Author Archives: tardawg1014
Our crew at DudeYouCrazy (sans Jason Smith) has spent much of the past three weeks vehemently defending Mark Richt and his program at the University of Georgia. When you’re consistently an upper-echelon contender in the best conference in America in said conference’s golden era, you don’t look for the ‘grass is greener’ alternative. Any objective observer knows Georgia has been a couple of breaks in a couple of years away from the promised land.
The same theory applies, and holds even more water, with oft-unfairly-maligned offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
If Bobo is offered the Colorado State head coaching job, he would be a fool not to accept. Andrew and Daniel both covered this very well. New Florida coach Jim McElwain left a stable of versatile offensive talent in Fort Collins, allowing a new coach to step in and replicate McElwain’s juggernaut, balanced, multiple, get-your-hands-to-the-playmakers offense. A couple years of sustained success, and Bobo is a top head coaching candidate in his early 40’s. Perhaps even a sure-fire winner as a Mark Richt replacement.
For the #FireBobo crew, here is what you stand to lose:
- An offense that has spent just two years out of the top four among SEC teams in scoring over the past eight years: Those two years were the 2009 Joe Cox abomination, where output slipped to a still-respectable 28.9 points a game (7th in the conference), and 2013, where all SEC offenses scored at record clips and Georgia finished 5th. You may recall injuries to Todd Gurley, Aaron Murray, Malcolm Mitchell, Michael Bennett, Justin Scott-Wesley, and Chris Conley in 2013, and that may have had a downwards effect on pulling the Dawgs all the way down to a paltry 36.7 points a game.
– Continuity with an underclassman quarterback taking over next year: Brice Ramsey has looked great in spot duty this year. With the losses of Gurley, Conley, and Bennett, do you want a young QB to lose two years’ education in a system tailored to allow him to make easy throws to open targets? Especially when those targets lack the experience of the past two years’ receiving corps?
– Recruits. I try not to buy into recruiting too much, but you have the next ‘can’t miss blue chipper’ in Washington QB Jacob Eason set to arrive on campus in the spring of 2016. Do you want him to reevaluate if he wants to move 3,000 miles to play ball when Pac-12 offenses are putting more QB’s in the league than anyone right now?
I’ll stick with the guy whose offense has finished in the top four in SEC total offense every year since 2011, even through the proliferation of the no huddle hurry up in the league, thank you very much.
Jeepers, there are too many bowls.
I really have no good way to present this to you in a manner that will excite you, and my only hope of Bowl Viewing Guide Vol. 1 not falling on blind eyes is that you share our obsession with amateur football’s highest level (and/or the betting thereof).
Week 1 is intended only to give you a solid excuse to sit in a recliner, drink bourbon, and ignore your siblings’ children. With one ranked team (Utah, at 22) and one Power 5 team (again Utah, of the Pac-12), these games are good for absolutely nothing else.
Saturday, Dec 20
Nevada (7-5) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4), New Orleans Bowl, 11AM, ESPN: Wait. The bowl game located in NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA starts at 10am local time? Even seasoned revelers such as all Louisianans and people from Reno won’t make kickoff for that.
Utah State (9-4) vs. UTEP (7-5), New Mexico Bowl, 2:20, ESPN: Ranked the bowl season’s least watchable bowl by SBNation’s Bill Connelly. Utah State was shut out by Tennessee before Chuckie Keeton went down with injury, so I can’t figure their third stringer is much count. I got nothing.
#22 Utah (8-4) vs. Colorado State (10-2), Las Vegas Bowl, 3:30, ABC: Luckily, the New Mexico Bowl is paired on TV with the best matchup of the day. Utah’s defensive line is a havoc-creating problem, and Colorado State is explosive even without new Florida coach Jim McIlwain. Rams WR Rashard Higgins, he of 1640 receiving yards this year, is the best player you’ve never heard of.
Western Michigan (8-4) vs. Air Force (9-3), Idaho Potato Bowl, 5:45, ESPN: According to the same article linked above, this is the third-most even bowl matchup. I feel like Boise is just the place for a five-overtime meaningless bowl game.
South Alabama (6-6) vs. Bowling Green (9-4), Camellia Bowl, 9:15, ESPN: So, a team that goes 5-3 in the Sun Belt gets in over an 8-0 Georgia Southern? Go away, NCAA. Well, Southern doesn’t have to travel to Montgomery, AL for the inaugural Camellia Bowl (spoken in ‘Gone With The Wind’ accent).
Monday, Dec 22
BYU (8-4) vs. Memphis (9-3), Miami Beach Bowl, 2:00, ESPN: The ‘Monday while people are still working during the week of Christmas game’, this game is played on the gravesite of the Orange Bowl, at… MARLINS PARK!
This game becomes must-see TV if this abomination goes off for touchdowns. Oh, and Memphis is pretty good.
Marshall (12-1) vs. Northern Illinois (11-2), Boca Raton Bowl, 6:00, ESPN: Boca Raton, FL, population 84,392, has a bowl game between two conference champions in its first year.
The first annual DudeYouCrazy.net bowl is accepting sponsorship bids now. We can seat about 9,000 at Grady High School. The game will be played in the coveted 2:15am timeslot, and ESPN WILL CARRY IT!
(This is actually the most compelling game on this list, I think.)
Navy (7-5) vs. San Diego State (7-5), San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, 9:30, ESPN: You may notice that I typed the sponsor’s whole title for the first time here. That’s because the San Diego County Credit Union feels its clients need a bowl game in their honor. San Diego is absolutely one of two cities (Miami being the other) in the U.S. where this is deemed acceptable.
Wednesday, Dec 24
Central Michigan (7-5) vs. Western Kentucky (7-5), Bahamas (!!!) Bowl, noon, ESPN: Two directional midwestern state schools get to travel to the Bahamas. Customs agents in the Central time one, that white powder is NOT tarmac snow.
Fresno State (6-7) vs. Rice (7-5), Hawai’i Bowl, 8:00, ESPN: Christmas Eve is definitely the destination bowl game day of the year. Perfect background fodder to which one blacks out on eggnog. No, Fresno’s record is not a typo. They now join Georgia Tech as the only teams with losing records to participate in bowl games, a distinction I hate seeing the Jackets lose.
All told, these games rank 38, 36, 32, 30, 29, 27, 16, and 13 on Connelly’s rankings. DRAMA!
We’ll be back for the post-Christmas/still-not-great games next week.
Louisville was a tough team to peg in the preseason. They lost their coach, Charlie Strong, to Texas, along with a first round pick at QB (Teddy Bridgewater) and 7 starters from the nation’s #2 scoring defense. They made a step up in competition from the AAC to the ACC. And their new coach? A guy who left them (and the Falcons) (and, to an extent, Arkansas) high and dry just seven years prior, the ultimate wild-card, Bobby “doesn’t matter, had sex” Petrino.
That’s really about as much turnover and uncertainty as a team can expect to have in one offseason, but to the Cardinals’ credit they delivered in year 1 in the ACC. Excepting an early-season loss at Virginia, the Cards breezed through their lightweight ACC counterparts (Syracuse, Wake Forest, N.C. State, Boston College), lost very close games to their competitive draws (Florida State, Clemson), and added two decent nonconference wins (Notre Dame, Kentucky) to close the season. At 9-3, this shapes up to be a pretty tough matchup for the Dawgs.
Let’s start on this side of the ball, because you may be familiar with the guy in charge. Todd Grantham, who coached Georgia’s defense off a cliff last year, emerged as the DC at Louisville and was nearly fired before coaching a single game. At that point, one would have added Grantham to the list of potential causes for a Louisville dumpster fire…but that didn’t turn out to be the case.
UL’s defense finished 6th in the country, allowing 293 yards per game on less than 4 and a half per play. Teams behind them? Michigan State, Alabama, Florida, and Ole Miss, to name a few.
It starts up front with a very experienced defensive line. Sheldon Rankins, Lorenzo Mauldin, Dieontrez Mount, and B.J. Dubose all accounted for at least four sacks, and all but Dubose had at least 10.5 tackles for loss. In the games I saw them play this year, I was impressed with their ability to get off 1-v-1 blocks and into the backfield to blow up the run. That’d come in handy against Georgia’s rushing attack.
Safety Gerod Holliman is the name you absolutely MUST know on this D. The junior tied an NCAA record with 14 (fourteen!) interceptions on the season. Hutson Mason, familiarize yourself and avoid at all costs.
Not pictured are two former Dawgs who will join the UL secondary next year: Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq ‘E-Harmony‘ Wiggins.
As far as Petrino’s system goes, UL’s offense was quite balanced in year one. They were 47th in total offense, but only 50th in passing. Will Gardner missed four games with injury, but was the best the Cards had to offer at QB, throwing 12 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Expect to see freshman Reggie Bonnafon in some packages as well for the Cardinals, as he played in 9 games this year.
Last I checked, Georgia didn’t play Alabama this year, thus avoiding Amari Cooper. I bring this up because it means DeVante Parker will be the single best receiver the Dawgs’ young secondary has faced this year. #9 stands 6’3 211, and in only six games (he missed the start of the season with a leg injury) amassed 735 yards and 5 TD’s on 35 catches. Opposite him are aptly-named James Quick and Eli Rogers, who led the team with 40 catches. All three are home run threats.
Ready for another SEC blast from the past for the Cardinals? Michael ‘seriously, his knee was down’ Dyer. Yeah, the one from Auburn the year Cam was there. Playing at at least his third school, Dyer, Domonique Brown, and Brandon Radcliff split the tailback duties for Louisville. They’re good for 10-12 touches apiece in the Belk Bowl.
This is not a team that Georgia’s fans or players should take lightly. The revenge factor from Grantham and the D may well be in place, the D-line and receiving corps represent legitimate problems, and a loss could lead to more transfers to the greener pastures (some kind of Churchill Downs reference– the pieces are there) from Athens to northern Kentucky.
In case you missed it over the weekend, Georgia picked up five of its most important commits for the 2015 season. They’re not guys you’ll see on the impressive list of 2015 commitments on Rivals or Scout, they’re much, MUCH more important.
Commited to the G baby
— L8F4➰➰ (@Floyd_XXXking) December 14, 2014
In addition to Leonard Floyd (who spent much of the year in the top half of many pundits’ draft boards), another edge rusher in Jordan Jenkins announced his 2015 return. As if the two of them and super freshman Lorenzo Carter weren’t horrifying enough this season. I expect the trio to spend a lot more time on the field together next year, as Jenkins proved in November his aptitude as a hand-on-the-ground end. That’s a damn shame for SEC offenses.
On offense, two cogs to Georgia’s most underrated unit (the OL) are back. Kolton Houston, long a victim of NCAA stupidity, was granted a 6th year of eligibility by the governing body that robbed him of three. His left side counterpart John Theus is also set to return, meaning 4 of 5 starters from an O-line that dominated almost every opponent played this year are back.
Last but not least, Malcolm Mitchell will be back for a fifth year, and I expect him to blow up in 2015. He was never quite healthy this year after his 2013-ending ACL injury at Clemson, but started to emerge as the Mitchell of old as the season wore on. His return will go a long ways to offsetting the departures of Chris Conley and Michael Bennett.
We haven’t reached the offseason yet, so the random rash of attrition that we know is coming hasn’t hit. With these guys returning, though, we get to start 2015 at plus-5.
Looking for Georgia football highlights? Download the updated version of The UGA Vault for FREE on iOS or Android here.
Nothing I say in this blog post is going to surprise you. Aside from mentioning that, for the second year in a row, Missouri will be representing the East in the SEC Championship game, nothing should offend you. Consider this the de facto viewing guide for this weekend, which is not without intriguing matchups and (obviously!) playoff implications.
Pac-12- #7 Arizona vs. #2 Oregon (Friday, 9pm, FOX)
Since the best way to tackle this post is chronologically, let’s start with the league which decided to get its chaos out of the way early and start the weekend with a ferocious bang. Oregon has lost exactly three games in the past two years, and averaged 45.7 points in compiling a gaudy 22-3 record. Two of those losses? To an Arizona team, slowing down Heisman
candidate frontrunner winner Marcus Mariota’s offense to the tune of 40 points total.
Rich Rodriguez has re-established himself as a premier coach, Anu Solomon and Nick Wilson (both freshmen) have made for a terrifying backfield, and Zona’s 3-3-5 seems the perfect foil to Oregon. #PACtion has been great all year, and even as the ‘safest’ bet for the playoff, Oregon could be in trouble.
B1G- #13 Wisconsin vs. #5 Ohio State (Saturday, 8:17pm, FOX)
Without Braxton Miller and now J.T. Barrett, Ohio State turns to Cardale Jones as the QB du jour. Losing out to Barrett has proven nothing negative about Jones’ ability, and if he can distribute the ball the way Barrett did, I still think Ohio State has a good shot to win this and sneak into the playoff (gag).
On the other side, Wisconsin features 2000-yard back Melvin Gordon, no passing game to speak of, and a classic run-heavy B1G team. By the time this game kicks off, we should have an idea of what’s at stake for the Bucknuts. Otherwise, it’s the one I’d recommend skipping.
The Mess in the Big XII
According to the selection committee, TCU is the best this league has to offer. Vexing, because just two weeks ago they beat KANSAS by two measly points. The #3 Horned Frogs can seal a berth in the playoff at home against Iowa State (noon, ABC/ESPN3).
Much more interesting is #9 K-State at #6 Baylor (7:45, ESPN). A K-State win anoints TCU as the undisputed champion of the league (if only we had a way to determine that in some kind of championship structure…)** while a Baylor win and any slip-up from the top five makes them a difficult team to leave out of the playoff.
**- Technically, K-State would be co-champion, but lost to TCU head-to-head. If Baylor holds serve, they’re co-champion who beat TCU head-to-head. What a system!
One more thought on the Big XII: Oklahoma State/#20 Oklahoma in BEDLAM! is on FS1 at 3:30, and is your only option for a switchback channel during the SEC ‘ship.
Speaking of Which…
I went to trivia last night and we lost out on championship tickets by one measly point. I was going to sell the mess out of them to a confused Mizzou fan. #1 Alabama vs. #16 Mizzou (3:30, CBS) should be a bloodletting. I hope it is. Although a Mizzou win would also be hilarious. Basically, the only unsatisfactory result of this game is a close Alabama win.
The fact that this game is 1 vs. 16 got me thinking about the NCAA Tournament, and how much freaking fun it’d be to have a 16-team field in college football. As it stands right now, we’d be looking at:
Yeah, we need this to happen.
And Some #ACCtion
#4 Florida State vs. #11 Georgia Tech (8, ABC): I can’t get over the funny feeling that Tech steals this one in front of 21,000 loyal ACC fans. It’s just the most #goacc thing that could happen at this point.