Thursday, June 26, 2008

Crazy Links For Ya

It has been a while since I posted so good links and since I was way off on that College World Series like EVERYONE ELSE....here is some good diversion for the weekend.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Finally….the National Championship has come back to the SEC

google.com

It will be Bulldog on Bulldog for the baseball national championship in a best of 3 starting tonight. Number 8 nationally seeded Georgia faces upstart Fresno State who survived the elimination game with North Carolina on Sunday night in the finals.

Fresno State is the underdog of all underdogs in this tournament. The Bulldogs of California were a number 4 regional seed, the only one ever to make a College World Series, amounting to a 13 seed or below in the NCAA basketball Tournament making the national title game.

The Bulldogs from Georgia are a story in their own right having made the CWS finals after a losing season the previous year, also a first. Game 1 in the 3 game series will be critical, but these teams are no stranger to elimination games. Georgia won 4 in a row in their regional after losing the opener to Lipscomb. The Bulldogs also defeated NC State in the Super Regional elimination game, but the Dawgs are undfeated in the CWS so far. Fresno has survived 3 elimination games all on the road. Throw in that they have been without their ace and 2nd round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates for the entire tourney and you have the makings of a fantastic run no matter what happens in the finals.

Fresno has been a nice story this post season, but their ride ends here. Georgia has the hot bats, a solid starting staff, and a knockout closer. Fresno may have seen a chink in Georgia's armor when Stanford got 4 runs off of the closer of the year, Josh Fields, but the senior will bounce back in the finals. All of these equal Georgia in two games to win their first baseball title since 1990.

Test your UGA baseball knowledge

Friday, June 20, 2008

Is There A Statistical Way to Rank College Coaches?


I was approached recently by a fellow blogger about a coaching ranking system using recruiting, player development, game day coaching, and program control as the criteria. Each category was assigned a different weight with recruiting given the most and program control the least. I find it very hard to rate coaches who have less than 2 years experience at a head job in the conference, but I went on past experience if I had to.

1. Recruiting (weight = x2)
The life blood of any program. Putting the best team on the field is the best way to give your team the chance to win. If the cupboards are always stocked with Parade All-Americans, it won’t be long before all the right breaks come your way and you’re knockin on the door. This is purely a subjective ranking, if you wanna take into account the fact that it’s harder to recruit at Vandy and Wake than it is as USC and FSU, that’s your prerogative. There is no wrong answer.

2. Player Development (weight = x1½)
What good is a 5-star recruit if he washes out of the program? Or doesn’t qualify? That could have been a roster spot for a hard working 3-star kid who wanted to prove himself. Does the coach have a rep of coaching players up into draft picks or is it a school where Signing Bonuses go to die? Recruits are keenly aware of this, and long term trends can either be a big drag or a nice boost to a recruiting base.

3. Gameday Coaching (weight = x1)
Sometimes is doesn’t matter who has the better team, someone is just gonna get flat out-coached. Weather it’s the perfect opening strategy or masterful halftime adjustments, what’s between a coach’s ears can make up for a lot of what may be missing between the hash marks. Game planning to fit both your own and your opponent’s personnel is key. It’s tough to make a career outta always bringing a knife to a gun fight player-wise, but if a team has the edge on the sidelines, it can usually chalk up an extra W or 2 per year. Being on the short end can just as easily mean another couple of L’s despite a talented roster.

4. Program Control (weight = x½)
Everyone wants to see their school’s players on Sportscenter, just not as a mugshot…Still winning is winning, and as long as the championships keep rolling in they can attend all the ‘super-special’ Dillard’s and Foot Locker sales they can stand. This only appears on here in so far as that no program wants the dreaded Death Penalty. If a school gets in enough hot water, it can be a Sword of Damocles that may scare off potential recruits.

Here is how I rated the ACC & SEC

SEC
Recruiting:
1. Nick Saban

2. Urban Meyer
3. Mark Richt
4. Les Miles
5. Tommy Tubberville
6. Phil Fulmer
7. Bobby Petrino
8. Steve Spurrier
9. Houston Nutt
10. Rich Brooks
11. Sly Croom
12. Bobby Johnson
Most every coach in the SEC is a great recruiter... you have to be if you want your job for very long. I put Saban, Meyer, and Richt at the top because of what they have done over the last 3-4 seasons is up there with anyone in the country. I like Croom and Johnson as good recruiters, but they cannot bring in near the same level of talent as the rest of the SEC.

Development
1. Sly Croom
2. Urban Meyer
3. Mark Richt
4. Tommy Tubberville
5. Nick Saban
6. Steve Spurrier
7. Les Miles
8. Rich Brooks
9. Bobby Petrino
10. Bobby Johnson
11. Houston Nutt
12. Phil Fulmer
For player development, I rate those who get the most of the players highest. I think Sly Croom has done an excellent job here taking MSU to a bowl last year. I don't necessarily think Fulmer is a bad developer, but some of his talent has not lived up to they hype and he is doesn't strike me as great instructor.

Coaching:
1. Steve Spurrier
2. Les Miles
3. Mark Richt
4. Urban Meyer
5. Bobby Petrino
6. Nick Saban
7. Tommy Tubberville
8. Phil Fulmer
9. Sly Croom
10. Rich Brooks
11. Bobby Johnson
12. Houston Nutt
If I have two weeks to prepare for a tough opponent, the guy I want is still Steve Spurrier. He did last year against Georgia in a game they had no business winning. Houston Nutt royally screwed up that QB position two years ago in Arkansas.

Control:
1. Sly Croom
2. Bobby Johnson
3. Bobby Petrino
4. Rich Brooks
5. Tommy Tubberville
6. Nick Saban
7. Houston Nutt
8. Mark Richt
9. Les Miles
10. Urban Meyer
11. Steve Spurrier
12. Phil Fulmer
Honestly, I don't think any coach in the SEC can keep their players off their police blotter, but some are worse than others. South Carolina and Tennessee get the lower end due their recent run ins with the law.

ACC

Recruiting:
1. Randy Shannon
2. Bobby Bowden
3. Tommy Bowden
4. Frank Beamer
5. Butch Davis
6. Al Groh
7. Paul Johnson
8. Jeff Jagodzinski
9. Jim Grobe
10. Tom Obrien
11. Ralph Freidgen
12. David Cutcliffe
I ranked Shannon #1 based on the two classes he has brought in so far. Bobby at #2 is more so because of his past but he can still recruit. Butch Davis #5 is mostly from his Miami days.

Development:
1. Jim Grobe
2. Paul Johnson
3. David Cutcliffe
4. Jeff Jagodzinksi
5. Frank Beamer
6. Ralph Friedgen
7. Tom Obrien
8. Bobby Bowden
9. Butch Davis
10. Tommy Bowden
11. Al Groh
12. Randy Shannon
Grobe winning the ACC is nothing short of a miracle. Paul Johnson took Navy took to 5 straight bowls…at Navy.

Coaching:
1. Paul Johnson
2. Jim Grobe
3. David Cutcliffe
4. Frank Beamer
5. Bobby Bowden
6. Jeff Jagodzinski
7. Ralph Friedgen
8. Butch Davis
9. Tom Obrien
10. Al Groh
11. Tommy Bowden
12. Randy Shannon
I think the top 3 are some of the best offensive minds in college football and you don't want to face them on their good day. They just lack talent sometimes.

Control:
1. Jeff Jagodzinski
2. Paul Johnson
3. Jim Grobe
4. Randy Shannon
5. David Cutcliffe
6. Frank Beamer (edit)
7. Tom Obrien
8. Ralph Freidgen
9. Tommy Bowden
10. Butch Davis
11. Al Groh
12. Bobby Bowden
I don't think any program is way on or off kilter here so this was the toughest to rank.

Let me know what you think of my rankings!

If you want to vote in the polls then follow these links:
ACC:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=n_2fYZdmiZb_2b905PFsBmHRMg_3d_3d

SEC:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=UXh2rtq4Kyg7vh8mYkMC4Q_3d_3d

Sunday, June 15, 2008

BC's Best Athletes

SI.com

SI.com has a photo gallery counting down the top 10 student athletes (any sport) to ever play at Boston College. SI has some great photo galleries especially during football season and March Madness. I have to say I thought Matt Ryan should have been a little higher than where he was - SI placed former basketball forward Craig Smith ahead of the #3 pick in the NFL Draft of 2008. Number one is of no surprise to anyone.

Here is the link.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

College World Series Picks

We've arrived at the College World and once again the ACC & SEC are well represented with 5 teams in the field of 8. The ACC has 3 who are seeded number 1, 2, and 4 while the LSU and Georgia made it from the 7 and 8 seeds respectively.

The CWS works a little differently than the regional play. The teams are placed into two brackets and play a round robin within their bracket. The winners of each double - elimination bracket play each other in a best of 3 series for the championship.

Bracket 1 has #1 Miami vs #8 Georgia, Stanford vs #4 Florida State starting on Saturday.
Bracket 2 has #2 North Carolina vs #7 LSU, Fresno State vs #6 Rice starting on Sunday.

You will notice they do not re seed once in the CWS, which is fortunate for Rice playing long shot Fresno State in their first game.

Now onto the predictions...
In bracket 1, I like Miami to come out of here. The Hurricanes have been ranked #1 most of the year and feature 3 first round draft picks. I think it will be Georgia and Miami in the finals with 'Canes prevailing.

In bracket 2, I like North Carolina to set up an all ACC final. The Heels have rolled through the competition in their regional and super regional. The all ACC final will guarantee an ACC winner for the first time since Wake Forest in the 1950s (Miami won all those titles before joining the ACC).


Here is the full schedule.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Super Regional Picks

google.com

Down to 16 in college baseball for the Super Regionals. ACC has great representation with 4 teams and the SEC has 2. One inter conference matchup as NC State travels to Georgia for the right to advance to Omaha.

Here goes it...
NC State @ Georgia
Georgia is swinging some hot bats right now after winning 4 straight to win their regional after dropping their first game to Lipscomb. NC State rode their pitchers to a regional win over South Carolina. I will take the hitting and Georgia; plus it is an even year so Georgia has to make it to the CWS.
Pick: Georgia

UC Irvine @ LSU
LSU is another red hot team who will be playing their final games in Alex Box Stadium. UC Irvine's nickname is the Anteaters, so I will take LS-ew
Pick: LSU

Coastal Carolina @ North Carolina
Many say UNC got the easiest regional draw and also the easiest Super Regional. The Chanticleers are nothing to sneeze at but the Tar Heels should take this one.
Pick: North Carolina

Arizona @ Miami
While UNC likely got the easiest regional, Miami probably had the hardest and now has to face Pac-10 power Arizona. The 'Canes have been near the top of the polls all year and won arguably the toughest conference. I like Miami in a 3 game series.
Pick: Miami

Stanford @ Cal St Fullerton
Two Cali schools...I will take Fullerton at home
Pick: Cal St Fullerton

Texas A&M @ Rice
Two Texas schools. Rice has a better tradition. Good thing because they stink at everything else.
Pick: Rice

Wichita State @ Florida State
FSU has largely underachieved in the post season in the past. Like Georgia, they too battled back after losing game 1 of the regional. Catcher Buster Posey is a potential Golden Spikes Award winner for the top player in college. But the Shockers shock the Noles.
Pick: Wichita State

Fresno State @ Arizona State
ASU has been right near the top of the polls with Miami all year. Even though Barry Bonds went there, I like the Sun Devils.
Pick: Arizona State

If you want to track how I am doing against other ACC & SEC Fans, check out this link. Pick'em results

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Trivia Question of the Day


What two teams have the longest active streak of above .500 in SEC play?

I will give you a hint, its not Vanderbilt or Ole Miss.