Archive for October, 2009

Gators roll over Dawgs to stay at No. 1

I went 7-3 last week because I picked Arkansas to beat Ole Miss, Miami to beat Clemson, and Boston College to upset Notre Dame. Still, your humble scribe is 59-21 for the season. So let’s close out the month of October with the Fearless Friday Forecast.

 

 

1. Georgia vs. Florida (Jacksonville): Florida is 7-0, ranked No. 1, but has a ton of questions about its offense. Tim Tebow is getting frustrated and last week against Mississippi State tried to make plays that simply weren’t there. But the Gators are due for a breakout game on offense and the defense will get LB Brandon Spikes back. Georgia has had a week off but it won’t be enough. Florida 27, Georgia 6.

 

2. Georgia Tech at Vanderbilt: Georgia Tech has won five straight and now has a chance to at least get into the BCS discussion if the Jackets can run the table and win the ACC championship game. When you’re 11th in the BCS, style points matter. Vanderbilt has a pretty good defense but it is hard to get ready …

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Will Tebow break Herschel’s TD record in JAX?

 

 

Five burning questions as we head into the weekend:

 

 

1. Will Tim Tebow break Herschel Walker’s touchdown record against Georgia?  Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, scored 49 rushing touchdowns in his three seasons at Georgia. Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, has 48 rushing touchdowns in about 3 ½ seasons at Florida. You have to figure that Tebow will break Walker’s record in Saturday’s game in Jacksonville. That’s a tremendous accomplishment for a quarterback, but it is worth noting that Walker scored five touchdowns in three Sugar Bowl appearances (1980-82). Those touchdowns are not included in Walker’s records because only recently did the NCAA start counting post-season statistics in career totals.

 

2. What will Lane Kiffin do if he gets a bad call against South Carolina? The Tennessee coach was reprimanded for the second time this year by the SEC after complaining about the officiating in the Alabama-Tennessee game. He complained that …

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Florida is vulnerable. But can Georgia do anything about it?

Florida is still No. 1 but the reality is that the Gators are bringing a very vulnerable football team to Jacksonville on Saturday to play Georgia.

The offense, which was unstoppable a year ago, is simply not playing well. There is no question that the Gators miss offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, now the head coach at Mississippi State. But more than that Florida misses the ability to stretch the field vertically as they did a year ago with Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy. Nobody is scared that these guys are going to go deep anymore.

 Tim Tebow is starting to press a little and is trying to do too much. He was sacked six times against Arkansas, a game in which Florida turned it over four times. Tebow threw two pick-sixes against Mississippi State, which meant the Gators had to work way too hard to win 29-19 in Starkville (You may insert your officiating reference here).

 The defense is beat up and tired because it’s been on the field too much. Linebacker Brandon Spikes …

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Time for conferences to get out of the officiating business

 

 

 

On most weeks, it is fun to be Rogers Redding. The professorial Redding received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Georgia Tech and then earned his Ph.d. in Physical Chemistry from Vanderbilt. At several institutions, Redding was the chemistry professor that everyone wanted because he could take the complex and make it understandable.

 

Redding, it turns out, didn’t know what complex really was until he became the SEC supervisor of football officials in 2006. And he never really knew there could be a three-week stretch like this, where he has been called everything but, as our friend Neal Boortz would say, a child of God.

 

“It’s been interesting, to say the very least,” said Redding.

 

The SEC, much to its chagrin, has been put front and center over an increasingly loud discussion over football officiating. In three of the last four Saturdays a big call in a nationally-televised SEC game has sparked controversy that resulted in suspension of …

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It was a great weekend for Georgia Tech. Now what?

 

 

So what did we learn over the weekend?

 

1. It was a great weekend for Georgia Tech. Now what? Bobby Dodd himself could not have drawn up a better football weekend for the Institute. Tech’s win over Virginia coupled with Miami’s loss to Clemson puts the Yellow Jackets’ in the driver’s seat in the ACC Coastal Division. Beat Wake Forest at home on Nov. 7 and Duke on Nov. 14 in Durham, and the Yellow Jackets will advance to the ACC championship game in Tampa on Dec. 5. Now is where the Georgia Tech team has to decide: Do they want to be good or do they want to be special? Sandwiching those two conference games are a pair of SEC opponents, Vanderbilt and Georgia. In the past Georgia Tech would be on the verge of being special and slip up. Georgia Tech is good enough to win these last four games if it can remain focused. Will they?

 

2. You’ve got to start giving C.J. Spiller some love for the Heisman. Nobody is playing better right now than the junior running …

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Georgia Tech keeps rolling at Virginia

 

 

If Auburn’s offense had not been missing in action last week in a 21-14 loss to Kentucky, your Fearless Forecaster would have gone 10-0. We picked Georgia Tech’s upset of No. 4 Virginia Tech. We promised you and Arkansas-Florida would be closer than the experts thought. (Insert your comment about the officiating here).

That gives us a record of 52-18 on the season.

Except for Georgia Tech’s visit to Virginia, it looks like a less than exciting set of games this Saturday. But that’s when the fireworks—and the upsets—usually start.  Look for at least one big surprise this weekend.

Let’s get on with the Fearless Friday Forecast:

 

1. Georgia Tech at Virginia: It looks like Cavalier coach Al Groh has saved his bacon after an 0-3 start. Groh realized that the spread offense was not going to work and went back to basics. Now Virginia is playing power football and pretty good defense. But if Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt keeps playing like he has the …

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Can Georgia Tech finally win at Virginia?

Five burning questions as we head into the weekend:

 

1. Can Georgia Tech win on the road again? The Yellow Jackets have already won impressively at Florida State and Mississippi State. But winning at Charlottesville has proven to be a tough thing to do lately for Tech. I was at Virginia in 1990, the last time Georgia Tech won up there in what was one of the better games I have ever seen. Tech has played in Charlottesville eight times since and lost some heartbreakers. In 1999 Tech was 6-1 and ranked No. 7 when the Jackets lost 45-38. In 2001 they were 6-2 and lost 39-38. This season Virginia and Al Groh seemed headed off the deep end when they started 0-3. Now they have won three straight and are starting to find some answers on offense. This will not be an easy game for Georgia Tech. In case you were wondering about those eight Georgia Tech losses they were:

1992: L, 55-24

1995: L, 41-14

1997: L, 35-31

1999: L 48-35

2001: L, 39-38

2003: L, 29-17

2005: L, 27-17

2007: L, …

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Ranking the conferences at mid-season

Remarkably, we are heading into the second half of the season so what better time to rate the conferences? Here is just one man’s opinion. Please give me yours.

 

1. SEC: I’ve gotten all kinds of notes telling me how down the SEC is this season. Florida is No. 1 and Alabama is No. 2 and both are winning ugly. Some of that is by design. LSU is 5-1 and ranked No. 9 but could have easily lost to Mississippi State and Georgia. Ole Miss (4-2) has been a disappointment based on preseason expectations. Auburn started 5-0 but has faded with losses to Arkansas and Kentucky. Georgia has all kind of issues. I’ll agree that the SEC is not as strong top to bottom as it was a year ago. But it’s still the toughest conference in the country and has a good chance to post its fourth straight national championship.

 

2. Big 12: Like the SEC, the Big 12 is not as strong as it was a year ago when Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech, all finished the regular season 11-1 and Oklahoma and Texas …

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Time to have a serious conversation about officiating

 

After the excessive celebration calls in the Georgia-LSU game on Oct. 3, I had a long talk with Rogers Redding, the SEC supervisor of officials. At that time Redding told me that his guys should not have called the penalty on Georgia’s A.J. Green. Later in the day the SEC had to admit publicly that their officials had made a mistake.

 

Towards the end of our conversation, Redding said this: “We tell our guys not to go looking for this stuff, but if it happens right in front of your face, you have to call it.”

 

I’m not sure that message has really gotten across because we still have officials seeing stuff that simply is not there. For the second time this month the SEC had to admit that an official threw a flag for a penalty that clearly did not happen.

 

The play took place in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game between Florida and Arkansas in Gainesville. Arkansas defensive lineman Malcolm Sheppard collided with Florida offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert in …

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There CAN be an Alabama-Florida rematch for BCS title

 

What we learned over the weekend:

1. There CAN be an Alabama-Florida rematch for the national championship. Last week I said that if Alabama and Florida were undefeated, ranked 1-2 and played a close SEC championship game, there would not be a rematch for the BCS title. That statement was based on the logical position that the human voters, who make up two-thirds of the BCS formula, would not watch one of those teams lose on Dec. 5 and less than 24 hours later vote them in to the BCS championship game.

 

But after seeing the first set of BCS standings on Sunday, I think it is now possible if No. 3 Texas loses at some point. That’s because there is a huge gap in the BCS average between No. 2 Alabama (.9526) and No. 4 Boise State (.8083) and No. 5 Cincinnati (.7870). Boise State’s computer ratings are only going to go down as the season progresses while Cincinnati’s will go up.

 

Secondly, I can’t remember when we’ve had this much of a competitive gap between the …

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