 1994. The Dawgs had to come from behind just to tie the game, and Auburn missed a 44-yard field goal at the final whistle. It might’ve felt like a win for Georgia, who came into the game unranked while Auburn was #3. But an actual win would have been a lot better; the tie meant that Georgia could only finish with six wins on the year, and they missed a bowl game in 1994.

UPDATE: If you don’t watch this for any other reason, do it to see Franklin and Gottfried at their mid-90s best. They were in great form here. You’ll also get to see Hines Ward, Terrell Davis, and, yes, even Will Muschamp doing their thing.

Post A hunkered-down engineer

Tuesday November 9, 2010

In a major victory for the University of Georgia, the state Board of Regents approved today three new engineering degree programs at UGA. Students will be able to enroll in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering programs in Athens as soon as 2012 and 2013.

The proposal had met with strong opposition from Georgia Tech officials and alumni who felt that increased investment at Georgia’s lone public engineering school was enough to meet the state’s future needs. The vote was a close 9-8 which reflected how much of a political battle the proposal had become. The governor and certain state legislators had become involved, and it remains to be seen whether opponents will try to find some sort of legislative roadblock when the legislature convenes in January.

But Georgia Tech is only part of the story. It’s also about Auburn, Clemson, Tennessee, and the other regional schools with engineering programs that attract engineering students from Georgia that for one reason or another don’t go to Tech. As Lee Shearer explains in the Banner-Herald this week, state schools are not producing enough engineers to meet the state’s needs. Even though Georgia Tech produces nearly 800 engineering graduates each year, “fewer than half Tech’s graduates remain in Georgia” following graduation. These programs at UGA (along with similar ones at Georgia Southern) will give Georgians quality in-state alternatives to going out-of-state with the goal of keeping more of them at home when they enter the labor force.

Of course there’s also a financial angle. As President Adams argued, “the new degrees will give UGA access to millions in federal grants and research money.” That’s not necessarily a zero-sum game with Tech; it’s likely a net increase of research money coming into the state. With a medical school and now an engineering program coming to Athens during this decade, the University of Georgia will be moving into a different class of public universities.

If none of that matters to you, just know that there are some fuming Yellow Jackets tonight, and count it as the first of several wins over Tech to come in the next month.

Post Another CFB scoring record, another asterisk

Tuesday November 9, 2010

While the Senator and Elkon take up how we record yardage lost by sacks, Saturday’s scoreboard explosions got me thinking again about my own peeve.

This is a drum I’ve been beating for at least four years now, and it came up again last weekend in the Michigan-Illinois game. It was already a high-scoring game at 45-45 after regulation, but the effect of three overtimes makes it possible to write something like this: “In the highest-scoring game in the storied history of Michigan football, the Wolverines’ defense provided the game-winning play, stopping a 2-point conversion attempt in the third overtime for a 67-65 victory on Saturday.”

Nearly a third of those record-setting points came in overtime when the offense was given the ball at the opponent’s 25. They didn’t have to drive the field or create the field position with defense or special teams. There’s no way that the score should stand as any kind of record.

My recommendation remains the same: as in hockey shootouts, just give the winning team a single additional point whether it takes 1 field goal or 7 touchdowns to get there. I’m even torn whether individual stats should stand – those are still legitimate yards gained, but does it inflate touchdown stats? Fortunately overtime games aren’t terribly frequent to where this is a big deal; it just doesn’t sit well that scoring records are falling simply because we cut the field by 75 yards.

Post The low point gets even lower

Tuesday November 9, 2010

So Dan Hawkins is out at Colorado. No surprise, and we all know against which team he notched his final win. I’m fairly certain now that we’ll look back on this year’s loss at Colorado as the worst of Mark Richt’s career. Let’s count the ways:

  • It was a poor quality opponent in an unnecessary non-conference game. So much for the “brand.”
  • Georgia blew a double-digit second half lead. The Dawgs took a 24-14 lead on Marlon Brown’s 3rd quarter touchdown reception.
  • From killer third down conversions to big plays, it was probably the worst performance by the new defense.
  • At least 13 points were left on the field due to turnovers deep in Colorado’s end and a missed field goal.
  • On a more personal level, an otherwise perfect road trip with thousands of Bulldog fans on hand will always have the loss associated with it.

Sure, there are a few other candidates. Most obvious is the 2006 Vanderbilt loss. That was bad, but the Commodores were in a period of building respectability under Bobby Johnson. In 2006, Vandy was a 4-8 team that lost to Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida by a combined 11 points. You could also go in a different direction and point to games in which the Dawgs were completely outclassed like the 2008 Alabama game. Last season’s loss at Tennessee was an unexpected blowout, but at least the Vols were a bowl-eligible team. Any loss to Tech is a low point. But for sheer you-gotta-be-kidding-me effect, losing that game in Boulder was as bad as it gets. No wonder they rushed the field.