Archive for August, 2010

Countdown to No. 1: Should Georgia be higher or lower than No. 18?

We continue our countdown to the nation’s top five teams on Friday,  Today we rank teams 16-20. If you see teams that should not be ranked at all or should be ranked in another position, let me know and tell me why. Here we go:


20. Miami

**–It will be a good season if: QB Jacory Harris stays healthy. Harris threw for 3,352 yards as a sophomore but at the end of the season was battling with a bad thumb. He’s had surgery and then just watched during spring practice. If Harris can cut back on the interceptions (17 in 2009) the Hurricanes could have a special season.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: The ‘Canes don’t play big in the big games. They were 9-4 last season but in the big games they had a tendency to turn it over and make other big mistakes (Eight combined turnovers in losses to Clemson and North Carolina). After a 3-1 start against Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma, Miami should have finished better.

19. Oregon State

**–It will …

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Countdown to No. 1: Should Gamecocks be higher than No. 21?

Hope everybody had a good weekend. We are less than three weeks from the start of the season. So we’re going to take the next five days to preview our Top 25 for 2010. Starting today with No. 25, we’ll give you five teams each day down to Friday when we’ll present our top five.

If you see teams that don’t deserve to be ranked at all  or shouldn’t be ranked in that position I have them, please tell me why. When we get to the end of the week I’ll be interested in your Top 10. So start putting them together now and ship them to me on Friday.

Here, to get the week and the conversation started,  are No. 21-25:

25. Navy

**–It will be a good season if: Ricky Dobbs can go the distance. Dobbs, a native of Douglasville, was just sensational in 2009. He ran for over 1,000 yards, passed for over 1,000 yards, and broke Tim Tebow’s record for a quarterback by scoring 27 rushing touchdowns. And he played the last six games with a broken kneecap as the Midshipmen went 10-4.

**–It will be …

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McGarity is the right man at the right time for Georgia

 For a long, long time the athletics directors chair, particularly in the South, was kept warm for the successful head football coach who wanted to be his own boss and to eventually have a comfortable place to land after he hung up his whistle.

It really wasn’t that tough of a job. The budgets were small and the demands of the fan base outside of football weren’t that big. The head coach/athletics director would hire a strong No. 2 guy to run the department on a day-to-day basis while he made the big decisions. Those decisions consisted of hiring coaches and making sure the football program had all the resources it needed.

The job began to change in the 80s about the time that Vince Dooley took on both roles at Georgia. Now the budgets were bigger. Women’s sports were starting to explode. Television contracts started paying real money and the fan base wanted to win at EVERYTHING. Dooley is in the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach. His peers will tell you that he …

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New book looks back on “Belue to Scott!” Has it really been 30 years?

It was 30 years ago this month–yes you read that right–that Georgia’s football team began preparations for a season full of magic, surprises, and ultimately triumph as the Bulldogs went 12-0 and won the national championship.

In an unforgettable season filled with highlights thanks to the efforts of freshman running back Herschel Walker and so many others, one play will live forever: Buck Belue’s short third-down pass that Lindsay Scott turned into a 93-yard touchdown to give Georgia a stunning 26-21 win over Florida in Jacksonville.

It is, without question, the single most significant play in the history of Georgia football. That’s because the victory, thanks to an assist from Georgia Tech (which tied No. 1 Notre Dame 3-3 in Atlanta), moved Georgia into the No. 1 ranking in the next round of polls. Georgia would never leave that position as it closed out the season with wins over Auburn, Georgia Tech, and ultimately Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

Macon author Robbie …

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ACC vs. SEC: Who has the better defense?

The SEC has had an incredible run with four straight BCS national championships. Alabama is the preseason No. 1 and a strong favorite to win a second straight BCS title, something that hasn’t been done since Nebraska in 1994-95.

While we all like to talk about offense because it’s fun to watch, the SEC’s unprecedented run of success, I believe, was built on defense. You don’t need any more proof than last season.

Consider this: In the final NCAA statistics of 2009, six of the Top 26 and 10 of the top 58 defenses in college football were from the SEC. Only Auburn and Arkansas fell outside that top 58.

 Here is a breakdown of 2009’s top 60 defenses by conference. The SEC, with 10, and the ACC, with eight, led all conferences. These are statistics for total defense and the national ranking is in parentheses:

 SEC (10): Alabama (2), Florida (4), South Carolina (15), Ole Miss (21), Tennessee (22), LSU (26), Georgia (38), Kentucky (53), Vanderbilt (56), Miss. State (58).

ACC (8):

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Hangin’ with Larry Munson

Athens–It was a typical Larry Munson greeting.

He didn’t say “Hello.”

He didn’t say “How you doing?”

 He just started talking.

“Tell me about the quarterback. I’m worried about the quarterback,” said Munson.

Okay, get the picture: It is August. Georgia’s first game is still almost a month away.  And Larry Munson is already worried. Man, is he worried.

Munson retired as the radio voice of the Georgia Bulldogs two games into the 2008 season. He was the heartbeat of the Bulldog Nation for almost 43 years. He doesn’t miss the travel one bit.  But he misses the rest of it more than he can possibly explain. He really misses those Friday night dinners with his radio crew when he would hold court with story after story about life on the road in the SEC. Remember that Larry called Vanderbilt games for 19 years before he came to Georgia in 1966. That’s over 60 years of road games in this league. I don’t think Larry would mind my telling you that some very good wine was …

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Relax UT fans: Kiffin said he did nothing wrong

It was was busy weekend with training camp in full swing. So what did we learn?

1. Relax Tennessee fans. Kiffin said he did nothing wrong:  Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton acknowledged at the end of last week that the school may receive a letter of inquiry from the NCAA. My experience is when the school says a letter is coming, it’s probably already in the mail. Tennessee has already self-reported six minor recruiting violations by Kiffin and his staff. NCAA investigators looked into actions by the school’s recruiting hostess program when Kiffin was head coach for 14 unforgettable months. Kiffin left for USC last Janaury but he is proving to be the gift that keeps on giving.

We now know that NCAA investigators were on campus last spring talking to Tennessee  coaches who were part of Kiffin’s staff but remained in Knoxville when he bolted for the West Coast.

“I have great confidence in what we did there, that we didn’t do anything wrong,” Kiffin told reporters …

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Did Twitter kill open practices?

It’s another Fabulous Friday. Training camp has started and we are less than four weeks away from the start of the season. It can’t get here quickly enough for me.

As always, the floor is open for any topic, even those that aren’t football related. Just keep it clean.

Here are five topics to get things started today:

1. Did Twitter kill open practices? Word came this week that both Florida and Georgia Tech, whose practices have always been open, are now closed to everyone–even the media. I hate to see that because I still like going to practice. But I understand why they are doing it.

Brady Ackerman, one of my broadcast partners on “Talkin’ Football” on CSS, told the story of why Mack Brown at Texas had to close practice: A Texas player gets hurt at practice. The normal protocol for reporters on something like that is to wait until the end of practice and then consult with the coaches and training staff for an assessment of the injury. But with Twitter and Facebook and instant …

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Breaking down the quarterbacks: ACC Coastal

 We looked at the ACC Atlantic quarterbacks yesterday. Today we will break down and rank the quarterbacks in the ACC’s Coastal division.

Remember that these rankings have absolutely nothing to do with the player’s NFL potential. This is about success and/or potential success in college football.

Here we go. Feel free to disagree:

1. Joshua Nesbitt, Georgia Tech: I’m going to be accused of being a homer here but just look at the facts: He was the first-team All-ACC quarterback. He rushed for 1,037 yards and passed for 1,701 yards. He became only the 49th player in NCAA history pass and run for over 1,000 yards in a single season. He was involved in 37 plays that went 20 yards or more. He was the starting quarterback on a team that won the ACC championship. I’m really not sure how much more the native of Greene County could have done for his team in 2009.

Coach Paul Johnson told me that he has asked Nesbitt to focus on becoming a more consistent passer in 2010. Because …

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Breaking down the quarterbacks: ACC Atlantic

 We’ve spent the past two days rating the SEC quarterbacks as training camp begins. Now let’s look at the ACC quarterbacks.

The league is as deep in really good quarterbacks as I have ever seen it. Eight of the 12 teams return their starter from a year ago and Virginia’s Marc Verica started nine games in 2008. So collectively the ACC has nine quarterbacks who have started a total of 182 career games. I haven’t broken down every conference, but I’m guessing no other league returns that many career starts at the position.

Today we’re going to break down the quarterbacks in the ACC’s Atlantic Division. Tomorrow we will look at the Coastal Division. Remember that these quarterback rankings have nothing to do with NFL potential. They are based on success and/or potential at the college level.

Feel free to disagree and give me your rankings:

1. Christian Ponder, Florida State: Ponder missed his team’s last four games in 2009 after his shoulder lost a collision with …

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