Monday, November 26, 2012
It's SEC Championship week, so let's cut straight to the chase. Alabama opens the week as a 7 1/2 point favorite over Georgia. That's about where I thought the line would be early, and it probably won't change more than a half point either way as the week progresses. To be honest, most people outside of the Bulldog Nation don't think Georgia will be within two touchdowns of the mighty Crimson Tide. Only Georgia believes Georgia can win. I think the Dawgs can beat Alabama, but under this one condition: If Georgia plays up to their potential in every phase of the game, they will beat Alabama even if 'Bama does the same. If UGA doesn't play to that standard, then to me all bets are off. It's that simple.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
It's Thanksgiving Day again. It seemed to come around a little quicker this year. Might be a sign of the times, or a sign of my time. You know the adage,"the older you get , the faster time flies", or whatever. Thanks for checking in with An Opinion On Sports. If you didn't come around, there wouldn't be much fun being here. I'm thankful for you, as well as:
- I'm thankful for Chipper Jones career, and the fact he spent it all here at home.
- I'm thankful for the American Veteran. All gave some, and some gave all.
- I'm thankful for CSI, and for 'Gibbs' Rules'.
- I'm thankful for the Detroit Lions. They always give us a game on Thanksgiving Day. Go Matthew Stafford!
- I'm thankful for the peanuts boiling on a Georgia Bulldog Saturday.
- I'm thankful for the person courteous enough to know and show cell phone etiquette.
- I'm thankful when all of our "gadgets" work as they're supposed to.
- I'm thankful when my physician and dentist actually see me on time, even though that rarely happens.
- I'm thankful that this year it's not my SEC coach on the 'Hot Seat'. Been there, done that.
- I'm thankful that Furman Bisher always did a column on Thanksgiving Day about being thankful. The attempt at imitation is the greatest form of flattery!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Auburn football is under NCAA investigation yet again. This time for recruiting violations. I guess when you escape clean after paying Cam Newton to play, you feel somewhat invincible to incrimination. The Tiger program is the O.J. Simpson of college football. I can just hear Johnny Cochran now, "If the wide receiver gloves don't fit, you must acquit"! But I digress...You would have been correct if you surmised that assistant coach Trooper Taylor was involved in this inquiry. He is definitely the "Devil in Disguise" at Auburn. Taylor will do absolutely anything to win. There are no scruples with this guy. Auburn is on the brink of having their entire football operations come crashing down. Their season is more than a disaster, their coach is more than half-way out the door, and the NCAA is more than half-way in the door. They've already played their mulligan with the 'Newton Affair', so this thing isn't looking too good for them. Just sayin...
Now that we've arrived at the eve of Thanksgiving, it is time to reveal our selection for "Turkey of the Year." Although there are many eligible, and even deserving, candidates encompassing the world of sports, I was finally able to narrow my choices down enough to make a most worthy selection. So without further adieu, I am proud to announce that Bobby Petrino is An Opinion On Sports' 2012 Turkey of the Year. With one joyride on a motorcycle with a woman young enough to be his daughter, he managed to wreck not only the bike, but an entire football season for the entire state of Arkansas. How could Petrino not be the T.O.Y.? Just sayin...
Other candidates deserving of consideration:
- Lane Kiffin (He'll always make the list!)
- Will Muschamp (What's up with all those facial contortions?)
- Tommy Tubberville (Now it's time for someone to knock your headphones off)
- Steve Spurrier (Just 'cause you're an old-as-hell Turkey!)
- The ACC (For trying to imitate a football conference!)
Thanksgiving Day has a special significance in the history of the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry. Every 'Turkey Day', the freshmen teams of both schools would play a charity game in Atlanta at Tech's Grant field. The proceeds from ticket sales were designated to the Scottish Rite Children's Hospital. You have to remember that during the 60 years that the game was played, freshman were ineligible for varsity competition. For a few years after that NCAA rule was changed, it became somewhat of a junior varsity contest. It really was a big deal, not only for Scottish Rite, but for the two institutions as well. The Governor's cup was awarded to the winner, and over time the game gained national recognition. Such Bulldog greats as Charley Trippi(above), Frank Sinkwich, Fran Tarkenton and Bill Stanfill have played in the "Bullpups vs Baby Jackets" classic.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Everyone else is doing this, so I might as well jump on the bandwagon too. What I'm referring to is the "what if" game that seems to be really vogue right now regarding the college football post-season. There is one scenario in particular that I find very intriguing, and it involves primarily the SEC. It goes something like this: If Alabama defeats Auburn, Georgia defeats Georgia Tech, and Florida defeats Florida State this weekend, 'Bama and UGA meet in the December 1st conference championship game, regardless of the Texas A&M/Missouri result. Also, all three teams maintain their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th spots in the BCS rankings. In addition this weekend, if Southern Cal defeats No. 1 ranked Notre Dame, the three Southeastern Conference schools could conceivably hold down the top 3 spots in the BCS. It also could open up the possibility that Florida could play the SEC Champion for the National Title, leaving the conference runner-up in probably the Outback Bowl. It would also leave all those college football fans who are sick and tired of the SEC, even more sick and tired of the SEC. Could this really play out like this? You know what they say, 'IF' is one one the biggest words in the world. Just sayin...
Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney makes a little over $2 million annually. He could be making even more except for the fact that he has transferred incentive based raises to his assistant coaches. His coaching staff has a joint payroll of $4.2 million, making them one of the highest paid groups in the nation. Their boss is the 39th highest paid head coach. Swinney looks at his revenue sharing as an investment in his overall program, compensating his staff for their efforts toward a common goal. The Tigers head coach makes approximately one third of his school's football payroll, compared to Nick Saban, who makes 58 percent of Alabama's football payroll. While it is true that Swinney has not accomplished all that a Saban and others have, it is enlightening to see a coach in such a high-dollar environment willing to reward the successful efforts of his coaches out of his own pocket.
Jimbo Fisher has been at Florida State for several years. He was the "coach-in-waiting" under Bobby Bowden prior to Bowden's forced retirement. I think it's fair to say that the 'garnet and gold' is pretty much ingrained in Fisher. However, after having said all of that, I believe he would leave FSU for the right job. The right SEC job that is. His name has already been mentioned at Tennessee and Auburn, perhaps even Arkansas. This has nothing to do with FSU at all, but has everything to do with the ACC. He realizes things are not going to change for football as long as they are stuck in a basketball conference. Where conferences like the SEC import weak, lower division teams in to lightened their seasonal burden, the Atlantic Coast Conference has these caliber teams already built into their weak league. It's hard to play a tough football schedule when it's loaded with ACC teams. Therefore, the strength of schedule factor goes down the drain. Literally and figuratively. If the truth were to be told, Florida State itself would love to be in the Southeastern Conference. Why not make a trade: Kentucky and Vanderbilt for FSU and Clemson? Two basketball schools to the ACC and two football schools to the SEC. Sounds like a plan to me. That's probably the only way the Seminoles would be able to keep Jimbo. Just sayin...
Monday, November 19, 2012
One more option offense to stop this season. One more game of cut-blocks to put up with this season. It's Georgia -vs- Georgia Tech week, culminated by the meeting between the unfriendliest of in-state rivals. Georgia hates Tech, and Tech hates Georgia. To me, it's always a big game because I can not stand to lose to Tech. This year, it's even bigger than usual. Here's why:
- With a victory, UGA records an eleven win regular season
- With a victory, UGA remains at least the Number 3 team in the BCS, and keeps the National Championship as a possibility
- With a victory, UGA retains possession of the Governor's Cup
- A win would be UGA's fourth in a row, and eleven out of the last twelve over Tech
- A win would increase UGA's lead in the series to 63-39-5
- A win would continue UGA's momentum heading into the SEC Championship Game
- A win would mean "Bragging Rights" for another year for all of the Bulldawg Nation
- A win would mean "Bragging Rights" for another year for all of the Bulldawg Nation
- A win would mean "Bragging Rights" for another year for all of the Bulldawg Nation
Derek Dooley is out at Tennessee after three seasons where the Volunteers compiled a 15-21 record under his leadership. The team was 12-13 in the two years prior to his hiring. Dooley's teams were a meager 4-19 against SEC opponents, which included Tennessee's first loss to lowly Kentucky in 26 years, and last weekend's blowout loss to a "Wanna-Be" Vanderbilt team 41-18. Going into the Vandy game, the Volunteers had won 34 of the last 35 meetings against their in-state rivals. The failure of a faked punt inside their own 20, which by the way was probably the worst call in the history of college football (at least Top 10), and the first half benching of starting quarterback Tyler Bray, ultimately sealed UT's and Dooley's fate. Dooley, who was only 17-20 at Louisiana Tech before going to Knoxville, was just in over his head in the SEC. It is true that he inherited a terrible situation at Tennessee (just don't blame Bush!), but a lot like Georgia's Ray Goff years ago, he just wasn't ready for that big stage. Dooley and the Vols will both move on now, but in what direction is anybody's guess. It's fine with me to let Ole Smokey keep on sleepin'. You know, keep things rocky on 'Rocky Top'. Just Sayin...
Georgia Tech is headed to the ACC Championship game. Yep, you read that correctly. The 6-5 Jackets, who are a stunning 5-3 in conference games, will represent the Coastal Division on December 1st in Charlotte. The barely-bowl-eligible North Avenue team closes out the regular season against cross-state rival Georgia in Athens this Saturday afternoon. After the Dawgs defeat Tech Saturday, and if they defeat Florida State to win the ACC, the Orange Bowl would be forced to accept the 7-6 Jackets as the host team. I can bet you big time that the Orange Bowl guys will be doing "The Chop" right along with the FSU fans during the conference championship. 'Yellow Tech' fans aren't going to travel with their team to Miami, and a television audience won't be that thrilled to see that triple option running attack all night either. Good luck with all of that Orange Bowl. Those conference tie-ups are going to cut your own throats one year. Might be this one. Just sayin...
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Georgia tailback Todd Gurley is now officially in some big and exclusive company. Today against Georgia Southern, Gurley became only the second true freshman in UGA history to rush for 1,000 yards. There have been some outstanding players who have run the football at the University of Georgia over the years, but only Herschel Walker and Todd Gurley have been able to break the 1,000 yard barrier as true freshmen. That's pretty impressive stuff. The Bulldogs went on to blow out the Eagles 45-14 with the help of quarterback Aaron Murray's four touchdown passes. Georgia also reached the 10 win plateau for the eighth time in coach Mark Richt's 12 seasons at the helm in Athens. Playoff bound Georgia Southern wasted an opportunity to possibly go in at halftime with a four point lead, but squandered that chance by being called for an illegal chop-block. When you run the triple option offense, those calls are going against you at times during a game. It just so happened at the worst time for the Eagles. Now for the Dawgs, it's on to the Tech game with more option and more cut-blocking.
I can tell that it's going to be a lot of fun watching LSU's Les Miles go up against Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze(above) in the SEC West over the next several years. They both want to win badly, and they'll pull out all the stops to make that happen. Tonight in Baton Rouge, Freeze went for it on fourth down twice and was successful both times. Miles elected to go for a two-point conversion to tie the game in the fourth quarter, and his Tigers went on to defeat the Rebels 41-35. It was one of those games where both teams deserved to win, and as you might expect, the game turned on a special teams play by LSU and a critical roughing the passer penalty by Ole Miss. Freeze has his program in Oxford heading in the right direction. With consistent, quality recruiting over time, Ole Miss will become a serious factor in their division. But for any team, it will always be hard to win in Death Valley once the sun goes down. Just sayin...
Friday, November 16, 2012
Georgia's football team faces two consecutive weeks of triple-option offense. Georgia Southern, who comes into Athens Saturday leading the FCS in rushing with slightly more than 400 yards per game, will be the first to throw their cut-blocking scheme at the Dawgs. Next the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech will arrive "Between the Hedges" to cut-block some more and again run a very similar style of option as does Southern. If a team has to face two option oriented offenses in a season, it has to be a plus to face them back-to-back. It's old style football that is frankly out of style these days in the wide open world of collegiate spread offenses. With that being said, it's really tough on a defense to switch gears and get ready to play an entirely different scheme themselves. Georgia has to play their old in-state rival Georgia Tech every year, but I don't understand why we keep playing Georgia Southern. The Bulldogs have nothing to gain from playing Southern, and it's just a wasted date on the schedule. We need to keep beating 'Yellow Tech' every year, but stop playing Southern. Just sayin..
I almost titled this post "too little too late", but then I realized to heck with timing, Johnny Manziel is really a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. The Texas A&M sports information department has recently cranked up their own 'Manziel for Heisman' campaign. The tremendous year Manziel is having, highlighted recently by his performance in his team's convincing win over Alabama in front of a huge national TV audience, has propelled him to become a serious suitor for college football's most prestigious award. It won't help his cause that he is only a freshman, and neither will it help that A&M got such a late jump on their push for him. Nevertheless, there is certainly no denying that "Johnny Football" is one on college football's most electrifying, exciting and valuable players. He might not bring that bronze statue home to College Station this year, but he will from this point on be the front-runner for the award for the remainder of his college career.
We all know that week-in and week-out the Southeastern Conference is a tough, physical conference. It's always tough to win on the road, and sometimes equally challenging at home. Just consider this about the top teams in the conference:
- Florida beat Texas A&M, LSU, and South Carolina but lost to Georgia
- South Carolina dominated Georgia but lost to LSU and Florida
- LSU beat Texas A&M and South Carolina but lost to Florida and Alabama
- Alabama squeaked by LSU but lost to Texas A&M
- Georgia lost to South Carolina but hasn't experienced an SEC defeat since
Thursday, November 15, 2012
If you don't care anything about Duke football, you will when you read this article. Please, please take the time to follow this link and read the fantastic story of Blair Holliday, Jamison Crowder, Chelsea Gibbons, and many others. I promise you the story will give you chill bumps, move you to tears, and thrill you all at the same time. It is a story of courage and inspiration. It is a story of victory and overcoming obstacles. It is a story of the amazing human spirit. It is a story of faith. It is a story of 'catch and tuck'. It is a tremendous story. Period. Again, please read it. For your sake.
The Orange Bowl and the ACC have inked a 12 year deal with ESPN where the ACC will have an automatic berth in the game and will play a team from either the SEC or Big Ten, or Notre Dame. The mega-sports network will reportedly pay $55 million per year during the life of this contract, which goes into effect on January 1, 2015. To me, Notre Dame is the "strange bedfellow" in this scenario. They've actually become a member of the ACC, although in football they remain an independent. But they have to play a minimum of five games against ACC members each year. So why are they included in this new Orange Bowl deal at all? The answer to my own question is because the networks love the Irish and they believe intensely in that little Leprechaun and that tub of gold. I think this deal is a bad marriage because the Atlantic Coast Conference is a basketball conference and they bring absolutely nothing to the table as a factor in football, Notre Dame is a pseudo member of the ACC, and lastly, major bowl match-ups should be based on BCS rankings and not conference/bowl deals. That's my rant for the day. Oh yea, I'm betting that the ACC wins no more than a third of the 12 games during this contract. Just sayin...
s of the eventual college
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
At halftime last night in the Kentucky-Duke basketball game, Wildcat coach John Calipari told ESPN's Andy Katz about Duke: "They're flopping all over the place. In the NBA they'd all be suspended". Blue Devil players have been pulling off fake charges for years. This is just the first time they have been called out publicly on it. Nevertheless, Duke showed their experience and Kentucky showed their youth. The Blue Devils prevailed 75-68. Afterwards, Calipari did a flop of his own claiming he didn't even remember what he had said. He then added, "It was a joke. Come on, you guys can take a joke at Duke. Geez." With these two programs, the best I can muster is "Frankly Scarlet...". You know the rest. Just sayin...
An anonymous New York Jet teammate has labeled quarterback Tim Tebow as "terrible". Another Jet player who asked to stay unidentified added, "We don't look at him as a quarterback. He's the Wildcat guy." Even with these quotes out there, I think it's time to admit that the Pro game just doesn't fit Tebow, or vice-versa. He just doesn't have the passing skills to be successful in the NFL. I always thought the Canadian League would have been a better route for him to pursue. He could have used his toughness and running ability more there, and his arm would not have to carry his career so to speak. Nevertheless, I would like to see him succeed "in the arena", because we need guys like him who are not afraid to profess their faith publicly on a big stage. However, at this point I'm not sure how many other NFL teams will take a chance on him if it all falls apart in the Big Apple. Just sayin...
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray said this to a reporter: "I'm paid to win games." When the reporter responded, "You're paid?", Bray replied, "I mean my education. That's what the SEC likes to call getting paid." If he's getting paid for conference wins, he's flat out stealing or flat out broke because the Vols have yet to record a win in the SEC. That return on investment sounds a lot like my IRA these days! Not to worry though, I'm sure this was just a Freudian Slip on Bray's part. Yea right. Just sayin...
I read an article this morning about bowl projections. What seemed strange to me was that after the number one and number two spots, the remainder of the BCS rankings don't matter at all. For example, there are a total of five BCS Bowls, one of which is the national title game of course. One would think that the other four BCS Bowls would be match-ups of the remaining Top 10 schools. After all, these are the premier bowls. But that's not the case at all. For one thing, in these projections, the BCS at large selections don't have to go by rank at all. A perfect example of this is the Fiesta Bowl. They are predicted to have two 'at large' selections in Oklahoma and Texas A&M. The Sooners are currently ranked 12th in the BCS. Nebraska, Louisville, and Clemson are also out of the Top 10 but slated for a BCS Bowl. I realize the conference bowl contracts have a lot to do with this, but it leaves Top 10 teams like Georgia, Florida, LSU and South Carolina on the outside looking in as for as the BCS is concerned. I understand these are merely projections and there are important games to be played that can shake all of this up, but my point is that the BCS poll isn't used after the top two teams. At least that is the way it seems to me. Am I missing something here?
Monday, November 12, 2012
Georgia's Christian Robinson lays one of the bigger hits of the year on Auburn's Tre Mason. Watching the play unfold Saturday night, you could almost see the hit coming, and when it arrived it was a sight to behold. Robinson timed his hit perfectly and delivered a jaw-rocking blow to Mason. Georgia went on to win the game by shutting down and shutting out Auburn 38-0.
Tennessee Head Coach Derek Dooley said, "Everybody said I was fired, and I didn't even know it". Dooley is 15-30 in his three years at the helm in Tennessee. He has a 4-18 record against SEC opponents, and has lost 13 of the last 14 to conference schools. His Volunteer teams are 0-15 against top 25 programs. Saturday, he passed on the chance to beat Missouri in regulation, choosing instead to lose to them in overtime. This campaign, Tennessee is 4-6 with not a single SEC victory. They have conference games remaining against Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The Volunteers are a 4-point underdog to the Commodores this weekend, but Dooley thinks a 6-6 record will save his job. I think the Tennessee athletic director knows this is Dooley's last stand. Dooley will know it as well in less than two weeks. Just sayin...
Sunday, November 11, 2012
When Texas A&M defeated Alabama Saturday afternoon, I was reminded of the famous words of a young (actually Cassius Clay at the time) Muhammad Ali: "I shook up the world. I shook up the world"! Texas A&M shook up the college football world, the state of Alabama, the BCS and even the Paul Finebaum Show (what in the heck will he gloat about now?). By proving that they more that belong in the SEC, they took away 'Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron's Heisman aspirations, made the Crimson Tide's National Championship hopes a very long-shot, and most likely ended the Southeastern Conference's National Title streak at six. The Alabama faithful will never admit this but the Aggies not only out-played them, but they out-coached them as well. Yep, the great Nick Saban was one-upped in his own backyard. I'd say Texas A&M is here to stay. Wouldn't you? Just sayin...
Tommy Tuberville struck an assistant coach Saturday during Texas Tech's game against Kansas. The act was caught on tape, with the headset and cap flying off the assistant's head. That's bad enough in itself, but the worst part of it is Tuberville's outright lie about the incident after the game. Even though he claims he was only trying to pull his coach off the field, the replay shows that Tuberville swung swiftly and with malice. Come on Tuberville, there are eyes watching and recording everything these days. Just man-up enough to tell the truth. This is a sham and Tuberville deserves a suspension. I for one wish the assistant had cold-cocked him in return. Tuberville is a classless jerk. At best. Just sayin...
When Mark Richt and Gene Chizik shook hands after Saturdays Georgia - Auburn football game, the roles had been reversed since they last exchanged greetings in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Two years ago Chizik was on top of the college football world while Richt was on top of the Hot Seat. Auburn was on the verge of a National Championship, while Georgia could not win an important game when it needed to. Last night found Chizik on the brink of being fired, while Richt's Bulldogs had just won The SEC East in the coach's 12th season at the helm in Athens. Now just a few facts for the record:
• Richt has won 115 games (losing only 39) in less than 12 seasons. He is one of only seven coaches in history to record 102 or more wins in his first seven seasons as a head coach.
• This will be Richt's fifth trip to the SEC Championship Game in 12 seasons. He's won twice. In 2003 he lost to LSU, the eventual national champion. Last season Georgia lost to No. 1 LSU.
• A win over Georgia Southern next week will give Georgia its 20th 10-win season in 120 years of football. Richt will own eight of those 20 10-win seasons.
Mark Richt has his faults as a major college head coach (Note: His faith is NOT one of those faults), and I don't know if he's the man to take Georgia to the 'next level'. However, the numbers above don't lie, and his body of work in Athens is indeed impressive. Congratulations to the Bulldog program in winning the division. It is a big deal.
Former NFL head coach and current ESPN commentator Herm Edwards made the phrase "you play to win the game" popular when he was coach of the New York Jets. Yesterday in Knoxville, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley obviously did not have Herm Edwards on his mind. With less than a minute remaining in regulation and his team tied with Missouri 28-28, Dooley chose to run out the clock and go into overtime. Even with a quarterback on the field who ended up throwing for over 400 yards in the game, Dooley elected to play conservative. Although his Volunteers had yet to win an SEC contest this year, Dooley sat on the tie. What in the world did he have to lose if he let Tyler Bray attempt a couple of long passes? I guess he was relying on home-field-advantage to help pull out the win (like that had been an advantage this year anyway). Well, Dooley's decision forced the game into "free football", where the Tigers prevailed 51-48 in four overtimes. Tennessee remains winless in the Southeastern Conference. Shame on you Derek Dooley.
Friday, November 9, 2012
Does Bobby Petrino deserve another shot at being an SEC head coach? His name has been mentioned in the expected Auburn opening. He has been talked about in a return to Arkansas. It has been rumored he would be interested in talking with Kentucky officials. If any of this is accurate, I'm sure his name would surface if Derek Dolley is forced out at Tennessee as well. Whether any of this is fact or not, does Petrino deserve another chance this soon after being booted by Arkansas for character issues? I don't know about him being deserving, but I can tell you he will get another shot in the near future, and the reason I say this is because Bobby Petrino can flat out coach. In this world of big-time college football, winning is everything. Issues of character and bad judgement are quickly forgotten. If a guy can come in and win, his past transgressions are forgiven. As the Raiders Al Davis used to say, "just win baby". To put this in perspective, there are some Georgia faithful who believe Mark Richt will never take the Bulldogs to the upper echelons of college football because he puts his faith at the forefront of his life. They would rather he had UGA football as his number one purpose. It's all about wins and losses, not the character of the man. I don't want to go down this road now, but I'm just trying to convey my point that Petrino will be back on the sidelines sooner than you might think. Maybe not now, but soon. Just sayin...
Thursday, November 8, 2012
This year in the SEC with head coaching vacancies looming large, names are already being thrown around as possible new hires. When this happens, current coordinators are mentioned along with head coaches. Coordinators get their opportunity to run their own show, and head coaches at smaller schools sometimes get a shot at a head job in a major conference. With all of that being said, I heard (again) Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart's name being mentioned as a candidate for the vacant Kentucky job. It seems like his name gets bounced around every time head coaching jobs come up. I don't hold Smart in such high regard (not that it matters obviously!). I think he's just Nick Saban's Boy who's riding the coattails of his head coach. But I wondered (again) why Mike Bobo is never mentioned, or rumored, for any of these positions. He's been Georgia's offensive coordinator for several years now, not to mention his entire body of work on the UGA staff. It would appear that Bobo is just as capable as Smart. He isn't "attached at the hip" of his boss as Smart seems to be. I would bet that Bobo has more free reign from Mark Richt to do his job than Smart has from Nick Saban. I'm not doing a free promotional reference here for Mike Bobo, but I do wonder if the title of 'Head Coach' is out there in his future. Just sayin...
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
In 1959, Georgia defeated Auburn "Between the Hedges" 14-13, a lost that cost Auburn the Southeastern Conference Championship. The Bulldogs took the momentum from their Auburn victory and captured not only the SEC crown, but an Orange Bowl victory as well. Interestingly, 1959 marked the second year of the two-point conversion. As the game played out, this option could have helped the Tigers if head coach Shug Jordan had chosen to exercise it. His team took an early 6 point advantage with two field goals before Georgia's Charley Britt took an Auburn punt 39 yards to paydirt to give UGA a 7-6 lead. However, less than 12 plays later, Brett would go from hero to goat when he backed into the punt of teammate Bobby Walden. The Tigers recovered at the Bulldog 1-yard line and scored from there to retake the lead at 12-7. Jordan ignored the obvious go-for-two situation, kicked the P.A.T. and led 13-7. With less than three minutes to play in the game, UGA's Pat Dye recovered an Auburn fumble. In the closing seconds, quarterback Fran Tarkenton connected with Bill Herron on a 13 yard pass to secure the Bulldog victory with kicker Durwood Pennington's extra point. By the way, Vince Dooley was an assistant coach on the AU staff at the time. It was certainly not the last time Dooley and Dye would face each other in the 'South's Oldest Rivalry', but it was the last time before they exchanged colors.
The Atlanta Falcons own the only unblemished record in the National Football League. They have seemingly tip-toed through their schedule thus far with no hiccups. These Birds are good, but a lot of pundits are saying they have to win some playoff games to be taken seriously. Past post-season failures really have nothing to do with this year's edition of Atlanta's professional football team. They are a virtual lock to have the chance to play in and advance in this year's playoffs. Even though they have some challenging dates left, at New Orleans, Detroit, and the Giants at home, you have to like the room they have to work with. At some point soon, they will be playing for home field advantage in the post-season because they will clinch the division title early on. Keep your eye on the Falcons, that record want stay quiet much longer.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is ranked 2nd in the country in total offense with 383.2 yards per game. He is also ranked 19th in passing yards per game with a shade over 280 per contest. He very well might be the most exciting player in the country. Saturday afternoon he brings his talents to the heart of Alabama to face the top ranked Crimson Tide in an SEC West encounter. When he arrives, he will find his Aggies a prohibitive 13 point underdog, but that doesn't mean he won't keep things exciting. No play is ever over until Manziel is on the ground or out of bounds. He has the uncanny ability to keep plays alive, and many times he makes big plays from hopeless situations. The red-shirt freshman won't lead his team to victory this weekend, but 'Bama will be more than happy to lead him out of town once this game is completed.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Georgia -vs- Auburn is the South's oldest rivalry. It was often referred to as a "friendly rivalry", but don't tell that to Uga VI! As far as I'm concerned that friendly label was squashed in 2010 when Auburn's Nasty Nick Fairly flagrantly cheap-shot Georgia's Aaron Murray, and UGA's Ben Jones retaliated in defense of his quarterback. This game is always hard fought and tough, and the series is unbelievably close after all these years. Auburn holds a one game advantage of 54-53-8, in a war than began in 1892. The Tigers are a 15 point underdog heading in to Saturday night's clash, and they have yet to record an SEC victory this season. A Georgia win would not only tie this long series up once again, it would lock up the Eastern Division title of the conference for the Bulldogs. Auburn has absolutely nothing to lose, while Georgia has literally everything to lose. That's enough to scare the Bulldog Nation in itself.
I won't get too political here on An Opinion On Sports, but if you haven't early-voted by now, please make it by the polls tomorrow and cast your ballot. This could perhaps be one of this country's most critical presidential elections in our lifetimes. Please exercise your right, your duty and your privilege to vote.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
The University of Kentucky has announced that Joker Phillips has been relieved of his head coaching responsibilities effective at the end of the current season. Phillips, who is 49, has a combined three year record of 12-23 while leading the Wildcat program. Officials at UK have stated that the search of Phillips' replacement will begin immediately. With Kentucky's expected decision now made, it will be interesting to see where the SEC coaching axe will fall next and how quickly it will land. The domino effect may have begun.
It might have taken him nine games, but Zach Mettenberger has arrived as a top tier SEC quarterback. He gets it now. He understands how to let that strong arm work for him now. He stood in the pocket last night and took everything that Alabama threw at him. He made clutch throw after clutch throw. He led his Bengal Tigers to a late fourth quarter lead, only to see the game lost in the Tide's successful late game drive. He displayed poise under pressure. He performed better than admirably, he performed like the kid signed out of high school by UGA was supposed to look all along. He played well enough for his team to win. He deserved to be the winning quarterback. However, the efforts of Mettenberger and his team fell just a little short against the number one team in the country. LSU might have lost the game, but they found there quarterback. He was there all along, but now they don't have to worry about him any more. Number '8' was just a little bit late. Zach Mettenberger IS the quarterback of Louisiana State University. No doubt about it.
LSU head coach Les Miles has made risky, unorthodox calls his entire career as the Bengal Tigers boss. He has developed the reputation as an "anytime, anywhere, any situation, any play call" kind of guy. Until last night, his uncanny ability to pull unlikely victory out of his "Mad Hat" has reaped tremendous benefits for LSU. But not last night against Alabama. He faked a field goal when he should have gone for the points; he attempted a long field goal when he should have punted; he tried an on-sides kickoff just when his team had stolen momentum, and he went for it on fourth down when he should have gone for the three points. I guess that just about covers it. Not to say any of that isn't normal for Miles, just to say it's odd to see it backfire on him so often in the same game. A big game. A crucial game. A winner-take-all game. I don't know if that was just 'Les being Les', or if it was Les not having full confidence in his team to win the game on their own merit. They definitely could have. This one's on you Les.
Georgia trailed Ole Miss 10-0 before tallying 37 unanswered points to dominate an improving Rebel team Saturday afternoon. When someone finally let the Dawgs out late in the first half, the rout was on and a visibly superior Georgia team continued to exert its authority the rest of the game. UGA now finds itself only a victory over Auburn this weekend away from the SEC Eastern Division title. A title, by the way, that was predicted to be theirs in preseason, but had claims laid to it by both South Carolina and Florida not that long ago. Now the Gamecocks and Gators find themselves on the outside looking in for the second year in a row. Offensive coordinator said the Dawgs are "pumped" about their position in the division race. Pumped sure sounds better than dumped. Just ask Spurrier and Muschamp. Just sayin...
Mississippi State was 7-0 and sailing along with delusions of grandeur. They could win the SEC West, the SEC outright and eventually hold up the Crystal Ball. Then the world of realty rained down on the Bulldog program. First a lopsided loss to Alabama, followed by another embarrassing showing against Texas A&M yesterday. Head coach Dan Mullen called it State's worst performance since he's been there. I call it Mississippi State's poor imitation of a contender. They can ring all the cowbells they want to in Starkville, but all they'll ring up is more mediocrity for a mediocre program. So much for the "Hail State" jerseys, unless they change the spelling. Just sayin...
Vanderbilt beat Kentucky Saturday 40-0 and no one cared except all of Vandy and some of Kentucky. The Wildcats made it into the red zone only once the entire game, scored no points, and were dominated by the Commodores in every phase of the game. It was the largest margin of victory for Vandy over Kentucky in 96 years. It also might have been the first time in that many years that Vanderbilt dominated anyone in football, including a controlled scrimmage. On final point on this futile topic; instead of wondering if Alabama could beat a professional team, how about pondering the possibility that there are high school teams that could defeat Kentucky. Just sayin...
Friday, November 2, 2012
If you think you want to be a head football coach in the Southeastern Conference, then this year could present you with your big opportunity. No less than four vacancies for head coaching jobs are expected to be open in the next several weeks. Arkansas will definitely have a new coach for the 2013 season. They have always said John L. Smith was basically a one year interim coach. It appears that Kentucky's Joker Phillips is finishing up his last campaign as the Wildcat's leader. It's really bad when the ineptitude of its football coach can't be tolerated at a full-fledged basketball school. Phillips should have never been put in that position in the first place because he is an assistant coach and always should be. You never know what to expect out of Knoxville. You hear Derek Dooley is gone, then you hear he'll be given one more year. So this one's still up for grabs. I personally think Dooley is in over his head at Tennessee. Louisiana Tech was a good spot for him and he should still be there. Now to the program that's getting the most ink, and that is Auburn. The latest word I get from the Plains is that the influential alumni have already arranged to cover the $7.5 million buyout of Gene Chizik's contract, as well as another $2 million for assistant's contracts. I don't think there is any doubt now that Chizik is coaching his last few games as a War Eagle. I don't know why Auburn people are surprised at their situation now. Chizik did not have a winning record when he came to Auburn, and if he hadn't gone out and paid Cam Newton to play for the Tigers, he wouldn't have any kind of numbers there either. So there you have it. Now for the really interesting part. If in fact all of the four positions become open for hire, who will be the first school to be in a position to hire a replacement? In other words, who will move more swiftly to fire and hire? But then it might not matter if they all are going after different coaches. Who knows? But you can take this to the bank, they all already know who they would like to be their next head coach, and those coaches might know as well. Just sayin...