Labor Day weekend is nice because you essentially get five (six if you include Georgia State/Abilene Christian this year) days of FBS football in some way, shape or form, which is almost overkill. Because the Tuesday and Wednesday after? TORTURE. Its not quite the 231 days that preceded last Wednesday after the Auburn/Florida State game, but its a struggle. We had a taste, now we want more. This is how heroin addictions get started.
Arizona at UT-San Antonio, 8pm, FS1. This game has intrigue to me for three reasons:
1) Arizona has a chance to be a decent football team and darkhorse in the Pac-12 South.
2) Thursday night road games are where claims such as 1 go to die.
3) Larry Coker- still a corpse that coaches football.
This game really doesn’t intrigue me at all.
Pitt at Boston College, 8pm, ESPN: Two teams who will win 5-7 games and play in pre-Christmas bowls. If you haven’t seen Pitt WR Tyler Boyd yet, then maybe it tickles your fancy.
Washington State at Nevada, 10:30, ESPN: Man, the standard is so much lower for Thu/Fri games. This one should at least feature a LOT of points (O/U is set at 65.5, I’m banging the over) and the world’s favorite coach.
Saturday: The Noon Swoon
Lord, this is a pitiful slate. There are three SEC games, with #2 Alabama hosting FAU and Tennessee hosting Arkansas State, somehow both on the SEC Network. #24 Missouri travels to Toledo (that is not a typo) and is the ESPN game for noon (also not a typo). What a world.
On ABC, you get a chance to see #4 Oklahoma, as they travel to Tulsa. And beyond that, in no particular order, #20 K-State in a conference game at Iowa State on FS1, Penn State/Akron on ESPN2, and #23 Clemson’s lack of a run defense against South Carolina State on your local ACC Network affiliate.
3:30- The Football Gods Give Us One
I’d be kinda pissed if I lived on the West Coast and this was a nooner for me, but #14 USC travels to Palo Alto to take on perpetually immovable object #13 Stanford on ABC. USC ran 102 plays in their week 1 win over Fresno State, and Stanford always ruins hurry-up extraordinaire Oregon’s season. CONSIDER ME COMPELLED.
Beyond that, its uglier than the noons. Kentucky will have a competitive game at Ohio on the Collegiate ESPN network, Florida debuts against EMU at 4 on the SEC, and #15 Ole Miss and Vandy come at you from LP Field at 4:30 on ESPN.
Saturday Saturday Saaaaaturday, Saturday Saturday Saaaaaturday, Saturday Saturday Saaaaaturday Night’s Alright
#7 Michigan State at #3 Oregon. 6:30pm. FOX. Be there or be square.
Reeling #21 South Carolina hosts possible-best-team-in-North-Carolina East Carolina on ESPNU at 7 in a game where ECU QB Shane Carden is out to throw the ball more than Kenny Trill’s 60 attempts.
The #5 Barners get a tune-up against San Jose State at 7 on ESPN2. We get to see round 2 of senor Trill as Lamar visits #9 Texas A&M on the SEC Network at 7. Texas gets to try to hold BYU under 500 rushing yards at the same time on FS1. What I’m saying is this: you should have your rotational trigger finger ready to go by now, its week 2.
At 7:30, our favorite game that has no bearing on any titles at all takes place, as #16 Notre Dame hosts Michigan on NBC. So, that’s 6 games to keep an eye on. For #7, how about Virginia Tech at #8 Ohio State on ESPN at 8?
Let’s rank them in order of what you should have on your ‘favorites’ list to flip through:
1) FOX. Sparty/Ducks.
2) NBC, I guess, for you purists out there.
3) ESPNU, because S.C. could seriously be 0-2 with Georgia on deck.
4) ABC. Nobody likes seeing Urban Meyer win anything, even if it means Frank Beamer wins instead.
5-7) Up to you, man. I don’t own you.
Enjoy the games, folks!
100 Days of SEC Dominance: Day 90 – The Big Ten is Bad at Math and at Reading and at Writing and at Football and Ohio State President Gordon Gee is an idiot
“You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we’re doing wrong.”
That was Ohio State President Gordon Gee’s response to half-hearted (but true) accusations that the Big 10 (a conference with 14 member institutions) can’t count. You’re all adults and I’m sure with a little effort you can track down the audio recording in which he also blasts Catholics.
Oh how I love Ohio State. I’m so giddy over this quotation that I’m going to skip over making jokes about Gordon Gee’s appearance (I would have commented on how he looks like a more feminine version of the Six Flags dancing man) and Ohio State football as a whole. I’m just going to talk academics.
For starters, there is conclusive evidence that the Big 10 has 14 schools and there isn’t conclusive evidence that the SEC can’t read or write.
So I had to dig a little deeper. Upon further examination I offer this: Ohio State would be the SEC East’s fourth best institution at reading and writing. Using those two testing areas (and the SAT as the measure), here’s how Ohio State stacks up within reported data for “admitted students” and their SAT results.
|School||Reading 25th Percentile||Reading 75th Percentile||Writing 25th Percentile||Writing 75th Percentile|
*Bold = as good as Ohio State or better than Ohio State
For giggles, I did some math on the entire SEC East and added Ohio State. Now, keep in mind I’m allowed to do math because I know 14 does not equal 10. Here’s what I did: I combined all of the figures above and found a happy middle-point for students admitted. Example: Ohio State’s Reading and Writing Score = (540+650+550+650)/2. So, Ohio State scored 1195. Practically speaking, a student with an 1195 on the Reading and Writing portions of the SAT likely was accepted into the Ohio State University.
Here’s how it worked out for the rest of the field…
You keep doing you, Gordon Gee. We’ll be counting, reading and writing down here.
And winning National Championships.
That’s all I got/
For the rest of the SEC Domination Countdown, go here.
This is the eleventh article reviewing the topics I deemed most important to the SEC before the season began.
The previous articles in this series can be found here:
- Storyline 10: The Return of Marcus Lattimore
- Storyline 9: Derek Dooley’s Hot Seat
- Storyline 8: Georgia’s Defense
- Storyline 7: Is Vanderbilt any good?
- Storyline 6: Picking on the New Kids – Texas A&M and Missouri
- Storyline 5: Divisional Powershift Courtesy of Auburn and Florida
- Storyline 4: The Decline of Arkansas and Mississippi State
- Storyline 3: The SEC’s Heisman Candidates
- Storyline 2: Alabama
- Storyline 1: Reviewing the Experts Picks
- Today: Handicapping the SEC East
- Tomorrow: Handicapping the SEC West
In August I spent some time handicapping the possible outcomes for each and every team in the SEC. Here is how all of that turned out and how some of the projections could have made you some money in Las Vegas (keep in mind this only includes regular season wins):
The SEC East
|Team||DYC Projected Wins||Actual Wins||Vegas Spot||Dude Win $?|
In general, I used the following process for determining a Vegas “Win”: If one number was reached by me, I used that relative to the spot of Vegas, if a range was found be me, I split the middle and compared to Vegas. Vegas offered two ranges (Vandy and Kentucky) but both ends of the ranges were clearly above and below where I was, so there was no gray area.
Tennessee was the lone “off” bet, as my range yielded a 7.5 and the Vegas spot was 7.5.
So, betting on seven games with clear differentiation would have yielded you seven wins.
I’ll put up the figures for the SEC West tomorrow.
That’s all I got/
In August of 2012 I broke down what I anticipated to be the 10 Biggest Storylines in the SEC. This is the fourth of ten looks back at those topics. Also, I realize how cruel and unusual the punishment of two Vanderbilt Articles in one day is. It’s harder on me than it is on you. And it’s Friday.
The Rise of Vanderbilt?
James Franklin is a hot-head. Not the Missouri quarterback; the Vanderbilt coach. He spent the bulk of his first season (2011) being petty and the entirety of last summer saying things along the lines of, “Vanderbilt isn’t Vanderbilt anymore! We are Vanderbilt!!!” and “This ain’t your pop’s Vanderbilt football team. This is your granddaddy’s son’s Vanderbilt team, baby!”
I hated it. When I wrote about Vanderbilt in August I pointed out that I found little merit in Vandy’s six wins in 2011 (Elon, Ole Miss, UConn Army, Kentucky, Wake Forest) and that I thought Vandy caught a few teams (like Georgia) by surprise and bamboozled their way into some close games by simply being prepared – but not necessarily good.
I summarized the 2012 outlook for the Commodores this way:
For Vanderbilt to win games this season they will have to be the better team – not just the team that is the most prepared. And, there is a difference. Coach James Franklin will draw every opponent’s best effort this season, and I bet he’s fired up about that for three reasons:
1. It’s a sign that 2011 went well for him and his first Vanderbilt squad.
2. Any wins this year will hold the value of “Vandy was the better team” not merely “Vandy snuck up on them today.”
3. He thinks Vanderbilt can win against anyone.
Is Franklin right or will Vanderbilt be put back in their place this season? I refuse to live in a world where James Franklin is right, and I’ll just leave it at that.
I hate James Franklin and I recognize this bias, but I’m still conflicted to an extent on Vanderbilt. Were they better this year than they were in 2011? Abso-freaking-lutely. But, they seem to be drawing upon another consistent trend: over-hype. After last season folks talked about Vandy as if they were a top-25 team in 2011, which they weren’t. Now that they are in the top-25, I can’t help but wonder, are they really one of the 25 best? And that’s the dark, Fanklin-hating place where the conflict stems from.
Obviously, it’s hard to forget Georgia’s 45-point thrashing of the Commodores in the midst of four games (Florida Atlantic before, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kentucky after) that were utterly uninspiring. If you witnessed that game (especially within the context of those surrounding games) it’s probably hard for you to reconcile Vanderbilt as a legitimate top-25 team as well.
On the other hand, I don’t know that points really matter in the grand scheme of things and it’s hard to discount Vanderbilt based on their losses to teams that finished ranked 4th (Georgia), 7th (South Carolina), 10th (Florida) and 16th (Northwestern) in the final Coaches Poll. It’s even hard to nit-pick those losses when they all occurred prior to the middle of October.
And yet, can you garner much from wins against these teams: Presbyterian (little league), UMass (arguably the worst team in the country), Wake Forest and NC State (combined 7-9 in ACC play), and Missouri, Auburn, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Tennessee (combined 6-34 SEC record)? Probably not.
When you compare Vanderbilt to Georgia the picture becomes a bit clearer. Both played relatively soft SEC schedules, but there is still room for distinction. Vanderbilt played four games against teams in the final top-25, Georgia played five. Vanderbilt went 0-4 in those games, Georgia went 3-2. Oh yeah, and Georgia beat the tar out of Vanderbilt.
What is the true value of the gap between those resumes? I’m not sure. The Coaches Poll says 16 spots in the rankings, the AP says 18. I think those gaps are too narrow.
But then again, I hate James Franklin.
That’s all I got/
On Friday I posted a video of a vindictive James “Benjamin” Franklin promising the media, Vandy nation and seemingly the conference that Vanderbilt was going to “compete.” A lot of people bought into that notion, and on a superficial level I don’t know that I can blame them for doing so. Because, on the surface, Vanderbilt has done just that. They have competed.
The complete “Compete” rant was given following a five point loss to Georgia on October 15th of last year. Two weeks later the Commodores suffered a three-point loss to 10th ranked Arkansas; seems like Vandy competed. A week later Franklin’s squad gave Florida all they wanted and lost by five. The Commodores won the next conference game against Kentucky by 30 points. The next week they lost to Tennessee by six in overtime. The Commies even opened this season with a four-point loss in a competitive game to South Carolina.
The Georgia Bulldogs didn’t go against anything resembling “competition” on Saturday and the reasoning for that is two-fold:
1. Georgia played a complete game.
2. Vanderbilt is not good at football.
The first of those two reasons was more surprising to me than the second. Almost exactly one month ago I expressed the following sentiment regarding Vanderbilt’s “rise” and the Commodores 2011 season:
Little value can be derived from Vandy’s six wins in 2011. Elon plays little league, and Ole Miss, UConn, Army, Kentucky and Wake Forest combined to go 21-40. Only 11 of those 21 wins came against BCS Conference opponents.
Vanderbilt’s momentum – if wan can call it that – seems to stem from “close” games in 2011. The Commodores played Georgia close (33-28), hung around Arkansas (31-28), pushed Florida (26-21), took Tennessee to overtime (27-21) and lost by one score in their Bowl (a 31-24 loss to Cincinnati). Can Vanderbilt actually win those games this season? I don’t think so. Vanderbilt caught Georgia sleeping, played very “down” Florida and Tennessee programs and caught Arkansas looking ahead to an upcoming game against South Carolina.
Now, to be clear: I’m not making excuses for Georgia’s performance (or anyone else’s for that matter) against Vanderbilt in 2011. Vandy was ready, Georgia was not and the Commodore nearly capitalized. The problem for Vandy moving into 2012 is the fact that they did scare so many teams. Georgia, Florida and Tennessee won’t be caught sleeping again and other teams on the Vanderbilt schedule have undoubtedly taken notice.
I stand by that notion 100%. Vanderbilt’s 2011 campaign was more a culmination of lack of respect and preparation for Vandy than it was actual improvement. Furthermore, Vanderbilt’s close game with South Carolina to open the season was more a reflection of the Gamecocks’ continued struggles against middling programs and lack of offensive answers than it was of a truly talented Vanderbilt team. Because, the truth of the matter is that no truly talented Vanderbilt team exists. And, I don’t think that Franklin will ever build one. I’m not sure that anyone will ever build one.
James “Benjamin” Franklin ticked a lot of folks off last year and in doing so mirrored the “Sheldon Richardson Effect.” When Missouri’s Richardson ran his mouth about “Old Man Football” it put a tangible meaning onto a game that had no back-story, no bad blood and no real value in and of itself. Georgia’s close call with Vandy last year might have served as a wake-up call for the Bulldogs, but the Franklin/Grantham scuffle added to it. And what did the Commodores get? Arguably the most complete game the Georgia Bulldogs have played in the last five years.
Aaron Murray hit on his first 12 passes. Marlon Brown went over 100 yards. Nine Bulldogs caught passes. Todd Gurley ran for over 100 yards again. Keith Marshal had a 52 yard TD run. Georgia racked up 567 yards of offense and had 27 first downs to Vanderbilt’s 15. Six Vanderbilt drives produced fewer than 10 yards. None of them resulted in TDs.
If the Bulldogs (who get All-American candidates Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree back this week) can continue to play with such focus then reaching the Dome for a second consecutive year might not be a problem. Vanderbilt, meanwhile, must figure out a way to start surprising folks again. The Commodores don’t stand much a chance against teams that prepare.
I said on Friday that I thought if both teams played their “A” games then Georgia would win by 21+. I can’t say that Vandy played their “A” game, but did they really play an “F” game? If so, what is their grading scale? Is the gap between their “A” and their “F” 24 points? At what grade do they score touchdowns? I have so many questions for the nerds of the SEC.
That’s all I got/