Tuesday, November 25, 2014

HATE WEEK Stat Primer

I'll probably get into some full-on Hate Week thoughts later, but a win over a cupcake seemed like a good time for some 2014 stat-mongering.
  • I am still blown away by this stat.  We have won 7 of 9 vs. Auburn.  7 of 9.  Think about that.  7 out of 9.  That's not the mind-blower.  The two years they have won in nine years they ave won the SEC and played for the SEC championship.  We have not won an SEC title in those nine years.  I can't even wrap my head around a stat like that.  It makes no sense.  It is Mark Richt's sad story.  He has essentially dominated our oldest rival in the last nine years, and yet the perception is that they have done more because they played for all the marbles twice and won it once.  If a football genie offered you the chance at 2-7 the next 9 years vs. Auburn but play for two titles and win one?
  • Nick Chubb is 2nd in the SEC in rushing, surely to finish at least second, with an outside shot at leading the league in rushing if he gets to play an extra Saturday in Atlanta.  He's 250 yds behind Artis-Payne, who has 91 more carries than him.  I think Artis-Payne and Chubb are your All-SEC RBs.  Raise your hand if you had Chubb in your pre-season All-SEC pool!
  • Nick Chubb leads the league in TDs scored, tied with Prescott at 13. 
  • Out of the top thirty rushers in the SEC, only two average more than 7 yards per carry.  Chubb is at 7.2.  The other guy is some dude named Gurley at 7.4 YPC.  Nobody handled that Auburn team like we did with Chubb and Gurley.  We saw it against Clemson, too, a pretty doggone good team.  We didn't get to see much of the magic with those 2 guys together.
  • Hutson Mason has the highest passer rating in the conference at 158.1.  Second is the QB of #1 Alabama, Blake Sims, at 156.1.  Mason (3) and Sims (4) also have the least INTs of starting QBs.
  • Marshall Morgan leads the league in scoring.  Bet you didn't know that.
  • Arkansas is at 33.6 PPG and Mizzou is at 29.3 PPG.  Dear Lord, let Friday be an average day.  Also, Williams and Collins from Arky are 4 & 5 in the league in rushing and will probably both finish with 1,000+ yds.  That should give you some hope.  Also, Mauk is tied for second to last with 10 INTs.  Of course, to be fair, he threw at least 17 against us.
  • UGA is 2nd in the SEC in Pass Defense, 3 yards/game behind #1 LSU, 8 yards/game ahead of #3 Ole Miss and 31.2 yards/game ahead of #4 Alabama.  We start a true freshman (Sanders), a walk-on (Davis), a sophomore that struggled mightily as a freshman (Mauger), a senior (Swann) and a kid that has no business playing SEC football (Bowman).  I keep thinking back to what Pruitt said pre-season about never coaching a bad secondary and he didn't plan to start now.  Midway through the UT game I thought, "Uh, you were wrong, Coach."  My bad, Pruitt.  Long live Pruitt!
  • We are 9th in the SEC in rush defense.  Hello, Florida game!
  • We are 5th in total defense, but that comes in at 13th nationally.  Like I said…Long live, Pruitt!  BTW, that Clemson team we man-handled in the 4th is the #1 D in America statistically.
Fun Fact:  Did you know Melvin Gordon's position coach is some guy named Thomas Brown?  Good for a DGD.  Sure would be nice for his stud to run Ohio St. out of the building. 

I'll admit it, I went to bed Saturday night and felt like we lost after that UT/Mizzou game.  The story in the statistics above is that we have had a pretty amazing season.  I was just thinking today that it's crazy we're ranked #8 in the AP and don't control our destiny, especially since we won head to head.  In fact, it's pretty amazing what we've done.  Pruitt's gonna change this program, guys.  We haven't seen games like the Mizzou, Auburn, Auburn & Clemson games in the last few years.  Aaron Murray won some huge games that he essentially bailed us out of, but that was our only formula.  We lost Todd for a 3-game stretch last year and fell apart.  We darn near should have lost 3 in a row, but Murray pulled out a miracle in Knoxville.  This year, we decided to play D and had Nick Chubb.

And since you asked…Here's what HAS to happen:
  • Beat Tech
  • Woooo Pig Sooey!  Mizzou Lose.
  • Win the SEC Title.
And, 2 of these have to happen:
  • FSU lose to Florida or Tech (when CFB has us pulling for the Gators and Jackets the last two weeks, you know we're in bizarro world).
  • Oregon lose to Oregon St. or UCLA/ASU
  • Ohio St. lose to Michigan or Wisconsin
  • Baylor lose to Texas Tech or K-State
  • TCU lose to Texas or Iowa St.
An Ole Miss victory over MSU wouldn't hurt.  There could be some bigger questions.  What if Wisky beats Ohio St., we win the SEC and the rest win out.  Do they do a Final Four with two Big 12 teams, one of which is NOT the outright champion?  And, the bigger question might be…how high can Mizzou climb in 2 weeks?  What if all heck breaks loose.  We pound Tech, but they beat FSU.  Texas beats TCU.  Either Auburn beats Bama or Ole Miss beats MSU, and Mizzou beats a 1-loss West champion.  Wisky beats Ohio St.  Who in the heck goes?  Oregon and Baylor…but who else?  Not Tech or FSU.  ACC is out.  2-loss Wisconsin?  I mean, right now the committee has Mizzou at 20 and Wisky at 16.  This thing could get CRA-ZY before it's all over.  That Indiana loss (which was non-conference) and that 34-0 thumping is a conundrum for the committee.  I don't think they see non-conf. vs. conf. loss.  34-0 isn't close, boys.  34-0 at their place.  Well, this is why we love it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


You know, I have really grown weary of the Sports Talk Yahoos in Atlanta and the dumb fans, because the meme is "Georgia has no shot to make the playoff" or "Georgia has a 0% chance."  A few have changed this week to, "Well, maybe there's a slight chance."  I want to make it just to prove them wrong.  What they miss is that you don't have to be #1, you just have to be #4.  And you only have to be #4 by Dec. 7.  People forget that Auburn had virtually no shot at the BCS title game last year until Ohio St. wet the bed late Saturday night.  Auburn won the SECCG and sat and prayed.  That was it.  We're not #10.  We're #7 because 3 teams ahead of us are SEC teams.  You could make an argument we're #6 because UCLA is also ahead of us.  

There are 5 teams, essentially, ahead of us:

Ohio St. (Indiana, Mich & Wisky)
Oregon (Colorado, @ Oregon St. & UCLA/USC)
FSU (BC, Florida & Duke/Tech)
Baylor (Okie St, @ Texas Tech, K-State)
TCU (@ Texas & Iowa St.)


UCLA (USC & Stanford, maybe Pac12CG)
I'm excluding UCLA.  So that's 5 teams that you think will fill 3 spots if you want the other one.  That means you need 2 of them to lose.  It's that simple.  Can Wisky win the Big 10?  Can UCLA beat Oregon in the Pac 12?  Could Florida play for Muschamp or could Texas beat TCU in Austin.

An Oklahoma St. loss to Iowa St. sent Bama in 2011.  A Stanford win over Oregon and 4-5 Baylor beating K-State gave us and Bama a chance in 2012.  A last Saturday Mich. St. win over Ohio St. gave Auburn a shot last year.  People act like crazy stuff never happens.  The truth is it happens every year.

UCLA is thinking the same thing.  They want Bama to lose so they have a shot to beat #1 Oregon.  Mizzou ought to be thinking the same thing, and they control their destiny.  Tech?  Yes, they have a shot.  They want Auburn to beat Bama and Oregon to trip up in the Civil War so they can beat #10 and then #1 on the last two Saturdays.

The question is…"What do they do with 11-1 Mississippi St.?"

Wrapping up the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry

Well, I finally saw the replay courtesy of the SEC Network.  Couple national thoughts.
  • Kind of fascinated with Bama at #1.  Very interested to see what happens w/ Miss. St.  I really hope they don't get in if they don't win their division.  If there are other one-loss conference champions, they need to get in.
  • The Nebraska and Arizona St. losses were huge.  Now, Oregon and Ohio St. are going to play 2-loss teams in their championship games.  And Ohio St is going to play a beast in Melvin Gordon.  And you kind of like your chances w/ UCLA or USC vs. the Ducks rather than the Sun Devils.
  • If Carolina beats Duke Thursday night, Tech gets in the ACC champ. Game.  Strangely, that could be good, big and huge for us.  Not only do they have the best shot at knocking off FSU, if they do, we'd have just beaten the ACC champ who just beat the last undefeated team.
  • This is real.  We're #10 with a whole lot of football to go, a date with #18 in 2 weeks and a potential date with #1.
  • All you NW GA boys can say what you want about Saturday night, but I'm inviting Phil Fulmer, Johnny Majors Al Wilson and Payton Manning over to watch the game.  I'd invite Travis Henry, but I'm not sure I have enough room for all his children.  We need the Vols to win in a big way.  I really don't want it to come down to Arkansas in Columbia on the day after Thanksgiving.  I trust Bret Biliema about as far as I can throw him, which is to say I'd try to pick him up and he'd just sit on me.
  • It just feels like this team deserves a chance.  We have fought through a season in the most profound way.  I just want to see Hutson Mason get a chance in the Dome.  Something tells me he'll be ready.
  • I'm calling a TCU loss in Austin on Thanksgiving night.  A K-State victory over Baylor would be nice too.
  • You want a crazy scenario?  Texas over TCU, K-State over Baylor, FSU loses to Tech in ACCCG, Wisky beats Ohio St. and UCLA/USC beats Oregon.  Then we beat Bama.  Heck, we might be the #1 seed :)
From the game:
  • I've decided to take the attitude to just be thankful we had Todd Gurley for what we had him.  I'm not going to be sad, just thankful.
  • I had the most bizarre feeling ever during the game:  I began to feel we were more dangerous with Nick in the game than with Todd.
  • Speaking of #27…I'm floored and amazed at how good that kid is.  I mean, he's got a shot, and I mean a shot at some large records in his career.
  • Jay Rome.  Hey, he plays for us.
  • Jonathan Rumph is on the Kickoff team.  Okay.  Maybe we could throw him some more passes.
  • Hutson was throwing dimes.  The deep balls were beautiful.
  • Malcolm was a real difference maker, though it didn't show up in the stat sheet.
  • I'm really excited about Kimbrough, but let's not lose sight that #51 and #52 can FLAT.  OUT.  PLAY.
  • Was that not the most awesome fake punt ever?  A pump fake throwback?  Just awesome.  The flag was straight out garbage.  It was an awful call.  It was one of those calls that really makes you raise your eyebrows.  It's one thing to miss a call.  It's another to make one up out of nothing.  I don't even think Kublanow was even 3 yards, much less past it.  No way you make that call.
  • We essentially played a nickel, but played Leonard at star instead of a DB, knowing they were going to run it most of the time.  I can't wait to see what Pruitt dials up for the Techsters.
  • I really dislike Gus in an unhealthy way.  It's fun to watch him lose.  Very, very fun.  The bloom might be off the rose, too.  They're going to have some HUGE question marks next year.
  • Marshall Morgan was money, and it mattered.
Richt's comments about Keith were very interesting.  He's basically in 2012 Hutson Mason mode.  We're going to try and redshirt him, but we get to that Dome and something happens, we ain't gonna try and beat Bama with Brendan Douglas.  I'll just say that for the Coach.  That's what he meant to say.

I really, really love this team.  They have Hutson's personality.  I really value the leadership he, Boss, Ramik, Swann and Marlo have given to this team.  We have stayed together in an amazing way.  It didn't hurt to have Nicholas Chubb. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

That SEC Bias Though

Ohio St. in 2007 is the last B1G team to ever play for a title?  That was 7 years ago!  Wisonsin lost to a 3-loss (for now) LSU team and might win that division up there.  Ohio St. lost to a terrible VaTech team.  Mich. St. lost to Oregon.  It doesn't matter if you can beat every other team in your league if you can't beat other teams.  That tells us more about Rutgers, Maryland, and Iowa.  

Bama beat WVU.  UGA beat Clemson.  South Carolina beat ECU (something VaTech and UNC can't say).  LSU over Wisky.  Auburn over K-State.  Ole Miss over Boise.  And they're going to leave our champion out if we were to have a two-loss champ and the B1G had a one loss champ?
Gosh, have you thought about what conumdrum they'd be in had Clemson beat FSU?  What would they be ranked?  But you can't put them in over us.  We beat them like a rented mule in that 4th QTR.  That's where all this is a mess.

What to Watch for on Saturday Night

Remember that we went to Auburn 2 years ago and trounced them 38-0.  We simply thought we had won the east.  That was it.  We were happy with that.  We didn't know any better.  We woke up for a nooner vs. Southern the next Saturday, and all heck broke loose that Saturday night.  Baylor steamrolled K-State and Oregon's FG clanked off the upright.  Suddenly, we were #3 heading into Tech.  That was a 3-5 Baylor team that I don't believe went bowling.  Stuff happens.
There's A LOT of football to be played.  4 things could VERY EASILY happen on Saturday night, as all these are home games:
UGA beats Auburn @ home
A&M beats Mizzou @ home
Wisc. beats Nebraska @ home
Miami beats FSU @ home
I'll take the first one and be happy.  The second one and be elated.  The third one would be a clear path.  The last one would just be fun to pile on top.

Hide your wallets.  Nick Marshall's going to be in town.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Playoff System...

We're going to blow up the system the first year.  Just think about how it plays out by Dec. 6, especially if Bama beats MSU in a slobber-knocker and beats Auburn.  What will the rankings be?  

1. FSU
2. Bama
3. MSU
4. Oregon
5. Big 12 1-loss
6. Big 10 1-loss

You wake up that day and it's pretty clear.  Then what if 10-2 Georgia beats Bama in the Dome?  What happens?  Do they take the SEC champion?  We've got #2 and #3 in the land and we just beat #2?  You can't take Bama.  They just lost, have the same record as us and we beat them head to head.  Do you take MSU, who has only one loss but didn't win it's conference title?  Do you take FSU, Oregon, TCU and Mich. St. and leave the SEC out and watch the entire Southeast NOT WATCH the playoff?

Just win. 

Whether we get in (and a 1-loss Big 10 champ doesn't), they take an MSU team that didn't win their division or don't take and SEC team…it's going to blow up the system.  I've said all along that if we're going to do this, let's do it right.  6 teams.  5 conference champions and 1 at-large.  Ohio St. vs Mich. St. would be bananas this week because it really is for all the marbles.  Arizona St. vs. Notre Dame would be ginormous.

I like 4 because I like really elite teams being in it, but if we win the SEC at 11-2, do you really think in this league that we don't deserve to go?  Do you know how much better Arkansas is than the bottom feeder teams in other leagues.  UK is the 12th worst team in our league, just above Vandy and Arky, and we've got a war on our hands Saturday.

"Every Once in a While a Team Has a Game Like That..."

"...You don't want that to happen. I doubt if we played them five more times any one of those games would go like that." - Mark Richt.
It happens.  I don't know, maybe I'm softer in my old age, but that quote is just it.  It was Florida's day.  We've had a bunch of those.  Tennessee 2003 (they were going in to take the lead at half!!!), LSU 2004, Auburn 2006, Auburn 2007, Tech 2009 (they were so much better than us!), Auburn 2011, Heck, Mizzou 2014.
That's not a great Florida team, but it's a team that looks like it might go anwwhere from 6-5 to 8-3.  Probably a 7-4 team.  They still have talent.  They played for Muschamp and I didn't think that would happen.  The ball got rolling their way and we couldn't stop it.  For me, those just don't hurt as bad.  The close ones hurt worse or losing to a team that we are much more superior in talent. 
Just thought that quote from Richt was telling.  He didn't know how to stop it on Saturday.  It's obvious Pruitt didn't either.  That's a frustrating spot to be as a coach.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Our Fans

I am AMAZED at the people who want to blow it all up after a bad day in Jax.

Our secondary would look at lot better with Marshall, Chris Sanders, JHC, & Matthews.  Swann might come off the bench or be the nickel guy.  We had a bad group.  The Dream Team had some bad apples, to say the least.

Malcolm has had unbelievable bad luck, and what has happened during Todd's career is, well, crazy.  

Right now, we are ranked #3 in recruiting rankings for 2015.  Florida is #61, just behind Western Michigan.  I'd rather have beaten them like a ragdoll, but if Muschamp stays, Foley is nuts.  He can't recruit or coach.  He can build a D, but that's about it.  We are already #9 for 2016, but we will possibly move up to #1.  Eason will probably grow into the #1 recruit in America, and we're signing a stud left tackle to protect him.  Pruitt has changed our recruiting culture, and that's what matters.

Saban is really a terrible gameday coach.  They make a lot of mistakes, but their talent takes over.  That's the story for most teams.  Players win games.  We need more players.  We were pretty doggone good in 2012 because of JJ, Murray and Gurley.  That's a lethal trio.  People are dumb.  The internet is just proving it.

Boy, what I'd give to sneak in this thing with 2 losses and run roughshod over everyone.  I said I wanted to go to NOLA the first round.  Well, if we go, we're going as the #4 seed.  We might control beating the SEC west champ.  If FSU rolls, their #1 and host us in NOLA.  Oregon vs. Big 12 champ in Rose.  We probably want FSU to lose just for chaos' sake.  Still, that'd be sweet.
  • Win out
  • Mizzou loss
  • Boy, it'd be great if that Big 10 champ had 2 losses.  MSU/OSU this week.  Would help if Wisky beat Nebraska, then that division beat the MSU/OSU winner.
  • Notre Dame loss
  • Pac 12 has Oregon & ASU at 1-loss in opposite divisions.  Interestingly, ND plays ASU.  ASU could lose that, then beat Oregon to win that conference.
  • K-State is 5-0 in league play, but still is @ TCU, @ WVU & @ Baylor.  We need them to win one of those against TCU or Baylor.  That Auburn loss could prove huge because they could win that league with 1-loss but have 2 losses, the other a home loss to a team we beat.
  • Baylor is at OU this week.  They still have OSU, TT, and K-State as well.  That OU game is one to watch.
It's going to be fascinating.  What if Clemson continues to slowly climb the polls.  Sooner or later, everyone is going to have 2-3 losses, and they could only have 2.  Or what if Tech handles clemson and comes to Athens at 9-2 and ranked about 12th?

There is A LOT of football to play.  Win the one in front of you.  All you can do.  Someone has to lose each week.  It can't be us now.  I said when it came out that the playoffs would be kind to Mark Richt.  For whatever reason, we haven't seemed to get the luck.  The 13-1 season that got no bones for a natty, DJ's injury at 7-0, the fiasco in 2007, and the tipped pass in 2012.  Heck, even the injuries last year in a season we could have easily won the SEC at 12-1 if we'd have stayed healthy.  But, 13-0 isn't necessary anymore.  It just isn't.  Essentially, pull for anyone outside our conference that has 1 loss to lose.  And we probably want Miss. St. to look absolutely dominant the rest of the way, then stone them in ATL.

I said it in 2011 and was thinking it at hafltime,  "With the way LSU has dominated this season and the national love, what if we keep rolling in this 2nd half?"  Do they really, really, really put LSU or Bama in above us?  Back then, it was computers.  It's not now.  It's humans saying, "we think the champion should go."

And I'm not the only one who sees it that way…


Just a short public service announcement this morning, as I'll have more time to dive into stats and thoughts later on.  Just some general thoughts:

Our fans are the biggest bunch of sissies.  Actually, a better way to say it is that they are out of their minds.  I've chosen to stay away from talk radio for a few days because I can't stand the idiocy.  We lost a game.  It was ugly.
  • This is not the worst Florida team in 25 years.  That was last year's team.  This team is now poised to go 7-4 at worst it seems (would be 8-4 but they didn't play Idaho).  That doesn't make it better, but people should stop saying stupid stuff.  They have talent on D.
  • We do not have the talent we need on D yet.  Pruitt is recruiting like crazy.  We're better than we've been in a while on D in flashes.  We had a bad game.  This is no surprise to Pruitt and he won't make excuses.  I think he came to Athens to build a winner and a nasty D.  That will take some time.  Devin Bowman should not be playing, nor should Aaron Davis, but they're all we've got.  BTW, I don't know where Langley was.
  • It was a bad loss.  All losses are bad to me.  I don't really judge them per margin of victory, because I don't judge wins that way.  We're trying to win every game.  That's the goal.  No coach thinks, "Let's blow these guys out."  Not a single one.  The goal is to win the game.  The 2008 Bama game and 2012 USCjr. Games were much different.  Those games we got stonewalled from start to finish.  This was different.  But even blowouts have moments that can flip a game.  Arky was in our redzone 2 times in the final 5 minutes of the half and we came away with 7 points and they came away with zero.  It's a funny sport.
  • Every time you take the field, most BCS teams can beat you (and certainly an SEC team) if you don't handle your business.  We didn't handle our business and that team on the other side played fantastic, probably the best game they've played since whipping FSU in 2012.
  • I honestly don't know how to respond to people that say they are tired of the 'faceplant' games and we've got to get a coach that won't do it.  "This is unacceptable" and "We settle for mediocrity"!  Do people watch the sport?  LSU got NAILED two games this year.  NAILED!  Auburn got NAILED by LSU last year.  Johnny football went into T-town in 2012 and stormed to a 21-0 lead.  A terrible (as we know now) A & M team boat-raced South Carolina in the opening week, and now they can't beat anybody.  Auburn came out asleep against MSU and would have gotten killed if Dak had remembered they were wearing the maroon jerseys, as that's the only thing that kept it close.  I have sat through every one of Mark Richt's losses.  They all hurt.  I would like to find the magical formula where that won't happen and we come out with our hair on fire for 12 weeks.  No one does that.  Most teams have a face-plant every season and a couple other sleep-walking games.  The key to a championship is to win them.  I just can't find this mystical team where this doesn't happen. 
  • And this is the biggie:  How would Oregon have fared w/o Mariotta @ UCLA, vs. Washington, @ Cal, vs. Stanford?  How would MSU have fared vs. Auburn, @ Kentucky, vs. Arkansas, vs. UT-Martin without Prescott?  How would FSU have fared @ Syracuse, vs Notre Dame, @ Louisville, vs. Virginia without Winston?  That's who those teams played in the stretch where we've lost Todd.  Oh yeah, we also lost Todd's top back-up (Sony) in that time-period.  So, how would those teams have fared without their best player AND his top back-up?
  • Were we still better than that Florida team?  I think.  I don't know.  At one point last year during the Vandy game I was thinking…we've got Aaron, but they've got better skill players than us right now.  We have no running back and no play-maker at WR.  Nick is fantastic.  So proud of him in this stretch.  But Matt Jones is good, too.  They spelled Jones with Taylor, who is remarkably better than Douglas.  How equal are our defenses?  Florida's is better.  Plain and simple.  Hutson is better than Harris, but they didn't need him to do much.  How is our O-line w/o Boss?  Not as good.  We still could have won the game, but some of that caught up with us.  We still have way better athletes than Mizzou and Arky.  That is not the case with the Gators.  And our best and another top 5 athlete didn't play.  It hurt us, finally.
I think I'm done.  Onward and upward.  Go beat UK and let's see what happens.