Archive for September, 2009

It is amazing that Georgia is 3-1

 

 

Nobody asked me but:

 

1. Logically, there is no way Georgia should be 3-1: I believe that turnover margin is the most important statistic in football. Turnover margin is the number of turnovers you have created compared to the number that you have given up. Good teams are almost always in the plus territory in turnover margin. Through four games, Georgia is minus-9 in turnover margin (12 giveaways versus 3 takeaways). Georgia is also 115th nationally in penalties with 41 in four games.

Coach Mark Richt told me on Tuesday that he was confident that his Bulldogs could turn those stats around. “The important thing to know about stats like that is what happens in the past does not matter,” Richt said. “What matters is what happens on Saturday against LSU.” He’s right. If Georgia keeps its turnovers to two or fewer, I think the Bulldogs have a very good chance to win. If they stick to their average of three turnovers and 10 penalties per game, they won’t.

 

2. Florida can beat …

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Why Boise State can’t play for the BCS championship

Everyone loves a Cinderella story, especially in sports. We love to see the underdog prevail. It brings us to tears when the little guy beats the big guy.

But having said all that you have to understand that, barring a total collapse of the major conferences, there is no way—at least no logical way–that No. 5 Boise State can play for the national championship.

The Broncos, who gave college football one of its most enduring memories when it beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl a couple of years ago, are ranked No. 5 in both this week’s USA Today Coaches poll and the first Harris Interactive poll. Those are the two human polls that—along with the average of several computer polls—make up the BCS Standings, which will be released for the first time on Oct. 18. On Dec. 6 the finally standings will be released and the top two teams in those standings will play for the BCS national championship on Jan. 8 in Pasadena, Calif.

There has been some discussion about what would happen if the …

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Georgia is just lucky to have No. 8

 

What we learned over the weekend:

 

1. Georgia is really lucky to have No. 8: I knew the Georgia-Arizona State game was going to be ugly. After three straight tough games and with LSU coming to Athens this week, there was no way that Georgia was going to be sharp. The Bulldogs could have had an easier night, however, but the old problems of turnovers and penalties just killed them again. At the end of the evening, Georgia won the game because it had A.J. Green and Arizona State didn’t. Bill Parcels always said that football is about players making plays. Green is a great player and he made the plays that Georgia needed to win. Georgia is 3-1 and 2-0 in the SEC. That’s not a bad place to be. But there is no way the Bulldogs win Saturday if they turn it over three times.

 

2. Ole Miss was overrated: Don’t get me wrong. Ole Miss has a good team and will have a good season. But the Rebels simply did not look like a Top 10 team to me in the preseason. I wasn’t surprised Ole Miss …

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The Fearless Friday Forecast

 

Your Fearless Friday Forecaster went 8-2 last week because:

**–He didn’t believe that Florida State, which almost lost to Jacksonville State, could go on the road and beat BYU, which had beaten Oklahoma. Speed, baby, speed. FSU has speed.

**–He didn’t believe it was possible for USC, after winning a dramatic game at Ohio State, could lose to an unranked Pac-10 team for the fourth straight year. Oops.

He did think Georgia could beat Arkansas but he never believed that two SEC teams could be so bad on defense.

Nevertheless, your humble prognosticator stands at 20-7 after three weeks and is back for more punishment.

Let’s get on with the Forecast:

 

1. North Carolina at Georgia Tech: Everybody’s blaming Paul Johnson’s offense for last week’s struggle at Miami. I don’t think it’s the gun. It’s the guys who are shooting it. Right now they aren’t playing very smart. They probably need to be a little tougher, too. If Georgia Tech is going to have a good season, here is where the …

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There was never any doubt on UGA-FLA in JAX

Five burning questions as we head into the weekend:

 

1. UGA-FLA stays in JAX. Was there ever any doubt? I know a lot of Georgia fans were intrigued about the prospect of playing the Georgia-Florida game on campus or even in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. And trust me when I tell you that Gary Stokan and the Atlanta Sports Council put on the full court press trying to convince Georgia athletics director Damon Evans and President Michael Adams that moving the game to Atlanta is something they should try once—if nothing else but to keep the revenue generated by the event in the state of Georgia. But never underestimate the power of the South Georgia Bulldogs. This is their game. And there are simply too many in the Bulldog Nation to whom the Jacksonville trip is a tradition worth keeping, regardless of the results on the field. The Georgia fans have done their part and turned out faithfully year after year in Jacksonville. Now the team needs to do its part and figure out how to beat …

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Five “Quality of Life” games

 

 

For coaches, they are known as “Quality of Life” games. Those are games that, if you lose, you’re not going to get fired. But a win would certainly improve your quality of life over the next few weeks. Here are just five quality of life games, and whose quality of life they could improve, coming up this week:

 

1. Ole Miss at South Carolina, Thursday: Steve Spurrier could be 3-0 right now if Stephen Garcia completes just one more pass at Georgia. But the Head Ball Coach needs a quality victory over somebody he’s not supposed to beat in order to prove that he still has the touch. Ole Miss (2-0), ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll, is set up perfectly for this game. The Rebels really haven’t been tested, with wins over Memphis and Southeastern Louisiana. They also have to get on a plane today and fly to Columbia after playing last Saturday. Also, Ole Miss is just getting over a serious bout with the flu that kept 31 guys out of practice two weeks ago. Everybody in Oxford, Miss., is …

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Has USC underachieved under Pete Carroll?

 

It was one of those comments that when I first heard it my response was: “That’s absurd.”

The comment was made by Mike Lupica on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters.” Lupica was trying to make the point that at the end of the day, USC has actually UNDERACHIEVED under Coach Pete Carroll.

Let’s see:

**–Carroll has been at USC for a little over eight seasons and has won 90 games.

**–He has won or shared seven straight Pac-10 championships.

**–He’s played in the Rose Bowl five times and the Orange Bowl twice in the past seven years.

**–He shared the national championship in 2003, won it outright in 2004, and was within seconds of winning a third straight title in 2005, but Texas and Vince Young had other ideas.

But since 2005, which I believe was his best team with two Heisman Trophy winners (Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart), USC has killed its chances at a national championship with an inexplicable loss to an unranked team. Let us review:

2006: Was ranked No. 2 and lost to UCLA 13-9 on …

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Who’s No. 1? I have no idea

 

Five things we learned over the weekend:

1. Who’s No. 1? I have no idea: Every preseason poll I saw had the same four teams in some kind of order: Florida, Texas, USC, and Oklahoma. Just three weeks into the season two of the four (USC, Oklahoma) have lost and neither Florida nor Texas has been impressive. BYU, which was going to be the designated non-BCS fly in the ointment (as my friend Tim Brando likes to call it) just got trounced by a Florida State team that lost its home opener to Miami (FYI…you have to look at that FSU loss in a totally different light because Miami may be pretty darn good). To tell you the truth, the only three teams who have been impressive the first three weeks are Alabama, Miami, and California. Alabama opened the season with a really good win over Virginia Tech and has gotten better every week, albeit against inferior competition the past two weeks. Miami is not the Miami of old just yet. We’ll find out a lot more about the Hurricanes on Saturday …

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The Fearless Friday Forecast

 

We went 8-2 last week as Tennessee was brought back down to Earth by UCLA and Notre Dame used some questionable clock management and fell at Michigan. That’s a two-week record of 15-5 but starting this week and next week things get a little harder as some of the cupcakes are going to be replaced by conference games.

Without further delay, let’s get to the Fearless Friday Forecast:

 

1. Georgia at Arkansas: The Bulldogs have had two tough games while Arkansas had last week off. Logically, Georgia should be in real trouble in Fayetteville, which is why they are the underdog according to the boys in Vegas. I just have the feeling that QB Joe Cox is going to play well again. I also think Georgia will be able to run the ball and milk the clock, keeping the ball away from Bobby Petrino’s offense. Georgia 17, Arkansas 14.

 

2. Tennessee at Florida: Yes, Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin used his mouth to write a check that his team cannot cash.  But Kiffin knew that when he accused Urban …

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Will Nesbitt make the clutch throws against Miami?

 

Five burning questions as we head into the weekend:

 

1. Will Josh Nesbitt make the big throws when Georgia Tech needs them? In the second half of last week’s game, Clemson’s defense basically dared Josh Nesbitt to beat them. Nesbitt was forced to run and forced to pass. He made enough runs and a big throw with the game on the line and Georgia Tech won by a field goal. Miami has enough athletes on defense to give Nesbitt basically the same look. Can Nesbitt make enough throws to keep the Hurricanes honest or will Coach Paul Johnson find another way to make the Miami defense pay?

2. Will Justin Houston make a difference? The defensive end returns to the Georgia team after a two-game suspension. After the season-ending injury to Roderick Battle, the Bulldogs desperately need somebody who can rush the passer. Georgia didn’t get to Stephen Garcia many times last week and it cost Georgia a lot of yardage. Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino is going to look at that game tape and …

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