Author Archives: tardawg1014
I’ve reached a point in life over the past couple of years where the drive to North Carolina for Thanksgiving has severely inhibited my ability to do the best things done in unison: drink bourbon and watch football.
Leave on Friday? Immediately tick off the family, who feels more time together is warranted. Get stuck in Black Friday chaos traffic in both Charlotte and the Commerce outlets.
Leave on Saturday? Miss out on some great football. Especially with relevant Michigan/Ohio State, scary Georgia/Tech, and a full Rivalry Week slate. Current plan is a 6:30am departure on Saturday.
Leave on Thursday? Out of the question.
Leave on Sunday? Just too damn late. Familial judgment for nonstop guttural yells at the TV for 11 hours on Saturday.
For the rest of you single people who live more than three hours away from your favorite viewing spot, how do you pull it off? Inquiring minds need to know.
The NFL Games Are Over, And Usually Boring Anyway: THURSDAY RUCKUS
Texas Tech at Texas, 7:30, FS1: It’s not Texas/A&M, but the storylines are still fun. Can Texas score enough points to keep up with Tech? Hell naw. Is Charlie Strong going to bolt for Miami? He certainly should. Is this game timed perfectly if you, like me, do the Thanksgiving late lunch? Damn straight.
Friday: Like Saturday, but with Saturday Still to Come
Send the ladies to the mall. There’s more than enough entertainment available. I have to subset a Friday now.
#16 Navy at #19 Houston, ABC: Likely determines which New Years’ Six bowl you don’t watch because of the mid-major involved. Keenan Reynolds is a wizard at the triple option (like, Tech wins 4 more games with him wizard) and Tom Herman is (insert one of 13 vacant FBS jobs here’s) next coach. In two weeks if they lose.
Miami at Pitt, ESPN2: The weirdest ‘Rivalry Week’ rivalry of them all, Pitt is pretty good. All three of their losses are to teams currently ranked in the (AP) top 11. And Miami is probably a loss to Cincinnati away from itself being ranked. GOOD, WEIRD, ACC FOOTBALL! CURING YOUR HANGOVERS SINCE…idk. Today?
Mizzou at Arkansas, CBS, 2:30: Remember last year, when we had a significant rooting interest in an emerging Arkansas team, who was coming off of consecutive shutouts of Ole Miss and LSU? I miss those days. I’d rather have Mizzou play SEC East Patsy in Atlanta than damn Florida. *sigh*
#5 Iowa at Nebraska, ABC, 3:30: Go Huskers. I may watch B1G football on purpose. Dream scenario: Nebraska wins, Iowa beats Michigan State in the B1G championship, we are spared that conference in the Playoff.
#10 Baylor at #18 TCU, ESPN, 7:30: This is just a damn treat. Both teams may be without their starting (in Baylor’s case, second string as well) QB’s, but both will still hang at least 35 points. SEC fan or not, you don’t appreciate football if you don’t watch this.
P.S.: There are other games of note, but most involve eliminated Pac-12 teams. If you stick to the above, you’ll not be cast off by your family.
Saturday, Where I May Attempt to Leave NC at 6AM
Jon Gruden has nothing on my footballgasm for this day. LEGGO
Obviously, there’s Georgia at Georgia Tech, ESPN2. I want to cut that off after Georgia goes up 35-0 on 4 Tech fumbles in the first 8 minutes of action.
#3 (YES THESE ARE LAST WEEK’S CFP RANKINGS) Ohio State at #12 Michigan (ABC): I mean…Harbaugh vs. Meyer has a TON of appeal. OSU’s offense, which should be patently unstoppable, against Michigan’s defense, which has not dominated like it did early on…this is just going to be an incredible game. Get a two TV setup like the one I plan to walk into just after noon on Saturday.
#1 Clemson at South Carolina, ESPN: Clemson’s last chance to Clemson before they Clemson against UNC.
Virginia Tech at Virginia, ESPNU: Perfect world for UNC fan: UVA wins to preserve Mike London’s job, and in so doing keeps Tech out of a bowl for the first time since like, the 80’s.
Louisville at Kentucky, SECN: Getting the ACC/SEC challenge out of the way early, huh? Kentucky can still meet my ‘they’ll make a bowl’ prediction with a win. Or Bobby Petrino is in attendance, which is fun anyway.
3:30, Also Loaded:
Iron Bowl, CBS: Go Tigers. I said it.
#17 UNC at N.C. State, ABC/ESPN2: Shit, we’re going to crap the bed. (Remembers State’s 7 wins are against the following: Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion, South Alabama, Wake Forest, Boston College, Syracuse.) Nope, still not comfortable.
Penn State at #9 Michigan State, ESPN: I don’t know if Christian Hackenburg is good. I tried to watch some of their game against Michigan, and I saw him get sacked twice, throw 4-yard outs on 3rd and 8, and the offense punt from the Michigan 34. James Franklin brought 2015 Vanderbilt offense to 2015 Penn State, and the fact that he coaches two mediocre teams is amazing.
UCLA at #24 USC, ABC/ESPN2: Literally cannot NOT be fun. Jim Mora is going for his fourth straight different USC head coach’s scalp, which is amazing on so many levels.
The Night Slate: On One Hand, Year’s Best Combination. On The Other, Hell on Your ‘Prev CH’ Button:
The three highlights are simple: Bedlam (ABC, 8) pits #7 Oklahoma and #6 Oklahoma State. ESPN gets #14 Florida State at #8 Florida (ESPN, 7:30). Oh, and #4 Notre Dame at #11 Stanford is on FOX at 8 just to sufficiently blow our collective minds with overrated football.
But the undercard may be more intriguing.
Les Miles 200% deserves to keep his job. His record over the last five years trumps Saban’s last five at LSU. He would be a saint even in Athens. Yet, he’s coaching for his job as Texas A&M visits #15 LSU (7:30, SECN). Unreal.
Additionally, there’s the small matter of the Egg Bowl, which I’ve counted on for hilarity for my whole adult life. 7:15, ESPN2, Mississippi State at (randomly) #22 Ole Miss. Thank me later.
I hate myself for writing this.
Georgia travels to Atlanta on Saturday to play the worst Georgia Tech team in about 20 years. Given the fact that that timeframe includes the Chan Gailey/Reggie Ball era, that’s saying something. The Yellow Jackets finished 1-7 in the (hey, its really not that bad) ACC, and have just one win since the second week of September.
Having said that, this is a team that should very well give our Georgia Bulldogs a game on Saturday.
They’ve Had Nothing to Play For Since September
Yeah, intangible factors like emotion and motivation are silly in that they’re impossible to quantitatively evaluate in the game of football. But seriously, this is an above-average football team that simply fell apart once they failed to meet expectations. Given their performance against Florida State, and losses closer than one would expect from a 3-8 team, they haven’t laid down quite yet.
Quite simply, a win over Georgia makes their season. They won on dumb luck last year, and had the Dawgs on the ropes the year prior before Todd Gurley did ridiculous Todd Gurley things. One could argue that they’ve been (again intangible) ‘saving up’ for the Georgia game, and that’s a scary proposition for the Dawgs.
On That Note, Their Offense Still Scores Points
And that is something we certainly shouldn’t be taking for granted. Georgia Tech runs a
unique annoying high school triple option, despite Paul Johnson’s ridiculous claim that it’s some kind of spread attack. They’re going to go for every fourth and less than 4, and pretty much play balls to the wall on the offensive side of the ball.
Despite eight losses and said triple option attack straight from 1958, Tech has scored at least 20 in every game this season. For those keeping track, that is a number Georgia has eclipsed in regulation just once since Tennessee. Said another way, Georgia is averaging well below 20 points outside of the South Carolina and Vandy wins when there was a healthy Nick Chubb. The possibility that the Jackets control tempo while the Dawg offense flounders is a very real threat. Time of possession, ball control, and converting opportunities into points are going to be crucial.
Am I Trolling You?
A little bit. Georgia has the far superior talent and should (should) win this game handily. As with every game against Tech, two critical factors will decide this game: ball control on offense, and assignment discipline on defense. With this iteration of the Georgia offense, the latter is key.
The ‘boring’ way to beat Tech is simple: tackles handle dive, ends force the pitch, linebackers and corners win 1-on-1’s on the outside and stop the outside run.
Georgia needs to focus on winning the boring game, or we could have a little bit of a mess on our hands.
The new rankings come out tonight at 7. Georgia likely won’t be a part of them, but who knows with the committee’s ever-changing criteria? Alabama was ranked 4th last week based on the new metric of ‘wins over teams with winning records’, which is absurd when teams buy 2-3 easy wins every September. The ‘eye test’ is subjective, at best. Listening to Jeff Long discuss the rankings on various programs each week is an exercise in futility of understanding what the committee does in their weekly meetings.
But, its what we’ve got, and what it lacks in transparency is more than made up for in intrigue. What storylines should you follow tonight?
All rankings cited, until the predictions at the bottom, are from last week.
The Big XII Cannibalism Race
With the SEC, ACC*, and Pac-12 North races all but salted up, the focus shifts to the crazy Big XII, where all of the games involving its exciting top 4 all take place in November.
*knocks furiously on wood
#14 Oklahoma State served notice that a little luck and an easy schedule weren’t a problem, as they housed #8 TCU in Stillwater, 49-24. They’ll move up, and deservedly so. They still go to Iowa State (which has been a problem before) this week before closing at home with #6 Baylor and #15 Oklahoma.
Gameday will be in Waco this week, as the Bears host the Sooners in an elimination game. Nothing comes easy for them, as they finish on the road against OSU and TCU, then hosting Texas on December 5. With true freshman QB Jaret Stidham at the helm, odds are they drop at least one.
TCU, despite being behind the eight ball with its loss to Oklahoma State, has the ‘easiest’ road. Kansas this week will be a laugher. At Oklahoma and home against to Baylor? not so much. I’d rank them last among the four contenders due to their 0-1 head-to-head record against the rest, and the fact that they’ve been more than fortunate to escape games against middling K-State and Texas Tech.
The odds that the XII has a team finish undefeated are looking extremely slim. Oklahoma is probably the most balanced, OSU is the biggest mystery, and Baylor is still the most explosive. If Oklahoma wins out, I think they’re in. But I expect chaos to keep the league on the outside looking in for the second straight year.
The Looming Notre Dame/Stanford Showdown
#11 Stanford hosts Oregon this week, and you never know quite what’ll happen. But this is an Oregon team that plays ZERO defense, and a Stanford team showing its most competent offense since the days of Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck. After hosting Cal the following week, #5 Notre Dame comes to town.
Notre Dame plays Wake Forest and BC prior to this. One logically assumes they’ll win those.
What that will set up is likely a 4 vs. 5 or 5 vs. 6 game on The Farm on Thanksgiving Saturday. I don’t particularly care for either of these teams, and neither poses a threat to WIN the CFP…but a 12-1 Stanford or 11-1 Notre Dame is likely as deserving of that #4 spot as anyone.
Go Teams From Michigan
#7 Michigan State took its much-anticipated slide on Saturday in Lincoln. They just never performed relative to their rankings, and got by on an incredibly easy schedule. They, along with #17 Michigan, are no longer real contenders, but could play spoiler for #3 Ohio State.
Both will get their shot. State travels to Columbus on Nov. 21, and the Wolverines host the Bucks in their traditional Nov. 28 nooner.
Please, someone, beat Ohio State.
Extreme Long Shots
First and foremost, piggybacking on the B1G words, #9 Iowa is very much a contender if they somehow win out and take the East winner (sigh. Still likely Ohio State.) down in Indianapolis on Championship Weekend. I just don’t think the committee will be able to justify leaving out a 13-0 power five champ, as garbage as their schedule is.
#13 Memphis lost to Navy on Saturday, effectively ending the hopes of a Group of 5 team making a bid. But #25 Houston still lurks with games against both Memphis and Navy, the latter of which will decide who plays in the New Years Six. Could they make a run at the top 4? No, probably not.
And finally, delusional Carolina fan coming in hot. After (unranked last week, WTF?) North Carolina’s 66-31 dismantling of Duke’s acclaimed defense, the Heels should jump comfortably (given the chaos at the bottom of the top 25, which saw #18 Ole Miss, #19 Texas A&M, and #24 Toledo lose) into the back of the top 20. Were they to beat Miami, Virginia Tech, and N.C. State, it would set up a top 10 matchup vs. Clemson in the ACC Championship game. Is there precedent for a bad early season loss and subsequent dominant performance getting you in the playoff?
Yes. Yes there is.
Now watch them lose to Miami with me in attendance this week.
Projecting the Rankings
This will be useless in 4 hours. Oh well.
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma State
- Michigan State
- Mississippi State
- Florida State
- North Carolina
What a difference a win makes.
Given the tumultuous chain of events spanning the timeline from October 31, 3:30pm until noon on Saturday, the collective emotion of Georgia’s fanbase can only be described as ‘dumpster fire in nuclear holocaust.’ A 27-3 win over Kentucky should do little to get the ship sailing back in the right direction, but one can see the light at the end of the tunnel for the Georgia Bulldogs. They have a chance to make the best of a litany of bad situations*.
*bad situations include the following:
- Hiring Brian Schottenheimer. On Friday night, I told a friend the end-of-season ultimatum for Mark Richt should be “he goes, or you all go”. I still may be invested in that.
- The failure of Brice Ramsey. After a few recruiting misses, transfers, and graduations, he needed to step up and take the quarterback position. He did not.
- Nick Chubb’s injury.
- The goofiest, saddest, special teams performance by a team I’ve ever seen, and given recent years of Georgia fandom, that’s saying something.
- The Faton Bauta thing in Jacksonville.
- The Jeremy Pruitt situation.
That is a whole hell of a lot for one team to swallow. The Kentucky game wasn’t aesthetically pleasing by any means, but it was workmanlike. As Palmer alluded to in his kneejerks, Georgia did what this team came out of fall camp built to do: dominate time of possession, suffocate the other team on D, and (largely) keep mistakes to a minimum.
While it’s not enough for anyone to claim the ship has been righted, one can see how the season has potential to be deemed at least a moderate success…right?
Well, that all depends.
Georgia travels to Auburn in what should be college football’s saddest failed expectations game of the season. With both teams righting the ship somewhat this past Saturday (Auburn over A&M 26-10 in College Station is downright impressive), the Dawgs can consider themselves fortunate that the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is at noon.
Win at Auburn, and you close with two extremely winnable (albeit kinda scary) games against in-state ‘rivals’ to close it out.
Does 9-3 save CMR’s job? Absolutely. Does it quiet rumors that Jeremy Pruitt is one foot out the door? Probably, but he very well still could be, despite reports that he has reached out to recruits to assure them that all is well.
The Kentucky win has the DudeYouCrazy braintrust feeling a lot better. Three more, a 9-3 finish, and something like a Music City Bowl win over some middling ACC opponent, and we can queue up the hype machine for 2016.
Only because we know nothing. Except for everything.
First, Spencer Hall and I both speculated:
If a fight involved the UGA offensive staff, I bet they threw a punch three yards short of the sticks. https://t.co/PoRVTwAwei
— HALLRAISER (@edsbs) November 5, 2015
If only the players could’ve shown the physicality of the coaching staff in October, no altercations would’ve occurred. #science
— Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd) November 5, 2015
And yo, if the altercation involved Schotty, Pruitt should get a raise.
— Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd) November 5, 2015
Pruitt left Florida State for physical ‘altercations’ involving women, so we should’ve seen this coming.
— Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd) November 5, 2015
The first @ reply to David Pollack’s crypticness is gold.
Finally, Dude Emeritus Andrew Hall broke the truth.
The DudeYouCrazy braintrust was going to add its text conversation about the matter, because our #sources are all over this.
Will amend when Chris Broussard gets back to us.