Archive for April, 2014

A Need For Cupcakes

Continuing on with the discussion of schedules, there is one final point I’d like to bring up.

I think there is a place for cupcakes, and I absolutely don’t have a problem with them.

I mean that both ways.  In the literal sense that I enjoy cupcakes and the little cupcake shops that seem to be popping up all over the place.

I also mean in the way of scheduling.  Sure, you want some good home games.  As a general rule, I find the atmosphere in Sanford Stadium lacking compared to other venues I’ve visited, but when it is rockin’, cousin it is a-rockin’ with the best of them. See: LSU, South Carolina from last year.

Not all SEC schools play beefy out of conference schedules consistently, and it does suck having to pay all that money for season tickets for games that you A) don’t care about seeing and will leave early B) have to sit in the 90 degree sun at 12 noon in September watching Georgia beat up on a FCS school C)simply won’t go to, or D) give the tickets away to someone else.

There is a lot of scorn from fans and outside pundits alike about the powder puffs.  Now what some other schools in the conference do in regards to their scheduling is embarrassing; likewise, you could debate the wisdom of a program like Georgia traveling to Arizona then coming back and playing Alabama the next week.

But what should not be dismissed is the importance these games play.  For one, it gives the team a glorified scrimmage.  Playing Georgia Southern the week before Tech is brilliant.  Or playing a crappy team in November before your big rivalry game is smart because it is like having a bye week late in the season before a big game.  No coach or player will say that publically, but it is truth.

It gives a nice payday to these small schools.  I want to say Georgia is paying Troy $1M to come to Athens.  Think of the boon that is for a smaller athletic department.

Finally, these small games give an opportunity for folks who either may not get season tickets or can afford to pay big bucks for a marquee game an opportunity to come to a game in Sanford Stadium, or it is a chance for families to bring their kids to a lower key game.  When it comes time to bring the little girl to football games (fortunately she is able to stay with Grandma those weekends we come up), I don’t want to take her to LSU or Auburn until she is old enough to enjoy it or sit through it.  I wouldn’t mind bringing her up for the Troy or Georgia Southern games, though.  I have a lot of friends who use these crappy games as an opportunity to bring their kids, nieces or nephews.

I think Georgia has a nice balance with marquee non-conference games periodically and the cupcakes.  It is easy for folks to snicker at the idea of these games, but don’t forget, they do serve a purpose.



LSU and South Carolina: Stop Being Babies

I posted how I think that the SEC made the right call maintaining the current 6-1-1 model. One day, the move to 9 conference games is inevitable. But for the time being, the important rivalry games of the Conference have been left intact.

Thank the Lord, I am not a Florida or LSU fan. So I might have a different perspective, but as fan of college football in general, I look forward to seeing these two teams square off each fall. Regardless of what LSU’s AD and coach would lead to you believe, LSU and Florida have played every year since 1971-21 years before it was “mandatory”. For 43 consecutive years these two teams have squared off, and recently it has been quite compelling more often than not. You always are going to get a hard fought, hard-hitting game.

It seems that the two biggest complainers of the unfairness of the schedule are South Carolina and LSU.

They are basically crying foul that others (ahem, Alabama and Georgia) have gotten better breaks.

Let’s compare the recent opponents from the other division under the 6-1-1 format.




Yes, in 2012 and 2013 LSU drew a pretty crappy straw by having to play South Carolina and Georgia while Alabama played Missouri and Kentucky. What LSU doesn’t remember is they had a 4th quarter lead over Alabama in 2012. Had they not allowed Alabama to score in the final seconds they would have won the West that season.

LSU also drew that same crappy Tennessee team they seem to loathe Alabama playing twice in the past 7 years in 2010 and 2011. Funny how Alabama drew the short straw in 2010 by getting South Carolina and Florida when LSU got Vandy and Tennessee.

Both Georgia and South Carolina have played LSU and Alabama equal number of times since 2007. Sure, in 2011, Georgia drew the Mississippi Schools while South Carolina played Arkansas (their normal opponent). But had the Gamecocks beaten Auburn, they would have gone to Atlanta. They choked. That is the same mediocre Auburn team that Georgia beat 45-7.  And twice in the last 4 years, Auburn has made the BCS National Title game.

Georgia drew a Mississippi school in 2012 while the Gamecocks played LSU. But the next year the roles were reversed.

And Georgia’s annual opponent is Auburn, while the Gamecocks have had Arkansas and now are moving on to Texas A&M. Auburn has been awful the same number of times Arkansas has been good. Not that many times, in other words.

With conference expansion, that has seen some screwy quirks, like Georgia going to Auburn in consecutive years.

Using the example above, you get that random year when LSU was not as good, Georgia was down, Florida was down, South Carolina was good, Ole Miss was good, Arkansas was good, Auburn was up and down, etc.

It doesn’t really matter. It all evens out in the end.

I find it disingenuous that LSU will complain about the schedule, when they have managed to go 3-3 against Ole Miss the last six years. Or that South Carolina complains about Georgia’s schedule in 2012, but not when the Dawgs play LSU in 2013.

LSU played Oregon and West Virginia in 2011, and WON both. They didn’t seem to mind going out of their way to schedule tough opponents, and likewise Alabama scheduled Penn State. Yet LSU still wants to complain.

Man up, LSU. Play the games. You have top 5 talent, and depending on the Saturday, top 5 coaching.

Quit whining.


SEC Got It Right With Schedule

I haven’t posted a lot lately. Between work, traveling for work and feebly attempting to keep up with a very active 15 month old, it has been hard to find the time. And, I mean, there hasn’t been anything that has perked my curiosity enough to blog about. Recruiting and G-Day are all good story lines, but I don’t think I can add anything on these topics that others haven’t already touched on. I’ll worry about all this window dressing when it matters in September, October and November.

But the news of the SEC finally making a decision on future scheduling has gotten my attention, and all the complaining of the perceived unfairness of schedules has struck a nerve with me.

Of all the guys on ESPN, Chris Low is right up at the top to me. He has covered the SEC for a very long time, and gets it. He can see above the fray and see the big picture.

However, he couldn’t be more wrong with in this column. Basically, the SEC’s new scheduling decision to keep it 6-1-1 and mandate an additional BCS level (I know this technically doesn’t exist anymore but you know what I mean) game in 2016 is bad. Why? Basically tradition is good, but times change, and schools need to play more often, completive imbalance, blah, blah, blah.

I don’t know about you, but I think the SEC has 100% made the right call here. It has preserved the tradition-rich rivalries which have made the league what it is. It has also said that schools must branch out and play more compelling out of conference match ups.

SEC pride and tradition has made it what is today-the premier conference for college football. Sure, I’d love to play at Ole Miss, Alabama and Texas A&M more frequently. The opportunity to travel to different destinations is very appealing. I love going on road trips to different venues. But not to forsake the important rivalry games.

As I said in a post last year, the rivalry games of college football is what makes this sport so great. There is a passion in these games that, to use the cliché, the records don’t matter. It is a blood war.

Games like Georiga-Auburn and the Third Saturday in October are part of what makes this conference so great. Likewise, the Big 12 abandoning its marquee rivalry games is a big reason that league doesn’t exist in the same way it used to. Oklahoma-Nebraska and Texas-Texas A&M are casualties of conference expansion. The SEC is wise in preserving these great games, because they are in effect preserving itself.

I’ll also like to point out that inherently, these match ups are fair and comparable.   Sure, some teams go through down cycles. Tennessee sucks now, but Alabama sucked 10 years ago. It is all cyclical and works out fair.

When the SEC started the 6-1-1 model, there were fair matchups and incredible balance. The Big 6 played each other, Arkansas and South Carolina squared off, Kentucky played Mississippi and Ole Miss drew Vanderbilt. It worked out because there was balance.   Arkansas and South Carolina might have years of success here and there, but by and large are equal. The other 4 also rans might be good periodically, but overall they are all about the same.

Also, the big boys are already playing “BCS” out of conference games. Georgia plays Tech, Florida with FSU, South Carolina with Clemson. LSU does a great job of playing marquee out of conference games-TCU, Oregon, Wisconsin this year. Alabama has played Penn State, Michigan, Clemson, and Virginia Tech in recent years.

The SEC absolutely got it right. If anything, they made it more fair by making teams like Ole Miss and Texas A&M who play embarrassing OOC schedules play at least one legitimate team.

These naysayers need to just shut up.


Ribeye or Filet?

I am not a defensive coach or an expert on strenght and conditioning.

Especially strength and conditioning.

But the news the past few days about Coach Pruitt’s hope to get the defense to slim down to be better conditioned for games is interesting.  I get you want the guys to be well-conditioned and all, gotta Finish the Drill.

Despite what happened on the Plains this past season, the road through to the SEC Championship still runs through Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa.

Again, though I’ve shed a few of the winter pounds recently, you can take one look at me and know I am not an expert in this field.  But I have to wonder-will getting too lean and mean hurt us against the few teams that run the power offenses like Alabama and LSU?

Nick Saban himself has recnetly said part of their success is they are one of the few teams that still run a traditional power, pro-style offense.  Defenses build themselves to compete against the spread, HUNH attacks, then play a power team and can’t be stopped.  Now, Nick Saban has the talent to run the Wishbone and be great at it, but I think that is a fair point.

On the flipside, that is just a couple of games, and I think we need to worry about getting through the months of September, October and November before we need to start worrying about December and January.

Ultimately, I don’t know if it will make much of a difference.  I don’t know if having the perfectly conditioned defense last year would have helped the secondary get in the right spot.



About Time

This is a good move.  The Peach Bowl, as Georgia fans know, used to be a mediocre bowl game.  The last few years, it has provided some of the best match ups in the bowl season and usually provides a thrilling and entertaining match up on New Year’s Eve.

I’m glad to see the Peach Bowl is making its return.


Jeff Francoeur Pranked

My general disdain for former Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur is well documented, so when I saw this video, I just laughed out loud.

Seriously, if you haven’t seen this video yet, it is must watch.


A few spring practice observations

1. As far as the most impressive spring so far, it’s J.J. Green is making a strong case. It’s too early, without question to pencil in anything as far as time on the field in the fall, but when a guy has pretty much been on offense since coming to Athens and leads the team in tackles during a scrimmage? That speaks volumes.

2. Brandon Kubanlow and Greg Pyke know that it’s ‘moving season,’ and it’s shown based on the info coming out of practice. The way things look now, I’d look for both to play extensively come August. This is their shot to make their move and show that they can contribute. If they can’t take full advantage, they could get bypassed.

3. To redshirt Keith Marshall or not? If he won’t be 100 percent it is a no-brainer. That said, I wouldn’t mind him being a ‘soft redshirt’ similar to Hutson Mason two years ago…redshirt him, but have him on emergency duty just in case Gurley gets banged up pretty good. There’s something to be said about experience, regardless of how talented these two studs at tailback coming in are.

4.  Speaking of Mason, we’re seeing why Mason is a very solid No. 1 based on how Brice Ramsey, Jacob Park and Fauton Bauta have fared this spring. The fact is that there’s a level that Mason is at, and the other three QBs won’t get to that point. It’s easy to hit the panic button based on the Gator Bowl. But Mason also had to contend with a massively depleted offense around him, and pretty much no one on the Georgia sidelines was excited to be there, and it showed.

5. Jonathan Rumph is having a nice spring. But then again, we heard how great he looked in practice last year and it never translated to the field. Seeing how far along he is progressing is one of many reasons to look forward to G-Day.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg