Will Bama get relief from scheduling problem?

 It’s Friday which means the floor is open for discussion on any topic you choose, football or non-football. Here are some random thoughts to get the party started. You input is welcomed:

**–I’m not sure the SEC is going to be able to do a whole lot to give Alabama some relief from a huge scheduling hiccup. In case you missed it, Alabama is not very happy with its SEC football schedule for 2010 and with good reason. Alabama’s last six conference opponents, beginning on Oct. 9 against South Carolina, will all play the Crimson Tide after an open date. How does that happen? Actually it’s easier than you might think.

The SEC office puts together the conference part of the schedule and that process begins with several fixed points. Examples: Tennessee and Florida play the third Saturday in September; Tennessee and Alabama play the third or fourth Saturday in October; Georgia and Florida meet in Jacksonville on either the last Saturday in October or the first in November; Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina have rivalry games that must be played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

There are a number of principles that go into setting a schedule such as a team should never have to play more than two straight conference games on the road. But the SEC did not have a principle that limited the number of games a team will play after that opponent had an open date. It will in the future and the number will be three.

The fact is at this late date the SEC may be able to move around some non-conference games but those will have a domino effect. It’s just difficult.

Also look for the SEC to discuss using a computer program to formulate their schedules in the future. The ACC does it by taking all of the games and all of the scheduling principles and putting them into a computer. The SEC does not currently use a computer to set its schedule.

 

**–Who didn’t see this coming? South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier told ESPN.com’s Chris Low this week that he was going to start calling the ball plays again next season. Spurrier, set to begin his sixth season in Columbia, started handing off play calling and other offensive duties to his son, Steve., Jr., and other assistants a couple of years ago. Spurrier told me last year that he thought that he needed to delegate more. “I was sitting in the offensive staff meeting one day and I was drawing up all the plays and the other guys were just watching,” he said. “I thought I needed to take on more of a traditional head coach role.”

But there is nothing traditional about Spurrier and, while he was at Florida (1990-2001) proved to be one of the best play callers in the history of the game. So he should go back to calling the plays. But he should also crack the whip and demand that his offensive line play better and develop a running game. South Carolina gave up 27 sacks last season and was again last in the SEC in rushing. If that part of the team doesn’t get better it won’t matter who’s calling the plays.

 

**–When I was at Florida two weeks ago offensive coordinator Steve Addazio told me that without Tim Tebow the 2010 offense “would probably look a lot like 2006.” That’s the year that Chris Leak was the senior quarterback in a traditional, drop back passing offense. The wrinkle came when Tebow, a freshman, would enter the game on short yardage situations to pick up the first down. This season John Brantley will fill the Chris Leak role.

“We’ll have to come up with something else on third and short because I sure won’t be running it,” Brantley told me.

Looks like freshman quarterback Trey Burton and tight end Jordan Reed will get those snaps.

 In 2006 the two-quarterback system worked pretty well at Florida as the Gators won the national championship.

But how well will it work? Last season Florida was seventh nationally in third down conversion percentage at 49.15 percent.

 

**–While looking up that stat I noticed that with all of the other offensive superlatives it had last season, Georgia Tech was No. 2 nationally in third down conversion percentage. Georgia Tech had 199 third downs and converted 104 for 52.26 percent. Only BYU was better at 55.62 percent.

**–I also learned that third down conversion percentage might be overrated as a stat. Florida was No. 7 but that was the only SEC team in the top 50. Alabama, the national champion, was 62. The rest of the SEC’s ratings were Ole Miss (51), Auburn (57), Tennessee (59), Georgia (61), Kentucky (67), LSU (71), South Carolina (77) and Vanderbilt (91). Arkansas and Mississippi State tied at 104.

**–I can’t say I’m surprised to read that Nick Stephens, the only quarterback at Tennessee with any real experience, is going to transfer in order to find a place to play in his final year of eligibility. Stephens started six games in 2008 but then could not beat out Jonathan Crompton when head coach Lane Kiffin arrived in 2009. The assumption was that Stephens would be the guy under new head coach Derek Dooley, who retained offensive coordinator Jim Chaney from the previous staff.

But when I visited Knoxville on my spring football tour I talked to some folks who had strong doubts about whether or not Stephens would be Tennessee’s every down quarterback 2010. JUCO transfer Matt Simms and incoming freshman Tyler Bray have looked better in practice and were starting to take more reps with the first team. You would think that a veteran player like Stephens would go through the entire spring practice and then make a decision on his future. He obviously saw the handwriting on the wall.

 So Stephens will transfer to a Division I-AA program where he can play immediately and Tennessee continues to deal with the inevitable attrition of the post Lane Kiffin experiment. And it’s probably not over yet.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that this would probably be a tough season at Tennessee. I haven’t changed my mind about that,

 

Have a great weekend.

 

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www.twitter.com/MrCFB

270 comments Add your comment

Brad in Jasper

April 9th, 2010
8:54 am

Open dates matter in close, hard-fought games with teams that are physically similar. May bite Bama on another game like the Auburn or UT games of last year. Extra week of planning and rest never hurt anyone, esp. when the other team doesn’t have it.

14TH--ON THE WAY

April 9th, 2010
8:55 am

FIRST!!!!!!!!!

Kramer2009

April 9th, 2010
8:55 am

2nd!

I hope Bama get sno relief

Kramer2009

April 9th, 2010
9:01 am

Tony-

Random question: How closely do you follow college baseball? Do you attend many games or watch many on TV?
I personally love college baseball .Obviosly football it a whole ‘nother ballgame, but I still love my baseball in the spring.

John in TO

April 9th, 2010
9:03 am

Tony… i think the SEC schedule will still be an issue even with computer assistance. SEC schools normally play 2 conference games in September while the others start Conference play in October.

cherokee

April 9th, 2010
9:03 am

If Bama is so great and going to win the BCS next year like all of their fans say they are, the schedule is a non issue.Just play the cards you are dealt and live with it.

kaput

April 9th, 2010
9:05 am

Tony,

While in Gainesville, did you get a sense of who the next stars will be now that Tebow and company are gone? We know about Brantley but who might step up? Debose? Jelani Jenkins?

Thoughts appreciated!

Rimfire

April 9th, 2010
9:18 am

Great to have you back talking with us, Tony!

Fast Eddie

April 9th, 2010
9:25 am

Kramer2009

Heck, it’s not snowing anywhere in Alabama right now. Why would you be wishing them “sno” relief?

Tony Barnhart

April 9th, 2010
9:26 am

Kaput,

On the day I was at practice I saw a lot of guys with speed and Debose was certainly one of them. But the guy to watch is Chris Rainey, who moves over to the hybrid (Percy Harvin) position. They think he’s going to have a monster year.

Kramer2009…I like college baseball but the schedule does not allow me to follow it. SEC and ACC are great baseball leagues.

Pago Pago Trojan

April 9th, 2010
9:28 am

BAMA is one of the best teams in the SEC…their sked won’t bother them at all. Can you imagine what SC will do to the DAWGS when Capt. Superior starts calling the plays!

thunderbull56

April 9th, 2010
9:30 am

Why Bama probably has so much depth, they could play a pair of split squad games. Say host Miss St with one and go to So Car with another on the same weekend, then have an open date the following week.HARDY, HAR.

#2 BAMA FAN

April 9th, 2010
9:30 am

Bama will have to get used to it this year. Let it happen to the gators,UT or any other high profile team in the SEC and the fans and coaches would not like one bit!! Last year Bama played 8 straight games
and it showed last year against boy blunder and UcheaT 12-10 with Mt. Cody having to block 2 field goals in the 4th quarter to win the game!! RTR

help, I live in Ga

April 9th, 2010
9:33 am

Last night I met a 10 yr old kid with a UCLA shirt on. I asked him if he knew who John Wooden was. He did. I asked him if he hated USC and Lane Kiffen. He did. Smart kid.

Too bad about Nick Stephens. He threw one of the prettiest deep balls I’ve ever seen a college QB throw. Throwing the deep ball and dropping perfectly into a receivers arms 60 yards downfield is an art. Too bad the SEC won’t get to see that. Thanks again Lame.

Thirty Points To Your Twenty-Four Points

April 9th, 2010
9:35 am

Can we talk more about the 30-24 whoopin’ that the worst UGA team in 20 years gave the best G Tech team in 20 years??

That conversation never gets old.

{{{{{30-24}}}}} It hurts you Nerds more than you will EVER admit!!!

ATL Fan

April 9th, 2010
9:38 am

How many games did UGA play against teams coming off a bye week last year. Seems like it was a lot.

leland

April 9th, 2010
9:38 am

Dear Mr. CF–I don’t have much in the way of input to put in, but I would like to note that it’s great seeing your return to varied, multiple spacing between paragraphs. Breathtaking!

Your pal, Leland

BOO HOO BAMA

April 9th, 2010
9:39 am

anybody who play Ga State, San Jose State and Duke on their schedule needs to shut the he!! up. Why they would hand over a national championship to you last year with 3 other sisters of the poor on your lineup in beyond me. NCAA needs to implement a playoff system.

Realistic Bama Fan

April 9th, 2010
9:43 am

That’s what happens when you win the national championship.

atlvol55

April 9th, 2010
9:44 am

Cry me a river Alabama…I’m so tired of hearing about this. Tennessee had the same situation last year. I think we played like 5 opponents coming off a bye week…suck it up and deal with it

McDawg

April 9th, 2010
9:53 am

UGAs schedule the past 2 years was extremely difficult-gotta Roll w/ the punches-UT is really going to be hurting this year-and Garcia looked to me like he had gotten over the hump last year but obviously not

BAMA STAN!

April 9th, 2010
10:01 am

71 NATIONAL TITLES – 126 SEC TITLES!!!

Bye weeks, Shmye weeks — NT #72 (and probably #73 & #74 for that matter) is comin’ this year, regardless. Cancel your seasons fellas, cuz the Sabanator can’t be stopped!

Ala-FREAKIN-bama, Ala-FREAKIN-bama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DP

April 9th, 2010
10:01 am

I just looked through the SEC schedule for next year and it is bizarre. Some teams have a lot of options to put bye weeks before an SEC opponent, some have very few. Here is how the conference schedule shakes out by team in terms of consecutive games against SEC opponents:

Alabama 5-2-1
LSU 2-2-1-1-2
Auburn 1-1-4-1-1
Arkansas 2-4-2
Miss St 3-1-1-3
Ole Miss 1-1-3-3
Florida 5-3
Georgia 3-4-1
Kentucky 6-1-1
South Carolina 1-1-6
Tennessee 1-2-2-3
Vandy 2-6

Based on what Tony wrote, the SEC’s only scheduling constraints appear to be no more than 2 consecutive conference road games and a few traditional games like Alabama-Tennessee and Florida-Georgia that are locked in for certain Saturdays. But then they put together a schedule that has Alabama and Florida playing conference games 5 weeks in a row and Kentucky, South Carolina and Vandy playing 6 in a row while LSU’s conference games are spread through the entire season, never more than 2 SEC games in a row.

The 2 schools that are getting the biggest scheduling breaks from the SEC in 2010 are LSU and Tennessee. Tennessee plays 3 consecutive games at the end as they always do, but when the last two are Kentucky and Vandy that’s not exactly running a gauntlet.

#1 BAMA FAN

April 9th, 2010
10:01 am

atlvol55-BAMA had the same situation this past year. They were bringing it up to be addressed not changed this year. I look foward to being in Knoxville this year to watch the TIDE beat the brakes off the VOLS. RTR

BAMA STAN!

April 9th, 2010
10:16 am

71 NATIONAL TITLES – 126 SEC TITLES!!!

That’s right #1 BAMA FAN (though I’m a very close 2nd). You tell ‘em. We take no breaks when beatin’ your brakes VOLS.

Ala-FREAKIN-bama, Ala-FREAKIN-bama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

papadawg

April 9th, 2010
10:16 am

As Andy G. would say, Bless your little ol heart. Saban, WAH WAH

RxDawg

April 9th, 2010
10:20 am

Pago, probably what happend last time he was calling the plays.

Dink

April 9th, 2010
10:20 am

Tony, who do you think will have the best chance of making an impact next season, Newton at Auburn or Simms at UT?

Does Matt look just like his Dad or what?

Doug

April 9th, 2010
10:21 am

Kiffin is not the person who destroyed our program, it’s that fat slob of a former coach Flummo who did. How is Kiffin responsible for the fact we have the least talented junior and senior classes in the program’s history?

RxDawg

April 9th, 2010
10:22 am

If there is one thing Bama fans are good at doing, it’s comming up with excuses.

papadawg

April 9th, 2010
10:27 am

Does anyone remember that a OU Freshman Green QB almost led the Sooners back in the Championship Game. Wonder what the score would had been if their #1 had been in there. Chinks in the armor Tide. Could have & should have been beat a couple of times last year. They see the writing on the wall this year, that’s why they are crying

athensdawg

April 9th, 2010
10:29 am

true champions don’t whine about circumstances. they just strap it on and get ‘er done.

all the whining boils down to money…potential lost money because the tide might lose a game and that could potentially cost everyone in the SEC some cash.

it’s a sad state of affairs.

BAMA STAN!

April 9th, 2010
10:29 am

71 NATIONAL TITLES – 126 SEC TITLES!!!

“Flummo” -(gigggles to self)

Ala-FREAKIN-bama!!!!! Ala-FREAKIN-bama!!!!!

[...] to the future with the Florida offense? Jump to Comments Here’s a note from Tony Barnhart’s post today: … When I was at Florida two weeks ago offensive coordinator Steve Addazio told me that [...]

Coach Cool

April 9th, 2010
10:37 am

14TH–ON THE WAY: DORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ty

April 9th, 2010
10:39 am

Tony, any breakdown on Georgia Tech’s 3rd down conversions by distance? I’d be curious to see how many of those 3rd downs were 3 yards or less (and how many of those non-conversions turned into 4th down conversions of 3 yards or less). I also wonder what they look like on 3rd and 7+, and how often they find themselves in that situation.

Bama G

April 9th, 2010
10:41 am

Hey athensdawg, are you really attempting to tell Bama how to get it done? Really? Roll Tide, y’all!

SimpleDawg

April 9th, 2010
10:58 am

TB,

I don’t think play calling or who’s calling the plays will make any difference at all for the Warrior Chickens……as long as Garcia is the best QB they have. Fall preseason practice 2008….after practice one day when asked about Garcia, Spurrier exclaimed, “He must be the dumbest QB I’ve ever had.”

Enough said…..nothing’s changed.

As for Bama’s schedule whining…..Waaaaa. Already lining up the excuses for not repeating as NC.

Tennysee will need a QB to get the ball to The ‘Rick……maybe Nance will get his chance.

The Gator’s QB will be as good as those around him…..if they play well, he’ll play well…..if they’re inconsistent, he’ll be in trouble. The Gator’s defense will need to be superior or the Gator offense will be under constant pressure. This may be the year for everyone to get the Gators…..

Ol’ Urban the Terrible will really wig out.

Mike Shula

April 9th, 2010
10:58 am

The schedule is that way to offset the advantage uat gets by buying players Dodge Chargers and getting their mom’s cushy jobs.

fishtales

April 9th, 2010
10:59 am

Papadawg – It’s funny how you Mutts are relegated to “woulda coulda shoulda” instead of putting it up on the field like Bama did last year. I guess that’s why Bill King has to write blogs rationalizing why it doesn’t matter if you win…as long as your coach is a real peachy keen sweetheart. Wins don’t matter…everyone’s a winner! Brusters for everybody!

UGA player in jail

April 9th, 2010
11:00 am

has anyone seen Mark Richt? I’m still sittin’ in jail!!!

Gen Neyland

April 9th, 2010
11:01 am

help, I live in Ga : Did you feel the same when BJ Coleman split for Chattanooga..? Really, both Coleman and Stephens are holdovers from the Fulmer Cro-Magnon Era…and if Bryce Brown decides to hit the road, hit it and don’t let the door bump your arse. BB reminds me alot of Gerald Riggs, JR at this point. A bunch of potential, but…

G8R GRAD

April 9th, 2010
11:02 am

I emphatically agree, Tony.
Chris Rainey is a STUD and will have an exemplary year!

GO GATORS!!!!

JB

April 9th, 2010
11:04 am

BamaG, no, we quit trying the 12 YEARS before Saban got there. You guys love to kick sand on us Dawgs, but ya’ll were pitiful for a long stretch BS (before Saban). Give us a chance to straighten ourselves out, as we waited on you guys to do the same. Hell, I think we even beat you 3 of 4 times, even with Saban once on your home field. AS a SEC fan also, we are proud of you guys, but show a little class.

G8R GRAD

April 9th, 2010
11:08 am

DP:

Thank you!
No mention of the Gators’ schedule being just as much of a “huge scheduling hiccup” as Alabama’s!

toga

April 9th, 2010
11:13 am

In the end, it will not matter. Alabama – Florida in SECG.

Georgia will lose to SC, UF, AUB and maybe Tech. Not a bad year for the Dogs.

ROLL TIDE.

Jim

April 9th, 2010
11:15 am

Attention Steve Harvey: Mr. Ed called and he wants his teeth back.

Now back to your regular blog.

SecIsFootball

April 9th, 2010
11:20 am

Its funny…every year I see UGA fans whining about the fact that Florida seems to have a bye week prior to their annual beat down of UGA. However, BAMA plays 6 teams this year (5 last year and 17 over the last 3 season – next closes was LSU at 7) and it is acceptable. Oh the irony!

No excuses for losing a game because we really didnt have any last year. If UGA fans has this schedule, you guys would be whining like a little babies.

RxDawg

April 9th, 2010
11:20 am

“Georgia will lose to SC, UF, AUB and maybe Tech. Not a bad year for the Dogs. ”

That’s not a bad year? Sorry, but we have different standards than our crimson counterparts apparently.

Jeff

April 9th, 2010
11:25 am

Tony, do a little more research into the SEC scheduling issue. I can’t recall the exact figures, but if you look at 2007 through 2010, I believe Alabama has had 16 SEC games where their opponent was coming off their bye week. The 2nd closest to that total was LSU with 6. That doesn’t just happen by chance. That scumbag Roy Kramer and Doug Dickey left that as part of their legacy. Ironically, Alabama responded by going undefeated the last 2 regular seasons. So the commish can move some games around, or leave them as is, Alabama will still beat that ass this year.