Danielson: Georgia will be the surprise team of SEC

 

New York-I’m in the Big Apple today shooting a preseason college football show for CBS with Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman and Gary Danielson. The show will run at 1 p.m. on Saturday, just before coverage of the PGA Championship.

Danielson, the former Purdue and NFL quarterback, left ESPN in 2006 to become the analyst with play-by-play veteran Verne Lundquist on the SEC’s game of the week on CBS. It has been one of the best moves Danielson has made in a very successful broadcast career.

The SEC has won three straight BCS national championships (2006, Florida; 2007, LSU; 2008 , Florida) so Danielson has been busy. And with Florida a prohibitive preseason No. 1 and favored to repeat, and with four SEC teams (Florida, Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss) in the preseason Top 10, he is looking forward to another challenging season.

 We took a few minutes at dinner last night and I asked him to give me his top five story lines/questions in the SEC as we head into the 2009 season:

 

Can Florida handle the hype? “The main storyline going into the season for me is the unbelievable expectations that Florida will face this year. They basically have the trophy cabinet already built and anything less than a national championship is going to be a disappointment. It’s a great team and they have everybody back. But are they better than the Miami team of 2002? I think they had 11 NFL players on that team. Are they better than USC in 2005? That team had Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. Neither of those teams could repeat.

“And here is something that is really important. I think the competition that Florida is playing in this league (SEC) right now is superior to any competition that any team has ever faced trying to repeat.

“It is just so hard to win a national championship. Remember this. (Tim) Tebow had to go 7-for-7 in the fourth quarter against Alabama (in the SEC championship game) and 7-for-7 against Oklahoma in the fourth quarter (in the BCS championship game) for Florida to win the national title. It’s just hard to do.

“Can those expectations be met? To me that is the story of the year.”

 

 “I think Georgia is going to be the surprise of the conference. I think their quarterback play will be good enough and Mark Richt will go back to doing some of the things he likes to do-solid quarterback play, running back by committee, a defense that runs to the ball. I don’t think they can play worse defense so it is given they’ll be better on defense. They got humbled last year but that’s the way it happens sometimes. But you have to understand that they have a tough schedule so they may not win as many games. They lost the No. 1 pick in the draft (quarterback Matthew Stafford) and one of the best running backs (Knowshon Moreno) that they’ve had in a long time. But they will have a quarterback (Joe Cox) who gets the job done. He’s not a star but he’s like David Greene was when they won the championship (in 2002). They will be a much tougher out this year because of those five offensive linemen (who return).”

 

 

Can Alabama repeat in the SEC West? “I thought they were ahead of schedule last season. I know Nick (Saban) thought that. Nick is really good at identifying what his teams need to do and then taking advantage of what they have. Last year he saw what he had and made the most of it. Some things broke well for them last year. It was a down year for quarterback play in the SEC which led him to have the advantage of defense. There just weren’t a lot of people in the league who were able to take advantage of his defense. So he just dominated games with strategy and strength. They controlled the offensive line of scrimmage with two great tight ends and tackles. It was like having four tackles out there. This season things won’t be as comfortable because they lost three starters on the offensive line. But defense gives them a chance every time they play.”

 

Are you on the Ole Miss bandwagon? I’m not sure there deserves to be an Ole Miss bandwagon until they show us it’s worth climbing aboard. They have a lot of potential but they are also one of the teams in this league that is not used to handing the fanfare. The Alabama kids are used to it. The Florida kids are used to it. The LSU kids are used to it. This will be a whole new deal for Ole Miss. It will be different and honestly Houston (head coach Houston Nutt) is not used to it either.  He has always been more comfortable being the underdog. I do think Ole Miss will miss their two interior people more than Houston thinks. (Defensive tackle) Peria Jerry was a monster. (Offensive tackle) Michael Oher was solid on the left side. Those were two really good football players.

 

The SEC has won three straight BCS national championships and four out of the last six. The league has just signed two unprecedented television contracts worth $3 billion over the next 15 years. Is the SEC starting to separate itself from the rest of college football?

“I don’t think there is any doubt that it is separating itself because it will attract great players for the foreseeable future. But here is the danger and I started saying this three years ago. The future challenge for this league is that if the rules don’t change for playing for the national championship (only the top two in the BCS standings get in) it is going be more difficult for the SEC to keep winning national titles. These teams are going to be so good. Ole Miss is improving. Arkansas is improving. Auburn is going to come back. Tennessee is going to come back. Florida, Alabama, LSU, and Georgia are great programs. You’re going to have a bunch of teams with two losses and people are going to start thinking this is an average league. They would be wrong, but that will be the perception.

Right now the SEC has the benefit of everything going their way. They are going to win all tiebreakers. Their teams will be ranked higher at the beginning of the year and deservedly so. But does a one-loss SEC team jump ahead of an undefeated Big Ten team? As we move forward there is going to be tremendous pressure to put the undefeated teams in.

Things changed for the SEC when (No. 4) Florida jumped over (No. 3) Michigan in 2006 and played Ohio State for the national championship and won. Could they change again because the SEC gets so tough and really starts beating each other up? That’s the danger I see down the road.”

 

Please follow me on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/MrCFB

304 comments Add your comment

JoeFann

August 11th, 2009
7:44 am

Thanks, Tony. 25 days!

Go Dawgs!

45-42, bleah

August 11th, 2009
7:44 am

Danielson also is a believer in a playoff system. Let the SEC start being on the outside looking in for the BCS Championship and I think we’ll finally see the playoff happen.

Spike

August 11th, 2009
7:44 am

Nice job, Tony. Looking forward to the show on Saturday. Danielson does a good job on TV. And when he is right, he’s right. This time he is right!

SomewhereinGA

August 11th, 2009
7:45 am

Where’s Saint Simons?

gte268p

August 11th, 2009
7:49 am

hahahaha, no, they won’t!

GW

August 11th, 2009
7:50 am

Don’t you know Saint Simons is really Bill King.

Dawg Fan

August 11th, 2009
7:53 am

Great read.

BTW: Saint Simmons please keep it up. Remember “Clean Old Fashion Hate” is good for the soul. Besides it just adds more motivation for the Dawgs this year!

JesupDawg

August 11th, 2009
7:53 am

I’d like to think the Dawgs will be a surprise but the biggest surprise from them lately is overly disappointing. How soon can Urban take the ND job?

Technically speaking

August 11th, 2009
7:58 am

The only surprise will be if GT doesn’t beat the piss out of UGA this year.

mitch

August 11th, 2009
8:02 am

Dear Mr. CF–it might, it might not. Your pal, Mitch

Saint Simons

August 11th, 2009
8:10 am

Forbes ranks Tech #501 – UGA #177 – hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

PT

August 11th, 2009
8:14 am

The Keys to successful teams are teams that have great O Lines or a lot of seniors. Its always the case. Every so often to get teams like UF that are just so athletic and fast they just simply are better. That is rare and doesnt last more than a year or 2. Georgia will be better than last year, but so will Florida and LSU. I say we split those games though and lose to Arkansas. I just think we are wore out on the road at night. It will be a hornets nest, but we will grow up. The good news is that the loaded Florida team will come back to earth as we roll into 2010 with most players intact and all on the o Line.

MiltonDawg

August 11th, 2009
8:15 am

Dawgs will be the surprise team of the year and the SEC will continue to dominate in OOC games. Hate to say but UF with their very, very weak schedule (only challenges @ LSU and against UGA) should make them the favorite obviously. Look for another SEC team to win the BCS.

Bring back Blackledge

August 11th, 2009
8:19 am

Gary Danielson is like a bad rash that just won’t go away. He only knows how to say Tebow this & Tebow that.

Arkansas will be the surprise team in the west.

GatorMan

August 11th, 2009
8:20 am

Idiot Tech fans win one game out of 8 against there arch rival and against the worst team in the SEC and they are experts. For your info the SEC is on record for wanting a playoff, including Florida and Georgia. I bet all the bumper stickers disappear when Georgia wrecks the WRECK again this year. Loser!!!!!!!!

AMG

August 11th, 2009
8:20 am

Georgia will lose 5 games thi year. Get real and look at there schedule….

Blue

August 11th, 2009
8:22 am

The only way GA will suprise me is if they don’t have at LEAST three losses this year (OK State, FL and Alabama).

SuperB

August 11th, 2009
8:23 am

CFB needs a playoff. Include the top 16 teams and play the first round and quarterfinals at the site of the highest-seeded team. The first round and quarterfinals to be played before Christmas, with the semifinals on New Year’s Day and the title game about two weeks later. The semifinals could be played in the major bowls: Sugar, Orange, Rose, Fiesta. Then play the title game in a different “super” bowl location each season, the same as does the NFL. As for all of those car parts and dot.com bowls– see ya! Only 16 teams would play after the conference championship games and all those 7-5 and 6-6 teams would look forward to next season,

Saint Simons

August 11th, 2009
8:25 am

I am late getting here today. I am too busy sleeping in this morning. AMG and Blue are in bed with me because they like men. And because I like men.

KNelson

August 11th, 2009
8:25 am

I will be surprised if Georgia doesnt lose 4 games!

Blue read a schedule

August 11th, 2009
8:26 am

Blue

Georgia doesn’t play Alabama, do you know much about football?

KR

August 11th, 2009
8:31 am

I dislike Danielson. I’d rather not watch a game than have to listen to him. It’s too bad, because I like Verne Lundquist.

His comments are just like his performances in the booth. A lot of rambling without ever really saying anything of substance. He leans towards the traditional favorites and has an almost creepy fascination with Tim Tebow and Mark Richt.

Several of the regular posters to this blog have provided far more insightful commentary over the last few weeks.

SecIsFootball

August 11th, 2009
8:31 am

I am just impressed Danielson didnt mention Tebow when talking about teams other than UF. He seemed to throw his name around about 25 times a game last season…And I am talking about games that didn’t involve Florida!!

Time for some college football. ROLL TIDE!!!

Big Ed

August 11th, 2009
8:32 am

I too think Georgia will be the surprise of the SEC. They could possibly start out at 0-6 and with a big loss to Georgia Tech have a losing season. No matter how good the offensive line is or may be, they have to have great production in the skill positions. There is no proven star at quarterback or running back. Green at wide receiver is excellent. The big but is the defense! Can the defense hold the scores down low enough to keep the games close? That remains to be seen and has all the potential for disaster.

bamafan

August 11th, 2009
8:35 am

Dear Blue – I guess you will be surprised since UGA will not lose to Bama this year. They don’t play.

Seriously?

August 11th, 2009
8:35 am

Im so sick of hearing about the “SEC beating up on each other”. UT and AU will come back??? When? About the time FSU and Miami come back?? How about Texas A&M and Nebraska? Can the same thing not be said for ACC (and EVERY other conference in August, before they go out and lose to WYOMING)! Cheezit and Kitty are both a$$ clowns that are anything BUT proven head coaches. The SEC is the premier league, but only by a small margin.

Blue

August 11th, 2009
8:37 am

Milton Dawg; as a big 10 guy, I will readily admit to the SEC’s strength; definitely toughest conference. But PLEASE cease with the OOC stuff. I did this exercise last year; go to the SEC teams schedules from last year and look at the lineup of OOC games. Excluding bowl games (where you DEFINITELY redeemed yourselves); 47 non conference games with 36 at HOME, 11 AWAY. Of the 11 away games, 3 wins (Miami OH, Louisville and AZ State). Losses away to La Tech, UCLA, Wake Forest, GA Tech (twice), Texas, Clemson and West Virginia and Wake again.
Wins (against other BCS or ’significant’ programs…and some of them are not real significant: NC State, Memphis, Louisville and Arizona State (all teams with 6 losses), Clemson, Miami and Hawaii (all teams with 5 losses) and Florida State (assuming Florida will beat them, because Florida is GOOD). So your record against other ’significant’ programs is 8-10…with seven wins coming against teams with about a 55% win percentage for the year. At least you had a winning record against the Big East.
What the facts say here is that of all of your non-conference games, you play mostly tier two programs…and over 80% of your non-conference games are at home. Of the non conference games, you went to the midwest once (Miami OH…way to go out on a limb), West twice (AZ State and UCLA), and to SW once (Texas). SEC likes to play at HOME or not travel very far. And for the non-conference games, most of these games happened early in the year, so the age old SEC argument that I read AGAIN in the paper the other day that “the SEC teams beat each other up until they have no players left” doesn’t really ring true.
Again, you guys are the best conference as evidenced by three consecutive NC’s (and probably a fourth coming). But please…don’t brag about out of conference. You…don’t…travel…or…play…anybody!

dagnabit

August 11th, 2009
8:38 am

Let’s just play the game. And enjoy it.

Gen Neyland

August 11th, 2009
8:39 am

Seriously? : Give CBS a phone call. I mean, what does a guy like Danielson have on a football mind like yours..?

Seriously?

August 11th, 2009
8:44 am

Whoa there Blue, watch out now. They don’t travel far because then they don’t want to come back to their murderous SEC schedule where they beat up on each other. Those travel days will give them less time to recover for those SEC games…..These guys will go round and round all day about SEC schedule, and now that ESPiN is on the bandwagon, they will just perpetuate all this garbage.

[...] Tony Barnhart of The AJC posts a Q&A with CBS color analyst Gary Danielson today.  You can check here to read the responses, but here are the questions fired at the former NFL quarterback:1.  Can Florida handle the [...]

Seriously?

August 11th, 2009
8:47 am

Gen –

No really, I want to know how come UT and AU are “bound” to come back, yet FSU & Miami have just fallen from grace the past few years, and everyone has pretty much given up on them “rebounding” (except for their delusional fan bases…cough..cough…Miami…cough). B/c UT and AU are in the SEC, the strength of their premier teams is going to make them better? Is that it?

Saint Simons

August 11th, 2009
8:49 am

dogs lose 6 games this yr. !!!!!!!!!hahahahahahahahahahahaha

Ron Mexico

August 11th, 2009
8:50 am

Are there any teams (any traditional teams) that *aren’t* expecting to improve this year? With the exception of Boston College (coaching, personnel issues), Texas Tech (losses to NFL) and Connecticut (NFL) I can’t think of many teams that don’t expect to be better than last year throughout the NCAAs. It’s not just an SEC thang. Even Duke is optimistic at this point.

RAMBLE ON!!!

August 11th, 2009
8:55 am

Nice Mr. SEC Football….err, Mr. College Football can’t help but mention the SEC has won the last 3 BCS….TWICE in the same article.

“Right now the SEC has the benefit of everything going their way. They are going to win all tiebreakers. Their teams will be ranked higher at the beginning of the year and deservedly so.”

No homer here….er, no bias here, ARGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!

…never mind.

RAMBLE ON!!!

August 11th, 2009
8:57 am

Hey Tony, here’s an idea for tomorrow’s blog.

How about moving the UGAg UF game?

Trade School Junkie

August 11th, 2009
9:01 am

I respect Danielson, but…GA, the surprise team of the SEC?
I disagree. The only surprise GA wil show will be to the downside.

The 2 surprise teams will be Ark & Tenn.

Petrino is an Offensive mastermind, and Monte Kiffin is a Defensive mastermind. These two guys are SIGINIFICANTLY better gameday coaches on the Offense(Petrino) and the Defense(Kiffin) than anyone else in the SEC. That is gonna make a HUUUUUUGE difference during the season. Not only do I see Ark beating GA, but Ark has the chance to pull a huge upset against Ole Miss, LSU, or both. In 2008, a lesser Ark team beat a better LSU team. In 2009, Ark will be even better. As for Tenn, I think Tenn has a shot at what would clealry be the upset of the year, beating UF in the Swamp. Why? No SEC team has ever faced Monte Kiffin’s SUPER BOWL WINNING Tampa-2 defense. UF will be the first SEC team to face it. With UF OC Dan Mullen gone, offenseive adjustment to a killer D is gonna be difficult. I think that gives Tenn a shot at the “impossible.” Dont think it cant happen. NOBODY thought Ole Miss could beat UF in the Swamp, either. And, if Tenn upsets UF, then beating GA will be slam-dunk for Tenn.

As for Barnhart’s question: Is the SEC starting to separate itself from the rest of college football?

Folks, the MAIN thing the SEC is gonna be doing the next few years is…Separating SEC fans from their money. That $3 Billion isnt gonna come from ESPN, its gonna come from the fans wallets. Dont expect Barnhart to make that clear to SEC fans.

Mike

August 11th, 2009
9:04 am

Tony is a joke. A sec homer. Ga is going to have a crap year. You’ll see how bad it’s going to be in less than a month. 7-5 with a crappy bowl game. Enjoy all the hype now. Tony has to keep you sucked in for now.

johnny reb

August 11th, 2009
9:19 am

LSU did a great job handling pressure!!! Just like Georgia.

Lou Vales

August 11th, 2009
9:21 am

Tony. Tony. Tony. Georgia will finish 2nd in the SEC East. They are projected to finish 2nd in the SEC East. You know they are not finishing ahead of Florida. You know they will not finish behind the GARBAGE that is Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky. Not going to call Vandy garbage because of quality of the school, but in football Georgia is finishing ahead of them. Tony, YOU KNOW all this true. Where is the SURPRISE!!!

Georgia HAS NOT won a National Championship since last year of Billy Carter’s brother’s Presidency. For an ELITE football power that is bordering on being IRRELEVANT. Think of the football ELITES–which won goes 30 years without a National Championship??

archangeladidas

August 11th, 2009
9:29 am

“UF has a weak schedule”………..yeah thats because we have uga on it! Certain things only happen every once in a while. Winning back to back titles in football is one of them. You have to have the right elements in place to do so. I honestly believe UF has that. ALL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS ARE RETURNING, ALL OF THEM! You can’t compare this team to other teams because of the time frames. What happen five years ago is irrevelent. Lock of the year………UF will beat lsu easily! Then what?

Gravy Train

August 11th, 2009
9:34 am

Now that’s funny, a Big Ten fan named Blue, who thinks the SEC plays soft schedules. There is only one team in the entire Big Ten that is anywhere close to being as good as the fourth best team in the SEC, the Blowhio State Suckeyes. Even they haven’t beaten an SEC team in my lifetime.

Let’s examine the brutal Big 10 line up.

Michigan. The 1-AA door mat.
Michigan State. Stuck in mediocrity.
Penn State. Riding the coat tails of a geriatric has been.
Minnesota. They have a football team?
Indiana. Fat yankees love cupcakes.
Illinois. Ron Zook, enough said.
Perdue. Tiller finally gave up.
Wisconson. Below average compared to the SEC.
Ohio State. Sweater vested male baton twirlers.
Northwestern. The 90’s one hit wonder.
Iowa. Never can put it together.

There isn’t one team in this sorry excuse for a conference that could win an SEC schedule, let alone be competitive.

You Big Ten and Pac Ten spooners don’t want a playoff because then you have zero chance at winning a national title. So keep the rose bowl “tradition” and leave the real football to the real teams.

Yes Blue, your bum is still sore from Appy State. Hate on the weakness of your program and conference instead of the conference of champions that is the SEC.

Fast Eddie

August 11th, 2009
9:36 am

Milton Dawg, why don’t you just pray for another team to win the SEC instead of “look for another team to win the SEC”? You’re turning green with envy of the Gators!

Lou Vales

August 11th, 2009
9:38 am

I just realized that 30 years is a veryyyyyyy long time. Reagan had not started his Presidency, Berlin Wall was intact, Soviet Union was intact, Chipper Jones was 7, No internet, Nobody knew Bill Clinton,Sadat was alive, A-Rod was 2,The ONLY Bush anyone cared about was the War Hero Bush, No ESPN, Was there a CNN??. Man!!!! 30 years is a very long time for an “elite” football program to go without even playing–let alone winning–for a National Championship. Shouldn’t it be about time??

[...] On the flip side, Gary Danielson tells Tony Barnhart a few different things about Georgia and Alabama. “I think Georgia is going to be the surprise of [...]

Dog In Daytona

August 11th, 2009
9:42 am

If Richt concentrated as much on disciplining his football players and making them tougher as he does planning his next mission trip, Georgia might actually beat Florida and shut these people up. I would love Richt as a neighbor, if I want one of those nice big trophies and a tingling celebration on the national stage, I’ll take the nasty guy at Florida.

BurningRedBleedingBlack

August 11th, 2009
9:48 am

Is it just me or am i the only one who skips all the tech posts, hahah GO DAWGS!!!

Joe D.

August 11th, 2009
9:49 am

Georgia is going to suprise alright….just not in a successful way.

Saint Simons

August 11th, 2009
9:49 am

(((((45-42)))))hahaha and we had a Tickle Pile on Herty Field!!!!!

Will

August 11th, 2009
9:54 am

Let me start by saying Blue is an idiot for his thoughtless post about UGA getting beat by Bama this season. Please get off this blog, you are bringing it down!

Now I agree that UF is the class of the conference, I think Bama is a distant second as of right now. But let me say this Tony, I think UGA is not only the surprise team in the SEC but the surprise team in the entire nation! We have talent galore at LB and our revamped secondary is much improved. UGA nation will soon find out who Sanders Commings is and will be impressed. Marcus Washington and Montez Robinson will come off the edge and bring pressure while our D- Line will be the country’s best. And yes, better than UF.

My only concern for the season is how in the hell I’m going to explain to the wife how i would rather be at the UGA-UF game instead of trick-or-treating with the fam on 10-31! Now that’s a problem.