Friday, December 30, 2005

ACC Trying to Save Face


VS
NC State (6-5, 3-5) vs South Florida (6-5, 4-3) 11:30 ET ESPN


Line: NC State -4 O/U 42
ATS: NC St 4-6; USF 6-4
O/U: NC St 1-9; USF 2-8
Games over 42: NC St (3)
Games over 42: USF (4)
Avg Score vs Bowl Teams: NC St 15.67-21.17 USF 25.67-22.83
Common Opponents: None

NC State Offense:
91st in Scoring Offense (21.4)
88th in Passing Offense (195.9)
99th in Total Offense (315.9)

USF Defense:
14th in Scoring Defense (18.4)
7th in Passing Defense (168.9)
20th in Total Defense (313.0)

NC State Defense:
22nd in Scoring Defense (19.3)
17th in Rushing Defense (104.5)
30th in Total Defense (194.4)

USF Offense:
66th in Scoring Offense (25.1)
17th in Rushing Offense (209.1)
74th in Total Offense (352.4)

Turnovers:
NC State: -0.18 per game
South Florida: +0.64 per game

Record vs Bowl Teams:
NC State: 3-3
South Florida: 3-3

NC State Best Win: @ FSU (8-4) 20-15
NC State Worst Loss: @ Wake Forest (4-7) 19-27

South Florida Best Win: vs Louisville (9-2) 45-14
South Florida Worst Loss: @ Pittsburgh (5-6) 17-31

Prediction:
NC State 21 South Florida 20

ACC-SEC Gridiron Battle



VS

#9 Miami (9-2, 6-2) vs #10 LSU (10-2, 7-2) Atlanta, GA 7:30 ET ESPN


Line: Mia -7; Total: 41
ATS: Mia 4-7; LSU 5-5-1
O/U: Mia 4-7; LSU 6-5
Games over 41: Mia -5
Games over 41: LSU -6

The only non-BCS, Top 10 matchup will be in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. Miami makes a return visit to Atlanta after defeating Florida in last year’s game. LSU comes by way of a loss in the SEC Championship Game to Georgia. LSU will be without their starting QB JaMarcus Russell; backup Matt Flynn will make his first career start. Both teams bring in top ranked defenses in what should be a low scoring affair.

Key Matchups:
Miami Offense vs LSU Defense:
The throwing of Sophomore Kyle Wright and running of Charlie Jones lead Miami’s balanced offensive attack. Jones replaced Tyrone Moss when Moss went down with a knee injury against Virginia Tech. At the receiver positions are Sinorice Moss (brother of Santana), Ryan Moore, and Lance Leggett. This group does not have quite the talent of past groups, but is still very capable of big plays. LSU brings one of the best defensive lines in the nation into this game. Defensive Tackles Claude Wrotten and Kyle Williams lead the Tigers in their attempt to eat up opposing quarterbacks. If there is a weakness on this LSU defense it would be in the secondary. Missed assignments have led to many big plays against this unit. It will important for LSU to get pressure Kyle Wright with the front four and they should be able against an offensive line which has struggled at times this year.
Advantage: LSU

LSU Offense vs Miami Defense:
LSU lost their starter and offensive leader, JaMarcus Russell in the SEC Championship Game with a shoulder injury. Matt Flynn has attempted only 26 passes this season, but has thrown 5 TD. The running game was expected to very good this season, but with injuries this group has not gotten off the ground averaging only 140 yards per game. This ‘Cane defense is one of the best to come along at “The U”, but it lacks the star power of past teams. The line is led by DT Orien Harris and the LB by Rocky McIntosh. The Secondary is best unit on this defense with safeties Brandon Merriweather and Kenny Phillips providing excellent pass and run coverage. The defense has been somewhat susceptible to the run, but Miami is still yielding only 104 yards per game on the ground.
Advantage: Miami

Special Teams:
Miami’s Devin Hester made big plays in last year’s Peach Bowl and expect him to do the same this year. LSU’s Skyler Green is also a dangerous punt returner for the Tigers. Both teams have reliable field goal kickers and punters.
Advantage: Even

Coaching:
Miami’s Larry Coker has been in these situations before having coached in three BCS games already. Les Miles got more than he bargained when he took over this job. LSU looked lost at times in the SEC Championship Game.
Advantage: Miami

Intangibles:
LSU will have to return to the place of their biggest margin of defeat all season and it was the last game they played. Additionally, they lost their leader in JaMarcus Russell and will have to rely on a backup to face on the best defenses in the country.
Advantage: Miami

Miami Offense:
43rd in Scoring Offense (29.3)
50th in Passing Offense (226.0)
61st in Total Offense (371.3)

LSU Defense:
8th in Scoring Defense (15.2)
7th in Rushing Defense (94.7)
5th in Total Defense (276.3)

Miami Defense:
2nd in Scoring Defense (11.9)
1st in Passing Defense (148.2)
3rd in Total Defense (252.1)

LSU Offense:
49th in Scoring Offense (28.6)
49th in Passing Offense (226.3)
64th in Total Offense (366.2)

Turnovers:
Miami: +0.55 per game
LSU: -0.83 per game

Record vs Bowl Teams:
Miami: 5-2
LSU: 4-1

Miami Best Win: @ Va Tech (10-2) 27-7
Miami Worst Loss: vs Ga Tech (7-4) 10-14

LSU Best Win: vs Auburn (9-2) 20-17
LSU Worst Loss: vs Tennessee (5-6) 27-30

Prediction: Miami 23 LSU 13

Music City Miracle?


VS
Minnesota (7-4, 4-4) vs Virginia (6-5, 3-5) Nashville, TN 12:00 ET ESPN


Line: Minn –3.5; Total: 58.5
ATS: Minn 7-4; UVA 5-6
O/U: Minn 7-4; UVA 3-7-1
Games over 58: Minn- 7
Games over 58: UVA- 2

Minnesota is playing in its third Music City Bowl in four years, but this time they are facing an ACC opponent. The Gophers won both of their contests in 2002 and 2004 in this game. Virginia thought they might have been headed to the Emerald Bowl after two straight losses to end the season, but the Music City Bowl felt they were a good fit in what next year will be an ACC/SEC matchup. Minnesota brings in one of the best rushing attacks in the nation with Lawrence Maroney leading the way.

Key Players:
Minnesota-
QB Brian Cupito (226.7 ypg, 15 TD, 58.7%)
RB Lawrence Maroney (255 Rush, 135.5 ypg, 10 TD)
WR Logan Payne (37 Rec, 48.1 ypg, 2TD

Virginia-
QB Marques Hagans (194 ypg, 12TD, 25.8 Rushing ypg)
RB Wali Lundy (51.5 ypg, 8 TD)
WR Deyon Williams (67.9 ypg, 6TD)

Minnesota Offense:
10th in Scoring Offense (36.2)
2nd in Rushing Offense (279.9)
5th in Total Offense (497.8)

Virginia Defense:
34th in Scoring Defense (22.5)
59th in Rushing Defense (146.9)
54th in Total Defense (368.0)

Minnesota Defense:
77th in Scoring Defense (28.5)
71st in Rushing Defense (160.4)
87th in Total Defense (407.6)

Virginia Offense:
62nd in Scoring Offense (26.0)
56th in Rushing Offense (146.2)
69th in Total Offense (357.0)

Turnovers:
Minnesota: -0.18 per game
Virginia: +0.36 per game

Record vs Bowl Teams:
Minnesota: 2-4
Virginia: 2-3

Minnesota Best Win: @ Michigan (7-4) 23-20
Minnesota Worst Loss: @ Iowa (7-4) 28-52

Virginia Best Win: vs FSU (8-4) 26-21
Virginia Worst Loss: @ Maryland (5-6) 33-45

Prediction:
This game should be one of the better games this bowl season. Virginia could be compared as a poor man’s Ohio State on offense with their dual threat QB and balanced attack. Virginia will most likely stick eight players in the box to try and slow Maroney, but teams have been doing this all year. Virginia has faced teams like Boston College who have similar size up front, but not the caliber of back. One has to wonder in Minnesota is feeling a little down after being thrashed by Iowa in the last game of the season and then coming to a bowl three out of four years. The Cavaliers are probably thrilled they stayed on the east coast, but they did lose both offensive and defensive coordinators to head coaching jobs. Minnesota has been the more consistent team all year, so they should win…..but close.
Minnesota 30 Virginia 27

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Battle by the Bay


VS


Georgia Tech (7-4, 5-3) vs Utah (6-5, 4-4) San Francisco, CA 4:30 ET ESPN


Line: GT –8; Total: 46
ATS: GT 5-6 Utah 2-7-2
O/U: GT 3-8 Utah 6-5
Games over 46: GT-3 (Under-8)
Games over 46: Utah-8 (Under-3)

Georgia Tech and Utah will meet for the first time in the Emerald Bowl at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco. The Yellow Jackets will need to fight disappointment after being passed over by other bowls to beat a Utah team, which won 3 of its last 4 contests. Georgia Tech is one of two teams (Southern Cal) to beat 2 Top 10 teams this year (Auburn, Miami). Both the Utes and Jackets played North Carolina this season; Georgia Tech defeated the Tar Heels in Atlanta 27-21 while Utah lost 17-31 in Chapel Hill.

Georgia Tech Offense:
Key Players:
QB Reggie Ball (1,907 Passing Yards, 379 Rushing Yards, 14 TD)
RB PJ Daniels (821 Rushing Yards, 157 Receiving Yards, 4 TD)
WR Calvin Johnson (869 Receiving Yards, 6 TD, 2nd Team AA)
98th in Scoring Offense (19.3)
48th in Rushing Offense (156.2)
81st in Total Offense (345.7)

Utah Defense:
Key Players: CB Eric Weddle, LB Spencer Tooner, DL Steve Fifita
58th in Scoring Defense (25.4)
64th in Rushing Defense (152.3)
61st in Total Defense (372.8)

Georgia Tech Defense:
Key Players:
DE Eric Henderson, LB Gerris Wilkinson, FS Dawan Landry
16th in Scoring Defense (18.4)
11th in Rushing Defense (98.0)
10th in Total Defense (296.4)

Utah Offense:
Key Players:
QB Brent Ratliff (3 GP, 261 Passing Yards, 4 TD)
RB Quinton Ganther (1000 Rushing Yards, 6 TD)
WR Brian Hernandez(634 Receiving Yards, 3 TD)
43rd in Scoring Offense (29.3)
15th in Passing Offense (286.6)
12th in Total Offense (466.0)

Turnovers:
Georgia Tech: +0.82 per game
Utah: -0.09 per game

Record vs Bowl Teams:
Georgia Tech: 3-4
Utah: 1-2

Georgia Tech Best Win: @ Miami (9-2) 14-10
Georgia Tech Worst Loss: @ Va Tech (10-2) 7-51

Utah Best Win: @ BYU (6-5) 41-34
Utah Worst Loss: @ San Diego St (5-7) 19-28

Key Injuries:
Utah: QB Brian Johnson, WR John Madsen

GT: OT Brad Honeycutt

Prediction:
Georgia Tech is clearly the better team in this matchup bringing in one of the best defenses in the nation. The Yellow Jackets are +26 this season in sacks made versus sacks allowed. For Tech to win, they must put the ball in the hands of PJ Daniels and their defense. Utah will need to slow the running game and force Reggie Ball to beat them in order to have a good chance. Utah will be starting Junior college transfer Brett Ratliff, who made his first start against BYU and threw four TD passes. Ratliff is a dual-threat QB, the same type who has Georgia Tech trouble this season because of their aggressive style. Both Calvin Johnson and PJ Daniels should have big days against a weak Utes Defense. The big key for Tech will be the play of QB Reggie Ball. In 20 wins as a starter, Ball has thrown 30 TD to 14 INT. In 15 losses, the Junior has thrown just 6 TD passes and 25 INT. Ball had a rough outing last game against Georgia, so expect him to bounce back with a steady performance.
Georgia Tech 28 Utah 17

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Blue Turf War



VS


Boston College (8-3, 5-3) vs Boise State (9-3, 7-1) Boise, ID 4:30 ET ESPN
Line: BC –2; Total: 54
Boise State- ATS:6-4-1 O/U:4-7; Totals Over 54 (9) Under 54 (3)
Boston College- ATS:6-5 O/U:4-6-1; Totals Over 54 (1) Under 54 (10)

Boston College travels to Boise to play Boise St in what will essentially be a road game for the Eagles. This is not unfamiliar territory for a team that traveled to Charlotte last year to face UNC for the Tire Bowl. This bowl game has more than your normal amount of storylines for a lower tier bowl. Boise State’s Dan Hawkins will be coaching in his last game for the Broncos as he will take over the Colorado job after the bowl game. BC, who tied FSU, for the Atlantic Division, has to be upset about playing in a bowl game in Idaho. Boise State has not lost a game on their blue turf since a 41-20 defeat at the hand of Washington State 2001; a NCAA best 31 consecutive wins.

Boise State Offense:
QB Jared Zabransky: 2, 283 yards, 17 TD, 59.3%; 10 Rushing TD
8th in scoring offense in the nation (37.3)
15th in rushing offense in the nation (215.7)
23rd in total offense (430.3)

Boston College Defense:
DE Mathias Kiwanuka: 15.5 TFL, 9.5 Sacks
9th in scoring defense (15.4)
8th in rushing defense (95.2)
18th in total defense (307.3)

Boise State Defense:
52nd in scoring defense (24.2)
19th in rushing defense (106.3)
55th in total defense (368.6)

Boston College Offense:
64th in scoring offense (25.7)
36th in passing offense (241.5)
46th in total offense (388.2)

Turnovers:
Boise State: -0.50 per game
Boston College: -0.55 per game

Record vs Bowl Teams:
Boise State: 1-2
Boston College: 4-2

Boise State Best Win: vs Nevada 49-14
Boise State Worst Loss: @ Georgia 13-48

Boston College Best Win: @ Clemson 16-13 OT
Boston College Worst Loss: @ UNC 14-16

Prediction: Boston College presents the best opponent for Boise since their game versus Georgia. Each team will be fighting some possible off the field issues; Boise playing the last game for Dan Hawkins and BC dealing with bowl selection disappointment. BC is the more talented team, but more importantly the much larger team. Their offensive line is bigger than that of Georgia's and will punish Boise much of the day. The Broncos will keep it very close, but come up short in their bid for a 32nd straight home win.
Boston College 27 Boise State 21

Monday, December 26, 2005

Bowled Over: Tigers and Buffs

Tuesday, December 27 will begin the glutton of bowl games and the start of the bowl season for the ACC. Clemson and Colorado will tangle in the Champs Sports Bowl with Clemson trying to end the season with five straight wins and Colorado attempting to send out its interim coach undefeated.



VS
#23 Clemson (7-4, 4-4) Colorado (7-5, 5-3)



Colorado comes into this game having lost their last three contests by a score of 130-22. Gary Barnett was fired after the Buffs last outing in the Big 12 Championhip Game and Defensive Coordinator Mike Hankwitz will be the interim coach with Dan Hawkins coaching his former team Boise St in their bowl game.

Before the month of November hit, Colorado was having a very good season. Looking at common opponents, the Buffaloes and Tigers both played Miami and Texas A&M this season. Both Clemson and Colorado beat Texas A&M by 1 and 21 points, respectively. The Tigers lost a heartbreaker to Miami, 36-30 in 3OT, while Colorado lost 23-3 the following week.

Clemson uses a balanced run/pass attack and likes to spread the field. Their main weapons on offense are Senior QB Charlie Whitehurst, RB James Davis, and WR Chansi Stuckey. Colorado will be without their starting QB Joel Klatt and will rely on backup James Cox who has attempted just 29 passes this year. The Buffs main weapon on offense is RB Hugh Charles, tallying 842 yards this season.

Defensively, Colorado is strong against the run allowing only 95 ypg, good for ninth in the country, but weak against the pass (253 yps, ranked 91st). The Buffaloes are treading water when it comes to turnover margin at a measley +0.08 on the season. Meanwhile, Clemson ranks first in the ACC at +0.91 having forced at least one turnover in every game this season. Clemson fairs slightly better against the run than the pass, but the Tigers defense is good for the 13th in the nation allowing just 19 points per game.


Many people think Colorado will roll over and be blown out in this game. I do not think that will happen because these Colorado Seniors, especially the defense, will want to send Hankwitz out a winner. Points will be at a premium in this game with the Buffaloes playing a backup QB facing a Clemson defense that has improved throughout the year. Clemson has a good offense, but nothing that will blow any doors off. If they score above 35, it will be from turnovers and defensive TD's. I like Clemson to cover in this game because they are starting a four-year starter at QB and all the controversy these Buffalo players have endured these last few weeks.
Prediction: Clemson 27 Colorado 10

Saturday, December 24, 2005

5 Stars, 4 Stars... 0 Stars???

Recruiting Rankings…what are they good for?

Here is how
Scout.com ranks the Top 10 recruiting classes as of December 23, 2005

1. Texas (25 Commits – Avg Star 3.68)
2. Florida (26 Commits – Avg Star 3.85)
3. Georgia (24 Commits – Avg Star 3.63)
4. Notre Dame (26 Commits – Avg Star 3.46)
5. Pittsburgh (21 Commits – Avg Star 3.29)
6. Oklahoma (21 Commits – Avg Star 3.19)
7. LSU (18 Commits – Avg Star 3.17)
8. Michigan (14 Commits – Avg Star 3.57)
9. Miami (13 Commits – Avg Star 3.69)
10. FSU (16 Commits – Avg Star 3.5)

Now these rankings are a bit premature. The top 4 schools have pretty much gotten commitments from most everyone they are going to recruit; now it is just up to the coaching staff to make these kids sign their name on the dotted line. Watch for schools like USC, LSU, Michigan, Miami, Ohio State, and FSU to move up in the rankings as they assemble their classes.

Where does the rest of the ACC and SEC rank?

11.Auburn (13 Commits – Avg Star 3.62)
17. Clemson (17 Commits – Avg Star 2.88)
19. Alabama (19 Commits – Avg Star 3.24)
21. North Carolina (27 Commits – Avg Star 2.59)
25. Ole Miss (18 Commits – Avg Star 2.83)
26. Kentucky (27 Commits – Avg Star 2.54)
27. Maryland (14 Commits – Avg Star 2.86)
29. Virginia Tech (14 Commits – Avg Star 2.86)
32. Boston College (18 Commits – Avg Star 2.44)
33. Tennessee (10 Commits – Avg Star 3.10
36. Georgia Tech (13 Commits – Avg Star 2.69)
38. Virginia (18 Commits – Avg Star 2.44)
43. Mississippi State (18 Commits – Avg Star 2.44)
47. Duke (18 Commits – Avg Star 2.28)
48. South Carolina (10 Commits – Avg Star 3.00)
50. NC State (10 Commits – Avg Star 2.50)
55. Vanderbilt (17 Commits – Avg Star 2.12)
60. Arkansas (11 Commits – Avg Star 2.55)
66. Wake Forest (10 Commits – Avg Star 2.00)

To compare this to
Rivals.com, their Top 10 differs somewhat.
1. Florida
2. Texas
3. Georgia
4. Notre Dame
5. LSU
6. FSU
7. Alabama
8. Oklahoma
9. Auburn
10. Arizona

Looking back at the Recruiting Rankings of 2002…and how they shaped up.

The 2002 recruiting classes would now most likely be all Seniors or Redshirt Juniors and contributing to their respective schools. Let’s take a look back at how the recruiting rankings compare with today’s rankings. The recruiting rankings used will be those of Scout.com.

According to
Scout.com, Texas had the best recruiting class of 2002 pulling in nine of the top 100 recruits. The Longhorns signed 28 total prospects, including 19 rated as a 4 or 5 star recruit-5 star being the highest rated. The gem of this recruiting class was Vince Young. The rangy quarterback may have finally reached his potential in last season’s Rose Bowl victory over Michigan. Other members of this class included the number one offensive lineman Justin Blalock, a preseason Lombardi Award candidate, Larry Dibbles (second team all conference in 2004), and starting tailback Selvin Young.

Some other highly rated classes were those of Oklahoma, Ohio State, Miami, and Tennessee. Ohio State parlayed its high recruiting class in 2002 into a national championship team that season. Maurice Clarett, A.J. Hawk, Troy Smith, Nate Salley, Bobby Carpenter, and Justin Zwick all signed with the Buckeyes in 2002.

Coming off a national championship in 2001, the Miami Hurricanes easily recruited their backyard and the country with their 2002 class. Ryan Moore, Devin Hester, Eric Winston were top catches of this class. But the list goes on-Jon Peattie, Greg Threat, and Sinorice Moss who was thought to be an after thought in the 21 man class. The Hurricanes signed 17 four or five star recruits.

Tennessee had some mixed success with their class as OL top recruit Brandon Jefferies never cracked the starting lineup and has since transferred to NC State. RB Jason Allen has since turned into a fine corner as has Jonathan Wade. QB Chris Hannon was not highly recruited at all, but is now starting for the Vols at WR.

How the Top 10 at the end of the regular season shapes up against the recruiting rankings of 2002

1. USC –12
2 Texas –1
3. Penn State – 16
4. Ohio State – 3
5. Notre Dame – 13
6. Oregon – 31
7. Auburn –11
8. Georgia – 9
9. Miami – 4
10. LSU – 15

Averaging out the 2002, 2003, and 2004 recruiting classes for the Top 10.
1. USC – 4.33
2. Texas –8.33
3. Penn State – 19.33
4. Ohio State – 13
5. Notre Dame – 16
6. Oregon – 25
7.Auburn –19
8. Georgia – 8.67
9. Miami – 4.33
10. LSU – 6.33

Note: A ranking of 30 was given to schools not appearing in the Top 25 for the year.

1. RB Lorenzo Booker-- Florida State-Starting
3. RB Gerald Riggs, Jr.--Tennessee-Starting
4. DL Kendrick Golston--Georgia-Starting
5. LB Ahmad Brooks--Virginia-Starting
9. WR Chris Davis--Florida State-Starting
13. WR Dishon Platt--Florida State-
16. LB Kai Parham--Virginia-Starting
17. WR Ryan Moore--Miami-Starting
22. QB James Banks--Tennessee-Left Team
23. RB Michael Johnson--Virginia-Backup
25. QB Gavin Dickey--Florida-Backup
26. CB Devin Hester--Miami-Starting
30. RB DeShawn Wynn--Florida-Starting
31. QB Marcus Vick--Virginia Tech-Starting
32. LB Kamerion Wimbley--Florida State-Starting
33. TE Eric Winston--Miami-Starting
34. S Pat Watkins--Florida State-Starting
35. RB Ciatrick Faison--Florida-NFL
38. CB Richard Washington--North Carolina State-
40. LB Ricardo Hurley--South Carolina-Starting
42. LB Buster Davis--Florida State-Starting
43. OL Brandon Jeffries--Tennessee-
47. S Darren Williams--Mississippi State-
50. CB Nick Turner--Mississippi State-Jail
51. DB A.J. Davis--North Carolina State-
52. RB Rashard Dudley--Georgia-
54. WR Akieem Jolla--Miami-Backup
58. RB Thomas Clayton--Florida State-
61. RB Jason Allen--Tennessee-Starting


Some of the other top recruits of the 2002 class were QB Ben Olson (BYU), DT Haloti Ngata(Oregon), QB Tyler Palko(Pittsburgh), and QB Reggie McNeal(Texas A&M). Olson has transferred to UCLA where he has become one of the best QBs in the country. Olson redshirted his first season and then performed a two-year Mormon mission.

Friday, December 16, 2005

More Bball Predictions

My predictions for the NCAA Tournament

Elite 8
Duke, Texas, Villanova, Gonzaga, UConn, Michigan State, Louisville, Memphis

The Big East will be the strongest conference in the nation this year with the ACC at a close second. Duke is a given; 'Nova made a strong run last year and return alot of talent; Gonzaga has already beaten Michigan St and with possibly the best player in the country (Adam Morrison) this is the year the Zags break through. UConn looks very solid at the beginning of the year too; Tom Izzo has a great track record in the Tournament and a strong, experienced team this year; Pitino is another coach who knows how to win in the Tourney. The two wild cards are Texas and Memphis. Both have the talent, but will lack of experience hurt them? I think these two have what it takes to make it to the Elite 8. My shakiest pick would have to be Memphis considering they did not even make the Tournament last year.

Final 4
Duke, Villanova, UConn, Michigan State


Duke, Villanova, and UConn are the three best combinations of talent and expierence in the nation. Michigan State was a tough pick, but Izzo is so great in March I could not resist picking the Spartans.

Champion
Duke

Duke gets it done behind the shooting of JJ Redick and the inside dominance of Shelden Williams. Oh yeah, they also have Coach K walking the sidelines too.

ACC Teams
Duke- National Champs
See Above

BC - Sweet 16
Very talented and battle tested, but they won't sneak up of anyone this year.

Wake Forest - Sweet 16
Do not have enough floor leadership this year to beat the top teams.

NC State - Sweet 16
Herb Sendek is another great Tournament coach. Look the 'Pack to struggle throughout most of the season then turn it on at the ACC Tournament and beyond.

UNC - Two and Done
Roy Williams is a good enough coach to get this team by a pesky first round opponent.

Maryland - One and Done
Talent, but no leadership on this team.

Miami - One and Done
Diaz can only take them so far.

SEC Teams
Florida - Sweet 16
Tauren Green has been a pleasant surprise for the upstart Gators, but not ready to compete with the big boys.

Kentucky - Sweet 16
One of the poorer teams Tubby Smith has had in Lexington, but enough to make it to the round of 16.

LSU - Two and Done
Will get by a first round opponent because of Davis inside, but John Brady's bunch lacks scoring power.

Arkansas - Two and Done
Ronnie Brewer is the best player in the SEC, but he needs some help.

Alabama - One and Done
'Bama will struggle to even make the Tournament and then be out before you know it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

ACColades

From TheTigernet.com (Clemson Website)

A league-record eight ACC teams earn bowl bids ... the ACC and the Big 12 lead all conferences with eight teams in bowl play ... since 2001 a total of 33 ACC teams have taken part in post-season play.

Following a 3-3 bowl mark in 2004, the ACC is the only conference to post a .500-or-better record in post-season play in each of the past four seasons.

Over the past four years, the ACC is 16-9 in post-season play and has the best bowl winning percentage (.640) among all I-A conferences during that span.

The ACC is the nation’s all-time winningest conference in bowl play among conferences with 75 or more bowl appearances ... the 12 current members are a combined 120-107-5 (.533) in post-season play.

The ACC is 9-7 against BCS conference foes in 2005 with six different teams recording BCS wins during the regular season ... the ACC played more games against BCS opponents (16) than any other conference.

Over the past four years, the ACC is 46-37 (.554) against other BCS conferences, including a 14-13 mark against the SEC, 7-4 vs. the Big 12, 22-10 vs. the Big East and 2-2 versus the Pac-10.

For the first time ever, the ACC surpassed 3.8 million in attendance ... the 12 league teams drew 3,835,260 in 73 games ... 10 of the 12 ACC schools drew 85 percent or better in percentage of capacity.

Miami heads up a group of five ACC teams ranked in the Final BCS standings ... the Hurricanes were ranked 8th, followed by Virginia Tech (10th), Boston College (21st), Florida State (22nd) and Georgia Tech (24th).

The ACC currently leads all conferences with six teams ranked in the AP poll - the SEC and the Big Ten are tied for second with five ranked teams each ... seven ACC teams were ranked at least one week in 2005, with three - Virginia Tech, Miami and Florida State - earning top 10 recognition.

Wth nine of its 12 teams listed in the top 45 the ACC is the second ranked conference in the Sagarin Computer poll.

More ACC Bowl Notes, Team Updates

Monday, December 12, 2005

SEC Basketball Predictions


East
Florida12-4
Kentucky11-5
Vanderbilt8-8
South Carolina7-9
Georgia6-10
Tennessee5-11
West
LSU
11-5
Arkansas9-7
Alabama9-7
Mississippi St9-7
Ole Miss5-11
Auburn4-12


5 NCAA Tournament teams (Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Arkansas, Alabama)

2 Sweet Sixteen Teams (Florida, Kentucky)

0 Final Four Teams

4 NIT Teams (Vanderbilt, Mississippi St, South Carolina, Georgia)

Player of the Year: Ronnie Brewer, Arkansas

Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan, Florida

Rookie of the Year: Richard Hendrix, Alabama

Saturday, December 10, 2005

ACC, SEC Season Awards



Coach of the Year:Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech

Player of the Year:Chris Barclay, RB, Wake Forest

Rookie of the Year:Greg Carr, WR, Florida St

Game of the Year:Miami 36 Clemson 30 3OT, September 10

Biggest Upset:Georgia Tech 14 Miami 10, November 19

Final ACC Stats




Coach of the Year:Les Miles, LSU

Player of the Year:Jay Cutler, Vanderbilt

Rookie of the Year:Sidney Rice, South Carolina

Game of the Year:Auburn 31 Georgia 30, November 12

Biggest Upset:Vanderbilt 28 Tennessee 24, November 19

Final SEC Stats

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

ACC Basketball Predictions

Predicted ACC Basketball Standings

Atlantic
Record
Wake Forest11-5
Boston College11-5
NC State10-6
Maryland8-8
Clemson5-11
FSU4-12
Coastal
Duke
13-3
UNC10-6
Miami8-8
Virginia Tech7-9
Georgia Tech6-10
Virginia3-13


7 NCAA Tournament teams (Duke, WF, BC, UNC, NC State, Maryland, Miami)

4 Sweet Sixteen Teams (Duke, WF, BC, NC State)

1 Final Four Team (Duke)

3 NIT Teams (VT, GT, Clemson)

Player of the Year: JJ Reddick, Duke

Coach of the Year: Roy Williams, UNC

Rookie of the Year: Tyler Hansborough, UNC

VT Playbook Leak?

From CollegiateTimes.com

In the days leading up to Tech's Atlantic Coast Conference championship game against Florida State, rumors of mutiny spread like wildfire and created agiant distraction for the Hokies.Virginia Tech was looking for every advantage it could get going into last Saturday’s Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, but instead was faced with a setback.The Hokie locker room was engulfed by controversy in the days leading up to the game after rumors spread that freshman punter Brent Bowden allegedly leaked information about Virginia Tech’s special teams plans to his brother Chris Hall — Florida State’s senior punter.


Rest of Article

Evidently, Beamer was livid at his punter and told him he would be kicked off the team if the rumors were true...

Monday, December 5, 2005

Southern Power Rankings

So let me get this straight....

Georgia Tech beats Auburn who beats Georgia (SEC Champs) who beats Tennessee who beats LSU who beats Auburn who beats Alabama who beats Florida who beat FSU (ACC Champs) who beats Miami who beats Virginia Tech who beats Georgia Tech.

SEC, ACC Power Rankings
1. Auburn
2. Georgia
3. Miami
4. Virginia Tech
5. LSU
6. Florida
7. Florida State
8. Georgia Tech
9. Boston College
10. Clemson
11. Alabama
12. South Carolina
13. Virginia
14. North Carolina
15. NC State
16. Vanderbilt
17. Maryland
18. Tennessee
19. Arkansas
20. Wake Forest
21. Kentucky
22. Miss St.
23. Ole Miss
24. Duke

How would you rank them?

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Championship Saturday


vs

What VT has to do to win
1. Don't start making plans to the Orange Bowl.
Virginia Tech comes into the innagural ACC Championship Game as two touchdown favorites. Nobody at the beginning of the year would have imagined this would be the case. The Hokies still have to come out and play this game. As long as they stick to what they have done all year...dominate on defense and mix up the playcalling on offense they should be headed to Miami.
2. Dominate Drew Weatherford
After starting of the season racking up passing yards against much lesser opponents, FSU QB Drew Weatherford has really, really struggled as of late. VT has a great pass rush and they must put Weatherford on his seat every opportunity they get.
3. Make FSU work for their points
The Hokies cannot let FSU stay in this game and let the Seminoles build confidence. This means no turnovers in your part of the field and no big plays. If the Hokies do this they make Drew Weatherford and an anemic running game beat them.


What FSU has to do to win
1. Create turnovers
See the Miami game when Vick turned the ball over left and right. FSU's offense is not good enough to drive on this VT defense. They have to get short field opportunities to put up points.
2. Give Weatherford time
This will be a very tall task, but the 'Noles have to block well for Weatherford. He has good receivers to throw to, but he is not very mobile and will need some time to find them.
3. Get up early
FSU's confidence is hurting right now. Not somethign we are used to seeing out of them. By gaining an early lead, they can play more to their gameplan and regain lost confidence.

In the end, Virginia Tech has too much talent and executes too well for a injury-plagued and mentally battered Seminoles squad to overcome. The Hokies will cover the 14 points, but not break the over of 45.

Prediction: VT 31 FSU 13



vs


What Georgia has to do to win
1. Force Turnovers
LSU is minus 0.8 per game in the turnover margin this season; uncharacteristic for a Top 5 team. Georgia is also one of the best teams at creating turnovers. The LSU front four is a very difficult to bunch to move the ball 70-80 yards. Getting short field opportunities is a must.
2. Will throw to the tight end for SEC Championship
Georgia has one of the best tight ends in the country and at 6'7", 260 lbs, Leonard Pope is a mismatch versus most anyone playing college football. The UGA receivers have played subpar this season plagued by numberous drops. Pope will be solid 5-10 yard receiving option who has the ability to gain more by breaking tackles.
3. Contain the pass rush
Georgia has allowed the fewest sacks in the SEC. Part of this is due Shockley's running ability. LSU has maybe the best front four in the country and it starts in the middle with DT's Claude Wrotten and Kyle Williams. If Shockley is consistently forced to run his chance of injury goes through the roof...and Georgia now what happened last time DJ was injured.

What LSU has to do to win
1. Run the ball
Georgia has been exposed a couple of times this season by teams that can run the ball well (Arkansas, Auburn). Russell needs to make sure he doesn't fall in love with the pass even if Georgia shows only four defensive backs covering three wideouts.
2. East and West, not North and South
LSU has one of the fastest defense sideline to sideline, but not a big defense. Kenny Irons showed this by running straight ahead at LSU and amassing the most yards against LSU since Gerry DiNardo coached in the Bayou. The Tigers need a good push from their dominating defensive line and make the running backs run around the ends and not between the tackles.
3. Deep Ball
Russell throws one of the better deep balls in college football. While Georgia's safeties are a hard hitting bunch, they are average in coverage. Getting Greg Blue and Tra Battle covering wideouts one on one will be a dream for the Tigers. Russell must hurt Georgia when these opportunities arise.

In the end, LSU's front four is too much for Georgia. If Georgia had better receivers I could easily see them winning this game with LSU's, at time, pourous secondary. LSU wins its third SEC title in five years. LSU will cover, but not break the over of 41.

Prediction: LSU 20 Georgia 17

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Rankin' the South

My ACC and SEC combined rankings after Thanksgiving Weekend

1. Virginia Tech
2. LSU
3. War Eagle
4. Georgia
5. The U
6. Florida
7. Boston College
8. Georgia Tech
9. Roll Tide
10. Clemson
11. South Carolina
12. Virginny
13. NC State
14. Free Shoes University
15. Maryland
16. North Carolina
17. Vanderbilt
18. Rocky Top
19. Wake Forest
20. Pig Soooooeeeeey
21. Basketball School of the SEC
22. Miss St
23. Ole Siss
24. Puke



Leave your rankings here or in the chatterbox.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Clean Old Fashioned Disappointment/Relief

Last Week: 0-2 ATS
YTD: 59-53

My take on the Georgia-Georgia Tech game Saturday night.

  • Defense dominated this game, neither offense could ever really get into rythm
  • Both QBs were off most of the night-defenses put on pressure, but not enough to warrant some of the throws seen; Shockley was 15-34, Ball was 18-35
  • However, Shockley made the big throw on third down late in the fourth quarter to put Georgia up for good; UGA 2-2 in the redzone with TDs
  • Penalties killed two Tech drives-you simply cannot make those mistakes when you are the underdog; although UGA had more yards in penalties, Tech had the ones that hurt the most
  • Tech should have run the ball more; UGA played nickel defense probably 80% of the downs on defense; Reggie Ball never really got into a rythm; Tech runs the ball 37 times (14 of those runs by Ball, PJ Daniels got 16 carries for 77 yards-almost 5 ypc)
  • 1st and 10 from the opponents 12 yard line and you call a 5 yard stop route to your seconardary receiver-Did Tech not think UGA would be in press coverage with the backs at the goaline?
  • Calvin Johnson catches 2 passes for 14 yards; he was probably double teamed 70% of the plays.
  • Georgia narrowly prevented losing to their three biggest rivals for the first time since 1999.
  • Georgia has won 5 straight in this season; Chan Gailey remains winless against UGA in his 4 seasons.
  • Tech outgained UGA 327 to 266; led time of possession 34:10 to 25:50
  • Reggie Ball is now 20-15 as Tech's starter. In 20 wins, Reggie has thrown 30 TD and 14 INT; in 15 losses he has thrown 6 TD and 25 INT.

If you look at the stats, Tech outplayed UGA, but the Yellow Jackets shot themselves in the foot at key times. UGA made two more plays than Tech-the TD to Bryan McClendon and the Tim Jennings interception at the end of the game.

Georgia gains some big momentum with their biggest win of the year heading into the SEC Championshp Game. Tech must regroup and hope they still have a shot at the Gator or Peach Bowls. However, the Music City Bowl seems the most likely option against a Big 10 opponent.

Some of the post game quotes...

GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Chan Gailey
On what he said to the guys after the game
I told them that you can't make the mistakes that we made and expect to beat a good football team in a big rival game. You can't do that. Things that we have not done all year happened in this ball game and it catches up to you when you do those things.
On what some of those things are
When you line up incorrectly, get
holding calls, multiple holding calls, which we hadn't had all year. Things like
that, it just costs you drives, costs you field position. That's what got us in
the end, the field position

GEORGIA HEAD COACH MARK RICHT
[On which play was the most important, the TD or Jennings' interception]
"I think the touchdown was the most important because it gave us the seven-point lead. Even if they scored at the end, we still could have gone to overtime. They're both equally important to seal the victory, without any doubt. I'm just proud of our seniors, Shockley makes the throw, McClendon makes the catch, and you've got Jennings making the interception, and DeMario Minter playing Calvin Johnson all game long.
"It was just a great field position game, a great defensive battle. We had to stay patient, as much as we hated it, and let our special teams do their job, and then knock it in when we needed to. It was a great team effort, and I'm just thankful for the victory."
[Did it surprise you to not allow another point after Tech's first drive?]
"I think so. After that first drive, you'd have thought they might have scored again somewhere along the way. But our defense played beautifully the rest of the way. We started slow in a couple of games. In the Florida game they got two drives on us, but nothing the rest of the way. I'm just proud of Coach Martinez and the job he did, along with Coach Fabris, Coach Jancek and, of course, Coach Garner, and the guys that just got after it. It was a great team victory."

More Quotes

Here is best recap I could find on Florida State's performance against Florida.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Predicting the Predictions

Here is the way I see the lines for this weekend's championship games setting up.

SEC Championship Game Atlanta, GA
LSU vs Georgia
I see LSU as a 2.5 point favorite in this game. They have won nine straight, including wins over Auburn, Florida, and Alabama. They are currently fourth in the BCS Stadings and would be undefeated were it not for a 21 point second half comeback by Tennessee. Georgia is a dangerous underdog in this game because tbey too are very close to being undefeated. No Shockley in the Florida game and a breadown on fourth down against Auburn are the difference. Also, Georgia should have the home advantage being only an hour away from the site of the game.

ACC Championship Game Jacksonville, FL
Virginia Tech vs FSU
Beep, Beep, Beep.... that is the sound of FSU coming into this game. The Noles have lost their last three contests and have looked worse in each of them as the season winds down. The defense has been decimated from injuries and the offense...well you can't run the ball, you can't pass the ball. I see the Hokies as -15 point favorites in this game. They have recovered from their lone loss of the season to Miami and have a dominating defense. About the only advantage FSU has in this game is that it is played in the state of Florida.

Big 12 Championship Game Houston, TX
Texas vs Colorado
Texas rolls big time. The Longhorns got their wake up against Texas A&M and will not the opportunity of a national championship appearance pass them by. Texas beat Colorado 42-17 the first time around in Austin. Houston is alot closer to Austin than Boulder so expect a big Longhorn contingent in Reliant Stadium. Colorado was trying to let Iowa St play Texas by losing to Nebraska 30-3 at home! Texas will be around a -27 point favorite.

Leave your comments in the chatterbox to the right or using the link below.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Would Mark Richt Get Fired If He Lost?

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According to Georgia hard-hitting Safety Greg Blue he would.

Clean Old Fashioned Hate Meets for 100th Time

Matchups
Georgia Tech Offense vs Georgia Defense
Tech will use a ball control offense and take shots downfield to Calvin Johnson to move the ball. Georgia's defense has shown some soft spots late in the season, especially against the run. Georgia will probably double team Calvin Johnson most of the game. It will be important for Tech to take advantage of the run on the opposite side of Calvin Johnson double teams where they should have a numbers advantage. Georgia will need to force Reggie Ball to beat them with his arm by stuffing the run.

Georgia Offense vs Georgia Tech Defense
Georgia Tech will blitz Georgia QB DJ Shockley on probably 75% of the plays from scrimmage. Jon Tenuta has had great success against pocket passers, but not so much success against mobile QBs like Shockley. Georgia should gameplan to have Shockley scramble when the pocket breaks down as opposed to throwing quickly. Tech has always been very stout against the run, but will be facing a big, experience offensive line. With Tech bringing the blitz mostly from the outside, it will be important for MLB Gerris Wilkinson to contain the draw play up the middle. The X-factor is TE Leonard Pope. At 6-7, 260 lbs he is a mismatch against most anyone he steps on the field against. Last week, Tech limited Miami TE Greg Olsen to zero catches. It will important for Tech Safeties Chris Reis and Dawan Landry to let Pope know early and often there will be no easy catches for him.

Coaching
Both of these coaches call their own plays and both have come under criticism for doing so. These staffs and players know each other well. Both teams are well coached and I would not expect any major coaching breakdowns in this game.

Odds and Ends
- Both teams will be going bowling for the ninth straight year after this game.
- Georgia will be playing LSU in its third SEC Championship Game in four years.
- All 3 of Georgia Tech's losses have come when the opposing team scores the first TD
- Georgia has given up the fewest sacks in the SEC, 16
- With a victory, Georgia Senoir Class tie the record for most wins by a class, 43
- Georgia Tech is fifth in the nation in interceptions and tenth in turnover margin

Prediction Time
This game will come down to whether or not the Georgia Tech blitz can get to Shockley and how well Georgia defends the run. If Shockley is able to escape the pocket, he will likely be spied by only one defender. By keeping Shockley in the pocket, Tech will be able to sack Shockley and force him to beat Tech with his arm, not his feet. Georgia showed a porous run defense against Auburn, but then again Kenny Irons has made alot of defenses look bad in the second half of the season. Tech relies on the running game first to open up the downfield throws and to take pressure of Reggie Ball. This game will come down to the wire. Look for a late turnover or big play to be the difference.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 21 Georgia 20

Florida State Lose Three in a Row?

Battle of the Sunshine State 3:30 CBS

vs

Matchups:
Florida Offense vs Florida St Defense
The Gators have experienced a significant learning curve trying to implement Urban Meyer's spread option offense this season; significant enough to not be in the SEC Championship Game despite beating Tennessee and Georgia. FSU's Defense is down several key players due to injury and has struggled in its last two game against the run (NC State) and the pass (Clemson). FSU does have the speed to match up with the spread option. This match up will more about who does not make mistakes than who makes plays.

Florida St Offense vs Florida Defense
Based on the last two performances of the FSU Offense, Florida looks to have the advantage here. The Gator defense has had its own troubles, especially when it comes to tackling. It will be important for FSU QB Drew Weatherford to get into a rythm early; FSU will need to try and get the running game going as well. Florida will need to get pressure on Weatherford and let the rush and the crowd get to him in his first start in this rivalry.

Coaching
FSU has not lost back to back regular season games to Florida in 20 years. But this season, they lost their first back to back ACC Games. Meyer can go a long way towards salvaging this season if he beats FSU. A win will put him 3-0 against their three big rivals in year 1. Bowden is a veteran of this game and has tormented Gator Fans for over a quarter century. Advantage should go to FSU with the experience of Bowden and Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews.

Odds and Ends
- Florida and Florida St are meeting for the 50th time.
- With a win, Urban Meyer would become the first Florida coach to beat Tennessee, Georgia, and FSU in their first season as coach.
- Since 1990, the team which has rushed for more yardage has posted a 14-2-1 record. The team with fewer or even turnovers in a game has posted a 11-5-1 record. The team that has led at the half has won nine of the last 10 games in the series (all but 1998) and the team that scores first has won seven of the last 10.

Prediction Time.....
Florida's offense has struggled this season while trying to run Urban's Meyer's new spread option offense. FSU has the better running attack with Lorenzo Booker and Freshmen Antone Smith leading the way. Drew Weatherford will rebound from two dismal performances with a sold outing. FSU wins a close one in the Swamp on the legs of their running backs.
Prediction: FSU 24 Florida 23

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Rivalry Week Part Deux

Two Pivotal ACC-SEC Battles with no love lost between the teams.

Battle of the Sunshine State
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Florida leads 28-19-2

50 Things you Should Know About Florida-Florida St.


Clean Old Fashioned Hate
AT
Georgia leads 56-38-5

Georgia has discounted the 1943 and 1944 Georgia Tech wins due to their claim that Georgia Tech used its naval school to supply ringers for the game. The record above is the Georgia Tech record of the series.

Egg Bowl
vs
Ole Miss leads series 58-37-6.

The game is also known as the "Battle for the Golden Egg". The "Golden Egg" is a trophy in the shape of an old-time football on a pedestal. Because of its ovalesque shape, it resembles an egg; thus the name. Ole Miss leads the series 49-22-5 in games since the teams began playing for the "Golden Egg" trophy in 1927.



AJC's Tony Barnhart writes about the Top 20 Rivalries in College Football
Top 5 in my book:
1. Army-Navy
2. Auburn-Alabama
3. Michigan-Ohio State
4. Florida St-Miami
5. Texas-Oklahoma

Most Overrated Rivalries according to Collegefootballnews.com
My perspective....
Most Underated: Georgia-Georgia Tech
“If you think Tech’s not Georgia’s biggest rival, then just lose to them. You’ll find out,” said former Georgia quarterback and coach Ray Goff.
Fiercest (That you might not think of):Backyard Brawl: West Virginia-Pitt
Most Overrated:Cal-Stanford

Rivalries of Yesteryear:
Nebraska-Oklahoma
Arkansas-Texas
Florida-Miami

Clean Old Fashioned Hate

vs
Dogs hate Gators more
Bulldogs Kedric Golston, Ray Gant, and DJ Shockley chime in on what the Georgia Tech game means to them.

But Josh Kendall of Scout.com writes an article about what the Tech game means to Georgia. Here are some of the quotes from the article.

“Georgia Tech is our biggest rival, because a lot of people are going to get fired if you lose.” -Greg Blue

“Most people think of them as the academic school and us as the football side. I guess that’s why people think it’s so embarrassing” [to lose to Tech]. – Thomas Brown

“Tech week is so different from all the other weeks around here. Just having past players come in here and talk to us about what it means to them and say, ‘You just don’t lose to Tech.’” –Kelin Johnson

“With Tech, you got to the point where your senior class was expected to beat them four times, and that didn’t happen for us. We got beat my senior year. That’s what I told the guys, you don’t want to go out and have your last chance be the one that lost it.” –Running Backs Coach Kirby Smart

“If you lose to a team, that’s the big rival and it’s, ‘You can’t beat those guys,’ and if you win then, well… I think around here any one you lose is the most important of that time. That’s just the way people think, but we think this is one of our biggest games, and for me it’s the biggest.” –QB Coach Mike Bobo

Charles Odum of the AP captured these quotes from Georgia Tech Players regarding the game.

"It doesn't matter if you go 10-1 and lose to Georgia, nobody remembers that you went 10-1. They just remember that you lost to Georgia. ... So the Miami game, everything else, doesn't really matter if we don't beat Georgia. Nobody remembers it, they just remember if you beat Georgia." –Chris Reis

"The game against Miami was like the biggest win I've been a part of since I've been here. It's not going to mean that much if we don't come into this week and beat Georgia. It would just take away from it." –Gerris Wilikinson

"I don't say they always mention it, but it's your in-state rivalry. It's a big game. There's not a lot of other stuff that needs to be said. ... If you are around the state the rest of the year, it's talked about. So you live with it 365 days a year." –Head Coach Chan Gailey

Georgia and Georgia Tech Fans! Leave your smack talk in the comments

Hurricane Downgrade, Turnstiles, Bowden Magic

Last Week: 1-4 YTD: 59-51 (54%)
14 10

Imperfect Analysis


  • Georgia Tech came out on fire. Reggie Ball completed his first 3 passes and Miami realized very quickly that Calvin Johnson was a Freshmen last year, but playing like a Senior this season.
  • Miami regained momentum in the second quarter by taking a 10-7 into halftime. Tech had played so well in the first half yet they found themselves down at halftime.
  • But in the second half, Georgia Tech's Defense stepped it up even more than the first half; Kyle Wright was harrassed all night being sacked 7 times and forced into many poor throws.
  • Once again Reggie Ball passes for under 50%, but no interceptions and only one sack taken- he made the throws when he had to
  • Reason to celebrate: You just beat maybe the hottest team in the country at their place.
  • Cause for concern: Punt Returns has to be improved next week
  • Where do you go from here: Miami still has an outside shot (albeit a long one) at a BCS Bowl; take care of business against Virginia and hopefully the cards will fall in place.

28 18

Imperfect Analysis


  • Auburn dominated the first quarter-every single play of it
  • The Tigers D-Line must have felt like they were at Disney Land-that is probably the last time they saw five turnstiles next to each other (Alabama O-Line). Auburn tallied 11 sacks in all.
  • Alabama Running Back Ken Darby is the only thing that kept Alabama from moving backwards.
  • The Alabama Defense got going too late and Alabama's offense is not built to come from 28 points behind. Part of this blame goes to the offense as they allowed Auburn to get great field position in the first half because they could not move the ball...at all.
  • Reason to Celebrate: Auburn is playing the best football in the SEC right now and still has a chance for the SEC Championship Game if LSU loses to Arkansas.
  • Cause for Concern: Keeping the momentum going over a possible 6 week layoff
  • Next Steps: Alabama has to take a hard look at their offense and fix some serious problems on the offensive line.



13 9

Imperfect Analysis
  • Clemson QB Charlie Whitehurst came through when he had to. The Senior QB managed the Tigers to the game winning TD on a drive with a 1st and 35 from inside their own 20. Then he scrambled for a game sealing first down late.
  • Bowden remains Spurrier's main nemesis-Tommy this time around.
  • Spurrier's first season has had a damper put on it slightly, but the Gamecocks still have a lot be proud of.
  • Clemson, a mid pack ACC team with a loss to Wake Forest, beat one of the hottest teams in the SEC.
  • Reason to Celebrate: Besides bragging rights for the fourth consecutive year, the Tigers likely earned a higher ranked bowl game
  • Cause for Conern: Clemson made mental mistakes, like a botched punt inside their own 20, that could have cost them the game.
  • Next steps: Both teams will await their bowl bid. South Carolina looks Peachy while Clemson may be traveling Charlotte.

Monday, November 21, 2005

GT Up, Alabama Down, Tennessee Way Down

Atlantic Southeastern Conference Rankings

 

  1. Virginia Tech
  2. LSU
  3. Auburn
  4. Georgia
  5. Miami
  6. Georgia Tech
  7. Alabama
  8. Clemson
  9. Florida
  10. Florida State
  11. Boston College
  12. South Carolina
  13. Virginia
  14. Vanderbilt
  15. Maryland
  16. North Carolina
  17. NC State
  18. Tennessee
  19. Arkansas
  20. Wake Forest
  21. Ole Miss
  22. Kentucky
  23. Mississippi St
  24. Duke

 

ACC Average Rank: 12.17

SEC Average Rank:  12.83

 

Who's better VT or LSU?  Is Georgia Tech really the sixth best team?  Can you believe how far the Vols have fallen?

 

Leave your rankings and comments!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Week 12 Previews and Predictions

Keys to the GameKeys to the Game

High Tide

Iron Defense
Last week, LSU got pressure on Brodie Croyle almost every passing down and it really messed up any timing he had with his receivers. Auburn’s front four is good enough to get pressure by themselves against Alabama. If Croyle is given time, he has the ability to pick you apart.Alabama made a living off its defense in their first nine wins with turnovers and good field position creating points of offense. With the offense struggling mightily, the Tide will need their defense to step up and make some big plays.
Two Square MealsHold that Tiger
Auburn has found their running game in Kenny Irons. Irons has carried the ball 152 times in the last 5 games. Brandon Cox has come on strong too at QB. Auburn must be careful not to forget about the passing game against Alabama. The Tide is very good against the run, so don’t expect Irons to go for 150+ this weekend.Alabama has a solid running game, but opponents have been putting 8 guys in the box and blitzing to force Croyle into throws before he wants. The Tide O-Line needs to hold the fort against Auburn and give Croyle some time to throw the ball deep to WR DJ Hall. If Alabama can complete some deep passes their defense should be good enough to win this game.


Prediction: Auburn 20 Alabama 14 (Alabama covers)



Keys to the GameKeys to the Game
Tiger JamGreen Space
Clemson utilizes short routes with the receivers to get the ball into their hands quickly and allow them to make a play. South Carolina needs to jump these routes to prevent 5-yard pass plays turning 7 points. Also, Charlie Whitehurst has been battling a shoulder problem the second half of the season and his limited in his throws downfield. Watch for the yards after catch for ClemsonThe Tigers have the advantage in speed, especially at the skill positions on offense. Clemson needs to make South Carolina cover the entire field. Watch how well South Carolina is able to stop the run.
FirstsLockdown
This South Carolina Senior Class had a lot of firsts this season. First win over Tennessee, first win over Florida, and possible a first win over Clemson. These Gamecocks are a different breed than those of past teams. Spurrier should have no trouble motivating his team for this game after being dominated the last 2 years. Watch for the attitude of the Gamecocks if they fall behind in this game.The Clemson secondary will have its hands full with Freshmen WR Sidney Rice. Rice is already QB Blake Mitchell’s favorite target. The Tigers were successful this season against a more talented receiver in Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson, mostly by double-teaming Johnson. Forcing South Carolina to move the ball on the ground would be ideal for Bowden & Co. Watch for Spurrier to find ways to get the ball in his best playmaker’s hands.

Prediction South Carolina 24 Clemson 23 (South Carolina covers)


Keys to the GameKeys to the Game
Pressure on the BallUp and Running
Basketball coaches talk about this, but it applies in this game as well. Georgia Tech likes to throw the ball downfield to Calvin Johnson. Ball has shown in the past to make bad decisions when under pressure. However, this season he has matured and made better decisions. Still, constant pressure will make him think about getting rid of the ball faster than he would like. Watch for the number of times Ball is chased out of the pocket.Georgia Tech is at its best on offense when the are gaining 5+ yards on first down. Most of the time this is accomplished by the running of P.J. Daniels. Daniels is questionable for this game, but there is not a big drop off between him and his backup, Tashard Choice. Watch for the number of 2nd and 7+ yard situations Tech is in.
Loosen the DefenseMiami Heat
Last week, Virginia began the game by getting the short passing game going. This kept the blitzing GT linebackers off of the QB and made them drop back into coverage. This is how you beat GT. The Yellow Jackets bully opponent by trying to get to the QB every play and closing up the running lanes in the process. However, the linebackers are much better at blitzing than in coverage. Watch for where Tech’s linebackers are as the play develops.Miami QB Kyle Wright is in the mold of his predecessors at The “U”; tall, strong arm, pocket passer. It will interesting to see if the Tech blitz can get to him and take him out of his game. FSU was able to do this very effectively in the first game of the season, but Miami has gelled more since September. If Wright is given time to stand in the pocket, it will be a long night for the Yellow Jackets. Watch for the number of hurries on Kyle Wright and his completion percentage.

Prediction: Miami 35 Georgia Tech 14 (Miami Covers)


Keys to the Game
Wali World”Deopportunistic”
Running back Wali Lundy returned two weeks ago from injury and has racked up 6 TD’s in the last two games. Against Miami two weeks ago, Virginia Tech struggled against the run versus a second string running back. The Cavaliers need to be successful on the ground with Lundy carrying the load. Watch for the amount of yards Lundy is able to get on first down.The Hokies have been great all year at capitalizing on their opponents errors. Since Frank Beamer arrived, Virginia Tech has scored 100 non-offensive TD’s. Va Tech needs to get back in this habit after a lackluster performance against Miami. Watch what the field positions is if Virginia turns the ball over.
Margin of ErrorEarly Success
Virginia comes into this game as the underdog with less talent and ability. The margin for error is very small when you play a defense like Virginia Tech. Any opportunities the Cavaliers get from the Hokies must be taken advantage. Watch the points off turnovers number for both teams.Marcus Vick had an awful outing against Miami; worst of the season by far. It will be important to get him in a rhythm early and forget about the last game. Watch for his completion rate in the first quarter.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 28 Virginia 20 (Va Tech covers)



Keys to the Game
GoalsHeadstart
Every goal the Georgia Bulldogs had at the beginning of the season except one is still obtainable. Mark Richt and Co. better get over the Auburn loss last week real quick if they want to start making plans for Atlanta. It should not be a problem with Saturday being Senior Day. Watch for amount of enthusiasm Georgia displays early on.Kentucky must get on top early and make Georgia play from behind to have a shot in this game.
Contain LittleCapitalize
Georgia showed a “soft belly” against the run last week versus Auburn. Kentucky’s Rafael Little leads the SEC in all-purpose yards. The Bulldogs need to focus on Little as he is the Cats main option on offense.The Wildcats come into this game as big underdogs and must be able to capitalize on Georgia mistakes in order to have a chance in this game.

Prediction: Georgia 42 Kentucky 17 (UK covers)