Category Archives: Big 12
Changing Of The Guard?
A recent conference power poll had the Big-12 ranked ahead of the SEC for the first time in 7 years. The only reason I think this happened, is because the ACC went 4-0 against the SEC East this past weekend, and that is the first time that has happened in a long time. There is no reason to panic however, because the SEC currently has 10 of the top 25 recruiting classes (rivals.com).
Alabama (1st overall class)
Georgia (3rd overall class)
Tennessee (5th overall class)
Texas A&M (6th overall class)
South Carolina (8th overall class)
Auburn (12th overall class)
Mississippi State (14th overall class)
LSU (17th overall class)
Arkansas (20th overall class)
Ole Miss (23rd overall class)
The SEC makes up half of the top 10, and 45% of the top 20. The SEC haters out there will have to endure a lot of pain in the coming years due to the SEC just reloading, but if there is a year for another conference to win the playoff, it might be this year. There is a possibility that the Big12 get two teams in the playoff is all hell breaks loose in front of them, and that would almost guarantee them a spot in the National Championship (depending on seeding).
I fully expect the SEC (aka: Alabama) to win the National Title, not only on the field, but the recruiting National Title as well. The other conferences just need to cope with the fact that high school kids want to come and play in the best conference, with the best coaches, and the most national exposure in the NCAA.
Music City Or Bust
I will be the first to tell you that Georgia had a disappointing year, but we can still win 10 games with a big bowl game win. 10 wins is a good year for most teams, and Georgia being projected to go to the Music City Bowl is a complete insult.
- College Football Playoff Semifinal (Sugar Bowl): Alabama vs Ohio State
- Orange: Mississippi State vs Georgia Tech
- Cotton: Ole Miss vs Baylor
- Citrus: Mizzou vs Minnesota
- Outback: Auburn vs Wisconsin
- Music City: Georgia vs Maryland
- TaxSlayer: LSU vs Boston College
- Belk: Florida vs Notre Dame
- Liberty: Tennessee vs Texas
- Texas: Texas A&M vs West Virginia
- Independence: Arkansas vs N.C. State
- Birmingham: South Carolina vs Cincinnati
- Auburn should not be in the Outback Bowl over UGA. This is a four loss Auburn team who LOST TO UGA! Excuse me, DESTROYED by UGA. I will say Nashville is a much better city than Tampa Bay, but it is a little bit of an insult for UGA to play Maryland after beating Auburn.
- If there is anyway Texas and Texas A&M can play one another, it needs to happen. I am tired of this little cat fight between the schools, you are rivals, play each other.
- South Carolina does not deserve to go to a bowl over Georgia Southern. At All. South Carolina was picked by most (not me) to win the East, but instead they are barely bowl eligible. I just want to watch the world burn.
I understand UGA lost to SC and Florida, but they should still be rewarded for having a shot at another 10 win season. If there is a way for Auburn to not receive a bowl invite, that would be the only thing that could make me happy after receiving a Music City Bowl bid.
Evil Richt To Nebraska?
Don’t count on it. Mark Richt is listed as one of the favorites for the Nebraska job according to Vegas, but Richt was asked in his weekly press conference about it and he demolished all doubts about his future at UGA. For those wanting Richt gone, looks like you will have to hope he retires soon because he is not going anywhere anytime soon. Here are the full odds for the Nebraska head coaching position.
Preseason Poll Spot On
After all the criticism of the preseason polls (mainly by me), it looks as if I will have to eat my words. It seems as if the “experts” have almost got it spot on from the first preseason, to week 15. The most laughable part of the preseason is Auburn and Oklahoma. Just wait till you see how high they had these two teams before the season, you will be rolling with laughter. Here is the comparison.
Freeze Not Going Anywhere
You can take Hugh Freeze off the list of possible head coaches for the Florida vacancy, because Ole Miss has just offered him a nice extension. I personally thought that Freeze would be a disaster hire for the Gators, so I am a little disappointed they did not try to counter offer Ole Miss. This off season will be very interesting with how the new coaching vacancies will be filled. Here are the details of the new Hugh Freeze contract.
Echoing still from Sanford Stadium across Georgia, that dull roar you hear is the loud minority of Georgia fans coming out of their “Fire Mark Richt” woodworks in the wake of Georgia’s first loss to Georgia Tech in six years. It is a vocal minority, and even one that had a pretty decent case following the 2010 season– one which saw a 6-7 Georgia team lose to UCF in a no-name bowl game, followed by an 0-2 start in 2011.
We need to nip this one in the bud right now, though: Mark Richt isn’t going anywhere, nor should he.
We learned of the firing of Nebraska’s Bo Pelini this morning, and there are a lot of people who want to compare Pelini’s Nebraska program to Richt’s at Georgia. It’s a fair comparison, as Georgia’s .704 win percentage since 2007 is one percent lower than Nebraska’s in the Pelini era. Pelini has been a consistent winner at a historically strong program, and that was his downfall. He won 9 or 10 games in each of his seven seasons in Lincoln, and won or shared a division title in four of those seasons. Some may call that stagnant, I call it consistent.
Nebraska isn’t exactly a recruiting hotbed, as a large percentage of the Huskers’ best players over the years have hailed from Texas and California. As the game has evolved to incorporate more speed and less brute force, the country boys from Nebraska cornfields have been phased out of the game. After the ridiculous success of Tom Osborne and the underrated (58-19 in six years!) success of Frank Solich, it stands to reason that Nebraska fans would be spoiled.
In the modern landscape of college football, Nebraska is in a no-man’s land. I don’t think it will take long for the folks in Lincoln to realize they made a mistake firing a largely successful (albeit overly candid) head coach.
Which brings us back to Mark Richt at Georgia. As Andrew wrote this morning, Richt has done everything you can ask of a coach in an era where his conference happens to be the toughest conference in history. He’s averaged 9.6 wins a season (sound familiar?), moved swiftly to upgrade his staff when something hasn’t worked (see: Martinez, Willie; Grantham, Todd), and has weathered the storm of scores of new coaches’ “hey look what we’re building at _______!” recruiting pitches with yet another top class inbound in February.
Sure, there are losses that border on inexplicable for Richt. That’s the nature of the game of college football, and why we devote our falls to consuming, disseminating, and discussing it. One team wins, one team loses. But I would rather be in the hunt on a year-in, year-out basis than hold out hope for a magical run once every four or five years. That’s how you become Arkansas or Auburn.
There are people who say Georgia deserves a Nick Saban-type coach. There’s only one Nick Saban, and he is entrenched at Alabama. Although he seems it, not even Saban is impervious to the upset. He went 6-6 in his first year while establishing ‘the system’ in Tuscaloosa, and as demonstrated firsthand, that is not good enough in Athens. Also, what does the list of Sabanesque winners on the market look like right now? Unless someone knows something about exhuming corpses or cloning, I’ll wait for a good response.
A known quantity is generally better than the unknown, as tantalizing as the prospects of the unknown sound. Barring catastrophic injuries (as seen in 2013), Georgia is pretty much a lock to win 10, compete for the East, and finish in the top 15 in the country. Unless you are the ‘it’ program like a mid-1990’s Nebraska, early-2000’s Miami, mid-2000’s USC, or current Alabama, that’s all you can ask.
A new coach could be a coup a la Pete Carroll at USC, but could leave you with a scorching case of sanctions and Lane Kiffin. Or a new coach could be Lane Kiffin. Or Will Muschamp. Or Gene Chizik (minus Cam Newton). Or any other hot commodity that fails to prove he has the chops at the top level of the sport.
A new coach could bring in a ‘system’ that fails to fit the talents of his players, and leave the program in a spiral of mediocrity. Rich Rodriguez is proving again at Arizona that he can win almost anywhere, but Michigan didn’t give him the chance to fully incorporate his system. Now, a consistent power is struggling to reach six wins every year. (FWIW, Nebraska is going the way of Michigan.) If Georgia could drop everything and hire Chip Kelly tomorrow, would fans have the patience to wait out Kelly finding his mobile system QB, speedy receivers, and nimble linemen? I have serious doubts.
I bring that up because it underscores another beautiful Richtism: he and his assistants adjust the system to the talent, not the talent to the system. You have the #1 draft pick in Matt Stafford, or the SEC’s all-time leading passer in Aaron Murray? Go up-tempo and vertical. He did that. The best Bulldog since Herschel Walker in the backfield? Go 65/35 run. He did that too. In an ego-driven profession, coaches tend to think there is one way to go about things. Richt has the humility to see when things are wrong, and fix them. Good luck finding that again.
So yes, this is a little bit of a rant because of the (very real) similarities characterizing the current states of the Nebraska and Georgia programs. They’re both consistent winners, both historically and recently, and both stand to take a mighty tumble in the wake of a coaching change.
Let’s watch over the next couple of years how this Nebraska thing plays out. I’ll take my chances with CMR and another SEC and National Championship contender in 2015.
MVP For Chubb
Nick Chubb is the best freshman running back in the whole country. Is he the SEC’s MVP? No, not yet. As great as Nick Chubb is, he has yet to play an entire season as the starting running back. Chubb could surpass Gurley as the best running back in the Mark Richt era, but this season the SEC’s MVP is Amari Cooper or Dak Prescott. Here are the chance Chubb gets MVP.
Iron Bowl Friends
It is no secret that there is a lot of hatred in the Iron Bowl, but even amidst all the hate we can find a bright spot. Two women diagnosed with cancer have found a beautiful friendship that gets stronger with each Iron Bowl. If you read anything today, read this touching story. The full story here.
Non Conference Rivalries
I love the out of conference rivalries that SC, UGA, and Florida have. UGA basically has two with Georgia Tech and Clemson, and those are some of the most hyped up games of the year. I would love for Alabama and Ohio State to play each and every year. Imagine Urban and Saban on opposite sidelines once again. It would be magical. Here are the must have out of conference rivalries.