Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bowl Projections

The BCS championship is all but set if Auburn and Oregon win next week, with TCU and Wisconsin next in line if either of the two fall. The other BCS bowls are not quite as clear with many non-conference champions having a good case for an invite. The Rose Bowl has to take the highest Non-AQ school per the new rules, so Wisconsin/TCU looks like the match-up there.

The ACC winner (FSU/VT) will head to the Orange to take on the Big East Chamption. The Big 12 winner, say Nebraska, will go to the Fiesta Bowl to play Stanford. I believe Arkansas has earned an at large bid to the Sugar Bowl to take on another at-large selection, Ohio State.

Sugar - Arkansas/Ohio State
Rose - TCU/Wisconsin
Fiesta - Stanford/Oklahoma
Orange - VT/UConn
BCS Title - Auburn/Oregon

RSM Top 25 heading into Championship Week

1. Oregon
2. Auburn
3. TCU
4. Wisconsin
5. Stanford
6. Ohio State
7. Michigan State
8. Arkansas
9. Nebraska
10. Oklahoma
11. LSU
12. Oklahoma State
13. Missouri
14. Nevada
15. Boise State
16. Virginia Tech
17. South Carolina
18. Texas A&M
19. Alabama
20. Mississippi State
21. West Virginia
22. Florida State
23. Utah
24. Northern Illinois
25. Arizona

Saturday, November 20, 2010

An NBA 1st...

Now that Joe Johnson was named 3rd team All-NBA last season, we need a new guy for the "most under-rated" tag. It seems there is always someone that flies under the radar while putting up big-time numbers. Usually playing in a small-market city or not being a "flashy player" keeps certain guys from being recognized.

Need a nominee for the current "most under-rated?"

How about the guy that notched the 1st triple-double in Bobcats history tonight...Stephen Jackson.

Stephen has had an outstanding career and has peaked the last few seasons. Quick trivia, who are the only NBA players that headed into the 2010-2011 season had posted 3 straight 20+ point, 4+ assist, 4+ rebound seasons?

Joe Johnson
Kobe Bryant
LeBron James
Dwayne Wade
Stephen Jackson

How about ole Stephen, who put up 30 on the Heat the night before? Let's get the hype going now for an All-Star birth/All-NBA nomination going now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why Georgia should not fire Mark Richt

Before I begin, let me get one thing straight…I do not want Mark Richt to remain the coach at UGA for the following reasons:

1) I think he is a good guy
2) I am content with the teams play on the field the past 2 seasons
3) I am content with the teams off-the-field behavior the past 12 months

Mark Richt is a good guy, but that is not why he should remain head coach of the Bulldogs, regardless of the outcome of the UGA-GT game. The wins have slipped and there have been alarming red flags, but I believe it is still too early to jump the gun and fire the guy.

I for one believe Aaron Murray is a special talent. He is tough, has all the skills, and looks comfortable in an offense that averages 30+ points per game. We knew there would be some struggles with a red-shirt freshman at that position, but Murray is as good as advertised. What the program needs now is to ride this special talent in the system he looks so good in for at least another season. Does Coach Richt need to start calling plays again? I would say yes, because that is what a guy with a struggling program does.

Second, you could put together a pretty nice list of candidates that you believe would be the next guy to come in and quickly put the Dawgs back in the thick of things nationally again. Drew Collins at 680 the fan has an excellent wish list with some “juicy” names. What concerns me is what happened to Tennessee earlier this year. Georgia may be a better job than Tennessee, but they are similar, and the Vols were turned down by 5 guys before they hired Derek Dooley.

1) Kyle Whittingham
2) Jon Gruden
3) David Cutcliffe
4) Will Muschamp
5) Troy Calhoun

Just sayin...

We have seen improvement all season in kick-off coverage, penalties, turnover margin, and many other statistical categories that needed to be addressed. The main problems this season in my opinion have been:

1) Transition to new defensive scheme without the best fit in personnel has been rough at times

2) In-opportune fumbles have been the momentum changer in at least 4 losses (USC, Colorado, Mississippi State, Florida). I think bad luck has had a lot to do with these fumbles as Ealey was about to score on 2 of these, and Murray simply made a freshman mistake against UF. Colorado was a freak incident that can’t be blamed on coaching.

But you may argue that good coaching will negate fumbling. Why not coach up these guys so that they don’t fumble? Well, here is a list of teams that have more fumbles lost than UGA this year:

1) Alabama
2) Arkansas
3) Auburn
4) Oregon
5) Virginia Tech
6) Oklahoma State
7) Boise State
8) LSU
9) Florida
10) Texas

It just so happens that two-thirds of the UGA fumbles lost this season took place at the worst time possible. It is going to happen this way some years; you can’t always get the ball to bounce your way.

3) The schedule that looked somewhat easy in the pre-season didn’t end up being easy at all. Early road games with a freshman QB and new defensive scheme against 3 teams that as of today are in the NCAA top 20.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to make a list of excuses, just trying to get some stats out to support Coach Richt. He needs to do better and he will be the first person to tell you that. He needs to continue to tweak things and try and get better because 5-6 should never be acceptable in Athens. I just don’t want to jump the gun, fire a proven winner in the SEC, and end up with someone that is not as good just to get a “changing of the guard” or “new blood.”

Most people are upset with their coach across the country. There are Texas fans that want Mack Brown out. Ohio State fans want Tressel fired. Oklahoma fans are fed up with Bob Stoops.

Look at how long it took Alabama to find Nick Saban. They had to endure Mike Dubose, Dennis Franchione, Mike Price, and Mike Shula years. Nebraska is just now getting back to being nationally significant after firing Frank Solich in 2003 after a 9-3 season. Notre Dame has been stuck in mediocrity for 10+ years now. Even Florida had the Ron Zook era. It is very rare that someone that has been at an institution for 10+ years is fired and an immediate replacement is found that turns out to be the guy that gets them to the next level. Chip Kelly would be an example, but his kind is extremely rare.

It seems much more likely to me that firing Coach Richt after this season would produce another Ray Goff than another Vince Dooley.

Lets keep the recruiting class together, sign a couple more players (Crowell anyone?) and head into 2011 with some momentum. Oh yea, and beating Tech for the 9th time in 10 years would be a solid way to get that momentum started...

Monday, November 15, 2010

People in sports I hate...

This is an update on the list originally posted 2 1/2 years ago. Numbers 4-10 on the list have left the list now, as Curt Schilling, Billy Packer, and Roger Clemens have retired and no longer hug the headlines with their shenanigans. Jon Gruden is almost on my "love" list after his MNF showing, Colin Montgomerie is insignificant, and I am over Chad Johnson's antics. Heck, even Lou Holtz doesn't bother me much anymore...

The new Top 10 as we near the end of 2010

10) Keith Brooking - How dare he cross Arthur Blank. Blank rewards Brooking with a 41 million dollar contract in 2003, only to see the team release him after almost single-handily giving the Cardinals a game clinching 1st down in the 2008 playoffs. Then, after joining the Cowgirls, he dances on the sidelines and makes ignorant comments about his departure after recording 1 meaningless tackle. You're welcome Keith, thanks for showing us what you are made of...

9) Bruce Pearl - Anther phony that played the, "I'm a quirky/genius/recruiting guru" card for too long and is now alleged to be involved in tons of illegal recruiting acts. I don't know when he will go down, but he will, and it will be fantastic.

8) Chris Berman - Ole Chris has dropped from #3 to #8 on the list, mostly because I avoid him at all costs. I haven't seen a home run derby since Garrett Anderson won, watch NFL highlights on the NFL network, and my only encounter with a swami since 2004 was at a Sushi Bar.

7) Urban Meyer - He has dropped this year as he is finally being exposed as the fraud that he is. No Tebow, Dan Mullen, or Charlie Strong has equaled a reality check. He has never called plays or created a game plan, but is perceived as the "inventor" of the spread offense.

6) Tony Romo - Something about this guy really bothers me. I don't know if it is the smirk on his face or how he walks around with an undeserved sense of accomplishment. But, nonetheless, he makes the list in the #6 spot. I actually get a nice little chuckle when he drops snaps as a holder, implodes on MNF, and consistently implodes in big games.

5) The 2010-2011 Miami Heat - This was inevitable after the Lebron saga this summer and ESPN launching the "Heat Index" for the season. I was prepared for Miami-overload in September and found myself already dreading all the coverage before the season even began. It is so bad that if the Heat play the Lakers in the Finals, I may but a Kobe jersey.

4) Chip Carey - Falling from #1 to #4, Chip has yet to get any better. He does however insert a random references that at times can be somewhat funny, so he can't be #1. However, all the things that got him to that top spot still make him worthy of the top 5.

3) Brett Favre - An easy one here after having to endure his never-ending need for attention and fan-fare. I actually don't care that he retires/un-retires every year or that he hates 2-a-days. I have a problem with the whole texting "I am retiring" to a kicker to trick people into thinking he will retire and when he actually announces he isn't retiring, it will be a bigger deal. Yea, all 5 times he has done that or something similar.

2) Paul Pierce - This one started during the Hawks-Celtics playoff series in April of 2008 when he decided to show his true self by flashing gang signs at the Hawks bench. He also (along with D-Wade) seems to have mastered the "I pump-faked and got my guy in the air so I will jump into him in a way that in no way is similar to my real shot and try and get a whistle" move. Oh yea, he plays for the Celtics too.

1) Lane Kiffin - Old Lane leap frogged to the top of this list with his unreal antics during the 2009 college football season. Lets take a quick look at all the moronic quotes Lane gave us last year:

a) “I wasn’t going to let the refs lose the game for us there and some magical flag appear” - Lame attempt to cover up poor time management

“I’m sure I will get one of those letters that doesn’t mean anything” - Why cooperate with the NCAA?

c) "I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn't get him."- No cheating occurred

d) "We will never lose to Georgia as long as I am the coach here." - Actually ended up being right on this one.

e) “I can’t hear you; Rocky Top is playing”- After losing to Florida and not attempting to actually win the game.

That's it...the people I love list has also undergone major changes and will be up later in the week. Super-surprise #1 on that list...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Newton Saga...

I guess it is my time to chime in on the never-ending saga of Cam Newton and his recruitment. First, I will say that he is clearly the best player in the nation and the most valuable to his team. Watching him this year it is very evident how good he is and he showed it again vs Georgia yesterday. Without Cam, Auburn is a 6-8 win team, so his value can not be overstated.

Now, to the issue...It seems more likely each day that Cam's Dad, Cecil Newton, solicited money from Mississippi State for his son's signature. Once that gets out (Mark Winne is reporting it is already out), Cam will be deemed ineligible to participate in NCAA football games.

Auburn was informed that there was an eligibility issue with Newton before the UGA game and chose to play him anyway. If he sat out, Auburn could argue they had no knowledge of the eligibility issue for the 1st 10 games of the year (similar to what OSU did with Mo Clarett) and not have to vacate and wins.

Auburn's thinking is, "Lets just play it out and see what happens, we aren't going to sit our superstar if we don't have to." They had a chance to win 2 games against their rivals who have been looking down on them the last few years (UGA 6 of 8 and Bama BCS champs) and did what they had to do to get the wins. UGA and Bama clearly beat Auburn without their Heisman front-runner, and AU chose to get the wins and let the fans enjoy this dream season for another week.

On another note, Nick Fairley is easily the dirtiest player I have ever seen in college football. Then, on top of his 5+ cheap shots (he actually hurt his shoulder trying to land one) he acts like a complete idiot running around posing with Trooper "hundred dollar handshake" Taylor. Wow.

Auburn got the win yesterday by out-playing UGA. Congrats. I am extremely relieved that the players and coaches representing AU are not associated with mine. I also hope they write that "W" in the record books in pencil...

RSM Poll 11/14

1. Oregon
2. Auburn
3. TCU
4. Boise State
5. Stanford
6. LSU
7. Wisconsin
8. Nebraska
9. Ohio State
10. Michigan State
11. Alabama
12. Arkansas
13. Virginia Tech
14. Oklahoma State
15. Missouri
16. Oklahoma
17. South Carolina
18. Texas A&M
19. Mississippi State
20. Nevada
21. USC
22. Northwestern
23. Arizona
24. Florida State
25. Iowa

Sunday, November 7, 2010

CFB thoughts...

Put me on record as believing the new BCS contract that will replace the current system as we know it will be the plus 1 system. This requires very few tweaks to the current system and essentially adds 1 more game to the college season. It is very similar to Final Four Saturday in basketball and will give 4 teams a shot at playing for the title.

I've written on here before how this system would work very well most seasons.

However, we are stuck in the current system for the next 4 bowl seasons, and how much better would this year's bowl season be if we had the plus 1 system? There is a lot of football to be played, but think about this scenario...

We'd have the high-flying Oregon Ducks, still on pace after yesterday to break the 2008 Oklahoma Sooners scoring record. The Auburn Tigers with the likely Heisman winner and SEC record book darling Cam Newton. And, the 2 underdogs from smaller conferences that are trying to prove they can play against the big boys.

January 2nd - #1 Auburn vs #4 Boise State & #2 Oregon vs #3 TCU
January 9th - Winners play for the title

There would still be controversy with the smaller conference unbeaten teams getting a chance to play for it as Nebraska, Wisconsin, Stanford, LSU all would be stating their case after this weekend.

I also think it is rare that 2 non-AQ schools are as good in the future as TCU and Boise are this year. I think both could win the above games and compete at the top of most conferences.

But I digress...

RSM Poll 11/7

1. Oregon
2. Auburn
3. Boise State
4. TCU
5. Stanford
6. LSU
7. Wisconsin
8. Nebraska
9. Ohio State
10. Michigan State
11. Arkansas
12. Virginia Tech
13. Oklahoma State
14. Mississippi State
15. Alabama
16. Utah
17. Arizona
18. Iowa
19. Missouri
20. Florida
21. Oklahoma
22. USC
23. Nevada
24. South Carolina
25. UCF