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October 12, 2015

SEC Power Poll, Week 6

  1. Alabama - What a great second half. Let's see how that works when they are down by 21 to Texas A&M.
  2. LSU - Fournette for Heisman. There, I said it.
  3. Texas A&M - Aggies will get to find out what they are made of this weekend. 
  4. Florida - I would have ranked the Gators higher, but my rankings stopped taking PEDs way earlier in the summer.
  5. Mississippi - [fill in the blank] was no match for the landsharks.
  6. Mississippi State - Several times later this season, MSU will look back on this past weekend and get wistful.
  7. Tennessee - Now I have to hope Josh Dobbs finishes second to Fournette in SEC POY balloting.
  8. Kentucky - The Wildcats are second in the East. It's true. I looked it up.
  9. Georgia - The defense is not nearly good enough to make up for special teams play that is borderline comic.
  10. Missouri - Yeah, so maybe Drew Lock wasn't the answer.
  11. Arkansas - I'd say something about Arkansas tough season, but I'm afraid Bret Beliema might call my boss and make up something to get me fired.
  12. Vandy - Still not going to rate them higher until they beat someone.
  13. Auburn - Hey, the Tigers didn't look terrible this past weekend.
  14. South Carolina - The season of horrors becomes pure pain with Spurrier's retirement.

OBC retiring?

I mean, today hasn't been crazy enough, right?


Oh, now I get's Florida's offense

End of the 2nd Quarter: Georgia's Little Shop of Horrors

ULM 2nd L25 02:06 Kickoff G00 00:20 *TOUCHDOWN 8-75 1:46

VANDY 2nd V11 01:50 Punt G25 00:05 Missed FG 12-64 1:45

South Carolina:
00:00 SC - Elliott Fry 51 yd field goal 1 play, 0 yards, TOP 0:07, SC 13 - UGA 24

UA 2nd G01 04:48 Punt G01 04:48 *TOUCHDOWN 0-0 0:00 
UA 2nd G45 03:55 Punt G00 03:48 *TOUCHDOWN 1-45 0:07

UT 2nd T47 03:16 Kickoff G00 00:55 *TOUCHDOWN 8-53 2:21 
UT 2nd G25 00:55 Fumble G00 00:27 *TOUCHDOWN 5-25 0:28#

Not a pretty look. UGA has given up 5 of their 16 TDs given up in the last five minutes of the 2nd quarter.

The common factor in the last three games? Special teams:

South Carolina got a 51 yard kickoff return and was aided by a 15 yard face mask penalty. 
Tennessee returned a kickoff 47 yards to set up the first TD. We then fumbled the ensuing kickoff to set up the second.
Alabama blocked a punt for a TD. Then we short legged a punt for 36 yards from deep in our own territory.

I don't have any real answers, expect maybe never have a special teams play at the end of the 2nd quarter again (or defense, if I'm being honest).

Waitin' Since Last Saturday Ep 016: The burning means its working

For the Tennessee wrap up, Scott waxes poetic, Will chats with Josh, because Tony, in a metaphor for Saturday's loss, sent Will the wrong phone number to call.

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Is 'merely good' enough?

That's the question you should be asking if you are willing to look at Mark Richt, in his face at a function, and say I want you to lose your job. Is 'merely good' enough?

Don't use atrocious.
Don't use embarrassing.
For heaven's sake, please don't use mediocrity.

Merely good.

No amount of selective parsing of statistics will change the total wins, winning seasons, SEC championships, SEC championship appearances, or wins over Tech, Tennessee, Auburn, and even Florida.

And I'm not making the we can't chance being another Tennessee argument. To me, discussions like Westerdawg's yesterday are more about us as Georgia fans than about Mark Richt (or more accurately what Mark Richt has done as a coach for Georgia's program).

And if you read Westerdawg's post, that is what he's saying:
I'm bummed to say it, but if the program moves on without him.  Then I'm fine with it.  If he wins the SEC East this year, and stays around. I'm fine with that too.  But my patience has worn beyond thin.
But if we are going to have the discussion, we have to call it what it is: We as a fanbase are not satisfied with good. We demand something we've only had twice in our existence. Once with The Gold Standard in college running backs. Once with our current coach.

And we demand it now.

So let's call it what it is and stop using terms that'll somehow justify our approach. Be forward and say we no longer accept just winning. We have to win titles or else.

October 11, 2015

Jeremy Pruitt is Mark Richt's best idea

Just so we're all clear.  Jeremy Pruitt is positioned as Mark Richt's best idea in years. He let Jeremy pick his defensive staff and had a heavy hand in the strength program selections.

And in 3 of the last 5 losses since he arrived, the loss was heavily and squared only Jeremy Pruitt's defense.  It was Pruitt who refused to adjust in the Florida game and allowed an incompetent Florida offense to run for over 400 yards while running the same exact play 20+ times.

It was Pruitt's defense who gave up yard after yard after yard to Georgia Tech.

And it was Pruitt's defense who gave up a 21 point lead, allowed 38 points to an incompetent offense and made their QB look like a Heisman winner on Saturday.

If that's your best idea in years, then maybe it's time to look for another source of ideas. the category of bad ideas.  Brian Schottenheimer is completely underwhelming. He basically has Grantham's resume. He's a middle of the pack at best, nondescript NFL cast off without a single moment on his resume where you look and say "Wow, look at what that guy did with that team."  If his last name was Jenkins, he wouldn't be here.

I don't want Mark Richt to leave. I want him to win championships and stay here forever. But he isn't doing that. With a Vol program in shambles and the Gators crumbling, what have we done to make hay?

I don't want to replace Richt because the odds are 80-90% that our first hire to replace him will not be as good as Richt.  There have probably been 150-200 coaches hired and fired at BCS schools since Mark arrived.  UGA has been in the top 10-15 in terms of winning percentage over that time span. He isn't terrible.  He's just not good enough to win SEC or National titles on any kind of regular or quasi regular basis.

It's going to suck replacing him.  But at what point do we just say...this isn't enough?  I'm pretty much at that point.  The only thing slowing my anger is the belief that Greg McGarity is in no way shape or form equipped to hire a great coach.

It's been a fun run with Mark, and he has profited handsomely from our patience.  He will have made in excess of $40-45 million by the time his contract ends. 15 years and $40 million is enough time to know what we're dealing with.

I'm bummed to say it, but if the program moves on without him.  Then I'm fine with it.  If he wins the SEC East this year, and stays around. I'm fine with that too.  But my patience has worn beyond thin.

The problem with building expectations

Is at some point, you have to deliver on them.

Nick Chubb's injury was a ball buster. Georgia rallied back thanks to the huge defensive play to get their mojo back. But then the same old things happen again: special teams, defensive lapses, and offensive play that still isn't, and likely won't get, there.

The hard part about trying to build young talent is that you literally can be one play away from greatness or one play away from tire fire. That is especially true when you have poor recruiting for four years.

There will be lots of time for going over stats, but the ones I find the hardest to comprehend is what Tennessee did offensively. Pruitt's team was on the field a lot, but we have to seriously evaluate our love for what he is doing until there is more shown out of his defenses.


October 9, 2015

Key to winning at Tennessee

I'm not going to bore you with stats that essentially say run the ball to set up the pass while putting Tennessee in touch pass/run calls when they have the ball because Dobbs wants to run and Debord wants him to pass.

The key this weekend is this:

Don't set yourself on fire Dawgs.

October 8, 2015

Repeat after me: Spread doesn't equal substantially better

I think a lot of Michael Bird's work. He's a great Twitter follow and as rational as one can be as a Michigan Man. However his piece on the Mark Richt total-debacle game is questionable.

His evidence, using the spread:

GameSpreadGeorgia's losing marginDelta
2015 Alabama-22830
2014 Georgia Tech-10.5616.5
2014 Florida-10.51828.5
2013 Missouri-71522
2012 South Carolina+1.52826.5
2009 Tennessee+1.52624.5
2008 Alabama-6.51117.5
2007 Tennessee-1.52122.5
2006 Vanderbilt-14.5216.5
2004 Tennessee-12.5517.5
2003 LSU (SEC Championship)+32118

Any list that doesn't include the 2014 South Carolina game on it, presumably because the betting line and 'Delta' didn't work out, can't be seriously considered as valid. As I'll show below, that was one of the most face plantingly of face plant games in the past 12 seasons. 

To me, any game in which Georgia was significantly statistically favored over a team is the right way to discuss Mark Richt's ability to handle 'where are we' games. Using the spread only serves to illustrate where bettors had misplaced money, so I looked at S&P ranks for those same games (all rankings are end of season numbers except for 2015). For 2003 and 2004, I showed final human rankings, as Football Outsider's S&P rankings only go back to 2005.

GameS&PGeorgia's S&PDelta
2015 Alabama126-25
2014 Georgia Tech107+3
2014 Florida297+22
2013 Missouri611-5
2012 South Carolina107-3
2009 Tennessee1431-17
2008 Alabama721-14
2007 Tennessee913-4
2006 Vanderbilt7134+37
2004 Tennessee16-Coaches; 13-AP6-coaches; 7-AP
2003 LSU (SEC Championship)1 (won BCS champ)6 -coaches; 7-AP

Since I brought up the 2014 South Carolina game, that differential was +36 (USC 43; UGA 7). By that measure, there are three games in this time frame UGA had zero business losing: 2014 South Carolina, 2014 Florida, and 2006 Vandy. The 2004 Tennessee game was closely matched (both teams finished with 10 wins). All the other losses were toss ups or statistically, UGA should have lost.

Frankly, the 'Richt is going to screw up one game a year' thing is lazy and a nice little trope that we should soundly reject. However, we as bloggers, sports writers, and fans must have narrative, so here we are. Even this week, we are only +4 over Tennessee in the S&P rankings. Maybe don't bet on UGA in 'big' games, but don't use bettors putting money in the wrong place as proof of Mark Richt's ineptitude at big game coaching.

Like the Tim Tebow 'all He does is win (except when he doesn't)' narrative, Mark Richt can't win big games (except when he does): blanking 2014 Missouri (S&P ranked 23) on the road, soundly beating 2014 Arkansas (S&P ranked 6) on the road, beating 2014 Auburn (S&P ranked 4), beating 2014 Louisville (S&P ranked 24) in the bowl, beating 2013 South Carolina (S&P ranked 10) and LSU (S&P 13), or 2012 Florida (S&P ranked 3). 

That's seven examples in the last two seasons. Only 2013 LSU and 2012 Florida were one score or closer. The average margin of victory for all the games on the list is 17 points. 

Unless, of course, you are saying that the only big games are when Georgia loses, but bettors think we should have won, then let's close the program, because we'll never win a big game again.

Waitin' Since Last Saturday Ep 015: VoLOL

This week we discuss Georgia'ing, Tennessee's three game slide, and Pat Fitzgerald. Plus, special pick'em guests.

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Why I don't leave games early

A bit cornball, but here it is:
It was sobering to hear that. For me, my first SEC game was an edifying, thrilling experience. But for these very lucky players and the fans who adore them, it was just another Saturday, and they get to do it all over again week after week.
This past Saturday, I had three former students come into town for the game. One is an Alabama fan. He gets it. One is a Texas fan that now lives in Chicago. The other is a Southern Cal fan that lives in LA. While both of them understand the passion, the Longhorn and the Trojan wanted to experience a live and up close SEC game day.

Think about that. Both of those programs have won national titles in the Mark Richt era. Both have seen their teams win national championships as students. Both have lived through a season without suffering a loss. Both felt like they were missing something if they didn't experience a game day done right at Georgia.

I've been lucky to get to do some cool stuff in my life. I've ridden in a limo with one of the Baldwin brothers. I've hung out with rock bands. I've chatted foreign policy with Edmund Muskie and Václav Havel. I have three awesome children and the love of a woman who loves sports and drinks good bourbon on the rocks. I am blessed beyond compare.

Outside of my wedding day and the day each my children were born, there is nothing that compares to how I feel when the University of Georgia takes the field (the same is true for all sports, actually). Words hardly describe it.

So that is why I stay until the end of games. Even blowouts in the rain. It is my thing. If you want to leave, that's cool. Don't expect me to understand. I don't expect you to understand why I stay.

October 7, 2015

Pig is done at Tennessee

This invalidates half of my Tennessee offense preview for the Waitin' Since Last Saturday Podcast...

October 5, 2015

SEC Power Poll, Week 5

  1. Alabama - I'm a believer. But their game against Ole Miss remains as a reminder that football happens. 
  2. LSU - Not doing anything fancy except winning.
  3. Texas A&M - Doing lots of fancy stuff to keep winning.
  4. Florida - I know I'll catch grief for this, but I can't ignore needing two scores in the 4th quarter to beat Tennessee. And the Kentucky game. And the East Carolina game.
  5. Mississippi - They've been on both sides of the four+ turnover game. It sucks being on the losing side.
  6. Georgia - Still not man enough.
  7. Mississippi State - Holding Texas A&M to 30 points is kind of a big deal.
  8. Kentucky - Go home, Kentucky. You are drukj.
  9. Missouri - Hey, an SEC win is an SEC win.
  10. Arkansas - In the battle of someone has to, by rule, win, Arkansas manages to do less wrong and get a win in Knoxville.
  11. Vandy - Spoils Middle Tennessee's homecoming. Wait, Middle Tennessee scheduling you for homecoming should be automatic grounds for expulsion from the SEC. 
  12. Tennessee - Good news, Tennessee fans, Butch Jones didn't coach you out of a win this week.
  13. Auburn - With only one gimme left on the schedule, it is starting to look like Auburn might be home for the holidays.
  14. South Carolina - UGA fans, if you want to see what it really looks like when you have fallen off the stage, look at South Carolina.
In looking over this week, it is clear that there are several teams that are grouped together. I'll not try to group them in this poll, but let's just say I had a hard time with the top and the bottom.

Missouri at UGA Time and TV

Mizzou at UGA will kick off at 7:30pm on the SEC Network.

Week 7 SEC football schedule:

SEC Football Schedule - Oct. 15, 17, 2015
Thurs., Oct. 157:00 p.m.Auburn at KentuckyESPN
Sat., Oct. 1712:00 p.m.Louisiana Tech at Mississippi StateSEC Network
Sat., Oct. 1712:00 p.m.Ole Miss at MemphisABC
Sat., Oct. 173:30 p.m.Alabama at Texas A&MCBS
Sat., Oct. 174:00 p.m.Vanderbilt at South CarolinaSEC Network
Sat., Oct. 177:00 p.m.Florida at LSUESPN
Sat., Oct. 177:30 p.m.Missouri at GeorgiaSEC Network

See also:
- UGA-Missouri football tickets
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